Insider Q&A: Paris' Nicolas Saltiel

The owner of Chapitre Six Hotels, a group of eight boutique hotels in Paris and the South of France, shares his favorite finds in the City of Light.

What is your favorite neighborhood for wandering?

The Montmartre district is my Parisian haven. Perched on the hilltop, it has retained its village soul.... I love stopping off at the cafés and strolling through the Abbesses Bookshop, run by the legendary and bubbly Marie-Rose, who brings books to life on a daily basis. Then stroll around Place du Tertre and the little streets around it. In the evening, the cabarets come alive. There's also the hidden terrace at the Aristide hotel on summer evenings, where you can dine to the tunes of private drag queen concerts. This neighborhood is a world unto itself, a village in the city where you feel right at home.

Do you have a morning ritual?

Morning is an essential time for me. I start with some breathing exercises, then a cold shower, followed by a breakfast of fruits. All while listening to Chopin super loudly. It sets me up for a great day.

What are some of your favorite lunch spots?

I enjoy heading to the 1st arrondissement for lunch, not far from the Tuileries Garden. For a colorful and 70s vibe, the best pizza in Paris is Zapi. There's also Cibus, a delicious trattoria. And If I'm in the mood for Japanese, I go to Takara, one of the oldest Japanese restaurants in Paris.

What is your favorite place for dinner in your own neighborhood?

For a cozy night in, I go to Hanabi, the restaurant at the Hana hotel. They serve classic French bistro dishes with Japanese influences, along with divine cocktails. There's also the hidden terrace at the Aristide hotel on summer evenings, where you can dine to the tunes of private drag queen concerts. Otherwise, I love the old Parisian bistros like La Fontaine de Mars or Le Voltaire. And if I'm craving sunny Mediterranean cuisine, I head to Tekes or Shana, restaurants by chef Assaf Granit and Tomer Lanzman.

⁠What is one of your favorite lesser-known gems?

Blitz Society, the only chess bar in Paris! In an intimate lounge atmosphere in the heart of the Saint-Germain district, you can learn to play, perfect your chess skills or take on your opponents, while enjoying a meal with friends and listening to jazz.

Anything in Paris you consider overrated?

All the trendy new restaurants claiming to be hip but ultimately lacking soul.

One place you will always return to…?

For a trip to Japan without leaving the capital, I'd say Ogata, which combines a tea room, a restaurant, a bar, a shop, and a Japanese gallery right in the heart of the Marais. If I want some fresh air and greenery, I head to Barbizon in the heart of the Fontainebleau forest, just 30 minutes from Paris. It's a breath of fresh air for rejuvenation and also a legendary spot for pre-Impressionist painting in France. Very inspiring!

Favorite book/film about the city?

Paris est une fête (A Moveable Feast) by Ernest Hemingway, and consequently, Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen as well. Wonderful love letters to Paris, which is so inspiring. Also, the film Bus Palladium by Christopher Thompson, named after a legendary rock club in the Pigalle neighborhood. The City of Light is a delightful invitation to wander between reality and imagination. All these blends and cultures are an endless source of inspiration in creating our hotels.

Published onMay 14, 2024

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