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Retro Recreation

Paris, France

Orso Hotels’ Wallace is a joyful gem tucked away in Paris’ unassuming 15th arrondissement, elevated by Hauvette & Madani’s spirited take on the Riviera heyday

A view of the Eiffel Tower from your bedroom window – it doesn’t get more Paris than that. And while La dame de fer may seem clichéd to the locals, the setting of Hotel Wallace certainly is not. One of boutique hospitality group Orso’s recent properties sits snug in the 15th arrondissement of the French capital. Often overlooked by tourists, this part of town is as effortlessly Parisian as the hotel itself is retro chic.

Designed by studio Hauvette & Madani, the Wallace radiates a holiday vibe, a welcome retreat from the big city, with small unfussy details reminiscent of the glamour of the French Riviera and the joy and ease of Italian modernism. “The Wallace didn’t have any history of its own,” says Samantha Hauvette, “so we had total freedom.” The duo drew inspiration from Gio Ponti and interpreted his cheerful style that connects design and architecture with natural fluidity, to create a space that is uplifting and utilitarian all at once.

The Wallace didn’t have any history of its own so we had total freedom

The original building, known to locals as the hollow tooth, was gutted and reworked by Silvio D’Ascia Architecture, creating new floors, heights and volumes. A rare feat in central Paris and yet typical of Orso Hotels’ founders Anouk & Louis Solanet, who pride themselves on investing in authenticity and creating a portfolio of hotels that exude genuine character. 

The Wallace is Hauvette & Madani’s first foray into hotel design, emphasising Orso’s knack for making bold choices that pay off. Each room, despite being relatively small and affordable, transports guests on a journey: with lacquered wood and varnished finishes you might feel as if in a train cabin, overnight on the Orient Express. Stripes in blue and orange punctate the spaces, like beach umbrellas on the Mediterranean coast.

The basement bar with its 5-metre glass roof and rattan lamp shade installation is the centrepiece of the hotel. The first three floors have outdoor corridors with a distinct American motel feel, from which you can look down into the bar. On the 4th floor, the superior rooms facing the courtyard offer Eiffel Tower views, while the Junior Suite sits pretty on the 5th with a charming balcony overlooking the rooftops. 

In spring, the Wallace terrace transforms into a hidden suntrap with deckchairs and large plants, once again echoing the alluring mood of bygone vacations. And yet, here you are, in the middle of Paris, which as we all know, is always a good idea.