La Belle Otero Suite at the New Maison Fouquet

by Joelle

If you happen to spend two days in Paris and sick and tired of the Avenue Montaigne circuit, why don’t you  take a dive  for a change into SoPi the neighborhood of  South Pigalle so nicknamed and preferred by Parisian Hipsters and BoBos (Bourgeois Bohemian) ? The reason  is not only because the trendsetting  stylish restaurants and fashionable  boutiques  which have recently opened in the area but mostly because if you truly wish  to experience the sensual atmosphere of an old authentic  Maison de Plaisir , you have now  the perfect spot.

Totally revamped by the renowned French interior designer Jaques Garcia,( Hotel Costes , La Mamounia) the now five stars luxury hotel  is  located at 10, rue de Bruxelles a few steps from the Legendary Moulin Rouge and at  the foothills of a path that leads up to Sacre Coeur.

One you step into the entrance door from the sober XIX century building facade adorned by two french lanterns,  a whole new world as presents itself  at your feet.

From the luxurious Belle Epoque interiors  upholstered Napoleon III   red velvet and scented by  jasmine candles the exquisite staff polished  and uptight in daring smiles eager  to please sets you in no time into this oasis of shade and bien-etre.  Liane de Pougy, la Païva and , or  la Castiglione , I am  finally assigned after my arrival   to La Belle Otero ( A courtisan maybe had my same eye colors?) a  suite enclosing a comfortable walking closet in acacia wood and mirrors and small sitting room facing  on each side 19th century voluptuous women on   far too relaxed positions as if they were part of my personal entourage. Shimmering textiles and elegant  trimmings from far away lands, Japan , India possibly China, conceal from the window light possibly a certain nostalgia of an era where certain pleasures were still  in disguise.

I am peaceful because without being  trapped by the burden of a secret rendez-vous, I am allowing myself  to commit solo if only for a few hours, to the wonderful  and sexy  bath tub surrounded by black marble and  fresh  Eau d’ Oranges  Vertes toiletries signed Hermes.   On the phone I request an appointment after business hours with a masseuse  and plan to discover the mysteries of the private  access “salon d’eau’  located at the maison basement  with the hope of soon feeling regenerated from the five hours flight from Tel Aviv. I pick a  robe, furtively double check with the young hipster butler-concierge f my  dinner reservation at  La  brasserie  is indeed confirmed at 930 PM at  La Mascotte  . Behind the  tiny desk  of the Orientalist  Salon de Mil et Une Nuit  adorned with  wood inlays from Cordoba and exotic blue and white China,  I am assured by a ” Bien-sure Madame Maslaton” and head down in the elevator to surrender at last to pleasure without any further worries.

Under a cobalt blue sky painted with hundreds of golden stars I enter the pool fresh waters and experience the magic of such privacy with the self. I am now able to think about  La Belle Otero who associated herself with the likes of Prince Albert I of Monaco, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Kings of Serbia, and Kings of Spain as well as Russian Grand Dukes Peter and Nicholas, the Duke of Westminster and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio.

And while the expert hands of my Romanian masseuse touched every sensitive place of my skin, I can’t help  visualizing the multiple love affairs that made Otero infamous, and the envy of many other notable female personalities of the day. I read on the  bathtub filled with bubbles  that six men  had reportedly committed suicide after their love affairs with Otero had ended, although this has never been substantiated beyond a doubt. It was a fact, however, that two men did fight a duel over her. After a  wonderful almond oil scented massage I guess like me, the favorite courtisane might have felt  pretty, confident, intelligent and  well aware of her attractive figure.

Dinner at the legendary brasserie was great. A beautiful Brittany sole with lemon butter, steamed potatoes,  Salade Verte vinaigrette Raw milk camembert, white table wine , cafe made me dive straight into into most comfortable cotton sheets in a sleep without dreams . The next day I would discover the Museum of Romantics , and superb house-museum and atelier of French symbolist painter Gustave Moreau who depicted  more than once Salome  in her  Dance of the Seven Veils.  I learn there that Christian traditions still depict Salome as an icon of dangerous female seductiveness, notably in regard to the dance mentioned in the New Testament, which is thought to have had an erotic element to it, and precursor in the period and to the emergence of striptease acts.

Refreshened and invigorated the pit stop in Paris plus a few sexy shopping bags I am now ready for my flight to new York. Yoni the owner invites me to visit the other two establishments of Maisons Particulieres featuring other aspects of Paris, but from the other side of the room,  Salome and Otero with a clink of an eye make me realize that their smile is un-doubtively more captivating than La Gioconda’s at the Louvre.


Joelle’s Tips:

+33 (0)1 48 78 55 55

10, rue de Bruxelles 75009 Paris, France

Jaques Garcia : Interior Designer

SoPi Itinerary

Culture and Literary Rendez-Vous

Museum of Romantics

Gustave Moreau Museum

Museum of Erotism


La Mascotte Restaurant

Ito Isakaya: Japanese  Tapas Bar a Parisian new Trend

Buvette: Gastrotheque

DelMontel :Bakery


L’Oef : Boutique Fashion




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