Mama Shelter - the Parisian hotel with an air of rebellion


On the outskirts of Paris, far away from the beaten tourist track, Mama Shelter is a hidden gem in an otherwise ordinary suburb.  Formerly a multi-storey car park, Philippe Starck and ex-Club Med owner Serge Trigano converted the unlikely site into an urban residence that is arguably one of the coolest hotels in Paris.


Located just a stones throw from Pére Lachaise cemetery, long-term residence for Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde, the 20ème arrondissement isn’t necessarily the first place that comes to mind when opening a hip hotel in Paris, but that is what Starck and co have done. Simultaneously, Mama Shelter manages to shake-off any preconceptions of chocolate-box Paris. As the area is covered in graffiti and a bit shabby around the edges, you get the feeling you’re seeing the ‘real’ Paris.


As soon as you enter the reception, it quickly becomes evident that the hotel is a bit risqué and tongue-in cheek. The gift shop sells an array of branded gifts as you would expect, along with some more ‘adult’ items, but manages to avoid being tacky.


The corridors are dark and moody, with fair-faced concrete walls and floors throughout. Bedroom carpets are patterned with graffiti style phrases and sketches. Sumptuous white bed linen ensures the rooms are luxurious as well as cool. MamaShelter has a real personality that shines through thanks to small design quirks. Lamps in the bedrooms are covered with superhero masks – what better accessory for a photo on the iMac that comes as standard in every room?


Weather permitting, the terrace runs alongside the hotel with a view of the disused train track and in summer, there is a rooftop bar. Comfortable beds, a focus on great service and lots of thoughtful little touches make MamaShelter the perfect retreat to experience the real Paris, with an air of rebellion.

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Laurie Prescott works in PR and in her spare time enjoys writing her fashion and lifestyle blog Bell & Smokey.

Follow her on Twitter @bellandsmokey