The history of Les Bains is an unusual and captivating one. First opened by the Guerbois family in 1885, Les Bains Douches as it was called then, became the most renowned bathhouse in Paris. While Novelist Marcel Proust opted for luxurious sulfur baths, neighborhood workers frequented the space to shower and drink coffee or calvados. Writer Emile Zola and painter Édouard Manet mingled alongside Bohemians and the glitterati of the Belle Époque.
In 1978 Le Bains Douches took on another identity as the beating pulse of Parisian nightlife. Redesigned by the then young Philippe Starck, this club attracted the crème de la crème of the fashion and art worlds. Just a few of the famous faces that rubbed elbows on the dance floor through the years were Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Bono, David Bowie, and Mick Jagger. Now that’s an impressive guest list! It was here too that Prince gave an impromptu concert, while David Guetta honed his DJ skills. Joy Division even recorded live albums in this creatively-infused space.
Fast forward to 2015 when Les Bains reinvented itself once again, this time as an uber-chic hotel under the helm of Jean-Pierre Marois. While respecting the rich past yet looking to the future, Marois’s aim was “to build a nest for creative people where they are able to invent, develop, and present new trends in a fertile haven.”
Present day Les Bains is both a luxury hotel and Parisian hotspot, where all in one night you can dine at the gastronomic restaurant, dance into the early weekend hours, and retire to one of 39 well-appointed guest rooms. Awaken on Sunday morning with a private yoga class and detox lunch; you never know which local artist you might meet.
Award-winning architect Vincent Bastie has redesigned the new space while preserving its rich heritage. Custom-crafted furniture and sofas reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s Factory fill the sleek rooms, each one playfully outfitted in rock’n’roll elements with original artwork by artists in residence.
Seven suites including the luxurious 75 square meter ‘rockstar’ Les Bains Suite include a hammam, recalling the hotel’s days as a bathhouse. What was once the legendary pool is now Les Bains Guerbois, a 21st century spa in which to rejuvenate, pre or post-revelry.
One thing is certain, after entering Les Bains, where you’re welcomed by a sculpture of Bacchus, the god of pleasure, wine and dance, you won’t exit quite the same. Take it from the superstars who continue to favor this legendary locale.
Les Bains, 7 Rue du Bourg l’Abbé, 3rd. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 77 07 07.
Lead photo credit : Reception. courtesy of Les Bains Paris