Hotel Babel with Daphné Desjeux

Have you heard of Hôtel Babel in Paris? A hotel nestled in a pedestrian alleyway in Belleville whose inspiration is "from the end of the world and the street next door".


Belleville is a trendy district of Paris, with a mix of influences including Chinatown, artists' galleries and restaurants of many nationalities.

The hotel's owner made a point of multiplying references to the neighborhood, calling on the Belleville brewery for its beer and the brûlerie for its coffee. He also wanted a committed hotel, with a member of the Refugee Food Festival in the kitchen and a "suspended" room, i.e. a room made available to associations for emergencies.

For the interior design, he called on interior architect Daphné Desjeux, who specializes in places that can accommodate the public, and whose signature is the creation of emotions.

For the Hotel Babel, Daphné Desjeux produced an exceptional work of art, creating a veritable theatrical set with a multitude of details and references from the ends of the earth.

Daphné Desjeux doesn't aim to be trendy or to please everyone, but to create a mood and generate emotions.

Hotel Babel restaurant

For Hotel Babel, Daphné Desjeux immerses us in an old family home, brilliantly blending references from the four corners of the globe. Nothing is left to chance, and most of the elements are vintage pieces or her own custom creations.

Right from the lobby, the tone is set: an old coffee machine transformed into a console and doors from vintage merry-go-rounds restrict access to the counter.

Lobby Hotel Babel Daphné Desjeux

Daphné Desjeux creates an immersive experience, wanting people to look up and appreciate the floor and ceiling. So for the lobby and restaurant, she wanted to keep the beams and add small corbels that echo the colors of the walls. Daphné Desjeux also incorporated small, worn red stickers to evoke the passing of time. All the hanging lights and lamps have been sourced to evoke the spirit of a family home.

Restaurant Hotel Babel

For the bedrooms, she designed headboards that pay homage to Moroccan culture: the fabric is reminiscent of Berber tents, while the gold buttons and tricolored piping echo traditional dress.

Chambres Hotel Babel Daphné Desjeux

The doors are inspired by a door found on the Greek island of Sifnos, and the carpet was developed from the pattern of an old Moroccan rug.

There are also small, round bathroom cabinets, reminiscent of those found on the mythical L'Orient Express train.

Créations Daphné Desjeux pour Hotel Babel

Nothing here is intended to appear new, shiny or ostentatious, but rather to evoke the passing of time and the passing on of heritage. The mirrors, for example, have been worn and quilted. The sconces created for the hotel are perfectly imperfect, with irregular lines for a very handcrafted look. All the colors are faded, and the paintings are reminiscent of the walls of an old Tuscan house.

In the bathrooms, the 31 rooms feature small Indian elements, as well as floral frescoes reminiscent of Australian Aboriginal tattoos.

Fresque salle de bain hotel babel

Éléments indiens salle de bain hotel babel

I then took advantage of the visit to ask Daphné Desjeux for her advice on how to make your interior stand out from the rest, and to ask her about the notion of a centerpiece.

Daphné Desjeux portrait pour Pigalle Matignon

How would you define a centerpiece?
"It can be a trait d'esprit, a charm, it doesn't have to be something big. It's what's going to end up attaching you with everything else. It's the element that's going to trigger the crush."
Do you have a centerpiece at home?
I had the opportunity to shop for a photo shoot of my interior for a major magazine. While I had access to all the most beautiful designer pieces, I finally found that the centerpiece was my little lamp found at Emmaüs because I find that this piece generates an emotion.
The final word: "I'm not looking to make something beautiful, I'm looking to create emotions, and I'm okay with the fact that not everyone will like that. "
Phots by Andrane de Barry.