Words Ken Baron

“It is time for a new journey in the world of luxury travel. Redefine the experience with a radical reinvention. Travel better or not at all. Wherever we move, let’s create a trail of positive impact. I believe in this future because I think the hotelkeeper can be a transformative artist and entrepreneur.”

When Valéry Grégo mentions “radical reinvention” and the importance of being a “transformative entrepreneur,” he knows of what he speaks—from personal experience. Raised in the troubled outskirts of Paris, Grégo learned the value of education at an early age. “My family was one with limited economic capital, but great intellectual capital, and very open-minded,” he says. As a result, he grew up discussing mathematics and literature with his parents, both aerospace researchers, “interrogating the very essence of everything,” as he puts it. From the banlieue of his childhood, he moved on to study humanities, mostly philosophy, literature, and history, as well as some business. And he adds, “this multifaceted, multicultural trajectory helped me create my own vision of the world.”

In Paris, that vision today is Le Pigalle, which is part of his Perseus group—a collection of luxury hotels in Europe that focuses on mindful experiences for the local community, the guests, and the environment.

03 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Facade
02 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Paris Skyline

Your childhood, as both an insider and an outsider, seems to have given you a rare perspective on the world.

Those were the best years of my intellectual life. The history behind the hotels, the curated objects, the exciting reads on the shelves, the locally sourced cuisines—these aren’t just business decisions, they are an expression of my past, my experiences, and my quest for knowledge.


How is this quest part of a hotel’s conception for you?

Designing a hotel is, first and foremost, conceiving a connection to the world. It is a way of seeing life through an expanse, a moment frozen in time, a chase for something elusive, a total universe.

04 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Restaurant

Le Pigalle’s restaurant is a gathering spot for locals

05 MBO Valery Grego Office

Grégo in his office

What is the ultimate luxury that we are yet to see in the industry?

A luxury that would be at the same time elevated, mindful, flexible, and locally rooted. Our ambition, with Le Pigalle and beyond, is to bring a modern mindset to the very essence of hospitality. That means being more mindful and in tune with today’s expectations. We aim to create a unique travel experience that connects people on a similar journey.


With people having such different needs and worldviews, how can you possibly create a “similar journey” for your guests?

Today, people travel everywhere, work anywhere. They form communities wherever they are, looking for ways to live, work, and travel. They also want to share and engage more. They want more inspiration and wonder, but at the same time, they are mindful of their impact on the world and the environmental footprint of their travels. We create this inspiration and wonder through very locally rooted collaborations. A hotel is not just a part of a neighborhood; the neighborhood is embedded in the hotel—it’s a part of its very nature.

06 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Street View

The streets of Pigalle

07 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Room Bottles

The bar setup inside a guestroom

08 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Woman Book Reading

Le Pigalle has partnered with a local bookshop

Le Pigalle does partner with local bakers, bookshops, DJs, etc.

Exactly, and there’s great variety in our collaborations—from artists in residency programs and musicians who fill the hotel with music to bringing in, say, the chef from a popular local Chinese restaurant to celebrate the Chinese New Year. These things, and more, create unexpected or alternative activities, as well as a natural intermingling between people who live in the neighborhood and our guests. It’s organic, and we try to collaborate with people we feel our guests will connect with. For us, a hotel is never just a place. It’s where intimacy flows between the people and the land: guests, staff, visitors, local producers, curious minds, neighbors, old regulars, and new faces—people from all walks of life, open to the world. No matter where you are from, you become a neighbor here—in a place where modern travelers and locals meet over drinks, culture, and adventure.


What musicians have played at Le Pigalle recently?

Vieux Farka Toure, who is the son of the famous musician Ali Farka Toure, came to Le Pigalle to play, and he stayed there for a few days. The entire hotel was filled with music from Mali and with joy. It was magical, and our guests naturally had the pleasure of interacting, listening, and taking in the banter and the music.

09 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Groundfloor Bar

Sharing insights in the hotel’s ground-floor bar

10 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Groundfloor DJ

DJs are a big part of the Le Pigalle experience

So Le Pigalle is both a neighborhood hotel and a worldly destination.

Le Pigalle tells a Parisian story in a way that is culturally elevated, which is critical as we believe in authenticity and emotivity. We believe that original experiences in remarkable places can trigger profound emotions.


What surprised you most about the neighborhood’s reaction to Le Pigalle?

Every day an old lady—she must be in her eighties—comes to the hotel alone, gets a coffee or two, stays for a little while, and then leaves. She has been coming for five years, almost every day. I love thinking that we have created a place where everyone is welcome and feels at home.

11 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Room Camera

A surprise to discover in the rooms

12 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Room Bed Interior (1)

All the rooms at Le Pigalle reflect a Parisian identity

13 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Groundfloor Interior (1)

Lively nights lead to the light of day

14 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Groundfloor Poledance

Playful touches reflect the neighborhood's “red light” history

Speaking of coffee, Le Pigalle’s “top-quality Parisian coffee for just 1 euro” is a brilliant idea, yet something others rarely think to do. How did that come about?

If we want to be open to the neighborhood, we need to be affordable. And through this idea, we could create a better, more interesting mix of people on the ground floor.


What is it about bustling Pigalle that you like?

It’s authentic. It’s in-between two worlds: night and day, chic and not chic, clean and dirty. It has a million faces.


But how does that jibe with the calm domestic setting of your home in Ibiza?

Not everything should be calm.

15 MBO Valery Grego Ibiza Skating

At home in Ibiza

16 MBO Valery Grego Ibiza House

Grégo’s Ibiza house

17 MBO Valery Grego Ibiza Chair

Design touches of a personal nature

Where are your favorite places to travel and why?

I like going to places and living there for a few days or longer. And I mean really living there as a local does, and not just passing through. For me it’s always been about the “why.”

“A hotel is not just a part of a neighborhood; the neighborhood is embedded in the hotel—it’s a part of its very nature.”

18 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle Room View (1)

Above it all at Le Pigalle

19 MBO Valery Grego Le Pigalle

Lead Image Stephanie Füssenich
Office Portrait Benoit Linero
Ibiza Steve Herud
Bottom Image Benoit Linero for Monocle

Featured Hotels


Le Pigalle

Paris, France

Featured Hotels


Le Pigalle

France, Paris
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