Maeggie Mailliet is a 30-year resident of Montmartre and a friend. She was born and raised in Switzerland but now considers herself a Parisian (almost). To me, she is the quintessential Parisian woman, an ideal I strive for. Charming, elegant, fashionable and very, very kind—oh, and did I mention generous? I often rent her apartment, Villa Montmartre in Montmartre (bien sûr), and highly recommend it to friends and fans of our site. She is truly one of the loveliest women I’ve met in years. She has spectacular taste, not to mention that unique Parisian quality of always looking chic without having a huge closetful of clothes. She spent her life in the hotel and hospitality field and remains a great source for everything in Paris. She even brought me soup once when I caught a cold (probably from the airplane) while staying at her place. Now that’s pretty sweet. She recently has been delighted by the birth of her first granddaughter.
You were in the hotel and hospitality business for most of your career. Tell us what you loved and what you didn’t like about the business.
I have worked in the hotel and hospitality business in many different areas. I worked for Swissair as a flight attendant during the great time of aviation and felt at home in New York and Chicago—as well as horseback riding with the gauchos in Argentina, surfing and nearly dying in the waves of Copacabana, driving a friend’s old American Army Jeep in Senegal’s sands and looking for elephants and rhinos in Kenya. After moving from Switzerland to Paris I worked more than 10 years for Club Med’s president. Next I created, with my husband, a very important sports and hotel complex on the outskirts of Paris, an innovative project. After 10 years that place was taken over by a large company; then I joined the hotel reservation organization for the World Cup in Paris. My job in the last years was the opening and press launch of the Sofitel flagship at the Faubourg St.-Honoré, where I was working with all the international branches of the group and most of the luxury brands of the world.
Can you give us any funny/odd/interesting stories of guests who stayed at your hotel? Any outlandish requests?
When I offered a famous pop star a copy of the original “manuscript” written by Mozart of Don Giovanni and he said to me: “He was great musician . . . ”
Describe where you grew up and how you found your way to Paris.
I was already dreaming as a child to escape Switzerland and left at age 18 for six months to learn better French at the Alliance Française. After traveling all around the world I met a charming French man who gave me the opportunity to come back to Paris, where I got married and had two children.
What was it like raising children in Paris?
It was really fabulous to raise children in Montmartre, living in Villa des Platanes with a private garden. The children had a wonderful childhood with lot of friends, completely free to come and go, with the schools nearby.
You now rent out one of your apartments to weekly travelers. Where do most of your clients come from, and what do they enjoy about staying with you? Have you met some interesting visitors?
Most of my guests are from North America and quite a few from Australia. Most are very interesting people (university professors, famous photographers, even an ex-minister), loving and enjoying Paris. Almost all are very surprised when they arrive in the apartment and appreciate very much the decoration and the exceptionally quiet and very private location.
You have lived in Montmartre for a long time. Is it different from other areas of Paris? What do you love about the neighborhood?
Montmartre is still a village. I can never just go and get something without running into two or three neighbors that I know. I live on a private property in the middle of trees and flowers with singing birds, yet I am 10 minutes away from the heart of Paris—it’s a real privilege.
Describe your favorite day in Paris.
Meeting friends in a café or going to the Faubourg St.-Honoré to meet my friend Casoar, who sells the most beautiful costume jewelry. Crossing with my car between the Grand and Petit Palais during the day or night for the absolutely stunning view.
What are your favorite haunts (restos, shops, cultural experiences) in Montmartre?
In Montmartre I love the little bistros and the Italian restaurant around my place and La Mascotte, at rue des Abbesses, for the ambience. I like the Russian designer Tatiana Lebedev, who does absolutely great jackets and coats at rue Houdon.
As you are Swiss and neutral, how would you describe your French friends versus the American or British ones—what’s the most obvious difference?
It is difficult to say. After 30 years I am no longer Swiss and not completely French. I really like the melting pot of big cities and enjoy open-minded people.
If you had to leave Paris, what would you miss the most?
Everything. Montmartre and the church bells ringing.
Editor’s Note: Maeggie’s apartment is rated very highly by users on Flip Key (TripAdvisor’s apartment site), but let’s keep it between you and me because I want to be able to stay there now and then!