You'd be surprised what comfortable accommodations the budget traveler can find in Paris. If you don't mind the occasional oddly shaped (and usually tiny) room or lugging your baggage up some stairs, you'll find that staying in a hotel in Paris doesn't have to significantly lighten your wallet. These small, mostly family-run lodgings offer some things that most luxury hotels can't supply: hominess, intimacy, and a degree of authenticity.
Don't be afraid to ask for what you want when making reservations. Tell the management you want a large room, a quiet room, a room with a view, a bathroom with a tub, or simply the most recently renovated room. Ask to see your room before checking in, and if you don't like it, ask to see another.
If room size is important, you would do better to reserve a triple or suite in a modest hotel than a double in a higher-priced one. Budget triples are generally larger than comparably priced doubles. Also, if you're looking for a double room, note that a double bed is cheaper than two twin beds, but the twin beds are likely to be in a larger room.
Rooms facing the street tend to get more light, but can be noisier. Hotels often have double-paned windows, but noise can be a problem in lively areas. If you are a light sleeper, ask for a room on the courtyard, and pack earplugs. Also, if you're coming in midsummer, finding a room with air-conditioning will prevent you from having to keep the windows open.
Though generally quite clean, bathrooms in Parisian hotels can be a bit of an adventure. They usually range in size from tiny to small. Some rooms have only a sink or a shower; most have a toilet with a shower or a tub. If you do get a full (toilet and shower or tub) bathroom, it will always have a sink. Rooms without facilities can be a bargain if you don't mind sharing a bathroom with other guests (there is usually a charge for the shower). More hotels are adding full bathrooms. Rooms with a tub tend to be nicer (and more expensive), but if you take this option, you may have to deal with a hand-held shower and no curtain--so watch where you aim! The hotels described in this chapter offer private full bathrooms unless specified.
Breakfasts, unless otherwise noted, are continental, meaning croissants, rolls, jam, and a hot beverage. A "buffet breakfast" will usually be an expanded version, including cereal, yogurt, and sometimes cheese or ham. There is usually a small supplement of 1€ to 2€ ($1.25-$2.50) for having breakfast delivered to your room. If you are anxious to get going and are not a big eater, you will usually spend less at a nearby cafe or bakery.
Blow dryers and irons are often available at the front desk. Almost every hotel that doesn't have a safe in the room will have one at reception. For online addicts, a few hotels are beginning to include phone jacks in rooms that accept North American phone plugs (RG-45), and others have modem jacks for French phone plugs. Be sure to bring appropriate adapters.
High season is generally late spring to early summer and early fall; during these periods reserve at least 2 months in advance. April, June, and September are the busiest months. Often, hotels are booked solid during this time, so reserving 3 to 5 months in advance would be even better.
The dead of winter and August are lighter months. During annual trade shows and events, like the Foire de Paris in late April or the Fête de la Musique in June, hotels are booked solid. Mid-September to mid-October is one of the busiest times for conventions, so hotel space is scarce. We suggest reserving up to 4 months in advance if you're visiting during these busy periods.
If you do come to town without a reservation, try to arrive early in the day and head to one of the tourist offices in the airports, at the train stations, or at 127 av. des Champs-Elysées. For a small fee, the staff will book a room for you.
Be flexible about what part of the city you stay in. Paris is relatively small and public transportation is excellent. Even on the fringes, you aren't more than 30 minutes from the center of town, where hotel rates are highest. Most listings are for places within our $95-a-day guidelines; options that fall outside those limits are "Super-Cheap Sleeps" or "Worth a Splurge."
Best for Business Travelers: Ideally situated near one of the city's main business districts, the Hôtel des Deux Acacias, 28 rue de l'Arc de Triomphe, 17e (tel. 01-43-80-01-85) is a quiet, well-run hotel with a lot of amenities for the money, including a second phone line in all rooms for Internet access. Its good address will impress your French business associates and show them that you're malin (shrewd).
Best for Romantic Atmosphere: A short stroll from the Eiffel Tower, the Hôtel du Champ de Mars, 7 rue du Champ de Mars, 7e (tel. 01-45-51-52-30), feels more like a luxury boutique hotel than a budget choice. Flowing curtains, fabric-covered headboards, throw pillows, and cushioned high-backed seats make each room ideal for a lazy breakfast in bed. With its 18th-century ceiling murals and wedding-cake plasterwork, Hôtel St-Jacques, 35 rue des Ecoles, 5e (tel. 01-44-07-45-45), offers Second Empire romance at affordable rates.
Best for Families: Spacious doubles with connecting doors can be found at Hôtel de France, 102 bd. de la Tour Maubourg, 7e (tel. 01-47-05-40-49), which also features cribs and family-friendly management.
Best Overall Values: On the Right Bank, Hôtel Little Regina, 89 bd. de Strasbourg, 9e (tel. 01-45-37-72-30), near two of the city's train stations, offers incredible deals on spacious, recently renovated, and soundproofed rooms that come with new rugs and furniture, attractive burgundy wallpaper, ample wardrobe space, full-length mirrors, white-oak desks, and brand-new bathrooms with shower doors. On the Left Bank, Grand Hôtel Lévêque, 29 rue Cler, 7e (tel. 01-47-05-49-15), boasts a fantastic location on a pedestrian-only street, steps from one of the most charming open-air markets in the city. The clean, well-maintained rooms are soundproofed and come with new air-conditioning units; rooms on the fifth floor have balconies with views of the Eiffel Tower.
Best Location: Steps from the Ritz, Hôtel Mansart, 5 rue des Capucines, 1e (tel. 01-42-61-50-28), is located in the heart of the city, just off place de la Vendôme. From here, you are only a 10-minute walk from the Louvre, the Opéra, the Concorde, and the Left Bank.
Best for Travelers with Disabilities: Little Hôtel, 3 rue Pierre Chausson, 10e (tel. 01-42-08-21-57), is one of the only budget hotels in Paris to offer wheelchair-accessible rooms on the ground floor. The hotel is conveniently located near the Gare de l'Est and the Canal St-Martin.
Best Rooms with a View: Would you like to gaze over the city's rooftops while you have your morning croissants and coffee? Splurge on a room with a view at the Hôtel du Square d'Anvers, 6 pl. d'Anvers, 9e (tel. 01-42-81-20-74), overlooking a leafy park. From its top-floor rooms, you have a view that stretches from the Eiffel Tower to Sacré-Coeur. Up the hill, Hôtel Regyn's Montmartre, 18 pl. des Abbesses, 18e (tel. 01-42-54-45-21), charges a little extra for the view from its fourth and fifth floors -- and it's entirely worth it.
Best Splurge: The Hôtel du Bois, 11 rue du Dome, 16e (tel. 01-45-00-31-96), has it all: a fantastic location just off elegant boulevard Victor Hugo, handsome rooms (with Laura Ashley fabric, marble bathrooms, cable TV, and hair dryers), peace and quiet, and a friendly staff. It's popular with the French when they come to the capital to enjoy a dose of metropolitan life.
Best Youth Hostel: In a historic mansion on a quiet side street in the Marais, Youth Hostel le Fauconnier, 17 rue de Fauconnier, 4e (tel. 01-42-74-23-45), has a pleasant courtyard, and all rooms have private showers! Reserve well in advance.
Best for Nightlife Lovers: Hôtel Beaumarchais, 3 rue Oberkampf, 11e (tel. 01-53-36-86-86), is within walking distance of the city's three nightlife centers -- the Bastille, the Marais, and rue Oberkampf. Air-conditioning and double-glazed windows allow you to sleep late, and the bold color scheme will give you a jolt of energy in the morning.
Best for a Taste of the Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie: The Hôtel Nicolo, 3 rue Nicolo, 16e (tel. 01-42-88-83-40), is in the heart of one of Paris's most expensive residential districts. If you'd like to live in gilded surroundings, even on a budget, you might enjoy the hotel's traditional French charm.
Best for Serious Shoppers: The Hôtel Chopin, 10 bd. Montmartre, 9e (tel. 01-47-70-58-10), is tucked away in the Passage Jouffroy shopping arcade. Across the street is the Passage des Panoramas; Galeries Lafayette, Au Printemps, and other department stores are only a short walk away.
Best Family-Run Hotels: The very friendly and hard-working Eric and Sylvie Gaucheron own and run two hotels side by side, both highly recommended. The Familia Hôtel, 11 rue des Ecoles, 5e (tel. 01-43-54-55-27), and the Hôtel Minerve, 13 rue des Ecoles, 5e (tel. 01-43-26-26-04), are both excellent values and boast comfortable, lovingly maintained accommodations, some with hand-painted sepia frescoes and others with exposed beams and tiny balconies with views of Notre-Dame.
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