Paris for all budgets
- Credit: Archant
From bargain hostels to luxury hotels, follow our essential guide for your perfect stay in Paris
HOME FROM HOME
Should you be spending time in Paris with a group, you have to crack the accommodation conundrum. At first the options can seem limited; either you plump for a cheap hotel, or you are so far out of town that an address in Normandy might be more apt. There is, however, a third way: renting a real family home.
Montparnasse is where Paris feels like a proper town full of community spirit, with markets and authentic boulangeries. Many Parisian families aim to live here, and it is in this area that one of them has offered their large townhouse for rent on www.housetrip.com. It comfortable sleeps ten, so you can host your own friends and family reunion for a weekend in the City of Light.
Traces of the owners have not been erased to make way for guests. You are afforded enough space to make yourself at home, and the sight of careful crayon creations hanging above the table in the large kitchen suggests immediately that this is a warm and friendly space. Overlooked by the kitchen is a chic lounge where you can relax with a glass of wine without feeling that you are being denied the pleasures of the bustling city beyond the house.
Finally, you can buy supplies from the open-air market in Boulevard Edgar Quinet and the delicatessens nearby. Being able to use a proper kitchen means you will keep everyone happy – it may even be that a temporary home in Montparnasse is all the Paris you need.
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Housetrip Property ref: 19516
From €588 per night
Staying in an apartment in Paris lets you live the dream, if only briefly, of having a little slice of Paris to call your own.
This apartment is located on the bustling Boulevard de Rochechouart in the 18th arrondissement, a short walk from Montmartre. During my trip I discovered a lovely area nearby called Abbesses, made famous in the film Amélie and full of lively cafés and chic shops.
There are plenty of places to eat in the area but one of the nicest things about staying in an apartment is being able to create your own French feast from the produce in local markets. The owner Stefan had left me a bottle of red in the small yet fully equipped kitchen, which I enjoyed with bread, cheese and charcuterie that I had bought from the wonderful food shops lining the nearby Rue Lepic.
The 45 sq metre apartment has been renovated and the design is contemporary yet comfortable with a huge L-shaped leather sofa in the spacious living room. Although located on a busy main road, the apartment has double glazing, so the traffic noise is barely audible.
Its location between Barbès-Rochechouart and Anvers métro stations makes it easy to hop on and take either of the lines to the Champs-Élysées or to Châtelet, connecting you to the rest of Paris. Also, the apartment is only one métro stop from the Gare du Nord, so it is convenient for the Eurostar.
GoWithohApartment ref 14575
Tel: (UK) 0203 499 5148 / (US) 800 567 2927
Prices from €32 per person per night
To paraphrase Eartha Kitt, when champagne taste and beer bottle pockets collide, there tend to be hard times ahead. That said, a trip to the City of Light needn’t mean breaking the bank when it comes to accommodation.
Just ten minutes from the Gare du Nord, Pajol Hostel is Paris’s latest budget accommodation offering. Open in May 2013, it’s an all-singing, all-dancing eco-friendly interpretation of everything that a hostel isn’t supposed to be, with a stylish wooden-clad building, glass-fronted doors and an array of sci-fi-looking rooftop solar panels.
Our private room – one of several in the 330-person capacity hostel – was admittedly pared down (don’t forget to bring your own towels, although these can be pre-ordered), although modern fittings and cool old-school lockers in lieu of wardrobes added a stylish touch. Enormous double-glazed windows provided a view out on to the streets below, with comfortingly thick black-out curtains.
The next morning breakfast was provided in the basement cafeteria, where the fresh fruit and warm pastries were among the highlights. Settling in to a seat at the communal tables was a delightful start to the day, as was basking in the warm rays of the sun as the light streamed through the French doors from the garden area outside.
Champagne taste aside, a stay at Pajol Hostel proves that having beer bottle pockets in Paris needn’t always be a problem.
Tel: (Fr) 1 53 26 97 92
Rates from €29.50 per person per night, including breakfast
Hôtel Beauséjour Montmartre
Montmartre attracts huge numbers of visitors, which normally means inflated prices for accommodation, but just a short walk away from the main attractions is a budget gem.
Hôtel Beauséjour Montmartre on Rue Lécluse off Place de Clichy is part of the Châteaux et Hôtels Collection and has been upgraded from two to three stars after a makeover.
Don’t be deceived by the seemingly ordinary side-street setting – although it might appear to lack the traditional charm of the winding cobbled ruelles of Montmartre, the hotel’s location and discreet appearance work in its favour. Through the entrance and beyond the lobby lie a garden courtyard and bar, where guests can take breakfast. Polished beige marble surfaces and shiny chrome fittings set the scene for cream velvet banquettes and freshly arranged flowers.
The sleek modern feel of the interior continues in the rooms; although Place de Clichy isn’t the quietest of thoroughfares, our room on the fifth of six floors and overlooking the street was double-glazed. Muted tones of beige, olive and cream offset the green accent wall above the bed, and cushions printed with the night-time image of Montmartre’s iconic stairways provided a pleasing reminder of the hotel’s location.
Edgy images from modern fashion photographer David LaChapelle (we had his Amanda Lepore portrait Addicted to Diamonds) might make certain rooms a little too risqué for families – however, those who request a room without the pictures will still benefit from the warm and welcoming feel of the hotel.
Hôtel Beauséjour Montmartre
6 Rue Lécluse
Tel: (Fr) 1 42 93 35 77
Doubles from €134, breakfast €14
Tucked into a corner of the tranquil Parisian square Place Saint-Sulpice, close to Boulevard Saint-Germain and the Jardin du Luxembourg, is a chic boutique hotel that won’t break the bank. Spread over six floors of an elegant maison bourgeoise, the 24 luxurious rooms are a feast for the senses with their textures, colours and styles. Each is different – and every floor has its own theme and colour scheme – but all are the creation of renowned French designer Jean-Louis Deniot.
While the design is quirky and eye-catching, owner Sylvie de Lattre has taken pains to ensure each guest’s stay is a comfortable one. Bathrooms make good use of compact spaces, soundproofing is good, bed linen is finest Egyptian cotton, and the service slick and friendly.
Breakfast is served in the snug but stylish salon, with its comfortable 1950s-style armchairs and leopard-skin carpet. When the weather is fine you can sit out in the courtyard terrace. Free teas are served in the salon every afternoon – a nice touch.
The hotel is named after Madame Récamier, an early 19th-century beauty famous for entertaining literary and political figures. The hotel’s designer has had a lot of fun with the association: on each floor of the spiral staircase you will see a bust reworked in the style of various contemporary artists. The result is irreverent and stunning, just like the hotel.
3bis Place Saint-Sulpice
Tel: (Fr) 1 43 26 04 89
Doubles from €260, breakfast €20
Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel
The handsome Boulevard Haussmann is the essence of Parisian reserve. Its regular architecture offers an inscrutable façade; so much so that it is easy to miss the entrance to the Hôtel Ambassador not far beyond the Galeries Lafayette, despite its stylish teardrop lights and glass canopy. The foyer takes its cue not from Baron Haussmann, but from the rather more exuberant 1920s when art deco was in vogue. With deep purples and muted greens, it has the calm of a cool glade and is the perfect place to sit and let the stresses of the day ebb away.
The décor is a riot of classical themes so beloved of art deco designers. It is from this era that the hotel also derives its biggest claim to fame, for it was here in the foyer bar that in 1927 American aviator Charles Lindbergh celebrated the first solo transatlantic flight. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to feel the frisson of those exciting times.
Once you’re out of the lift and heading to the rooms, the tone is rather more restrained. The bedrooms and the bathrooms are generously proportioned and unfussy, and tall French windows let in plenty of light. The breakfast buffet offered in the elegant restaurant caters for most international tastes. Suitably fortified, I was ready for the chic boutiques no more than a few yards from the hotel.
Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel 16 Boulevard Haussmann
Tel: (Fr) 1 44 83 40 40
Doubles from €250, breakfast €29
Mandarin Oriental Paris
The Mandarin Oriental opened on the 1st arrondissement’s chic Rue Saint-Honoré in the summer of 2011 and is a classy addition to the City of Light’s luxury stays.
Arriving in front of the hotel’s elegant cream façade – part of the listed 1930s art deco building – we were greeted by suited doormen who swiftly relieved us of our luggage before ushering us through to the lobby. Despite being in central Paris, we enjoyed a wonderful feeling of space as we looked towards the stunning atrium and the courtyard garden beyond.
Our large deluxe twin room on the second floor gave us an impressive view of the plants on the atrium’s living wall spilling down towards the seating area. Here, guests from the bar and Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx’s restaurant can enjoy an aperitif or a meal en plein air in the calm atmosphere. The true beauty of the hotel, however, lies in its attention to detail: from the exemplary turndown service with Diptyque toiletries, to the carefully concealed in-room facilities including adaptors and laptop cables through to individual yoga mats. The staff are warm and friendly; they appear almost before you require their help, yet their presence never feels intrusive.
We took advantage of the pool and the mezzanine fitness room – both bathed in soft light and with calming background music – set out alongside the cocoon-like spa area where guests can enjoy beauty treatments.
Breakfast ranges from a continental spread through to special menus such as Japanese and ‘health’ breakfast options – a fittingly luxurious end to a sumptuous stay.
Mandarin Oriental Paris 251 Rue Saint-Honoré
Tel: (Fr) 1 70 98 78 88
Doubles from €975, breakfast from €45
Hôtel le Bristol
Some things in life are a one-off, must-do, ultimate experience, and a stay at Hôtel le Bristol surely falls into this category. One of the first hotels in France to be awarded the Distinction Palace label, it has welcomed a roll-call of guests including royalty, film stars and heads of state since it opened in 1925.
And with good reason; beyond the cool, calm marble-floored lobby, we enjoyed a refreshing cold drink in the bar as our heavy bags were whisked away to our twin room. Inside, the classic traditional decor with its toile de Jouy accents and specially made Hermès soaps pointed towards the dignified stature of the hotel.
The service was outstanding throughout our stay. A trip to the swimming pool on the sixth floor saw our vaguely damp towels swiftly replaced by fluffy fresh new ones – we didn’t even notice until we were towelling ourselves off, such was the speed and efficiency of this attention to detail.
It is the little touches that show thoughtfulness towards each guest’s stay – at our evening meal in the Michelin-three-starred Épicure restaurant, staff saw to our every need, including altering the angle of our table so we had the optimum view of the courtyard garden.
Although we didn’t spot Fa-raon, the hotel’s fluffy Birman cat, one can easily imagine that his lifestyle at Hôtel le Bristol must be a dreamlike existence. And with a night’s stay in such an example of ultimate luxury, I am inclined to agree.
Hôtel le Bristol
112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
Tel: (Fr) 1 53 43 43 00
Doubles from €950, breakfast from €25