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WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS




Paris has more guest rooms than any other city in Europe. Its hotels vary from magnificent luxurious places like the Ritz (the French call them palaces) and exclusive establishments like L’Hôtel, where Oscar Wilde died beyond his means, to much simpler hotels in charming older parts of Paris. It is worth noting that hôtel does not always mean “hotel”. It can also mean a town hall (hôtel de ville), hospital (Hôtel-Dieu) or a mansion. We have inspected hotels in all price brackets and have selected a broad range, all of which are good value for your money. The listings on pp284–91 are organized by area, as in the sightseeing section of the guide, and according to hotel price. Other types of accommodation such as bed and breakfast rooms, efficiency apartments and hostels are also well worth considering, especially for visitors who are on a tight budget.

WHERE TO LOOK 

Hotels in Paris tend to cluster by type in particular areas, with the river separating the business and leisure districts. Luxury hotels tend to be on the north side and hôtels de charme on the south side. In the fashionable districts near the Champs-Elysées lie many of the grandest hotels in Paris, including the Royal Monceau, the Bristol, the Four Seasons George V, the Meurice and the Plaza Athénée. Several less well known but elegant hotels can be found in the residential and ambassadorial quarter near the Palais de Chaillot. To the east, still on the Right Bank, in the regenerated Marais, a number of the old mansions and palaces have been converted into exceptionally attractive small hotels at reasonable prices. The nearby areas around Les Halles and the Rue St-Denis, however, attract prostitutes and drug addicts. Just south of the Marais across the Seine, the Ile St-Louis and Ile de la Cité have several charming hotels.

The Left Bank covers some of the most popular tourist areas and has an excellent range of small hotels of great character. The atmosphere subtly changes from the much upgraded Latin Quarter and the chic and arty areas north and south of Boulevard StGermain, to the rather shabby Boulevard itself and the staid institutional area toward Les Invalides and the Eiffel Tower. The hotels tend to reflect this. Further from the center, Montparnasse has several large business hotels in highrise blocks, and the Porte de Versailles area to the south is usually packed with trade fair participants. The station areas around Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon offer a number of basic hotels (choose

carefully). Montmartre has one or two pleasant hotels if you don’t mind the hilly location, but beware of hotels allegedly in Montmartre but actually in the red-light, sexshow district of Pigalle. If you are looking for a hotel in person, the best times for inspecting are late morning or mid-afternoon. If the hotels are full, try again after 6pm, when unclaimed provisional reservations become free. Don’t rely on the impression of a hotel given by reception: ask to see the room offered, and if it isn’t acceptable, ask to be shown another, if available.

HOTEL PRICES

Hotel prices aren’t always cheaper in low season (midNovember to March or July and August) because fashion shows and other major events throughout the year can pack rooms, raising prices. However, in the older hotels differences in the size and position of rooms can have a marked effect on cost. Small rooms tend to be cheapest

Twin rooms are slightly more expensive than doubles; single occupancy rates as high or nearly as high as for two people sharing (rates are nearly always quoted per room, not per person). Single rooms are rare and many are extremely poky or poorly equipped. Rooms without a bath tend to be about 20% cheaper than those with. You might find a half-board arrangement unnecessary with such a wide choice of good restaurants around. It’s always worth asking for a discount: you may get a corporate rate, for instance. In some hotels special deals are offered for students, families or senior citizens.

HIDDEN EXTRAS

By law, tax and service must be included in the price quoted or displayed at the reception desk or in the rooms. Tips are unnecessary other than for exceptional service – if the concierge reserves show tickets, for instance, or if the maid does some washing for you. However, before you make a reservation you should always establish whether breakfast is included in the price or not. Beware of extras such as drinks or snacks from a mini-bar, which will probably be pricey, as will laundry services, garage parking or telephone calls from your room – especially telephone calls made through the switchboard. Exchange rates in hotels invariably tend to be lower than in a bank, so make sure you have enough cash to pay your bill unless you are paying by credit card or using traveler’s checks.

HOTEL RATINGS

French hotels are classified by the tourist authorities into five broad categories: one to four stars, plus a four-star deluxe rating. Some very simple places are unclassified. Star ratings indicate something about the level of facilities you can expect (for example, any hotel with more than three stars should have an elevator). But the French rating system is no reliable guide to friendliness, cleanliness or tastefulness of the decor.

FACILITIES

Few Parisian hotels below a four-star rating have a restaurant, although there is nearly always a breakfast room. Quite a few hotel restaurants close in August. Many of the older hotels also lack a public lounge area. More modern or expensive hotels have correspondingly better facilities and generally some kind of bar. Inexpensive hotels may not have an elevator – significant when you are dragging suitcases upstairs. Usually only the more expensive hotels have parking facilities. For exceptions to this rule, . If you are driving you may prefer to stay in one of the peripheral motelstyle chain hotels . All but the very simplest of city hotels will have a telephone in the bedroom; many also have television. Business facilities (fax and internet) are now available in the grander hotels. Double beds (grands lits) are common, but you must specify whether or not you want one.

DISABLED TRAVELERS

Our information about wheelchair access to hotels was gathered by questionnaire and therefore relies on the hotels’ own assessment of their suitability. Not many are well geared for use by disabled visitors. The Association des Paralysés de France and the Groupement pour l’Insertion des Personnes Handicapées Physiques (GIHP) have pertinent information. 

WHAT TO EXPECT

Many hotel beds still stick to the time-honored French bolster, a sausage-shaped headrest that can be uncomfortable if you are unused to it. If you prefer pillows, ask for oreillers. If you want to make sure you get a toilet, specify a WC, and if you want a bath, ask for a bain. Otherwise, a cabinet de toilette is just a basin and bidet, and eau courante means simply a basin with hot and cold running water. A duplex room is a suite on two floors. The traditional French hotel breakfast of fresh coffee, croissants, jam and orange juice is in Paris gradually changing into an elaborate buffet breakfast with cold meats and cheeses. Whatever the type, insist on an orange pressée (freshly squeezed orange juice) and not a jus d’orange, which will usually be from a can. Some of the luxury hotels are now such popular venues for breakfast that it is worth reserving a place in the breakfast area if you don’t want to eat in your room. A pleasant alternative is to head for the nearest café where French workers are enjoying breakfast over a newspaper. Checkout time is usually noon and if you stay longer you will pay for an extra day.



SPECIAL BREAKS

As Paris is such a popular destination with leisure as well as business travelers, weekend packages are rare. Providing there are no major events taking place, you can reduce costs by visiting in low season and negotiating a discount, or by seeking out an all-inclusive package.

TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN

Families with young children will often find they can share a room at no or very little extra cost, and some operators offer packages with this in mind. Few hotels refuse to accept children, though facilities specifically for children are not universal.

Directory p280). All provide furnished apartments for stays from one week to six months, sometimes in the apartment of a Parisian who is abroad. Prices are comparable to the Résidence Internationale de Paris, sometimes slightly cheaper for the larger apartments.

STAYING IN PRIVATE HOMES

Bed and breakfast, that US and British phenomenon, is known as chambre d’hôte or café-couette (“coffee and a quilt”). B&B accommodation is available at moderate prices, between 35€ and 75€ for a double room per night. Alcôve & Agapes offers rooms in some enviable districts of Paris, all within walking distance of a metro station. It is worth asking about suites and rooms with a private lounge, kitchen or terrace. All homes are routinely inspected. France-Lodge is a goodvalue agency specializing in long-stay room rentals and apartments. A registration fee of 15€ a year is payable but rentals are generally cheaper than with other agencies. Good Morning Paris provides guest rooms and tourist information. A twonight minimum stay is required when reserving .


CHAIN HOTELS

 A mushroom crop of motelstyle establishments on the outskirts of Paris now host large numbers of both business and leisure visitors.

The very cheapest chains such as Formule 1, Première Class and Fast Hotel, really have nothing except price to recommend them. Further up the ladder are Campanile, Ibis and Primevère. These places are practical, relatively inexpensive and useful if you have a car, but lack any real Parisian atmosphere or character. Many are in charmless locations on busy roads and may suffer from traffic noise. The newer motels of these chains are better equipped and much better decorated than the older ones. Several chains (Sofitel, Novotel and Mercure) are especially geared to business travelers, providing better facilities at higher prices; indeed some of the more central ones are positively luxurious. Reductions can make these hotels good value on the weekends. Many of the hotels have restaurants attached. Most of the chains produce their own brochures, often with useful maps detailing the motel’s precise location .

HOSTELS AND DORMITORY ACCOMMODATION

 There are several hostel networks in Paris. Maisons Internationales de la Jeunesse et des Etudiants (MIJE) provides dormitory accommodation for the 18–30s in three splendid mansions in the Marais. There are no advance reservations (except for groups) – call at the central offices on the day. The Bureau Voyage Jeunesse (BVJ) has two ‘hotels’ with double rooms and dormitory accommodation (23–28€ and 25€ respectively), with breakfast and nearly private bathrooms. Reservations cannot be made more than a two weeks in advance. La Maison de l’UCRIF (Union des Centres de Rencontres Internationales de France) has nine centers around Paris with individual, shared and dormitory rooms. No age limit is imposed. Cultural and sports activities are available at some centers. Fédération Unie des Auberges de Jeunesse (FUAJ) is a member of the International Youth Hostels Federation. There is no age limit at their two Paris hostels. 

WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS Reviewed by MELANIE INFINITY on January 08, 2020 Rating: 5

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