A View with a Room
Two things characterise the typical Paris hotel room: fabulous rooftop views with not quite enough room to swing a mouse.
The real trick in Paris is not finding class and style, of which there is bucketloads, especially if you’re happy to pay 500 euro a night, but finding good value, good sized rooms, good position with good staff all wrapped up in an affordable package. Sometimes it’s necessary to compromise and as long as you know precisely what to expect that’s fine.
You will undoubtedly find rooms which are just a tiny bit bigger than your bed with a bathroom the size of a cupboard and some will say that’s part of the charm of the typical Parisien hotel. For others, me included, room size is important and for us, a bit more research is necessary.
Do also bear in mind that you can’t assume that every good hotel has air conditioning. Paris can be hot and airless in summer so if you are going that time of year good aircon is vital.
The hotels listed below are a somewhat eclectic list of slightly boring but safe bets in central Paris. I’ve enjoyed staying in all of them, but for different reasons. At the end of the day, choosing the right hotel is a personal choice and no-one will ever get it right all of the time.
InterContinental Paris Le Grand
Gorgeous 5 star hotel designed in the Empire style, wonderfully situated in the 9th arrondissement amid the shopping, theatre and banking districts and close to the Opera Garnier, a Galleries Lafayette and not too far from the Louvre. www.ichotelsgroup.com
The only truly grand hotel on the left bank, located in the heart of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district of Paris and its fashion boutiques, the 4 star Lutetia is located close to the Luxembourg Gardens and the Orsay Museum, and across the road from the “Bon Marché” department store.
What I loved about this hotel was their famous “Lute-Jazz” nights in the piano bar starting at 10:15 p.m from Wednesday through to Saturday. www.lutetia-paris.com
Crowne Plaza Paris-Republique
Crowne Plazas are the ultimate safe bet, offering a very good and consistent quality at a decent price, good English speaking staff and a yummy buffet breakfast. This 4 star hotel has a classic Haussmann facade and is situated in a busy square minutes away from Montmartre, the Le Marais area and the Bastille. www.ichotelsgroup.com
Novotel, Gare de Lyon
Maybe it seems highly unfashionable to recommend a Novotel, but in reality the Novotels, part of the Accor Hotel empire, are another safe bet. This is a 4 star hotel about 200 yards from the Gare de Lyon train station, so it’s ideally situated if you are travelling on to or from the South of France by rail. Somewhat unusually for a central Paris hotel, it has a swimming pool, situated just off the reception area. www.novotel.com
Hotel des Grandes Ecoles
This exceptionally popular and peaceful 3 star hotel is close to the Pantheon. It’s situated in its own cobbled courtyard and lovely little garden, where you can take breakfast in the summer. With its shutters and pink painted exterior it looks much more like the provincial manor house rather than a central Paris hotel. The staff are utterly charming, very welcoming and very helpful. Try to avoid one of the ground floor rooms as they can get a little noisy in the morning when the staff are preparing breakfast www.hotel-grandes-ecoles.com
Call me a hypocrite but I do like this very popular 2 star hotel even if the room sizes are typically Parisien. The hotel, another Haussman building, has 30 rooms, some of which have a French (ie tiny) balcony and murals painted by local artists. It’s located in the 5th arrondissement near the Sorbonne and the Pantheon and is a short downhill walk to the Seine. Views towards the Seine and the Notre Dame are lovely. www.hotel-paris-familia.com
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