I embarked on an off-beat hotel trail and wandered the cobbled streets of the city in search of alluring homes away from home in Paris. I suppose this little guide might also come in handy from now on when I’m asked, “Can you suggest a charming and inexpensive hotel in Paris?”. For budgets of all kinds, this is what MessyNessy found…
Perfect for …
Bohemians of the Belle Epoque
Hôtel Providence Paris
Rates: A “mini” room upholstered in velvet throught like a treasure chest at €190 and suites, classic for €240, superior at €320 and suites going for €620.
- To feel like you’re living in an eccentric Parisian townhouse, hosted by a worldly bohemian who enjoys late nights discussing anything taboo with a perfect Manhattan by the fire, surrounded by velvet everything.
- To be tucked away on a charming paved street behind a grand boulevard in the 10th arrondissement that harks back to golden era of the Belle Epoque.
- Each room to come equipped with a custom-made cocktail bar and built-in ice-maker.
- Postal-card views of Parisian rooftops and Montmartre in the distance.
DO NOT Expect:
- Televisions in the room. They have been replaced by the latest iMac.
- An over-run hotel. There are only eighteen individually decorated rooms to choose from.
- “Pinterest Paris” when exploring your area. You’re choosing a tourist-free area where the Parisian in-crowd like their hangouts in the real soulful and dog-eared neighbourhoods filled with colourful characters.
Website: Hôtel Providence Paris
Grand Amour Hotel
- Absolutely nothing ordinary. It’s just opened and so details are still a little hush-hush, touted to be a little crazier and naughtier than it’s little sister
- Each room to be different, decorated with penis-themed carpeting, odd vintage accents found at auction and anything that might make you feel like Alice who fell down the rabbit hole and landed in a luxurious red-light district pleasure house.
- A good-looking hipster crowd hanging out in the bar and jungle-esque garden terrace. It’s owned partly by the proprietors of the nightclub Le Baron, the place will no doubt instantly become a darling of the international fashion and rock ’n’ roll set.
Do NOT Expect:
- Political correctness
- Groveling servants
- Silent hallways after dark
Website: Hotel Grand Amour (10th Arrondissement), if you can’t get a room, try the original sister hotel, Hotel Amour.
Bohemian Chic at Student Rates
Hotel El Dorado
Rates: Double rooms are 70 to 75 Euros
- One of the best cheap hotels in Paris with press recommendations from Elle and Marie Claire.
- A cheerful, hipster and quirky atmosphere, great for meeting other young and fearless travelers passing through.
- Shabby chic al Fresco dining. Half of the rooms overlook the hotel’s small bamboo garden and wine bistro– make the most of it in spring/ summer.
- Inspiring decor. With furnishing and art from the flea markets and the streets of India, Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa, the rooms and public spaces have a ‘we-are-the-world’ feel.
Do NOT Expect:
- To have the Eiffel Tower on your doorstep. The hotel is located in the 17th arrondissement, north west of the central sites of Paris. You are however, a ten minutes walk from Monmartre (you know that charming hilltop area where the cult French film Amelie was filmed). The Champs Elysee is 20 minutes on the subway and a metro stop is just a minute walk from the hotel.
- The amenities of a four star hotel. This is truly a bohemian traveler’s hotel. There are no telephones or televisions in the rooms, no elevator, no air-conditioning, and 10 of the 33 rooms share toilets (if that freaks you out, just ask for an en suite room– prices will still be a bargain).
Website: Hotel El Dorado
A Girls Getaway Weekend
Rates: A “happy single room” from €89 and doubles from €110.
- Bohemian vintage elements combined with modern furniture.
- To open the bedroom windows to a nice breeze and birds singing. A lovely place to unwind after a day in the city.
- A cute outdoor patio which is especially magical during night time.
- A morning feast in the lovely breakfast room.
Do NOT Expect:
- To have bustling Paris on your doorstep. Think more along the lines of a little-known local “village” tucked away in the 13th arrondissement with tiny cobblestone streets and cute authentic bistrots with red chequered table cloths to choose from. The metro is however a few steps away, which will get you to the Notre Dame in 15 minutes.
- To forget faces. The staff are friendly and hands-on. The owner has done everything herself, from setting up the reservation system to decorating the entire boutique hotel
Website: Hotel Henriette
Eccentric Chateau Squatters
The Marais House
Rates: Around 300 euros a night during high season, ideal for a special stay in Paris.
- To be in a superb location in the heart of the trendy Marais district, just two blocks from the Musée de Pompidou and a few doors down from the oldest extant house in Paris dating from 1407.
- To stay in a restored 16th century city chateau that could be used for a film set (it often has been). It was formerly a gold-leaf atelier where artisans crafted traditional lettered facades for storefronts.
- Comfortable, eclectic, large studio apartment sized rooms.
- Two chocolate labradors living in-house to play with.
Do NOT Expect:
- To know the exact location of the hotel until you’ve made a reservation. The Marais House is one of Paris’ best-kept secrets.
- The hotel to be crowded. There are only four rooms in this five-story b&b.
- Typical hotel decor. The Marais House is a treasure chest of unique antiques, Venetian painted walls and 17th century stone fireplaces.
Website: The Marais House
Dreamy 1960s Parisian Kitsch
Hotel du Temps
Rates starting from: 120 euros per night
- To be situated on a pretty square in the 9th arrondissement and surrounded by some very cool restaurants in a very hip little corner of Paris.
- Unique furniture, vintage kitschy drapes and lighting.
- To go a little crazy on the gourmet pastries at tea time.
- To want to move in or at least take the curtains home with you.
Do NOT expect:
- To come down to an empty lobby in the evening. The ground floor bar hots up with locals from 6pm, and a soon to open basement lounge will attract Parisians looking for a chilled-out soirées.
- To get a free breakfast. That’ll cost you 10 euros extra.
- To get a room during fashion week or last-minute during high season. With only 23 rooms, this is not a hotel for last-minute bookings.
Website: Hotel du Temps.
Time-travelling Marie Antoinettes
Caron de Beaumarchais***
Rates: Double bed overlooking the courtyard, 145 Euros, frontside larger rooms, 185 Euros
- To feel like you might have interrupted Beaumarchais as he is finishing his final act of “The Marriage of Figaro”. A rare piano forte of 1792, a card table that appears to have been abandoned mid play, a fireplace, music stand, candles and chandeliers recreate the atmosphere of a private townhouse in the time of Beaumarchais and Mozart.
- Something totally French. All 19 rooms reflect the taste of the art of living invented in Paris in the 18th century.
- One of the most central locations. If you like the classic Marais, just minutes from the best Falafel in the world in the old Jewish quarter, then this is for you.
Do NOT Expect:
- Breakfast to be included. But it is served until midday (quite rare with hotels) and costs 13 Euros extra.
- To find the rooms particularly large, the smallest rooms overlook the courtyard, and the top-floor rooms are very small, but have panoramic balcony views across the Right Bank.
- To find this hotel anything but charming.
Website: Caron de Beaumarchais
A Honeymoon in Paris
Hotel Particulier de Montmartre:
Rates: Ideal if someone else is paying for your honeymoon! Rooms start at 390 euros per night.
- To be staying in a beautiful and luxurious villa nestled among trees in Montmartre that used to belong to the Hermès family.
- A secret private bar appropriately named, Très Particulier, where David, the New York bar tender will fix you any drink you can think up from the past or present.
- Lush design, we’re talking dripping crystal, gilded mirrors, and tufted walls.
Do NOT Expect:
- To not get any exercise. Located in the heart of historic Montmartre, the hotel is accessed from Rue Lepic via a set of typically steep Montmartre stairs.
- A crowded hotel: there are only 5 suites.
Website: Hotel Particulier de Montmartre.
Perfect for …
Parents Coming to Town
Rates: Rooms from around €200
- An elegant hotel, all the comforts of a luxury hotel but with a trendy design edge– because parents are cool too! It’s designed by the same team behind the Experimental group, but the facade has remained virtually unchanged from the hotel of the same name that operated here a century ago.
- To find yourself in the heart of Etienne Marcel, one of Nessy’s favourite boutique shopping areas to shop like a local.
- To be a stone’s throw from one of the oldest street food markets in Paris and surrounded by endless restaurant and bar options.
Do NOT expect:
- To feel claustrophobic. The design is perfectly minimalist with beautiful muted tones.
- Free Wifi. The only downside of this hotel is that they charge 10 euros for 24 hours of Wi-Fi. But then your parents probably don’t have Facebook accounts anyway. At least not both of them!?
- To have to go elsewhere for breakfast. The buffet is indulgent, taken in the restaurant under a glass roof. An experienced barista is also on hand to not mess up your much-needed coffee.
Website: Hotel Bachaumont. (For something similar on a smaller budgeet, check out Hotel Paradis).
Haute Couture in a Boulangerie
Hotel du Petit Moulin
Rates: Standard double, 190 Euros and a superior for 250 Euros
- More than just an old bread shop. The hotel is built on the site of a former boulangerie dating back to 1900 and before that, a seventeenth century mill. The facade as well as the shop sign of the boulangerie have been preserved, making this hotel front extremely unique and picturesque.
- To feel like your hotel has been designed by a haute couture designer. Because it has. Christian Lacroix designed the seventeen room boutique hotel which he describes as a dollhouse of “seventeen ambiences that correspond to the seventeen ways of enjoying the Marais”.
- To be in the hippest area of Paris of course, Le Marais.
- Room massages on request.
Do NOT Expect:
- A full restaurant, although breakfast is available in a charming little bar room.
- To know what kind of room you will end up with. But do expect it to be exotic, unexpected and delicious.
Website: Hotel-petitmoulin (3eme Arrondissement)
Super Luxury Beyond the Four Seasons Hotel Chain (that’s far less boring)
Rates: Last minute offers for a “petite mignon” room from 250 Euros and a “chic’ room from 510 Euros.
- To feel like you’ve walked into one of the best kept secrets in Paris. Once Oscar Wilde’s hangout who lived there until his death, as well as being a hideaway to Salvador Dali, Princess Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor.
- To be able to swim in a private pool, a favourite of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis who come to rent out the hammam pool beneath the underground vaulted arches.
- To want to discover every room.
- To be located right smack in the centre of a very sophisticated part Saint-Germain-des-Pres, surrounded by some of the city’s most interesting little art galleries.
Do NOT Expect:
- Very large rooms. The hotel is intimate and lavishly decorated but does not boast massive space for cartwheels in the bedrooms.
- Noise. This is certainly not the place you’ll find screaming babies in the lobby or overly boisterous fellow guests.
Website: l-hotel.com (6eme Arrondissement)
An Affordable Secret Getaway
Hotel des Grandes Ecoles
Rates: 118- 145 euros for two people (ask for a room with a garden courtyard view)
- To feel like you are miles away from a city, in the midst of the countryside
- To in fact be on the doorstep of Ernest Hemingway’s old apartment in Paris, minutes from the Latin quarters, les Jardins Luxembourg and the Pantheon.
- To be feet away one of the most charming street markets in Paris, Rue Mouffetard.
- To be surrounded by adorable, quintessentially French restaurants (try L’Ecurie).
- To eat breakfast in a gorgeous courtyard.
- To find this hotel romantic, beautiful and homely.
Do NOT Expect
- Extreme luxury. Think more charming countryside bed & breakfast (in the heart of Paris).
- A particularly strong WIFI connection – you’ll probably have to sit in the courtyard to get on the net with your laptop… how torturous!
- A television (do you really need one in Paris?)
Website: Hotel Grandes Ecoles (5th arrondissement)
And I’ll keep updating this list as I go.