Let's face it, the Left Bank is still where the cool is. Sure it has become a bit gentrified and more upscale since the days of its bohemian jazz past when the likes of James Joyce, Sartre, Fitzgerald and Hemingway roamed the streets, but it's still the Left Bank. This is also where you'll find the home of the French Senate, the stately building at the northern end of the Jardin du Luxembourg. Across the street from there is where this delightfully affordable 4-star discreetly perches. During these recent years where over-the-top luxury seems to be de rigueur, savvy travelers are opting for more sedate luxury that comes with a friendly ambiance. That's what you'll find at Hotel Le Senat, as well as beautifully-appointed rooms, a top-floor suite offering a terrace with sweeping views all the way to the Sacré Couer, L'Occitane bath amenities and high-speed WiFi.
This is the kind of hotel you think about when someone uses the word "affordable" as a descriptive. But the clients here are loyal and some have been coming back for seven years and longer. The charm is the hotel and it's also the location. Here, you're on the other side of the Montmartre Hill, a more residential area, full of young families. A quick walk up a the sloping hill, past the classic Lapin Agile and the Clos Montmartre (Paris's only vineyards) and Voilà, Place Tertre and its storybook setting of cafés, creperies and little jazz bars awaits. Follow the cobble-stoned streets and you'll soon be at the breathtaking basilica that is the Sacre Coeur. Not only is this church heartstoppingly beautiful, so is the view from up there. Treat yourself and take it in both during the day and at night, when the city is all alight.
The best way to describe this new Parisian hotel is : hybrid. It's a hybrid between a hotel and the Air-BnB craze. It's also a nice middle ground between renting yourself a vacation apartment, which is frequently done in Paris, and staying in a hotel. I'll explain… A very enterprising couple have dreamed up an exceedingly innovative way to own a hotel in Paris. They bought and renovated an enormous apartment, on the first floor of a Marais building, and carved out 5 hotel rooms within it, each having their own shower and WC. They then added a communal living room and a small functional kitchen where a Nespresso machine, chilled bottled juice, and jars of retro candies are kept for the guests. Yes, it does feel just a tad like a youth hostel, but a grown-up one where guests are your age and demand the luxury life, too.
One of my favorite arrondissments in Paris is the 7th. Not just because it's posh and home to Paris's elite, but also because of its charm â" restaurants, cafÃ©s, the wonderful rue St. Dominique and its shopping, and the neighborhood park wich happens to be the Champ de Mars. So if you're on a budget and skimping on luxury comforts, there's no need to compromise on location. At this hotel, you are less than five minutes walking from the Eiffel Tower and also just around the corner from where Michelle and Barrack dined (La Fontaine de Mars) when they visited the city in 2009. Amenities at the hotel include : WiFi, 24 hour reception and late arrivals are accommodated (arrange in advance). One of the charming quirks here is that your breakfast is to be enjoyed in the bakery just down the street. Now how Parisian is that !?
This family run hotel is steps from Place St. Sulpice and across the street from celebrated patissier, Pierre Herme. Need I say more? It may boast only 3 stars but the buttercup yellow entranceway and foyer will have you at Bonjour. The rooms are above average meaning they are not closet-sized and offer all the standard amenities such as hair dryer, WiFi, in-room safe, tv and decent bathrooms. The breakfast can be had downstairs for an additional fee to the room rate. This is an ideal hotel for travelers who care more about the neighborhood in which they stay than the size of their hotel room. This neighborhood is one of Paris' best. Just up the street is the Jardin du Luxembourg and its adjacent museum, not to mention all the fabulous shopping, cafes and restaurants of St. Germain-des-Pres.
This affordably priced hotel is situated in the very trendy area now of the Haut-Marais. The Haut-Marais, as the name indicates, is the area just above the charming district known as the Marais which has become very pricey in recent decades along with its skyrocketing popularity. This area, home now to the just-opened and all-embraced event space, the Carreau du Temple, is where all the bohemian-artists (and travelers on a budget) are now calling their own. Insofar as the accommodations go, you'll find rooms that are clean and family-friendly but which could, well, use a bit of a refurbishment in terms color schemes and bed spreads. The lobby and public spaces, however, are a bit brighter and more modern looking, with exposed stone-walls and functioning elevators. Non-smoking floors and WiFi are provided. There's even a Well-Being space with a sauna and a hydrotherapy tub for guests.
You could walk by this little Place a thousand times as you traverse the Pont Neuf and never notice that it opens up into one of the most beautiful little squares in Paris. The history of Place Dauphine spans all the way back to Henri IV who in 1607 created this city square as and named it after his son, the future Louis XIII, at that that time the Dauphin of France. At number 25 is where this modest hotel perches with its rickety stairs that take you up one floor before delivering you to the reception desk. Here, it's all about the location. Comfort is present but not in huge quantities. Rooms come with showers and some even with toilets. Breakfast included. The hotel is a perfect choice for travelers wanting to be central in Paris and who plan on spending much of their time out exploring the city.
This cute little hotel nestled back off the street in a shady little courtyard full of greenery is one of those places that when you walk by it, you wish you had booked your stay here. This time, you can. Décor is creative and upbeat, with each room having its own theme, such as Eiffel Towers painted on your wardrobe and a clawed, red bathtub set off to one side of the bedroom. While another room can be full of hearts and signs that read You Are My Sunshine. It's also a hotel dedicated to environmental practices so the coffee machine in the downstairs breakfast room has buttons marked organic cappuccino, café au lait and espresso. And what's even more fun, when you walk out the front gates, the Eiffel Tower looms at the far end of the street, visible over the Parisian rooftops. Sigh…
A haven of feminine beauty on this majestic square, the Place du Panthéon, is what Les Dames du Panthéon 4-star hotel is. Completely renovated and then reopened under its new name just last September (2013) this design hotel is dedicated to the memory of great French women. On the second floor is Edith Piaf, where designs are done all with an eye to the 50s. The third floor is in memory of George Sand, the great writer and lover of Chopin. Here you'll find embroidered silk wall coverings and exposed wooden beams. Some rooms face onto the Panthéon. Bathrooms are modern and feature waterfall showers, towel heaters, sweet and feminine amenities by both Fragonard and Carthusia 1681. Breakfast is served in the exposed-stone basement where a frog on a swing in his little alcove winks at you as exit the elevator. DIY pancakes and real maple syrup are more highlights.
Immerse yourself not just in a lovely and buzzing little area of Paris' upscale 6th arrondissement, but also into the fascinating pages of history of Madame Juliette Récamier, the namesake of Hotel La Belle Juliette. The couple who created this haven have expertly threaded this woman's intriguing life and loves (namely the writer Chateaubriand), into every inch and weave of this delightful property. Whether you choose the more contemporary appointed rooms facing the vast courtyard gardens, or the classic, romantic rooms on the other side, you will no doubt feel welcomed and cared for throughout your stay. Be prepared to enjoy a cocktail in their Clos de Juliette downstairs which becomes one of the neighborhood's most sought after terrace bars in the warmer months. Don't forget to pack a swimsuit, too, as a quick dip in their "sweet little pool," part of the on-premise spa, will leave you refreshed.