Types of Accommodation
Where to Stay in Paris
ABOVE: A 4-star hotel on
the Place des Pyramides.
Most travelers stay in hotels for good reasons: It's easy to
check into and out of a hotel, somebody else does the housekeeping, and--in
most, but not all, cases--the traveler can cancel a reservation without penalty
in an emergency or if travel plans change.
Like other big European cities, Paris has vast numbers of hotels
that range from tiny one- or two-star pensions to luxury palaces and modern
chain properties. We recommend checking the
Paris hotel listings
at Booking.com, Europe's leading reservations service.
Quoted hotel rates normally include taxes and service
charges, but breakfast is often extra these days. If the hotel offers only a
buffet breakfast and you want something simpler, or if the hotel's breakfast
price seems excessive, you can buy a simple petit déjeuner with
French bread, a croissant, a hot drink (and sometimes a glass of orange
juice) at any café.
Rooms in Paris hotels are often small, especially at the
lower end of the price scale. Also, some cheaper hotels don't have
elevators. If you're short on cash but insist on elbow room and a lift,
research carefully before booking.
If you're traveling with a family, it may not be practical
to cram rollaway beds into a double room. You might be better off reserving
two rooms in a cheaper hotel, staying in a hostel, or renting a holiday apartment. (See below.)
Hostels have come a long way since the days when most "youth
hostels" consisted of large dormitories with bunk beds, communal bathrooms, and
strict rules (including a requirement that hostelers leave the premises during
Many of today's hostels have double or quad rooms, modern
conveniences, and friendly service at competitive rates. What's more, a growing
number of hostels welcome families or grey-haired travelers who enjoy a social
atmosphere and the company of fellow foreigners.
For hostel listings, see
Booking.com: Paris Hostels.
If you're staying for a week or more, or if you're traveling
with children, a furnished holiday rental can be a good value and a great
experience. Rates for a one-bedroom apartment are comparable to what you'd pay
for a double room at a midrange hotel, you can eat in at breakfast or when
you're too tired to spend the evening at a restaurant, and you can enjoy the
illusion that you're living (however briefly) in Paris.
When booking apartments, we've had good luck with HomeAway,
Rentals in Paris, and
Paris Rental Connections.
Booking.com: Central Paris Apartment Rentals, which listed hundreds of
properties the last time we checked and has a secure reservations system.
Renting an apartment can be more complicated than booking a
hotel room. Procedures vary, but normally you have to pay a non-refundable
deposit when you book, and you'll need to pay the rest of the rent upon
arrival (or sometimes before). A security and/or damage deposit may also be
required. Some agencies and landlords don't accept credit cards, which means
you may need to send the deposit by international wire transfer and bring
the balance in cash when you arrive. (The latter can be a problem if you're
coming straight from the airport and your bank has has a daily limit on ATM
Check-in is often less convenient than at a hotel, since
you'll need to meet the agent or landlord at a certain time or (in some
cases) go to the agent's office first. Check-out is easier--usually, you can
just leave your keys in the apartment--but you may be required to do (or pay
for) a final cleaning.
Often, you'll receive only one set of keys, which makes it
harder for couples or families to split up for sightseeing, shopping, etc.
Amenities vary: We've rented flats that offered guidebooks,
maps, and washing machines for clothes and dishes, but our last apartment didn't have a TV (though
it was equipped with a Macintosh computer and high-speed Internet, and the
view of Sacré-Coeur from the living-room windows was better than any sitcom
or game show).
Left Bank: Latin Quarter,
Top photo copyright © Alija.
3rd inset photo copyright © Visionsurf.