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TIMHotel MontmartreMost 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, 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 the day).

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 Paris Hostels.


Apartment rue SteinkerqueIf 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. Also see 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 withdrawals.)

  • 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).

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