When it comes to budget hotels in Europe, Paris is in a class of its own. Although it has a reputation as a city possessed by glamor and glitz (with prices to match), Paris still offers a range of inexpensive hotel options that make it surprisingly reasonable to visit.
In our guide to Paris, we’ve reviewed about 100 inexpensive hotels in the center of the city. Not all of these are charming or interesting, of course. Some are simply cheap sleeps. However, it’s the hotels with a dash of personality that are the most fun to write about.
I’ve just flipped through our hotel listings in Paris looking for places that have a little something special going on. Not surprisingly, many of these are also among the most popular hotels on the site. (Read: If you’re interested in reserving at them, you should try to make that reservation far in advance, especially during the summer.)
Cheapo-friendly hotels with personality
Without further ado, I present 11 hotels that are both affordable and interesting in Paris’ city center:
First off, there’s the Esmeralda’s location, directly across the Seine from Notre Dame, with windows opening to the cathedral. But then there’s everything else: The Esmeralda’s funky rooms, the 17th-century building, the “dollhouse” interior, the friendly (and slightly amused) management, etc. Put it all together and you have one of the most popular hotels on EuroCheapo.
If you dream of staying in the Latin Quarter of starving poets, artist garrets and Claire Fontaine notebooks, the family-run Cluny Sorbonne could easily fit the bill. While rooms are modestly furnished (and priced), you’ll be sleeping in the studious heart of the Quarter, with several rooms looking across the street into the University of Paris. Romantic bonus: The 19th-century poet Rimbaud composed verses in his room here.
At the risk of singing its praises too loudly or frequently, we’ll once again recommend the Hotel Tiquetonne for its rock-bottom rates, convenient location near (but not too near) Les Halles, and air of nostalgia. Perhaps its the creaky staircase, the candy-colored reception, or the sassy repartee with the staff. Something about the Tiquetonne is just magical.
Nestled into a slightly-less touristed part of the eastern Marais, the two-star Grand Hotel Jeanne d’Arc gives off a “French country house” vibe with enough interesting touches to keep it both quaint and quirky. The location, just around the corner from the Place du Marché St. Catharine, is fittingly adorable.
The Stella is a creaky old one-star hotel with a four-star location, just steps from the Place de l’Odeon and the Luxembourg Gardens in the Latin Quarter. Everything about the place is old fashioned, including the furniture, wood-beamed ceilings and room rates.
Care for some historically-minded murals with your budget bed? The Hotel de Nesle certainly doesn’t lack for character, as great figures and moments in French history grace the walls of each (otherwise simply furnished) bedroom. The Nesle boasts a convenient, if initially confusing, St-Germain des Pres location.
One of my other first choices when staying in Paris (along with the Tiquetonne), the three-star Hotel de Nice’s guestrooms are decorated with a humorous flamboyance that’s fitting for the neighborhood. The hotel’s picture-book location (across the street from the Hotel de Ville, with rooms overlooking a cafe-lined square) makes it exceptionally convenient.
It’s all about moviemaking at the Hotel du 7e Art, a funny little two-star hotel in the Marais. Film stars from Rita Hayworth to Judy Garland (and the entire cast of “The Wizard of Oz”) decorate the otherwise standard guest rooms and hallways at the 7e Art, which should at least leave film lovers rested… and entertained.
Perched at the tip of the Ile de la Cité, the Henri IV is probably the most historic Cheapo on our list, housed as it is in a 17th-century building that once served as the printing house of King Henri IV. Rooms have been refreshed since I first reviewed the hotel in 2001 and the property is clean, but amenities are few and furnishings are simple. However, with rates this low and some rooms looking out to the Place Dauphine, the Henri IV remains one of the city’s great zero-star options.
There’s a bohemian air about the Eldorado, a fun-and-funky one-star hotel with an interesting location in the artsy and diverse Batignolles neighborhood near Montmartre. Rooms mix antiques, flea-market finds, and original artwork in a way that’s colorful and anything but standard.
Situated on a surprisingly quiet street behind Place de la Republique, the one-star Hotel du Nord’s ivy-covered and flower-boxed exterior charm from the street. However, it’s the playful, artistic flair in the lobby that really won us over (not to mention Pluto, the gregarious owner’s dog). Smallish rooms are stylishly decorated and furnished with a TV and equipped with Wi-Fi, and the hotel lends bikes to guests for free.
Want to read more?
These 11 hotels just represent the tip of the cheapo iceberg, of course. Read reviews of many more in our guide to cheap Paris hotels.