Strictly speaking, the suburbs of Paris (“la banlieue”) are those communes that lie beyond Paris “intramuros,” in other words, outside the Peripheral Boulevard, the highway that runs around the city. While the word “banlieue” is meant to be a socially neutral term, the media often use it in a derogatory sense that is inexact and unfair.
There is a burgeoning hospitality industry going on in some of the suburban communities. Many of these are decidedly non-touristy districts in a state of post-industrial flux, many of them actively transforming into residential and commercial areas. The locations could be frequently characterless, but at least they are safe and fairly quiet.
Why sleep in the suburbs?
In general, property is less expensive in the outskirts than it is in Paris. For this reason, hotel rooms in the suburbs tend not only to be cheaper than their Parisian counterparts, but often a bit more spacious as well.
In la banlieue you’ll find no shortage of convenient and popular B&Bs and small independent properties aimed at the frugal traveler. The branches of some well-known budget hotel chains can also be found in Paris’ suburbs. Many of the these cater to both business and leisure travelers, as well as to large families, for whom sojourning in downtown Paris can be very expensive.
This eclectic mix of budget options is very convenient for those committed Cheapos who wish to experience the countless attractions of Paris without having to pay extra for the privilege of a central location, some useless gadgets, or over-decoration.
However, it should be noted that while travelers can save substantial sums by staying away from the center of Paris, in some cases their overall transportation costs could eventually become quite high. In addition, the time spent in commuting those extra distances represents a relative inconvenience, and may detract from the overall experience.
Therefore, as we never get tired of repeating, we are thankful to those little hotel gems which, while boasting a prime Parisian location and good general quality, are still able to keep themselves within the beloved Cheapo league, thus allowing their guests to experience the best things of Paris without undue burden or cost — a rare and wonderful achievement.
Budget hotel picks in Seine-St-Denis and Val-de-Marne
I will now review some of the most convenient budget hotels of the Departments of Seine-St-Denis and Val-de-Marne. Together, they cover the eastern inner suburbs of Paris.
Hotel Le Donjon
22, rue Donjon
Very well placed in the pleasant, leafy commune of Vincennes, this charming and cozy property is the virtual king of the quality affordable hotels of Paris’ inner suburbs. It offers a flower-filled courtyard and a historic location, a short walk from the imposing Vincennes castle, Vincennes Park and two Metro (line 1) and one RER stations.
The hotel receives very high marks from previous guests, who always sing the praises of the staff, tidiness and location. Doubles start at €95.
137 Avenue Gallieni
Saint-Mandé is a small “rump” community situated east of Paris, and the home of a popular street market. It looks like a small piece of Paris detached from the mother town and transferred, as if by art of magic, to the east of the Peripheral Boulevard.
Le Ruisseau is a hotel-restaurant located in this gateway to Paris, between the 12th arrondissement and the commune de Vincennes, and close to the Metro (line 1). It offers 35 clean and spacious rooms with en-suite bathrooms also of good size, and free Wi-Fi access. Doubles start at €91.
Le Figuier (“The Fig Tree”)
72, Bd de Brandebourg
Ivry is a resolutely non-touristic area, lying at the very southern gates of Paris. There, Le Figuier is like a cocoon of sophistication, quietness and comfort. This hotel-restaurant is another clear winner and one of those places that seem to leave an indelible imprint on visitors. It offers tastefully decorated rooms with private bathroom, TV, free Wi-Fi access, heating and a fan, at rates starting at just €79.
The property is very close to Ivry-sur-Seine RER Station, which takes the visitor to the center of Paris in a few minutes. Perhaps the strongest asset of this hotel is its owner, a lady that figures prominently in almost every user review as being supremely charming, gentle and helpful.
La Maison Bacana
Its name evokes French and Brazilian influences, which seem perfectly well justified by the winning coexistence of a very professional management and a warm welcome and ambiance. Very few lodgings in the Parisian region can boast the nearly 100% approval rate by its clientele and the degree of wild enthusiasm that this friendly B&B brings about in its guests. Patrons declare that “… they are the best hosts you can ask for” and “go beyond all expectations to help.”
Meanwhile, guests also rave about the spaciousness and cleanness of rooms, and the hotel’s breakfast, atmosphere, decoration… you name it! Indeed, all in all, it’s hard to find a lodging in Paris or around with such high marks. Located in Vitry-sur-Seine, a commune with many similarities with Ivry, the B&B is very close to the Vitry-sur-Seine RER station. (Rooms with private bathrooms, for 2-3 persons at €100, up to 4 persons at €120, up to 5 at €135, up to 6 at €150.)
Vitry sur Seine (ex ETAP HOTEL)
Another Vitry property, this suburban branch of the well-known budget hotel chain sits midway between the Orly airport and Porte d’Italie to the south of Paris. It offers basic, clean rooms with flat-screen television, comfort shower and separate toilets rooms at very cheap rates. Doubles at €45-50.
Séjours & Affaires
Also located in the rather nondescript but quiet suburb of Vitry-sur-Seine, this Séjours & Affaires branch is a highly serviceable and inexpensive lodging. It provides studio apartments with free Wi-Fi internet access, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, kitchenette with fridge, microwave, electric stove and coffee maker as well as laundry facilities and luggage storage. It enjoys very positive reviews by users despite the fact of not being close to the Metro or RER public transportation type. Studios at €52-65.
Paris Porte d’Italie Est
This property, located near the Kremlin-Bicêtre community immediately south of the Peripheral Boulevard, offers cheap and comfortable rooms. It’s particularly suitable for families. Visitors often praise the helpful and courteous staff. Doubles at €60-65.
Paris Porte d’Italie Ouest
Also in Kremlin-Bicêtre and very close to the Peripheral Boulevard, this inexpensive hotel with its clean rooms and friendly staff is another convenient option at the gates of Paris. Doubles at €63.
Mister Bed City
Located near the Porte de Bagnolet and the Metro station Gallieni, this cheap hotel features comfortable rooms with en suite facilities, TV and telephone as well as heating, (paid) Wi-Fi and parking. The area isn’t exactly a laugh riot but it’s very handy, close to public transport and cafés, restaurants and shops. Doubles from €64.
Campanile Paris Est
Porte de Bagnolet
In close proximity to the Mister Bed City, this budget hotel has comfortable air-conditioned rooms, free Wi-Fi access and satellite TV. Doubles from €72-78, triples at €90.
Paris Porte de Bagnolet
Yet another lodging in the Porte de Bagnolet area, this serviceable Ibis property, a truly cheapo hotel, has clean and spacious rooms and bathrooms. Doubles at €48-63, quads at €70.
Adagio Access Paris
Porte de Charenton (ex Citéa)
This pleasant apartment hotel, in a vintage position at the gates of Paris, is based on the southeastern suburb of Charenton, at walking distance from two Metro stations. Its studios and larger apartments are equipped with telephone, satellite TV, free Internet access and a kitchenette with various appliances. The multilingual staff is another bonus. Studios at €70-73, larger apartments (quads) at €103-113.
Located some 3.5 km. south of the Paris limits, in the commune of Villejuif, this hotel offers free underground parking and has a bus station just outside, but is relatively far away from any metro or RER station. Visitors comment favorably on the polite and welcoming staff, the clean and spacious rooms and bathrooms and the availability of a kitchenette. The proximity of Villa Bellagio to some big hospitals of European stature, specialized in Oncology and organ transplantation, is a bonus for families of patients attending those leading Medical Centers. (Doubles start at €79-81, triples at €116 and family suites at €140).
Park & Suites Elegance
This comfortable apartment hotel, located in a quiet neighborhood and close to supermarkets and to a Metro station, gets favorable reviews for its clean and roomy studios with kitchenette, (very convenient for families), free Wi-Fi and efficient housekeeping. “Standard” Studios begin at €99-109 and quads at €130 (promotional rate, breakfast included).
Do you prefer the suburbs?
Have you stayed in Paris’ suburbs? Tell us about your experience in the comments section.
Also in our guide: If you’d like to find something more central, check out our editors’ reviews of cheap hotels in Paris. All of our recommended hotels have been visited, photographed and approved by our team of inspectors.