Finding the Perfect Hotel in Paris

How do you decide where to stay in Paris? How do you even start the process of choosing a hotel? We know that it can seem a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re new to Paris or have never stayed in one of the city’s hotels. What should you expect?

We often get e-mails and phone calls from readers and friends that start out like this: “I know that you’ve reviewed over 100 hotels in Paris. Just tell me, where should I stay?”

Well, of course, choosing the right hotel depends on many important factors. These include your desired neighborhood, your hotel budget, and what you’re looking for in a hotel.

We’re ready to tackle all of these issues... and more!

Notre Dame Paris

A hotel right near Notre Dame will be very central, but might cost a bit more.

Paris hotel overview

First, the basics: It’s reasonably easy to find a comfortable, well-appointed hotel room in a central Paris neighborhood during most of the year for €100.

Style and space (the kind that North Americans may still find lacking) will take you to the higher end of budget finds, up to €150 for a double in high season.

Bare-bones sleeps without television, elevators or anything resembling décor can be found in the €40-€75 range.

Of course, all of this depends on the type or class of the hotels (see below). Also note that the best hotels fill up quickly, so book as early as possible, confirm and then reconfirm. Always have one or two back-ups in mind in case things aren't quite as expected when you arrive.

Seasonality and hotel rates

Although cross-Atlantic flights are most expensive during the summer, August is one of the best times to come to Paris. Hotels often cut their rates since there are no business travelers, and the city is uncrowded because Parisians have all left for the beach. Meanwhile, those visiting Paris can take advantage of "Paris Plage," Paris' own version of the beach on the banks of the Seine, which has become one of the most popular festivals of the year.

Hotels aside, restaurants, public transportation and sightseeing can all be done on a budget in Paris any time of year. Refer to our Paris Budget Tips overview for some ideas.

Budget Hotels in Paris: What to Expect

Many of our favorite hotels in Paris are the small, family-run spots that have sweet personality and, often, historic buildings. These properties tend to have the lowest rates, but they also tend to be low on amenities. Many won’t have elevators, or if they do, they will be comically small.

Summers have been getting hotter, which means that many budget hotels now have air conditioning, or at least fans—this was unheard of five years ago. And because the walls are too old to allow for wiring, most hotels in every price range have gone from having no direct Internet connection to Wi-Fi access. Of course, the walls are still thin, and the elevators tiny, so pack light and don’t forget the ear plugs!

An included breakfast is not common among Paris hotels, although many offer breakfast for an additional (often exorbitant) charge. We advise skipping these options and picking up a cheaper (and delicious!) croissant at a corner café.

Related: Also see our article on 20 considerations when choosing a budget hotel in Paris.

Choosing the right neighborhood

In which neighborhood would you like to stay in Paris? The city is divided into 20 different districts, called “arrondissements,” numbered 1-20. Each one has its own flavor, its own advantages and yes, some disadvantages.

Understanding Arrondissements

The 1st arrondissement is located in the center of the city around the Louvre, and the districts (and their numbers) swirl out clockwise from there. The 2nd arrondissement is just north of the first, the 3rd is just east of that, the 4th just south, and around and around it goes!

On this page we describe most of Paris’ central arrondissements in detail. We recommend reading this to get a fuller understanding of your options. If you’re in a hurry, however, and just want to know our favorite neighborhoods, we’d suggest staying in the following central neighborhoods:

Louvre in sun

The Louvre is in the 1st arrondissement

1st arrondissement (Near the Louvre - Right Bank)

This is about as central as it gets, and puts you within walking distance of the Louvre, Pompidou Centre, Les Halles transportation hub, Jardin du Tuileries and more. Good for museum lovers and shoppers, and easy to get to and from the airport.

A popular two-star pick is the Hotel Prince Albert Louvre. Also, the nearby two-star Hotel Flor Rivoli (in our Châtelet neighborhood) is extremely central.

Place des Vosges Paris

The lovely Place des Vosges in the Marais

4th arrondissment (The Marais - Right Bank)

Still very central, the Marais was Paris’ Jewish quarter before transforming into the city’s vibrant gay neighborhood. The area is full of restaurants, bars and shops, and makes a good home base for all kinds of travelers. It's pretty easy to get to from the airport.

We recommend many hotels in this neighborhood, from the one-star Hotel Rivoli and Herse d'Or to the swankier, three-star Hotel de Nice and Castex.

Place de la Sorbonne

The Place de la Sorbonne in the Latin Quarter

5th arrondissement (The Latin Quarter - Left Bank)

Historically Paris’ student neighborhood, the Latin Quarter offers lots of budget accommodation options, a central location, and, unfortunately, some really lousy, touristy shops. Still, the Latin Quarter makes a very convenient home base.

Popular options include the one-star Hotel Marignan and Esmeralda, and the two-star Hotel Cluny Sorbonne.

Eglise St Germain des Pres

The Église St-Germain des Prés in the 6th arrondissement.

6th arrondissement (St. Germain des Prés - Left Bank)

Located just west of the Latin Quarter, St. Germain des Prés is more chic than its neighbor, but also more expensive. The neighborhood is convenient to parks, shops, and walking to many sights. Its northern edge borders the Seine.

Favorite hotels here include the one-star Hotel Stella and the two-star Hotel Saint-Pierre.

Eiffel Tower Paris

Looking across the Seine to the Eiffel Tower

7th arrondissement (Near the Eiffel Tower - Left Bank)

Located west of St. Germain des Prés, the neighborhood between Les Invalides and the Eiffel Tower is cute, largely residential and expensive. These streets are pretty quiet at night (compared to the Latin Quarter or Marais), so don’t come here looking for nightlife.

Popular hotels here include the two-star Hotel de la Tour Eiffel and Hotel du Champ de Mars.

More help with neighborhoods

We’ve only mentioned five of the 20 arrondissements. Read full descriptions of many more of the neighborhoods here. We also break down Paris neighborhoods by interest (for example, best for shopping, nightlife, etc.) in this blog post.

Staying on the islands

Many visitors to Paris dream of finding a cozy little place on one of the city’s two central islands, the Ile de la Cité and Ile St-Louis. We understand—they’re adorable, dreamy and central! Most of their accommodation options, unfortunately, are also extremely expensive.

One notable exception, however is the Hotel Henri IV, a no-frills budget hotel located on the tip of the Ile de la Cité, within a quick walk of both the Louvre and Notre Dame.

Staying outside the center

Almost all of the 110 hotels we’ve inspected and recommended in Paris are located in the center of the city in arrondissements 1-11. We prefer hotels in these locations, as they’re easier to reach by foot during the day and at night. Remember that the Metro closes at 1:20 a.m. (2:20 a.m. Saturday night) and taxis can be difficult to come by and expensive.

However, there are many, many affordable hotels located in arrondissements 12-20 (including some that we have recommended near Place d’Italie, Montmartre and Père Lachaise cemetery). Hotels here can be cheaper than those in more central neighborhoods—but you may find the locations to be a touch inconvenient, especially late at night. If you plan to be tucked in by midnight, however, and don’t mind riding the Metro, definitely look into these outer neighborhoods.

Furthermore, even cheaper hotels can be found outside the city limits, on the other side of the Périphérique roadway. The surrounding suburbs offer plenty of hotels to those with the means (and willingness) to travel a bit. You can find these by doing a search in our “CheapoSearch” box.

Types of hotels in Paris

How well do you know the stars? What, for example, is the difference between a one-star and a two-star hotel? It's not always so obvious. Here’s a quick overview of what you could expect from a hotel in Paris, listed by star rating.

Remember that, for the most part, the more central the hotel (and lower the arrondissement number), the more expensive the hotel will tend to be. A two-star hotel in the 1st arrondissement will almost certainly be more expensive than a two-star in the 18th arrondissement. And heck, you may be able to find a three-star hotel outside the city center for the same rate as a one-star next to the Louvre.

Hotel Eldorado Paris

The one-star Hotel Eldorado offers up spacious rooms.

One-star hotels

Doubles about €50-75

One-star hotels in Paris are generally small, family-run or non-chain properties. Rooms here may or may not have TV or telephone. Bathrooms may be shared with other rooms or private. These hotels almost never have an elevator.

Room size varies quite a bit. Some doubles at the one-star Hotel Eldorado and Résidence du Palais for example, are larger than doubles in some three-star properties. Room size is especially unpredictable given the fact that many of these hotels are in old buildings and were not constructed as hotels.

We recommend several one-star hotels, some of which are real charmers. Note that many of these do not offer online booking. You’ll have to call, email or go to the hotel’s Web site to make a reservation.

Breakfast, usually offered at an extra charge, is often quite simple. Some one-star hotels don’t have breakfast rooms and thus deliver breakfast to the room.

Bathroom Hotel Andre Gill

Almost all two-star hotels, like the Hotel Andre Gill, provide you with a private bathroom.

Two-star hotels

Doubles about €65-90

Two-star hotel rooms generally have basic amenities, including TV and telephone. All rooms are probably equipped with a private bathrooms, often with a hair dryer. The hotel probably has an elevator, and probably offers Wi-Fi (although you may have to pay for it).

Click to read our reviews of recommended two-star hotels in Paris. These are probably our favorite category in the city, as they represent what we think is the best value (considering price and private bathroom). Indeed, at last check, we recommend nearly 60 two-star hotels in Paris!

As with the one-star hotels, some of these don’t offer online booking. Also, room size varies quite a bit. However, many two-star hotels were built as hotels, so the rooms tend to be a more standard size. In many cases, the rooms were originally constructed without private baths, which were added later, cutting down on the size of the room.

A continental breakfast (usually just croissant, bread, coffee/tea, juice) is generally served in a breakfast room for an extra charge. Unless it’s homemade or special, these breakfasts are usually not a great deal.

Breakfast Beauborg Hotel

Breakfasts at three-star hotels can be quite expensive.

Three-star hotels

Doubles about €90 - 150, and up.

Three-star hotels can be all over the place: They may still be small boutique hotels or they might be much larger business-class hotels. Regardless, three-star rooms are equipped with a TV, telephone, and likely also have air conditioning, minibar and safe. All bathrooms are private and equipped with a hair dryer and toiletries. The hotel will have an elevator and offer Wi-Fi (although, again, this may not be free).

We have reviewed several three-star hotels, which tend to be in our “worth a splurge” category, ideal for a “special trip” to Paris, or just for our readers who can spend more. As the city is filled with three-star hotels, we’ve tried to recommend only those that we think represent a good value.

Three-star breakfasts vary quite a bit. Some hotels are proud of their morning spread (and include cheeses, meats, and maybe even American-style eggs and bacon), while others stick to simpler, continental offerings. Regardless, breakfast tends to be an expensive add-on.

Four-star hotels

Doubles about €200 and (way) up

In Paris, four-star hotels may be small boutique properties or large, swanky establishments. There are probably many categories of rooms, from “standard” to “superior” and “suites.” Note that rooms may not be any larger than a room in any other category—but they will be packed with amenities and the bathroom will be very well equipped.

As we’re EuroCheapo, we don’t recommend any four-star hotels in Paris. However, if you do a search in our search box, you will see many four-star properties in the search results that are provided by our reservation partners. It’s worth a look, as sometimes there are some great deals to be had (especially at the last-minute, when properties are trying to fill their rooms).  

Four-star hotels often offer breakfast buffets, usually including some cheeses, meats and hot dishes. However, these are often quite expensive (sometimes ridiculous amounts upwards of €20... or more).

Other hotel categories

On EuroCheapo, we also recommend properties that fall into other categories:

Unrated or zero stars

Doubles about €50-70

Don’t be scared! Some of our favorite hotels have no stars. These are typically similar to one-star hotels, but, for whatever reason, they haven’t been rated.

Youth Hostels

Dorms €20-25; Doubles €60-70

The hostels in Paris that we recommend usually offer dorm beds, as well as private rooms, with or without private bathrooms. These tend to be quite social places, and most do not have an age restriction. Still, they’re best for younger or more relaxed travelers.

Residential or Suites

Doubles €100 and up

These "residential" properties offer rooms with private kitchen, and may include dining areas, a sitting room, etc. These are certainly practical for longer stays.

Apartments

Apartments €100 and up per night

Renting a private apartment is currently a popular option for individuals and families, especially those spending many nights (or weeks) in Paris. They always include kitchen and dining facilities, which can save on restaurant bills.

On the downside, they can be risky to rent, and don’t offer the services of a professionally-run hotel (including an always-open reception and cleaning services).

Related articles

20 things to consider when choosing a hotel

From breakfast to Wi-Fi, here are some more things to consider before booking.

Our favorite cheap hotels in Paris

Don’t feel like slogging through 110 reviews? Here are 10 of our favorite hotels in Paris.

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