4 Rue St-Julien-le-Pauvre, Paris, France star
Doubles from: $127 to $147
Note: This hotel does not offer online booking through our reservation partners. To see all available hotels in Paris, please search below.
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Reviewed by EuroCheapo.com Editors
With a “magnifique” location directly across the Seine from Notre Dame, the Hotel Esmeralda offers 16 funky and recently renovated rooms at reasonable rates. For the quirky at heart, this one-star wonder will be a dream-come-true. However, if you're looking for a standard and modern hotel, then keep looking.
Pros: Incredible location along the Seine. Views of Notre Dame. Historic and funky. Cheap.
Cons: Perhaps too funky for some. No online booking—and rooms fill up.
The Esmeralda's building has obviously undergone some changes since it was built in 1640, including renovations to most guest rooms in 2009. But it has resisted modernizing away too much of its old charm.
The result is a hotel with an original winding staircase, crooked hallways, wood-beamed ceilings and an incredibly eclectic collection of furniture.
The guest rooms at the Hotel Esmeralda have an old-fashioned charm. Room décor is an endearing “mash-up” of 19th-century French farmhouse and kitschy High Baroque. But it all has a fresh, very clean feel.
Note that amenities are sparse: Rooms are not equipped with TVs, although they do have telephones.
The bathrooms were overhauled and expanded a few years back, and some boast lovely antique mirrors. Single rooms are equipped with showers, while all doubles have bathtubs.
The décor is so remarkable that Lozano—the English-, Spanish- and French-speaking manager—hands out postcards of one of the Hotel Esmerelda’s rooms. And the views looking outward are guaranteed to give you an excellent photo-op of your own: Imagine opening your windows in the morning to find all of Notre Dame staring back at you.
Hotel facilities and extras
Breakfast is served for €8, but you’re in “café quarter,” so there are plenty of cute places at which to enjoy a coffee and croissant with your people-watching.
Note, as well, that the hotel most definitely does not have an elevator. The charming winding staircase is the only way to reach the rooms.
With Notre Dame almost on your doorstep, the Esmeralda’s location cannot be beat for sightseeing. If you don’t mind the crowds and the tour groups, the tiny streets of the Latin Quarter in this part of town are simply enchanting.
Check out the nearby Shakespeare and Co. bookshop for any English literature needs and take a five-minute walk over to the Maubert-Mutualité Metro stop to experience one of Paris’s oldest outdoor markets (complete with one the city’s greatest cheese shops!).
Booking at the Esmeralda
As we point out above, the Hotel Esmeralda does not offer online booking. To reserve a room, you’ll have to contact the hotel directly by email or telephone (see below, under “more information”).
As the Esmeralda is frequented by romantics and eccentrics the world 'round, booking early is imperative—that's three months ahead during busy season for all you last-minute types.
If you'd like a suggestion for a nearby hotel with some charm, cheapo rates and online booking, check out the Hotel Cluny Sorbonne (located directly across the street from the famous university).
Guest reviews in brief
Guests are downright unanimous when it comes to the Esmeralda’s location and views of Notre Dame: simply unbeatable. Most guests appreciate the hotel's “shabby chic,” “atmospheric” and “cool, old” décor. Many also mention the friendly management and the cleanliness of the rooms.
Detractors are few and far between. We’ve read a few complaints related to the building’s age, lack of elevator and slightly creepy nature—which almost everyone else finds to be a romantic asset.
The Latin Quarter allows you to walk just about anywhere you’d want to be in Paris, and fortunately getting there is almost as easy.
Charles de Gaulle Airport: Take RER B to St-Michel-Notre-Dame and walk 5 minutes to hotel.
Orly Airport: Take Orlyval train to RER B to St-Michel-Notre-Dame.
Gare de Lyon: Take line 14 to Chatelet and switch to the 4, stopping at St-Michel. From there it is barely a 10 minute walk. This will save you the hassle of changing too many times.
Gare de l’Est or Gare du Nord: Take the 4 to St-Michel and walk 10 minutes to hotel OR take it Odéon and switch to 10 and get off at Maubert-Mutualité to avoid lots of crowds and busy intersections (if it’s raining, for example).
Reviewed by: Tom Meyers, EuroCheapo Staff Writer
Note: This hotel was visited by a EuroCheapo editor and is recommended based on cleanliness, location, price and overall quality. EuroCheapo did not charge this hotel to be listed.
- Breakfast Extra Charge
- Concierge/Booking Services
- Fax Machine
- No Elevator
- Reception: 24-Hour
- Wake-Up Service
- Bathroom: Private
- Bathroom: Shared
- Soundproofed Windows
4 Rue St-Julien-le-Pauvre
Latin Quarter, Paris, France
About the Hotel Esmeralda neighborhood
The student district of Paris since the 13th century, the Latin Quarter is located in the Left Bank's 5th arrondissement. It's home to the Sorbonne University, the vast Jardin des Plantes, the Place St-Michel, the Panthéon, and Notre Dame Cathedral on the Ile de la Cité. It's a lively area of Paris completely overrun with students and tourists and the cheap shops and eateries that cater to both constituencies.