4 Rue St-Julien-le-Pauvre, Paris, France
Doubles from: $135 to $160
Note: This hotel does not offer online booking through our reservation partners. To see all available hotels in Paris, please search below.
Reviewed by EuroCheapo.com Editors
With a "magnifique" location directly across the Seine from Notre Dame, the Hotel Esmeralda offers 16 funky and somewhat 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 Left Bank location along the Seine. Views of Notre Dame. Historic and funky.
Cons: Perhaps too funky for some. No online booking—and rooms fill up.
We're pretty sure we know why the one-star Hotel Esmeralda has been one of the most popular hotels on EuroCheapo for years. It’s a historic and funky charmer located on the banks of the Seine with rates that are far cheaper than most boring "normal" hotels in town. For budget travelers with a sense of fun, this place is Cheapo heaven.
The 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 old winding wooden staircase, crooked hallways, wood-beamed ceilings and an incredibly eclectic collection of furniture.
Rooms have an old-fashioned charm, with a wild décor that is a "mash-up" of 19th-century French farmhouse, flea market and kitschy High Baroque. 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 with new tiling, and some boast antique mirrors. Single rooms are equipped with showers, while all doubles have bathtubs.
Four singles look onto the hotel's dark interior, while the rest of the rooms face the street and offer views guaranteed to provide an excellent photo-op. (More expensive singles are also available facing Notre Dame. Ask when reserving.) Singles, doubles, triples and quads are available.
Some important notes:
• Stairs: Note that the hotel most definitely does not have an elevator. The winding staircase is the only way to reach the rooms.
• Wi-Fi: The hotel does offer free Wi-Fi, but it only works in the lobby.
• No breakfast: The hotel does not offer breakfast. However, you’re in “café quarter,” so there are plenty of cute places at which to enjoy a coffee and croissant.
The Esmeralda is located on the Left Bank of Paris, just across the Seine to the south of Notre Dame. Obviously, this location is convenient 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 quite 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
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). As the Esmeralda is hardly a secret, booking early is imperative—that's at least 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).
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).
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.
- Reception: 24-Hour
- Bathroom: Private
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, and includes the Ile de la Cité in the center of the Seine. It's home to the Sorbonne University, the vast Jardin des Plantes on its eastern end, the Place St-Michel, the iconic Panthéon on the Ste-Geneviève hilltop, and Notre Dame cathedral on the Ile de la Cité.