Finding lodging in Paris is not a problem as long as you have unlimited funds and you are booking early. But it seems that most people are looking for the quintessentially charming yet inexpensive French hotel.
Those are not so easy to find and you’ll get precious little help by relying on the French star system for guidance. In France, stars are awarded based on 22 different criteria for such things as how many rooms the hotel has, the size of the room and whether or not the hotel has an elevator (lift). Therefore, a lovely hotel without a lift might be rated 2 stars and a barely adequate hotel with a lift could have 3 stars.
The French rating system does not measure quality of service, cleanliness, staff attitude, speed of service, etc. So if this is all too confusing, I always check out hotels on Trip Advisor or Epinions . We have usually been happy in 4 star hotels in France, but they are expensive. (More than $200. per night.)
We have found that the best way for us to determine whether or not we will like a hotel is by how recently it has been renovated. The newly remodeled hotels generally have larger bathrooms and more comfortable beds. Many newly remodeled hotels are decorated in the Euro-modern style… not one of our favorites. But, when saving money is the object, we are less anxious to find a charming hotel and more interested in finding a comfortable one, so we can live with Euro-modern for a while.
Don’t worry about finding a hotel with an en-suite bathroom. Most hotels rated 2 stars and up have them. You may need to choose between a bathroom with a shower stall and toilet and one with a bathtub and toilet, though. (Shower stalls are usually less expensive.) Most bathtubs are quite small and have a hand-held shower-head that is sometimes tricky to manage.
Many hotels build in the price of breakfast in your hotel rate. Hotels usually charge upwards of 10€ for breakfast (Petit Dejunier.) If you are on a budget, you can get a continental breakfast for less at places such as Brioch Doree, or even Starbucks located throughout Paris. So if you can book just a room, you’ll save money.
Our best advice is to book early, when you still have lots of options. First determine how much you are willing to spend. You can get a very basic room for under $80 per night, but expect to spend around $125 per night for a tiny, but comfortable room. You can also get hotel bargains in July and August when the French are on vacation.
Secondly, choose the arrondissement in which you prefer to stay. Keep in mind that generally the closer in you stay, the more you will pay. The arrondissements start in the heart of the city with Number 1, snailing outward to arrondissement 20. The Metro stops everywhere within the 20 arrondissements, so you can stay further out and save some money. There are some great hotels in the center of town at great rates, but they sell out early. I prefer to pay a little more and stay in the heart of Paris where I can walk to everything.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. If you are members of AAA or AARP or another group, ask, it might get you a great deal.
Written by Terri Fogarty for EuropeUpClose.com