The Secret Hotels of Paris
The secret, (mostly) small, (mostly) family-run gems that give you great ambience at truly exceptional prices
Yes, there is still a windmill or two in Montmartre, and this hotel is just down the street from one of them. The Moulin de la Galette, of Renoir fame, stands at the top of this cobbled lane and can be seen from the balcony of the rooms on the fifth floor. Rooms are in excellent shape and of decent size, but watch out for the twin beds--they are extremely narrow. Rooms on the top floor get the most light, but all are well lit and several have nice views of the city. Service can be a little brisk, but at these prices, you can easily console yourself with an idyllic stroll in this legendary neighborhood.
66 rue St-Andre-des-Arts, 6th arr., Odeon, tel. 011-33/1-43-26-96-16, fax /1-43-29-73-34, france-hotelguide.com. Metro: Odeon. 32 rooms, all with private bath. No elevator. Doubles ¬77 ($68), breakfast included.
A block from boulevard St-Germain, next door to bustling rue de Buci, a few minutes from Place St-Michel, Hotel Saint-Andre-des-Arts is an affordable oasis in the middle of high-priced tourist territory. Rooms are pleasant, with high ceilings and lots of exposed beams, but carpets are spotted and the locks on the doors can be flimsy. Bathrooms are neat and functional (some have been renovated with faux-marble tiles), and a few rooms have interesting armoires. It's clear that what you're paying for here is location, not style, but with all the action available outside you probably won't be spending much time in your room.
13 rue Traversiere, 12th arr., Gare de Lyon, tel. 011-33/1-43-43-54-12, fax /1-43-43-53-20. Metro: Gare de Lyon. 30 rooms, all with private bath. Doubles ¬78-¬81 ($69-$72), breakfast ¬6.50 ($5.75).
True, there's nothing particularly gripping about the neighborhood, but the level of comfort at this hotel may outweigh any concerns, particularly if you're making train connections for the south of France. Located on a small side street near the Gare de Lyon rail station (with lots of inexpensive dining nearby), the Aurore offers a bundle of amenities-air-conditioning, satellite TV, hair-dryers, free toiletries, modem plugs--at very reasonable rates. Rooms are cozy, with fabric-covered walls in mellow colors, and the spiffy bathrooms have complimentary shoe-polish cloths for Top-Siders in need of a touch-up. The location has its upside--views of the Seine are just steps away, and Notre-Dame is a 15-minute stroll.
44 rue Madame, 6th arr., St. Germain, tel. 011-33/45-48-02-81, fax 011-33/1-45-44-85-73, france-hotelguide.com. Metro: St-Sulpice. 34 rooms, all with private bath. Doubles ¬80-¬85 ($72-$76), breakfast ¬7 ($6.25).
Hiding out in the tony neighborhood of St-Germain amongst designer boutiques and stylish hair salons, this smart hotel dishes up high-quality comfort at impressively low prices. An elegant country theme pervades - rooms have plush blue carpets, carved wood headboards, and fluffy yellow bedspreads. Many have flowers in the window boxes, and those on the top floor have little terraces. Several face a pretty courtyard where breakfast is served in nice weather. The bathrooms have that just-unwrapped look, complete with hair-dryers and "old-fashioned" sinks. Easy strolls include the gorgeous Jardin du Luxembourg and the Place St-Sulpice, an excellent spot for cafe-squatting and watching the world go by.
5 rue Amelie, 7th arr., Eiffel Tower/Invalides, tel. 011-33/1-45-51-74-75, fax /1-45-56-93-55, 123france.com. Metro: La Tour Maubourg. 16 rooms, all with private bath. No elevator. Doubles ¬80-¬89 ($72-$80), breakfast ¬6 ($5.50).
This tiny hotel is on a tiny street overshadowed by the hulking presence of the Eiffel Tower. Though you can't see the tower from the rooms, you can enjoy amenities like cable TV, minibar, and hair-dryers, not to mention geraniums in the window boxes and cushy new carpets. The rooms all look like they were renovated yesterday, with rich colors on the walls and pristine bedspreads and draperies. Rooms are small but not claustrophobic, and those facing the courtyard get loads of light and a nice view of Parisian rooftops. Though slightly pricier than some of our other finds, these rates are quite low for this high-and-mighty neighborhood.
63 rue St-Lazare, 9th arr., Grands Boulevards, tel. 011-33/1-48-74-78-24, fax /1-49-95-04-43. Metro: Trinite. 28 rooms, all with private bath. Doubles ¬83-¬90 ($73-$80), breakfast ¬7 ($6.25).
Formerly the Hotel des Croises, it has proudly taken the name it was given as a setting of this year's upcoming Jonathan Demme film The Truth About Charlie (a remake of 1963's Charade). It's easy to see Demme's reasoning - not only are the rooms huge and airy, but they also have authentic period furniture and detailing. You won't find many hotels in this price range with inlayed armoires and Art Deco ceramic fireplaces. Furnishings on the first four floors are from the 1940s to 1950s; the top two cover the Belle Epoque - would you believe Art Nouveau woodwork and Second Empire headboards? As if this weren't enough, the carpets and towels are as plush as the bathrooms are sparkling. If you can tear yourself away from your surroundings, you'll find you are minutes from the Opera and the grands magasins.
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