The Secret Hotels of Paris
The secret, (mostly) small, (mostly) family-run gems that give you great ambience at truly exceptional prices
Hotel de l'Esperance
15 rue Pascal, 5th arr., Mouffetard/Gobelins, tel. 011-33/1-47-07-10-99, fax /1-43-37-56-19. Metro: Censier-Daubenton. 38 rooms, all with private bath. Doubles ¬84 ($74), breakfast ¬6 ($5.50).
If canopy beds are your thing, this is l'hotel for you. Each bed in this enthusiastically decorated hotel is crowned with a small bundle of drapery that gently slopes to the floor. The proprietress takes great pride in the hotel's decor, which includes thick new carpets, matching bedspreads and curtains, and a breakfast room with period prints and hand-crocheted tablecloths. If the doll collection in the lobby strikes you as over the top, no matter; what's important here is that accommodations are comfortable, well maintained, and clean. Rooms are relatively spacious and have cable TV, and all bathrooms have tubs--you'll have to shower with the famous French shower-hose. Your proximity to a wonderful open-air market on rue Mouffetard should make up for this minor inconvenience.
Hotel du Cygne
3 rue du Cygne, 1st arr., Les Halles, tel. 011-33/1-42-60-14-16, fax /1-42-21-37-02. Metro: Etienne Marcel. 20 rooms, 18 with private bath. No elevator. Doubles ¬84-¬90 ($74-$80), breakfast ¬6 ($5.50).
Just squeezing under our limit, this comfy affair gives great benefits for your buck. Located close enough to Les Halles to be near the action, but far enough away for a bit of peace and quiet, the "Swan Hotel" is in the middle of one of the city's few pedestrian zones, so a room on the street is relatively quiet. Rooms were completely overhauled last year, and are not only spic-and-span but have period-style furniture and a touch of Parisian class--quite the bargain at these prices. Shiny new bathrooms have hair-dryers and toiletries, airy bedrooms have cable TV, safes, and exposed beams. The hotel's central location means the Louvre is within strolling distance, as are dozens of bus and Metro lines.
29 rue Malar, 7th arr., Eiffel Tower/Invalides, tel. 011-33/1-45-51-38-46, fax /1-45-55-20-19, hotelmalar.com. Metro: La Tour Maubourg. 22 rooms, all with private bath. No elevator. Doubles ¬84-¬91 ($74-$80), breakfast ¬6 ($5.50).
In this high-end neighborhood, Hotel Malar is a serious bargain. Completely renovated in 2000, rooms are decorated in delicate blues and light yellows, and the newly tiled bathrooms have nice thick bath towels--a rarity in Parisian hotels. Web fans will appreciate the modem plug on the phone, and CNN addicts will love the cable TV. Most visitors, however, will be hard-pressed to spend too much time in their rooms--the Eiffel Tower looms just a few minutes away. Rooms in the back building are larger, but darker, and open out onto a nice interior courtyard, where breakfast is served in summer.
Hotel des Grandes Ecoles
75 rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 5th arr., Mouffetard/Latin Quarter, tel. 011-33/1-43-26-79-23, fax /1-43-25-28-15, hotel-grandes-ecoles.com. Metro: Cardinal Lemoine. 51 rooms, all with private bath. Doubles ¬90-¬115 ($80-$102), breakfast ¬7 ($6.25).
It's a few dollars over our limit, but we decided that this prize is simply too good not to list. Set off the street, you enter the lobby through a peaceful garden, as if you have just walked out of the city and into a country residence. Quiet is a priority here--the hotel has dispensed with TVs, even though it clearly has the budget. Rooms are delicately decorated with period wallpaper, lace bedspreads, and country furniture. The bucolic illusion is reinforced by leafy views from the windows and the pervading atmosphere of calm. The inviting breakfast room includes potted plants and an upright piano, and in nice weather you can nibble your croissants in the garden. It's hard to believe you're in walking distance of the hectic Latin Quarter and just a few steps from hopping rue Mouffetard.
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