THE LOUVRE AND WESTERN PARIS
Hôtel du Champ de Mars
7 rue du Champ de Mars, 01/45-51-52-30, hotel-du-champ-de-mars.com
Expect a quaint, vaguely 1970s vibe and midsize rooms at this underpriced charmer in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. The hotel is around the corner from rue Cler, a colorful, bustling street crammed with little shops-a plus in a district with a less-than-vibrant street life. Doubles from E79.
THE LOUVRE AND WESTERN PARIS
Hôtel Étoile Péreire
146 boulevard Péreire, 01/42-67-60-00, etoilepereire.com
Discreetly swank, and a 15-minute stroll from the Arc de Triomphe. All 26 rooms are individually decorated to evoke a certain design era (art deco, Rm. 409) or place (India, Rm. 306). Quiet is assured: Rooms with upholstered walls open to an airy courtyard, with the exception of Rm. 101, which is soundproof but doesn't open to the outdoors. Doubles from E119.
Hôtel du Commerce
34 rue des Trois-Frères, 01/42-64-81-69
Comfortable, sunny rooms with crisp white linens for prices that haven't kept up with the times. A nearby staircase leads up to Sacré-Coeur. Doubles from E20.
24 rue Lamarck, 01/42-64-79-22, ermitagesacrecoeur.fr
This compact and alluring mansion-with flowery, dollhouse-style furniture-has a low-tech credo: no TV, Internet, or credit cards. Top-floor rooms in back have city views; ground-floor rooms open onto a small garden terrace. Doubles from E88.
Le Village Hostel
20 rue d'Orsel, 01/42-64-22-02, villagehostel.fr
The best bargain in town, and justifiably popular with the international backpacker set, who also come here for the convivial atmosphere. The colorful frescoed lobby has Internet access and serves as a meeting place for parties and a spot to plan outings. Its terrace offers views of Sacré-Coeur. Note: All bathrooms are communal. Rates include continental breakfasts. Doubles from E23 per person in low season, E27 in high. Dorm-room rates (four-six beds) start at E20.
92 rue du Cherche-Midi, 01/42-22-97-40
A Left Bank jewel, just minutes by foot to the understated elegance of the St-Germain shopping district. Each room offers a different fin-de-siècle decor (canopy beds, chandeliers, and colorful, patterned wallpaper). Doubles from E130.
3 rue Mayet, 01/47-83-21-35, mayet.com
Between rue du Cherche-Midi, a quiet street lined with antiques shops, and rue des Sèvres, the site of the famous Le Bon Marché department store. Cheery accents in the 23 ultramodern rooms include paintings and broad stripes on the walls. Aim high: Rooms on the top floor have inwardly sloping walls. Doubles from E110.
4 rue St-Julien-le-Pauvre, 01/43-54-19-20
A honeycomb of rooms with sloping eaves and charmingly uneven floors. There are no TVs or Internet connections, but modern conveniences would clash with the appealing rough-hewn stone walls and wood beams. Views of Notre-Dame (from the most expensive rooms only). Doubles from E65.
Shakespeare and Company
37 rue de la Bûcherie, 01/43-25-40-93, shakespeareco.org
This jumbled, nook-and-cranny American bookshop calls itself a "tumbleweed hotel" for literary travelers. To get a free rumpled bed or bench among the stacks, tell Sylvia Whitman, or her 91-year-old, cantankerous, living-legend father George Whitman, about the book you're reading or writing. The weekly pancake breakfasts and tea parties are free, too.
Relais-Hôtel du Vieux Paris
9 rue Gît-le-Coeur, 01/44-32-15-90, vieuxparis.com
Beatniks like Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and William Burroughs slept under this St-Michel roof in the 1950s. (Ask to see the sublime photographs in the hotel's treasured copy of Harold Chapman's out-of-print book The Beat Hotel.) Rooms are small with ornate wall fabrics and exposed original beams. Doubles from E200.
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
The short-term apartment rental agencies that clutter the Internet charge upwards of E100 a night (in the Marais or St-Germain, for example) and can be a good alternative to staying in a hotel. Here are three agencies that are user-friendly: parisapartmenttours.com, parisrentaparts.com, locaflat.com. You could also consider living with a Parisian for a few days. Most plan to rent a room for a few months or more, but many are happy to let their room for a few days while waiting to find the right longer-term flatmate. E20-E30 per night. Find listings at coloc.fr, expatriates.com, fusac.fr, and paris.craigslist.com.