Where to Sleep in Paris
Despite the seemingly glamorous life I may lead on the surface online, the fact of the matter is that at the end of the day, I still come home to my beloved 12m2 shoebox. While every now and then I have visions of having a home with more than one room, or my own toilet, I’m amazingly content where I am. However, the part that I hate in my apartment hardly large enough to hold me, is that it doesn’t work for hosting guests. My next line up of visitors is getting ready to pack their bags. I always do my best to help them find an interesting, and affordable place to stay. I’ve written a couple posts in the past with ideas for places to stay (here and here), but as it’s a question that comes up time and time again, I thought it was high time I put together another compilation post. While there are endless places to stay in the city, below are my picks from frugal to fancy, but all with personality and a sense of style.
For the frugalist of travelers:
Couchsurfing – You can find couches around the world to stay – yes, for free! I’ve never attempted it myself, but my friend Anna did when she was in Paris and met some really awesome people she’s still in touch with these days.
For the frugal/social traveler:
Hostels tend to be for the younger/student crowd but can be a more affordable option to stay. While I don’t feel like they’re the deal they once were, they do have the added bonus of the social component, particularly if you’re traveling alone.
Try: Oops!, which claims to be Paris’s first contemporary budget hostel (located in the 13th), Vintage Hostel near Gare du Nord or Woodstock Hostel in the awesome 9th arrondissement. Side note: wow, when did hostels start writing their own music with loud videos??
For the traveler who wants to get into the skin of a neighborhood:
Renting an apartment is always my number one tip to travelers. So you may have to make your own bed, but you get so much more space than a hotel, and with the added bonus of having your own kitchen which will safe you a lot of money. I love it too because you get a better sense of how locals live (i.e. OMG, this kitchen/bathroom/bedroom is so small, how do the French do it???).
I recommend starting by looking at Airbnb – they have by far the most extensive listings (around the world – I curated my favorite Paris studios as part of their Wishlist campaign; hence the graphic above), best search interface, a real community and their apartments seem to be more my kind of style than a lot of other sites (design of a website says a lot about a company, and yes, I’ve read their recent headlines).
Vingt Paris is a great local brand of apartment rentals (some more long term). The site is great for searching for price, location, size, etc. They’re also good friends of mine, and they have great customer service and can answer so many questions.
Rue Amandine – I first read about this personalized apartment rental service on My Little Paris and smitten. Beyond the cute style, and cute apartments, Amandine has even created cute neighborhood guides to help you on your stay, and will act as your personal concierge.
Splendid Stay – Well designed, higher end apartments in great locations (also typically more spacious than most apartments in Paris. And in addition to the highest quality linens, they lend you an iPhone with unlimited calls during your stay!
The reality of all Paris apartments is that the good ones go fast. There are tons of other great services. Also try:
- Haven in Paris – Rentals in Paris and elsewhere in France, the HiP blog is a great place to go for more Paris info.
- One Week Flat my parents stayed in one and loved the excuse to stay in a new neighborhood.
- Paris Flats – It may have been cozy, but my friend Bridget and I were very happy in “Reuilly 1” a few years ago.
- Appartement Blanc – A sweet one my friend Katie found and loved during their stay.
- VBRO (aka Vacation Rentals by Owner)
- Sabbatical Homes (particularly for long term rentals)
- NY Habitat
- Paris Attitude
For the “I prefer hotels, but I’m on a budget” traveler:
There is no shortage of 2 and 3 star hotels in the city, but not all may have a real web presence. For more good budget options visit EuroCheapo.com.
Hotel Stella is a budget, but clean hotel Odeon and the Luxembourg gardens where I stayed 8+ years ago (so I was young and open to anything). The price was right, especially since most of my time was spent out and about exploring. It’s very bare bones, but works if you just need a place to rest your head. Back in the day, the sweet man at the front desk totally won me over.
Hotel du 7eme Art – It’s theme is geared towards the love of French cinema, this is another fairly simple place to stay (it’s been 7 years since I was last there), but it’s location in the Marais makes it worth it.
Hotel de Nesle – A recommendation from my friend Lisa, she always stays here when she visits Paris for the great location, fun themed rooms, central location and great prices.
For the chic, yet practical traveler:
Lately more hotels of interest [to me] have been joining the ranks of urban lodging to make me consider a hotel rather than an apartment. Below are a few that have caught my eye, but I highly recommend downloading the GoGo Paris city guide (also an iPhone app!) where they regularly update new places to stay, in addition to tons of places to visit in the city.
Le Citizen Hotel – A fantastic location along Canal St. Martin, this eco-friendly hotel lends all its guests an iPad during their visit. With only a handful of rooms, you have to book early to score a spot here. Their website is also an incredible resource for getting to know the neighborhood, and their blog has some of the current happenings. Also, for last minute deals and special services follow them on Facebook. Ring the buzzer to enter and say hi to Sophie, the lovely owner, for me!
Hotel Amour – In my beloved 9th arrondissement, you’ll be centrally located in Paris, be down the street from one of “la meilleur baguette de Paris” and have a stylish room. Check out my review on Designtripper here!
Mama Shelter – This Philippe Starck designed hotel in the 20th arrondissement may turn some visitors away from it’s non-central location, but I think it’s this hotel’s greatest asset. Also, what could be cooler than having a super hero light next to your bed?
Hotel de la Bretonnerie – For those who are going for a more classic French style or rustic charm, this centrally located hotel in the Marais is a good option, complete with a larger room on the top level good for families or a group of friends. It’s been awhile, but my aunt and cousin had a great stay here.
Hi-Matic – An eco-friendly hotel in the 11th with an equally friendly price.
Hotel Paradis – Stylish design by of the moment interior designer Dorothée Mellichzon. The 10th is also a great neighborhood to be in these days.
Gat Hotel – I learned about this one from my photographer friend Sivan Askayo who has stayed in Berlin and Lisbon ones.
For the 5-star crème de la crème traveler:
This is not the site for you.
Still can’t decide where to stay? Consult my Paris neighborhood guide to check out what’s happening in each arrondissement.
Share your favorites and tips in the comments below. Merci!
// Top image by PAV. Wishlist image by Airbnb. //