Paris Travel Guide



Being often declared the most popular travel destination in the world, Paris has far over a thousand hotels to choose from, and even more in the surrounding Ile-de-France region. The choice may be overwhelming, but should be made carefully. There are huge differences in standards and location is key to make your stay in Paris enjoyable and time used well. Be prepared to pay the price for Paris' popularity - even the cheap hotels are relatively expensive.

Despite the popularity with tourists, global hotel chains have relatively low penetration of the Parisian market. A notable exception is the French-based Accor, which boasts over 300 hotels in the Paris area, although with large swathes of central Paris largely uncovered. There is a fair amount of Best Westerns as well, but most international chains limit their presence to very few exclusive (and expensive) hotels in key locations. Travellers loyal to a particular brand may find their loyalty challenged, be forced to pay for it (rather than be rewarded) or unable to find their hotel brand of choice in Paris.

Hotels in the central arrondissements tend to be expensive, although very cheap ones can also be found. With few exceptions, they tend to offer small rooms - be aware of the fact that the difference in price between hotels can translate into difference in service, facility and appointment levels, but not necessarily room size. Rooms of 12-16 square metres (which is roughly half of standard hotels rooms e.g. in the USA) are the norm in central Paris, regardless of hotel standards.

Cheaper hotels in popular arrondissements tend to be older, less attractive properties, whose facilities and appointments may be very worn and outdated, far behind standards one would expect from the capital of all things pretty and fine. Even updated and restored hotels may exhibit wide variance in standards between room categories, and keep some of the rooms not refurbished or only minimally touched up to be able to offer attractive, eye-catching pricing for them and then upsell to more comfortable room categories. Always check out latest reviews, preferably with photos, to precisely determine what to expect from a given hotel and given room category.

Hotels outside of the city centre, or even outside of the Peripherique and Paris itself, can be far cheaper and better value for money than ones in central Paris, while still having good transit links via metro or RER. That said, you should check thoroughly how far from the metro / RER station the given hotel is, and whether the connection to the POIs you want to visit is direct, quick and easy. Do also factor in the added cost of transportation to outer zones, as well as the time spent to travel to and from the city and obviously resulting limitations.

Because of local preferences, a bathtub in the bathroom is a norm in most hotels, even if it means squeezing it into a very small bathroom, further limiting space. If you prefer a walk-in shower, you need to look for a hotel that specifically offers those (called "douche italienne" by the French), and you should generally look at newer, purpose-built properties.

Paris hotels, almost without regard to category or price, observe high and low seasons. These differ slightly from one hotel to another, but usually the high season roughly corresponds to late spring and summer, and possibly a couple of weeks around the Christmas season.

For individual hotel listings see the various Arrondissement pages.

Apartment rentals

For those who are staying for a while renting a furnished apartment might be a more comfortable and money-saving option. Furnished apartments differ considerably in quality, so it is important to choose carefully. There are a huge number of websites in the business of helping you find one, but most charge a steep commission of 10% or more. It is also possible to rent apartments for shorter stays, and this is an alternative well worth considering.

Be aware that some agencies, which seem very flexible, actually do not abide by the French law and do not carefully select the landlords and apartments they offer for rent. There are a certain number of guarantees, which are required in France before renting an apartment, and an insurance policy, which aims at protecting the tenants during their stay.

source: Wikivoyage

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