Paris offers a wide range of accommodations options. There is something to fit every taste and budget, but of course one must know what to choose according to their priorities. In this section we’ve tried to assemble some of the criteria you may like to consider when choosing where to sleep in the City of Light.
There are many factors that come into play when calculation the price of a room in Paris: the location (a hotel in a residential zone will not be equally priced as hotel close to the Arc of Triumph), the dates (price can vary between a Monday and a Saturday), and the type of accommodations (luxury, hostel, 2 or 3 stars, AirBnB, B&B, amongst others.)
As we mentioned in the section: Practical Information, the city is organized by “Arrondissements” or distrcits. There are some districts that are more calm than others, as well as some more expensive than others; what you must keep in mind is that Paris is a city that is mostly safe, however, there are certain areas in which we do not recommend for tourists to make hotel reservations, as economic as they may be.
The only zones we suggest avoiding are:
- Boulevard Strasbourg, specially around Strasbourg-Saint Denis and Château d’Eau and the Porte de Saint Denis. Mostly because there is some prostitution and a very agitated environment on the streets. Metro stop: Château d’Eau.
- The areas surrounding Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est. These are train stations and have an agitated environment around them.
- The Batignolles area in the 17th arrondissement (which is not far from the 18th arrondissement).
- One area within the 18th arrondissement: The area between the highway, Boulevard Ornano Rue de Clignancourt, Boulevard de la Chapelle, and Rue d’Aubervilliers, is best to avoid. The environment is a bit harsh and, although you may not have anything happen to you there isn’t much to see here. Metro stations: Barbés-Rochechouart, Château Rouge, Marcadet-Poissoniers, Simplon, Porte de Clignancourt, Porte de la Chapelle, Marx Dormoy, La Chapelle.
- The 19th arrondissement which is contiguous with the 18th (Avenue de Flandre and Aubervilliers).
- The 20th arrondissement, except for the area in which the Père Lachaise Cemetery is located.
- The Seine-Saint-Dennis area (North of Paris), which is a suburb right outside the city.
- ATTENTION: This does not mean they are NO-GO-ZONES, meaning highly dangerous areas in which you shouldn’t even think about going through, not at all. These are simply areas with special environments that can be a bit harsh for some, and in which you’ll need to be more careful and aware; as well as the fact that there is not much to see for tourists.
When choosing where you’ll be staying there is a huge added value to having one or several metro lines close by, to facilitate moving around Paris, as well as connecting easily back to an airport or train station.
For your knowledge, the main touristic lines are:
- Line 6: this line goes from the south of the city towards the southwest area of Paris (this is the line that takes you to the Eiffel Tower and the Arc of Triumph).
- Line 1: this line goes across Paris from Northeast to Southeast (it passes by the Arc of Triumph, The Louvre, Bastille, and the Gare de Lyon.)
- Line 12: which takes you to the Place de la Concorde and to Montmartre.
- RER C: which goes across Paris, following almost the same trajectory as the Seine River, and stops in almost all the most touristic spots in Paris: The Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Invalides, Saint-Michel Notre Dame, Gare Austerlitz, as well as the Versailles Palace.
REMEMBER: If you have the address for the hotel, Airbnb, or any accommodations you may be looking at; check out the area in Google Maps and see what metro stops are close by, the walking distance to them, and how far it is from the monuments that interest you the most, so that you may have an idea of the travel time between them.
Always look at the comment section of the hotel or apartment, these are valuable; read both the good and bad comments, not everything is perfect but at least you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
One of the deciding factors is the travel budget. Given that this is a very delicate and subjective topic, we propose the following general information so that you may decide for yourself what works best for you according to your expectations and spending capacity. Please do keep in mind the areas we suggest avoiding in Paris.
- Luxury Hotels and “Palaces”:
5 stars hotels that make you dream, in Paris there is an ample offer of 5 star hotels and “Palaces”. Palaces are hotels ranked above the 5-star range, providing an inequitable service, especially due to the fact that they are required to have an SPA, a polyglot team, a concierge service, and they must go through a strict selection process. In Paris there are only 9 such places. Their prices vary, from 700€ a night, per person, up to 13,000€.
- Medium-range priced hotels:
3-star hotels offer a slightly higher comfort level than 2-star hotels, they are perhaps a bit more expensive but this is due to the added comfort. Do take a look at the comments guests leave on websites such as TripAdvisor, or Booking.com and help yourself by using price-comparing tools such as Trivago to have a better idea of the different offers available.
- Low-budget hotels:
“Low-budget” hotels are usually ranked as 1 or 2-star hotels, they offer basic services, and some of them are located close to train stations (Gares). To choose between these hotels, we strongly suggest using online tools such as Trivago.com, which will show you ALL the options available, with their prices, and more importantly, their ranking and guest comments. Take the time to read through this information, compare it, and then make an informed decision. This will avoid any unwanted surprises. Prices are usually anywhere between 65€-75€.
If the above options remain a little expensive for you, consider a youth hostel (although age isn’t really a factor) also known simply as Hostels. They offer rooms usually between 18€–30€, and are dedicated to people that enjoy a laid-back environment, simple and convivial, and that don’t have a problem sharing a bedroom and bathroom with other guests. It is important to undersand that the quality of a hostel is defined by the people that frequent it; so make sure to keep an eye out for this and remember that the cheapest offer isn’t always theb best one, and for a couple more euros you could find something better. Some hostels offer bedrooms with a private bathroom.
- Other hotels:
In the hospitality industry you can find a wide range of accommodations offers. As we suggested earlier, thanks to the Internet, you can investigate yourself and navigate through these options to have a more concrete idea of the offer available and what works according to your budget, as well as checking the comments left by other guests. Keep in mind that the average size of a hotel room in Paris is smaller than in most other places, despite the prices, the spaces offered within the city are relatively reduced.
-Make a reservation in advance
-A good website to look up different hostels is: Hostelworld.com
-If you are going to share a room, don’t forget the simple rules and good manners for coexistence.
There are a variety of alternatives you can recur to according to your needs and preferences. Price-wise, they aren’t necessarily the cheapest option, but they do offer a certain level of comfort and a different environment than a traditional hotel.
- Bed&Breakfast (B&B) and Chambre d’Hôtes: These are establishments offered by people who have decided to open their homes to receive travelers. It is not the same as an Airbnb because, contrary to the latter, they are certified by the State to be able to receive guests in their homes, and are even awarded (when merited) quality certificates such as “Hôtes Qualité Paris” and “Authentic B&B”. Be mindful to the fact that if you choose a Chambre d’Hôtes you will be living at a local’s house for a few days, so the social norms for a convivial coexistence are well in order throughout the day. You may also have to share a bathroom with the home owner(s).
- Airbnb: One of the latest trends in the hospitality industry has been imposed by the company Airbnb (Airbnb.com). This trend is that of renting out privately owned spaces to travelers. This is an online platform that basically facilitates the “dialogue and exchange” between a person that has an apartment available and someone who is looking to stay there for a few days. You must create an account, register, and basically look up and choose the offer that is most convenient to you. It can be much less expensive than a hotel, and many are very comfortable. These options are good when travelling as a family (3 or 4 people). Price-wise, there is a bit of everything, this is defined by the quality of the apartment.
IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to check comments left by previous guests, as they leave remarks on the quality of the service given, cleanliness, location, the similarity between what is offered and what was actually experienced, amongst other things. Do watch out for these, if there is something that doesn’t really “add up” keep looking for another option.
- Camping: If you are adventurous, love nature and are equipped for it (preparing all the logistics that go with this) you will be able to camp in the camping sites around Paris, such as the Camping du Bois de Boulogne-Indigo. Prices start at 26.70€ for the space if you come in an RV, or 148€ per night for a cabin that can host up to 6 people.
There are certain suburbs surrounding Paris that are very well connected to the city in terms of transportation (subway and commuter trains) that can be interesting options to look at cost-wise. However, we do suggest you take a look at those located nearest to Paris that are connected by the transportation system of the city. In other words, suburbs that are connected to the city through the subway such as Boulogne, Auteuil, Neuilly, Levallois, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Montrouge, etc. but always keeping an eye out for a connection with a subway line or busses. Attention, we say “AND” buses not “OR” busses, the priority should always be the metro and the busses a complement, simply for the reason that the subway is much faster, and the idea is to make the most of your time during the trip.
- Avoid hotels that don’t have any type of rating (stars or quality certificates). Choose website that are recommended, not that seem scam-like and that give you all the necessary information.
- Take a good look at the comments left by previous guests concerning the cleanliness, location, quality of service, tranquility, et . and evaluate what is most important to you.