If your Parisian fantasy involves romantic evenings in a historic hotel, awaking to the aroma of freshly baked croissants and café au lait, here’s some good news: you need not be French aristocracy to make your dreams come true. With more than 2,000 hotels, the City of Light gives visitors stylish options in all price ranges, and a place with historic charm is practically a given. In
terms of location and price, there are more hotels on the Rive Droite (the Right Bank) offering formal luxury with premium service than on the Rive Gauche (the Left Bank), where the hotels are frequently smaller and richer in old-fashioned charm. The Rive Droite’s 1er, 8e, and 16e arrondissements are still the most exclusive, and the prices there reflect that. Some of these palatial hotels charge more than €750 a night for standard rooms. Due to ongoing renovations at three major landmark luxury hotels, the Hôtel Ritz, Hôtel de Crillon, and Hôtel Plaza Athénée, other worthy establishments are strutting their premium stuff. Less-expensive alternatives on the Rive Droite can be found in the fashionable Marais quarter (3e and 4e arrondissements). The hotbed of chic hotels on the Rive Gauche is the 6e arrondissement; choices get cheaper in the 5e and 7e. Some excellent budget deals can be found slightly off the beaten track in the 9e, 10e, 13e, and 20e arrondissements. Wherever possible, in the more expensive neighborhoods we’ve located budget hotels—check out the handful of budget-priced sleeps in the shadow of Notre-Dame, St-Germain-des-Prés, and the Louvre.
As for the environment inside your room, change has been in the air—literally. Enforcement of the no-smoking law is not always perfect, but at least now you’ll have a valid complaint if your room smells like stale smoke. Amenities have improved, with virtually every hotel now equipped with cable TV (meaning CNN and BBC news in English)—often high-definition screens, minibars, in-room safes, and wireless Internet access (though not always free). Another recent change is the increasing availability of air-conditioning in both hotels and restaurants—a godsend in the canicules (dog days) of July and August. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the lack of elbow room. Indoor spaces—from bed and bathrooms to elevators—may feel cramped to those not used to life on a European scale. If you’re looking for enough room to spread out multiple suitcases, book a suite in one of the city’s luxurious palace-like hotels.
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