Hôtel Saint Jacques
35 rue des Écoles, 5e, Paris, 75005, France
Quaint is the word that springs to mind at this well-located Latin Quarter hotel, bedecked with faux-marble trompe-l'oeil, Renoiresque murals on walls and ceilings, wood paneling and all those cozy details that put you in mind of a Parisian living room, with an added dash of romance. At least the American film director Stanley Donen thought so—this is where Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant stayed in the movie Charade.
YOU SHOULD KNOW If some parts of the hotel seem a bit dated, you could consider this all a part of its Belle Epoque charm.
As in many older Paris hotels, each room is unique—and larger than average—but Second Empire furnishings, reproduction paintings, and a flourish of elegant moldings are a running theme.
About half the rooms have small balconies, some with Notre Dame views. If this is a must, ask when booking.
Baths are clean and serviceable, some larger than average, with all the amenities, though wall-mounted blow dryers seem dated.
The cosy wood panelled lobby offers comfortable leather and upholstered chairs and sofas for relaxing with a book or a drink from the honor bar.
A Montmartre cabaret atmosphere, with Toulouse Lautrec-style murals, enlivens the breakfast room, where a standard continental breakfast is served.
There is a small honor bar serving a limited choice of wines and spirits.
2-minute walk to the Maubert-Mutualité metro station. The Latin Quarter—named in the 12th century for the fact that Latin was the language of the universities, and this is the home of the Sorbonne, France's oldest—is a quiet residential neighborhood, characterized by charming leafy streets, parks and some great markets. It is also spectacularly well located, close to the Jardin de Luxembourg and the Jardin des Plantes, as well as several museums, for those who want a full-spectrum Parisian experience.
Les Papilles "cave à manger," a short walk from the hotel (30 rue Gay-Lussac), is favored by foodies, and chefs, for a well-priced 3-course menu, though your won't get a huge amount of choice, you're assured of the best, seasonal menu around with great wines to match.
Minutes from the hotel, Rumeurs can't be beat for fresh, homemade dishes, light salads, along with well-chosen cheese and charcuterie plates. Outdoor dining in summer.
Little Bastards, the Latin Quarter's newest cocktail bar, specializes in gin and infused vodkas, as well as craft cocktails. It's also open from 2 p.m. to 4 a.m. on weekends--a rarity in this quiet neighborhood.
The cocktail bar at Hotel Seven serves up some impressive cocktails with the glamor and glitz at a price much less than most hotel bars.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This traditional hotel's belle époque charm flies in the face of the Parisian minimalist trend, and that's a good thing, the city is big enough and to offer something for everyone. With plenty of French coziness, friendly service, and an old-fashioned elegance, this is a romantic spot set in a typically Parisian neighborhood that's within easy walking distance of more than its fair share of the city's great monuments and sights.
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