Paris 1st timers: best hotel location

Feb 14th, 2010, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 299

Gotta advocate Priceline. My first trip to Paris was in '82 and the hotel was a very low priority. As I've grown older and appreciate creature comforts, I enjoy staying at a "4-star" but again the hotel is just an 8-hour stop for the night. I booked hotels on Priceline during my last two trips. In Dec 07, I stayed at the Marriott Rive Gauche for $85, yes dollars, per night. A little far from the center, but I still walked to the Louvre and it was a great place to stay with great rooms. 5 minutes from the metro and, in my opinion, riding the metro is a large part of the Paris experience. In Sep 09, I stayed at the Novotel Eiffel Tower for $103 dollars per night. Not as nice a room as the Marriott, but a great pool and workout room. I know you can nitpick and say these aren't great hotels, but they are half the price of a 3-star boutique hotel, have fine rooms and service, and you can pick the area you'd like to stay on Priceline. Checkout a website called to see what others have successfully bid and go from there. If a particular hotel, in a particular area is important to you, don't do it. But if you are anything like me and the hotel is a place to crash for 8 hours, save a fair amount of money while getting a decent place to stay.
agedude is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 06:19 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
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I wondered about Priceline as I've used it for local trips around the Seattle area and got great deals. We are planning to be in Paris for 16 days...the idea of saving money on accommodation (and not being in a dingy place) is appealing. I don't need luxury, but I need comfortable, clean and in a great quarter. How far ahead of time did you book your rooms? Was is one of the "blind" bookings where you have no idea what property they are putting you in, or did you select a place from the main website?
phenry is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 11:11 PM
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Been using it for a lot of years, across America and throughout Europe. I usually book about 60 days in advance. I also booked a room in Seattle on the same day and it was the cheapest I ever booked. A Sheraton in Bellevue for $45 per night. Check the better bidding site to see what the hotels go for in the area you want to stay. Always bid low, if you are not accepted, you are locked out for 24 hours. Raise the bid a couple bucks and bid again. You are bidding blind, but get to chose the area you want to stay. If you chose a four star, you usually get a name brand (Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Westin). I've used it for a Hilton in London, a Marriott in Munich, ect... You normally won't stay in the premier downtown location, normally close to a business area, but in a city with great mass transit, it is a small inconvenience. I think you have a choice of about 6 to 8 "areas" in Paris to chose. You also chose the "star level" and the page will tell you what star level has the best chance of being accepted, 3, 3.5, 4. You are bidding blind, but I've never been disappointed and love paying 1/3 of the normal price.
agedude is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 12:42 PM
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ChicTrvlr: Hotel St.Jacques is in the 5th, not the 6th. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 12:44 PM
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It's hard to me to name a best area for first timers. I would rather say choose a place to stay with plenty of easy bus and metro access. My first time, we stayed in the 20th and it was just perfect for us. Lots of people bemoan travel times from outer locations, but we loved it. People watching is something we enjoy, and when we dined one night near the hotel, it was a very down home French traditional place. Great cider, place was full of local families, not a word of English anywhere. That scenario wouldn't be for everyone, of course, but if transport is easily available, you can easily be elsewhere. Who wants to park by the hotel first visit anyway?
TravelinGert is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 01:25 PM
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I'll add another vote for the 6th because of its central location and Metro options. Our favorite hotel is the Le Relais Saint Germain at Carrefour de l'Odeon, in the heart of the 6th.
Beaucoup is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 05:41 AM
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I'm surprised there's not more votes for the Marais - it has a village feeling and a real sense of neighbourhood. I am torn between the 6th and the 3rd or 4th, however, I worry that as you drift toward the edge of the Marais you are going to far away from the city centre (for example, the area nearer the Bastille.) I'd also be interested in Fordorites comments about Ile de St Louis - tooooo quiet perhaps?
phenry is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 09:09 AM
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phenry, I like the area around the outer 3rd and the 11th. What place are you considering? My last stay was in the 3rd, closer in, by Chemin Vert and Bastille metro--however I found I frequently walked "out" towards the 11th and 10th. However, this was not my first visit to Paris.

I've stayed on Ile Saint Louis before with my mom whose requirement is always "Someplace by the river. As long as I can find the Seine I won't get lost." We liked it. It's not quiet, really, but you will have to walk for the metro.

I've stayed in the 5th a long time ago when I was younger. I've also stayed in the 7th. I don't know, the areas you mention are all going to be nice for a first-time visit. Really it comes down to personal preference. I prefer the Marais/Republique/Bastille but who knows what I'll say ten years from now.
Leely2 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 04:21 PM
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We like the west edge of the Marais (3rd or 4th??)

Good Metro and Bus stops, walking distance to many great sights...and a beautiful neighborhood.

Last time (out third trip to Paris since 2001), we stayed at Hotel de Nice, and we plan on going back to it next trip.

It's a couple of blocks from Metro line 1 and several buses that cross the river for easy access to left bank sights. Across the street is a twice-a-week open-air produce market for great fruits, cheese, etc. And only a few blocks from our inexpensive restaurant of choice, Equinox (33-35, rue de Rosiers)

We've also stayed on the east edge of the Marais (near Place Bastille) but did not like it as much...not as convenient.

ssander is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 05:51 PM
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St. Jacques is the hotel Audrey Hepburn stayed at in Charade! Very nice location - we've stayed in an apartment down the street. Less touristy than some other spots.

I agree the 7th is a little out of the way for a first time, although with the days you seem to have you won't have to rush around to the sights.

Have you considered an apartment? If your budget is not tight you can order housekeeping, have a greater choice of locations, more space and more comfort. Even a nice hotel room won't have the same feeling over two weeks.
LikeLivingThere is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 07:47 PM
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cobbie is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 09:06 PM
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I have come to love the Latin Qtr and I am surprised that The Hotel Bonaparte has not come up. I have stayed at three places that the Fodorites recommended and have not been disappointed yet. Hotel Bonaparte, Hotel College de France and any hotel near the Rue De Siene Fodorites recommend is the best location or me. I love the Latin Qtr. Right now we are renting an apartment on the Rue De Seine because of elderly parents and that is working out fantastic. Pricier than a hotel but easier for the elderly.
frankdaddy is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2010, 06:48 PM
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Although this isn't a question about a hotel, it is about the location of a apartment rental. Boulevard Beaumarchais - is it more 3rd or 11th arrondisement? My heart is set on staying in the Marais neighborhood, but the apartment appears to be right on the edge of the 3rd and the 11th -it is near metro Chemin Vert. Would it make a big difference to be in the more central area of Marais? Or are we just splitting hairs here? Comments appreciated
phenry is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2010, 07:38 PM
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Blvd Beaumarchais will feel like a big, busy boulevard, not the tiny, medieval streets of the Marais, although if the apartment is by Chemin Vert it will be within a couple of blocks of that. In terms of location, I prefer the quieter edges of the Marais to bar-and-boutique-central. I'd rather be on Blvd Beaumarchais than right next to Pompidou, for example, just because I tend to get stressed out when there are a gazillion pedestrians shoulder to shoulder (I exaggerate a bit) immediately outside my hotel/apartment.

However, that's just me. What do you prefer? I saw elsewhere you wanted to feel closer in than when you stayed in Montparnasse. Not knowing what part of that area you stayed in, it's hard to advise you here. I personally consider Beaumarchais by Chemin Vert a great, convenient location on the border, as the address suggests, of the 3rd and the 11th.
Leely2 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 06:13 AM
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Hi Leely2
When we stayed in Montparnasse it was on Raspail near Edgar Quintet. It too was a big boulevard - somewhat devoid of a neighbourhood feel (although there were some cozy streets were nearby). It was about a 10-15 minute walk to the nearest metro. On our first visit we were out of our room for 12-14 hours at a time - our hotel room was far enough away that it wasn't practical to pop back in the middle of the day for a bit of a break. This time we wanted to be near a place where it might be realistic to pop back to our "home base" for a bite to eat or break before venturing out again in the evening. We want to have the experience of being in an interesting neighbourhood with the choice of shops, cafes, and patisseries nearby. We like to walk, people-watch, and drink wine.

I also have my eye on an apartment on the rue de Bretagne in the do you think this might compare to the Blvd Beaumarchais location?
phenry is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 06:34 AM
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I've stayed on Ile St Louis (4th) and in 16th (once near, Metro Mirabeau, once near M Port Auteuil). IsL was very central, and going back to hotel to drop off bags before dinner was no problem. The area was not busy, and had a vliiagey feel, with its one main street, lack of car traffic, nice small shops,etc. Would not say that I felt like a 'local', since it is popular with tourists.

The 16th was out of the tourist path. Nice area, a good spapshot of Parisian life, the twice weekly farmer's market, going to a movie, 'my' cafe with locals popping in and out.Great, but a bit of a pain to go back and forth to central Paris. Mind you, it took me...20 minutes to get to St Paul Metro. But as for walking to any sites...all I had was the Seine nearby to see Eiffel Tower sparkling.

So...I'd say for a 1st time trip, I'd pick 4/5/6th arr. Yes, 7th is fine, same for 1st or 8th, but I think that those three would give a good balance of location, sites, restaurants, ease of access,etc..

The Metro is good, so its always this quandary of staying centrally, versus taking a 15 minute Metro/RER ride. And yes, there is a tendancy to always recommend the popular 4-7th, and ignore the 8th,10th,14th,etc. But...for a first time..
Michel_Paris is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 07:49 AM
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Is the Bonaparte in the Latin Quarter? I may be wrong but I thought it was in the St Germain area.
Luisah is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 07:56 AM
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I agree with Michel's post, just above mine. For your first visit, make it easy on yourself. You'd be able to walk to most of the sights from those areas and see a lot more above ground than you would taking a metro every day.
Luisah is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 07:57 AM
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Posts: 7,525 are correct! St Germain/6th
Michel_Paris is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 07:59 AM
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I like rue de Bretagne. Althoughy it is a rather major street so there can be alot of traffic. I've not noticed that its horribly noisy though. What are the cross streets?
yestravel is offline  

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