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Paris in May: cheap places to stay and unique and "off the beaten path" things to do...seeking suggestions!


Feb 26th, 2004, 11:33 AM
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Paris in May: cheap places to stay and unique and "off the beaten path" things to do...seeking suggestions!

Bonjour! I'm off to Paris in May for two weeks. Due to an extremely limited budget...that I'd rather use on sights and experiences, I'm looking for ideas of cheap (but safe and clean too) places to stay--ideally centrally located or near a metro. And any suggestions about "highlights" of Paris would be appreciated...I haven't been there in over 14 years!

mauimel is offline  
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Feb 26th, 2004, 11:49 AM
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Mauimel, I'm looking into this issue myself. I think some of the best rates for accommodation that I have seen are at the following sites:


and searching generally at


Then use http://www.mappy.fr to get pedestrian distances and http://www.ratp.fr to get metro itineraries.
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Feb 26th, 2004, 12:51 PM
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I would suggest going over to www.Ricksteves.com and/or the Lonely Planet web site for budget hotel suggestions.
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Feb 26th, 2004, 12:56 PM
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this place has been written about favorably in several publications--I have not stayed there:

Hospitel Hotel-Dieu/L?Hotel a l?Hopital, 1 place du Parvis Notre Dame, 4th, tel 44 32 01 00. www.hotel-hospitel.com/ang/accueil.htm
19th century building with an inner courtyard with a fountain. All the comforts of a hotel, including room service. The catch is that it is part of a city hospital, but on the 6th floor in a quiet wing. Said to be one of the best accommodations deals in Paris.All rooms have sloping ceilings, some have a view of Notre Dame. Large bathtubs, no hair dryers. Two rooms are adaped for the disabled. Breakfast served in the room, additional fee. 14 rooms. Extensive room service menu, room safes, knowledgeable staff.

Aside from lots of info here at fodors.com (use the little search box above, and also click on Destinations at the top of the screen), I have a long file on Paris.
If you'd like to see it, email me at
[email protected]
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Feb 26th, 2004, 01:06 PM
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You'll get some great suggestion here on Fodors. You may also want to take a look at the website: http://www.eurocheapo.com where the budget hotels are divided by locations, and there are comments telling the good/bad/ugly.
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Feb 26th, 2004, 03:10 PM
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Mauimel, have you done a search on the forum for 'budget and hotel' (that 3-word phrase) and select 'France'? That should bring up some threads where people have already made suggestions. You could investigate the results and then come back to ask about specific ones...
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Feb 26th, 2004, 03:25 PM
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The Hotel St Andre des Arts is a one star hotel in a great location in the 6th and only a five minute walk from Place St Mich and Notre Dame. It's clean, safe and really not at all bad for a one star (or even higher stars) - only drawback is no TV and no lift but I doubt you'll find those and cheap at the same place unless you go quite a bit out of the center. I stayed there last year. Breakfast is included. I stayed in a quad room but I think a single is about 50 euro. It and many other hotels are easily searched by price and location on france-hotel-guide.com and another good site is 123france.com and also parishotels.com

For general info rough guides online site is very good. Frommers.com also has a ton of info. A few sites specific to Paris that are good include: paris-anglo.com; parisbalades.com; bonjourparis.com; parisavenue.com; pariswater.com (virtual tour of bridges, fountains, walks); paris.org/Kiosque/

What kinds of things are you interested in doing. If you give a little more information you'll get more back. There are a ton of Paris fanatics (myself included) on this site but we need more than suggestions for "highlights" - as far as I'm concerned Paris is one big highlight.

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Feb 26th, 2004, 04:24 PM
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Budget hotel in the Latin Quarter . . . I recommend Hotel la Sorbonne. It's on a vey quiet street directly across from the Sorbonne University. It's a half block from the Place de la Sorbonne with lots of restaurants and shops. You can easily walk to the Cluny, Notre Dame, the Louvre, etc. There are three nearby Metro stations including two RERs so you can get easily to either airport.

We got our reservations via http://www.france.com They have all the hotels listed and you can read comments people have made about them. You can also sort according to price which is nice. We've used them many times and never had a problem.

The hotel is clean, safe, centrally located, near a Metro and inexpensive. The staff was wonderful and the bathrooms have hair dryers and the little shampoos and soaps we have all come to expect. They have a nice cheap breakfast too, (5 euros) although you can do better in a nearby cafe.

If you want to see art and not spend money, there is a sculpture garden along the Seine. You can always see paintings and sculpture in churches for free. I'd recommend a carnet of ten Metro tickets to save money there, and if you want to visit a few museums, get the Museum Pass.

Other highlights . . . There are a lot of sculptures in the Tuleries Gardens (and people watching par excellence). It's always fun to go to the various gardens in Paris and see what is happening.

Hope you get a lot more suggestions and have a memorable trip.
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Feb 26th, 2004, 08:25 PM
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SalB is offline  
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Feb 27th, 2004, 05:36 AM
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cicgal - I'm glad to hear you like the St Jacques as I'm trying that hotel on my next vist in two weeks. Was the room you stayed in a single? From the hotel's confirmation email to me it sounds like that may be my room.

Mauimel - Another department store with a good view from the roof level cafe is Galleries Lafayette. According to my daughter, who is studying in Paris at the moment (I'm going to visit her in 12 and a half days, not that I'm counting) you can get a great view and a decent cup of coffee for 1.50 €.

Someone mentioned the museum pass. If money is an issue for you, you should consider not getting the museum pass. There's a couple of threads on that subject recently. Basicially, it may save time in bypassing lines, but rarely saves money. For the Louvre, they have reduced entry fees on their open nights (Mon and Wed) and usually less crowded at that time too. You should also enter through the underground shopping area/metro entrance to save time on the lines. The D'Orsay is open late on Thursday, and the best time I've found for short(er) lines in to get their before they open.

The pariswalks that cicgal maentioned sound good but there are also alot of great books on walks in Paris - with maps and lots of detailed information.

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Feb 27th, 2004, 05:54 AM
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There is a better rooftop view, along with a cafe, down the street atop the second Au Printemps.
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Feb 27th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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Apologies if repeating things that others have said...Off-beat places worth visiting are: the catacombs (only open on Sunday morniings, I think, but strange - kilometre or so of piled skulls and bones underground); the sewers are a curiosity worth seeing. The Marais is one of my favourite areas (good Picasso museum too) and, in my view, the best overview of Paris is from the Pompidou Centre.
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Feb 29th, 2004, 06:08 PM
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Elaine: The address you gave for Hotel Hospital (?) didn't work. Typo? Am looking for an inexpensive hotel for my daughter for June/July so would appreciate the info. Thanks.
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Feb 29th, 2004, 06:12 PM
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Found it: www.hotel-hospitel.com

99 E for a double
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Feb 29th, 2004, 09:54 PM
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Off of hotel topic but on the matter of offbeat things to do in Paris consider making time for a day at the Hamman (steam bath) at the Paris Mosquee. (pronounce Mos-kay) It is an amazing and surreal way to break up your trip or work out of you jet lag. There are days for women and for men so you will need to check the schedule with a phone call or a visit. You can sit in the steam rooms and talk as long as you want for your inexpensive admission fee. then have an exfoliating scrub that will sweeep off all of the dead skin that you ever had. Finish with a lavender massage and a cup of sweet mint tea. A wonderful way to spend the day.

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Mar 1st, 2004, 03:52 PM
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These are wonderful suggestions! THANK YOU! I'm a "newbie poster" so I'm just now figuring out how to search for past topics--and it's not only been helpful...but so motivating as well! I love the steam bath idea at the Paris Mosquee and the free concerts to check out. Merci.

Has anyone heard anything of these two budget hotels: Hotel Commines or Hotel Montebello?
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Mar 1st, 2004, 04:24 PM
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Isabel: I've stayed at the Hotel St. Jacques twice, once in a top-floor single room.

Bed was slightly wider than a standard twin, and room fairly spacious for a single. Skylight window with "view" to windowboxes across the alleyway and rooftops beyond. Nicely decorated, though more modern than the doubles on the website.

I don't want to "hijack" this thread, but didn't you stay at a single in the Hotel Desiree in Florence? Would you mind replying here?:

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Mar 2nd, 2004, 01:25 AM
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A second for the Hotel St. Andre des Arts in the St. Germain area. We stayed there in Feb. 2004--singles are up to 65 euros or so now but with breakfast worth the price.

Love the neighborhood just off rue Buci with its market and the hotel is directly across from the Cour du Commerce (pedestrian) where the famous Procope restaurant is located. 4 minutes walk to either metro stop Mabillon (at the exit from Cour du Commerce onto Blvd St. Germain) or metro stop St. Michel.

Have a wonderful time, whichever hotel you chose, and don't forget to give us a report back!
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Mar 22nd, 2004, 01:43 PM
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Unfortunately the popular (& free) lookout @ Samaritaine dept store is closed. Now Rick Steves has suggested another place for a panoramic view of Paris. Take the subway to the Porte Maillot stop; go up to the 34th floor of the Hotel Concorde-Lafayette (www.concorde-lafayette.com). "Jaw-dropping views" are free; however if you sit and have a drink, it'll be pricey. Espresso costs 6 euro and beers, 8.80 euros.
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Mar 22nd, 2004, 01:50 PM
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Cheap places to stay. Hmm...try Priceline.com.
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