If your Parisian fantasy involves romantic evenings in a historic grand-dame or a chic boutique hotel that pampers you in high style, here’s some good news: you don't have to be wealthy to make your dreams come true. With more than 2,000 hotels, the City of Light gives visitors classy options in all price ranges, and a place with plenty of 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 though richer in charm. The Rive Droite’s 1er, 8e, and 16e arrondissements are still the most exclusive, and the prices there reflect that. Paris's famed palace hotels—10 hotels in the city that are considered better than a five-star—charge more than €1,000 a night for a standard room, and the high-end competition is heating up. On both sides of the Seine, Paris is in the throes of a lodging renaissance in both established and up-and-coming neighborhoods, with everything from chic new boutique hotels to deluxe five-star dwellings. Major landmark luxury hotels are rising to the occasion with lavish renovations; two of the city's most legendary hotels, the Ritz and the Hôtel de Crillon underwent four-year refurbishments in recent years, and the legendary Lutetia reopened in 2018 after a five-year facelift. All this is good news for high rollers, especially when you factor in extraordinary newer lodgings like the Paris Peninsula and the small but exquisite La Réserve.
But those on a budget should fear not, because less expensive alternatives can be found in the fashionable Marais (the 3e and 4e arrondissements), as well as the Latin Quarter (5e arrondissement), along with a slew of newcomers that have laid their cornerstones in the newly chic 2e (Sentier). The Rive Gauche's 6e arrondissement (Saint Germain) is another hotbed for stylish hotels, and choices on all budgets can be found in the 5e and 7e. Everything from excellent budget deals to splendid designer spaces can also be found slightly off-the-beaten track in the 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 is in the air—literally. Enforcement of the no-smoking law is taken very seriously, with few hotels risking the ire of guests well aware of the laws. Amenities have improved, with virtually every hotel now equipped with cable TV (meaning CNN and BBC news in English), high-definition screens, minibars, in-room safes, and free wireless Internet access. 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 flush and looking for enough room to spread out multiple suitcases, be sure to book a suite; they can be found in virtually any hotel, from the most modest boutique to the palaces.