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Language: French | Currency: Euro (€) | Local time: (CET) | Average flight time: 1.5 hours
Double room | Room only
Standard double room | Room only
Double standard room | Room only
There’s a perfect Paris hotel out there for everyone, from arty boltholes to high-glamour suites with Eiffel Tower views. Nabbing the best hotels in Paris is all about knowing where to go.
If you’re seeking a romantic splurge, trying staying in the 1st Arrondissement. This is the centre of the old city and home to a bunch of ultra-grand Paris hotels, including The Ritz. The iconic Paris of Chanel adverts and fashion shoots, it’s THE place to hobnob with the city’s fashionable residents.
Within walking distance, find the Tuileries, Place de Vendôme, Rue de Rivoli, and a sock-knocking view of the Eiffel Tower overlooking the River Seine at Place de la Concorde.
The 7th Arrondissement, known more often as Eiffel Tower, offers classic Parisian romance with a hefty price tag. Beautiful but wallet-busting, this exclusive area is packed with celebrity homes and top-notch Paris hotels.
If you’re planning to push the boat out, it’s also worth checking the 8th Arrondissement. This glamorous pocket houses some of the best hotels in Paris, including the Four Seasons Hotel George V, often lauded as the most luxurious hotel in the city. Here, fashionistas parade along leafy boulevards in impeccable outfits and elegant locals walk tiny, trussed-up dogs.
Hotels in Paris run the gamut price-wise. If your budget is tight have no fear: there are plenty of cheap hotels in Paris suited to far more modest budgets. Backpackers should make a beeline for Arrondissement 12, the Bastille, dotted with lively hostels and affordable Paris hotels. Safe and affordable, it’s a brilliant base for exploring Paris, with great metro links to all the top attractions.
Young hipsters with fingers on the Parisian pulse should head to the 11th Arrondissement (Oberkampf), an edgy neighbourhood on the rise. Not yet gentrified, it’s grungy, gushing with cool, creative energy and home to a handful of pretty cheap Paris hotels. All kinds of offbeat gigs and underground clubs kick off here after dark, so if you’re after an alternative Paris experience, it’s the perfect choice. Find out more about evening entertainment in the city on our Paris nightlife page.
Topped off by the Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre and Pigalle have long been the heart of bohemian Paris. Think art, absinthe and all kinds of high jinx. On the weekends, Montmartre can become something of a tourist squash-in, but you’ll find cheap street eats a plenty. This can be a great place if you’re after a cheap hotel in Paris.
Pigalle, the Parisian red light district, has always been considered a tad sketchy, but these days boutique Paris hotels are steadily popping up and transforming the vibe of the area.
Neater around the edges, the Marais (3rd and 4th Arrondissements) is a great mixture of vintage, arty and upper-crust. Crammed with buzzy bars, hipster hangouts, excellent museums and art galleries showcasing budding artists, it’s somewhere that can easily get under your skin. The district offers a whole mix of Paris hotels, from boutique hotspots to designer budget hotels, making it an increasingly popular choice.
You don't need to break the bank to experience this captivating city. City expert, Mary Novakovich, offers an insider's guide to exploring Paris on a budget.
Save cash – and the environment – by not ordering bottled water in restaurants. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for tap water (une carafe d’eau). And don’t forget that all bills automatically include a 15% service charge, so don’t assume that you’ll have to add another 15% for a tip. If the service is outstanding, you can round it up or add a couple of euros.
Lunchtime menus are often the best bargain of the day – offering excellent value for two or three courses as well as a well-priced special.
The French like their happy hour – time for an apéro – when drinks are usually half price and some bars do the Italian thing and bring out free nibbles.
While Michelin stars litter the streets of Paris – more than 125 at the last count – not all of its restaurants are quite so astronomical.
If you’re hungrily wandering the streets of Montmartre and want to avoid the tourist traps, head to the cosy Bistrot Tifinagh (17 Avenue Rachel, 75018 Paris). Two courses of classic dishes including duck terrine and sirloin steak come to about €12 – astonishing value in a city where steaks regularly break the €20 mark.
If you want a quick but filling lunch, refuel with a huge falafel at l’As du Fallafel (34 rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris). You’ll probably have to queue, but it’s worth it for a big plate of falafel with hummus, tahini, aubergines and salad for around €5.50.
Middle Eastern – Lebanese, Syrian, Israeli – and North African restaurants in general offer good-value food that’s packed with zingy flavours.
If you’re in Paris on the first Sunday of the month, take advantage of the free admission to all of the city’s museums. Otherwise, one of its most fascinating museums happens to be free all the time. Musée Carnavalet tells the compelling history of Paris in exhibits spread throughout two handsome 16th-century buildings in the Marais quarter.
Paris is particularly rich in beautiful parks, including the Tuileries by the Louvre and the Luxembourg Gardens.
If you’re feeling energetic, head east to Parc de Belleville – the highest park in Paris at 105 metres – for panoramic views of the city. From there, it’s only a 15-minute walk to the captivating Père-Lachaise Cemetery, the place of pilgrimage for fans of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison, among many others.
For a different perspective, take a walk along the Promenade Plantée, or Coulée Verte, a disused railway line that’s been transformed into a 4.5-kilometre elevated landscaped walkway. Tucked into the arches below are shops and galleries, but the main attraction is the close-up view of Parisian rooftops.
If the Eiffel Tower is on your must-see list but you’re put off by the queues (and the prices), buy a ticket for the second-floor entrance. It’s only €9 rather than the €15.50 fee to go to the very top, and the views are still spectacular. Order online and you book a specific timeslot, saving you from joining the never-ending queues.
There’s a variety of Paris passes (via the tourist board’s website) you can buy that will give you free admission to museums, attractions and free public transport.
The Paris Museum Pass for adults costs €48 for two days, and you could make this money back by the time you’ve visited your sixth museum – depending on what you visit. If you’re a keen museum-goer and want to take in as many cultural riches as Paris offers, this could save you money.
But you could end up cramming your schedule with visiting sights and leaving little time to enjoy one of the most pleasant things to do in Paris: merely ambling along and enjoying the atmosphere.
You could go the whole hog and spend €99.90 for a two-day Paris City Pass. That adds public transport, a hop-on-hop-off bus tour and a boat trip along the Seine to the mix.
That sounds like a lot to squeeze into two days – plus all those museums you’d have to visit to see any savings. And none of the passes includes the Eiffel Tower.
If you’re under 26 and a European Union national, you get in for free in many of the museums – so don’t forget to bring your ID.
If you’re staying somewhere fairly central, it’s easy – and a great pleasure – to explore much of Paris on foot. It’s also just as easy to use the Métro if you want to cover more ground.
Single Métro tickets cost €1.90, but you save money if you buy a carnet of 10 tickets for €14.50. You can use these on the Métro and RER suburban trains within Paris’s zone 1, as well as buses and trams. If you take the Eurostar to Gare du Nord, you can buy the tickets at one of the machines – but never buy them from people trying to sell them to you while you stand in the queue.
There are travel cards available, but unless you’re chronically hopping on and off the Métro for much of the day, they’re not always value for money. A day pass within Paris costs €12, and it’s valid only for a 24-hour period – unlike a carnet of 10 tickets.
If you’re arriving via Charles de Gaulle airport, you can take the direct Roissy bus to the Opéra for €12, the RER into the centre of Paris for €10.30, or a slower bus to the Gare de l’Est or Nation for €6.