How To Choose A Paris Hotel – A Beginner's Guide

There are more than 1500 hotels in Paris, so you'll need to narrow your focus to choose one that suits your needs and desires. But don't worry, we're here to help you do just that. We'll tell you about neighbourhoods, hotel ratings, the types of hotels you'll find in Paris, and take you through the process of choosing a hotel that will make your trip that much more memorable.

We'll also tell you what you need to know about what to expect from a Paris hotel in terms of service, elevators and stairs, size, dining options, and other useful traveler information. Paris is a fabulous city to visit, and finding just the right hotel will make your visit even better.

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First, A Disclaimer…

Beauséjour Montmartre Hotel

There are two types of travelers to Paris —

1 — Those for whom a hotel is only a bed and a place to leave your luggage. These travelers reason that, since they want to spend all their time exploring the City of Light, why spend more money than you have to on a hotel? And then there are —

2 — Travelers who want a complete experience, who want to make the most of their short time in Paris, who want to be treated just a little bit special. For these folks a great hotel experience is part of the package — be it romantic, charming, cozy, or downright luxurious.

We, dear reader, are most definitely in the latter group. And we want you, too, to feel special while you're in Paris — to make every aspect of your trip something to look back on with fondness. We don't want to direct you to uncomfortable accommodations or hotels located in the outer limits of Paris. When we send you to Paris we want you to have a nice level of comfort, even in hotels that are affordable. Those are exactly, and only, the types of hotels we'll recommend.

Let's start with a little bit of basic Paris hotel information.

What to Look (Out) For

What to Look For

Floor Numbering

In France, there is the ground floor (rez de chaussée) and above that is the first floor (premier étage) — although it's what is called the second floor in other countries. So, remember that, if you book a room on the 2eme étage, you'll have two flights of stairs to climb, and so on. Keep that in mind when you choose a Paris hotel. And that leads us to —

Elevators

It's very rare to find a hotel that does not have an elevator, but be sure to check. It's also very rare to find a hotel with a large elevator. The buildings in the center of Paris date from before the invention of lifts, as our British friends call them, and they have been retrofitted into whatever small space can be found. You may have to send your bags up in more that one trip.

Getting Around

The easiest and best way to get around in Paris is to use the Metro system. It's cheap, easy, safe and gets you anywhere you want to go on one ticket. So, try to choose a hotel that is convenient to a Metro station.

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Select the Neighborhood

Select the Neighborhood

Our advice is simple. You're going to want to be located in a central neighborhood, near a Metro stop, with a boulangerie nearby, and close to the things you want to see. If you have a room with a view, so much the better! Paris has 20 official administrative districts, called arrondissements, but we also like to think of Paris as a collection of distinct neighborhoods that may or may not be defined by an arrondissement.

Because Paris has such a great Metro and bus system, we sometimes choose to stay in one of the higher-numbered arrondissements, like the 15th or the 17th. As long as we're near a Metro station it's easy to get anywhere we want to go. That said, here are the areas we like staying in the most —

Paris Hotel Classification – The Star System

Paris Hotel Classification

On virtually every hotel building, website, booking site or review you're bound to see each hotel rated with stars. How do you interpret these ratings? Well, there are stars and then there are stars.

An official French government tourist agency inspects all hotels and awards between one and five stars, or the ultra-luxe Palace designation. The government rating system is based on room size, bathrooms (hotels with shared bathrooms can't get above one star), the size of the reception area, if the staff speak another European language, and, for the 4 four and five star ratings, valet parking, room service, and large-sized rooms.

The handful of hotels that are awarded the Palace designation have things like Michelin-starred restaurants, a high staff-to-guest ratio, luxurious decor, perhaps a spa and pool.

How Our Ratings Work

Superb Plus = 93%+ Travelers Rating
Superb = 88%+ Travelers Rating
Highly Rated Plus = 85%+ Travelers Rating
Highly Rated = 80%+ Travelers Rating

However, most reviewers devise their own rating systems. Our system, for instance, is based on guest ratings, their experience, the French government star rating, and our own experience. We don't rate only by the government system, but it certainly influences us in things like room size, staffing, amenities, and decor. In the end, we only recommend hotel that have superior offerings and superior ratings. We try to include as many factors as possible. (Of course, a 3-star hotel we recommend is likely be a bit less posh than a 4-star hotel, and will cost less, too!)

Get started by checking our recommendations in the following categories —

What to Expect From a Paris Hotel

What to Expect

Size

Compared to what some of us may be used to, Paris is a crowded, expensive city where space is at a premium. So it stands to reason that, in general, Paris hotel rooms will likely be smaller than places you've stayed in other cities.

Expect to be a little cozy, but that doesn't have to mean uncomfortable. Look for rooms with enough storage space for your clothes, luggage and other items. Being able to keep a room neat and tidy will make it that much more comfortable.

If you're going to have a computer, find a room that has desk space and free WIFI as well. Oddly. some of the most expensive hotels are also the ones that charge a fee for Internet connection.

Service

Except in upper-tier and luxury hotels, don't expect help getting your luggage to your room. If you need help, though, don't hesitate to ask when you check in. (Another reason to pack light!)

Room service is not a common feature in Paris, except, again, in upper-tier hotels. Most hotels do offer a breakfast (often in a converted basement cave) but we recommend you instead go to a nearby boulangerie or café for croissants and café crême. By the way, don't expect an "English" or "American" style breakfast in Paris. It's coffee and pastry, perhaps with some fruit.

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