Like most things in Paris, accommodation is outlandishly expensive. And this spring, when my mom and sister booked their tickets to come visit me in France, I immediately panicked- where was I going to lodge them for four days? As I have worked here for the last six months as well as the last three summers, I have always stayed with host families and therefore was basically clueless on how to find an acceptable hotel.
After an absurd amount of time on my Macbook, I finally found a hotel that would suit us both comfort and budget-wise… but now I know better than anyone that finding accommodation in Paris is a daunting task.
Here is my guide to help you stay in Paris at any budget.
Credit: Saint Christopher’s Inn
I LOVE St Christopher’s. I stayed at St. Christopher’s Inn the few years back when a friend was in town and found it to be everything I look for in a hostel.
While there are two St. Christopher’s (Gare du Nord and Quai de Jemmapes), I stayed at the Quai de Jemmapes location. It was clean, modern and located in one of my favorite off-the-beaten path canal-side neighborhoods, Republique. In the summer Quai de Jemmappes is a lively, sunny place, where people picnic, drink wine, listen to music and play petanque. My recommendation? Buy a bottle of Pinot Noir and drink it on the edge of the canal, then walk to dinner at the fabulous restaurant Gare du Nord.
One word of advice- make sure to book ahead as the hostel tends to be very crowded in the summer.
For its affordability, I chose the Novotel in Bercy for my mom and sister’s visit. While located in Bercy, which not my favorite area of Paris (though the nearby canal is a ton of fun in summer), the Novotel is affordable, clean and has great service. Next time though I would choose a boutique or family run hotel, as I think they have more charm and are more unique.
There are plenty of reasonably priced boutique hotels in Paris I’ve heard great things from friends about, including Bonne Nuit Paris, Pension les Marroniers and Aviatic Hotel.
If you have a high budget in Paris, the sky is really the limit. But the high-end hotel where I would most like to stay is Le Meurice. (Let’s suspend disbelief that I would ever be able to stay at a 5-star hotel, k?) My grandfather stayed in the Meurice in the 1950s when it cost $50 a night. Well, needless to say, much thing has changed since then (namely prices), but Le Meurice has stayed its classy, luxurious self.
Always one to tout Couchsurfing, I think it’s a great idea in any city- and what better way to really learn about France than to have a local Parisian as your guide? I’ve heard it can be difficult to find a host in Paris so definitely send out lots of requests in advance. And check out my Couchsurfing guide to learn how to create a profile.
Though I’ve never used an apartment rental (yet, anyway!) I’ve heard great things about using sites like Wimdu or AirbNb. It’s a great way to feel like a local, and plus, you can save money by cooking! Check out my friend Alex’s review of her apartment rental in Sicily.
Where is your favorite place to stay in Paris?