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Where to stay in Paris

Hi- We are taking our 2 daughters (10, 17) to Paris for 6 days in late August. We are going through VRBO. I am considering staying in the 7th arrondissement (on Rue Cler -elevator, 32square meters 1 bedroom, sleeps 4--very small)- b/c we will be near Eiffle tower and it's on Rue Cler.. Or the Latin Quarter or St. Germain). I'm sure we will be going all over Paris but I'm wondering if my girls may find staying in Latin Quarter more interesting- or would it be fun to be able to see the eiffel tower every AM/Evening -just a couple blocks from our place? I've found a couple apartments w/views/walking distance from Notre Dame, etc. I'm just looking for a way to narrow my choice (before the apartments disappear!!) Do I worry more about things like - no elevator/lots of stairs and no a/c over location-- I'm guessing it will be hot and lots of walking!) Our budget is around $170US a night. THANK YOU for any advice!!

Posted by
1062 posts

I have stayed at both locations in Paris and don't think you could go wrong with either. I know so many people will respond with criticism of Rue Cler, but I actually found it to be a nice place to stay. You will see a lot of Americans on the street with most caring Rick Steves' book. (I know that is a negative). I found that Rue Cler had everything I needed close by. There were small grocery stores to get fresh fruit for lunch, lots of bakeries and restaurants, a pharmacy, and ATMs located on the street. Most of all, I liked being able to walk over to the Eiffel Tower and just relax after a tiring day. One disadvantage is that only one Metro line serves Rue Cler so you will have to transfer to get to most locations you will probably want to visit.

Posted by
1175 posts

We stayed our first trip near Rue Cler like most newbies afraid to venture past Rick's recommendations. Once we found out Parisians won't kill and eat us, we've stay adjacent to Notre Dame, at the very center of the city. We stay there every year and always find new things to enjoy and discover within easy walking distance. Citi metro station and St. Michel-Notre Dame RER are both right there for easy trips to more distant place like the ET, Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, Palais Garnier. Within walking distance are St. Chapelle, St. Germain with all it has to offer, Luxembourg Gardens, Pantheon. Louvre, Orsay and exploring both islands can be a real adventure. The ET and Rue Cler are a long way from most other sights. It's better to stay in the heart of things and you can see the ET from just about any bridge, although it's more thrilling to be there at the ET when it lights up at night.

Posted by
9429 posts

I think near Notre Dame is a lot more fun, and a lot more central. You can easily walk to lots of places you'll want to go from there, not so from rue Cler. There are bakeries, ATMs, pharmacies, stores, cafés, restaurants, groceries, post offices, Mêtro stops, etc., all over Paris.

AC in August could be very important and would be at the top of my must haves.

(Wrote this at the same time as George above... Looks like we agree!)

Posted by
346 posts

In August, you will want air conditioning. We stayed in the 6th arr. last year for our first trip, and loved the location.

Hi, I looked and looked and found the Hotel Relais Bosquet (then saw the Rick Steves recommends it). It is near the Eiffel Tower. They have a Facebook page and I found out (so I rebooked) a lower price on their Facebook page.

I would consider a different hotel in a different section, but need NAMES and personal experiences there.

Posted by
15644 posts

My priorities would be:

  1. A/C
  2. close to "good" metro station/s (the ones that get you to the sights in different parts of the city)
  3. close to sights - the ones you want to visit.

I think "views" are overrated. How much time are you going to spend looking at the view. Wouldn't you rather be outside and part of the view? Stairs aren't that bad - as long as it's not 5 or 6 flights. Keep in mind that the number of flights is equal to the floor. First floor is up one flight . . .

Posted by
83 posts

I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your comments and advise!! We have narrowed down a couple places in or very near the Latin Quarter/Luxemborg/Museum of Natural History-- looking for spots w/metro nearby, markets on our street -etc.. We want to be able to walk out and feel like we're in Paris- with some fun energy from the city (but quiet nights for sleeping!! ha ha!!), especially since this is our first European vacation (we'll be gone for 21 days). I don't want anyone feeling homesick right away. Your advice and great humor has made us even more excited to nail down our places, and start planning our activities!! So reassuring to hear about stairs and A/C! THANK YOU!!!

Posted by
489 posts

ehotchk, I'm glad you've settled on an area. I agree with the advice about A/C and stairs. A/C will probably be welcomed at the end of August. We'll be there then and it was one of our top priorities in choosing an apartment.
I don't understand the negative attitudes towards rue Cler. We've stayed there and I definitely felt like I was in Paris. Visually, you are in Paris. The language you hear on rue Cler is French. Shopkeepers primarily speak French (some, but not all, also speak English, but the default language is French). Many of the shoppers were French. I didn't see hordes of people carrying RS books (maybe because I wasn't looking for that).
It might be that very seasoned travelers and/or people who are fluent in French want to venture off the beaten path. But that's not the recipe for everyone. We still like rue Cler after 5 visits to France.
But even if rue Cler somehow feels inauthentic to some people, you won't be spending your vacation on that one street. Walk a block or two in any direction, on your way to the metro for example, and you'll clearly be in Paris.
But in addition, you are a tourist. Most of the places you go will also be places that attract tourists. If I'm at the Louvre I don't care how many Americans are there at the same time. Same with Versailles or the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame. I think you'll be enjoying Paris no matter where you stay.

Posted by
8164 posts

Another vote for central and not out by the Eiffel Tower. I'd try to be close to the river and Notre Dame in the Latin Quarter or Marais or perhaps St Germain. All central with great walking to most central sites; Paris is a town best enjoyed on foot and nothing is as lovely as a walk at night around Notre Dame all lit up. Note that AC in apartments is tricky. Sometimes they have those worthless portable units that are often musty and gross in addition to not working well. And they might be for only one room. Also with central air often you are required to turn it off at 10 pm just when you need it. A lower floor tends to be cooler and cross ventilation is important. Close the place up when you leave in the morning and then in early evening open all the windows for awhile if your AC is not up to snuff.

Posted by
2030 posts

One thing about staying close to Notre Dame, wonderful area that it is -- it is probably the most crowed tourist area in Paris. I was there last week, during a pretty slow tourist time, and walking along the sidewalks by the river there was not that pleasant. And I think it will be even less enjoyable with the heat, noise and crowds of August. Same with the near-by Latin Quarter. I would stay in the 6th if possible, and would not rule out Rue Cler.

Posted by
9429 posts

When it's hot, and August can be miserably hot, all the more important to be as central as possible so you have the most walking options as possible... yes, you can stay farther out and take the Mêtro anywhere, but it takes time (Eiffel Tower to Nôtre Dame area can take 30 min) and when it's hot outside, it's 10x hotter in the Mêtro.

Rue Cler has always been packed with Americans when I've been there, and all I hear is American being spoken... not what I want when I'm in Paris. Rue Cler doesn't have anything that lots of other more central areas have.

Posted by
9429 posts

phyllis, for hotels, go to Booking.com.

My recs are:

Hotel St Louis en l'Isle
Hotel des Deux Iles
Hotel de Lutêce
Hotel St Jacques
Hotel du Pantheon
Hotel des Grands Hommes
Hotel des Grandes Ecoles
Hote Jeanne d'Arc

Posted by
8164 posts

the hotel des Grandes Ecoles has a lovely garden but is not air conditioned and especially the upper rooms are miserable in hot weather and don't cool at night. They are also poorly ventilated. We had one that measured 100F in the afternoon and didn't feel like it cooled down much at night; I'd never choose that in summer.

In August you need AC which would incline me towards an aparthotel like a citadines rather than a private apartment where at least in central apartments you are unlikely to find good AC.

Posted by
15539 posts

I want to respond to the suggestion of a Citadines.

Don't.

I was scheduled to stay for a week at the Citadines Tour Eiffel. I checked out after three nights and four rooms.

The smell, cooking odors, coming from their "cleaned" rooms was so bad I had to leave. (In one room, it smelled as if someone shoved blue cheese down the bathroom sink.) I actually had to go out and buy both room and drain deodorizer. The second didn't help. You only get housekeeping once a week but can go to a self service housekeeping closet if you need new sheets, towels or toiletries. Only they never stocked the toiletries.

Wi-fi signal kept cutting out. Front facing rooms are very noisy. The floors are wooden so you hear every step the person above you takes and if they move a chair or anything.

The front desk staff were very accommodating and tried. (They charge your credit card for the entire stay when you check in.) No management or maintenance staff in the evening or on weekends.

And that was just a few days ago.

I can't speak for other hotels in the chain but if this is anything like the others, I'll never stay with them again.

I checked out all the hotels listed by Susan, and they are more expensive than the Hotel Relais Bosquet that I have booked.
Hotel Bosquet is $689.28 and Hotel des Duexlles is $857, though I like it and I wonder if we should move to the heart of Paris,
rather than stay near the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. We want to see those places, but I would love to be in a
cool neighborhood where we can stroll easily to a cafe.
The Hotel Bosquet is closer to the Rue Cler area.

Any thoughts?
Thanks,
Phyllis

Posted by
9429 posts

phyllis, you didn't say what your budget is in your first post so I listed the ones I recommend.

People need to look each one up to see if it meets their specific criteria (rate, AC, etc).

Ile St Louis is my favorite neighborhood and well worth every penny imo. Hotel St Louis en l'Isle is the least expensive one I believe, on ISL.

Posted by
2466 posts

Unfortunately, you really can't have everything you want - price, location near the Eiffel Tower, air-conditioning, elevator, street markets, lively neighborhood...something will have to give.
If you aim to stick to your budget of 170 USD - that's only 148 EU - you won't find a quadruple room with a/c that's close to the Eiffel Tower. If that's what you want, you should give your budget another thought and see if you can come up with a little more money.

Did you know that apartment measurements include every available surface that can be measured? This includes closets, bathroom, hallways, kitchen - and all of that amounts to 1/3 to 1/2 the space advertised. What's left for sleeping will be worse than "cramped", you will be miserable. The air-conditioning units - if there are any - are the portable kind, and there is usually only one per apartment. These units make a lot of noise, and unlike hotels, residential apartment buildings have noise and nuisance restrictions, so tenants aren't allowed to run machines of any kind after 10 PM. You'd have to turn off the a/c and open the windows - or you'll get a visit from an angry neighbor. It is extremely hot in August, and doesn't always cool down at night. If you open the windows, you'll have to deal with street noise - especially if you're in a lively neighborhood.

You might not be aware that the Mayor is trying to shut down illegal vacation rentals, which includes almost all of them listed on the Internet. If the apartment owner is sanctioned, the property must be taken off the market immediately. The usual excuse is "plumbing problems or construction" - but you will have to scramble to find another place to stay at the last minute. If this is your first trip to Paris and especially if you don't speak much French, you would really benefit from having a friendly, English-speaking front desk staff to help with directions, tickets, and anything else you might need. You can also drop your luggage at a hotel, if you arrive before your room is ready - which is not normally the case with apartments. You don't want to be stuck hauling all your luggage around for a few hours before you can get into the apartment, especially in hot weather. Though it's true that Parisian hotel rooms are small, when you take into account the way the apartments are measured, there is really not much difference - so I suggest you book a hotel, relax and enjoy your vacation.

Now for some good news - it's easy to look for a quadruple room or two adjoining rooms in a hotel with air-conditioning.
I just used Google Maps, entered Eiffel Tower for the address, and used the "search nearby" function for "hotels". You can also use sites like booking.com or hotels.com and use the filters to check for a/c and anything else you'd like.
Here's a hotel with a/c, two adjoining rooms (this also gives you 2 full bathrooms), fits your budget and is only a 15 min walk away from the Eiffel Tower:
http://www.timhotel.com/fr/nos-hotels-details/1-timhotel-tour-eiffel-3.htm#tab-presentation

I doubt that you and your family will want to spend all your time wandering around looking at the Eiffel Tower for the whole time you'll be in Paris - there is just so much else to see and do! If you go into the Montparnasse area, a little to the East, hotels become more available and a lot cheaper. The area is more lively than rue Cler, and has a lot of interesting things to do, including an outdoor food market.

Here are 2 other hotels with a/c, even less expensive than the one near the Eiffel Tower: - so you can see that the neighborhood does make a difference. All the hotels are basic but clean and have a/c and comfortable beds and/or decent sofa beds.
http://www.timhotel.com/en/our-hotels-details/19-Timhotel-Odessa-Montparnasse-3.htm#tab-presentation
http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-0803-ibis-paris-maine-montparnasse-14th/index.shtml#

Sure beats sleeping in a cramped, overheated apartment, right?

Posted by
9429 posts

Citadines can also be very expensive.

Re: Nôtre Dame area being crowded... some select areas are, but not the vast majority. By "ND area" I mean the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th arrondissement, closer to the river.

Posted by
2261 posts

"You might not be aware that the Mayor is trying to shut down illegal vacation rentals, which includes almost all of them listed on the Internet. If the apartment owner is sanctioned, the property must be taken off the market immediately. The usual excuse is "plumbing problems or construction" - but you will have to scramble to find another place to stay at the last minute. If this is your first trip to Paris and especially if you don't speak much French, you would really benefit from having a friendly, English-speaking front desk staff to help with directions, tickets, and anything else you might need. You can also drop your luggage at a hotel, if you arrive before your room is ready - which is not normally the case with apartments. You don't want to be stuck hauling all your luggage around for a few hours before you can get into the apartment, especially in hot weather. Though it's true that Parisian hotel rooms are small, when you take into account the way the apartments are measured, there is really not much difference - so I suggest you book a hotel, relax and enjoy your vacation."

Once again, when "reporting" on the dire and frightening situation with Paris apartment rentals (not), it is useful to also consider what the Mayor's task force has accomplished, which is not much. The chance of you being left in the lurch remains very small. There have been a few sanctions against owners, and a few people have been inconvenienced when a rental suddenly is made unavailable. Some renters have resorted to securing a cancelable hotel reservation to cover them in the event something happens to their rental. Is it a risk? Sure it is, but chances are very good that you'll have no issues.

If we can stick to facts and not engage in scare tactics meant to support one locals' agenda, I think that would be good.

Posted by
83 posts

Just a little clarification. We know we will be making choices about our lodging (not getting everything on our list or increasing the budget). We are traveling with a backpack each and minimal. We do have flex with our budget but I just prefer to stay under 200 so I'm using a ball park of 170USD. I'm looking at the apt. sizes and have found some good options that are closer to 450sf. Much of the feed back here has helped reassure me we would like to stay in the Latin Quarters 5th or 6th Arr. and AC is a priority. I understand these apartments will not be much bigger than a hotel (if that) but we want a different experience than a hotel and I like the idea of having at least 1 bedroom - while it may be small, it will allow for some type of privacy amongst ourselves if someone should need it-- say a rest or not feeling good. We anticipate leaving to explore early in the AM and if we are in the area, coming back for a "siesta" and then enjoying dinner/evening out and about, coming back to sleep. It is good to know that the mayor is trying to make changes to rentals- incase our reservation gets canceled.. I may consider the advice of booking a hotel (understanding their cancelation policy..) as a backup. This will definitely be an adventure and your comments, are very valuable to me. Thank you for taking the time to share!!

Posted by
287 posts

I can give a vote of approval to Relais Bosquet. I've visited Paris many times and stayed in many different parts of the city, but I love Relais Bosquet. The breakfast is more than ample, the staff kind and attentive, the rooms are large by Euro standards and very clean, the beds are comfortable, the mini fridge is a nice plus, nice size bathroom, big windows that open to let in the fresh air, room darkening shutters (if you need that sort of thing), etc.

Bonus is having the Rue Cler with food and ATMs close by and Ecole Militaire Metro stop is a short walk away. Not to mention being able to stroll to the Eiffel Tower at any time and sit in the park.

I'll be back to Relais Bosquet again in October for the second year in a row, that's how much I enjoyed my stay last year.

Posted by
489 posts

ehotchk since you're still shopping for a place to stay let me suggest Vacation In Paris (VIP) www.vacationinparis.com. They have apartments for rent all over the city, and they are helpful and first-hand knowledgeable about the apartments. We've rented through them for several years and have been very happy with what they have to offer. I just checked on their site and they seem to have apartments that would meet your requirements (or come pretty close).
There's no question that an apartment is bigger than a hotel room. You talked about 32 sq meters - we stayed in one that was 36 sq m and it was waay bigger than a $170 Paris hotel room. It's a real treat to have some room to stretch out without tripping over your luggage, have a fridge to store things, etc. We have a place without A/C this trip, so we'll buy an inexpensive fan or two if it's uncomfortably hot (as it may well be in August).
VIP sends you the key to your apartment before you leave the states so you can drop your luggage off when you get there.
Just thought you'd like to know.

Posted by
2466 posts

Dave - these are not scare tactics, but facts about the current rental situation. Those of us who live in Paris have access to much more information than many of you do. Though it is taking time for the Mayor's office to contact the numerous absentee property owners, there have been more than 650 apartments taken off the market in the last year. Since the "sweeps" - visits to the apartments by the Mayor's agents - are not announced in advance, and are continuing, it would be a good idea to have a refundable back up plan.

As far as size goes - everything hinges on the actual layout of an apartment, which is often deceptive. Make certain to examine the photos carefully before falling in love with the ceiling beams and cute furnishings. All apartments are not equal, the better ones book up at least one year in advance, and many cost more than the OP is willing to spend.

Just so you know.

Posted by
2261 posts

Well, from the limited information I can get here in America :-), it would appear that there are somewhere between 20,000 and 60,000 vacation rentals in Paris, and that there are about 15 people on the Mayor's task force, and that the SECOND sweep took place just a few months ago. So, with about 1.1% to 3.3% of potential rentals being "taken off the market", this does qualify as scare tactics to serve an agenda, but of course, that's just how I see it, ymmv.

Anyone ever stayed in the Hotel Diana? It isn't Ile St. Louis but not too far from that area.
The price is right and it has good reviews.(not 100%) but worth considering.