Pairs in September 2013

My husband and I are going to Paris in September. We have never been abroad so this is our big adventure...of a lifetime. We will be there for 5 nights. Planning on staying in the Latin Quarter 5th arrondissement. Is this a good idea? I was thinking about this or the 7th arrondissement? I don't want the most expensive hotel but not the cheapest either. I want more for my money. The nicest that I can afford or get for my money. I have booked at Hotel Saint Jacques. Has anyone stayed there? Any suggestions on hotels would be welcome.

Posted by Bob
647 posts

Hi Diana. If you haven't been abroad, and this is a big trip, the best advice I can give is to buy Rick Steves Paris or France book; it will answer hundreds of questions, and hugely add to the enjoyment of your planning and your trip. Where you stay in Paris is important, but not critical, since you can get anywhere easily via metro. Rick's book will have many good hotel suggestions. With some advance planning, you will have a great trip. Enjoy!

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8948 posts

Diana I like 4th 5th or 6th much better then the 7th. but if you prefer a quieter atmosphere the 7th is fine.
What is your budget range , people can suggest hotels if you post actual amount . I have about 6 or 7 I recommend again and again, mostly budget, or budget moderates. ( that I have stayed in )

Posted by Claudette
huntington beach, ca, usa
505 posts

Check out hotel reviews on WhenI was researching my first trip to Paris I found valuable advice on asking for a room with a view of Eiffel Tower when I was checking out my hotel and I was able to enjoy the twinkling lights every evening from my humble hotel room. Sigh!

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5713 posts

I think your plan to stay in the 5th is good. I stayed in the 7th my first trip and found it to be a bit too quiet and out of the way. In 2 other trips I stayed in the 5th and much preferred it. Where we stayed was quiet, but there is more to do in that area. The 5th is also more walkable to sites. Sorry I can't recommend hotels, as I stayed in apartments. Have a fantastic trip!!

Posted by Sarah
St. Louis, MO USA
1688 posts

We stayed in the 5th and 7th and honestly I liked both for different reasons. The 5th, especially near the Sorbonne University, is bustling and a real taste of city life. The 7th is quiet, at least the street where we stayed was. But I like quiet, especially at night, so I had no problem with it. What's your budget? We stayed at the Hotel Londres Eiffel in the 7th, which is about 2 blocks from the Eiffel tower (so close you can't see it from the hotel). We paid about 200 euros per night for a room for 2 people. We had our own bathroom and the room was nicely decorated but very small (this is the norm in Paris, in my experience, unless you have a huge hotel budget). The hotel also offers breakfast which we didn't pay for - we went to a Monoprix every morning and bought breakfast for a few euros. In the 5th we stayed at the Hotel Cluny Sorbonne for about 100 euros per night. We had an en-suite bathroom but the room was just as small and not decorated so nicely (i.e. the TV was small, older, and not a flatscreen; the furniture was a bit beat-up, etc.). One really nice thing about our hotel in the 5th is that we were a 10-minute walk from the St.-Michel / Notre-Dame Metro stop, which has access to 2 RER lines and 2 Metro lines.

Posted by steven
white plains, ny, usa
1201 posts

Quiet atmosphere ,the 7th ? Get a good night's sleep , absolutely ! Hotel De L'Empereur ( or Hotel Muguet , same owners ) , right across the street from Les Invalides on Rue Chevert . Spending ten days there in October . La Tour Maubourg metro stop is a block away ,very covenient to anywhere in town .

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8948 posts

Diana, there are quiet streets in the 5th , do not worry about that, some people think the 5th is all Rue Mouffetard, but its not.. lol I read the reviews for Hotel Saint Jacques and to me they looked generally very good, but I think to people who are used to 5 star, or large rooms they may find it different in Paris. Did you book the regular room or a deluxe room, the cheapest rooms apparently involve taking a flight of stairs. I would stay there , but I am not high maintenance .. clean , good location , if price is right I would be happy. You could also look at Hotel Diana and Hotel Des Grande Hommes, I have stayed in both and both are nice,, HDGH is really cute and you can get view rooms of Pantheon.

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
3775 posts

I've stayed at the Hotel St. Jacques twice and like it. My favorite though, is Hotel de Lutece on Ile St. Louis (little island east of Notre Dame), which is the 4th arrondissement. My favorite area to stay is the 4th, 5th and 6th, as close to the river as possible, as others have said. My most favorite area is Ile St. Louis. It's a little village unto itself in the very heart of Paris surrounded by the river and amazing views. Hotel St. Jacques is nice, has a lot of old world charm, but it is not 5 star by any means. Website photos make it look nicer than it is, plus they show their best, most expensive rooms (all hotels do this). I'd say it's a nice, middle-of-the-road, hotel in a great location on rue des Ecoles - a half block from the Maubert-Mutualite Metro stop, Blvd St. Germain, and the Pantheon. Very close to Notre Dame. We had a corner room with a big balcony both times which we really enjoyed. I'm a very light sleeper and had no trouble sleeping at Hotel St. Jacques. It was quiet at night even though we were right on the street, with the window open for fresh air. They have a normal size elevator that I think goes to all floors.

Posted by Diana
Rockville, Virginia, United States
5 posts

I don't require a 5 star. We got a rate of 189 stairs for hotel saint Jacques. I just a perfect trip and the best hotel possible for the money.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
1395 posts

Well I stayed at the Hotel St-Jacques in 1963 and was thrilled to have a sink with hot water in my room for the equivalent of $2 a night! :) From all I've heard on this board and elsewhere, it's a fine place to stay and the location is hard to beat. You can walk to many of the sites and reach the rest easily by Metro. Generally I'd say the 5th is less expensive than the 7th, and better located for most sightseeing. Have fun and don't assume this is your last trip to Paris!

Posted by Jan
Arlington, VA, USA
121 posts

Diana: We love the Latin Quarter. My husband and I stayed in HOTEL DIANA (Wouldn't that be fun?) in the Latin Quarter this past August for 5 nights. It gets really great reviews on Trip Advisor and we really loved it...especially since we were able to stay in the newly renovated and pretty large superior room on the top floor. Beautiful huge bathroom and tub/shower. Larger than any we've seen on our trips to Europe. It's in a great location just a block or so from the Cluny & Sorbonne, walking distance to Luxembourg Gardens in one direction, then in other direction its 10-15 min walk to the Seine, Notre Dame, etc. Also just a few blocks to Metro. The owner of the Hotel Diana is terrific. Great little breakfast (pastries, cereal, fruit, coffee, tea, juice, etc.) in the small lobby. Very friendly and helpful staff. Best thing is that it has a small elevator & air conditioning. The day we arrived (August 19, 2012) it was 100 degrees in Paris! European a/c is much less "powerful" than what we're used to in the States. She felt bad for us so she provided us with a fan also. Hopefully it won't be as stifling when you visit in September. They've been renovating rooms on other floors too so you should ask for one of those. But I highly recommend the room at the top! Here's the Hotel's web site link: Also, as other posters have recommended: If you haven't already purchased the Rick Steves France book you really should. It's invaluable! At a minimum, you should check your local library for a copy, read through it and just copy the pages you need then throw them away after -- saves time & space. I see you might be a neighbor (?) of mine --- but don't think the Rockville I know is in Virginia!!! Bon Voyage!

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
3775 posts

Wow Dick, that's very cool you stayed at the Hotel St. Jacques in 1963. That's the year the movie Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn came out. The outside of Hotel St. Jacques was used in the film as the hotel they all stayed in.

Posted by Bev
Decorah, Iowa, USA
280 posts

We have also stayed at the Hotel Saint Jacques on two different trips. One of our rooms was fairly small but the next year, both the room and the bathroom were huge. I liked the breakfast area and the fact that the hotel was fairly close to a metro. There was also a self service laundry about two blocks from the hotel. On our last trip, we stayed at the Hotel Saint Christophe. It is closer to the Pantheon area. Our room was very small. I am not sure but I believe the reservation we had included breakfast. The prices were less than the Saint Jacques. We have also stayed at the Hotel Claude Bernard, very close to the Sorbonne. I liked it but my husband didn't. I envy you! Have fun!

Posted by Diana
Rockville, Virginia, United States
5 posts

So it sounds like Hotel Saint Jacques is a good one! I think I'll relax and start making the fun plans now. Tell me, is the food as adventurous as it sounds? I don't like rabbit, veal, livers, horse etc. Is there simple good food in Paris for the fair of heart?
I like chicken and fish...simple fare.

Posted by Cathy
Apache, OK
109 posts

We don't like adventure foods either...except maybe in the dessert category! Chicken, hamburges, ham sandwiches ... good eats all over the place. Best french fries -ever- at Taverne de Cluny. Yummy chicken at Cafe Roussillon on Rue de Grenelle. Quiche at Cafe George V on Champs Elysees (mom had spaghetti). We could live for weeks at a time on sandwiches from Boulangerie Julien @ 75 rue Saint Honore. Some may call us uncivilized for this next comment: the best croque monsieur we had in Paris was from the snack shop at the top of the Eiffel Tower. So, as you can see, we aren't "high cuisine" folks, but we had lots of good food on 3 trips to Paris. You will be just fine.

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
1275 posts

My top criteria for Paris hotels: Is the place close to a Metro stop? Does it have free WiFi? Is it away from busy streets? Then the usual concerns about atmosphere, safety, which arrondisment, may matter. But the Metro system puts you close to everything; the street atmosphere comes from the locals not the tourists; WiFi lets you do up-to-the-minute research and buy tickets and maybe make restaurant reservations on whatever connection you carry (an ultra netbook in my case). These practicalities make more difference to a pleasant stay than having a view of the Eiffel Tower.