Paris for the Tragically Unhip
August 24, 2008 2:45 PM   Subscribe

Where should two young, but not incredibly hip, people stay in Paris for 4 nights?

Here's the basic gist, we'll be in Paris for 4 nights (Sept 15th - 19th) and are looking for a good location. Right now we're looking at renting either a hotel or doing one of the apartment rentals, but the biggest issue is location.

The plan is basically standard tourist stuff, we're going to do the Louvre, we're going to do Sacre-Coeur, the Eiffel Tower, etc. So we'd like a location that lets us access those sort of things BUT we would also enjoy a place that has a really good vibe of it's own. We'll probably spend at least a day just wandering where we're at, and for certain will eat breakfast and dinner in the area. Good bars and dancing though? Not really necessary. Good cafe's that are open late are.

Also, one of us speaks some french, but really just enough to say "Hello, I don't speak French."
posted by KirTakat to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

My husband and I stayed in Paris for three nights just this summer and we really liked Le Village hostel.
The neighborhood near Sacre-Coeur is nice enough to explore on its own even if you aren't into the nightclub scene and the hostel was also nice. The room we were in had its own bathroom which was cool and breakfast was included.

The people that work in the hostel are also fluent in English and willing to converse in it, which definitely helps. Mefi mail me if you have any other questions about the hostel or the area.

Oh yes, you can get to all the major sites via the subway which is very close by.
posted by aetg at 3:21 PM on August 24, 2008

Several years ago, my wife and I stayed at the Hotel Clement in the 6th arrondissement. Right around the corner was the Mabilllon metro station, and we found an amazing amount of excellent Paris culture within walking distance. I'm pretty sure you can walk to the Louvre and Notre Dame from there, and Saint Sulpice was literally right outside our window (although we did take a cab to the Eiffel Tower). The staff spoke English and was very friendly. I highly recommend spending several hours a day at the many fine cafes in the area just sitting and enjoying being IN PARIS.

Also, try to speak French as much as possible, even if you're terrible at it. They will love you for it.
posted by drinkcoffee at 3:57 PM on August 24, 2008

Price Range?
posted by bitdamaged at 4:09 PM on August 24, 2008

For a first tourist visit to Paris I suggest the Left Bank, somewhere near the intersection of Boulevard St. Michel and Boulevard St. Germain or within a mile of there. Easy walking to lots of sites, great metro access, and in the middle of tourist-friendly Paris. You can pay anything you want for a hotel room in Paris, but for my comfort level I'd expect to pay at least 200€ a night. I have a few suggestions on my blog: the #1 I'd recommend is the Royal St. Michel, currently branded Best Western. Demand an interior room though; it's right on Boul. St. Michel and will be very noisy.
posted by Nelson at 4:40 PM on August 24, 2008

Response by poster: Price Range

I'd like to keep it under $700 (US) for the 4 nights. At that range I've found several fairly nice looking hotels, and numerous apartments.

Thanks for the suggestions so far everyone!
posted by KirTakat at 4:43 PM on August 24, 2008

A bit more expensive that what you'd like but the Hotel du Vieux Paris is supposedly quite good.
And if you're talking about hipness, that's the place Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg stayed in where they were living in Paris.
It's near Saint-Michel so Notre Dame cathedral and the Panthéon are very close and there's a lot of cafe and general parisianess all around.
Bonus, the best underground comic book shop of Paris is just in front of it.
posted by SageLeVoid at 9:13 PM on August 24, 2008

You want the Hotel Du Champ de Mars if you can get it. We stayed there at almost the exact same time of year in 2005 and it was great. The people are friendly and speak English and the hotel is nice and super clean.

The location is wonderful. You're really, really easy walking distance to the Eiffel Tower. A half block away is a Parisian pedestrian market with shops that sell fresh bread, pastries, cheese, fruit, a crepe cart, etc. We ate at the crepe cart several times because it was so good. There is a good cafe a half block away and a laundromat about a block down. A Metro stop is just around the corner. Walking from the hotel directly to the river gets you to one of the Seine River boat docks, where you can take a night time cruise that is awe-inspiring.

Be aware that there is little or no nightlife in this section of town, but if that's not what you're looking for, you'll do fine. Prices are extremely reasonable.

The downsides? The rooms are small (as are most places in Paris) and do not have air conditioning, which is not generally a problem in September. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Rick Steves Paris 2008.
posted by cnc at 11:40 PM on August 24, 2008

Check out the prices on private rooms at the Hotel Square Coulaincourt. Its a hostel that was converted from a hotel, and the rooms are all very well appointed. I really loved the location in a quaint street in Montmartre. From up there, its easy to get your bearings when heading out to do sightseeing..
posted by osloheart at 1:35 AM on August 25, 2008

Are you still looking? I love love love staying at the Hotel Levesque. It's in a good location, it's across from LeNotre (awesomest patisserie!) and right above a fromagerie, so you will be woken each morning by the fresh scent of chessemongers. Or cheese. Each morning starts off with pastries and cheese on a cobblestone street, no kidding.

The buildling is classic Pa-ree with a narrow elevator, tight staircase, and somewhat small rooms, but everything is in great shape and just beautiful, very colorful, and fresh. The people working there do speak English. The neighborhood is by no means trendy, but it's very classic what-you-think-of-when-you-think-of-Paris without being completely filled with other tourists. Totally, totally memorable.
posted by whatzit at 3:12 AM on August 25, 2008

My boyfriend and I are on the last day of a European vacation, and we just stayed in Paris from Aug. 18 to Aug. 22. We sound similar to you, in that one of us speaks a little french, we wanted to do some touristy stuff but some non-touristy stuff, and we're not too big on clubbing or dancing or anything of the like.

We stayed at the Hotel Bellechasse. It's a little more expensive than your price range, but the atmosphere and location are both amazing. If you turn left coming out of the hotel it's literally about a 30 second walk to the Musee D'Orsay, which is on the bank of the Seine. You can walk along to Seine and see all the little book carts, cafe's, etc. A cafe next door to the hotel was open until at least 11pm. There's a metro station about a 2 minute walk going the other way from the hotel which will get you anywhere you need in Paris. You might already have done this, but I recommend getting a 4 day Metro pass your first day there; the Metro really is great.

The Hotel Bellechasse offers a small breakfast, but it's a little expensive. I would reccomend going to a market your first day and buying some food to keep in the room's mini-fridge (if you end up at an apartment or a hotel that has one).

This is getting long, and I haven't praised the hotel enough. The whole hotel was designed by Christian Lacroix, and each room has a different design. I don't really care about fashion, but I'm an artist and I really liked the idea of the hotel. There's photos of the room on their website. The rooms are stunning and just "hip" enough to make you feel kinda cool and Parisian without feeling like, oh crap, I should be wearing all black and smoking a cigarette whilst discussing Duchamp. Everyone who worked at the hotel was incredibly kind and helpful - they even offered us umbrellas as we headed out in the rain.

If you're into books, don't forget to check out Shakespeare & Company - it's an experience in itself. Have an amazing time on your trip!
posted by DulcineaX at 7:15 AM on August 25, 2008

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