Hotels don’t have to be très cher in the French capital; here are seven—all under US$125 a night—that let you in on the city’s cosmopolitan charms without breaking the bank.
A 15-minute stroll from the Eiffel Tower on the banks of the Seine, this former 1970s office block has been transformed into accommodation that successfully bridges the hotel-hostel divide. Room decor is more functional than chic, but there’s a gym and sauna, cooking school, restaurant, and a bar that serves drinks and snacks till 1 a.m. Some bedrooms sleep up to six, so they’re great for families or groups. If you’re feeling creative, you might even be able to stay for free: three rooms are reserved for artists who can reside for up to six months in return for providing art for the hotel’s public spaces (51 Quai de Grenelle; 33-1/4409-0013).
The name of this stylish little spot tucked down a side street near the Place d’Italie stands for “Community of Quality.” The front desk also serves as a boutique selling gifts from local concept store Gab & Jo, while off to the side is a café-lounge where you can nibble on cheese and charcuterie while planning the day’s adventures (or take in a film screening in the evening). The 50 rooms are compact but cool, mixing vintage decorative accents with the modern must-haves such as a flat-screen TV and fast Wi-Fi (15 Rue Edouard Manet; 33-1/4586-3599).
Situated in the trendy 2nd arron-dissement, the latest member of the London-based Hoxton hotel family inhabits a refitted 18th-century townhouse where spiral staircases and courtyards link a restaurant, café, speakeasy-style bar, and 172 guest quarters. Entry-level rooms are cramped—they’re dubbed “Shoeboxes” for good reason—but the rest are roomy enough, and all come with an hour of free calls to anywhere in the world, a snack breakfast hung outside your door each morning, and a fridge that you can stock with reasonably priced provisions from the shop downstairs. Hungry for more? The restaurant turns out ingredients-driven bistro classics like steak frites and pâté en croûte (30–32 Rue du Sentier; 33-1/8565-7500).
Just one good reason to stay at this art-filled hotel near the 10th arrondissement’s Gare du Nord train station is its intimate marble-paved courtyard café, where you can easily imagine yourself starring in your own French art-house movie as your fellow bohemian diners linger over thick croque monsieur sandwiches and strong café au laits. Upstairs, corridors decked out with risqué Japanese prints lead to individually decorated guest rooms that come in three sizes: Small, Medium, and Large. The latter are filled with vintage furnishings and the arty twists that the owner—graffiti artist and nightlife impresario André Saraiva—is known for (18 Rue de la Fidélité; 33-1/4416-0330).
Some hotels try hard to be cool, and some just effortlessly are. Mama Shelter is in the latter category. Hip, tattooed staff will check you in next to sales cases displaying those must-buy vacation essentials—Mexican wrestling masks, motorbike helmets, snow globes, etc.—before the elevator whisks you up to a darkened hallway where your small but sleek Philippe Starck–designed (and iMac-equipped) bedroom awaits. Downstairs, the buzzy bar and restaurant are throbbing every night of the week with hotel guests and locals. One downside? The nearest metro station in this corner of northeast Paris is not particularly close (109 Rue de Bagnolet; 33-1/4348-4848).
Pigalle is Paris’s red-light district and although it’s certainly tamer than it used to be, there’s still a rather deliciously louche air about the place. Capitalizing on this ambience is Le Pigalle, which opened in late 2015 with just 40 stylishly furnished rooms done up in saucy artwork, offbeat vintage decor items, and iPads loaded with playlists curated by the resident musicologist; some even feature leather-upholstered bars or a turntable and selection of records. The ground-floor reception area doubles as a chic café, while the basement lounge is home to a vintage Wurlitzer jukebox discovered during the 19th-century building’s top-to-bottom renovation (9 Rue Frochot; 33-1/ 4878-3714).
This is the second recent opening in the French capital by Dutch chain CitizenM (the other is in the business district of La Défense), with 338 rooms and a rooftop bar overlooking the Seine and the greenery of the Jardin des Plantes beyond. The rooms are all the same size—compact—but the beds are extra large and blackout blinds ensure a good night’s rest. As with all CitizenM hotels, there’s a loungy “living room” lobby area where guests gravitate to hang out on designer sofas, grab a barista-made coffee, or eat from the 24-hour restaurant (8 Rue van Gogh; 33-1/8665-0740).
This article originally appeared in the August/September 2017 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Paris for Less”).