Choosing accommodation in Paris can be daunting simply because your expectation level is high. When you’re staying in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, you might already have some images in mind – canopy beds, silk sheets, ornate moldings. You probably won’t expect to find those things in the budget hotels in Paris, but if you’re looking for a bit of Parisian romance in a hotel at a reasonable price that’s definitely attainable.
Paris accommodation runs the gamut from the most luxurious hotels to basic bunk rooms in hostels, with everything in between. Staying in Paris isn’t typically cheap, as it’s an expensive city overall, but if you avoid the more expensive neighborhoods and you’re willing to do a little research, there are perfectly nice budget hotels in Paris that make the ideal homebase for a budget-friendly trip to the French capital.
There’s a breakdown below of the different kinds of accommodation you can expect to find in Paris, with links to more details about each one – and, in most cases, links to lists of accommodation options that include maps of the city so you know where exactly each place is.
As mentioned above, hotels in Paris come in all varieties along the typical hotel spectrum. If you can afford one of the high-end hotels, you’re spoiled for choices and you’re very lucky – but for the rest of us, finding a cheap hotel in Paris is an important component of staying within one’s travel budget.
Staying in a budget Paris hotel isn’t just about saving money, however, as many travelers prefer to avoid 4- and 5-star hotels because they’re too isolating. Walk into those hotels and you could be anywhere in the world. In a small or family-run 2- or 3-star hotel you’re more likely to have a better look at where you really are, and when you’re in Paris that’s a very good thing.
You will find that Right Bank hotels, primarily in the 16th and 8th arrondissement, tend to be more expensive than Left Bank hotels – and hotels around St. Germain-des-Pres will generally be more expensive than both Montparnasse hotels and Blvd. St. Michel hotels. Other inexpensive and safe neighborhoods to consider are Rue Mouffetard (which is suggested by Rick Steves), Portes d’Orleans/Alesia, Montmartre (where you’ll find several hostels), and Bois de Vincennes. Even though some of these neighborhoods may not be as close to the major museums, the Paris Metro will get you everywhere in no time.
There are plenty of comfortable and affordable hotels in Paris, and the articles listed below should help you find one that fits your travel needs and is in a part of the city you want to be in.
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As expensive as Paris is for accommodation, there’s a long list of hostels in Paris that you can stay in to save money on your trip. The hostels are scattered around in several parts of the city, but there are a couple of neighborhoods where there’s a higher concentration of hostels than in other areas.
Most of the Paris hostels use the English word “hostel” in their name, but there is also a French term for “youth hostel” – auberge de jeunesse – that you may occasionally see. These articles include listings for hostels in various parts of the city, and each has a map showing exactly where the hostels are.
- Paris Hostels Guide
- Comparing Paris Hostels: What to Look For
- Left Bank Hostels in Paris
- Right Bank Hostels in Paris
- Best Party Hostels in Paris
- Hostels in Paris Near the Eiffel Tower
- Hostels in Paris Near Notre Dame
- Hostels in Paris in Montmartre
- Hostels in Paris in the Latin Quarter
- Hostels in Paris in the Marais
- Hostels in Paris in St. Germain des Pres
- Hostels in Paris Near Gare de Lyon Station
- Hostels in Paris Near Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Other Alternatives for Paris Accommodation
Whether it’s for budget reasons or not, if you’re looking for something a little different than the standard hotel or hostel options in Paris you do have alternatives. Here are a few you might not think would be available in Paris, as well as some French accommodation terms to look for on search sites.
- French Words for Accommodation – Although the words “hotel” and “hostel” are widely used in Paris, some other words you may see that are accommodation-related are:
- hebergement – This term just means “lodging,” or “giving shelter.”
- auberge – An auberge is typically a place that provides meals in addition to lodging, and they’re more often found in the countryside rather than the big cities in France. These are places you might go for dinner, even if you don’t stay the night.
- relais – The term relais comes from the old relais de poste, or postal relay stations. They were established in the 1400s by Louis IX, and although they were originally for the sole use of the royal messenger service they were eventually opened up for use by universities and then later to the general public.
- chambre d’hote – If you’re looking for the French term for B&B, this is it. Many B&Bs use the English “bed and breakfast,” but the phrase chambre d’hote is well-known enough that it’s widely used throughout France. In some cases, a chambre d’hote will include both breakfast and dinner, which is a real treat. Because these are smaller and most often in the host’s home, you get to see a place more like a local might. (Read more about B&Bs in Paris)
- pension – This isn’t a type of lodging, but it’s a term you’ll hear associated with accommodation – it refers to any meals that may be included with your lodging, especially when it’s the style of an auberge or a chambre d’hote. If all meals are included, the term is full pension, and if one meal a day is included, the term is demi-pension.
- Camping in Paris – You can’t pitch a tent in the city center, but there are some camping areas on the outskirts of Paris that may be good if you really need to escape the city or you’re on a super-strict budget. In some of the campgrounds in Paris you don’t need to bring a tent or camping gear, either, as they also have hostel-style multi-person housing (semi-permanent large tents, modular housing, etc.). Do your homework before you book a stay at a Paris campground to make sure you’re picking one that provides everything you’ll need, and don’t forget to investigate transportation into Paris so you know how long it will take (and how much it will cost) to get back and forth. You’ll sometimes find Paris camping sites mixed in with the Paris hostels listings, but they’re typically clear in that they use the word “camping” somewhere in the name.
- Lodging for Students in Paris – Students in Paris are likely to have housing arranged for them through whatever school they attend back home, but if you’re tasked with finding your own accommodation during your studies you might look at what are called foyers. They can be run by non-profit or religious organizations, and often have curfews that are fairly early, so if you’re a night owl or would rather not have restrictions on your comings and goings foyers probably won’t be ideal. You can check this link for information about Catholic foyers.
- Lodging for Researchers in Paris – If you’re visiting Paris on a research trip, you may be able to stay at the Cite Universitaire at their university campus.
- Lodging for Religious Pilgrims in Paris – Sacre Coeur offers accommodation for pelerins, or religious pilgrims.
- Hotel in a Hospital – The Hotel-Hospitel (next to Notre Dame) offers hotel rooms to tourists – if you don’t mind walking through the hospital lobby, which includes a lovely courtyard garden.
>> Also consider renting an apartment in Paris – Paris vacation rentals can be a good way to save money, especially if you’re with a group, and they’ll give you a chance to see the city more like a local.