Paris: so much to see, do, eat, shop, admire and ogle, so why bother splurging on an expensive bed for the night when you’re hardly going to be there? Before you go roughing it, remember that Paris demands a certain level of style – it’s the home of fashion, romance and fine cuisine, after all.
Enter, then, a host of fantastic hotels, hostels and even a campsite where it’s possible to find a chic abode for less than €150 a night.
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Best for style: Mama Shelter
Mama Shelter started the trend for design on a budget when it opened in 2009. Having extended across France and beyond in the past decade, with hotels in Rio, Los Angeles and Belgrade, its style-on-a-budget brand has gained fans worldwide. Their Paris hotel, close to the Pere Lachaise cemetery and the hip Belleville district, is the original and was designed by Philippe Starck.
The top French designer’s quirky vibe runs throughout the 172 bedrooms, which are small and cocoon-like with black and grey decor, as well as the laidback restaurant, which offers a number of dishes from Michelin-star chef Guy Savoy.
Doubles from €79 (£71), room only
Best for hanging out: Hoxton Paris
Following on from its success in London, the Hoxton opened in Paris in the summer of 2017 and has quickly become the place to see and be seen, whether staying in the hotel, sipping cocktails in one of its bars or dining in its restaurant. While its size – the 172 rooms are set on long corridors over four floors – can feel a little impersonal at times, the personal touch comes from the friendly staff, while the cosy florals and velvets with full-height windows and Moroccan-inspired cocktails in Jacques Bar make it a destination in itself. Rooms are thoughtfully designed with leather headboards, herringbone fabrics and parquet floors.
Doubles from €169 (£152), B&B (free light breakfast bag delivered to your room)
Best for a really tight budget: Generator Hostel
Time was, the word hostel was a byword for grimy showers, uncomfortable bunks and snoring roommates, but with the new breed of cool hostels from the Generator chain – found throughout Europe – you can expect a fantastic rooftop bar with views towards the Sacre-Coeur, a cool brasserie, free wifi and the cool Canal Saint-Martin district on the doorstep. Of course they can’t guarantee a lack of snoring roommates, but that’s where the private rooms come in, with twin or quad beds.
Dorm beds from €21 (£19), private twin rooms from €72 (£65), room only (breakfast from €2)
Best for escaping the city: Okko Hotels
This relatively new chain of four-star hotels is springing up in cities across France. With its cool concept of smallish rooms balanced with a large central area known as The Club, there’s plenty of space to relax. One of its main attractions is that the room price has no hidden extras and includes breakfast, an aperitif, snacks, wifi, international phone calls (up to €10), videos on demand and access to the fitness suite.
For all the pros, however, there is a con – distance from the main sights. The Porte de Versailles hotel is a half-hour train ride from the Eiffel Tower; while their Rueil Malmaison is even further out. A third Paris hotel, at the more central Montparnasse, is due to open in 2019.
Doubles from €113 (£102)
Best for a fun weekend: Idol Hotel
Get your groove on before you check into this disco-themed hotel, where the rooms are named after classic tunes such as “Ma Cherie Amour”, “Light My Fire” and “Lady Soul”.
Decor is loud, shamelessly bold and wonderfully kitsch – you might never have seen this much gold (in a good way, though) unless you’ve stayed in Trump Towers – but it’s all fantastically fun. Music lovers will also appreciate the concierge’s tips on where to find Paris’ best concerts, gigs and clubs.
Doubles from €90, room only (breakfast from €8.50)
Best for the planet: Solar Hotel
This pricing policy of this eco-friendly budget hotel is dedicated to being transparent, with everything included in the room price and no surprises, keeping the same price all year round. This extends beyond the generous organic breakfast to also include wifi, phone calls and bicycles to borrow to explore the city.
Rooms are simple with white walls and splashes of colour in the blue curtains and orange headboards; some have balconies overlooking the leafy courtyard garden. Among the hotel’s many ecological initiatives, there are solar panels (of course), energy-saving lightbulbs and waste is sorted for recycling.
Hotel closed until 31 August 2020
Doubles from €89 (£80), B&B
Best for stopovers: CitizenM
With three different hotels in Paris, the most central being that at the Gare de Lyon (making for an easy onward journey the next day) this international brand of design-led, cost-conscious hotels subscribes to the ethos of stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap; but that doesn’t mean that service, decor and facilities are compromised.
The Gare de Lyon hotel has 338 rooms, with square beds tucked into the end of the room, luxury linen, an in-room power shower and unlimited free movies.
The communal areas offer the space that the rooms lack, with cool decor and plenty of room to sit back with a book or sip a cocktail.
Doubles from €71 (£64), room only (breakfast €14.95 if booked in advance)
Best for location: Hotel Jeanne d’Arc
Set in the heart of the Marais, one of Paris’ hippest districts, this three-star hotel was always a favourite with those in the know, but since its recent refurb it is a real gem.
All 34 of its rooms have had a facelift with elegant decor in neutral tones with splashes of muted colour. The new owners have thought of everything with tea and coffee-making facilities in the rooms, a simple but varied breakfast, and free wifi. If you can tear yourself away, get out into the area’s trendy bars and restaurants for aperitifs and dinner.
Doubles from €59 (£53), room only (breakfast €8)
Best for a friendly welcome: Hotel Port Royal
Run by the fourth generation of the same family, this simple but comfortable hotel makes for a great bolthole. It’s situated in the leafy fifth arrondissement, near the Sorbonne and a short stroll from the Jardin des Plantes.
Rooms are dinky and the decor isn’t flash. It’s also worth noting that some of the rooms only have a sink, rather than a full ensuite – shared toilets and showers are on the landing (remember when most hotels were like that?) – but everything is spick and span and staff are friendly.
Closed until further notice
Doubles from €68, room only (breakfast €8)
Best for families: Camping de Paris
Many of us have fond memories of camping in France as kids, but if the thought of kipping under damp canvas means you’ve consigned it firmly to the past, think again. The French have well and truly embraced glamping, and at Camping de Paris this means comfy beds and wooden floors in the safari-style tents, or kooky gypsy caravans and cosy cabins.
Set at the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, just 20-25 minutes from some of the main sights, the campsite offers a good option for families or those on a budget.
Takeaway meals can be bought from the cool new food truck, which serves pizza and other dishes, while fresh croissants can be delivered to your cabin for breakfast.
Tents for up to four people cost from €81 (£73) per night, breakfast from €4.50
Best for flea market fans: Mob hotel
This hotel in the Saint-Ouen district in northern Paris makes for a super-chic bolthole, with rates that leave plenty of dosh for spending in the nearby flea markets. The 92 rooms have bags of personality, with knick-knacks and vintage finds set off against clean and simple design. There is an inviting rooftop bar serving cocktails as well as a restaurant serving organic and sustainable produce.
Doubles from €71 (£64), room only
Best for kooky interiors: Mama Shelter Paris West
The second Paris address for Mama Shelter opened in December 2019, going back to where it all began for the ever-growing global empire of budget style hotels. Its swish architecture is the work of Jean-Michel Wilmotte, who redesigned the art nouveau landmark the Hotel Lutetia among many other impressive projects, while the kooky interiors come with an African vibe and are by top designers Dion & Arles. There are 207 rooms, a restaurant and roof-top bar from which you can admire Paris’ rooftops. It’s a little further away that other budget hotel options, but still only 15 minutes on the Metro to the centre.
Doubles from €109 (£98)
Best for peace and quiet: Hotel Passy Eiffel
Set in the elegant residential 16th arrondissement, the Hotel Passy Eiffel makes for a great bolthole from the sightseeing without having to disappear off into the suburbs for the night being just a short walk from Trocadero, and just over the river from the Eiffel Tower. The hotel has its own little courtyard, a spacious lobby and bar area, and its 49 rooms have modern design some with feature walls.
Doubles from €105 (£94)
Best for chic simplicity: Oh la la hotel
Design is key at this bijou hotel in the heart of the Bastille district. With a cosy cocktail bar acting as both reception and lobby, the 16-room hotel is squirrelled away behind a door that masquerades as a bookshelf. The bright en-suite rooms are spread over six floors and offer large comfortable beds, and TVs and unlimited WiFi, though the lack of lift means packing light is recommended. Its location means it’s an easy walk to the trendy Marais district, or the trendy coffee shops in the Canal Saint Martin in the other direction.
Doubles from €90 (£81)
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This article has been updated. It was originally published in March 2018.