The Independent Voyager


Boutique Hotels in Paris: a Primer

By Elicia Sacharow

Boutique hotels exist just about everywhere hotels exist, and for good reason: they reflect the area they’re in, take great care of their customers, and have a unique story to tell. They’re all-around inspiring places to stay when curious people travel. Paris is a natural home to some of the most beautiful, intriguing, and exciting properties. Here’s what you should know about staying in boutique hotels during your Paris trip.

Pantheon Paris

Ready to explore? One place to start is at Hôtel Les Dames du Panthéon. See that building to the left through the columns of the Panthéon? That’s it!

Sweeping vistas are hard to come by…but the views you get are authentic!

Let’s cut to the chase: Paris is a low-rise city. What this means is Paris’s charming architecture (in its city center) never breaches 82 feet (save for a select few towers that shall not be named). This style has preserved the city’s historic buildings and enhanced an already quite romantic atmosphere that’s beautifully accompanied by boutique hotels. Paris’s boutique hotels often occupy converted homes or former mansions that feature either views of the streets or their interior courtyards. Both have their own allure, but we would encourage potential travelers to Paris to consider a street-facing room if they’re after a “view”; it could be just as gorgeous (and just as authentic) as the view you’d get from a skyscraper. This isn’t the hard and fast rule, to be sure; just check out the suites at Hotel de Sers! However, be warned that these sorts of views command extremely high prices in a city like Paris.

View of Place Saint-Sulpice from Hotel Recamier

From most rooms at Hotel Recamier, you can see the Place Saint-Sulpice.

Hotel de Sers Suite Terrace

In the best suites at Hotel de Sers, you not only get an expansive terrace but also a magnificent vista over Paris.

Rooms are not large…but they are exactly what you need!

Allow me to repeat that: rooms are not large! As a denizen of the United States, I know I’m used to a certain room size that you just don’t see in Paris…but you’d be surprised just how well hotels can adapt the space to suit your needs! Thanks to the historic nature of the city, remember that hotels—especially boutique hotels in Paris—have usually been converted from homes or other spaces into what they are today. Boutique hotels embrace the space’s unique architectural features and redesign it to bring their stories to life. Your room may not be the size you’re used to or have the design you expect, but it’s perfectly suited to its building and was put into the hotel with you in mind. Compromises are certainly made; for example, unless you want to bump up to suites, bathrooms usually aren’t over-large and there’s no way you can pack four people into your average hotel room. Hotels are aware and offer appropriate workarounds where they can. To accommodate families more easily, many hotels offer connecting rooms and complimentary cots for infants and less expensive rollaway beds for older children (if the room size allows).

Alphabet amoureux Hotel Apostrophe

The “Alphabet amoureux” room at Hotel Apostrophe is perfectly sized for two—and excellently designed.

In-house restaurants and bars are not necessarily the norm…but there’s always a great place nearby!

As with the other considerations previously mentioned, once more so much hinges on a building’s base architecture. In order to have bigger rooms or more rooms for you to choose from, hotels often forgo restaurants and sometimes even full bars (opting instead for an honesty bar in some cases). In cases where hotels have neither, relish the quiet that comes without outsiders streaming in; in cases where hotels have both, take advantage because for them to survive, they’ve got to be good! Many hotels strike a happy balance with a quiet bar that guests primarily frequent but also attracts locals. Every now and then, you get both: L’Hotel in Saint Germain features both the Michelin-starred L’Restaurant and the very popular Le Bar.

Le Restaurant

Le Restaurant at L’Hotel Paris is a Michelin-starred destination

Le Bar at L'Hotel

Le Bar at L’Hotel is a haven of luxurious cool


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