Best for luxury: around the Champs-Elysées
You’ll find some of the city’s most famous landmarks around the Champs-Elysées, including the place de la Concorde, Tuileries gardens and the Arc de Triomphe. It’s also one of the most exclusive parts of Paris, home to an array of luxury hotels and high-fashion shops. The celebrated avenue itself, however, is now, unfortunately, home to little more than a constant stream of tourists.
Eiffel Tower views: Hôtel de Sers. This chic hotel offers swish rooms with sleek decor and flashes of quirky colour; some top-floor suites have fabulous panoramic terraces.
Feeling flush: Le Bristol. One of the city’s most iconic hotels, Le Bristol opened in 1925 and has maintained its reputation for discreet, warm luxury with superb service.
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Best for atmosphere: the Marais
Full of splendid old mansions, narrow lanes, designer boutiques and buzzing bars and restaurants, the Marais is one of Paris’s more striking quartiers. This chic district also holds a slew of sleek galleries, the the old Jewish quarter centred on rue des Rosiers, and a number of excellent museums, not least the splendidly revamped Musée Picasso.
Medieval meets bordello: Hôtel Bourg Tibourg. This sumptuously designed little hotel has small rooms cosseted with rich velvets, silks and drapes; a hip little romantic hideaway.
Bold fusion: Hôtel du Petit Moulin. Inside a former bakery, this luxurious Christian Lacroix-designed boutique hotel is infused with the designer’s hallmark joie de vivre.
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Best for a laidback stay: The Quartier Latin
The Quartier Latin has been associated with students ever since the Sorbonne was established in the thirteenth century. Many colleges remain in the area to this day, along with some fascinating vestiges of the medieval city. Some of the quarter’s student chic may have worn thin in recent years as rents have risen rents, but this is still one of the most relaxed areas of Paris.
Traditional and homely: Hôtel des Grandes Ecoles. A cobbled private lane leads through to a big surprise: a large and peaceful garden, right in the heart of the Quartier Latin, with the feel of a country house.
Cash-strapped: Hôtel Marignan. This welcoming budget hotel, in the same family for three generations, is totally sympathetic to the needs of rucksack-toting foreigners, offering things like free laundry and ironing facilities.
Best for history: St-Germain
St-Germain, the westernmost section of Paris’s Left Bank, has long been famous as the haunt of bohemians and intellectuals. A few famous cafés preserve a strong flavour of the old times, but the dominant spirit these days is elegant, relaxed and seriously upmarket.
Quirky boutique: L’Hôtel. This hotel epitomizes louche Left Bank opulence, with twenty sumptuous rooms.
Bohemian character: Hôtel de Nesle. Book for the themed rooms (some decorated with love-‘em-or-hate-‘em cartoon murals) and a charming courtyard garden.