Paris' wealth of accommodation spans all budgets, but it’s often complet (full) well in advance. Reservations are recommended year-round and essential during the warmer months (April to October) and all public and school holidays.

Although marginally cheaper, accommodation outside central Paris is invariably a false economy given travel time and costs. Choose somewhere within Paris’ 20 arrondissements (city districts) to experience Parisian life the moment you step out the door.

Hotels

Hotels in Paris are inspected by government authorities and classified into six categories, from no stars to five stars. The vast majority are two- and three-star hotels, which are generally well equipped. All hotels must display their rates, including TVA (taxe sur la valeur ajoutée; value-added tax), though you'll often get much cheaper prices online, especially on the hotels' own websites, which invariably offer the best deals.

Parisian hotel rooms tend to be small by international standards. Families will probably need connecting rooms, but if children are too young to stay in their own room, it’s possible to make do with triples, quads or suites in some places.

Cheaper hotels may not have lifts/elevators and/or air-conditioning. Virtually all accept credit cards.

Breakfast is rarely included in hotel rates; heading to a cafe often works out to be better value (and more atmospheric).

Hostels

Paris is awash with hostels, and standards are consistently improving. A wave of state-of-the-art hostels includes the design-savvy 950-bed 'megahostel' by leading hostel chain Generator near Canal St-Martin, 10e and, close by, two by the switched-on St Christopher's group.

Some of the more traditional (ie institutional) hostels have daytime lock-outs and curfews; some have a maximum three-night stay. Places that have upper age limits tend not to enforce them except at the busiest of times. Only the official auberges de jeunesse (youth hostels) require guests to present Hostelling International (HI) cards or their equivalent.

Not all hostels have self-catering kitchens, but rates generally include a basic breakfast.

B&Bs & Homestays

Bed-and-breakfast (B&B) accommodation (chambres d’hôte in French) offers an immersive way to experience the city. Paris' tourist office maintains a list of B&Bs; visit https://en.parisinfo.com/where-to-sleep-in-paris.

Apartments

Families – and anyone wanting to self-cater – should consider renting a short-stay apartment. Paris has a number of excellent résidences de tourisme (serviced apartments, aka 'aparthotels'), such as the international chain Citadines (www.citadines.com).

In addition to the usual home-sharing websites, rental agencies also list furnished residential apartments for stays of a few days to several months. Apartments often include facilities such as wi-fi and washing machines, and can be good value. Beware of direct-rental scams (above all, never send money via an untraceable money transfer).

Need to Know

Taxe de Séjour

The city levies an accommodation taxe de séjour (tourist tax) per person per night:

  • Palaces (and similar): €4.40
  • 5 stars: €3.30
  • 4 stars: €2.53
  • 3 stars: €1.65
  • 2 stars: €0.99
  • 1 star & B&Bs: €0.88
  • Unrated/unclassified: €0.88
  • 3- to 5-star campgrounds: €0.66
  • 1- and 2-star campgrounds and marinas: €0.22

Internet Access

Wi-fi (pronounced 'wee-fee' in French) is virtually always free of charge at hotels and hostels. You may find that in some hotels, especially older ones, the higher the floor, the less reliable the wi-fi connection.

Smoking

Smoking is officially banned in all Paris hotels.