Be our guest in Paris

31 May 2010

Finding somewhere to stay in Paris can be tricky and expensive, but now there is another option. A tempting array of friendly bed and breakfast (B&B) addresses are offering a serious alternative to classic hotels for business travellers, providing a hearty breakfast, free internet and cable TV, and an intimate peek into Parisian life.

Canal St Martin

Each time you choose a B&B you have the chance to discover a new part of the city, from Montmartre to the Bastille, the Champs-Elysées to the Rive Gauche. Owners are genuinely interested in their guests and are willing to spend time over breakfast offering tips on sightseeing, shopping and dining, many even making restaurant reservations on your behalf. And the proprietors featured here all speak English. Parisian B&B proprietors tend to be discreet, preferring to let agencies handle bookings rather than giving out their own contact details, but the Town Hall has recently set up an excellent website – www.hotesqualiteparis.fr – which is the perfect starting point for research or making a reservation.


Finding somewhere to stay near the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord is never easy, as the area is still in need of some serious redevelopment. But a couple of metro stops away is one of the city’s most fashionable up-and-coming neighbourhoods, with a lively bar and boutique scene centred along the banks of the picturesque Canal Saint-Martin.


This is where you’ll find B&B De Valmy, in a romantic 19th-century half-timbered house. What no one sees from the street is that behind the main entrance is a cobblestone courtyard, once used for stabling horses and now a lush garden. The owner has transformed part of her eclectically decorated apartment into a one-room B&B. It has its own entrance, a bathroom and a view over a garden, which guests can use.

Owner’s tip: “L’Hotel du Nord [102 Quai de Jemmapes] is a mythical art deco locale right on the canal, with a restaurant serving creative cuisine. It is very trendy but reasonably priced.”

10th arrondissement; Jacques-Bonsergent metro; www.2binparis.com (ref paris216); call Johanna on tel 33 147 343 939

Double room E90 (US$120)



If you check out hotel rates in this exclusive Champs-Elysées neighbourhood, it will quickly become evident just what a good deal is being offered at this charming B&B. The hostess could not be more friendly and professional. She previously ran another B&B before moving to this chic flat just by the Arc de Triomphe, and the spacious room and bathroom she lets out offer both privacy and homeliness.


There is plenty of room to work and Wi-Fi is provided, but there is no TV. Breakfast is plentiful and continental in style. The location is ideal for sightseeing, but also for quick metro access to the business district of La Défense and the convention centre at the Palais
des Congrès.

Owner’s tip: “At the end of our street is one of the most famous, and expensive, gourmet addresses in Paris – Taillevent (www.taillevent.com) – but if you don’t want to splash out, the owners also run a more reasonably priced restaurant, L’Angle du Faubourg, at 195 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.”

Eighth arrondissement; Charles de Gaulle Etoile metro; www.bedbreak.com (ref 75.20); call Soisick on tel 33 134 199 000

Double room E90 (US$120)



A year ago, the owner decided to pack in his insurance job and open three immaculate self-contained apartments, all tucked away in the maze of romantic passageways, courtyards and narrow streets that make up the vibrant Oberkampf neighbourhood, centrally located between Bastille and République. The price is excellent given what’s on offer – a comfortable bedroom, living room and open kitchen, a brightly tiled bathroom, a plasma-screen TV and a DVD player with a wide range of movies.

Flats are newly renovated and decorated in fun colours with kitsch sixties furniture.


While Pascal is on hand to meet guests on arrival, he doesn’t come in to do breakfast – still, everything is provided, from toast and cereal to yogurt and fresh fruit. While the B&Bs are in quiet locations, at night the streets of Oberkampf are alive with hip restaurants and bars.

Owner’s tip: “La Pharmacie at 22 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud has just opened up and has the perfect mix of an outstanding wine list and hearty, old-fashioned bistro cuisine.”

11th arrondissement; Parmentier metro; call Pascal, tel 33 177 156 954; www.appartement-hotes-folie-oberkampf.com

Double room E85 (US$114)



This cosy, self-contained B&B is a bargain considering it’s on the chicest street in Paris, just by the Duke of Wellington’s former mansion (now the British Embassy).

This is one of the rare addresses where you can contact the owner directly (see details below).


The owner opened her B&B a year ago, after retiring as a police commissioner.

She is passionate about 18th-century art and furniture, so the decoration is exquisite. She is also an avid yoga teacher, which is duly reflected in the delicious, healthy, organic breakfast.

While the room is small, there is enough space to work, the bathroom is modern and you have your own private entrance.

Note that you have to walk up three floors, and although free internet is provided, there is no TV.

The B&B is right by the Louvre, Jeu de Paume and Orangerie museums as well as the ornate Tuileries Gardens.

Owner’s tip: “Visitors often don’t realise that this neighbourhood is the best part of Paris for Japanese food. Nodaiwa [272 Rue Saint-Honoré], just downstairs, is famous for its grilled eel.”

1st arrondissement, 270 Rue Saint-Honoré; Tuileries metro; call Elizabeth on tel 33 142 607 968; [email protected]

Double room E70 (US$94)



It is difficult to imagine a more perfect address than this elegant flat in the heart of the Left Bank. Notre Dame, the Sainte-Chapelle and the Louvre are within walking distance, along with the cafés, restaurants and designer boutiques that line Boulevard Saint-Germain and Saint-Michel.


The owner is a retired architect who has lived here for more than 60 years, and the décor and furniture is authentic 1970s – items that would cost a fortune today in a trendy design showroom.

There is only one room for rent, and guests have private access and a big bathroom. Fresh brioche is baked by the owner each morning.

Considering the location, the price is a steal – but bear in mind that there is no lift, so you have to walk up three steep flights of stairs.

Owner’s tip: “I always direct guests towards La Cigale Récamier restaurant [4 Rue Récamier] for its lovely courtyard and truly delicious soufflé.”

6th arrondissement; Saint-Sulpice metro; www.bedbreak.com (ref 75.26); tel 33 134 199 000

Double room E88 (US$118)



Open for just over a year, this tranquil oasis has quickly become a favourite of business travellers, perhaps because it is run by a businessman himself, who knows exactly what his guests are looking for. Originally from Belgium, the host is an executive for a perfume company and has worked in Asia and Africa. He and his wife make visitors feel immediately at home. There is an autonomous ground-floor apartment for rent, with a small lounge featuring funky African furniture, a fully equipped kitchen, and the use of a shady terrace and luxuriant garden.


Although the sights of Montmartre are nearby, the B&B is in a quiet residential neighbourhood away from the crowds.

The hosts offer an evening meal if requested in advance – otherwise, Humfred is a mine of information on where to go.

Owner’s tip:“La Sauterelle [57 Rue Montcalm] offers delicious and original dishes.”

18th arrondissement; Jules Joffrin metro; www.meetingthefrench.com (ref A61); call Humfred or Sofia-Jean on tel +33 142 511 980

Double room E94 (US$126)

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