Once upon a time, you could find two-star hotels all over Paris. These days, the old-school institution is a little like that other Parisian tradition of hard-boiled eggs displayed on a zinc counter — tricky to find, but worth the effort of tracking down. (On that note: When you’re next ambling along the market street Rue Mouffetard, make sure to stop in at Le Mouffetard, an olde-worlde family-run bistro like they all used to be, complete with oeufs durs on the bar.)
The key difference between a two- and three-star hotel is the size of the room. Having said that, many three-star rooms are pretty, well, compact. And for those who prefer to spend their time and money actually out and about in Paris, discovering and enjoying the city, room size is hardly a bother.
Nevertheless, there remain some two-star establishments that won’t eat up too much of your holiday budget, while keeping you sleeping in style.
Situated within the picturesque Passage Jouffroy, this hotel is named after Romantic composer Frédéric Chopin, who used to walk this way en route to meet his love, author George Sand. The lobby is suitably decorated in Romantic Era style, the rooms are bright and cheery — and some have whimsical views over quintessentially Parisian rooftops.
What’s more, not only do you have some lovely shopping options literally on your doorstep, but you’re just ten minutes away from the department stores, and not far from the cool districts of Sentier and SOPI (South Pigalle).
- Rates: from €88
- Address: 46, Passage Jouffroy 75009
Hôtel de Roubaix
If you want to immerse yourself in the cool 3rd arrondissement, the Upper Marais, but don’t have the budget to stay at the Hôtel National des Arts & Métiers, nip around the corner and you’ll find the Hôtel de Roubaix, a gem in its own way. Run by a French accordionist whose mother bought the establishment in 1967, the Roubaix has been a hotel since 1861. It is now, happily, modernised, with happy being the operative word: it features colourful Pop Art on the wall and pops of brightly hued furniture. Behind the sweep of a staircase, edged in glamorous wrought iron, you’ll find a piano bar, the perfect spot to enjoy a final nightcap and tune or two.
- Rates: from €65 (for a single room), and from €89 (double room)
- Address: 6, Rue Greneta 75003
Grand Hôtel des Balcons
The high ceilings of this former nineteenth-century townhouse makes this hotel feel more spacious than many two- and even three-star options. The airy windows enhance the glowing ambience, as does the lovely stained glass in the lobby, a gorgeous space with its glamorous carved-wood desk.
For those who like a more relaxing kind of Parisian jaunt, the hotel’s best feature yet is its location: a five-minute walk from the glorious Jardin du Luxembourg.
- Rates: from €73 (for a single room), and from €108 (double room)
- Address: 3, rue Casimir Delavigne 75006
If you prefer to be a little closer to the wining, dining and shopping action of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, this hotel could well be your go-to. The boutique hotel is across the road from the Marché Saint-Germain, and only seconds from Boulevard Sant-Germain.
Its rooms are prettily wallpapered, and some have views that sweep over the old covered market to the towers of Saint-Sulpice.
- Rates: from €140 (for a double room)
- Address: 6, rue Clément, 75006
Hôtel Prince Albert Louvre
You might not expect to find a two-star hotel in the five-star district that is Paris’s 1st arrondissement, yet here one is, tucked away in a side-street, just a stone’s throw from the Rue Saint-Honoré, the Tuileries and the Louvre. Rooms are clean and bright, and the hotel offers a 24-hour reception (not all two-stars do), a business centre, and a lounge where you can collapse after a hard day’s shopping.
- Rates: from €94 (for a single room), from €168 (double room)
- Address: 5, Rue Sainte-Hyacinthe 75001