Finding a good hotel for a great price in a big city like Paris, France isn’t quite as hard as finding a needle in a haystack, but it’s not so easy! If you’re lucky enough to have a friend who knows Paris well, or better yet, lives there and can recommend a good hotel in a nice Paris neighborhood, then by all means, get them to help you make your Paris hotel reservation. However, we are not all so lucky! For most of us, using the internet to find a hotel that offers an excellent value for the money is the best alternative and making the hotel reservation is a potentially rewarding adventure.
Finding a Paris hotel bargain is quite possible if you follow a few essential guidelines. First of all you need to know where you want to stay. Paris is a big and diverse city and the location of your hotel can make the difference between a vacation filled with magical memories and a nightmare made real. A link to a good map with descriptions of the Paris arrondissements (districts) is available at the end of this article.
Secondly, you’ll need to decide what kinds of hotel services you’ll need. Some people want everything from air conditioning to mini-bar to room service, with a four star restaurant on the premises. Others are content with a bed, a bathroom and a shower in a safe part of Paris.
The criteria for rating hotels vary from country to country, but in France, hotels are given a grade ranging from one to four stars based on the facilities that are available; but such ratings are not an indication of the quality of the accommodations. That means that the star rating will only give you a basic idea of what facilities a hotel has to offer. Two-star hotels must have an elevator (if appropriate), a telephone in every bedroom, and at least 40% of the rooms are required to have a bathroom in the room (en-suite). Three-star hotels must offer breakfast room service and 80% of the rooms must be en-suite, and four-star hotels are required to have a restaurant and all the rooms en-suite.
So once you’ve decided how many stars you need, you’re ready to get started. Going to a travel agent will generally only give access to a limited number of hotels in Paris, and they won’t be the cheapest hotels in their category. If a bargain is your objective, you’ll be better off searching the web for Paris hotel reservation websites that are based in France and because of that are able to offer you on-line booking for a wide range of boutique hotels. Such hotels often offer great value for the money!
Don’t forget that if a good price is your objective you should bear in mind that a moderate quality three-star hotel in Paris may be less expensive than the best two-star hotel. Similarly, a good two-star hotel in the Latin Quarter, Saint Germain, or the Marais, may cost the same or more than a three-star hotel in an out of the way corner of Paris.
Once you find the Paris hotel you’re looking for you’ll need to verify its availability for your desired dates and then make a booking. On most websites you’ll either be able to instantly check for availability or you’ll need to submit a form and wait for confirmation of availability. Either way, you’ll generally be asked to provide credit card information. As long as the reservation is submitted via a secure, encrypted connection (website addresses beginning with “https” are secure), you won’t have to worry about somebody intercepting your credit card information.
There’s one more thing you’ll need to pay attention to when making internet hotel reservations. Although some hotels don’t ask for any advance payment, they will probably authorize your credit card, meaning that a certain sum will be blocked until you arrive or cancel your reservation. Other hotels may require payment of one night in advance, with this payment being refundable if the booking is canceled at least 24 hours before arrival. You’ll have to look at each hotel’s cancellation policy to know exactly how much flexibility you have. Either way, once you book your hotel, you’ll probably no longer have access to a certain amount of funds!
So there you have it, a brief summary of the issues involved in booking a Paris hotel on the Internet. Following these simple guidelines will help you have a better chance of finding a good cheap hotel bargain in Paris and having an even more wonderful visit.