Frequently asked questions
What’s the difference between a hotel and an aparthotel? When’s the best time to come to Paris? How do I know if a place is accessible to people with disabilities? Answers to your questions on hotels and accomodation in Paris.
- What is a “hôtel de charme” ?
- Do you have to be young to stay at a youth hostel ?
- What exactly is a furnished rental (“meublé”) ?
- What is a “résidence hôtelière” (an aparthotel) ?
- Aparthotel category/price
Labels and logos
- What is “day use” ?
- What does the “Tourisme & Handicap” label denote ?
- What does the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau’s logo denote ?
- Our four-legged friends
- Speak my language?
- What do I put in the safe ?
- Phoning from your hotel
- What about breakfast ?
- Smokers allowed ?
How to make a hotel booking ?Top of page
To make a booking in Paris and the Ile-de-France region for the same day onwards, all you have to do is to log on to our online reservation service or simply contact a member of our reception staff at the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau. Using our detailed descriptions, we can help you find the accommodation that best suits your request.
Once you’ve made up your mind, make sure you check the precise terms and conditions of booking and cancellation to avoid any later misunderstandings with the establishment of your choice. Bookings made by telephone should be confirmed in writing (letter, fax, e-mail, voucher) mentioning the dates of stay, the type of room reserved and details of any services required (lift, disabled access, etc.) A verbal reservation is not guaranteed and has no legal value.
Finally, it is customary to confirm the booking by paying a deposit or by giving details of your banker’s card. Some establishments cannot accept payment by banker’s card or cheque. Either way, you should always be given an invoice when you settle your bill.
High or low season ?Top of page
In general, low season is considered to run from 1 November to 31 March and high season from 1 April to 31 October.
Many major events and celebrations take place in Paris throughout the year and the increase in the number of visitors has a knock-on effect on availability: Easter, Bastille Day (14 July), Christmas and New Year, and also international fairs and trade shows (Motor Show, Foire de Paris, Agricultural Show, etc.) and “haute couture” fashion collections… So don’t forget to reserve well in advance if you wish to visit Paris at these times.
At certain times of the year, it is worth knowing that hotels’ terms and conditions of booking and cancellation may also be modified accordingly.
Hotel category/priceTop of page
Depending on geographical location, time of the year or major events taking place in the city, these prices may vary. They do not reflect any special offers or deals obtainable through travel agents.
On the basis of a double room, here is an idea of the price range per night in each category (not including breakfast):
|Ungraded (HT)||simple and basic||under €60|
|1*||basic amenities||€60 to €90|
|2**||basic amenities||€60 to €90|
|3***||good amenities||€90 to €120|
|4****||putstanding amenities||€250 to €650|
|5***** L||luxury||over €500|
These categories correspond to the classification awarded by the Paris Préfecture de Police and it is worth noting that an ungraded hotel (HT) or one without stars may also be an indication that the requested classification has not yet been completed. The authority meets twice a year, so the interim period can be anything up to six months. Room rates shown are inclusive of taxes (except for “tourist tax”): it is compulsory for them to be displayed both outside the establishment and in the rooms.
Does my hotel stay open late ?Top of page
The majority of hotels are open 24 hours a day and employ a night porter (if not, this should be stated in our information pages). He will be present to greet you and give you your room key, but it is advisable to check beforehand in case there is a limit to the lateness of the hour for returning to your nest.
Annual closing datesTop of page
Some smaller hotels may close for annual holidays between mid-July and the end of August, but, no need to worry, they will inform you of this at the time of booking.
Check in, check out…Top of page
When you arrive, rooms are usually available for check-in from 2pm or 3pm, and on the day you leave, you should check out by 11am or midday.
Special discounts for children ?Top of page
Some hotels and hotel chains offer special rates or even free places for children sharing their parents’ room. The definition of a child’s age varies from place to place, going from under- 12s, under-16s or even under-18s.
As well as these special prices, sometimes breakfast is offered free and hotels can give you plenty of ideas for making the most of family trips. You’ll find details of these in the information pages for each supplier.
Do I have to pay the “tourist tax” ?Top of page
Allocated to the development and promotion of tourism, this tax is also collected by many other countries (in Europe: Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Greece).
On 1 January 1994, the Paris City Council introduced this tax which is applicable to all forms of paid accommodation: hotels and apartments, furnished accommodation, camp sites, etc. Ranging from €0.20 to €1.50 per person per day, it is not necessarily included in the price of the room but its payment is obligatory for all excepting children under 13 years of age.
Terms of cancellationTop of page
When making a hotel booking, you are advised to check the terms and conditions of cancellation. All cancellations should be confirmed in writing and should comply with the terms set out by the establishment. In the event of the cancellation being received by the hotel before the agreed deadline, the client has nothing to pay.
If this date has gone by, the hotel is entitled to demand payment for the first night. If you simply do not turn up or decide to leave the hotel before the planned date, the hotel may collect the cost of the stay in part or in full.
Electric adapters and plugsTop of page
In France the norm is 220 volts, 50 cycles, while in the United States or Canada, for example, it is 110 volts, 60 cycles. Voltage and sockets vary from country to country and so an adapter and also a transformer will be indispensable in order to keep your favourite electric razor or hairdryer in working order – not to mention to avoid blowing the electricity in the whole hotel!
If you’ve forgotten to bring these important accessories, you’ll be able to find them in electrical goods and DIY stores or hypermarkets. Most major hotels can also provide them. For information, French plugs are equipped with two round pins.
What is a “hôtel de charme” ?Top of page
The charming concept of a 'hôtel de charme' has no official status of any kind. A subjective description, it is not taken into account by the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, its use being left to the discretion of hotel owners, hotel chains, tour operators or publishing houses.
Hotels, usually ranging from 2** to 4**** categories, may be described in this way for the attractiveness of their location, for their decor or their level of comfort.
Do you have to be young to stay at a youth hostel ?Top of page
There are no age restrictions but you must have the “Auberges de Jeunesse” membership card. It is on sale worldwide through approved travel agents. It has to be said that as the comfort is quite basic, it is rare to see thirty-somethings or above staying here…
What exactly is a furnished rental (“meublé”) ?Top of page
These are self-contained fully-equipped studios or apartments, available for short- or longer-term rental. Expect to pay at least €500 per month for a studio. Some furnished accommodation offers additional hotel facilities (room service, car park, baby-sitting, etc.). This type of accommodation can be booked through agencies.
What is a “résidence hôtelière” (an aparthotel) ?Top of page
From 2** to 4****, or ungraded, they consist of furnished and fully-equipped studios (one room) or apartments, in blocks or on low-rise estates. These apartments can be rented by the day, but more often by the week or month. They also provide the advantage of hotel services.
Aparthotel category/priceTop of page
Aparthotels are graded by the Paris Préfecture de Police based on the same criteria as hotels (level of comfort, amenities and location). Rates vary according to category, apartment type, number of nights and time of year.
Watch out for pickpockets!Top of page
Like all big cities, Paris has its pickpockets.
These few words of advice will help you to avoid any inconvenience: always keep your identity documents and your wallet in sealed pockets, or, for ladies, in a handbag carried across your shoulder.
Try to keep the keys to your accommodation separate from your ID; avoid displaying the contents of your purse, and be particularly vigilant at rush hour when travelling on public transport (9/10am and 6/7.30pm).
What is “day use” ?Top of page
If you are just passing through Paris or in transit between two international flights, hotels can let rooms just for the daytime.
What does the “Tourisme & Handicap” label denote ?Top of page
You will find this label on our web site to designate tourist sites and facilities providing access for disabled persons, taking into account 4 categories of disability: hearing, visual, mental and physical.
What does the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau’s logo denote ?Top of page
Members of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCVB) are shown by the presence of our logo next to their name. This means that this trade professional participates in different promotional and hospitality initiatives led by the PCVB each year in order to greet and assist tourists.
Our four-legged friendsTop of page
When you make your hotel booking, don’t forget to ask if they are prepared to accept your pet, and if so, subject to which conditions. The charge can vary from hotel to hotel, but usually ranges from €5 to €15 per animal.
Be as precise as possible, because a hotel may refuse dogs over a certain size for example. As far as guide-dogs are concerned, they are accepted, by law, in all hotels and may also give rise to a supplementary charge.
An advanced search on our web site will narrow your choice down to those hotels who welcome pets.
Speak my language?Top of page
Not counting luxury establishments where the welcome and information are offered in several languages, it is compulsory for hotels with 2** and above to be competent in at least one foreign language, most commonly English. In most types of accommodation, English is used as a matter of course and you should have no difficulty in making yourself understood!
What do I put in the safe ?Top of page
Hotels and aparthotels may place safe deposit boxes at your disposal either in your room or at reception: very useful for keeping your jewellery and other valuables safe! You could also keep a copy of your identity documents here, helpful in case you should lose the originals. The hotel is responsible for valuables entrusted to them by their guests. In the event of theft or damage, the hotel’s liability is automatically incurred – although the level of compensation will vary.
It is interesting to note that if the theft or damage occurs in the hotel safe or at reception, when the client’s property has been personally entrusted to the hotel staff, the hotel takes full liability and any stolen objects will be entirely reimbursed. For individual safes in the rooms, in the case of theft, the cover is limited to one hundred times the nightly room rate.
Finally, if the loss or damage are the result of external causes (lightning for example) or negligence on the part of the client (door left unlocked), the hotel has the right to refuse liability.
Phoning from your hotelTop of page
Take care when making telephone calls from your hotel room as the cost of your calls will inevitably be higher. Each hotel has its own price policy for the telephone, but it is worth knowing that calls could be as much as 50% more expensive then the standard France Télécom rate.
What about breakfast ?Top of page
The continental breakfast most commonly offered in hotels consists of a choice of hot beverage, bread and/or pastries, butter and jams. A supplement may be requested for more extensive buffet-type arrangements. Breakfast is not necessarily provided in 1* and ungraded hotels (HT) and it can only be requested as room service in 3*** hotels and above.
The price of breakfast should be shown separately from that of the room. It may only be invoiced if it has actually been taken (except in the case of group bookings).
Smokers allowed ?Top of page
The majority of non-smoking rooms are available in hotel chains. As yet few hotels in Paris provide non-smoking rooms for their guests, so clients can smoke in their rooms at their discretion, except if there is a sign specifically prohibiting it. Hotels must ensure ventilation standards are complied with. As for the communal areas, breakfast room, reception and corridors: these are usually non-smoking. As a rule, youth hostels are entirely non-smoking.