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Paris: Cheap Hotel Survival

"Paris hotels above three-star are expensive, while 'cheap' really is cheap. But you can be a Chanel/Laduree/Liberty kind of traveller and still 'do le cheap' in Paris without feeling low-rent. Holiday Goddess Jessica Adams shares tips on how to make your budget Paris accommodation as liveable as possible, leaving a bigger slice of your budget for the essentials: Parisian dining and shopping!"

Survive a Paris (Cheap) Hotel and Live To Tell the Tale

Paris is overpriced. That’s a shame because getting there from London is affordable and easy, on Eurostar from Kings Cross St. Pancras train station. The hotels above three-star are expensive, which means a shorter stay, and less money for those amazing restaurants. Shame!

Paris has a strict, supervised star-rating system which means ‘cheap’ really is cheap. You will likely be sharing an ancient lavatory (pull-chain, rusty) with other people on your floor, the floor above and perhaps below. You’ll be sharing a shower which may have hair in the plughole and mould on the ceiling. So how do you cope? And can you stand it?

You know, you can be a Chanel/Laduree/Liberty/Cath Kidston kind of traveller and still ‘do le cheap’ in Paris without feeling low-rent. These places are around $100 a night for the very good reason that they are small, often noisy, come with a shared bathroom and zero shelf space. Flip your suitcase at the end of the bed, to start with, and make a shelf. See that very old carpet underneath? Don’t put your feet on that – pack some soft, foldable slippers or just your flip-flops/thongs and don’t walk around without them!


 Secrets for Cheap Paris Hotel Survival

  1. Strip the bed as soon as you arrive. Get it back to a white pillowcase and two white sheets, then inspect the mattress for the little black specks which mean bedbugs. Look in the seams of the mattress and under it. Check the pillow. If you find bedbug evidence, take photographs and check out right away.Bedbugs bite badly at night. They are also invisible. The black specks are their only sign.


Open the Windows and Let Us Spray

Ventilate! Open the windows wide (most cheap Paris hotels have lovely old-fashioned windows that open wide). Pack some Room Mist or Room Spray, available from most health food or whole foods shops. If you want to make it stronger, use half before you leave, and fill up with your own, neat, essential oils – like peppermint or lavender.

If you are a light sleeper, pack clothes pegs to hold the curtains together, and an eye mask. Pack earplugs. The best earplugs are foam, and you roll them into narrow tubes with your fingers, pop into your ears and allow to expand. You’re looking for American rock’n’roll band earplugs, or construction worker strength. A really good investment at and easily found at Amazon – try these earplugs which shut out 32 decibels of honking horns.It’s the little things!

Pack eco-friendly plastic bags for your rubbish, because cheap hotel rubbish bin liners break. Pack coat hangers (our top tip) because you will find maybe three or four bent-out-of shape hangers in your room, or just hooks on the wall. For a very light bit of extra packing in your suitcase sleeve, you can squeeze comfort.


More Tips and Tricks for Cheap Paris Hotels

  • Pack drawstring travel bags, like these (from Fragonard, Paris) to make packing simple. Hang around the room, off the bedpost, off the hook on the window or back door – for storage. Cheap hotels just don’t have storage space, enough.
  • Check the mattress firmness – If the bed is too soft, place the mattress on the floor.
  • Avoid the morning shower rush – set your alarm for 6.00am or wash your hair last thing at night.
  • If you worry about not hearing your alarm through ear plugs, set your phone to vibrate and put it under your pillow.
  • Pack a Turkish-style thin cotton bath sheet – it can go on as a light bedspread in hot weather – and be your bath towel.
  • There will be no tea or coffee in your room. Pick up large bottles of Perrier or Evian water and cold-water fruit teabags.
  • For total luxury buy and travel with a silk sleeping bag liner and pillow slip from Ebay.

Feeling at Home – When You’re Far From Home

Holiday Goddess editors travel high-end and low-end, so they know Westin Hotels as well as budget (around $100) places to stay. The signature scent of Westin Hotels is a blend of white tea with wood cedar and vanilla. Their Rome property’s Villa La Cupola Suite is billed at $30,000 a night, but you can have the scent without paying that.

Beyond making your own/customising Room Mist or Room Spray from a health food store, think about getting used to a couple of essential oil smells at home, before you travel. Tangerine or lemon? Lavender for sleep? Then recreate that atmosphere, so that even in the cheapest room, you can feel at home when you are far from home. Throw them into the shower and feel the steam rise. Even if they don’t get rid of the mould where you’re staying, you can hurl some tea-tree oil or eucalyptus oil in there.

Try lavender for sleep. There’s a scientific reason for that. Tests validated by the BBC show that sleepy experimental volunteers in a room with a rosemary infusion did statistically significantly better on alertness tests, than those with lavender – which caused a significant decrease in performance. Lavender is traditionally associated with sleep and sedation. Spray some on that silk pillowcase you just packed and you’ll soon be dozing like a Westin customer. We hope.



Jessica Adams

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Paris, France