Searching for a Hotel Bargain

If you’re looking to save a bundle on your next trip to Paris, you may want to book your hotel room through an on-line discount service, such as France-Hotel-Online, a partner of Bonjour Paris, which provides hotel reservations throughout France at a considerable discount. Many people wonder exactly how these companies get such low prices and if there’s a catch France-Hotel-on-line offers two types of services. The first is a reservation service that guarantees to find the lowest price available. You choose the area where you’d like to stay, are given a list of hotels in several prices ranges, make your choice, and voilà—they make the reservation. If you have any problems you can even give them a call and will be able to speak to one of their multi-lingual travel specialists who will help you with your plans. For those of you who are more adventurous, and want to save even more money, you can opt for one of the service’s packages, which gives you a considerable savings off the normally published hotel price. But here’s the catch—you can choose the category of the hotel (meaning how many stars), but nothing else—and you will not be told which hotel until a few days before your departure. If you’re looking for big savings, however, then this option might just be for you. As Bonjour Paris makes a point of trying everything we offer on the site, I volunteered to be the person who would try out the services of France-Hotel-Online. (After all, it is such a sacrifice to stay in a Paris hotel, n’est-ce pas?!) I received my confirmation a few days before my stay and learned that I would be staying at the Pavillon Royal Montsouris in the 14th arrondisement. Sadly, even though I’d been living in Paris for the past year and a half, I knew nothing about the 14th. I was about to find out. I packed up my bags on a Sunday evening right before Christmas and hopped on the bus for the 14th arrondisement.  A short ride later, I found myself wandering down the nondescript rue de la Tombe Issoire, looking for the hotel.  I was getting a bit nervous when just off in the distance I spotted a luminous and almost glowing white building that seemed a bit out of place on this otherwise dim and quiet street. I was amazed at this lovely hotel’s being tucked into such an unassuming neighborhood, and even wondered if I had indeed found the right hotel; this was, after all, a hotel found on a discount internet site, not featured in some hip design magazine. The lobby was stunning. I felt as though I had suddenly been whisked off to Morocco–the beige and pale yellow walls, the beautiful canopied couch, the flowing white curtains, the candles, exotic flowers, and the smell of jasmine, all painted a picture of an exotic Arabian hideaway rather than a Parisian boutique hotel. My tiny room was equally dazzling.  Decorated in rich warm colors with a beautiful bed strewn with pillows, wrought iron furniture, funky chairs, mosaic hanging lamps, and a flat screen TV, it seemed like something you’d find in “The Hippest Hotel Guide.”  I was definitely impressed. I was just as pleased with the lovely bathroom, which provided every luxury I could ask for.  Bright aqua and burnt orange tiles and golden fixtures continued the exotic motif.  I soaked away my worries in the large tub and happily tested the heated towel racks, big fluffy towels, and robe and fuzzy slippers. Every detail was taken care of, and when I met the hotel’s manager I understood why.  Mr. Cheklalmour, who had until recently worked in the fashion industry, was a gracious host and explained that the mission of the hotels owner, Les Hôtels de Paris, was to open small, luxury, boutique hotels, with a passion for the smallest details.  It was clear that Mr. Cheklalmour shared this vision, and on seeing this hotel I felt they had definitely succeeded.  I am certainly looking forward to seeing the rest of their 25 hotels in Paris, many of which can be found on France-Hotel-Online (look for the titles Villa or Pavillon before the name). After a good night’s rest, I awoke to have breakfast in the hotel.  I’ve never really been a fan of hotel breakfasts and this one did nothing to change my mind.  Sure, it had everything you might want—croissants, brioche, orange juice, cereal, café au lait and the like—but at 20 € per person, I think you can find a better breakfast elsewhere. I spent the rest of the day wandering around the quartier. The near-by parc Montsouris is charming and is said to be the capital’s most colorful.  There’s a large man-made lake in the center, surrounded by sloping hills and flowerbeds.  Don’t miss the adjoining rue du Parc Montsouris and the rue Georges-Braque, which are two of the most enchanting streets I have ever seen in Paris—tiny cobblestone streets, lined with charming, individual homes, something I’ve only seen in Montmartre. Next was the Cité Universitaire, a US-style campus with over 40 international pavilions, some of which were designed by well-known architects Also in the area is the Catacombs, a creepy underground burial place for 6 million Parisians. And I wouldn’t overlook the rue Alesia, lined with the city’s greatest concentration of bargain couture shops. For dinner, I would enthusiastically recommend La Régalade, one of Paris’s most popular bistros. You must, however, book weeks in advance or you will never obtain a table. After returning home, I checked France-Hotel-Online’s Site to verify their price, as it seemed too good to be true.  The hotel itself listed the price for my single room for 235 €, but France-Hotel-Online was offering the same room for only 120 €, which was a considerable savings.  France-Hotel-Online assured me that this price was indeed accurate and so if you’re thinking about booking one of these lovely hotels, I would certainly use their service, as you will save a considerable amount. So, how would I rate this hotel?  The hotel itself was great, but the 14th is definitely off the tourist track and for some this might pose a problem.  However, if you don’t mind hopping on the métro and are willing to explore the lesser-known areas of Paris, then this hotel comes highly recommended, especially with the discounted price. Pavillon Royal Montsouris144, rue de la Tombe…
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