LUXURY (more than €300 a night)
1 Saint James Paris, 16th arrondissement
For wooing with wow factor, try the fabulous Saint James Paris: this stunning château close to the heart of the city was built on the site of Paris’s airfield, from which hot-air balloons used to take off. This history is reflected in the hotel’s character-filled decor. The sumptuous building features a grand staircase, a library-bar and a gorgeous dining room. With its 48 individually styled rooms, a spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant, the Saint James Paris will sweep you off your feet.
Details Doubles cost from €370 (£270) per night, breakfast from €29 (00 33 1 44 05 81 81, saint-james-paris.com, Metro: Porte Dauphine)
2 Shangri-La, 16th
If you can tear yourself away from its heart-stopping view of the Eiffel Tower, the Shangri-La will pamper you in classic Parisian style. The newly restored hotel was the residence of Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew Roland, and the hotel embraces its past. With a grand staircase, and salons that boast amazing neoclassical friezes, it also has an elegant swimming pool and treatment rooms in the former stables.
Details The Parisian Romance package starts at €740 per night for a double and includes breakfast and a welcome bottle of champagne (00 33 1 53 67 19 98, shangri-la.com, Metro: Iéna)
3 Hôtel Plaza Athénée, 8th
How about a glass of champagne on the balcony of one of the French capital’s most luxurious hotels? You’ll be staring at one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower that Paris has to offer. Renovated in 2014, the Plaza Athénée’s 208 rooms and suites boast the opulent interiors you would expect from a palace hotel that shares its address — Avenue Montaigne — with some of the world’s most chic fashion boutiques. If it seems familiar, picture Sarah Jessica Parker flouncing into its lobby and you’ll be reminded of its role in the last episode of Sex and the City. Meanwhile, Alain Ducasse’s restaurant, with decor teleported from the 23rd century, has to be seen to be believed.
Details Doubles cost from €1,320, breakfast from €44 (00 33 1 5367 6667, dorchestercollection.com, Metro: Alma-Marceau)
4 Royal Monceau, 8th
If you’re in the mood to play the troubadour and serenade your lover through the night, the Royal Monceau is for you. Each of its elegant rooms has an acoustic guitar, so you can croon away to your partner’s heart’s delight (or not). The rooms are adorned with works of art and Philippe Starck is the talent behind all the hotel’s design. Couples can enjoy a pamper à deux in the Clarins spa, which offers a double massage booth, followed by a private cinema screening in the comfort of love seats. Before or after dinner, enjoy a cocktail in one of the intimate alcoves in Le Bar Long.
Details Doubles cost from €780, breakfast from €44 (00 33 1 42 99 88 00, www.leroyalmonceau.com, Metro: Ternes)
5 One by the Five, 5th
Take your beloved to heaven, or somewhere thereabouts, at One by the Five, a single-suite “hotel” run by the nearby Five Hotel. The floating bed is suspended in mid air under a ceiling of fibre-optic stars. You also have use of a boudoir, three bathrooms, a dance floor, a lounge and a terrace where you can sip the house special “Love Elixir” made in your personal cocktail bar. If you get hungry, order room service from the main hotel. While the red velvet and mirrors may be an acquired taste, the suite has that je ne sais quoi.
Details The suite costs from €365, breakfast €15 (00 33 1 43 31 52 31, onebythefive.com, Metro: Les Gobelins)
6 L’Hotel, 6th
This bijou hotel at the heart of the Left Bank was the final residence of Oscar Wilde. Then it was a down-at-heel sort of place, but today it couldn’t be more different. Jacques Garcia was at the helm for its redesign and its 20 colourful rooms boast lavish velvets, beautifully patterned wallpapers and characterful furniture. For an intimate soirée, its wonderful bar (a favourite haunt of Johnny Depp) is the perfect place, while the tiny basement pool and hammam can be booked exclusively for two.Details Doubles cost from €325 with breakfast (00 33 1 44 41 99 00, l-hotel.com, Metro: Saint-Germain des Prés)
7 W Paris-Opéra, 9th
Space comes at a premium in Paris, so take advantage of that fact and book one of the W’s Cozy rooms, which play on the intimacy of a smaller area. With decor that draws on both the classic Parisian Haussmann architecture and cutting-edge design, it has plush carpets, a large bay window from which to look on to the street (or to stare at the stars) and a 40in TV to make it the ideal place for getting up close and personal. If all that sounds a little claustrophobic, the hotel offers rooms at the other end of the scale: the Extreme Wow suite covers 88 sq m, has an enormous round bed and a separate lounge and dining room.
Details Doubles cost from €340 including breakfast (00 33 1 77 48 94 94, wparisopera.com, Metro: Opéra)
MID RANGE (€150-€300 a night)
8 Hotel Sezz, 16th
When it comes to personal service, this hip design hotel not far from the Trocadero breaks the rules: instead of a traditional reception desk, you are welcomed by a personal assistant who offers a welcome drink and caters to your every whim (within reason). Behind the classic Haussmann façade, this hotel’s 26 rooms offer bold, edgy design with grey stone and dark wood, set off by deep-pile rugs in red or mustard. Some of the suites have baths made for two and many of the rooms have peek-a-boo glass screens that separate the bedroom and the bathroom.
Details Doubles cost from €290, breakfast from €18 (00 33 1 56 75 26 26, paris.hotelsezz.com, Metro: Passy)
9 Hotel Bourg Tibourg, 4th
A stay at this bijou boutique hotel squirrelled away in the Marais is like stepping into a jewellery box. Designed by Jacques Garcia, the 30 intimate rooms feature antique furniture, vintage treasures and luxurious fabrics. Oriental touches and scented candles add to the ambience. For a romantic evening for two, borrow one of the Bourg Tibourg’s classic film DVDs and ask for popcorn.
Details Doubles cost from €290, breakfast €20 (00 33 1 42 78 47 39,bourgtibourg.com, Metro: Hôtel de Ville)
10 Kube Bar & Hotel, 18th
With its reception set in a large glass cube in the courtyard, Kube Bar & Hotel is designed to be modernist and fun from the moment you enter. Its 41 open-plan rooms offer all mod cons, including plasma TVs, CD and DVD players, and are bright and a little sparse. Kube’s restaurant, however, is dark and intimate, making it the perfect place to canoodle. There is also the ideal excuse to snuggle up with your lover: an ice bar offering vodka cocktails in ice glasses at a temperature of -10C.Details Doubles cost from €169 including breakfast (00 33 1 42 05 20 00, kubehotel-paris.com, Metro: La Chapelle)
11 Hôtel des Saint Pères, 6th
A trip to Paris isn’t complete without taking in some of the city’s art treasures. At the Hôtel des Saint Pères, you don’t need to leave your bed to do so. In the Fresco room, the entire ceiling is a 17th-century work by the École de Versailles. Its 37 other rooms also offer impressive paintings set off by tasteful and elegant decor. If you can tear yourself away, the Louvre is a short walk across the Seine.
Details Doubles cost from €230, breakfast €18 (00 33 1 45 44 50 00,paris-hotel-saints-peres.com, Metro: Saint-Germain des Prés)
12 Hotel 123 Sebastopol, 2nd
If your choice for a hot date is the cinema, look no further than this fantastic movie-themed hotel just a few metres from the famous cinema Le Grand Rex. The lobby is decorated with cinema posters, a hall of fame and a popcorn machine and the reception sits beneath an illuminated billboard. The themed bedrooms have been designed by such cinematic glitterati as film-score composer Ennio Morricone and César-award-winning actress Elsa Zylberstein, and are modern and a lot of fun. If you want to pull out the stops for a cinephile partner, the hotel’s projection room can be booked for a private viewing.
Details Doubles cost from €195 including breakfast (00 33 1 40 39 61 23, le123sebastopol.com, Metro: Réaumur-Sébastopol)
13 Hôtel des Académies et des Arts, 6th
At the heart of the Left Bank, this stylish boutique hotel celebrates the culture of this famously creative district. With 20 rooms over five floors, the decor makes for a passionate weekend: the bohemian Comedienne rooms boast huge red velvet headboards, while the bijou Parisienne Left Bank rooms each have one of Jérôme Mesnager’s seductive White Body series of paintings. For a romantic evening, draw up a chair by the roaring fire and order a drink.
Details Doubles cost from €180, breakfast €16 (00 33 1 43 26 66 44,hotel-des-academies.com, Metro: Vavin)
14 Les Dames du Panthéon, 6th
If you’re looking for a hotel for that special person in your life, look no further than Les Dames du Panthéon which is inspired by the spirit of some of the great women in French history. Using a mix of vintage and retro furniture and decor, each of the six floors draws on the life of a different notable woman, or group of women. Those who are looking for romance should check in to the rooms decorated in pinks and reds and inspired by the boudoirs of Les Cocottes — the 19th-century courtesans who seduced the aristocracy of the period.
Details Doubles cost from €200, breakfast €17 (00 33 1 43 54 32 95,hotellesdamesdupantheon.com, Metro: Luxembourg)
BUDGET (less than €150 a night)
15 Montmartre Mon Amour, 18th
The name says it all at this very reasonably priced boutique hotel in the heart of Montmartre. Each of its 24 rooms offers modern, colourful decor and celebrates romance in all its forms. The eight deluxe rooms each focuses on a famous French couple, including Édith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan, and Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, with photographic murals and famous quotes.
Details Doubles cost from €119, breakfast €15 (00 33 1 46 06 03 03,hotelmontmartremonamour.com, Metro: Château Rouge)
16 Hôtel Opéra Diamond, 8th
If diamonds are your girl’s best friend, whisk her off to this unusual love nest. Many of the walls throughout this Best Western hotel are black and studded with crystals, while the plush and elegant bedrooms offer padded headboards also adorned with crystals, and the curtains are decorated with silhouettes of scantily-clad females. It might sound a little OTT, but it’s surprisingly roomy and comfortable, and is in a handy location for walking to the Champs-Élysées.
Details Doubles cost from €109 including breakfast if you book online (00 33 1 44 70 02 00, hotel-opera-diamond.com, Metro: Saint-Augustin)
17 Hôtel Saint-Jacques, 5th
With its crystal chandeliers, draped curtains, canopied beds and gilt mirrors, the Hotel Saint-Jacques oozes romance. So much so that it famously played a starring role in the classic Audrey Hepburn movie Charade, and photos of the 1963 film shoot are displayed on the staircase down to the breakfast room. The hotel is at the heart of the Latin Quarter, and its 36 individually decorated rooms offer either a balcony or large windows, while some have a view over the Panthéon or Notre Dame. Details Doubles cost from €95, breakfast €14 (00 33 1 44 07 45 45, paris-hotel-stjacques.com, Metro: Maubert-Mutualité)
18 Hotel de Nesle, 6th
The moment you enter the Aladdin’s cave that is the reception of the Hôtel de Nesle, also in the Latin Quarter, you know you’ve found somewhere special. While the reception is crammed full of bric-à-brac and objets d’art, the 20 rooms (nine of which are en suite) each carry a different theme; so take your pick from Ancient Egypt, the Sahara, Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris, Molière and a host of others. The hotel doesn’t serve breakfast, but what better excuse to wander out into Saint-Germain for a café crème and a croissant?
Details Doubles cost from €75 (00 33 1 43 54 62 41,hoteldenesleparis.com, Metro: Odéon)
19 L’Hôtel Sublim Eiffel, 15th
For sophistication all mixed in with a bit of sauciness, book a stay at the Hotel Sublim Eiffel. Everything is inspired by the world’s most romantic city; there are map-design carpets and lots of emblematic Eiffel Towers. With its low lighting, soft music and striking colours, it would be hard not to be swayed, or at least amused, by its atmosphere. A hammam and massages are available in the spa area.
Details Doubles cost from €109, breakfast from €14 (00 33 1 40 65 95 95, sublimeiffel.com, Metro: Sèvres-Lecourbe)
20 Idol Hotel, 8th
When searching for a romantic bolthole, how can you look past a hotel that names its rooms Light My Fire, Give Me the Night and My Chérie Amour? If you detect a musical undertone to this playful attitude, you’re right: the whole place is designed around a jazz, soul and funk theme. A disco vibe infuses its gloriously kitsch decor, with bright colours and bold patterns. The hotel opened last December and is already — wait for it — hitting the right note with visitors to the city.
Details Doubles cost from €142, breakfast from €17 (00 33 1 45 22 14 31, idolhotelparis.com, Metro: Europe)
Carolyn Boyd is editor of France Magazine
APARTMENTS A DEUX: the best stays in the city
Views of Notre Dame from the Left Bank
Watch the sun set over Notre Dame from the balcony, then snuggle up on the sofa and gaze out over the Seine at this designer apartment on the Quai des Grand Augustins, all white floors and walls with bursts of colour in wall canvases and cushions. The Louvre is a ten-minute walk away. As is usual with one of Onefinestay’s properties, it comes with hotel-standard toiletries, towels and linens, a phone concierge, and an iPhone with local information and for local calls.
Details From £220 per night, with a minimum three-night stay (0800 6124377, onefinestay.com)
One-bedroom loft near Rue Montorgueil
As Parisian lofts go, this one-bedroom apartment has to be one of the most stunning we’ve seen, with an amazing vaulted ceiling and functioning fireplace. It’s on the fifth floor and there’s no lift, but once you get there you’ll be wowed by the stylish decor and vintage ornaments. It’s also within walking distance of Montorgueil and the Palais-Royal.
Details From £127 a night, with a five-night minimum stay (airbnb.co.uk/rooms/162670)
Stay above a baker’s in the Marais
It’s easy to rustle up breakfast in the king-sized bed in this swish modern apartment — you just follow the delicious aromas down the stairs to the baker’s shop. You’ll find all the small details of a five-star hotel here, from posh toiletries in the bathroom to an umbrella in the cupboard. The metro station of Saint- Sébastien-Froissart is just outside.
Details From €140 a night, with a two or three-night minimum stay, depending on the season (homeaway.co.uk, reference 876170a)
See the Eiffel Tower from your balcony
Views of the Tower don’t come much better than from the balcony of this one-bedroom apartment in the 7th arrondissement. On the eighth floor, the modern flat with a king-sized bed has been elegantly decorated, with wooden floors, a kitchen with all mod cons, and both wi-fi and air-conditioning. Mind you, with views like that, we’d recommend keeping the windows open. Details From £152 a night (wimdu.co.uk/offers/ 43DEG5AS)
Champs Élysées and great views
Parisian style screams from every corner of this chic apartment on Avenue de Malakoff near the Champs Élysées in the 16th arrondissement. Stripped parquet floors, white furniture and a restored fireplace all feature. Better still, there’s a balcony with views of the Bois de Boulogne, perfect for a glass of wine on a sunny evening. It’s not cheap, but apartments for rent don’t come much better than this.
Details From £695 a night (0800 6124377, onefinestay.com)