Gare du Nord: Eurostar terminus and airport connections
Gare du Nord, the busy Eurostar terminus, lies in the 10th arrondissement of Paris. The RER B, which serves both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, also stops here. While the area immediately surrounding the station appears quite grubby and boisterous, the wider district is a pleasant area that offers a strategic base.
Many of the big chain hotels have an outpost near to the Gare du Nord. The Mercure Terminus Nord, bang opposite the station, has a good reputation among its customers, whereas the Kyriad and the Ibis Styles both satisfy with their value-for-money rates (from €130). Barely a five-minute walk from the station in the quant side street of Rue des Petits Hôtels, the Hôtel Mademoiselle (from €130) is a snazzy little 4-star establishment that has been impressing guests with its contemporary design since opening in 2013.
Also new in 2013, the Best Western Premier Faubourg 88 has brought a fresh sense of style to the Rue Faubourg Poissonière, a street lined with cafés and small restaurants a short walk from the Gare du Nord. The hotel’s contemporary black-and-white colour scheme that accentuates the building’s period features is a big hit among guests.
Gare de Lyon: Gateway to the South and Disneyland
If you’re planning a trip to Marseille, Lyon, the Alps, or pretty much anywhere in the south-west of France, chances are you’ll be leaving from Gare de Lyon. The RER A, which serves Disneyland Paris, also stops here, as does metro line 1, which runs along the river stopping at many of Paris’s main attractions. It’s also worth knowing that the lively area of Bastille, packed with bars, restaurants and shops, is situated less than a kilometre from Gare de Lyon.
Adjoining the station, the Mercure Paris Gare de Lyon (around €130) proposes slick, modern rooms and is said to make an ideal base both for those in transit and those visiting Paris, with the Seine located just a few minutes’ walk away (where you’ll find the Natural History Museum and Bercy).
Also next to the station is the Novotel Paris Gare de Lyon. Travellers consider the rates (around €160) very reasonable given the practical location and top-of-the-range facilities, which include an indoor pool and a video-game zone. The rooms are also perceived as relatively spacious by Paris standards.
A highly successful newcomer in the area is the Color Design Hotel. This 3-star establishment has wowed guests with its ultra-modern décor that combines immaculate white walls with splashes of bold colour, designer furniture and high-tech fixtures – all at an incredibly reasonable price (from €80). Also highly sought-after for its modern design, the Elysée Gare de Lyon makes an all-round good impression with rooms from €120. In a more classic style, the Pavillon Saint-Louis Bastille (around €130) has charmed guests with its neutral colour palette, exposed stonework and cosy furnishings. The hotel’s small patio terrace at the back is an added bonus.
As for budget accommodation, the Terminus Lyon and the Hôtel de Reims get the value-for-money vote with rates around €70. Guests also mention the calm location, the warm welcome and the level of comfort at these two addresses as further strong points.
Montparnasse: Gateway to the West and business interchange
Montparnasse serves destinations in western France such as Bordeaux. The station is located under the Parisian business hub Tour Montparnasse, and is a short tube ride from the Porte de Versailles convention and exhibition centre, making it a popular place to stay for those on professional visits. Travellers flying from Orly are also on the right side of the city and can reach the airport in less than 40 minutes.
With rooms from €100, the decoration, air-conditioning, meeting rooms, fitness centre and proximity to the station feature among the highlights of staying at the Timhotel Tour Montparnasse. In a higher category, the local Pullman, Mercure and Concorde establishments (all around €120) offer facilities that don’t disappoint.