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Hotel Verneuil: Paris chic petite hotel with petite budget

2009 June 25

St-Germain-des-Pres_WebI recommended Relais Christine as the best hotel to stay in St-Germain-des-Près in my previous post.  However, you need to have minimum 410 euro per night budget to stay at one of their rooms with garden.  Are there any petite hotels with less than 200 euro per night in the heart of St-Germain-des-Près?  Yes, there are.  However, to find one meeting all the following requirements is a tall order in a city so expensive to stay.

1. Convenient location in the heart of St-Germain-des-Près for dining, shopping and sightseeing in walking-distance
2. Tastefully decorated rooms and public space (Paris chic)
3. Ample room not to feel claustrophobic
4. Spotless bathroom
5. Good quality towels and bath robes and spotless pressed bed linens
6. Quiet
7. Modern amenities, e.g. elevator, air-conditioning, cable TV, WiFi access, hair dryer, etc.
8. Good service

I have tried several hotels in St-Germain-des-Près to find out whether such hotels exist.  With 200-euro price range, the toughest challenge is the size of the room.  It is very often the case with petite hotels in Paris; the rooms are very small in general.  I have witnessed some guests left earlier than their original plan from some of the highly regarded boutique hotels, filing complaints that the rooms were too small to bear.  My conclusion is that in order to satisfy all the eight conditions, you need to increase your budget at least to 230 to 250 euro per night.  Otherwise, you have to move out of the center of St-Germain-Des-Pres or to less interesting areas and/or compromise the “Paris chic” and/or posh bathroom if you want to stay in the center of St-Germain-des-Près.

Hotel Verneuil_Street

Despite the tougher task than expected, my search for an inexpensive Paris chic petite hotel in the heart of St-Germain-des-Pres yielded one good result.  I recommend Hotel Verneuil.  I am a germ freak and have a high standard when it comes to hotel rooms.  So, meeting all the conditions that I set forth for that price range, Hotel Verneuil is like a gem that I would rather want to hide.

1. Location
The location of Hotel Verneuil is perfect.  It is only five-to-ten-minute walk to the Louvre and the Orsay Museum and in walking distance to all the restaurants and boutiques that I recommend.  If you like antique, the rows of French antique shops are just around the corner as well.

2. Décor of Rooms and Public Space
This secret address is a building originally from 17th century and has lime stone-color stucco wall in front.  Hotel Verneuil looks more like a private residence from outside.  They have only 26 rooms.  You might miss the hotel if you do not look for the street number carefully.  Through the beautiful front door with lavish French molding, there is a front area with beautiful painted display cabinets on your left and a cozy salon with painted bookcase and paneled walls with fireplace on your right. Reflecting the owner’s taste, each room is individually decorated in charming and romantic style. With the price range of this hotel, you cannot expect “luxury” in the rooms.  It’s a shabby chic Paris style that is inviting, comfortable and romantic.

Hotel Verneuil_SalonHotel Verneuil-Green Room

3. Size of the rooms
Typical to petite hotels in Paris, the rooms tend to be very small at Hotel Verneuil.  I stayed at Room No. 402 (double deluxe room) on the top floor facing the street. I was a bit bothered with the shade of pink in this room and rather cheap looking Chinese girls’ paintings on the wall, but let’s consider that the owner was trying to introduce something exotic in this room.  This room had sufficient space to lounge inside the room with a writing table, and armchairs.  This room can accommodate two people with no problem, provided that they are in a good relationship.  If you need relief by any chance, you can always go to the cozy lounge downstairs.  If you need a bigger room, you need to increase your budget and move up to the hotel in the one category up.  Room No. 402 had a plenty of natural lights coming through the French windows facing the street, and it made me feel that the room had a good Karma.

I originally booked a smaller room facing the courtyard next door in order to look for a room within 200 euro.  Even though it was decorated nicely and had a beautiful bathroom, the room felt too tight with the king size bed almost occupying the room. The hard reality of petite hotels in Paris swept in, and I upgraded myself to one of their biggest rooms, going over initial target price range.  2009 rate for that smaller room (double room) is 174 euro, and Room No. 402 (deluxe double room) is 234 euro.  60 euro will make a big difference.  If you want to go further low on budget, Hotel Verneuil has single rooms for 144 euro.  I did not have a chance to take a look at a single room, but I bet that they are very small.

Hotel Verneuil_RM402_1Hotel Verneuil_RM402_2

4. Bathroom
The bathroom was clean and looked recently renovated.  A sink, tub/shower combo bathtub and WC were all sparkling white and germ-freak approved clean.  I would not hesitate even a second to fill the tub and soak myself in there.  Everything was compactly laid out in this small bathroom.  The floor and the walls all covered with beige marble (?) tiles made the bathroom look bigger.

Hotel Verneuil_RM402_Bath

5. Towels and Beddings
Quality of towels and bathrobes were fluffy and very good.  The white bed linens were clean and nicely pressed.  You cannot expect Frette-quality linens here.  Mattress could have been better if they had a little more support.

6. Quiet rooms
Hotel Verneuil is located on a quiet street, Rue de Verneuil.  Even though it is just off the busy area of St-Germain-Des-Pres, you will not be bothered with noise from outside, even in the rooms facing the street.

7. Modern amenities
Hotel Verneuil is equipped with all the modern amenities, e.g. elevator, air-conditioning, cable TV, mini bar, WiFi access, hair dryer, laundry service, etc. You have to walk one flight up to get to the elevator from the lobby level.  Hotel stuff will help you with your luggage, so never try to bring it up by yourself.  You also need to walk down to the breakfast room in the basement.  There is a free access to computer at the lobby.  WiFi is available in the rooms, but it is not free.  You have to buy the service by the hour at the front desk.

8. Service
Hotel Verneuil does not have a dedicated concierge, but the front staff can provide friendly and helpful services.  Sometimes, you will see the owner, Silvie de Lattre, helping the guests with her suggestions on restaurants and so forth.  I got very ill when I stayed at Hotel Verneuil after waiting for a table at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon for too long out in the cold the previous night.  The front staff arranged a doctor-on-call service for me.  An English speaking French doctor visited my room, checked on me and gave me a prescription for medicine.  I was glad that a petite hotel like them could provide a peace of mind in case of medical emergency.

Hotel Verneuil has all you want from a romantic petite hotel at a perfect location in St-Germain-des-Pres with your around 200-euro budget.  In a city that everything is so expensive, Hotel Verneuil is a steal.  To make your stay there more comfortable, go for the deluxe double rooms, even though you need to pay 234 euro.  Staying at Hotel Verneuil, you can spend more on latest Paris fashion and haute French cuisines.  It’s the way to travel smart in style in Paris.

Hotel Verneuil
Address:    2, Rue de Verneuil (7th arrondissement, Paris)
Map:          Click here

Restaurants with the stunning views of Paris

2009 June 24

If you want to enjoy the stunning views of Paris with your meal and at somewhere special, I have two restaurants to recommend: La Tour d’Argent and Georges.

Tour d'Argent_ViewLa Tour d’Argent is located at the quai of the Seine River across Île Saint-Louis.  Their main dining room at the penthouse of the building commands the panoramic view of the Notre-Dame and Paris in the background.  This historic restaurant is renowned for their duck with the sauce made of juice pressed from the duck and all the other secret ingredients.  If you have not been to La Tour d’Argent, this is the place that you must go, at least once, for the duck and the magnificent view.  La Tour d’Argent is a very formal restaurant, a Michelin 1-start establishment.  For dinner, jacket and tie are required.  They have extensive wine list, so, you need to get ready to splurge.  The night view of the beautifully lit Notre-Dame is gorgeous, but I like the mesmerizing view of the Notre-Dame during the day.  For lunch, you can have pre-fixe three-course lunch (75 euro) that includes their duck dish, Caneton a l’orange.

Georges_1_webAnother restaurant that I recommend for the magnificent view of Paris with trendy food and trendy people is Georges.  Georges is located at the top floor of Centre Georges-Pompidou, a modern art complex.  First, you will be wowed with the dazzling skyline view of Paris from their roof top terrace: Eiffel Tower sparkling like a diamond at night in far distance, Hôtel de Ville stunningly lit at night and the intriguing profile of the Notre-Dame.  From inside the restaurant, through the huge windows that wrap around this vast restaurant, you can also enjoy the panoramic view of Paris.  In summer, I will definitely book a table on the roof top terrace for the non-obstructed view and cool al fresco dining.  Best to be there at sunset to start your dinner.  (Don’t forget to bring your shawl or jacket of some sort, if you want to stay outside.  It could get chilly at night.)

George’s interior is minimalist, avant-garde and futuristic with huge undulating aluminum objects occupying its space.  If you want to take a look at George’s ultra-modern interior, go for a drink at the bar cocooned in one of the aluminum objects before your al fresco dinner.  Georges serve a kind of new wave fusion food, some with exotic spices and flavor.  The food is fairly good and not outrageously pricy.  You can enjoy a two-course dinner per person for about 50 euro, excluding wine.  Georges is a kind of place that you want to bring your girlfriend to surprise her that you know such a trendy spot with the panoramic view of Paris.

It is rather tricky to find out how to get up to the top floor.  You need to take the escalator from the second floor of the Centre Pompidou Forum (main hall).  You must have a reservation to go up there.  Georges is a large restaurant but very popular.  So, to get a table with the best view, reserve your table ahead of time.

La Tour d’Argent
Closed on Monday and Tuesday for lunch
Address:      15 quai Tournelle (5th arrondissement, Paris)
Map:            Click here

Open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Address:     Place Georges Pompidou (4th arrondissement, Paris)
Map:           Click here