The Place de la Bastille marks the site of the dreaded Bastille Prison, sacked during the French Revolution in the late 18th century. Hotels abound on the little streets of the Bastille district. All are easily accessed by public transportation and within walking distance of most Paris attractions. Like the nearby Marais, the Bastille district is in Paris' 11th arrondissement. Once an edgy neighborhood, the Bastille has evolved, and the area is filled with shops, trendy bars and a striking new opera house.
The Hotel Pavillon Bastille is a small, charming hotel offering many of the conveniences of big chains with a large helping of personality. Its 25 rooms are small but well-appointed, the private baths complete with towel warmers. Air conditioning that really does the job and sound-proofing guarantee a better night's sleep. Or try Le Marceau Bastille, a four-star boutique in the same area. Its 55 rooms are decorated in either "Urban" or "Ecolo" (natural) styles, WiFi is free, and the hotel will lend you a computer for your room if you forgot yours.
Aux Trois Portes Hotel is a half mile from the Place de la Bastille. It has reasonably clean, Paris-size rooms, in need of paint but with a budget price. It boasts a terrific location and an elevator, but do not expect much more than the basics in the rooms. The Hotel Lyon Bastille is only a little more expensive and quite charming for the money. The tiny rooms have high ceilings and built-in shelves and closets, the elevator can take only one at a time, and the staff is helpful and friendly. This hotel's proximity to the Gare de Lyon is a boon for travelers leaving from that station.
You would have to look far to find a convention hotel better located than the Pullman Paris Bercy. Its 400 rooms are all a stone's throw from the lively Bastille district and the tonier Marais. The Pullman convention complex is in the heart of the Bercy pedestrian zone, with nearby shopping and restaurants. Rooms are typical of a first-class business hotel, and Anglophones will appreciate the multi-lingual staff. But if you are hoping for a French experience, look elsewhere. The Novotel chain also has a business hotel in the Bercy. It offers 151 air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant/bar and six conference rooms. A little less expensive than the Pullman, but about the same level of charm.
If the Hotel Gabriel Paris Marais were an actress, it might be Katherine Hepburn, sexy and classy. The hotel is located on a quiet street outside of the bustle of the Bastille district. The rooms are not huge, but the beds are comfortable, with fluffy white comforters, and the windows look out over the rooftops of Paris. Breakfast is expensive but organic, with top-quality everything. A good alternative might be Grand Hotel Francais, a first-class beauty with warm slippers and chilled champagne in your room. It also features calming white rooms and comfortable beds.
- gÃ©nie de la bastille image by Bruno Bernier from Fotolia.com