Traveling on vacation with my wife and two of my daughters (teenagers), we book-ended five days in the French countryside (See Chateau de Pray) with stays at this Novotel in Paris. I had read about the construction but did not realize until we got there how massive of a project is going on right next to the hotel. They are taking out all of Les Halles and replacing it with something else. Maybe it was the weekend stays that prevented us from hearing the rat tat tat of jackhammers (although we did hear a little), but there has to be massive noise for such a massive project during the week.
The other complicating factor caused by construction is entry and exit into the Metro. There are three stops: Les Halles, Chatelet, and Chatelet Les Halles. We didn't know were we were and never mastered entry and exit. It seems like every time we came back to the hotel, we were on the other side of the Les Halles complex and had to walk quite a distance. We took the train from CDG when we arrived in France and got out on the wrong side of Les Halles and had to walk around the entire construction project. Finding the hotel was difficult. I should have Google Earthed. When we took cabs back to the hotel, they had trouble finding it because of the construction. By the end of the second weekend, we got close but suffice it to say that the construction is an onerous, complicating factor for staying at this hotel.
The first weekend, even though we requested a pas fumeur room, our first set of keys was to a smoking room. We went back down and received a second set of keys. Although the staff was very accommodating, this process took quite a bit of time. The week before Easter is very busy in this area. The room that they put us in (finding rooms that will accommodate four or more people in Paris is difficult enough) was unbelievably small. With the couch folded out, there was no room to move. And although we turned the heat off, the room was unbearably hot and stuffy and in this particular room, the outside window was nailed shut. Yuck. We did eat there breakfast the first morning there but at 19 or 20 Euros per person, it's quite expensive. So much for breakfast included. The spread is good, but we don't want or eat extravagant breakfasts normally. No big problem though: there are many cafes surrounding the hotel so we got our cafes and croissants elsewhere.
When we returned for the second weekend, the bellhop saved us. He took us to a room that was more spacious (by the hotels standards) but told us that they were renovating the room next to us and because of the paint and other smells, we wouldn't want the room they gave us. So, back downstairs again to get a new room. The one we got was smaller, but it had a window that opened out onto the construction site. It was high enough up so we could see pleasant views of Paris but very, very small. This was not our first stay in Paris (we usually rent an apartment) and we expect hotel rooms to be smaller than say the US, but don't be deceived by the photos of the rooms on the website of the "executive rooms." They are closets with toilets.
Certainly, there must be a better, affordable solution in Paris for families short of booking multiple rooms. At 295 Euros per night, it felt like we were paying top end for the stays. In any case, the hotel was exceptionally clean and the staff was very nice although there were usually lines to check in, check out, and ask questions.
Next time we go to Paris, we will not book-end a stay in the country and rent an apartment like we have always done in the past. Or we won't bring the kids! For one or two nights on the weekend only - as long as one is aware of the frustrations of staying at this property - I guess this hotel would be okay, but we will tailor our travel plans so we don't have to stay a this hotel or one like it again.
I know it's heresy, but there is a Starbucks right around the corner. Be warned, when our daughters went one morning to get coffee - although they attempted speaking French - our daughters said that the staff "yelled at them" for not speaking French (normally, I'm with them and serve as translator/guide). The only true good news about the hotel is it's central location. Pompidou down the block and not far from all of the central Paris sites. If you can figure out the Metro. I swear we walked further in the Metro from the hotel several times than the distance it would have taken to walk the surface streets. And I've been to Paris over 20 times.
Still love Paris but it seems dirtier and nastier than past years. I guess we got what was coming to us by staying in a western style hotel. For 4 or 5 days or more in Paris, book an apartment. For less, you can grin and bear it in hotels like this Novotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Novotel Paris Les Halles is a 4 star hotel in the centre of Paris with direct Metro and RER train connections to Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, the major train stations, Disneyland Paris and major Paris attractions including the Pompidou Centre, the Louvre, Notre Dame and more. The hotel offers 285 rooms, nine meeting rooms for conferences and seminars. Ideal for a business trip or holiday in Paris, the hotel also features a bar, restaurant and a quiet patio to ensure you a pleasant stay. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Novotel Paris Les Halles Hotel Paris
- Accor Paris Les Halles
- Paris Novotel