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Out of sight! The pick of Paris’s best hidden hotels, including Oscar Wilde’s old haunt 

No matter how often you visit the French capital, it can be hard to choose a hotel which doesn’t make you feel like a tourist. 

Here TravelMail reveals Paris’s hidden gems that will make you feel more like a local.

Scroll down to discover the tucked-away hotels offering everything from old-fashioned charm to brilliant food and a knock-out location…

Tranquillity – and plenty of glamour: Relais Christine

The entrance to Relais Christine, which is described as a ‘small hotel with serious history and secret treats’

On a narrow side-street a few seconds from the River Seine, surrounded by bistros and a pint-sized arthouse cinema, this is a small hotel with serious history and secret treats. A 17th Century mansion built over a 13th Century abbey, the original vaults now contain a ridiculously pretty Guerlain spa. Upstairs, there’s still a sense of tranquillity and gentleness.  

The ground floor, leading to a courtyard garden, has a full congregation of squashy sofas and chairs, plus an honesty bar, books and chess sets, while 48 rooms and suites spread out into the different wings of the building. Some are big enough to accommodate families.

Doubles from £292 a night, including breakfast, through Small Luxury Hotels Of The World (

Beauty on a budget: Hotel du Nord

A small enamel sign in the window is the only clue that you’ve arrived but Paris’s prettiest budget option is so popular that you usually need to book well ahead. 

Located near the trendy Canal St Martin, the hotel has 23 rooms, including some singles, which are simply but nicely decorated, and a few have tiny balconies and beamed ceilings. One of Paris’s best bakeries, the Du Pain Et Des Idees, is a couple of streets away. Another nice touch is that the hotel lends bicycles to guests.

Double rooms cost from €86 (£74) a night, room only (

170 years of history: Hotel Chopin

Open since 1846, Hotel Chopin's front door still doesn't have a lock, and this is one of the oldest hotels in the city

Open since 1846, Hotel Chopin’s front door still doesn’t have a lock, and this is one of the oldest hotels in the city

In the theatre-filled Grand Boulevards area, you’ll find a series of glass-roofed passageways, built in the 19th Century to protect Parisians from the elements. In one of them, the Jouffroy, is this preserved-in-aspic hotel – all net curtains and wooden panelling. 

Open since 1846, the front door still doesn’t have a lock, and this is one of the oldest hotels in the city and a much-loved two-star bastion of budget travel. The 36 rooms vary in size but if you head to the roof you’ll have views aplenty.

Doubles from €106 (£91) a night room only (

Courtyard charm: Maison Armance

Located in the fashion-minded 1st Arrondissement, this is a hotel that makes you really thankful for data roaming because you’ll need the maps app on your phone to find it. Eventually, I hone in on a small corner of a courtyard off Rue Cambon. 

A tiny lift takes me to the 6th floor and suddenly I’m in the vast lofty space of one of Paris’s newest hotels – it opened in October. There are 51 rooms and suites on the floors directly below. They’re not huge, but they are distinctly stylish, decorated in a serene blend of greys and blues. They also boast plenty of gadgets, including integrated bluetooth speakers.

Doubles from €215 (£185) a night room only (

Pretty in pink: Fauchon L’Hotel

Luxurious touches: The dining room at the Fauchon L’Hotel

Luxurious touches: The dining room at the Fauchon L’Hotel

This hotel is one of those that seems to be hiding in plain sight. From the famous Madeleine church, the pink-hued Fauchon restaurant, dedicated to the French gourmet brand, is visible from every angle. To one side, however, is the low-key entrance to its new hotel.

The 54 rooms and suites have flashes of pink to remind you of the brand, but the best reminder is the Gourmet bar that each room contains. It’s Fauchon contents, including champagne and snacks ranging from madeleines to patés, are free to guests. Aim for rooms that have a 7 in them – they’re likely to be corner suites that give the best views.

Doubles from €398 (£343) a night room only (

A triomphe of design: Hidden Hotel

Actually the Hidden Hotel is quite easy to spot thanks to its wooden exterior, but this area, near the Arc de Triomphe, is mostly too grand for low-key hotels. This hotel makes up for it with a full complement of 21st Century essentials.

Strong on wood and stone, the 35 rooms, spread across two buildings, are calm and peaceful. Downstairs there’s a yoga room with all the latest equipment, as well as a cigar lounge.

Doubles from €206 (£177) a night room only (

Go Wilde in Oscar’s haunt: L’Hotel 

Heart of the city: One of the pretty balconies at L’Hotel

Heart of the city: One of the pretty balconies at L’Hotel

This tiny five-star hotel with a sizeable backstory is near St-Germain-des-Pres, and surrounded by art galleries and close to the Musee d’Orsay. After going into an understated entrance, a series of jewel-box rooms open up which have housed everyone from Oscar Wilde to Princess Grace and Elizabeth Taylor. 

The bedrooms are extravagant, with dark, rich colours, rustling silk curtains and lavish bathrooms, but it’s the tiny bar and restaurant that will tempt you away from them. Full of works of art, the restaurant has a Michelin star and a louche bar.

Doubles from £316 a night including breakfast ( 

A family affair: Hotel des Grand Ecoles

It’s a grand name for a small and very charming hotel in the leafy 5th Arrondissement. At the end of a private cobbled street are two pale-pink shuttered houses. Owned by the same family since 1960, Hotel des Grand Ecoles is close to the 17th Century Jardin du Plantes, but walk downhill a bit and you’re in the heart of the Latin Quarter. In summer, breakfast is served in the garden. A real bargain for a central setting.

Doubles from €140 (£120) a night room only (

The place with a racy past: Maison Souquet

Maison Souquet is housed within a building which was once a 19th Century brothel

Maison Souquet is housed within a building which was once a 19th Century brothel

The Pigalle area of Paris contains both the saucy Moulin Rouge and this hotel. It has a deliberately anonymous presence from the outside. Inside though, this building –once a 19th Century brothel – is a both velvet and silk-lined tribute to the Belle Epoque. Lined with risque portraits, the bar is one of Paris’s best and leads to a tiny courtyard. 

Downstairs there’s a small pool, where all guests get a special time reserved for just them. Upstairs the sense of playful, thoughtful excess continues. Each of the 20 rooms and suites are festooned with silks and velvets.

Doubles from £341 a night including breakfast (

Go straight to the top: L’hotel Particulier, Montmartre 

The most elevated hotel in Paris is also one of its most private and exclusive. At the highest point of lofty Montmartre, next to the famous wooden Moulin de la Galette, this five-room hotel has nothing except a small entry phone to let you know it exists.

Once belonging to the Hermes family, there are just five suites, all with lavish wallpapers and whimsical touches. A new restaurant serves classic French and Italian cuisine, there’s a bar that’s modelled on an American speakeasy, but the biggest luxury is the vast private garden with panorama views of Paris.

Doubles from €390 (£336) a night room only (

PS… Don’t forget the Mandarin’s new big thing 

Big is beautiful: The vast roof terrace at the Mandarin Oriental

Big is beautiful: The vast roof terrace at the Mandarin Oriental

Even the most famous hotel can have its secrets. The Mandarin Oriental, on Rue St Honore, will be quietly unveiling a new top-floor suite next month. 


Eurostar ( offers one-way fares from London to Paris from £29.  

The Parisian Apartment will have four bedrooms and reception rooms, all decorated in serene, neutral colours and Art Deco touches, plus wraparound marble in the bathrooms and kitchens. The biggest bonus, however, is a vast roof terrace.

The other secret thing about this is the price. Since the hotel’s cheapest room costs just under £1,000 (£980) a night, it’s safe to say that if you have to ask the price for the suite, you may not be able to afford it (

The big draw of tiny museums… 

The Yves Saint Laurent Museum opened in 2917 and it is open Tuesday to Sunday

The Yves Saint Laurent Museum opened in 2917 and it is open Tuesday to Sunday

A visit to Paris isn’t just about the big attractions – there are more than 200 smaller museums in the city, writes Emma Jacobs. Here are three of her favourite finds:

Yves Saint Laurent Museum

Christian Dior’s star designer went on to create his own label in 1962. After his death in 2008, his business partner and former lover, Pierre Berge, created a museum and it opened in 2017. Expect big mirrors and, of course, gorgeous gowns.

Need to know: Entry costs €10 (£8.90) for adults and €7 (£6.20) for children aged ten to 18. Under 10s go free. The museum is open 11am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday (and until 9pm on Fridays)

Edith Piaf Museum

A small two-room apartment is tightly packed with armchairs, mannequins and mementoes on the walls. This was The Little Sparrow’s former home in the 1930s when she was 18 and singing for change. Photos, letters, paintings and record covers sit alongside a 4ft 8in teddy bear – precisely Piaf’s height – which was a gift from her husband Theo Sarapo. Fan Bernard Marchois runs the place – he speaks only French but his knowledge is encyclopaedic.

Need to know: A donation is suggested. The site is open from 1pm to 6pm Monday to Wednesday, and 10am until noon on Thursdays. Reservation by phone 01 43 55 52 72.

Picasso Museum

Picasso’s children owed hefty inheritance tax after his death, which they paid to the state in art. This 17th Century mansion is a backdrop for a chronological view of Picasso’s work and includes his personal art collection, alongside his own works and boxes of personal archives (including 42 tickets to bullfights).

Need to know: Entry is €12.50 (£11) for adults – under 18s go free. The museum is open from 10.30am to 6pm Tuesday to Friday, and from 9.30am to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Little(r) Museums of Paris, by Emma Jacobs, is published on June 27 by Running Press priced £14.