Western Living Magazine
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Pretty design AND a bargain? Yes and yes.
My niece recently expressed to my sister that she knew someone who “basically lived in Paris, since Aunticka goes there all the time.” (Her brother came up with the name at age one and it stuck.) To be fair, I’ve been twice in the past year or so, so not exactly laying claim to a pied-a-terre, but it’s fair to say France is one of my favourite spots on earth. Cheese, baguettes, wine, chocolate, repeat.This past visit, I stumbled upon a fantastic little group of hotels that’s both design-forward and affordable. The catch? They’re only slightly out of the more tourist-draw parts like the Marais (4th arondissement) and Montorgeuil (the 2nd). But they’re also around SoPi, which has rapidly become the hipster cool part of the city of romance, with cheese and wine bars like La Claque-Fromage and comfort-food restaurants like Bouillon. You’re close to Sacre Coeur and Montmartre, but you’re also in a real neighbourhood, with lovely little gems typique like À La Place St. Georges.Which leads me to the Astotel chain. We tried two of them while we were there—the Joyce and Hotel Lorette—and despite being relatively high season (end of August), we were paying the incredible-for-Paris rate of 84 euros a night. So long as you book direct on their website, that also comes with a great breakfast—café crème, croissants, granola, fromage blanc the whole deal—and incredibly spacious hotel rooms. Like, American-style rooms. But much, much cooler in design.Plus, once you stay in one Astotel, you’re welcome to pop into any of them for their happy hour—snacks and soft drinks that are available throughout the day in each spot (including the French-favourite of syrups like mint, violet or grenadine with soda water). The Joyce was my favourite, but my friend preferred Lorette with its airy lobby and outdoor space (and even roomier rooms, believe it or not).So yes, I’ll pretty much live in Paris at some point. And one of these spots will likely be my landing point—with that Paris-loving niece in tow.