Paris | right bank or left bank?

a left bank street (c) 2017 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

So you're going to Paris? You've heard about the left bank or the right bank and you're wondering, "Where should I stay?" Here are my thoughts:

Most of the luxury hotels in Paris are found on the right bank, the half of Paris north of the Seine. Some of the world's most famous and luxurious hotels are found in the right bank of Paris, including but not limited to the George V, the Plaza Athenee, Le Meurice, the Ritz, the recently re-opened de Crillon, the Shangri-La, Le Bristol, and the Peninsula.

The right bank's wide boulevards are lined with grand 19th century neo-classical buildings. Its hotel rooms tend to be much larger, and their guests can step out their front doors onto the best shopping streets of the world — the place Vendôme, the Champs Elysées and the Golden Triangle, and the Rue Saint Honoré.

The left bank is much older and charming, filled with narrow, winding streets lined with small shops. Because left bank hotels are found in centuries-old historic buildings redolent with charm, their guest rooms tend to be quite small and perhaps lack the most modern plumbing and electrical systems... but perhaps this is what you prefer?

Two hotels on the rive gauche stand out — Esprit Saint Germain is a member of Virtuoso, and though its guestrooms are barely larger than the bed, the hotel has a high percentage of returning guests who love the location, its residential ambiance, and the experience of hanging out in the hotel's living room — a ground floor common area with complimentary beverages and snacks. (Virtuoso guests receive complimentary round-trip private airport transfers with a three day stay). The other, Relais Christine, has just undergone an entire renovation, and the new room product is beautifully updated while retaining a sense of place that will remind you that you are in the heart of Paris. Ask me about their special summer offer that includes a daily buffet breakfast and a complimentary cruise on the Seine.

Right bank or left bank? Both answers are correct! It depends entirely on what you want — out-of-this-world luxury or iconic Parisian charm.

copyright (c) 2017 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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