Le Relais des Halles Paris
Le Relais Des Halles
26 rue Pierre Lescot – 75001 Paris
Tél : +33 (0) 1 44 82 64 00
Fax : +33 (0) 1 40 26 00 97
I had a difficult time choosing the hotel for this trip to Paris. I looked at different arrondissements and tried to find a place that would be both convenient (close to transportation) and fun for us (within reasonable walking distance of many attractions, bars and restaurants). I was pretty sure I wanted a boutique-style hotel; at the very least I wanted something that felt like we were in Paris, as opposed to just a gorgeous hotel that could be anywhere. And I didn’t want to break the bank. Le Relais Des Halles was a decent balance.
We took the RER train from Charles de Gaulle airport to the Châtelet – Les Halles station, which was an easy walk of only about three blocks from the hotel. The station is both a train station and a Metro station, and it’s connected to a huge shopping mall (Forum Les Halles). We only used this station when we took the RER train, and when we took the Metro (often), we used the Etienne Marcel station, which was only one (!) short block from the hotel. We were also able to easily walk to/from the Louvre, the Seine, Notre-Dame, Saint Germain des Pres, the Marais, etc. At night, we enjoyed the many, many bars, cafes and restaurants within walking distance.
Nearby Rue Montorgueil is very fun, and has cafes, bars, fromageries, bakeries, shops – all crowded but not unbearably so, at least when we were there. Some of the nightlife in the neighborhood (particularly closer to the mall/train station) is fairly young and rowdy, but nothing that bothered me. The neighborhood vibe shifted a bit from street to street; as in, turn down one block and find shops and restaurants and cafes, turn down the next block and find street food vendors and video stores and super cheap clothing lined up outside. I had read conflicting reports about the area and that was one of my hesitations about the hotel initially, despite excellent reviews. Overall I wouldn’t say that Les Halles was a “NICE” area, but I wouldn’t call Times Square a “NICE” area in NYC either, and tourists certainly want to stay there. It didn’t seem at all dangerous to me, and it was super-convenient, lively, and smack dab in the center of the city.
The hotel itself was a lovely renovated 17th century building, with a total of 19 rooms. The lobby, decorated in rich golden hues, is entered directly from the street. We were immediately greeted warmly by the gentleman at the desk, who easily conversed with us in English. We took the elevator to the fourth floor to our Room 401, which was in the Superior Double category. The room was a nice size (for Paris, at 18 square meters, or approximately 194 square feet), clean and inviting. There was a king-sized bed with end tables, desk and desk chair, a separate armchair, a mini fridge and a closet, which had hanging area and shelves, an iron, safe and slippers (no robe).
The bathroom had a large bathtub and separate rainfall shower, along with a heated towel rack. Standard bathing amenities were provided (shampoo, conditioner, etc.), as was a hair dryer. The most interesting item in the bathroom was the AquaClean “shower toilet”, basically a bidet/toilet combo. There were instructions on how to adjust the pressure and temperature of the water, which initially made me chuckle, but I had to give it a try. I admit, I was actually a big fan in the end (pun intended).
The TV was large, but the only English-language channel was CNN International, so luckily the free Wifi worked well. They also provided an iPad mini for use in the room, which I used often, since I had for some reason decided to only bring my phone and not a computer or tablet on this trip. We weren’t in the room that much, but Scott might lose his mind (or at least have to purchase more data for his SIM card) without working Wifi, and I’ve gotten really used to being constantly connected as well.
One thing I loved was that the two large windows both opened, providing a bit of fresh air when needed. Opening the windows also quickly showed us how very soundproof they were when closed! Even with the windows open to the pedestrian street below, it wasn’t terribly loud on the fourth floor, but I didn’t hear a peep of noise when the windows were locked and curtains drawn.
I had arranged for a bottle of champagne to be in the room upon arrival (an option on their website when I booked), and it was ready and waiting for us, perfectly chilled! Yes, it would have been less expensive to have gone out and bought a bottle and brought it back to the room, but we probably wouldn’t have done that, and it was Scott’s birthday trip. We did take a walk, bought the first of many eclairs, and brought them back to the hotel. Night one in Paris: champagne and chocolate eclairs. Yes, please!
The fire alarm went off one morning, and we made our way downstairs to find that apparently someone burned toast in the breakfast room and set it off. The staff were extremely apologetic and offered us free breakfast for the following morning, which we appreciated. The small but pleasant breakfast area is in the basement, with rock walls and nicely set tables. The morning we tried it, the buffet was fine but fairly limited, including some pastries and breads, yogurt, boiled eggs and coffee/tea/juice/water. Personally, I would not recommend paying for it, as there are plenty of nice spots for a cappuccino and a croissant or muffin. We stopped into Perle à Pain Pain across the street several times on our way out for the day.
The staff that we interacted with were all extremely professional, polite and helpful. Even upon checkout, the gentleman in the lobby went out of his way to get us granola bars and water for our train ride to the airport, and we left the hotel with a very positive view of our stay.
Stayed: December 12 – 20, 2015