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5th ARR: Hotel des Grands Hommes

17 Place du Panthéon, Phone:

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Reviewed by: Kaydee from TN, review #846

When: January 2005

Classy and intimate 3-star hotel in a quiet area of the Latin Quarter across from the Panthéon. Ask for an upper floor room with a view!

We stayed at this hotel for four nights at the end of December 2004, including the New Year's weekend. This is an intimate three star hotel with 31 rooms. There’s a small elevator, which held our family of three. We usually took the stairs down.

The hotel is located on the Place du Panthéon in the 5th arrondissement (Latin Quarter), directly across from the Panthéon. We visited the Panthéon on the first Saturday in January, and it was free of charge that day as it is the first Sunday of every month. The Panthéon is well worth a visit (especially if you’re staying directly across from it), though I found the tombs of the “great men” down in the crypt a little bit creepy.

Our family had a triple room on the fifth of six floors. Our room had a two glass doors opening onto a long, very narrow balcony that looked right out at a wonderful view of the Panthéon. When we looked over the rooftops, we could just see the top of Sacre Coeur on the other side of the Seine. The balcony had a small table with two chairs where breakfast might be served in warm weather. (The occupants of the two chairs would each need to access their chair from a separate door, as the balcony is just the width of the table.) We traveled with another family who had two rooms and our room by far had the best view.

I encourage other visitors to request a room on a higher floor with a view of the Panthéon. In addition to the Panthéon in the middle, the Place du Panthéon houses several public buildings, a beautiful old church and some residences. Other than two small hotels, there aren’t any shops or restaurants on the square, and so noise from the street wasn’t a problem, even on New Year’s Eve. We liked the quiet environment near the hotel—it’s extremely convenient while not being right in the middle of everything. The hotel is just a short walk from the Rue Mouffetard and there are shops, cafes and restaurants on Rue Soufflot toward Luxembourg Gardens or down Rue des Carmes toward Boulevard St-Germain. We normally took the metro from Maubert-Mutualté on Boulevard St-Germain (5- 10 minute walk) and the Cardinal Lemoine station is equally convenient. It is a 15-minute walk to Notre Dame.

Our room had two twin beds pushed together and another twin bed on the other side of the room for our 11-year old daughter. The room was small by American standards, but comfortable for the three of us. The antique furnishings and décor were very well done and in excellent condition-- I really liked the fabrics. There was ample closet/drawer space, a mini-bar in a separate closet, and a very clean, nicely tiled bathroom. The toilet room was separate from the sink/shower room, beneficial for three people sharing the bathroom facilities. We paid €168 a night for a triple during a peak holiday period. Breakfast was not included. (The hotel website does offer special internet rates.)

There is a small lobby on the ground floor with reading material and a tiny bar. We interacted with several people at the front desk and they were all quite polite and spoke excellent English. One young man was extremely helpful to our friends in coordinating arrangements for a day trip to the World War II sites at Normandy.

The hotel serves breakfast in a cave-like room in the lower level (no windows). They offer a buffet with assorted breads, fruits, cereals and yogurts, meats and cheeses, juice and hot drinks for €10 a person. (We paid €8.50 a person at a nearby café on another day and got only coffee, croissants and juice.) My husband preferred the hotel breakfast because he doesn’t like all the smoke in the cafes and enjoys a big breakfast. I personally prefer the view of Paris from the cafe and am happy with just a croissant.

Our family definitely recommends this hotel, and we would stay here again in the future.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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