Where should you start looking to find cheap rooms in Paris hotels?
There is no single perfect strategy, but you will have to consider factors that don't exist in nearby European cities such as London. Budget travelers who journey from London to Paris will find accommodation strategies in the two cities quite different.
In London, many stay in bed-and-breakfast places, where a modest room comes with a huge breakfast. In Paris, that huge breakfast will cost a small fortune.
The strategy in Paris involves finding your own breakfast at a bakery, and search a wide array of two- and three-star hotel rooms that provide comfort and convenience without frills or high costs. Some will offer you breakfast, but the price is unlikely to make you happy. Opt out of that deal and just rent the room.
Fortunately for budget travelers, there are affordable, well-located budget options in Paris hotels. Look for a place that is well-connected to the Metro and other mass transit options. Some places will even be within walking distance of major attractions. You might pay a bit more for those rooms, but the value they'll add and the time saved will justify the difference.
You should also consider some other options for booking Paris hotels if you can't seem to find a good, moderately priced room that fits your itinerary.
Are you willing to sacrifice the charming, romantic locations for an economical, clean and safe place to sleep? If so, Priceline can be a good option in Paris. As you attempt to "name your own price," you'll find business-class hotels, and some might be quite a distance from main attractions. The best bids land properties that are close to a subway station. Unfortunately, there is no way to assure yourself of such a location while bidding blindly for a non-refundable room.
One place to search for budget rooms from small hotels to hostels is Travellerspoint.com, which offers a variety of options that can be searched by Paris district.
If you have a larger party and you'll be staying more than a night or two, consider renting an apartment. Apartment rentals can be a very good idea because European hotel rooms tend to be small. If you're traveling with more than two people, chances are good you'll have to bulk multiple rooms. In some places, fire codes require it.
A recent search on Paristay.com turned up a furnished apartment for as little as 700€/week ($788 USD). Renting two hotel rooms in Paris for a week at that price would be quite a budgetary challenge.
A key advantage of renting an apartment: you become a temporary resident of a neighborhood. You'll see everyday life there first-hand. If you speak French, you might even strike up a few short-term friendships with people who will give you insider advice about hotels, attractions, and other considerations.
One final strategy for your consideration: if you're leaving Paris to tour other areas by rail, consider an overnight stay on the train. There are several routes originating here that offer overnight service. This will give you an entire day and part of an evening in the city and you'll sleep at a lower price than many Paris hotels would charge. It won't be the most restful night, but it will soothe your aching budget.