“ Address: 3-5, rue du Cygne / 75001 Paris / France „
Having stayed in some very out of the way places in Rome and Prague this last year, when we were planning our trip to Paris I wanted to make sure we'd be within walking distance of at least some of the main sights and hopefully some bars and restaurants too. I was shocked at the price of hotels though so when scanning through the Superbreak website for the cheapest deals in certain arrondissements , I happened upon the Hotel du Cygne (or The Swan Hotel). A bit more research on Trip Advisor and it seemed this was about the best we were going to get for our budget.
According to the website, the Hotel du Cygne is "part of a restored genuine 17th Century building that is located in the heart of the city, the old and historical section of Paris" furnished with "wooden period furniture carefully gathered from years of going round the Clignancourt flea market" - I liked the sound of this, and the pictures only reinforced the idea that this is a quaint and charming hotel, decorated with chintz but in a cosy and tasteful way.
We paid E318 for three nights in a double room. Breakfast would have been a further E8.50 each but as my boyfriend only has a cup of tea in the mornings I thought it would work out cheaper to find a cafe nearby.
Well, my research regarding the location paid off. Rue du Cygne is a small pedestrian street (though watch out for mopeds!) in the 1st Arrondissement a few streets away from Rue Montorgueil, which is a lovely little street lined with restaurants, cafes, brasseries, patisseries and mini-markets. Walking along there in the summer warmth on our first evening fresh from the Eurostar was an absolute joy.
The Pompidou Centre was also just a couple of streets away and we could also walk to the Louvre in 10-15 minutes, and from there it's not far along the Seine to the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower.
Metro line B brings you straight from the Gare du Nord to Les Halles which is the closest Metro station, but when we first arrived it was 7pm and we didn't want to mess about so we jumped in one of the station taxis and even in quite heavy traffic this only came to E10.
The only drawback to the location was that there was a police station a few streets away and when we had the window open on the first night because of the heat; the sirens really disturbed my sleep. This was not a problem on the subsequent two nights when it rained, and we had the window closed, and come to think of it our first night was a Saturday and Barack Obama was in town so both those facts may have contributed to heavier than usual police activity.
The hotel reception is small, with one little sitting room off to the side which is very nicely decorated and those flea market finds seemed to be in evidence there. There was another small room off to the other side with tables and chairs and a lovely grandfather clock, and this is where we saw another guest having breakfast one morning. I was pleased we hadn't paid for this as it seemed to be just one croissant, one small piece of crusty bread and a small glass of orange juice - even in Starbucks we only paid E12 for a coffee, a tea, a croissant and a muffin - not very French but looked tastier than what was on offer here!
Be warned that there are no lifts and the stairs are somewhat crooked to say the least. The spiral up very narrowly and each stair has a varying depth to the last and I stumbled a few times on them.
The staff were very friendly though and were patient with my rusty French. We were allowed to leave our bags with them after check out on our last day as our train was late in the afternoon.
I can't pretend I wasn't disappointed when we walked into the room. It was one of those hotel rooms that you can tell used to be a decent size before they decided to make it en suite, but with the addition of the bathroom there was barely room to walk around each side of the double bed - there was literally about a foot of space all around the bed.
There was a tiny dressing table against the wall (about 6 inches deep, really there was no point to it) and a flat screen (luckily!) TV mounted on the wall, though all channels were French. The 'wardrobe' was a small nook in the wall with a shelf in the top, a rail and a curtain covering it and there were extra blankets and a small safe in the top. There were no coffee and tea making facilities.
We really struggled to move around the room if one of us wasn't lying on the bed, and the only place to put our cases was on the bed so we constantly had to shut them up again to stand them against the wall.
The bathroom was again tiny, but nicely furnished and spotless, and the shower was a good powerful one with easy-to-control temperature and flow, which is very important in my eyes. Small sachets of shampoo and shower gel were available and the towels were replaced and the whole room cleaned every day.
Overall, although the location was fab and the room was clean and it was fine for us on this occasion as a place to sleep, it was just too small and basic.
Would I recommend the hotel? To people going to Paris on a shoestring who don't plan on being in the room much, yes.
Would I stay again? Probably not, I'd budget a bit extra for a little bit more luxury and space.
A charming authentic restored 17th century building in the heart of Paris.