The Hotel de la Bretonnerie very kindly invited me to an overnight stay in January, an opportunity I grabbed with both hands. The hotel’s location in historic Marais is a magical slice of Paris. I love its history, its old-world charm and perfectly preserved narrow streets lined with boutiques, cafés and restaurants. Part of its appeal is the way it can make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time, to a bygone Belle Époque age when Paris was still a little dark and moody yet elegant, and wildly exuberant. It had me beguiled the first time I visited and for me, that’s part of its enchantment.
The Hotel de la Bretonnerie is a quirky little boutique hotel on rue Rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the ever popular, vibrant and fashionable Marais neighbourhood. It’s within close proximity to some of its most prominent streets such as rue des Rosiers, rue Vieille du Temple and rue Elzévir. The Hotel de la Bretonnerie is in the perfect spot to visit some of the Marais’ gems including Place des Vosges, home to Victor Hugo, Musée Picasso, the church of Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis as well as the Holocaust Museum, the Memorial de la Shoah.
Medieval Marias, Marais meaning “swamp” in French is steeped in history dating back to the 12th century where it was largely occupied by nobility. Today, it is very much the centre of the Jewish community known as the Jewish Quarter of Paris and this is very evident especially around the rue des Rosiers. I love the Marais, its quirky bohemian vibe is so addictive, it’s an area covering the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris, there’s so much to see and do and discover meandering along its narrow cobblestone alleyways.
Stepping inside the Hotel de la Bretonnerie from its innocuous entrance on this narrow busy Marias street is like stepping back in time in the most charming way. The only thing missing from the small lobby area is a fire place to warm your cockles when the sometimes bitter Parisian winter bites and when I was there, Paris was just getting over more than a dusting of snow. The lobby is a deep very striking crimson colour, a theme running throughout the hotel which is sister hotel to The Hotel Chopin in the Grands Boulevards. With lots of exposed beams, low ceiling, bookshelves and small Tudor-style window, it has the warmth and feel of an English country cottage. There is also a computer, printer and fax plus newspapers in a variety of languages and guides to the local area.
The reception area is large considering the size of the hotel, its glossy mahogany L-shaped desk is manned with friendly and attentive receptionists at your disposal able to assist and offer advice on what do and where to eat in the Marais. There’s an office at the back where luggage can be left including a fridge where my macarons were kept nicely chilled on my final day, When I arrived Saturday lunch time, I was greeted with a warm smile and shown to my room once the usual check-in formalities were completed.
Rooms at the Bretonnerie
I was astonished by the vibrancy of the room, again in that deep and very sexy crimson red, this hotel would be ideal for a Valentine’s getaway. The bed is stand-out gorgeous and so romantic. Rich sumptuous fabrics adorn the wrought iron four poster-style bed frame complete with neatly tucked back fabric in the same rich red.
What I love so much about this very affordable hotel, is that the rooms are all so different and unique. Some are much more traditional four poster suites and some rooms are more subtle in colour with warm tones, others are in keeping with the cottage-style look of the lobby area. The curtains are beautiful in heavy floral fabric which complement the colours of the room. There’s something to suit every taste and every budget with classic rooms starting from around 129 Euros to around 260 Euros for a suite depending on time of year, most rates include breakfast.
The bathroom is very generous with bath and shower attachment rather than a shower cubicle with a large vanity sink times two. Plenty of warm towels are available plus Damana toiletries however 2* and 3* star hotels don’t usually offer bathrobes and slippers. The room is also equipped with a mini bar and a good variety of refreshments, TV and small seating area and WiFi. As with the Hotel Chopin, pets are very welcome which is a nice touch.
Breakfast at the hotel is located at basement level which is very typical of 2* and 3* hotels and reminds me of a subterranean den. It’s a warm and inviting space with a good display of French pastries, bread, butter, jams, yoghurts and fruit.
The star is the super-cool juicer, at a touch of a button, the ingenious process of rotating and crushing oranges releasing on the spot fresh orange juice begins, I had a couple of glasses to set me up for the day. My breakfast was very much do as the locals do and is served at every café, Tartine which is very simple but still my favourite breakfast when I’m Paris. It consists of a hunk of baguette with creamy butter, usually President and fruit conserve plus a crispy flaky croissant of course. Tea and coffee are served from large stainless-steel urns.
Breakfast is charged at 15 Euros per person although it is offered and included in the room rate.
Reception staff on duty 24 hours a day 7 days a week proficient in several languages.
Lounge and business area equipped with computer, fax and printer.
A basic concierge service is available for all your eating out and sightseeing needs, the receptionists are available to offer advice on where to go and what to do in the Marais as well as offer restaurant recommendations. There are many guides, maps and information available in the lobby.
Wake up call, free wifi, dry-cleaning service is also available.
Luggage can be safely stored away in the office until needed 24 hours a day.
The hotel does not have any provisions for disabled guests, but the hotel has a partnership with the Hotel du Vieux Marais which accepts guests with mobility issues.
The 3* Hotel de la Bretonnerie is a hotel bursting with atmosphere and charm which surpasses its 3* rating, it doesn’t skimp on style and every room is different and unique. My gorgeous four poster-like room was comfortable and just what I needed for my whistle stop 24-hour stay. The selling point is definitely the location and affordability of the hotel; choose a Charming Room or push the boat out and stay in a Suite.
I had a lovely time in Paris, it was my first solo trip so I was without my partner in crime but I couldn’t have felt more at home at the hotel. The only slight hitch was a power cut in the evening which wasn’t the hotel’s fault as it affected the whole street but it meant I was without electricity in my room, thankfully it came back on in the middle of the night.
Thank you to the hotel for their hospitality and service, the Hotel de la Bretonnerie goes over and above its 3* rating and I thoroughly recommend it for your next trip to the Marais neighbourhood.
Hotel de la Bretonnerie
22 Rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie
+33 1 48 87 77 63
Rooms from 129 Euros
I was a guest of the hotel, but my thoughts, opinions and photos are my own.
My Top Tips
Visit Musée Picasso, Musée Cognacq-Jay and the Memorial de la Shoah. Musée Carnavalet is closed until the end of 2019 but worth a visit thereafter.
Go to Place des Vosges and step inside the home of Victor Hugo.
Walk around the Place des Vosges and let yourself be immersed in Parisian charm while window shopping.
Have a coffee at Café Hugo on Place des Vosges and the smallest coffee shop in the Marais, Boot Café.
Have dinner at Les Philosophes or Café des Musees for the best Beef Bourguignon.
Visit Marché des Enfants Rouges, a French market with a variety of street-food pop-ups and other stalls such as fromagerie, fishmongers etc…I bought some delicious Comté cheese to bring back home.
Enjoy an unctuous hot chocolate at Grand Café Tortoni while treating yourself to something special from historic French Perfumers L’Officine Universelle Buly known as Buly 1803 who occupy one half of this opulent shop.
Visit the pretty square of Place du Marché Sainte-Catherine, sit down and people watch from Bistro Joséphine.
Visit the hub of the Jewish Quarter, rue des Rosiers and enjoy falafel at L’As de Fallafel.
Enjoy the best crepes at Breizh Café.