When it comes to prices, the dollar’s drop has prompted severe euro-shock, but some bargains remain. The Hôtel Arvor, just off the hip rue des Martyrs in the 9th arrondissement, is one of them, and it’s a real charmer. When she bought this old hotel in 2005, Nadine Flammarion (of the publishing house family) started at the bottom and worked up for a complete renovation; the last floor will be finished in April.

Bright and cheerful, the lobby area now sparkles with mostly white walls, touches of startlingly bright color in the striped Daniel Buren posters in the breakfast area, and fresh flowers on round white tables surrounded by cool molded Vitra chairs. In good weather guests can also breakfast on a flowery little terrace. In the spacious sitting room with its invitingly soft sofas, a stylish little bar lines one wall, while a floor-to-ceiling bookcase on another offers reading material, including Paris guidebooks to help guests plan their stay while they sip their espresso. Books also overflow the shelves found on every floor and even stairway landings.

The thirty rooms are luminous and quiet, with large windows and white walls set off by one in color-apple green, soft aqua or taupe. Furnishings are simple-an appealing mix of flea market finds like mirrored vanities or grandmotherly bureaus and modern pieces including molded plastic rocking chairs. Six large suites are perfect for families or anyone who likes lots of space-each has a separate entranceway, a small room with a single bed/couch, a very large bedroom and a bathroom big enough for a cabinet to hold toiletries (very rare in Paris). Amusing posters brighten the walls, and every room has Wi-Fi and a flat screen TV. Smiling service is a plus, and the neighborhood, a very Parisian district with little neighborhood shops and the relics of a literary community called Nouvelle Athènes, is well worth exploring.

Hôtel Arvor: 8 rue Laferrière, 9th, 01.48.78.60.92, €125 (€100 in low season) website

Originally published in the February 2008 issue of France Today

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