Hotel Le Sainte-Beuve

Montparnasse, Paris, France Book from

Reviewed by Tom Bell
A charming hotel on a quiet street in Montparnasse, with an open fire and deep sofas in the shimmering salon
A little off the tourist trail (and all the better for it), Saint-Beuve’s homely charm makes it an ideal place to retreat after a long day of sightseeing. The delightfully warm and welcoming salon is a magnet for guests passing through: there are Ionian pillars, balls of rose petals, plush sofas, smart red armchairs and a big marble fireplace where you can saunter up, pluck a log from the wicker basket and stoke the fire. A perfect example of a small Parisian hotel, you feel at home the moment you walk through the door. Manager Henry is charming, the staff are caring, the bedrooms are crisp and elegant, and the price is spot-on.

Though it opened years ago, our 2012 revisit revealed that standards remain high, and the team are a friendly mine of knowledge on the local area. They will also book tables, supply maps, and even lend umbrellas if the need arises. A real bonus of this hotel is that you’re down in Montparnasse, off the south-western shores of the Jardin du Luxembourg, so you can walk off any excess amid its glorious formal gardens.


  • They want you to think of Sainte-Beuve as your Parisian home - we found it to be smart, comfortable and very welcoming
  • The salon is a relaxing and warm spot to linger
  • The Jardin du Luxembourg is on your doorstep, the Latin Quarter just beyond, and you're well placed for Montparnasse's charming cafés and eateries
  • Lovely décor with bold colours and antique furnishing; put together by famous British designer David Hicks
  • It's good value considering its location and charm


  • Three-quarter-sized bathtubs are not big enough for a really good soak
  • The cheaper bedrooms at the back don’t get much light, and some are rather small (though this is symptomatic of Paris)
  • The emphasis is on comfort and relaxation; if you're looking for contempory chic you may be happier elsewhere
  • It's a fair way south of the main sites, but they're easily accessible by metro or on foot

Best time to go

Paris a fantastic year-round destination; it's particularly romantic in spring and the Christmas shopping is fabulous. Try to avoid the salons (the trade fairs and fashion shows). There are 10 throughout the year (Prêt-à-Porter being the best known). They tend to last 3 or 4 days. September, October and February are the busier months.

Our top tips

The real highlight of this property is its location: so don't miss the beautiful Jardins du Luxembourg (just around the corner). A hive of local activity for Parisians, you can expect to see young lovers smooching, old men playing boules, families picnicking and children playing with the 1920s toy sail boats - all overlooked by the beautiful palace, with the soundtrack provided by the bandstand.

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 22
  • Breakfast only (walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service


A warm, homely style runs throughout the 22 guests rooms. Each has plush curtains, oil paintings, upholstered chairs and nice pieces of furniture (an old oak armoire, an antique dressing table, perhaps marble-topped bedside tables). They are also spotlessly clean, with loads of storage space and a writing desk. Comfortable beds dressed in crisp white linen ensure the first purpose of all hotels: a good night’s sleep.

Standard Rooms are the least expensive, as they are the smallest and overlook a rather plain courtyard. Rooms continue to be categorised according to size as you move up the price ladder. We stayed in a Superior Room, which we found to be a little small, though the pale green walls and antique writing desk were charming. Deluxe Rooms offer slightly more space and enjoy top-floor views. Rooms overlooking the rue Sainte-Beuve are bright and double-glazed, so you can expect a quiet night’s sleep.

Right at the top of the building is the Junior Suite. It runs the entire depth of the property, with space for both a huge kingsize bed and a double sofabed (great for families). This room feels the most light and airy, and we loved the colourful flower boxes lining the windows and the beautiful views beyond.

Monochrome tiled bathrooms offer bathrobes and big white towels. Some baths are three-quarter size, though all have overhead showers. Families should note that some of the Standard and Superior Rooms can interconnect, making them good for older children.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


There's no breakfast room; instead, tables are plonked around the salon in the morning. It's a very casual, delightfully orchestrated arrangement, which suits the spirit of the hotel well. You come down, sit where you wish and are served by obliging staff. Pots of fresh coffee are brought forth, baskets of croissants and baguettes (from the excellent Mulot boulangerie) appear with jams and yoghurts, and there's freshly-squeezed orange juice. You can go a la carte with coffee and omelettes if that’s what you fancy.

A light room service menu is available at certain times of day (hot food: from noon-3pm and 7pm-9pm; cold food from noon-9pm, excluding Sunday night). Expect soups and salads, croque monsieur, quiche lorraine and even hamburgers.

Local restaurants are on your doorstep. Try Le Timbre - very small and loved by locals with an English chef and a fine cellar. La Coupole on Boulevard Montparnasse is a big old bistro, where hard-up artists (some now famous) used to pay for food with pictures, many of which still hang on the wall. La Rotonde nearby is nice and simple, and serves great meat from the Massif Central. If you want, you can wander up to Saint Germain and have lunch at Les Deux Magots; a café where Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir spent the early sixties in the company of assorted artists and intellectuals.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service


  • Spurn the metro. It may be on your doorstep, and thus tempting, but Paris is a city in which to walk; there is too much beauty to burrow underground

  • We also loved using the Velib bikes as they’re cheap, really sturdy and very easy to ride. Bike stations are everywhere and there are plenty of cycle lanes. Great fun - just beware of French drivers!

  • Stroll through the exquisite Jardin du Luxembourg and rent out the toy 1920s sail boats - they turn grown men into children!

  • Visit the church of Saint Sulpice (as in The Da Vinci Code), stop at a Saint-Germain café for sustenance, then cross the river to Notre Dame - all within a leisurely half-hour walk

  • Stray to the east and you will find the lesser-visited Jardin des Plantes (with a small zoo)

  • Stay local and you can explore Montparnasse, its station, its cemetery and its cafés. It's a student area - lively, busy and worth a good wander

  • For something less polished, head to Belleville. It has a more alternative, “grittier” scene with a thriving Chinatown, a great park and some real funky cafés and street art

  • Explore the vibrant Latin Quarter. It's just a stroll away and boasts the Sorbonne and the Pantheon - both are architectural delights

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets


Children under 2 years old stay for free in a baby cot; a maximum of one child per room. Cots and babysitting are provided on request. Extra beds for children over 2 are charged.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Some of the Standard and Superior Rooms interconnect, and the Junior Suite can accommodate 2 children on a sofabed. Although most rooms can take an extra bed or cot, they are probably only suitable for parents with a baby due to their compact size.


Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

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