In a quiet side street hard by the Louvre and the river, this sophisticated and flexible little hotel proves that, in the right hands, even the most featureless of bedrooms can be made charming and welcoming. Most are standard box-shape, no more than adequate in size, although some have the benefit of beamed ceilings and floor-length windows. Ours (room 41, a single) was simple: matching striped headboard and curtains, elegant wooden desk and bedside table, understated white cupboard. But it was quiet, and had four pictures of birds, in two artistic styles. Others are bigger: some are painted in soothing pastel shades; others have bold, floral wallpaper, curtains or bedspread. Without wanting to modernise the rooms too much, there are now televisions and iPod speakers, but these are not showy. Rooms are cleverly arranged so that a pair can be taken together and connected behind a communal front door – ideal for families. Breakfast is served in your bedroom.
The manageress, Sophie Aulnette, and her close-knit staff are all Parisians with a history of travel – experience that allows them to understand the different cultures that visit Le Relais du Louvre day-in, day-out. They pride themselves on trying to accommodate and help guests with budgets wherever possible.