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Once a 17th century monastery, then a private palace, and now a luxury boutique hotel, Relais Christine is full of Parisian charm and history. The recently renovated property is tucked on a private, alley-like street just a half mile from the Louvre and Notre Dame and just steps from the Seine River in the artistic 6th arrondissement, Saint Germain. 

For my 30th birthday trip, I opted to stay in a smaller boutique hotel rather than one of the grand palace hotels on the Right Bank. I wanted to be close to my favorite bakeries, restaurants, and shops in Saint Germain and the surrounding area. And I wanted something intimate and quintessentially Parisian. The Relais Christine checked all of the boxes, and met or surpassed all of my hopes for this milestone trip.

The thoughtful touches and personal service of this 48-room boutique include real keys that the front desk stores for you while you’re out, welcome drinks, and chocolate truffles every night at turn down.

Good for:

Couples, families

Please note: while there are elevators and some accessible rooms, this property has lots of stairs and hallways (it’s an old building!), so keep that in mind if you are traveling with anyone differently-abled or who might struggle with stairs. You can also request a lower floor and/or a room close to the elevator if these are concerns.

How to get there:

Paris has two major airports, Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) northeast of the city and Paris-Orly (ORY) south of the city. Both airports have flights to and from big cities in the US, although CDG is larger and typically has more nonstop flights available. 

Buses, trains, and taxis are all options to get into Paris from the airports. Taxis are typically quite expensive, so public transportation is recommended. The trains from both airports take about 30-40 minutes to get into central Paris. The bus from Orly is about 30 minutes as well, but the bus from de Gaulle takes more than an hour. You can purchase bus or train fares in the airport.

The hotel is about 4 blocks (0.2 miles) from the Saint-Michel Notre-Dame metro station, which you can get to directly from the airport on the RER B train.

Best time to go:

Every season in Paris has its charms. Winter is cool and rainy, but there are few tourists during the off season, making lines shorter and reservations easier to get. Spring is moderate and still rainy, but you can find good value in the shoulder season and you’ll get to see the spring blooms come alive. Summer brings with it more sunshine and warm weather, but it also brings throngs of tourists and higher prices (plus tons of places close in August as Parisians escape the city on holiday). Fall cools down a bit, and the city is painted a spectrum of colors as the leaves change and the flow of tourists slows some. But in my opinion, Audrey Hepburn was right when she said “Paris is always a good idea.”

Rooms:

The recently updated rooms feature designer wallpaper and coordinating patterns on the walls, headboards, and bed linens. Each of the 48 rooms are unique; no dull, corporate rooms here! The bathrooms have black and white checkered marble floors and chrome details. Our superior room had a glass-framed shower and a deep marble bathtub, as well as a separate water closet. The bed was comfortable–which is definitely not a given in European hotels. We also had a small desk and a mini bar area. At 22 square meters (about 235 square feet), the superior room was not large but was not uncomfortable for the two of us. Our windows looked over Rue Christine, the quiet street for which the hotel is named. I loved waking up and drawing the curtains each morning to see the quaint view of neighboring buildings.

When we checked into our room, we were greeted with a box of Angelina chocolates, a hand-written note from the manager, and a bottle of champagne in honor of my birthday. We also got Angelina chocolate truffles and bottles of water every night at turn down. That gets bonus points in my book!

Relais Christine Paris breakfast

Restaurant:

While there’s no proper restaurant on site, the hotel offers a limited room service menu and a generous breakfast spread (included in some room rates). The daily breakfast is served in the lobby lounge on plush seats and marble-top tables. It includes cured meats, cheeses, pastries, fruit, vegetables, and eggs cooked to order, as well as coffee, tea, and juice. You can take afternoon tea in one of the lounges or the courtyard, and an honor bar is available in the evening.

You won’t be too disappointed with no restaurant onsite because there are so many good options within a few blocks in Saint Germain! The concierge was very helpful before our stay with sending a personalized list of restaurant recommendations based on our preferences.

Activities:

The hotel houses a Guerlain spa in the historic vaults below the lobby. We didn’t end up with time to indulge in a treatment, but the space is beautiful and peaceful. The price list is about what you’d expect from a 5* Paris hotel spa.

Also in the historic vaults is a fitness center. Between stone arches, you’ll find free weights, weight machines, cardio machines, mats, exercise balls, and towels. Just outside of the gym, there is a jacuzzi, sauna, and small locker room area with robes and slippers; all of these facilities are open for hotel guests to use.

In the lush courtyard, you can check out the hotel’s bikes to go explore the city.

The hotel’s concierge is very helpful with arranging any other area activities in which you might be interested.

Points + Credit Cards:

The hotel is part of the Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) portfolio, which has its own rewards program. SLH also recently partnered with Hyatt, so you can book this property with World of Hyatt points (which you can transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards). Bookings through Hyatt include breakfast and an upgrade if available. Because the hotel is small, it books up quickly on both dollars and points, so it helps to plan ahead.

Why I love it:

This charming boutique hotel was everything I wanted for my 30th birthday trip and more! It was a wonderful home base for many of my favorite spots in Paris, especially because we love to walk. Every time we left the hotel, we got to walk the adorable streets of Saint Germain, and more often than not, our routes included a walk by the Seine. The hotel’s service was polished yet personal, the vibe was distinctly Parisian, and the breakfast was a fabulous start to each day. I wholeheartedly recommend this hotel, and I hope to stay there again in the future!

(We traveled as a couple in March of 2019)


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