As you walk the busy streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés to check in at the Relais Médicis, you can picture Picasso, Camus and Sartre sipping coffee at the shaded cafes: in the early 20thC the area was famous as an intellectual and literary hotspot. It is also perfectly situated for exploring Paris’s highlights – most can be reached in less than 20 minutes, the Luxembourg Gardens are just around the corner, and a ten-minute stroll will get you to Notre-Dame.
     The building dates from the 18thC and is decorated in French Provincial style, with charming pieces of antique furniture in the lobby and breakfast room. It is organized around a pretty central courtyard with a stone lion head fountain and creeper-clad walls and windows. Ask for a room facing the patio if peace is your priority. The bedrooms are cosy and homely, though some are on the small side. You are, after all, in the centre of Paris and they are priced accordingly. Beds are comfortable and many have interesting pillow-shaped hanging headboards dressed in floral patterns.
     The service is helpful and familiar and has often been praised. Breakfast is continental and, while not especially varied, is brought in from a local bakery for extra freshness (eggs are available for a small surcharge). The location, charming staff and breakfast included in the rate – a rarity these days in Paris – make the Relais Médicis a useful address in the capital.