By Mark Orwoll
Mark Orwoll, seasoned traveler and T&L Managing Editor, is here to help you with all your travel questions. Think of him as your personal concierge, and ask away....
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Q. Are there any summer specials for deluxe hotels in Paris. I have tried various approaches but have not found weekend rates, upgrades, summer prices, etc. for Paris similar to those you might find in New York City. Do they exist? We plan on being in Paris in August.
A. As you probably know, August is when the Parisians traditionally flee their city for the countryside and the beaches on their annual four-week vacation (although more and more locals are leaving in July). Still August is not a bad time to visit the city; the crowds are less dense, and most of the major attractions are open. (Always check for planned or last-minute closures if there is something in particular you want to visit.) You'll probably have fewer choices in restaurants because of summer-holiday closings.
Unfortunately, you won't find many hotel discounts that month, because so many summer vacationers from around the world are making the same plans you are. (Your best bet for Paris hotel savings is, with a few specific exceptions, from mid-October through March.) Expect to pay $150-$250 a night for a moderate-priced hotel. If you really want to go deluxe, a room at the very swank Hotel de Crillon will run you around $600. I can understand why you might want a special deal. In fact, through August 31, the Crillon does have a special deal-- a room for "only" $500.
Never forget that a good travel agent has access to lots of information about (often unadvertised) hotel discounts. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that the Crillon, for one, doesn't generally have an August "School's Out" discount rate.
The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in August 1998, but we suggest you confirm all details and prices directly with the service establishments before making travel plans.