Paris is the number one tourist destination in the world with 45 million visitors annually. There is so much to see and do in Paris that no two trips are the same. We always enjoy visiting the city of light but it is a very expensive city to visit. One way to reduce your cost is find a cheaper hotel. If you are a military officer, you’re in luck.
The Cercle National des Armées in Paris, or the French Officers Quarters
The French Officers Quarters, as the name implies, is a hotel for French military officers. The original site was a caserne built in the eighteenth century. It was reconstructed to its present form in 1928 and was intended for French military officers.
Is the hotel only for French military officers?
No, but you do have to have an officer in your group. The military officer can be from another military (U.S., Canadian, British, German, etc.) and can be retired or in the reserves. I wish it was open to all military personnel but that is their rules. They do speak English so it’s best to give them a phone call or email to book a room. They can answer your questions like how to find them.
How do you get to the hotel?
I’ve had friends that took the train to Paris and then a taxi to the hotel. Once you are in Paris, you can take the metro to the Saint Augustin metro station. If you drive there, you will definitely want to have a GPS with you.
We drove to the hotel and parked in the underground parking garage around the corner from the entrance. We got stuck in the elevator for 40 minutes the night before we left, but I’ll leave that story for another time. The underground parking is convenient. Don’t drive your car in Paris while you are there. It is terribly difficult to find parking and the traffic can be just terrible.
We always walk, take the metro or a taxi. If you take a taxi, ask the drive to take you to the Saint Augustin Church if he doesn’t known where the hotel is. The Church is about 150 meters from the hotel front entrance.
How are the rooms in the hotel?
The rooms in the hotel are nice. We booked two double rooms when we went with my teenage son. One trick is to ask for a room with two separate beds. I think there’s a bit more room per person than if you share one double bed. There is no internet in the hotel rooms. You can pay 3 Euro for 30 minutes of internet access in their business center, but I would recommend using your smart phone or a laptop with a wi-fi card. Or do the unthinkable. Don’t use the internet while you’re there!
What else does the hotel offer?
The rooms are air-conditioned but we went in the off-season and didn’t need them so I can’t say how well they work. The rooms do have televisions but we didn’t use it. We brought a few books, a laptop and some board games instead.
The hotel has a restaurant but you’re in Paris! There are over 5000 restaurants and bistros to choose from. We only ate at the hotel for breakfast once. It was a nice breakfast but we felt it was over priced, just like many other things in Paris.
There is a big room for conferences but we never went inside of the room.
Is it expensive to stay at the hotel?
Not really if you compare it to similar hotels in Paris. The Saint Augustin hotel is 121 Euro per night for a room with a double bed. You can easily spend several times that for a similar size room near the Champs-Élysées. The restaurant was pricey and we always eat in one of the many restaurants Paris has to offer. We didn’t see many people dining in the restaurant probably for similar reasons.
The hotel has a nice old feeling about it and the location is great. You are within walking distance of many interesting museums and restaurants. Paris is an expensive city to visit. Staying at the French officers quarters can help ease the pain in your wallet when you visit!
Cercle National des Armées
8 place Saint-Augustin
Tel +33 1 44 90 26 26
Fax +33 1 45 22 17 75
If you’ve been to the French Officer’s Quarters, leave a comment and tell us about your experience.