24 Hour Room-Service: Villa Royale Montsouris, Paris

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The Independent Travel

"French people come here to spend the night with their loved one," says the duty manager at Villa Royale Montsouris. It is filling fast for St Valentine's Day, but is a suitably romantic venue for assignations on any day of the year.

"French people come here to spend the night with their loved one," says the duty manager at Villa Royale Montsouris. It is filling fast for St Valentine's Day, but is a suitably romantic venue for assignations on any day of the year.

The Montsouris is part of the Hôtels de Paris group, which specialises in turning humdrum hotels into individual places to stay. The former two-star hotel re-opened in September 2002 as a four-star fragment of Casablanca.

Ochre is a strong suit in reception and the corridors. The property has only 36 rooms, 11 of them with double beds, the rest with twin beds, and all created in a blend of Moorish and Andalusian decor. Each has a name, rather than a number, and is decorated in pastel shades, with cool tiles on the walls and floor.

Breakfast is taken in the basement, perched on high-backed chairs that resemble magic lanterns.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Villa Royale Montsouris, 144 rue de la Tombe Issoire, Paris 14 (00 33 1 56 53 89 89, www.leshotelsdeparis.co.uk): this is just within the Boulevard Périphérique, but well south of the main part of the capital. Porte d'Orléans Métro terminus is a five-minute walk away.

Time from international airport: Orly airport is extremely handy; in light traffic you could reach the hotel in a cab in as little as 10 minutes. Sadly, all UK flights to Paris serve Charles de Gaulle, well to the north. From here, the only sensible way to proceed is take the RER line B to Denfert-Rochereau, from which you can walk (in 15 minutes), or take the Métro to Porte d'Orléans, or grab a cab (three minutes, €5/£3).

ARE YOU LYING COMFORTABLY?

Unless you are staying solo, you had better be on good terms with your room-mate: there is precious little space in any of the rooms. The lightness of touch and Moroccan resonances more than compensate for a faint sense of claustrophobia – and a remarkable amount has been packed into the compact bathrooms.

Keeping in touch: flat-screen TVs are concealed so they take up minimum space.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The top rate of €342 (£230) applies at peak times. For most of the year, though, a double costs €135 (£90).

I'm not paying that: take your date to the Hôtel du Commerce, across town at 34 rue des Trois-Frères (00 33 1 42 64 81 69); the Rough Guide recommends it "for the hardened dosser only". A double costs €18 (£12).

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