A calm retreat in the heart of zippy Montparnasse. The avenue is leafy, and owner Georges Ferrero’s manager, Mathieu Renaudin, and team are especially agreeable; step out of the bustle and into a foyer full of natural light with a view on the street, comfortable armchairs and a big sofa topped with jaunty cushions. The clever blend of old and new gives an individual, warm atmosphere throughout: attractive flea market finds, antiques, characterful dark or honey-coloured wood furniture and headboards – all chosen with Mme Ferrero’s good eye. Bedrooms have sleekly made up beds, art, flowers in glass vases, splashes of colour from stylish fabrics, lamps dotted about; bathrooms are tip-top gleaming. Families and groups can choose the communicating rooms; if you don’t want to tackle the lifts one room is on the ground floor next to reception. Have breakfast in your room, or join the buffet in the dining room. Montparnasse is still a place where people live and work; St Germain des Prés – heaps of shops and well-known restaurants – is within a stone’s throw and Luxembourg Gardens are a 5-minute walk.