We flew into Paris for a few days before the start of our trip and stayed at the Hotel d'Angleterre in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area. This 26-room boutique hotel, which once housed the British Embassy, was fantastic. It's in an ideal location, but quiet with a private courtyard.
Hotel d'Angleterre, 44 Rue Jacob, Paris; 011-33-1-42-60-34-72, http://www.hotel-dangleterre.com. Doubles from $331.