“ Address : 71 Rue de Charonne / Paris / France „
I'll start the review by telling you how much the hotel cost, so you can then decide for yourself whether you think it is worth it as you read through the rest!
For a twin or double room it cost 85 Euros per night (per room) which at the moment works out as around £70, but if the Pound/Euro ever returns to nearer its previous value, it of course will work out cheaper. This places the hotel towards the cheaper end of Paris hotels.
The hotel is located in the Bastille area in the East of Paris (11th Quartier) which, although not the most central location, is easily accessible.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the area and a small supermarket just opposite, as well as a cheaper supermarket outside the nearest Metro. There are a mix of restaurants; some French, Italian, African, Lebanese etc and plenty of bars between the hotel and the Place de la Bastille which have Happy Hours that tend to run from about 5pm to 8pm offering cheaper pints and cocktails. I'd advise you to make the most of these if you are out for the night as, with the value of the Euro at the moment, drinking in Paris is even more expensive than normal! If you are after some local nightlife, Rue de Lappe, again located on the way to Place de la Bastille is supposed to be quite lively. Unfortunately, we didn't get to go there as we had plans to be elsewhere in Paris each night of our stay. We did go to Rue Oberkampf one night which is fairly nearby (we got the metro there but walked back) which is a street where quite a long stretch is lined with bars. It was actually fairly quiet when we went on a weeknight (until we found everyone in the latest opening club/bar!) but i imagine it is very busy on a weekend.
The nearest 'sight' to the hotel is Place de la Bastille where the Bastille Prison stood until the Storming of the Bastille. The July Column now stands at the centre of the square, commemorating the July Revolution of 1830. Also on the Place stands the Opera House, and you can walk down the road to visit the Marais district, a Jewish area that contains a pretty square called Place des Vosges and the Musee Carnovalet amonst others. Other places to visit nearby include the Pere Lachaise Cemetry where Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Moliere and Balzac are buried amongst many others and the Promenade Plantee, a section of railway viaduct which has now been made into a green walkway above the city, stretching out to the Bois de Vincennes at the edge of the city.
The nearest Metro station to the hotel is Charonne (Line 9), which is only 5 minutes away, and the hotel is also only around 10 minutes away from Bastille Metro which has a choice of 3 lines including Line 1 which will take you to the Louvre, Champs Elysee or Arc de Triomphe in under 20 minutes.
The hotel has 41 en-suite rooms spread over 5 floors. We shared a twin room on the 3rd floor which was fairly small but I've found that to be in the case in every Paris hotel I've ever stayed in, and at least the bathroom was a good size. There was a chair and a dressing table with a large mirror above it by the window, bedside tables by each bed and a wardrobe in the corner. There was also a full length mirror on the door to the bathroom. There was a TV with about 5 French channels up in the corner and an air conditioning system that we found effective. The room was well lit, with lights above each bed as well as on the ceiling.
The bathroom suite was clean and modern with a good power shower over the bath, a little glass shelf above the sink for your toiletries and plenty of hooks and rails for towels and washbags etc. A hairdryer was provided along with a socket for an electric razor next to the sink. There were little bottles of shower gel and shampoo provided and new plastic cups left each day for you to get a drink from the tap (the tap water tasted fine). Towels were changed each day if you left them on the floor, the bathroom cleaned and beds made.
The beds themselves were pretty comfortable and you were given a sheet and blanket although we didn't need the blanket as it is summer! There were spare blankets in the wardrobe for if you ever visited in the middle of winter though. The one annoying thing is that the pillows were filled with feathers which meant I didn't use mine as I've got a bit of an allergy to feathers, so I'd prefer if they just provided foam pillows that everybody could use.
Coffee and tea making facilities were not in the room but I did notice a coffee machine downstairs in reception which I assume was free to use for guests, and there was also a basket of croissants on top, I suppose left over from breakfast and handy if you missed it!
Our room didn't have much of a view, it just looked out onto a fire escape and another part of the building. It didn't bother us but I guess if you'd gone there for a romantic break you might be a little disappointed. I don't think any of the rooms in the hotel would have much of a view, not of any particular Paris landmarks anyway, maybe just some general rooftops! Being on the inside of the building, we weren't disturbed by any street noise, although the section of the street outside the hotel seemed quiet anyway at night.
Breakfast was included in the price and is served 6.30 - 10.30 which I think is very good as I can't imagine many people needing it any earlier or much later, although we did just miss it ourselves on 2 of the 4 mornings! Breakfast included cereals (corn flakes or rice crispies), fresh bread, croissants, biscottes, little cakes. There were little baskets with butter, marge, cheese spread, cheese, nutella and jams and also fruit salad, yoghurts and little fruit compotes provided. There was a toasting grill so you could toast your bread if you liked but this was the only hot breakfast on offer, and I think this is standard for France. There was a hot drinks machine so you could help yourself to tea, coffee or hot chocolate, and also a selection of herbal teas and a choice of apple or orange juice. So quite a good choice really! There was a lady down there (it was served in the basement below reception) clearing up and replenishing things etc but you were basically left to help yourself to whatever you wanted.
In the reception area there were a few seats and a computer with free Internet, the coffee machine I mentioned before, and an area next to the reception desk where you could leave your baggage if you wanted to leave it there for a few hours after checking out on your final day. And of course there is the reception desk, behind which we found friendly and helpful staff each time we handed in/collected our keys who I'm sure would have been happy to answer any questions about Paris had we had any! We usually spoke in French to them all but we did check out in English, mainly through laziness, and the woman on the desk did speak fluent English. The check in/out process was quick and smooth. Check out time is midday but as I said, you can leave your luggage at the hotel if you are not leaving Paris until the evening.
When we arrived back each night, somewhere between midnight and 5am, we just had to ring a little buzzer by the door and a member of staff came quickly to let us in.
I'd definitely recommend this hotel if this is in your price range. I think the price is about right for the location and standard. There are no big landmarks on your doorstep and no stunning views but I think if you want that in Paris you have to be pay a bit more to get it!
I'll knock a star off for the lack of a view from the window and the feather pillows, but would give it 4 and a half if it was possible.