Logistics: a place to stay in Paris
Rarely will I admit to being a spoiled only child, but there’s one thing that I did always take for granted: perfect Paris accommodations. Other than a monthlong stint in a dorm in the Thirteenth while studying at Alliance Française, Paris has generally been a mother-daughter shopping destination. Since my parents aren’t on a backpackers’ budget, we stayed at a fabulous apartment in the Marais, just steps from the city’s greatest vintage shops, falafal and gay bars.
Unfortunately, this trip was on my budget—but also with my knowledge of Paris. I knew I didn’t want to stay in Montmartre, and this trip wasn’t really about partying with other backpackers. I wanted a central location that was close to a Metro stop, and my own room—for a very, very affordable price.
After putting out a call on Twitter and being inundated with fabulous recommendations that were way, way over budget, I stumbled across the Top Ten Paris Hostels. The review of Bastille Hostel stood out: ideally situated, not the best choice for a party atmosphere, 1-2 person rooms and private showers. And at 32 Euros a night, it was perfect for the budget of a waitress-blogger twenty-something.
When I arrived, I realized that I would definitely be getting what I paid for. No WiFi, no access to the rooms between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and no hostel bar in sight. It was certainly a change from the MTV Europe recommended hostels I had stayed in on my five-week tour of Europe last summer.
While it certainly wasn’t luxe, the hostel was clean and simple. I loved having my own room with a private shower, sink and air conditioning. It was super close to the Ledru-Rollin Metro stop—although repairs prevented it stopping at Bastille station, which would have been the easiest hub to change lines. A Monoprix (the French equivalent of Target) was also less than two blocks away, which was super convenient.
The surrounding neighborhood is becoming more and more trendy. The hostel is just blocks away from Marché Beauvau, one of the oldest and most authentic covered markets left in Paris. The streets are sprinkled with ethnic food shops and traditional boulangeries and chocolateries. While I didn’t stay in the neighborhood much, it was an easy walk into the Marais and the center of town.
I don’t think I would recommend Bastille Hostel to the first-time Paris-goer. I literally cringed when I saw backpackers eating its free breakfast of a roll, butter and jam in the morning—you are in Paris! Splurge a Euro on a pain au chocolat and café! It’s not the best atmosphere to meet people and you’re not right in the middle of the most touristy locations.
However, it’s a good value if you’re familiar with the city and the Metro system—and if you’re looking to get a look at real-life Paris. I don’t think you can get cleaner or quieter for such a low price. I’m still aspiring for my own pied-à-terre in the Marais, but the Bastille Hostel will have to do until I make it big.