Cheap and Chic Hostels
With an increasing number of women embarking on the budget backpacker road, Parisian hostels are upping their stakes in the “cheap and chic” game—with an emphasis on chic. After all, who wants to face bedbugs and cigarette potpourri when wandering through the City of Light?
Thankfully, far from the budget cliché, staying at a hostel in Paris can be an exercise in living the backpacker’s life of luxury. Impossible to believe? Why not try it for yourself? From quirky rooms to multilingual staff, free hair dryers, coffee machines and unlimited Internet access—and none of those irritating curfew issues (don’t they always say Paris is better by night, anyway?)—here are four of the best budget hostels that Paris offers.
Within a few months of its opening, in September 2007, the Oops! design hostel had made a name for itself as 1 of the top 10 budget accommodations across the globe. Designed by interior architect Philippe Maidenberg and located in the 13th Arrondissement, between Chinatown and the Latin Quarter, Oops! is the epitome of Parisian panache. Here it’s all about keeping up appearances with those little necessities—hair dryer, air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi and stylish Scandinavian furniture, to name a few. A girl has to have her dose of luxury, right? Luckily it’s available at a bargain price: rooms start at 30 euros per night.
The St. Christopher’s Paris hostel offers a special treat that’s perfect for a backpacking girl’s night in—old-fashioned beauty sleep and “me time”—a private, women-only floor, aptly named the Oasis. Other perks include live music, meeting rooms, an Internet café, walking tours, the famous Belushi’s Bar and a setting used in the film Amélie (see if you can spot it!). While St. Christopher’s is slightly farther from central Paris than other places, the hostel more than makes up for that by its beautiful location on the banks of the canal de l’Ourcq. Dormitory beds are available from 28 euros per night.
A bohemian world of its own, this Montmartre hostel is steeped in history, situated at the meeting point of renowned artists including Picasso, Modigliani and Brancusi. The interior design includes quirky features and colorful decor sure to provide inspiration for budding artisans and artistes. Shared rooms are available from 28 euros per night, and private suites from 35 euros per night.
Another favorite standout hostel for female travelers to the city of romance, Village offers small rooms with up to six beds, each with a private bathroom, a telephone, a shower and free Wi-Fi. The hostel is in picturesque Montmartre, only feet from Sacré Coeur. It also neighbors a busy weekend flea market, providing an ideal location to stock up on Parisian street fashions. Here, too, rooms are available at a bargain price, with dorm beds from 24 euros per night.
The verdict? Next time you decide to see Paris by backpack, think beyond the cliché of the grit-and-grime youth hostel and opt for some glamour. Just remember to book in advance.
Tara Sena Becker is a travel writer who also writes for HostelBookers, an online booking service offering accommodations at great youth hostels and cheap hotels in 3,500 destinations worldwide.