I visited Paris again to attend a VT meet and, even though everyone was staying around the Quartier Latin area, I didn't find any cheap hotels there so I started looking somewhere else. I used to stay close to Gare de Lyon because it used to be cheaper, but the hotel where I usually stayed at raised its prices and it wasn't as convenient anymore (since you had to use the metro to go mostly anywhere).
It was really hard to find something that was within our budget and not 20 km. away from downtown. I first booked a hotel in the St. Denis area, very close to Les Halles, but I read some bad reviews about both the hotel AND the area and I decided to look further. I finally found this hotel which is quite the hidden gem (because you can't make a reservation online, you MUST email or call them to book a room so I suppose that's why it's easier to find vacant rooms). By the time I got to the hotel they had no vacant rooms left so you do have to book with some anticipation (at least 3 weeks I'd say).
The hotel isn't located in the middle of the tourist attractions -- in fact, we were very close to a neighborhood where a lot of immigrants lived and worked, which added to the atmosphere. There were a lot of supermarkets nearby but also little shops where you could buy some good fruit (and not as expensive as in other places), pastries (there was a bakery just a few blocks away owned by immigrants where they had the BEST cakes), crepes, etc. However, we were still very close to some of the main attractions: we usually walked to Notre Dame or to the Opera Garnier area, it was a 15 or 20 minute walk. But there were also 3 metro stations in the surroundings so we could also take the metro whenever it was necessary. This area is farther north from Les Halles than the hotel I had originally booked and close to the Bourse (the Paris "Wall Street").
The service isn't great, there were some kind people but there was this lady who claimed she didn't understand my French so I had to repeat things to her over and over before I could get some answers (and really, my French isn't that bad). She did speak some English though, so you can email them in English or in French and they will provide the information you need. There is no curfew, you get a very simple complimentary breakfast (which is rather the exception because most hotels charge you extra for that) and there's a small fridge in the reception area where guests can store their own food (this turned out to be very convenient for us). There are shared bathrooms - which were quite clean - but we booked a room with private bathroom. For 63 EUR a night (for 2 people - in 2011) it was a real bargain, so if you don't mind the shared bathroom it can be even cheaper....
Unique Quality: The rooms are small - as is the norm in Paris - and very basic, but we had a TV and our own bathroom. Everything was clean -- the sheets, towels, the bathroom in general. The bed was comfortable enough. We got our room cleaned everyday. As I said, there is a complimentary breakfast: half a baguette with butter and jam, coffee/tea/chocolate. We bought yoghurt and juice in the supermarket and that was more than enough to start the day -- we even got some ham and cheese and stuffed our baguettes with that some days. They are somewhat picky with the breakfast schedule though, so if you want to eat you have to get there at least 10 minutes before they "close the kitchen", otherwise they give you a hard time when you ask for your breakfast.
The area is quiet and a bit dark at night but we felt safe at all times. There were some reviews stating that there was a lot of noise in the morning because the hotel is opposite an elementary school, but even though our room was facing the street, we never had a problem with that. When we came back to Paris to catch our plane back home we were given a room facing an inner courtyard, so it was even quieter. Also, take into account there is no elevator -- so you won't be disturbed by the noise of it but that also means you have to carry your luggage 2-3 stories and the stairs are somewhat steep.
All in all, I was pleased with my stay here and would come back in the future, as it is much better located than the hotel where I used to stay at in the past.
Directions: Just a few blocks away from Blvd. Strasbourg and Rue du Fbg. St. Denis, and also from the Blvd. de Bonne-Nouvelle, which is the same as Blvd. Haussmann but towards the east. Porte St. Denis is a good reference.
This was the hotel we stayed for the first night in Paris. We paid 38 Euro for a double room without washroom and inclusive of breakfast. The room is clean and tidy. Lots of restaurants and shops are within walking distance of the hotel. Nearest metro is Bonne Nouvelle located within walking distance. Most attractions in Paris are easily accessible from this metro station.
31 Av George V, 8th Arr., Paris
43 avenue Bugeaud, Paris
19 rue du Champ de Mars, Paris
28 Place des Vosges, Paris
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Address: 10 Rue de la Ville Neuve, 02 Arr., Paris, 75002 , France