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Reviewed on 4 Jul 2020
Reviewed on 6 Mar 2020
Reviewed on 10 Jan 2020
You don't need to seek out budget-busting boutique hotels or the famous Ritz to feel the cool vibes of the City of Light. The truth is, hostels in Paris could be nearer to the "real thing". They come with authentic Haussmannian exteriors and Neo-Classical architecture in some of the most immersive districts the capital has to offer – think cathedral-topped Montmartre and the grand monuments of the 5th arrondissement, where you'll sleep in the shadow of the Panthéon by the old home of Hemingway. But location isn't the only allure of hostels in Paris. There's also the buzz of the on-site bars and cafes, which spill onto sidewalks come the summer in a medley of French wines, morning croissants and backpacking chatter. And there are the interiors, which can even be downright plush thanks to Paris's array of posh and bohemian dorm stays.
There's no denying the attractiveness of some hostels in Paris. Looking more like a 5-star palace than a budget-friendly stay, you can discover them nestled in proud 18th-century blocks with carved stonework and iron-wrought balconies. Others ooze Art Deco elegance with 1930s touches. Others prefer edgy modernism, with minimalist exteriors that catch the eye. All of the above can cater to a whole range of different sorts of globetrotter. Offering oversized dorms with as many as 24 beds, they certainly have something for those on a really tight budget. But there are also private rooms for couples who want to feel the energy of a backpacker stay. And there are female-only options to boot.
With their focus on low-cost and fun living, hostels in Paris can also be relied upon to help forge an unforgettable trip to the French capital. Many have their own bikes to rent, while some even organise free walking tours or foodie outings. And if you don't feel like heading out? That's not a problem. It's possible to bag Paris hostels with adjoining cafes, so you can sit, sip a coffee, munch a baguette and just people watch for the day if you please. Alternative establishments are bolstered by beer bars, which can go into overdrive come evening, drawing not only travellers but also locals for happy hours and fondue sessions.
Some say there's no better way to explore Paris than by basing yourself in a hostel. That's because these stays invariably promise to get you out to some of the more immersive and off-beat areas of the capital – ones you simply would not have considered when booking a conventional hotel. Cue St Christopher's Inns, The Canal Hostel. It's perched on the side of the Canal Saint-Martin, where open-air bars and cocktail lounges and art-house cinemas draw a boho mix of students and artists each evening – a lunch of red wine and cheese on the quaysides is a joy. Or, you could pick somewhere like Les Piaules Hostel. It's got wood-panelled interiors, noir lounge spaces and a bistro serving French wine and charcuterie, all close to the hipster boutiques of Belleville neighbourhood and Père Lachaise Cemetery – that's where you'll find the grave of Jim Morrison of The Doors fame.