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Saturday, August 14, 2010

9 Days in Paris (Part 2) - Accomodations

French pillows are pretty crappy

We chose a hotel in the Montmartre area of the city. In French, Montmartre means "mountain...something" but really only the mountain part is relevant. Though, in this case it's like the city type of mountain, which usually just means big-ass hill. The effect is roughly the same.

Montmartre is also apparently the discount wedding dress/suit district, as there were "Mariage" shops one after the other. Other things that you can find in Montmartre include: inexpensive cigarettes from illegal street vendors and Afro shops. It was like I died and heaven was filled with all of my favorite black hair care products for half the price that I can find them in Hamburg.

Frosty and C.Dub had stayed in the same hotel that we had booked during a few of their previous trips to Paris. It was a modest little place with a single star from the French tourism board. There was just a double bed, small bathroom, a desk with a chair and a wardrobe. The view was less than stunning, it was just looking right out at the back of the department store across the street. However, per person, it was only about 25€ per night, located extremely close to a convenient Métro station and the staff was friendly.

As I mentioned in my pre-Paris post, I can be a bit overzealous when it comes to travel planning. Our train was very much on time, we arrived at 11:30am, but you never know with these things. So, I added a bit of padding to our hotel check in time. About 2.5 hours of padding. And the walk from the station to the hotel was only about 15 minutes. So we got there a bit before noon and weren't set to check in until 2pm.

At the reception desk, it suddenly hit me that I can't speak French. Of course, I knew I couldn't speak French before -- but before it really wasn't necessary and now it was. And my brain seemed to just shut down, even a simple "Bonjour" seemed completely out of my league. But then Frosty just jumped right in and started talking to the dude at the reception to ask to see if we could check in early or leave our stuff at the hotel until it was time to check in.

As it turns out, Salim (the dude at the reception) somehow managed to recognize Frosty. This might not seem like such an amazing feat. However, a good 5-6 years had passed since his last stay in Paris and 17-year-old Frosty looks a lot different than 23-year-old Frosty. Salim also remembered C.Dub and that she is a teacher.

The hotel itself, like I said, was lacking in frills. Price-wise, it's tough to beat. Even hostels in Paris run on the expensive side and the inexpensive hotels/hostels tend to be inconveniently located. If you're not traveling as a couple, then a dorm-style hostel is probably worth it...or couch surfing. But if you can deal with a pretty small room and you're well-acquainted (or prepared to get *very* well-acquainted) with your travel partner , then I'd recommend where we stayed (Hotel Angleterre). If you eat their breakfast it's an extra 5€, but if you want to buy some breakfast from the supermarket around the corner then they'll let you eat it in their dining room.

Next time I might try to find something on Craigslist, mostly because then we'd have the option of making our own meals and even more privacy. I love staying in hotels, but nothing kills the mood faster than housekeeping knocking on the door, you realizing that the door isn't locked and that there's no "Do not disturb" sign.

Believe that.


The Beech said...

Btw. have you seen "Good Hair" with Chris Rock yet?

lebrookski said...

Yes, I've seen it a couple of times. Before it came out, I was really looking forward to it. Then, when I saw it I thought it was well-meaning, but I was mostly very disappointed by it. But that's another story, for another coffee break.