It can be hard to make a decision on where to stay in the sprawling 20 arrondissements of Paris. Each district has its own unique flavor, pros and cons. Researching it all can be rather hectic. For the younger more lively crowd I have found that Les Piaules, in the 11th arrondissement is the perfect hostel in a great location. When we arrived on a Friday evening the area was filled with young adults in a lively scene. The same could be said as we entered Les Piaules and found ourselves in the middle of a French dance party and welcoming friendly faces. Thankfully, the sleeping areas were in a separate area. So you can really have it all, a good night sleep, fun, a warm breakfast and new friends at Les Piaules.
Les Piaules is located off the Belleville metro stop in the 11 arrondissement. The Belleville area is lively enough to enjoy good nightlife and restaurants, safe enough to feel comfortable walking around at night, affordable and has convenient transportation to many of the hot destinations. I really enjoyed walking around this area, which has gone through a revival since the 80s and has a very diverse cultural feel.
The weekend dance parties in the Lobby of Les Piaules might be enough nightlife for some. If not, Rue Oberkampf is just up the street, which hosts a whole slew of nightclubs for all types of music lovers. Even many of the restaurants and cafes near by host vivacious late hour events.
It might appear to be a bit far from some of your top tourist attractions, but honestly everything in Paris is rather spread out. You can’t beat the 3 minute walk from a metro station with a direct line to Notre Dame and from there easy access to everything else. I never felt dislocated from anything and I really got a feel for Paris.
Location Score: 4/5
Rooms and Cleanliness
Probably one of the best aspects of staying at Les Piaules is their state of the art hostel rooms and cleanliness. When I walked into our room I was convinced we were not staying at a hostel. We definitely spent the extra money and stayed in the “Cosy One of the Roof Top,” which is considerably more than the dorm rooms. But, for those looking for a hotel type room, without the higher Paris hotel costs, this might be a good option. Our room was decorated so well, with great lighting, wood accents and a Large bathroom. Our bed was comfortable and spacious and our room was also cleaned daily. The roof top locations are in a nice secluded area with a killer view. We even had our own coffee and tea maker to get us going in the morning.
For those looking for the hostel dorm experience and budget I was able to get a peak at their well known and highly reputable bunk beds. With bunks starting at 38 Euros they’re well worth the investment. They’re not your typical rickety and exposed bunk. The staff claims that after 500 nights in hostel beds, they’ve perfected the bunk. Each set of bunks are nestled into cubbies with black out curtains that close you off from the rest of the room. Additional to the curtains are reading lights, comfortable mattresses, power plugs and lockers. These are the types of bunks I wish I had in my days of staying in dorms. If you’re traveling in a group check out their deal to book the entire dorm room for you and your friends.
Dorms come in sizes of 4, 6 and 8 with options for shared of private bathrooms.
Room and cleanliness Score: 5/5
Bar, Social Areas and Amenities
I already mentioned the dance party event held at Les Piaules, which actually is noted on several websites as a place to go for a night out, even if you’re not staying at the hostel. Les Piaules hosts local DJs and those dancing are locals and hostel go-ers a like. The bar selection is limited to beer, a few select cocktails and wine.
Even in the day, the bar, restaurant and social areas are absolutely wonderful. When you enter Les Piaules the check in counter and bar are on the left with a mini game center on the right. A sizeable seating area for the restaurant are beyond that. The breakfast menu has basic combinations for a French, healthy or salty breakfast. To enjoy a bit of French culture order one of their French wines on the menu along with a cheese or meat plate.
The sitting area in the downstairs lobby is cosy and welcoming with overstuffed chairs, couches, plugs and books to read.
The basement has lockers to store your luggage before or after check out. The lockers do require money and they are of restricted size, so make sure your bags will fit before purchasing the locker.
The roof top hosts another little sitting area, so, when it’s not raining you can sit out and enjoy a lovely roof top view of Paris, you can see almost all the major attractions from here.
Overall Amenities Score: 5/5
Staff & Front Desk
Upon entering Les Piaules late Friday night, the party was in full swing, but a front desk attendant found us looking around with our luggage and helped us check in. He was very friendly and got us checked in quickly, so we could drop our things in the room and get back down to dance! The bar tenders were all friendly but they were very busy with the volume of customers, so there was some wait to get up to order a drink. I would however, recommend trying to arrive earlier in the day as it was rather hard to hear the run down of the hostel with the DJ right next to the check in counter and it was a bit hard to navigate the lobby with luggage, but they do have 24 hour check in for those that need it, like we did! It was easy enough to come back down the next morning to get filled in on everything about the hostel and city in more detail.
What really set the staff apart was the nice Valentine’s Day surprise they left me and my boyfriend in our room. We came home Valentines Eve and found a bottle of good Champagne and rose petals sprinkled on the bed. I thought they were from my boyfriend, but as he denied it we realized the staff left us a nice surprise.
Staff Score: 4/5
Paris is not known for beiing the cheapest destination, but I found it comparable to similar hostels I’ve stayed in through-out Europe. Plus, with the added amenities including the very nice rooms, bed and social areas I think it’s worth the price.
Bunks start at 30 Euros for the 8 person shared dorm and rise to 36 for the 4 person dorm. Private rooms start at 130 Euros and go up to 150 Euros for the private room on the roof.
Price Score: 3.5/5
Website: Les Piaules