|by Meg Zimbeck||Europe, France, Paris, Hotels||14|
Two "design" hostels have opened in Paris within the past year. Trying to shed the granola image of yesteryear, both promise contemporary comforts with rates starting at just €30 ($40) per night.
St. Christopher's Inn settled in last summer along the Bassin de la Villette and claimed to be the most modern hostel in Paris. Occupying a brand new building on the water, this hostel certainly has location going for it. The picture outside their window includes houseboats and groups of French people are playing pétanque along the banks of the canal.
The Inn also has Belushi’s pub downstairs for those who don’t dare leave the backpacker bubble. As for the amenities, you can book a private double from €40 ($53) per person in the high season, or sleep in dormitory of 6-8 people for €29-36 ($39–48). Breakfast is included, and the hostel offers €6 ($8) backpacker meals every night at 7 p.m. Guest can get online at their Internet café or by connecting to free Wi-Fi throughout the hostel. Linens are provided, but (lest you forget this is a hostel) you'll have to bring your own towel (159 rue de Crimée, 19th arrondissement, 011-33/1-40-34-34-40).
The most recent opening is Oops down in the city’s southern hemisphere. Philippe Maidenberg's interior, with bold splashes of color throughout the hostel, has already been written up in a Japanese design mag. These dorm rooms are less spacious than at St. Christopher's, but are similarly cheap—€30 ($40) per person in a four-room dorm, or €80 (about $105) for a private double (price per room). The price includes free breakfast, free Internet access, and free linens. User reviews on other sites have raised some concerns about security, which is a drag. I can't confirm or deny these reports (here and here), but wouldn't want to leave my own iPod lying around. I guess some things at hostels—even the fancy new design variety—never change (50 avenue des Gobelins, 13th arrondissement, 011-33/1-47-07-47-00).