Rates: €23 in a dormitory and from €108 for a double room with a terrace
Added extras: the hostel is located opposite the Communist Party headquarters, designed by Oscar Niemeyer
Services: free Wifi broadband and a rooftop with a view of the Sacré-Cœur
They come in their masses. They're young. They're wild. They party and drink litres of beer every night. Who are they? None other than the Brits, Spaniards and Germans who descend upon Paris, ever since the youth hostel Generator put down roots on place du Colonel Fabien in February 2015. A colossal building which towers at eight floors high and includes 198 rooms and 920 beds, it might as well be a small village. The hostel also has its own restaurant, as well as a bar-club on the bottom floor and a cosy moroccan room for working, reading or just whiling away the time. The reception is open 24 hours and the staff speak eight languages. There’s even a travel shop to discover how to do the city like a Parisian, buy the Paris Museum Pass or find the best spots for lunching, shopping etc.
Owned by the British group Patron Capital, Generator is a monster in the hotel industry, with hostels in London, Berlin, Rome, Dublin and even Barcelona, each one with a well-established strategy: reasonable prices, in a cool area, decor by up-and-coming designers who mix universal good taste with a local vibe (here, the Paris metro was the inspiration for the club, while Colonel Fabien gave his name to the cafe and the macaron which pops up in the cocktail list). The group chose the area carefully, explains Etienne Matichard, sales representative for Paris. “The 10th arrondissement changes a lot, it’s one of the most dynamic in Paris. We’re not far from Canal Saint-Martin, Buttes Chaumont and all the great bars for going out. With line 2, it’s also easy to get to Montmartre.”
At 63 metres high, rooms from the 5th floor upwards have an incredible view over Paris, with a glimpse onto the Sacré-Cœur. Certain private double or twin rooms (the most expensive being 130 euros a night) also have lovely private terraces, where exhausted guests can relax in hammocks. The rest is split into 4, 6, 8 or 10 beds, with the first being 25 euros. Girls will be pleased to hear that six eight-bed rooms are reserved for women only. As for prices, the rooms, bar and restaurant are certainly affordable for a student.
The United Federation of Youth Hostels (FUAJ) promotes a culture of peace and sustainable development through the hostel trade. However, that’s not exactly Generator’s raison d’etre; instead their focus is on wallet-friendly prices and partying. The FUAJ has its own brand new hostel at the Halle Pajol, 330 beds in an eco-sustainable address with solar panels and wooden facades, priced at around 30 euros a night. One thing is for certain, backpackers will be spoilt for choice for accommodation in Paris.