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Paris Crush: Hotel les Chansonniers

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5 comments

Les Chansonniers

Hotel les Chansonniers
113, Boulevard de Menilmontant
Paris, France

Doubles €55-68

We love scouting out small, quirky hotels in Paris. Happily, the city is full of independent, charming hotels that offer rooms at very reasonable rates. One that we have an especially deep “crush” on is Hotel les Chansonniers (“The Singers”). Located a bit off-the-beaten path, this cheery hotel has a whole lotta heart and soul, and 40 clean and cheap rooms.

If you stay at Les Chansonniers, be sure to say hello to the lovely owner, Madame Sellam. She has a passion for music and takes pride in rooms touting the lives of great songstresses like Edith Piaf. The minute you step inside the note-worthy lobby and hotel bar, you’ll swoon.

What do we mean when we say “off the beaten path”? The property is in the Republique neighborhood, a bit northeast of the main sights, but very well connected by the Metro. The area is busy and working-class. It’s not Latin Quarter touristy, but brims instead with local activity. In short, it may not be right for first-time travelers to Paris who want a hotel steps from the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame.

Read our full review of Hotel les Chansonniers.

Cheapo tip: Try to stay in one of the two top-floor rooms that come with Jacuzzis!

Find more budget hotels in Paris and read our budget guide to traveling in Paris.

About the author

Meredith Franco Meyers

About the author: Meredith earned an MFA in fiction writing at The New School in New York City. Her feature stories and articles have appeared in Ladies' Home Journal, American Baby, Self, Bridal Guide, Time Out New York, Fitness and more. She joined EuroCheapo in summer 2007.

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5 Responses to “Paris Crush: Hotel les Chansonniers”

damaris says:

This hotel was disgusting. The rooms were filthy, tiny and not at all as advertised. If your version of ‘quirky’ means disgusting looking stains covering the carpet and the walls, no working lights in narrow, windowless corridors, unhelpful and rude service and a thick layer of dust over every surface then sure; this is the place for you.

Pete Meyers Pete Meyers says:

Thanks for your comment, damaris.

When we visited Les Chansonniers we did not encounter the problems you mentioned and it is consistently one of our most popular hotels. If we have a different experience during our next visit, we’ll be sure to update the review accordingly.

We should note, too, that just last month the New York Times “Frugal Traveler” visited Les Chansonniers and described his experience as “hitting the bigtime.” You can read the full review here.

Warm regards,

Pete

Mark says:

The New York Times Travel section gave high marks to this hotel as a good but cheap alternative, and it was based on that review that I booked for my week in Paris with my wife. I recall the review talking about friendly service and charming rooms. Well… the staff was OK — not exactly friendly, but on the whole decent. However, the room was a pathetic, tiny, wholly charmless cell. One dim bulb barely cast any light on the scene, which was perhaps for the best, because the wallpaper was falling off, the floor was uneven and covered in a ratty carpet, and the entire mood was extremely grim. (Forget about a view.) Far worse: the bed was incredibly small for a double (both in width and length) and sunk deeply in the middle so that all night my wife and I kept rolling into the center and fighting to keep level. It also felt like lying on a bunch of newspapers covered in plastic — crunchy, stiff in all the wrong places, and squishy in others. Just horrible. The room itself was barely large enough to fit anything but the bed. The “closet” was a cheap rack of metal and plastic poles (the kind you buy at a budget mall and assemble when you have guests). Perhaps worst of all, the laughable bathroom, with grimy shower curtain, toilet and sink all bunched on top of one another in a space barely big enough for just one of these items, let alone all three. Oh, and the walls are very, very thin: you will hear every noise (even light coughing, snoring, etc.) of your neighbors, and any and all sounds down the halls, upstairs, etc.

They wanted our money in full upon arrival, before we had even seen the room. Sensing at once that this place wasn’t adding up, I said we were so tired and would pay in the morning. (The “reception” is more like a smoke-filled bar, and has no full-time receptionist 24/7.) Early next morning, after a horrible, fitful sleep, my wife and I scouted for somewhere (anywhere) else, and luckily found one (a bit more expensive, but very well worth it: Hotel l’Alhambra, in the 3rd arr. by Oberkamf metro). The only good news of our nightmare at this hotel was that they did not make a stink when we cancelled, and did not charge a penalty for short notice of cancellation.

I imagine if one spent more at this hotel, the rooms are a little bigger, but you’d still have to deal with the ugliness of the whole place, the uneven winding stairs, the thin walls, and ancient amenities (crappy bed, etc.) Why bother? Just don’t even consider it.

Note on location: we had no problem with the slightly rundown, vaguely sketchy neighborhood. It has its own charms, and is indeed very close to the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery, and really not that far a walk from the very beautiful “Marais” (4th arrondissement) neighborhood.

Hi Mark,

Thank you for taking the time to send us your review of Les Chansonniers. We’ve just added a note to the bottom of our review of the hotel. We’re also sending a correspondent over to revisit the hotel and update the review, if necessary.

Thanks again,
Tom

Tom Meyers
Editor
http://www.eurocheapo.com

H.Choudhry (Long Island, NY) says:

While I am always sorry to hear that people have unfortunate experiences in hotels when travelling abroad, I must admit that, after rather hastily booking a reservation at Hotel Les Chansonniers, my husband and I did research on the hotel (after the fact of booking), and found that it was only a one star hotel and, out of the thirty+ reviews read, with only 2-3 being positive, we were more than nervous for our trip, which was taken September 21-24, 2009.

Upon arrival, while the neighborhood was charming, and slightly reminiscent of Brooklyn or Queens, NY, the staff, for the most part, was coldly polite. There was only one person who was remotely pleasant, and that was only because my husband went down to reception to request an iron, sans shirt. The owner of the establishment denied us the opportunity to see our room prior to paying, saying it was “absoutely impossible,” then followed us closely up the small staircase and pushed us into our room, stating “See? Very nice. Clean.”

After literally stripping the bed of its linens, checking for mold, dust, and anything else that should not be in a clean hotel room, we were satisfied that things were up to par. Our room was very clean, nicely decorated, with new upolstered chairs, new carpeting and wallpaper, new comfortable, but slightly small for a double mattress, and a very up-to-date en-suite full bathroom, complete with jaccuzzi; however, the shower did not have a curtain (talk about dangerous).

The street was lined with impossibly quaint bakeries and, down the street and around the corner were a series of delectable cafes, pubs, clubs, pharmacies, and facilities offering entertaining activities (billiards, mini bowling, etc). A half block from the hotel is the Metro, which connects to everywhere in Paris centre, which was approximately a 10 minute ride to metro stations near the Latin Quarter, Luxembourg Gardens, and other touristy sites, via metro and RER lines. You can also catch a train from this metro stop to Charles DeGaulle airport for 8 euros per ticket. Despite the lack of, what can only be described as personable-ness of the reception staff, I would recommend staying here and plan to do so when my husband and I return in February for holiday.

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