lundi, février 12, 2007

Hotels near Luis

[No Brussels pics just yet. I'm getting to them, I'm just busy. Not lazy. It's hard not to look lazy when managing communication with potential consultants can also be described as "answering emails."]

So, after a rather long day at work, I headed back home, but with a substantial detour. My mother is planning a trip to a medical conference in Nantes in June, and we're hoping that she can stay in Paris for a few nights, too. A lot of this rests on whether I can find her reasonable accommodation in Paris, so I took to the internet last night, trawling around. I knew that I would find significantly lower prices if I looked at non-chain hotels in the suburbs near my place, rather than in Paris. Although I have a Paris address, I live just on the city limits, with Les Lilas and Pré Saint-Gervais literally 1 block away from me. When I do groceries, I'm in the banlieue (suburbs, but also euphemistic for "the ghetto" or "projects," since the two are often coextensive around Paris). Les Lilas is a rather urbanized and working-middle class / mixed area that I've really come to like.

The problem was finding the hotels in Les Lilas. The usual online Hotel search engines (, expedia, etc) didn't even have Les Lilas as a city you could search in. I checked some of the French discount chains, but they only had locations at Porte de Pantin (closer to the airport and several conference sites) or Porte de Bagnolet (close to the airport and the bus station). I was contemplating wandering around my neighborhood, looking for hotels on sight, when I came across the website for this département's Tourism Board (FYI: It's #93, Seine Saint-Denis, which includes the location of the banlieue riots last year). Like any decent local-tourism website, they had directories for local hotels. I found two for the municipality (commune) of Les Lilas: New Residence and Hotel Paul de Kock (don't giggle, the place is nice).

The first is an apartment-style hotel in a slightly newer-looking building, while the second is an old-fashioned hotel. Also, the first has more complicated apartment-style policies (30% down payment on stay for reservation, 100% upon arrival as security deposit; 14-day cancellation policy) but provides you with a kitchen and full bathroom, while the second has standard booking policies. A "studio" in New Residence will cost you 48€/night for 1 person, 58€ for two, with a slight reduction if you're staying for 7 nights. In Hotel Paul de kock, a room with a shower (but shared bathroom) will cost you 35€/night for either one or two people, and 40€/night for shower and bathroom in your room.

What's great about these hotels is that they are both about 50 feet from the end of the 11 métro line, Mairie des Lilas station. In other words, you're staying in the banlieue and enjoying it's correspondingly low prices, but you can get downtown by subway in 20-30 minutes. Also, the same night bus that I take to get back from the clubs at night (N23 or N16) runs by this area as well. Next time I need to stay in France for a short stay, I know where to go!

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