HI Cité des Sciences
24, rue des Sept Arpents
(Seine St Denis)
Web: Hostelling International
Stayed there: 16th-18th June 2007
Rates: From 19.5 Euros for a dorm bed, including breakfast
Mixed feelings on this one. The reviews on HI Hostels web page complained that it was in a bad neighbourhood, or a shady area. This is cobblers. I didn’t feel worried walking around there at 10pm with my kit. The locals are friendly enough!
Locationwise, it’s a good deal. A short Metro ride into the center gets you to all the tourist sights for EURO 1.40, but this is the only cheap thing…
Being Paris, everything costs money. The bed linen is included, as is a passable breakfast. However, everything else comes at a cost from tourist maps (from a vending machine) to internet (coin-fed) and lockers. It’s not even all that cheap for junk food in the surrounding area, but this isn’t the hostel’s fault and I defy you to do Paris on a small budget anyway!
The staff on reception were pretty good, in my opinion. The chap who greeted me in the evening spoke good English, and the girl on duty when I left was a little rusty but as helpful as could be once I employed my dodgy French (and another guest helped out).
The bunks were probably the sturdiest I have ever slept on. The person above me could have bounced around all night and I’d not have noticed. A sink and shower were in the room with a lavatory along the corridor. The shower was powerful and hot, but like the old fashioned swimming baths onses, required intermittent pressing of a button. Still, this is ecological and saves water!
Overall, I can recommend this place. It was the cheapest I found after a quick look and certainly acceptable enough.