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A family feeling The Marais Bastille, in the 11th, is proudly family-run with Anglophone staff

 

Engaging in the eleventh

The Hôtel Marais Bastille is an affordable and charming family-owned establishment in the 11th arrondissement in Paris. Stanley Moss samples it
PHOTOGRAPHED BY THE AUTHOR

 

 

ITS ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO FIND an engaging little three-star property in Paris, one which is affordable, comfortable and convenient. Hôtel Marais Bastille is just such a place, located on the boulevard Richard Lenoir, in the Haut Marais, in the mostly residential 11th. I visited in the aftermath of February 2011 Fashion Week. The newly-renovated 37-room lodging, walking close to Métro Bastille, proved to be a great value at around €130 per night.

Hôtel Marais Bastille earns lot of repeat business, welcoming guests of all ages who stay an average of two nights. Visitors are split evenly between business travellers and tourists, though tourists tend to stay longer. It’s quite a convenience to find yourself only a 10-minute walk from the Gare de Lyon, with the Métro Breguet-Sabin station literally on the doorstep. The outdoor market across the street on Wednesdays and Thursdays offers up enough goodies to keep you picnicking for days; you get quite distracted sampling delicacies only the French can produce: cheeses, charcuterie, baked goods, regional specialties. This large market has everything else in the world you might need, including clothing, flowers, antiques, jewellery or treats to carry along.

Architect Michel Jouannet has created spare and modern interior spaces, including artisan furniture designed specifically for the Marais Bastille. This adds a distinctly French touch to the décor. I appreciate the new marble baths, with smart fittings that work well. Rooms ending in the numeral 4 have daylight in the bath area, double sinks and a fold-out bed. There’s even a handicap-compliant room off the main lobby.

Remember that three-star means the amenities are going to be limited. You don’t get a huge amount of space, but you do get plenty of nice towels. A good-quality shampoo and soap are provided, but not the full armada of grooming items that four-stars need to lay out.

This doesn’t mean a reduction in comfort or cleanliness. This hotel has people constantly at work keeping the place neat, and they seem like a happy crew. That general contentment must be attributable to the hands-on management style that only a hotel de proprietaire can build: you will see the amiable owners M. et Mme. Dolbeau on-site most days. Details like this make the family-run hotel one-of-a-kind, a personalized style of management passed along by the cheerful English-speaking staff.

While you will enjoy the benefit of free wi-fi throughout, there’s no business centre for those last-minute printouts, and no ethernet port in the rooms—not a huge sacrifice for the price paid. The typical breakfast is available for an additional charge. You won’t be able to stow your notebook computer in the small room safe, but your passport and valuables will fit.

Finally, you’ll certainly observe Best Western branding on the hotel’s façade, website and graphics. Never fear, it’s the final year of a contract with the bland international chain, and by 2012 Hotel Marais Bastille will live under its own charming boutique flag.

Budget travellers, the light-hearted and intrepid will be happy with what they receive here. As far as properties on the rive droite go, it’s easy, chic and authentic, and that says a lot. •

 


Stanley Moss is travel editor of Lucire.

 

 

Hôtel Marais Bastille
36, boulevard Richard Lenoir
75011 Paris
France
Telephone 33 1 48-05-75-00
www.maraisbastille.com/location.html

 

 

 

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