Part of British chain, across the Place du Colonel Fabien from the avant-garde, Brazilian-designed headquarters of the French Communist Party.
Hotel: Generator Paris
From 23 euros (about $26) for shared rooms with bunk beds and storage lockers. Rooms with two single beds and a private terrace start at 108 euros ($123).
Paris is awash with new or reskinned luxury hotel projects, but the Generator Paris is an effort to upgrade lodging for those with plenty of style but far less to spend. The “hotel” is actually a hostel, offering both shared and private rooms in the gentrifying 10th Arrondissement. Open since February 2015, this hotel is part of the Britain-based Generator chain, which has properties in other European capitals like Berlin, London and, this summer, Rome.
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In a formerly rundown office building, the Generator Paris is across the Place du Colonel Fabien from the avant-garde, Brazilian-designed headquarters of the French Communist Party. It is about a 20-minute walk from the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord, and within walking distance of the boutiques, cafes and bicycle paths along the Canal St. Martin. The nearest Métro is Colonel Fabien on Line 2, for easy access to the Champs-Élysées.
I booked a twin with terrace, on the top (eighth) floor. The room felt spacious, with white bathrobes folded atop two twin beds on sturdy white metal frames, white duvets and plenty of pillows. Behind the beds, wallpaper printed with rows of books gave the room a more intimate library-like feel, with contemporary side chairs, a small round table and a stool made to resemble a log. The star of the room, however, was the terrace, which featured rooftop views of the quarter, a metal cafe table and four chairs, two striped beach loungers and a striped hammock on a wooden frame. In lieu of a closet, clothing is hung on what look like repurposed plumbing pipes. Wi-Fi reception was good. Overnight, the room was silent, a surprise given the hostel’s popularity with students.
Gleaming white subway-style tiles on walls, sleek black tile on the floor and modern white fixtures including a full-size bathtub lent a modern feel. A hair dryer in a black bag hung from a stylized black hook. Generator-branded shampoo and travel-size bars of sea kelp soap were included in the price for this room, although in lower-priced rooms, there is an additional fee for towels.
The rooftop bar features a distant view of Sacré-Coeur, and there is a basement Métro bar kitted-up to resemble a Parisian underground station with a rounded ceiling and an artsy photo wall showing a train pulling into the quai. The daily happy hour cocktail (in my case, a gin-based John Collins) was 6 euros, and other “signature cocktails” using fresh herbs like basil or rosemary were 7 to 9 euros. Another lounge area features table soccer.
There was no phone in my room, and therefore no room service. Outside food and drink, and outside visitors, were prohibited. The buffet breakfast, served in an airy ground-floor atrium with a view of the gardens of surrounding apartment towers, went beyond the basic continental of croissant, juice and coffee by adding cereals, cheese, ham and fresh fruit salad. The breakfast is 4.50 euros if booked online.
Its lobby bustling with international guests, Generator Paris offers an affordable mid-tier option for those seeking privacy off the beaten path, and bargain prices for students inseparable from their entourage.