We stayed here for five nights in August. The hotel is located at the junction of Rue Mansart and Rue Fontaine, above a couple of bars/brasseries and close to various nightclubs and fast-food outlets. It is also no more than a couple of hundred yards from the Moulin Rouge, so all in all, this is in the heart of an area of intense night-life, and the noise level from the street increases relentlessly from about 10 p.m. and only subsides far into the small hours (strangely, Friday night was the only quiet one). As the weather was very warm during our stay, we had the French windows open all night, and during the first night were frequently woken by loud bursts of laughter or shouting rising above the already high level of noise. Although we subsequently got used to it, I think I would need quite a bit more acculturation to get a really sound night's sleep. We were on the fifth floor, which I think was one of the better ones (there were six in all).
The hotel is on the edge rather than in the centre of the sleazy area, and there is not too much to worry the parents of young children if you are discreet and avoid the main drag between Place Blanche (where the Moulin Rouge is) and Place Pigalle to the east. North from Place Blanche is a delightful walk up the hill towards the Sacre Coeur, the streets filled with charming shops and brasseries.
The hotel itself is rather shabby. The small lift starts on the first floor, so how disabled people manage is a mystery. Just getting a heavy suitcase to the lift was hard enough. The breakfast room consists of half a dozen tables with chairs on the first floor. The decor is quite cheerful, with a parrot-themed mural providing pleasant colours. There is a hot drinks machine providing acceptable coffee and hot choc, and another machine providing fresh orange juice (both can be used only at breakfast time, though). Bread comes in a basket brought by the maid, who seems to allow three pieces per person -- croissant, roll and pain-au-chocolat, and who also brings a large flask of tea and replenishes the milk, butter and so on. There is a cereal dispensing machine. Breakfast is quite satisfactory, if "continental".
The hotel is pretty gloomy; above the first floor there are no carpets on the wooden stairs; the carpets at several places in the corridors attest to loss of sphincter-control on the part of previous guests; the lights are operated by timed switches, so they go off after several seconds. The other guests seemed OK -- quiet French, Spanish and Russian families.
Our room was about three metres by three and a half metres, which allowed for three single-beds pushed together and a barely tolerable amount of room for manoeuvre; the carpet was pretty grotty, but the bedding was clean, and was apparently changed every day, along with the towels. The bathroom was about three metres by two. There was a shower over the bath, but no shower curtain, so one had to sit or kneel in the bath in order to avoid flooding the bathroom floor. The water was tolerably warm, though never warm enough for a satisfactory shave. There was no plug in either the bath or the sink; when I asked the receptionist for one, he just shook his head sadly and told me they had all "disparu".
The view from the windows was pleasant, along picturesque vistas of Parisian flats, and afforded people-watching opportunities as people came and went, whether by morning or night.
The maids were friendly enough, and there was nothing outrageously bad about the hotel, but I would say it was a poor two stars for accommodation and service. The main strength of the hotel is its handy location, very close to the Metro and to Montmartre. You do need to be able to put up with the street noise, though.
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Opera Mansart Paris