Our students have returned home, and we are on our own for a few days before we fly home on Tuesday. We drove up to Paris and found a very cheap, very sketchy hotel for 31 Euros a night, which is amazing for Paris. It’s near the Tour Montparnasse on a calm residential neighborhood, and close to about 4 different metro stops.
This hotel is so sketchy it’s hard to describe. For starters, hotels in France are rated on a star system, from one to five. This hotel has zero stars. The stairs are uneven and slope sideways, so when you are going up or down you feel like you’re in a funhouse. Our room is quite small, and the bed is at best a full size. I can feel the springs on the mattress when I lie down. It’s a bit too cozy for three people so we made a soft bed on the floor for Zari out of extra blankets. I pick her up to nurse and lay her back down when she’s done.
The sink in our room is starting to come off the wall, and in a last-ditch effort to disguise that fact, the hotel owners put a lot of caulk in the gap. The caulk, of course, is completely gray with mold. I don’t think the floors have been mopped since the hotel opened. I think I saw a cockroach (dead) on the floor too. There is of course no television in the room, but we do have a bidet!
The toilet and shower are down the hall. Or rather, down the hall and down the stairs, since there is only one working shower in the entire hotel. One of the others no longer has a shower hose or curtain. The one on our floor has plastic tape across the door to prevent entry. More often than not there is no toilet paper in the WC. Back to the shower room: the ceiling is totally gray with mold, and it’s falling down in places. The light fixture is broken and now has just a bare bulb in the middle. The shower is tucked inside a small alcove. An odor of mold predominates, probably because there is no ventilation. (There is a small window, but it’s broken.) Mold is growing in all of the caulk and grout. The room’s door is peeling and starting to delaminate.
I love cheap. This hotel would probably horrify our students, who are used to a certain level of comfort and luxury. We don’t mind, because after all a hotel is just a place to sleep at night. What’s the point of paying an extra 20 or 50 or 200 Euros just for a fancier toilet or shower? When you’ve grown up camping—and I mean real camping, the kind where you have to boil your water from a stream and dig latrines—staying in any hotel is a luxury.
I will, however, not complain at all when I get back to our 1900 Arts & Crafts house with its king size bed and washing machine (it’s been 2 months since we’ve had one and that’s with cloth diapers) and handmade wool rugs and leather furniture.