22 rue Boulard, Paris, France, 75014
- Recommended for:
- Backpackers / Students, Culture vultures, Families with teenagers, Families with younger children, Singles, Relaxation
Best for On a budget - Expert review of Solar Hôtel
The Solar Hôtel describes itself as "the first ecological, economical and activist" hotel and what really impressed me here is just how far it goes in its green policy: low-energy lightbulbs, water saving, reduced packaging, bikes to borrow for free, solar panels on the facade for the exterior lighting, recycling bins on each landing for guests to sort their rubbish. The Solar Hôtel was built in 1995 but changed its name in 2009 to reflect its ecological mission and owner Frank Laval is out to convert and inform. It could be worthy but it's also convivial. This is a real hotel at an incredibly low price for Paris.
On a quiet street in the residential 14th arrondissement, Les Catacombes and cinemas of Montparnasse are nearby and it's well connected by public transport, though the best thing is rue Daguerre, pedestrianised food shopping street just around the corner.
Bedrooms are functional - turquoise paint, blue carpets, open wardrobe space, plywood bedhead and desk-cum-dressing table. Some of the paintwork is a little scuffed, but beds are good quality with crisp white duvets. There is air conditioning but, eco-warriors need not fear, it is only used on rare heatwave conditions. Mosaic (more blue) bathrooms feature water-saving taps and shower and natural non-palm oil soap, although I wasn't so keen on the shower flowing straight onto the floor.
A light-filled breakfast room overlooks a planted courtyard with tables and chairs and wooden decking, where guests are welcome to picnic or sunbathe. PCs available in the lobby. Exhibitions by local artists. Several green NGOs are based here and you may well spot ecologists having a meeting (Green Euro MP Dany Cohn-Bendit, minister Jean-Louis Borloo) as well as curious fellow hoteliers out for a look.
Everything at breakfast is organic, with good bread from nearby baker Moissan and organic jams and cereals, and they've even forsaken orange juice for regionally made apple juice.
Bikes to borrow for free.
Friendly staff who are enthusiastic about the green policy.
Backpackers, ecologists, families - a wide international mix includes many Dutch, Germans and Americans.
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- 22 rue Boulard, Paris, France, 75014
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