The Hotel Roubaix at 6 Rue Greneta is a firetrap. The only set of stairs winds up around the elevator shaft all the way to the top floor. The design creates a natural chimney that blocks all routes for escape from above in the case of fire. Why mention fire? Even though the rooms are designated as non-smoking, there were a number of cigarette butts on the windowsill of our room when we arrived. People in Paris smoke a lot and are not really good rule followers. If you ever see them drive, you will totally understand. Also, there had been a small fire in one of the 240 Volt outlets in our room that had not been repaired. Something still protrudes from one of the 240 Volt terminal openings. The light in the centre of the room appeared to be held up with wires that were just twisted together. Shaky wiring, people who smoke in non-smoking rooms, wooden floors and stairs all inside a tall stone shell; you do the math.
When we arrived our toilet was already plugged up. I went down to report the problem and immediately got yelled at by the elderly man working the front desk. It was in French but I got the gist of it. Especially when he got a waste paper basket out and demonstrated how I should scoop the offending matter out of the toilet with my hands and deposit it in the basket as he continued his verbal tirade. Without skipping an unintelligible word, he then pointed at himself, as the volume increased, and shaking his head indicating he wasn’t going to do it. I don’t speak French so I took a pen and drew a rather nice picture, (if I do say so myself), of a plunger and indicated I would use it if he would find one. That really set him off. You would have thought I intended to use it on his wife. There must be something in the French culture involving plungers and insults that I don’t fully understand. Another guest who spoke both languages tried to help but the old guy was so far gone at this point, yelling and flailing his arms, she just ended up walking away. About an hour later there was a shift change at the front desk and I was able to get the new guy to solve the problem. Later when I went to have a shower, without a shower curtain of course, there was no hot water. Our bathroom was really grungy but at least we had a bathroom. It appeared to me that some rooms on the lower floors might have had to share a toilet.
When we booked the reservation, we had visited the website and learned that a number of the rooms had been refurbished so we asked for one of these rooms. We were guaranteed that ours was one of them when we arrived. It was not! The rooms you see on the website are not anything like what you may get. I refer to the bathroom again that appears to have been repaired over the years with whatever tiles they had laying around. A tile-covered panel, at the side of the tub, was held in position with a wad of toilet paper. There is a hole in the bathroom door and whoever applied the wallpaper in the sixties didn’t have much in the way of skills, but it doesn’t matter, they just paint over it anyways. This must be what they call refurbished. The only area I saw that could be considered refurbished was the first floor entrance foyer and eating area.
Rooms in Paris are small, we knew that coming in, but we barely had room for our luggage and us in the room at the same time. If you intend to use this hotel, pack light.
We were there during the July heat wave. They don’t have air-conditioning or even fans. The windows open wide. Dress modestly because the people across the street have a clear view. There are no screens on the windows because they have very few bugs. All the time we were there we only saw one moth. The problem with the open windows is the noise. Remember how I said they drive? Emergency vehicle sirens go all day and night in Paris.
What I can say on a positive note is the sheets appeared clean, the beds were made and the room tidied every day by the housekeeping staff. That would have been quite a task given the amount of room there was for them to work.
The breakfast is functional at best. A croissant, half a baguette, juice and coffee or tea; get down early, and it should be fresh. There is a picture on the website showing the breakfast room with trays on the tables; that’s breakfast.
We will not be back. I would not recommend this place to anyone expecting anything over a one star accommodation. I believe the lack of fire escape options is a real concern.
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- Also Known As:
- De Roubaix Hotel
- De Roubaix Paris