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Le Village Hostel, Heroin, and Street Crime
We booked a room in a hostel at 20 rue d'Orsel, near rue d'Abbesses, with a view of the Sacre Coeur from the window. It was cheap, with peeling wallpaper and mixed-sex rooms, which I find annoying but well it was 17 euros a night, so we dealt with the minor stuff without complaint.
The first night we were there a car was stolen from out front. The third night we were there a Dutch traveller was held up at knifepoint for his credit cards. During the day the neighboorhood was a little seedy, but didn't look dangerous; after dark was a different story. When I returned home, a friend who is far more "in the know" that I was told me that nearby rue d'Abbesses is a well know street for heroin sales. Great, I thought, great place to put a hostel. Anyway, fellow travelers, if you want a cheap hostel, this place is ok, but secure your valuables (or don't carry any) and don't go out alone after dark. The hostel's name was LeVillage, and their website is highly misleading. The place does not look bright and cheery like it does on their site. It looks dingy and run down, though to be fair the private bathrooms in the rooms were very clean.
It can be found at http://www.villagehostel.fr/index.htm
The hostel is cheap, but ask for a room on the 3rd or 4th floor (no elevator) so you have a view and are away from the street noise. The showers are ok. Nothing was stolen from the bags we left in the room during the daily lockout, but every day our things had been moved or gone through by the "cleaning" staff. We didn't say anything about it because we didn't leave anything of value in the room.
The internet access they have at the hostel is a joke--don't even bother. Go to nearby Pigalle (one Metro stop down from Anvers--the Abbesses stop) and use the internet cafe next to the porn palace for 1/10th the price. You'll see it when you emerge from the Metro.
If you book your hostel room with a credit card, beware. Although the Village web site said nothing about a "cash only" policy when we booked, and required a credit card to reserve, they refused to take credit cards when we arrived. Despite the fact that I had our confirmation email with me, which listed no such policy, only after a very French "discussion" did the owner relent. This place is a mixed bag--know before you go. On the up side, our fellow travelers were very nice and the location was convenient to the Metro, Ligne 2, Anvers stop.
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