The Friends Hostel in Paris is just about 10 minutes walk from Gare du Nord railway station. It’s just opposite the Metro station Barbes-Rochechouart (lines 2 & 4). As this is a station area, it’s just full of suspicious people, drug dealers, pickpockets and other crooks – terrible neighbourhood. When arriving, the way to the hostel (an approx. 1 meter wide bikeway) was lined up with about 10-20 men on both sides, selling cigarettes and drugs. In this filthy, terrible neighbourhood the Friends Hostel looks quite shiny from the outside.

During check-in the front door next to the reception opened and 2 big black guys pushed a smaller one (middle east? north africa?) into the hostel and against the wall. Were these 3 guys ‘friends’ of this hostel?? Both started searching him thoroughly while talking to him in an angry manner. Instead of kicking them out, the receptionist just said that things like this happen in this area sometimes, so he didn’t bother. Even worse, the biggest guy asked him if they can go to the toilet with him, and the receptionist AGREED and let them inside!!! They pushed him along the way towards the toilets – and we expected the worst. But it stayed silent. Later we saw them still talking to that guy, but not sure whether he got beaten up later or not – at this moment he was still looking ok. These were our first impressions of Paris in the first 30 minutes after arrival – this incident and the smell of pee nearly all the way from the railway station to the hostel. Apart from the terrible neighbourhood, the actual location is quite convenient.

Upon check-in the receptionist couldn’t find our booking at first, so we were told the beds that we booked 2-3 weeks before wouldn’t be available. We were given a different room for the first night and had to move to another room on the next day. The first room was a 5-share with one 3-people bunk bed, easy to knock your head if you are on the lower ones. There was 1 additional folding bed inside, an overbooked room (5+1).

Next thing is that only 1 room key exists for the shared rooms (dorms), so if the last person leaving the room takes this key, all others who would like to enter their room have to chase the key on the whole premises first (if it has not being handed in to the reception). The dorm itself: Some power outlets and switches are loose, hanging from the wall, plugs are loose when plugged in, the dirty pillows hidden underneath the bed sheets – saves the lazy staff work, but you as paying guest have no real pillow – unless you dare to take the filthy thing out to sleep on it. The attached bathrooms of both dorms were extremely small, no space to put your clothes! The first one had no toilet at all; the one on the floor outside had to be used. In the 2nd bathroom, toilet and sink were too close to each other which made sitting on the toilet very uncomfortable. The shower was ok and working, so was the light in both bathrooms. Just the 2nd one couldn’t be locked from the inside (broken lock), so there was always the risk that someone coming inside while you’re taking your shower. Also the 2nd dorm had a high window to the backyard that was completely open when we moved in. Everyone staying in the hostel could enter the room from the backyard with just a single step!!! This is almost as bad as the 1st dorm were the room door was open most of the night because of the key problem. Furthermore the WiFi is only available at certain times during the day, otherwise you have to pay for the internet computers. And if the WiFi is available, the signal in the room is too weak, so you have to sit near the reception to use it, but not enough chairs provided.

The backyard with tables and chairs is one of the best things about the hostel. There’s even a little kitchen in the corner, but we never used it. The 1 EUR breakfast that they mention online – we have never seen during our stay. That’s all we have to say about this place.

Convenient location
Nice backyard with chairs & tables
Small kitchen
Terrible neighbourhood (dump next door)
Generally unsafe place
Unorganised bookings/overbooking
Only 1 key for dormitory
Open room door at night
Broken sockets/switches
Bathrooms very small, lock broken
WiFi only at certain hours & too weak
No real pillows
No breakfast

Friends Hostel Paris - Front Friends Hostel Paris - Entrance
Friends Hostel Paris - Neighbourhood Friends Hostel Paris - Access
Friends Hostel Paris - Corner Friends Hostel Paris - Next door building
Friends Hostel Paris - Tripple bunk bed Friends Hostel Paris - Dormitory
Friends Hostel Paris - Bathroom outside Friends Hostel Paris - Bathroom inside
Friends Hostel Paris - Hallway
Beds from EUR 15.00
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Our Rating:
    2.0 / 5.0
Not recommended to stay here. Highly unsafe place & area.

(Last Reviewed: October 2011)