What's Mama Shelter?
They're a budget hotel company, but with a bit of a cool factor. There are Mama Shelters in Rio, LA, Marseille and more - and a London opening is planned for summer 2019 (they're taking over the RE Hotel Shoreditch on Hackney Road).
Where is their Paris hotel?
There's no getting away from the fact that Mama Shelter Paris is a bit of a schlep from the centre (although another is due to open in West Paris soon). It's about the same distance as say as Whitechapel is from Trafalgar Square. What it is right beside the hotel though is the key Parisian sightseeing spot of Pere Lachaise Cemetary. That's the one with everyone from Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison to Edith Piaf and Proust buried there.
The area's a little grungy but also a lot of fun - we found loads of great bars and restaurants a short walk from the hotel.
Think compact but bijoux. Our twin room had a basic, but pretty well-equipped bathroom with walk-in shower as well as a teeny kitchenette space with fridge and a microwave. The Apple TV had free movies on offer but generally speaking it's a very pared-back experience.
Eating and drinking
The communal areas at Mama Shelter are great. There's a central lobby where plenty of residents were getting a bit of work done as well as a pizza bar leading through to the main restaurant and bar. When we came back in (at around 2am on a Saturday night), there was quite a party going on down there. The weather wasn't quite good enough during our visit, but on sunnier days they also have a lovely rooftop space with BBQ stations where you can eat and drink too.
The main restaurant has a menu devised in conjunction with French chef Guy Savoy. We didn't have dinner here, but it looked like a fun space with dishes ranging from roasted bone marrow with fleur de sel, toast and onion confit to lobster rolls or tuna tonkatsu with Japanese rice. Breakfast was an enormous help-yourself affair with everything from cooked dishes and platters of jamon and fromage to fresh croissants and financiers and loads of fresh OJ and coffee.
We spent a happy 24 hours meandering around the 20th and 11th arrondissements which are a goldmine for inquisitive London foodies. Our recommendations would be:
- Quartier Rouge - nice, unpretentious old-school brasserie
- RPR le repaire de Charonne - cracking cocktails and video arcade game decor
- L'escargot d'Or - check the opening hours of this coffee shop. If they're not open it's because they're selling during the day at a nearby farmers market
- Septime and Septime La Cave - popular bistronomy spot and its laid back wine bar, just around the corner from each other
- Bluebird - Great cocktails, very friendly staff and a lovely private room at the back complete with fish tank - sort of Sexy Fish Lite.
- Clamato - modern seafood spot
- Bistro Paul Bert - one of Paris' most famed bistros. Come here for their amazing Paris Brest.
- East Mamma - if you love London's Gloria, this is one of the same group's Paris restaurants
- Virtus - for contemporary French cooking
And - perhaps our favourite of all, L'Incognito. On the face of it just a wine shop with a few stools to sit on, but there's also a floor up some winding spiral stairs with more tables. We spent most of the evening here talking to the owners about the Paris natural wine movement and came away with a gorgeous Pet Nat to take home with us. The cheese and charcuterie boards helped to soak up some, if not all, of the alcohol.
Overall thoughts on Mama Shelter
Trendy but also comfortable, Mama Shelter is a super little spot in a part of Paris we were happy to get to explore for the first time. The view from our room may have been over a disused railway track but given it cost just £99 for a night during Paris Fashion Week this was a bargain any fashionista would approve of.
Hot Dinners stayed as guests of Mama Shelter. Prices are correct at the time of writing.
More about Mama Shelter Paris
Where is it? 109 Rue de Bagnolet, 75020 Paris, France
Find out more: Visit their website.
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