Le Robinet d’Or is a beautiful boutique hotel situated at the corner of Rue Eugene Varlin and Rue Robert Blache, a 5 minutes walk from the Paris Gare de l’Est (Paris East) train station. It’s easy to get confused about the presence of a hotel, as you reach the destination, with the cafe and restaurant on the ground floor. A small property, a hop-skip-jump away from Canal Saint Martin, the hotel exudes French openness and beauty, coupled with an old-world charm that rubs off from the historic structure that it is housed in. Its contemporary interiors speak about the young and vibrant Paris life.
Paris was on the last leg of our Eurotrip in 2017 and I had spent an awfully long time to find the right accommodation to stay with our kid who was two-and-a-half years old at that time. Paris is an expensive city to holiday in and I was looking for a property that was a short distance away from public transport, had a restaurant within the property, was in a safe neighbourhood and wasn’t too heavy on the pocket. Le Robinet d’Or fit the bill on all these parameters. But we were still skeptical if I had made the right choice.
We had taken the Thalys from Antwerp to Paris and alighted at Gare Du Nord (Paris North). A 20-minute Uber ride later, we were at our destination. We were greeted by Johanna (jo-anna) at the reception and it was such a delight to see a smiling and cordial face to help us check-in at the hotel. Abier and Shubhi parked themselves at the cozy sitting area opposite the reception desk while I completed the formalities.
The check-in was done in 10 minutes and it was time to head to our room. The hotel does not have an elevator and this is the case with most hotels in Europe as they are housed in century-old structures. Johanna mentioned that she would arrange for our luggage to be sent to our room on the second floor – that 2 big backpacks, a big pull-along suitcase and the kid’s stroller. The stroller went to the storage room near the kitchen.
I had booked us a Classic Double room, the most cost-effective of all other options. It was a small room as compared to what you would usually come across anywhere else in the world. European hotels have small rooms and more so in a city like Paris. Small doesn’t mean not spacious or not functional; it was just perfect. A study table had a coffee maker and charging points with a beautiful lamp to go with. There was a wall mounted LCD TV with programming, majorly in French. The bed-side night stands with focus lights brought in the cozy comfort.
The room did not come with a wardrobe and it is understandable. The French know that bathrooms must be spacious and the room had one such bathroom, replete with a rain shower. L’Occitane toiletries and a generous supply of hot water with enough towels made it the perfect setup. I had enquired with the hotel while booking the room, if the room would suffice for 2 adults and a kid and they had confirmed the same.
They actually acted upon the query and had already set up a cot for Abier!
Even with the cot, we had enough room to move around. A couple of amazingly tasty Strawberry Paul macarons were placed on the bed to welcome us. The window opened to the street-side with a view of a primary school. The bed was really comfortable and it was just what we wanted for a quick nap.
Nothing that I write here will do justice to the highest quality of hospitality accorded to us at the hotel. Remember the luggage? Well, Johanna carried the entire luggage up with the help of another member of the hotel staff! As Abier and Shubhi settled in for a nap, I went back to the reception to check about the lay of the land – the best way to head out to explore the city, eating out options, route map (I always carry a map even if I have Google Maps on the phone) et al. All the questions answered with a smile.
Apart from Johanna, there’s another person who mans the reception and his name is Guillaume (gee-OM). He is a true hotelier with a fair bit of understanding of each country’s culture and nuances. He admitted that the only bit in Hindi that he knew of was vanakkam! Not Hindi technically, but the huge Tamil population in Paris has sure left a mark. This reminds me, the Tamil quarters of Rue Cail are a 15-minute walk away. Those of you yearning to have a sumptuous South Indian meal, this is the place to be at. You’ll feel at home and will be reminded of Jayanagar 4th Block in Bangalore or Nandanam in Chennai.
You can chat up with Guillaume (an equivalent of William, in English as he informed me) about the various dialects that the French countryside has or about how languages unite people or how each culture is different.
He’ll help you out with the directions etc. as well.
The restaurant serves a delectable fare of French cuisine with individual lunch and evening menus. The service is swift and the food delicious! We had just one meal in the restaurant one afternoon and the sumptuous servings were more than enough to satiate the appetite. We had requested scrambled eggs for Abier and although they were not on the menu, the chef sent them out to our table in a short time.
The biggest factor, when traveling with a kid, is availability of food that they will eat. This means requesting things that are usually not on the menu.
The server was from the Indian sub-continent and with a cricket series going on during that time, a quick exchange of scores and strategy was obviously ‘on the menu!’ The place transforms into a lovely French cafe towards the evening with tables laid out by the pavement outside the restaurant. A heady mix of the old and the young, savouring their coffee and chatting away (Parisians love to talk!) on a breezy Paris evening with the sun setting down – that’s the best of Paris, right there.