The Solar Hotel in central Paris

There is a shiny and polished hotel in central Paris. It rightly refers to itself as the ‘Solar Hotel’. It is a present day reminder of what life will certainly be like for us all in the future. I wanted to spend a night there but it was full and it often is. I should have booked in advance. I had a good look round though and met some interesting guests. Check in is from 2pm and check out by 12 noon. These times are quite generous for Paris city hotels.

Solar Hotel ParisSolar Hotel is close to the Gare Montparnasse in the 14th arrondissement of Paris and is surrounded by museums and galleries that epitomise the capital city’s culture. Solar Hotel presents everything that supports an eco- friendly lifestyle that will support the lives of all us all in the really not too distant future. We can see it coming every time when we just simply listen to the TV.

The Solar Hotel rightly claims to be the first capital city budget hotel. Rooms, both single and double, cost 89 Euros a night the last time I checked. All within is very economic and represents great value for money. The hotel provides a form of un-patronising education for us all about what is certainly just over the horizon. The establishment is designed to be extremely ecological in every detail right from the power generation down to the food that is always provided for the meals. It is a little minimalist and seemed rather gaunt and hygienic to me at first. The rooms were mostly white but were enlivened with decorated flashes of brighter colours of blues, pinks and orange. All of the rooms have satellite TV.

Solar Hotel ParisNightly room rates of course include breakfast. The food is strictly organic but provided with no individual packaging attached. That is a strict rule at this hotel. Breakfast orange juice comes from Normandy and the pastries come from the nearby Moisan Boulangerie. Both of these sources stick to the same basic principles. Dinner in the evening is always available at extra charge but is served with the same fundamental style of food products.

The hotel seemed to be a meeting place for committed eco supporting individuals. I spoke to a few of them. There was a collection of them talking together around a table on the ground floor and I asked if could photograph them. They were all ardent supporters of a social group firmly against agricultural use of pesticides. Such chemicals are created to increase agricultural profit but are destroying many insect creatures as time goes by. Such pesticides apparently, can lead to cancer in human beings as well. They showed me their paper brochures and leaflets. The symbol proudly displayed a poppy like flower to represent the slowly decaying plant life on our planet. It was close to November and my first simpleton thought was that they were supporters of the Royal British Legion in Britain.

Solar Hotel ParisBicycle hire is always available from the Solar Hotel. I believe the costs are included in the room rate. The surrounding areas of the beautiful city can be explored in a great and green energy style. Computers are also available for rental from the hotel but they can only be used in a public meeting area on the ground floor to avoid disturbance to the other guests.

The peaceful and secluded garden at the rear is where the bicycle rack is. The garden is hidden away from the street and can be used by all customers to take breakfast and meals on sunny days. Family picnics too can be enjoyed in the garden at all times for no extra charge. The Paris city surrounds can always be appreciated at leisure from this space as well. Take some time here to listen to the sounds of the natural birdlife and admire the plentiful and beautiful plant life. Solar Hotel is a green place in every sense for everyone.

The ecological Solar Hotel is pet-friendly but you probably need to get your pet an identity chip and an animal passport. The hotel has some access to electrically powered shuttle services to the Paris airports. Give them a ring in advance and see what they can provide.

The hotel was built during 2004 and completely refurbished in 2014. It is clean, precise and minimalist. Book in good time and in advance of your plans as often, at the last moment, it always seems to be annoyingly ‘complet’.

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Bob Lyons

Retired airline pilot and European explorer

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