Where can you find alternative, budget, accommodation in central Paris from eight euros a night? Knock up a pair of earrings from a Nespresso pod? Or experience a Russian steam bath?
You know when you stumble on somewhere and you go ‘Wow, this is so cool!’ That happened to me when I walked into Les Grand Voisins, or the Great Neighbours.
Les Grands Voisins is a social diversity project that has taken over the disused St Vincent Paul Hospital. The project uses the building and it’s grounds to nurture creative businesses, artists, provides social housing while creating a space with educational, cultural and sports resources for local residents and tourists to enjoy.
Les Grands Voisins is where hipsters, the homeless and travellers, tourists and local Parisians happily co-exist on this three hectares between Port Royal and Denfert Rochereau, Paris.
What can you do at Les Grands Voisins?
Hang out at Le Lingerie
Les Grands Voisins Solidarity Cafe serves Africainspired luncheses on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The Ressourcerie Creative
At first this looks like a big charity shop selling vintage bric-a-brac, clothes, books, furniture, crockery, fabric and haberdashery.
But there much more to the Ressourceries Creative; it’s an enterprise devoted to the social economy with the aim of recovering, and re-using goods we no longer want. It offers repair workshops for small appliances. And there are creative workshops, like making a pair of earrings or a necklace from Nespresso pods.
Classes and courses
Les Grands Voisins also offers a huge array of classes and courses including yoga, meditation, Chinese medicine, Shiatsu, Qi Gong, kids workshops, sewing, ceramics and much more.
You can even book yourself in for a Banya or Russian steam bath. It’s similar to a sauna where you can experience both wet and dry heat, and it’s here in Paris, at Les Grands Voisins, and it’s free! Each month Les Grand Voisins runs a rolling programme of activities.
Dotted around Les Grands Voisins are art installations. These artworks are called Ciudad Silencio, mobile sun loungers with disco ball designed by the Argentinian artist Pedro Marzorati, who invites you to relax and contemplate climate change.
This I loved! This was awesome. Camping in Paris! From only eight euros a night!
The Paris urban camping experience provides alternative, accommodation in heart of Paris including private huts, tents, hammocks, stargazing cabin, along with an open air bathroom and laundry (including a bicycle powered washing machine – this gives a new meaning to the spin cycle!) and most importantly for the tech savvy traveller a recharge phone zone.
Accommodation booked via Les Grands Voisins, starts at eight euros per night.
Les Grands Voisins
Ancien hôpital Saint-Vincent-de-Paul
82, Avenue Denfert-Rochereau
75 014 Paris
Métro Denfert Rochereau
RER B Port Royal
Bus 38, N1