Published by Lyn on 16 February 2016
I stayed at the Première Classe Le Mans Centre Palais des Congrès after riding the Le Mans 24-Hour Sportive. Here's what I thought of it.
Make no mistake: this is an budget option. I paid €39 for a room, but this can go down to €29 depending on the night of the week and the season. (If you like your hotels with more bells, whistles and even a shred of personality/originality, try the Charleston hotel, where I've also stayed).
Here, you get what you pay for: a bed, a bedside table, a clean but dated shower/toilet room.
But, quite frankly, that was all I needed. I'd just ridden the Le Mans 24-hour Sportive and I was absolutely shattered. All I wanted to do was sleep and this fitted the bill perfectly.
The staff were friendly – the lady on reception didn't look twice when, smelly and not having slept or showered in almost 36 hours, I wheeled my bike into reception. She also didn't seem to notice that I was completely incoherent (French notwithstanding) and barely able to function enough to find my credit card.
Fully laden with panniers and a tent that I was consciously refusing to use again that night, the bike fitted nicely in the elevator and I took it up to my room and parked it against the wall.
I showered (for a very, very long time without the water running out), ducked out for a bite to eat (see No.3 below) and then collapsed for 12 hours of slumber in my super basic 6th floor room. For €39, it was something akin to heaven.
Breakfast is not included – you can pay extra (it was around the €6 or €7 mark when I stayed here) but it's pretty basic: cereal and pastries, plus some juice (which had run out) and coffee. I'd recommend nipping out to a boulangerie instead.
Finding five things to rave about in such a basic hotel is a challenge, but it's not impossible ...
5 things we liked
1. While on my average cycling trip I prefer to stay in friendly places where you get to talk to the owners and soak up lots of local knowledge (like here or here or here or here), I've got a lot of time for budget chain hotels. No.1, hotels like this one are usually cheap, but as long as you do your research ahead so you know what to expect (and what not to expect) then it usually works out fine, especially in cities when you spend most of your time out and about (or when you arrive having not slept in 36 hours and when just about any bed will do). Oh, and budget hotels (like this one) invariably also have free wifi.
2. Location. This place is a short ride along the river from the train station, and within walking distance of local restaurants and the city centre.
3. What I saved on the room rate I spent on a super fabulous meal at La Chamade, which was conveniently located close enough to be able to walk there half asleep. I can't actually remember what I ate (I'd arrived semi-conscious from the sportive and needed to eat before collapsing into bed), but I remember it was good, and the staff were friendly.
4. Cleanliness. Generally I find budget hotels like this clean and (yes) clinical, but that's the absolute least I expect for my money no matter how much I'm spending. The staff were also very friendly.
5. Bike parking. Every time I've stayed at a budget hotel they've either let me take my bike into my room, or they've had a secure storage or conference room for it. And this was no exception.