Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 1270: Owner, Rue Therese Apartment (#20362)
1bed/1bath apartment 1st arrondissement, Paris
August/September 2004, Two weeks
Our family of three rented this unique apartment in the first arrondissement for two weeks in August/September 2004. The apartment is owned by two French sisters — one in Paris and the other in Connecticut. My contact in making all the arrangements was Christine Paul, the sister in Connecticut. She was very good to work with. I paid for the apartment by sending her a deposit and then a final payment in American dollars using a personal check.
We thought the apartment was just great — even better than the photographs. I looked at a lot of Paris rentals on the internet, and I had a hard time finding the right mix of location, character and price. We loved the location — at the intersection of two small streets (Rue Therese and Rue St. Anne) just two blocks off the Avenue de l’Opera. We were five minutes from the Louvre and Place Vendome and ten minutes from the Seine. The closest metro station is Pyramides, but Palais Royal and also the Opera stations were also just an easy walk away. The couple of blocks around the apartment is partly a Japanese section of Paris ... several Japanese restaurants and shops, a Japanese bank and tourist office. We ate one night in the Japanese restaurant in the ground floor of our building ... it smelled so good, we just couldn’t resist.
The apartment is on the fourth floor of a five-floor building, serviced by a small elevator. We had to enter a code on a keypad to enter the building lobby from the street, and we felt very comfortable with the security arrangement.
The apartment is on a corner with windows on two sides and lots of light. The layout of the apartment is unusual. The front door opens into a hallway and the first door on the left is a toilet room with a little sink. Then the hallway turns and on the left is a very small kitchen — really just a bit bigger than a closet — with a stove, an under-the-counter refrigerator, a dishwasher, and a sink and draining basin. There isn’t an oven or a microwave - just a big toaster oven. We cooked in the apartment most evenings and I found the kitchen adequately equipped - just very small. There really wasn’t room for more than one person to operate. I suspect most visitors to Paris will eat out much more than we did.
There’s a closet across the hall from the kitchen, then the hallway opens into a dining room built into the slanted eaves of the building — quite large with a big old wooden table and wooden chairs and stools to seat six. A big wooden buffet holds a large supply of interesting dishes, silverware and placemats. At the far end of the dining room is a bookcase with a variety of books and also a big clothes closet. Then — this is what I thought was the strange part — in the end of the dining room is the rest of the bathroom ... the sink, a tub with shower attachment, and a washing machine. There’s a multi-line clothesline that you can stretch out over the tub. There is not a stand-up shower, though my husband rigged up something with a clothes hanger.
On the other side of the dining room — visible between old exposed wooden beams — is the big living room with four big windows ... two windows on each of the two walls. There’s a fireplace, two big red couches with colorful cushions, a big coffee table, an antique desk and chair, a couple of antique tables, and a television. The couches each seat three people and can be made up as single beds. Our daughter slept on one of the couches and found it very comfortable.
Because the apartment is in the corner and near the top of the building, the ceilings are all varying heights and there are little windows all over the place ... lots of light and good ventilation. It was quite hot during our stay (we arrived on August 28), and fortunately the apartment included two good fans. We ran them continuously.
The master bedroom is a sunny loft area up a flight of steps from the living room ... a nice-sized bed and a dresser. We just had to watch our heads when we were over by the dresser due to the slanted ceiling.
The apartment has good lighting for reading, lots of books, nice rugs, interesting art and accessories, and a great collection of travel books on Paris. We could tell this was a well-loved apartment and not just a sterile holiday rental.
We did our grocery shopping at a Monoprix on the Avenue de l’Opera, just a few blocks away. (Note—the grocery stores are all closed on Sundays, so be sure to shop on Saturday evening!) There are several good boulangeries nearby. I especially liked Rue du Marche St-Honore, a tiny street lined with little bistros, bakeries, and butcher shops. There are some wonderful looking places to eat. The end of this street opens into a small square where an outdoor market is held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. We found a very good internet café in a small hotel on Rue de la Sourdiere, in this same general area. You can get a lower rate if you pay in advance for a block of hours.
The only issue I’ll mention relates to some confusion concerning our access to the apartment. We had been traveling in Europe for over three months before we arrived in Paris and the final details were arranged by e-mail. I had provided Christine with information on the time of our arrival by train and had understood (I thought) that the housekeeper would meet us at the apartment. When our taxi dropped us off, she wasn’t there. Fortunately, I did have the code to get in the front door of the building and the housekeeper’s cell phone number. After waiting about fifteen minutes, we finally called. The housekeeper’s husband — who spoke almost no English — came about 30 minutes later and let us in the apartment. He gave us our keys but almost no instructions. It all worked out okay, but I’d encourage future renters to confirm access arrangements more carefully than I did. In hindsight, I probably should have talked with her by phone to confirm these final arrangements.
For more information about our stay at this apartment and our two weeks in Paris, see my blog entries at www.slowtrav.com/blog/kaydee/archives/000650.html and www.slowtrav.com/blog/kaydee/archives/000659.html
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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