Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 1430: Lets Paris, 27 Damremont
1bed/1bath apartment (sleeps 5) in the 18th Arrondissement, Paris
April 27 - May 7, 2005, 10 days
This lovely apartment is located on rue Damremont, in a very quiet residential area of the 18th Arrondissement. I wanted to be in a less-than-busy area for my first time in Paris, and this was perfect for me.
It is on the first floor of a lovely, well-maintained building; walk through the two sets of security doors and enter a lovely tiled open-air courtyard, with geraniums and hydrangeas blooming in pots on people’s window sills and a huge and very lush pot of trailing ivy decorating a little bench along the side of the courtyard.
Past the courtyard, there is a small elevator and stairs up to the other levels of the building. I loved this area, with all the little shops along the street and around the corner, it was a world within a world for me. There is no need to leave rue Damremont if you want to settle in and just relax for a few days; all services are there, including a medical clinic and doctors!
In the neighbourhood, immediately surrounding the apartment are wonderful places to wander through: a very good bakery, which makes the best 'rustic' baguettes I’ve ever tasted, cheese and wine shops, a tea store that is newly opened, several green grocers, a small Franprix supermarket with very good products, a butcher, a really good florist, several take-out restaurants as well as also a number of cafes for morning café crèmes and croissants. There are also many neighbourhood shops: clothing shops, several immobilaires, plumber’s store, a hardware store (with the greatest bread box ever, sitting in the window) - just to name a few.
It is a block or more to the closest restaurants and bars, although I should have tried the Holiday Inn cafe right next door ... it might have been very nice. On the next corner, one block up Damremont, there is a bar with tables and chairs set on the sidewalk in front of the doorway and every day there were several regulars seated with their cafe creme and pastry, watching the world walking by them.
The bus stops are within a block or two from the apartment and the metro is close-by, with Abbesses, Lamark and Clichy metro stops a short walk away.
Right next door to the apartment building is a Holiday Inn, with the most helpful staff ... whether I needed to use their internet (Wi-Fi spot) or have them call a taxi to take me to the airport, they couldn’t have been nicer. No matter that I was not a guest, they treated me like one, anyway!
Along Damremont, there are many great little shops in both directions from the apartment, but especially towards rue Lamarck. As I mentioned above, there is such a variety of food shops and wine shops - there was no need to go further than my own street in order to eat like royalty.
A short walk to Lamarck takes you to a bank with a very dependable ATM that always worked! Because it was constant, it was the only one I used in Paris! Right across the street from the bank is a small supermarket, Franprix ... a place where I spent a few hours dawdling and looking at the different kinds of foods and produce available. I found the best yoghurt in the Universe ... delicious and creamy lemon yoghurt in small dainty glass jars (which I loved enough to bring home 4 of them!) Several large glass jars of fresh-pressed blood orange juice made their way to my fridge in the week while I was there.
As well, there is a new tea shop that had just opened, and the people who owned it were so kind to me ... I have several small bags of amazingly fragrant whole fruit teas stashed in my cupboard. The owner said one day, “Madame, you will never have to worry about straining this tea - you can just pour it, lumps and all, and then you eat the lumps - they are, after all, pieces of fruit!”
Virginia’s Cheese Shop became a very nice way to end my daily stroll for food. It is along the street toward the apartment, and after a long day of walking, I would stop there and have the woman select a cheese or two for me to take home and enjoy.
The #95 bus stops a couple of blocks away, just around the corner from Damremont, on rue Marcadet, and it takes you right through the downtown, past Bon Marche, Opera, a huge number of designer shops and stores, Palais Royale and right through to the bus stop in front of the Louvre pyramidal entrance - in about 20 – 25 minutes. It is an interesting ride, with a wide variety of scenery and a great cast of characters, both on and off the bus. Coming home from the Louvre, the #95 lets me off a block and a half from home.
I loved the transportation system in Paris; it was organized and well-laid out. I had no problems finding my way around, from my neighbourhood to the other areas of Paris via the bus system. Going to the Montparnasse train station from my apartment was also very easy for me.
I found this apartment through Truffaut (Doug) on the Slow Travel Message Board (France forum). I contacted him regarding his rental, which was already booked, and he referred me to his rental manager, Lauren Greenwald, with Lets Paris. Lauren immediately e-mailed me the information about 27 Damremont, and after looking at the photos on their website, I was so taken with the bedroom window as well as the full kitchen and the location that I booked it with her on the spot. No mistake here - it is scrumptious!
There are 4 main rooms - a kitchen and a formal dining room which also has a single bed dressed as a sofa and serves as a second bedroom. There is also a living room, with a very comfortable sofa bed, coffee table, TV/DVD/internet plus wall cabinets for storage of bed linens and extra clothes storage. A gorgeous bedroom with a most comfortable bed, a large storage room and 2 small bathrooms complete the apartment.
The apartment is fairly quiet, although I could hear the neighbors each morning, earlier than I usually woke up, and there was another apartment in the building being renovated so there was some noise from that - but really, nothing of any consequence.
There is a courtyard, central to the building, and on ground level. It has no specific seating area, except a small bench with plants on it. Still, it is a very lovely way to arrive back in the evening - to walk through the courtyard smelling the evening meals that were being prepared and hearing the classical music coming from one of the ground floor apartments - a joy to come home!
The furnishings are in perfect condition and very comfortable, as if the owners had selected the pieces for comfort as well as beauty - clean, sturdy pieces, well-matched to the elegance and décor of the apartment, and a lovely combination of old and new. There are more than enough chairs and sofas for seating room. I had guests for dinner and the apartment is perfect for entertaining a group of 6.
The living room drapes especially are a wonderful touch - deep peach taffeta that has been button-tufted in a diamond configuration and they overlay white sheers for privacy - they literally took my breath away when I walked into the room, they are so lovely.
The bedroom is the piece de resistance for me! I fell in love with the leaded glass French doors that open to let in the cool morning air. These windowed doors are draped with exquisite floor-length apricot taffeta draperies, overlaying white sheers and they compliment the ivory, green and apricot bedspread perfectly.
The room is large and provides more than enough space and storage for everything that I had collected by that point in my trip! An armoire with mirrored doors for clothes, an elegant vanity with mirror, as well as a dresser with drawers and 2 night-tables - all very well-cared for and mostly of antique quality. As well, there is a fireplace with mantle along the wall next to the bed, and a chair in the corner for a dressing gown or for sitting on, while getting ready to leave for another day in Paris.
The bed is extremely comfortable, with new linens, and a cabinet full of extras if needed. There is a very welcome duvet in the cabinet that I used every night ... nothing like a warm, toasty place to sleep!
The bathroom is contained in 2 rooms. First is a small room with shower and tiny aqua glass sink, as well as a very welcome towel warmer. The quaint touch is a small arched window high up in the wall of the bathroom; it opens into the kitchen for additional natural light. The bathroom and shower have been lovingly tiled with several shades of aqua, teal, aquamarine and white tiles - it’s a very cheery and welcoming room for showering! The toilet is separately contained in a small room down the hall - there is also a very small sink for handwashing. Both bathrooms, while small, are immaculate and beautifully renovated.
The kitchen is long and narrow, with great cabinetry along one whole wall, complete with a full gas range and oven, built-in dishwasher, built-in washing machine/dryer combo, and a hot water tank! No space wasted here at all ... this is a marvel of efficiency! The owners have also included a small lift-up table attached to the opposite wall, with 2 folding bistro chairs tucked in beside the fridge, available for extra seating if needed. There is also a full-sized fridge, which I used to the max!
The kitchen window is a double-opening window, similar to French doors, that allows a view over the yard below and across to the neighboring apartments. There is a good selection of cookware, pots and pans, frying pans, lovely solid white crockery and cutlery - all in excellent condition, and I believe, nearly new. I made several full meals for my family and it was a joy to prepare food in this kitchen - nothing missing - everything that I wanted and needed was there, and more.
Problems or Bonuses
Problems? None at all ... this apartment is truly exquisitely restored and well-laid out. There is no wasted space, and the owners made excellent use of every square inch! Because the renovation is quite new, the apartment is wonderfully looked-after and immaculate.
Bonuses? There are so many - the apartment is so much more than it looks in the website photos - when I let myself in after I arrived at midnight, I literally walked from room to room, with my hands up to my face, saying, “Oh, my goodness! Look at that! Oh, my ... look at THAT, too!” Everything works, everything that I needed was already in place, and it was pretty near perfect!
The owners have recently completed this renovation and it has been amazingly well-done. Maintaining the old-world feel throughout the rooms, they have created a quiet, peaceful feel to the space, with the excellent use of soft, pastel colors, perfectly coordinating fabrics and draperies and gorgeous crown molding on the ceilings that top the 14 foot walls.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Lets Paris has been extremely good to work with and their manager, Lauren Greenwald, is English-speaking. Lauren was very good in arranging my rental, facilitating the rental agreement, the rent payment and security deposit. Because I arrived quite late at night, we arranged for her to leave me the keys in a private location and I had no trouble letting myself in, finding the apartment and learning how to operate the appliances from the binder of directions left by the owner.
I loved the stack of manuals for the appliances that had been left in the cupboards - they came in handy when I was looking for help in starting the washing machine/dryer.
I called Lauren the next morning after I arrived and let her know that all was well. She gave me clear directions to the bank and ATM a block away, to the little supermarket across from the bank, and to the bus. I also relied upon her to help me find my way to the Gare Montparnasse the next morning for my trip to Chartres. Even with a debilitating case of laryngitis, Lauren managed to accommodate me and was very gracious and helpful when I wanted to stay on a few more days in the apartment.
I highly recommend Lets Paris and Lauren Greenwald for anyone looking for a beautiful rental apartment in a quiet area of Paris. All of the apartments on their website are very attractive and this one was so much more than I had anticipated it to be - to my surprise and delight.
I received extremely good service from Lauren and was more than happy with everything in and about the apartment. I would recommend this rental to anyone, including my best friend! I also will rent from them again, and probably this very apartment as well.
An example? I e-mailed Lauren a few weeks before I arrived in Paris to ask her if there was a hairdryer in the apartment, and she said that there was not, but she would make sure there was one by the time I got there ... and sure enough, a brand-new dryer was waiting for me when I arrived!
I paid 700E for a week’s stay, all-inclusive, with no annoying extra charges for anything! I thought it a bargain, for the quality of rental that this is. Lauren also gave me a good reduction in the rental rate for the extra days that I needed to stay.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would stay here again in a heartbeat ... and would definitely highly recommend this apartment to my best friend. There was nothing that I would change about the location, the apartment, the service or the neighborhood. A very elegant home away from home in a really cool neighborhood ... rue Lepic is a short walk away, what more could you want?
Things to do in this area
I found this area stuffed with interesting shops, with prices very competitive with the larger stores in the more central arrondissments.
Cimetiere Montmartre is a short walk away, (with all its famous dead people ... or dead famous people, whichever you like!) as is rue Lepic, with all its charming shops, lovely restaurants and outdoor cafes. Sacre Couer Basilica is a healthy hike uphill from the apartment, and can be done in short bursts! Walk a bit, stop for a café crème, walk a little more, stop and shop for awhile. Moulin Rouge, the apartment where Vincent van Gogh lived with his brother - these are all within walking distance from the apartment.
Because the more central arrondissements are so quickly arrived at by bus, this doesn’t seem far out of the center of Paris at all - within a half hour, you can be anywhere in the center that you want! I didn’t get to many of the places I planned to see in this area, because the week I was there went by in such a short time, definitely leaving much to see and do next time!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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