Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 1998: Maison Zen, Lux studio
1 bed/1 bath studio at the Paris Zen Center, Paris
March 2006, One week
Maison Zen is located in the heart of Paris on Rue du Lyon, equidistant between the Bastille and Gare du Lyon. Both have Metro stops and it is a brief, 5 minute walk to either.
Cafes for morning coffee, or pastry shops for an eat-in feast were all within 2-4 blocks. A small grocery was one block away and a larger grocery was just as close. The Bastille area is full of various ethnic restaurants, and the train station area is full of more French style restaurants. There is also an internet cafe near the Bastille. The market at the Bastille is two days a week and is wonderful. It's a big one with food, CDs, linens, clothes - all sorts of fun shopping. There are also lots of Asian take-outs nearby.
The apartments are within the Paris Zen Center. The Center is through a large carriageway, through a paved courtyard and through another gate, which means it is located behind the building on the street. It's very quiet, with minimal street noise.
It is an active Zen Center, with meditation and chanting every morning and evening. Guests are welcome to participate in all of the Center's activities, but there is no pressure whatsoever to do so. The ground floor of the building houses the Meditation Room and the owners' apartment. The second floor, up a beautiful curving staircase, has two small studio apartments and the common room. This room is used by the employees of the Center and has a telephone that guests may use. It requires a phone card. More apartments are on the third floor, including the Lux apartment where we stayed.
There is a lovely garden in the front of the building and a table with 2 chairs. This is a shared area. There is no pool.
The apartment was spotless. The furnishings were minimal and spare - an armoire, table, chest of drawers, two cushioned chairs and two wooden chairs in the main room and and double bed, small chest and bedside table in the bedroom. There were two windows in the main room and one in the bedroom, all looking out onto the front garden. There are simple rugs on the floor. This is not a luxurious place, but we found it quite comfortable. Heat works well. There is no air conditioning.
There is no TV or radio or CD player.
The bedroom is tiny and the bed (very comfortable) is pushed into a corner, with minimal space at the foot. Lighting in the bedroom is not great - bring your little bitty book light.
The bath is a typical European bathroom - small, but with everything you need. There is no shower, but there is a hand held sprayer and a shower curtain, so we had our showers anyway.
I don't think the kitchen is very usable for real cooking. There is a refrigerator, a two-burner cooktop and a sink, but no oven or counter space. We kept only snacks, wine, water, etc. and were perfectly happy. There are plenty of dishes and silverware. There was also a coffeepot and teapot. Paper towels were provided and some basic spices.
Problems or Bonuses
There are two house cats and two house dogs, always a treat when you have to leave your pets behind. The dogs are kept in the owners' apartment, but the cats wander around and one came to visit with us one evening. You are asked to remove your shoes when entering the building. Someone nearby has songbirds and puts them in a window or garden every morning. We would wake up to the birds singing.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Reservations are made with Mrs. Perl by email. She is very prompt and speaks good English. We changed our dates at least 3 times and she was quite cheerful about it all. She requires a small deposit by check. She and her husband are onsite and available to help with any problems or questions.
The people at the Center are very kind. A new employee from Korea was most helpful in getting us settled and another was helpful with a telephone problem.
The cost for the Lux apartment for one week for 2 people was 490 euro. I don't think the prices change by season. The studios are less expensive.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, I'd stay again. This was our second stay. This is not luxury, but for the price, it is a fabulous bargain.
Things to do in this area
It's an easy walk to the Marais, to the Ile St. Louis, or to the Latin Quarter. The two Metro stops will take you all over Paris. The Canal St. Martin is right there as well.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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