Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 2027: Paris Attitude, Canal St Martin
4bed/2bath 10th arr., Paris
April 2006, 6 nights
Our rental was in Paris, in the 10th arr., 1 easy block from the Gare de l'Est. It was a busy area, and just fascinating - we liked it very much. The Canal St Martin, a very trendy arty area was just down the street and around the corner. The area was a mix of bourgeois Paris, lower income, and ethnic with very few tourists. The Gare de l'Est is a major metro stop with several lines going through it so access was great. I did not try the busses there but saw a lot.
There was a Franprix (cheaper than Monoprix) just downstairs and a boulangerie right around the corner. The Marche St Quentin (wonderful!!) was in the next block. Lots and lots of restaurants and stores.
The apartment was huge. We were a family of seven, and another friend came to stay, and we were very comfortable. Four bedrooms, three large one small, two baths and one toilet worked great for us. At first I was concerned about only one toilet, but actually it turned out fine; you spend more time in the bathroom than the toilet. The two bedrooms that look out on the Boulevard Magenta had french doors on to the balcony and the windows were double paned so there wasn't much street noise. The other two bedrooms looked out on a courtyard, dark but very peaceful. The balcony was great; I could have spent the whole time there watching the world go by. We were there during the riots so at one point we saw a very loooong caravan of cops, paddy wagons, ambulances, and goodness knows what else go by. Very exciting!
The building was an older one, I guess, 19th century. with tall ceilings and gorgeous moldings on the ceiling, very typical, bourgeois Paris. Teeny elevator, we mostly used the stairs to work off all that we were eating.
No garden or terrace but a wonderful balcony, wide enough for chairs and a table running the length of the apartment.
Tha apartment was spotless. The beds were comfortable and the rooms were large. One or two of the finishings were a little cheap: we had somewhat rickety chairs as bedside tables, for example, but they had nice lamps and an alarm clock, so our landlord had put some thought into our comfort. Lots and lots and lots of closet space. The kitchen was OK, we had breakfast there every morning and it was fine for that. One night we got some choucroute from an excellent Alsatian traiteur in the next block and reheated it in the stove and microwave. Worked great. There was a washer and dryer, crucial since we tried to pack light and were travelling with kids. Dishwasher, too. All the appliances worked well, and our wonderful, considerate landlord had left all the manuals in a cupboard.There was somew trouble with the wireless internet, but the landlord and my husband (a major geek) worked it out to everyone's satisfaction.
No shower curtains or doors, but, no one in France seems to use them. In two weeks staying at the apartment and a succession of two and three star hotels we rarely saw them; we just got used to mopping up the puddles. The ineffiency drove my husband crazy. Oh, well...
Furniture all comfortable and there was enough for us all to sit.
See above - all just fine. Lots of towels.
See above also. If I was to live there, I would have a few more pots and pans, but, that's just me. It was fine for our needs. There was a French press coffee maker, which we had to learn to use, but it made great coffee. Toaster, microwave, everything you might need.
Problems or Bonuses
Good surprise - Alexandre, the landlord was wonderful. Very helpful, and nice, and speaks excellent English. He lives just upstairs and said please lean out the balcony and holler or come upstairs if we needed anything. That said, we never saw him again until checkout, he was totally unobtrusive. I was worried about that, but it worked out fine.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Agency was very professional also. Good English. The whole process got off to a slow start since Aleandre was travelling, but once we got going it was fine.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would reccommend this wholeheartedly as I mentioned a very few of the finishings were a little on the cheap side, but the size, price and overall comfort totally out weighed all that.
Things to do in this area
We walked around and saw a part of Paris that one wouldn't ordinarily see. The Canal St Martin was great, we had a cafe in the Hotel du Nord, of the film. Very arty and a little pretentious. Many restaurants, two that we liked were Chez Casimir, Breton seafood, and Aux Zingots which had two menus, one offal (is that the right term for brains and weird stuff?) which we did not have the courage to try, and one normal which was excellent. The Marche St Quentin was great as well.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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