Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 2709: Rentvillas, Les Halles 1
Studio apartment in 1st arrondissement, Paris
April 2007, 1 week
Located in a pedestrian district just a five-minute walk away from Notre Dame and the Louvre. The area is extremely libertine, think of New York City's East Village x10 and then "Frenchified." On the weekend there was lots of foot traffic through the area and it has a sort of carnival atmosphere, a wonderful mix of young and old, every possible choice of clothing and lifestyle under the sun seem to pass by as you sit there. Lots of cafes and restaurants literally right next to the door to the apartment building, lots of tiny streets (more like large alleys) with small businesses, lots of opportunities to shop or just sit and take it all in. The rental is on the third floor but does not face the street so is relatively quiet, the neighbors were very considerate as well.
Nearest grocery was about a minute walk, then next closest was about a minute and ten seconds. We got all our breakfast and essentials just out the door and to the left -- easy to see as well. If you rent here then do not pass up the opportunity to visit the local markets and get cheese and olives and bread and fruit and, of course, wine. The markets were great and we supplemented everything we got at them with supermarket products.
The apartment was a studio but we had more than enough space for two people. The building was nice, it stayed relatively cool in the day despite 80 degree temps, and was very clean and well cared-for.
The only problem was a bathroom that reeked of smoke. Close the door when it's not in use and you'll be fine. We have experienced the same problem in the U.S. and then in other lodging in France, if you have neighbors that smoke in an apartment building the smell will get into bathrooms (maybe the pipes weren't properly sealed to the wall? I don't know.) Hey, it's France, almost everyone smokes.
Don't let this dissuade you from renting. I am terribly sensitive to cigarette smoke and found the apartment perfectly fine (with the door closed.)
You can view the apartment directly: Les Halles 1.
The bed saved us -- we walked everywhere in Paris and a comfortable bed was a huge relief at the end of the day. Nice setup with a couch and some bar stools made the studio seem larger than it was.
Bathrooms and bed were fine.
More than enough pots and pans. Bring a sharp knife for bread or meat, and a bottle opener for beer cans. Did not cook full meals.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Agency experience was great, I think I asked them the same questions a few times but they didn't bat an eye and always answered promptly. I was a little nervous about renting an apartment, it was my first time, but the on site person (Federic) was very relaxed and set the tone well for a good first day. Apartment was exactly as advertised, no surprises.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Absolutely I would stay here again. The only qualification would be that if you're a more conservative person and have children then this isn't the area of Paris for you. Your loss, though, as this was a steal of a place to stay.
Things to do in this area
Again, the markets were the big thing but Bofinger over in the Bastille area was nice and the cafes in the Marais were wonderful. We made the mistake of not listening to the cheaper jazz jam sessions early in the week at the jazz clubs across the Blvd Sebastapol and by the end of the week the prices (plus drinks) were such that we were much less interested. In part a reflection of our tepid interest in jazz.
The Louvre at night is cool, you're also close to the bateaux night tours, which can be a relief after walking/standing all day (but they're a little cooler than the city, bring a jacket.) Taking one of those will give you an idea of picnic spots for the rest of the week.
There is a restaurant located to the left of the apartment building (as you step out the front door it's to the left) that is fine and offers a good vantage point from which to scope out the crowd in the area. Their snails are served in the shell so prepare yourself -- it's not as hard as it looks!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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