Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 2936: France For Rent, Marais 114 - Bourg 3
Studio apartment in Marais, Paris
June 2007, 1 week
Wonderful side street in the Marais, close to Metro.
Groceries, boulangeries, patisseries, cafes and restaurants all within a block or two.
Apartment is in a building with 10 -12 other apartments, many of which are rentals owned or managed by France For Rent. The building is old and lovely and in good shape overall - hallway carpet is worn and entry way a bit dark.
Our unit had been restored well but furnished on the cheap. We've been told it was recently purchased by the owner of France for Rent. It is essentially a studio billed as a one bedroom - a sliding door separates a double bed from the main living area but prevents air conditioning from reaching the sleeping area and isn't a noise barrier. Sleeping with windows open is tricky due to street noise. Small kitchen and ample bathroom. Good storage. A pull out sofa and pull out chair in the living area. Stow away table with four folding chairs for dining - a bit awkward but manageable if you don't mind being cramped. Apartment is one level up from street and fronts on to the street so it is noisy. Apartment is in good shape structurally, outfitted with poor quality goods that are getting worn down quickly despite being relatively new.
You can view the apartment directly: MA114 - Bourg 3.
No outdoor area.
Furniture is fairly new as this apartment has just come on the rental market, but it is of low enough quality that it will look pretty worn in another few months. Odd choice for a rental. The structure itself is charming but unfortunately the furnishings have the somewhat sterile look and feel of a generic rental.
Beds were fine. Bedroom is really more of an alcove - not much privacy from main living area. Bathroom is fine. Owner has only supplied one set of linens for the beds, making it hard to get fresh sheets should you want or need them.
Kitchen is usable but minimally outfitted. Pots, pans, dishes, silverware are all of uniformly poor quality. Don't expect to do much cooking. You can boil water and make a pot of coffee but it's too small and too poorly outfitted to produce much in the way of full meals. Appliances are close to worthless - "dishwasher" doesn't clean, washer/dryer is bottom of the line and can't manage much more than a scant half load. Large fridge, though!
Problems or Bonuses
The location is wonderful albeit noisy. It's in the heart of the extra touristy part of the Marais, which is unfortunate but also means there are plenty of restaurants and diversions within a quick walk. Surprises were all unfortunate and all related to poor management on the agency's part (see below). Bonuses in this neighborhood are plenty - farmers' market nearby, live music spilling out onto the street at the bar a few doors down, wonderful local wine shop next door, Mariage Freres tea shop, fresh orange juice from the corner market, excellent boulangerie a block away.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I have nothing good to say about the agency except that the person I dealt with to book the property and his supervisor were kind. They all speak English. The on site person is not accessible, was in our case unreliable and rude, to boot. The published information wasn't inaccurate but it wasn't really complete, either, particularly given the street noise. The service was abysmal and the agency management appear utterly clueless as to how to remedy problems. The apartment wasn't ready to be occupied more than 24 hours after our lease started. The prepaid greeter didn't materialize. A replacement eventually did but she didn't know anything about the apartment and kept us waiting repeatedly to chit chat on her cell phone. The agency supplied car hire didn't show up - a substitute did, or so he said. They were slow to respond to a significant safety issue with the apartment. They tried to retake possession of the apartment hours before our contract was up because they don't allow enough time for cleaning between rentals. They have nickeled and dimed us since leaving, on items any other rental we've ever had anywhere else in the world would have viewed as normal wear and tear. I could go on. It is significant that our unit is an investment property for the owner of the firm. France for Rent felt to us like a firm that fleeces its customers. Buyer beware.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would not stay in this unit again, though I liked the location, and I will definitely not rent from this agency again.
Things to do in this area
The Marais both has and is in walking distance of so much: Centre Pompidou, Notre Dame, Place des Vosges, Institut du Monde Arabe, Ile St. Louis, Musee Picasso, the Carnavalet. It's one of our favorite neighborhoods in Paris. It can feel a bit overrun by tourists with a few too many English language menus, but there are plenty of cafes and restaurants without and it's a beautiful spot.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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