Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 3003: Isabelle's Apartments, Marie-Antoinette
1bed/1bath apartment in 15th arrondissement, Paris
April 2007, 1 week
The apartment is located in the 15e in Paris, very near the border of the 7e. The 15e is a nice enough area, although not the upscale 7e. The building is across the street from the Seine River, which you can see from the apartment front windows in the living room and bedroom. One thing the website doesn't advertise is that it is directly located on a very busy four-lane road with heavy, fast moving traffic, though, so an open window means a lot of noise!
The apartment is a short five minute walk to the metro stop, eight minutes to the Eiffel Tower and ten to fifteen minutes to a fabulous twice a week outdoor market (we went on Sunday morning) under the elevated subway tracks. There is a small grocery store, a drugstore, a bank and a bakery (Poilane) within 5-7 minutes as well. There are restaurants close by, an Italian place and many Asian restaurants, although none of them were that good, frankly, so I'd recommend eating dinner elsewhere. We found some great places in the 7th within 30 minutes walking.
Unfortunately, the building was undergoing a renovation the week we were there. When we arrived, we were taken aback because the halls had just been painted and there were paint splatters all over the floors and stairs. It made more sense the next day when the power sanding of the stairs started - and lasted for three entire days - followed by a re-varnishing. Needless to say it was quite noisy and smelly, so we tried to spend as little time as possible in the apartment during the day. It did look nice when it was finished at the end of our stay.
The apartment has a combined living/eating area, a kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom. I think there were three or four apartments per floor. We heard no noise from neighbors. The building has an elevator.
No outside area.
The furniture was just okay - more like starter apartment furniture, a little tired and not very comfortable. I'd say the apartment was tidy - not super clean. There was quite a bit of dust on the metalwork of the dining chairs and the bedroom carpet could use a good steam-cleaning or a replacement.
The bed was average, the type you get in a Best Western motel. The bathroom was clean but very, very tiny - I am glad my husband and I are on the small side. I really don't think a large person would fit in the shower. The toilet was odd in that it was raised up on a platform, so you had to hop up onto it. Made me very glad I'm not a heavy drinker - I could see someone having a bad accident after a night of partying.
Kitchen was fine - plenty of utensils, cookware, etc. It was flea-market type quality, but cute. The dishwasher was the size of my microwave at home! I don't think I'd cook a full meal in here, but it was fine for breakfast and making coffee.
Problems or Bonuses
Well, the renovation work was certainly a surprise. I felt like we should have been warned beforehand or at least given an apology, if not a discount for the noise, smell and mess. A few other notes:
1) The television did not work, it had a green screen with lines. As a result the VCR was useless too. 2) We had to wait around for 1/2 of the fist day for someone to come collect the rent (they were supposed to meet us on arrival) 3) The telephone could only be used with a France Telecom pre-paid phone card - not even local calls were free. This is why we had to wait around to pay rent - no way to contact the landlord. We then later spent an hour trying to locate a place that sold phone cards on Sunday so we could call home and make dinner reservations.
The good surprise was the cleaning lady that lived on the bottom floor. She washed, dried and ironed a stack of laundry for about €8 for us. I don't think my clothes have ever been that clean. She even ironed our socks!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Communication with the agency/owner was done via email and was good and timely. I think we paid €950 for the week (cash).
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
No, I wouldn't stay here again. But I think it might work better for others, I think it depends on what your expectations are and how you currently live. I read many reviews of this apartment before I booked by people who were thrilled with the place.
Twenty years ago, when my spouse and I were living in budget apartments and starter houses, we would have been happy with this rental. Now that our living conditions are much better and we stay in some pretty nice places around the world on business, expectations have gone up. I think we would have been much happier spending the extra euro a week for a bigger, better appointed place. That being said, after Paris, we went on to a B&B in Normandy that was only €60 a night and was fabulous - big comfy room, claw foot bathtub (I think the bathroom at the B&B was bigger than the entire apartment in Paris).
Things to do in this area
The riverboats were across the street - very much enjoyed the cruise.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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