Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 3272: Drawbridge to Europe, Ave Victoria (#1901)
1bed/1bath in 1st arrondissement, Paris
12/20/07-1/2/08, 12 days
The apartment was in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, within walking distance to the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral. We were two blocks from the River Seine and the Pont Neuf, oldest bridge in Paris. It was a perfect location, easily accessible to restaurants, grocery store and had a bakery just downstairs and around the corner. We loved the area. It was a relatively quiet side street in a handsome Hausmannian designed building and although surrounded by other buildings, it felt very private. In fact, once inside the apartment, on the fifth floor, it was extremely quiet.
The nearest grocery store, cafes and restaurants were within a two block radius of the apartment. A short walk up and across another street, Rue Rivoli, afforded one all sorts of shops, restaurants and department stores. It was never necessary to drive anywhere which we completely enjoyed. Despite the hustle and bustle of Paris at Christmas and New Year's, we felt thoroughly relaxed, safe and happy throughout our stay. We cooked two complete meals in the kitchen during our time there and found early morning breakfasts in the apartment to be a nice convenience. The same was true for the evening glasses of wine or cups of cocoa we enjoyed.
The Metro was just across the street and so easy to navigate all through Paris.
Yes, the building is an 1860 Hausmannian building - beautiful architecture and design. It was in great shape and well maintained. The apartment was peaceful and quiet - no noisy neighbors or obnoxious people.
The apartment is beautifully appointed with nice furnishings, a state of the art kitchen and all the utensils, cutlery and glassware to provide the comforts of home. It was light filled and cheerful with the benefit of black out curtains for the cozy winter nights we were there. The layout of the apartment was great. You entered into small living room outfitted with a sofabed, a side chair and flat screen TV. There were bookshelves stocked with nice travel guides, books about Paris and CDs for use while there. There was a DVD player as well. There were cordless phones throughout the apartment.
At night, the sofa becomes the sofabed, which was very comfortable for our daughter. Adjacent to the living room is a larger master bedroom with a queen size bed, again very comfortable. The linens were superb and ironed. There was excellent lighting throughout and another flat screen TV and DVD player in that room. Closet space was abundant with hangers and pull out drawers provided. That was especially nice because we unpacked the first day and felt like we had truly moved in to a home for the next twelve days.
Off of the living room on the other side, is a state of the art kitchen with dining table and chairs, completely outfitted with everything you would ever need to make a complete meal. There are linen tablecloths/napkins, white dishes, wine glasses, utensils, spices, basic condiments.
I could go on and on. We were indeed delighted to walk into this apartment and realize that the place was exactly as pictured on the Internet. And, it was a smoke-free, mildew free, immaculately clean space. We live very well in California and are used to first class hotels when we travel, so renting this apartment was a huge leap for us. Now, we can't wait to do it again. But, we will only rent from Drawbridge to Europe because we have heard horror stories from friends who made other rental company choices. Obviously, they will go unnamed.
You can view the apartment directly: Ave Victoria.
No, there is no outside sitting area, but the windows are casement style which allows so much air inside, you definitely don't feel stifled. We would like to go back and rent this apartment in spring or summer just to enjoy the open windows. There is no pool in the building. My understanding is that it has no air conditioning unit because of the age of the building, but I doubt it would be a problem given the windows. Plus, there are so many wonderful areas and gardens to sit in during your travels in Paris - it was quite frankly the last thing on our minds.
The furniture was in excellent shape - no stains, no sags. In fact, everything was in excellent shape. It was immaculately clean and appeared clearly cared for throughout the year. No cobwebs, no dust, no mildew, no leaks, no insects, no complaints at all. The bathroom was beautiful also. It had a huge shower head with good water pressure - a walk in shower with lots of room. There is a towel warmer and a bidet as well as a nicely designed toilet and vanity area. Another bonus was the stacking washer and dryer. There were plenty of chairs for us. We are a family of three and we never felt like we were tripped over each other. We sat each evening, usually late, after walking all over Paris each day for at least an hour to hash over our travels and plans for the next day. Never did we feel that the furniture was uncomfortable.
The beds were very comfortable. The bedroom was nice. The living room, which converted to a bedroom at night, felt like a separate room because one side housed the kitchen door, which we closed. The other sides were the master bedroom door and a blackout drapery panel to match the remainder of the draperies in the apartment. Thus, one had the feeling of four walls. Our daughter was very pleased with it. She felt it afforded her as much privacy as our bedroom did. The bathroom was great. I have no complaints whatsoever, but I frequently imagined how terrific a claw-foot bathtub would have been in the space. There is no bathtub. That said, I would not have sacrificed more outside time in Paris for a long soak in a tub!
It was a great kitchen to prepare a full meal which we did twice. The refrigerator, although smaller than US standard, was perfectly fine. It is larger than hotel room refrigerators. I enjoyed cooking in the kitchen.. I roasted a chicken, prepared crepes, filled them, sauteed ingredients to go with and made a bechamel sauce from scratch. The pots and pans are excellent quality, heavy bottomed and the stove-top is extremely effective with even heat. The convection oven is a dream to use. The microwave was just fine, also.
Problems or Bonuses
There were only good surprises. We were gifted with a lovely bottle of champagne on arrival, along with many basic items such as coffee, orange juice, milk, tea and a Christmas stollen. The agent who met us at the apartment was there to meet us on time and allowed us immediate entry. She carefully explained the keyed entry, how everything operated and told us not to hesitate to call her if a need arose. It was wonderful to arrive and not be told, even in 5 star hotels, that your room wasn't quite ready. We simply called her from the airport and let her know we were taking the shuttle in. She said, "Okay, I will meet you there in an hour or so." And, she did.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency, Drawbridge to Europe, is outstanding. They are thorough, accurate and efficient. The booking was a breeze, the personnel there are well-spoken and helpful. The on site person in Paris spoke English and French. We felt that we paid a very fair price for the twelve days. Also, we had only been home a bit more than a week when we were notified that our security deposit refund was already in the mail.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, we would absolutely stay there again. We would and have recommended it to others. We would also use Drawbridge to Europe to rent apartments in other countries because we feel that you get what you are promised. If you take a look at Victoria Reference #1901 for Paris on their website, you will see the apartment exactly as we experienced it. These are not re-touched photos. It is reality.
Things to do in this area
Shopping at Zara, a department store on Rue Rivoli is a hit. Our daughter loved it. She purchased some nice quality items there. Cedar Rouge is a great store with all sorts of things and an especially nice garden implements store downstairs. The closest restaurant, Aux Vieux Comptoir was very nice. Great, friendly people and a comprehensive menu/wine list. We especially enjoyed the entrecote and potatoes gratin which are made with what else? Butter and cream, but not to be missed. One word of caution while dining in France, unless you enjoy entrails be careful when ordering because Veau (veal) in the main phrase is not always veal; it might just be veal kidneys. So, be careful. Kidneys and liver are very popular items there.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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