Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 3376: France for Rent, St. Germain Buci
3bed/3bath apartment in 6th arrondissement, Paris
Feb 27 - March 4 2008
This gorgeous apartment is located in the lovely St Germain des Pres neighborhood. We walked many neighborhoods during our stay; Bellville, Montmartre, Marais (and many more) and we really felt like we were in the most grown-up (not stuffy), "neighborhoody" area. It's bustling with life, without being touristy or too raucous, has great restaurants, a lovely open air market, great cafes, plenty of boutique shopping, amazing patisseries, on and on. Everything we needed was steps from our door, and the central location of the neighborhood made accessing all of Paris an easy pleasure.
The nearest grocery store was on the next corner and had anything you might need to eat/cook/clean at home, should that be your desire. The corner cafe was delightful, and provided the first coffee we had in Paris. The open air market on Rue de Buci has beautiful meat and fish, veggies, and other vendors (we stroked a baby goat belonging to a animal preservation society). We had one of the best meals we ate in Paris at the nearby 'Boissonerie' a play on the word Poissonerie (fish monger) in which the restaurant is housed. They cleverly changed the stunning mosaic tile store front sign (of the original poissonerie) to reflect the restaurant's character as a place to eat and drink. The food was out of this world. And they still do the space proud with beautiful fish preparation. The waiters were friendly and helpful. The night was magical.
The apartment was stunning. In through a carriage door with a coded entry to a tiny inner courtyard. Another door with a pass key lets you into the building. Classic Parisian staircase, wood steps smoothed to a patina by a hundred years of footfall. Up to the apartment on the second floor. Big old heavy wooden door. From the relative dark of this inner corridor, you step into the bright, open gorgeousness of the apartment. A huge living room welcomes you with giant French windows facing the street. Each of them floor to ceiling and surrounded by voluminous drapes of golden silk. The floors are dark wood, a herringbone parquet unlike anything I've ever seen. The furniture is comfortable and handsome, sofas facing each other in a conversational arrangement, one step below the rest of the space, and little pocket of coziness. The kitchen is in this main room, but its been cleverly concealed behind cabinetry that masks it. The fridge is invisible. A raised bar table with stools serves doubly as dining table and counter-top and is finished in a smooth, highly polished concrete. Dishes and glasses and flatware as well as good cookware all provided.
The three bedrooms are at the three points of a triangle so privacy is utterly assured. I was there with an old friend and we both had our own bedroom and bath. There was a third bedroom and bath we never even touched (imagine the luxury of that!) We wanted for nothing. State of the art appliances, including a washer and dryer (so nice when you're traveling to be able to do a load of laundry) flat screen TV, wireless Internet. The bathrooms had mini L'Occitane products provided. Towel warmers (why don't we Americans do that more?), lovely linens. Little thoughtful touches everywhere.
You can view the property directly: St. Germain Buci.
There was no outside space, but the HUGE windows thrown open made the whole apartment feel like a breezy tree-house. This is Paris don't forget, so we didn't miss garden space.
The furniture was classy, comfy and well thought out in terms of placement. There was enough seating to host a dinner party, or accommodate a family. A dining table that could seat six, possibly eight. And each room was large. The apartment is impeccably maintained and the France for Rent greeter is on call 24/7 should you need anything unexpected in the way of apartment care, or just advice on where to go, or find what you desire.
The bedrooms were large, sunny and lovely with big windows and big shutters for good sleeping. We did our share. Nice linens, fluffy pillows, ample closet space. The master has a huge tub and my only regret is that I never found time for a nice soak while I was there. The showers have waterfall heads for the full drench and towel warmers just outside the showers for toasty step out. Heaven!
We ate breakfast at home and made one royal dinner there. We wanted for nothing. All the basics were provided and even some spices and oils. It was so nice to be able to cook and take a break from eating out (never thought I'd say that) one night. With all the fresh ingredients at your doorstep, we made a meal to remember. Then we watched a movie, one of several that the owner had thoughtfully provided.
Problems or Bonuses
The surprises were only good, one after the next.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
France for Rent is a dream to work with. Their knowledge of Paris and their patience in considering our needs made for a perfect match of apartment to guest. They had many places to choose from, so selection was a big part of our decision-making process. They have a charming staff who really made us feel like we would be staying with friends while we were in Paris. Fadéla, our greeter on-site was charming and knowledgeable, fully available to us, but utterly respectful of our privacy. Everyone speaks perfect English.
They provided us with some remarkable tours with their partners at mygenieinparis.com. The tours are a completely unique experience, off the beaten path. This is no tired museum tour. Stéphane at My Genie, set us up with a mini tour in a classic Citroen car, zipping through the streets of Paris with the dreamy driver Sebastian, whose knowledge of Paris and Parisian life was like a view from within. He completely charmed us, made us laugh, and gave us a real slice of life experience. Stéhane met us at Chez Virginie in Montmartre for an exceptional private tour of this three generations Fromagerie (cheese maker). The owner, Virginie, gave us one of the best experiences we had on our trip, walking and talking us through their process, letting us smell and taste some of the finest cheese we've ever tasted. Her shop is exceptional, and her company urbane and delightful. We would recommend this 'tour' to anyone. We're not big 'tour' people, so we were at first skeptical that it would be a canned experience, but it was anything but. You'd never get to see or taste in this way without Stéphane's introduction. I would recommend this to anyone. Fear not, this is not a staid, prepackaged and regurgitated - it's like going to meet friends who happen to be the best cheese makers in town, and getting to spend the afternoon with them eating and drinking.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
This was one of the best trips I've ever had. France for Rent made this what it was for us. Everything they touch is gold. The apartment, their recommendations, their business partners - an exquisite experience from start to finish!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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