Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 3445: France for Rent, ET201 - Eiffel Elegance
2bed/2bath apartment in 7th arrondissement, Paris
March 23 to March 30, 2008, one week
The apartment's location is ideal for exploring the popular tourist destinations while living like a "local". It's located on Rue Sainte Dominique, about four blocks east of the Eiffel Tower, two blocks from Hotel Des Invalides, and three blocks from the Seine River, where you could cross at Pont d'Alexandre (one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris) and walk another block to Champs-Elysee. We were also able to walk to the Louvre and the Musee D'Orsay, and were just a few blocks from two different Metro stops. The neighborhood itself is a huge part of the appeal. We had two fabulous boulangeries within steps of the apartment building, a wide variety of restaurants and boutiques, grocery stores, drug stores, anything you could want. Plus the Rue Cler market--where you could find fresh produce stands, top-notch fromageries, and more, was just a few blocks away. Even though we were in the midst of a vibrant, bustling neighborhood, the apartment itself was very quiet, as it was set back from the road (you walk through a few courtyards to get to the apartment and up a half flight of stairs to the elevator).
You could throw on some clothes in the morning, run downstairs, and pick up some of the best croissants, baguettes and beignets in Paris from the boulangerie downstairs. There were several groceries stores within a few blocks and even a Starbucks. No car required!
The building itself was well-maintained, peaceful and quiet since the apartment is set back from the street.
No outside sitting area but a few courtyards that you walk through to get to the apartment. No pool.
Furniture and decor was very tasteful and everything was in excellent condition. Plenty of seating in living room and a large dining room table in the dining room that could seat up to eight people comfortably, perfect if you want to entertain! Everything was very clean.
Beds were extremely comfortable. Fine linens and warm comforters provided. Pillows were very comfortable also. The bathrooms were well-furnished with plenty of towels and even towel warmers.
The kitchen was extremely well-equipped for such a compact kitchen. There was a combination stove/oven/dishwasher, a separate washer and separate dryer. No garbage disposal but it's an older building (had to take the trash out daily but it was on the way out of the building so not inconvenient). Plenty of dishes, glassware, wine glasses, and utensils, along with pots and pans. Everything was of high quality and in good condition and clean.
Problems or Bonuses
The woman who greeted us at the apartment also runs a concierge service, so she was able to arrange last-minute babysitting for us one night and could also arrange tours, dinner reservations and other services.
Also the owner of the apartment welcomed us with a few nice gifts, which were presented to us by the greeter when we arrived, which was a very thoughtful touch.
One other nice surprise -- my daughter could see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night from her bed!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency was extremely easy to deal with. The company is based in the U.S. and all telephone calls and emails were responded to promptly in English. Another big advantage is we booked the apartment several months in advance, and the payment was in U.S. dollars since it's a U.S.-based company (the owner lives in San Francisco). That ended up saving us money since we "locked in" our price versus if we had booked in euros we would have fallen victim to the declining dollar value versus the euro and ended up paying more. I also could use credit card to book (and mail a check for the deposit) instead of having to try to convert everything to euros. The cost for this apartment came out to about $525 a night and the time we stayed was considered peak season. Considering the location and the luxurious and spacious accomodations, it was a great value. The woman who greeted us at the apartment in Paris was very professional and spoke English well. The agency also arranged for a driver to pick us up from the airport in a van and return us to the airport (we paid the driver directly). This was a wonderful service.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I don't think we would consider staying anywhere else on a return visit to Paris! Aside from our satisfaction with the accomodations and the wonderful location, we now feel like it's "our" neighborhood and there's something to be said for already having your home base, freeing you to spend more time exploring new areas vs. settling into a new apartment and neighborhood.
Things to do in this area
We had a great meal at Thoumieux, just a few doors down from our apartment. It was an upscale setting yet we felt comfortable with our two elementary-aged children there. The food was wonderfully prepared and compared to other dining experiences in Paris it was an excellent value.
Boulangerie Julien (just a few doors from the apartment) had fantastic croissants, pastries, baguettes, sandwiches, and the fluffiest and most divine beignets you will find anywhere. We visited the place at least once daily, sometimes two or three times just to get some beignets or grab a sandwich. Also a line there full of locals, which tells you something!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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