Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 3704: Rental France, Avenue de la Bourdonnais
1bed/1bath apartment in 7th arrondissement, Paris
May 19 - May 29, 2008, 10 days
As the Realtors say, LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. The apartment was on the second floor (third US) (no elevator in our section of the building) in an apartment building in the 7th arrondissement, two blocks from the Champs de Mars and Eiffel Tower and about four blocks from the Rue Cler. Security door with code. The neighborhood was very upscale and safe. We never felt threatened walking back at night from the Eiffel Tower.
Groceries, bakeries, ATM and reasonably priced restaurants within two blocks. Excellent transportation to all the sites in Paris, especially by bus.
The apartment was in a seven story building which consisted of two sections, separated by a courtyard. Our apartment overlooked the courtyard. When looking for a rental, I was looking for something quiet, not on a busy street and this apartment was advertised as being exceedingly quiet because it was on an inner courtyard. Well, that's only partially true. It was the only place for the building's kids to play and people would bang around to use the garbage cans. Also, the view wasn't much - just the view of the backs of other apartments. The building was not very well built. Every night between six and 10, it sounded like a herd of elephants walking and banging around upstairs. I wondered if perhaps their apartment was as small as ours and they had to rearrange their furniture every night to make room for a bed. Also, the people next door had a young boy who did NOT want to go to bed EVERY night at 9:00. The parents always won. Saturday night, they serenaded him to sleep starting at 10pm with singing and a guitar. After about 10pm, everyone quieted down (except Saturday night) and we could sleep OK, but the noise otherwise was very annoying.
The apartment was very small, as expected from the description. It started out as a studio (you could tell from the crown molding) and someone over the years added a wall to make a VERY small bedroom. This I expected as 35 square meters is only about 300 square feet or 10x30 feet. The paint was peeling on the ceiling. It did not look to have been "renovated in 2004" except for a couple new appliances and maybe paint on the walls.
It did have an air conditioner, which would have been invaluable in warmer weather as I'm sure there was not much air flow between those buildings.
You can view the apartment directly: Avenue de la Bourdonnais.
No outside area.
The furniture was your typical rental furniture and looked pretty much like the pictures. The sofa bed in the living room was really bad as a bed. We tried to use it the night the neighbors were singing and the mattress was only about 1 - 1/2 inches thick. No way would I want to stay in the this apartment with four or even three people. With the sofa pulled out, there was barely enough room to walk around it.
The computer was a really attractive amenity and worked really well when we got used to the "M" sticking.
The bed was just okay and took up the entire bedroom except for maybe a foot on three sides. One thing that really bothered me was the lack of bed linens. The bed was made up with a bottom sheet covering the mattress and a duvet comforter. No other linens were provided for the bed - no blanket or top sheet. Since the comforter was too warm for late May, I had to take the comforter out of the duvet cover and use the duvet cover as a sheet/blanket. The pillows were small and hard. They were covered with pillow shams, not pillow covers.
One reviewer of the apartment on the landlord's web site was very impressed with the towel warmer in the bathroom, which made me wonder if any of those glowing reviews were written by real tenants since the towel warmer did not work and probably hadn't for some time.
The kitchen was adequate for cooking breakfast. As the pictures show, it was very small. Absolutely nothing in the way of detergents or basic necessities like salt, pepper, coffee, tea, etc. were provided. This is the first apartment I have ever rented (it was my 6th) where basic stuff that had probably been left by previous tenants (I leave some things myself if on the way home) if not provided by the landlord were not in the apartment. We also found a couple very dirty dishes in the china cabinet.
Upon arrival, we went to the grocery store and bought a box of six Magnum bars for our desserts. Well, the freezer in the small refrigerator (an adequate size for our purposes) had not been defrosted in about two years and so would not keep ice cream frozen. I emailed the landlord and he came over the next day and looked at it. He agreed with me that the freezer needed to be defrosted but since it would take 24 hours to do so, "sorry for the inconvenience." Give me a break. I have defrosted freezers bigger than that in an hour.
Problems or Bonuses
I think I have covered all the surprises above.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Pascal was wonderful to deal with during the rental phase. His English is excellent. Someone from his agency met us at the apartment at the appointed hour and showed us around and answered any questions, also speaking excellent English. I paid €1100 for 10 nights in May which came to €110/night which was considerably cheaper than other apartments in Paris with the same or inferior amenities.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I have been really thinking about whether I would recommend this apartment to others. The noise, lack of linens, and landlord's attitude to the freezer issue were really big negatives and I probably would not stay there again so it is hard to recommend the place. But on the other hand, for €110/night, I was not expecting much and the location was just EXCELLENT. We took buses just about everywhere and we only walked not more that two blocks to go just about anywhere we wanted in Paris. The computer with Internet connection was a BIG plus. Weighing the bad and the good against the price, I think I have to leave it up to another traveler to decide whether any of these things would bother them.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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