Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 3953: Vacation In Paris, Le Procope (#182)
1bed/1bath apartment in the 6th arrondissement, Paris
Dec. 26, 2008 - Jan. 2, 2009, 7 days
The heart of the 6th: Rue de L'Ancienne Comedie, between Blvd. St. Germain and Rue de Buci. The entrance is actually between Le Procope and Pub St. Germain, and then down a passageway and up a circular staircase to the 1st Floor(French). Ancienne Comedie is a little busier than I remember, but you hear no noise from the street because the apartment is set back. Obviously, if you love the 6th, you are ecstatic: around the corner from rue de Buci, St. Andre des Arts, and Seine, and a one minute walk to the Odeon Metro.
You are across the street from Kayser Boulangerie, although we prefer Carton on rue de Buci, another 45 seconds away. The Champion supermarket is around the corner, no more than a two minute walk. We bought supplies there at least once a day. There are at least 10 cafes within a three minute walk, and we noticed (but did not patronize) a Starbucks around the corner on Rue St. Andre des Arts. There are dozens if not hundreds of restaurants within walking distance, as well as more than a dozen crepe and sandwich stands on this and the adjacent streets.
The building is typical: you go through the passageway and a locked gate, and up one floor, where there are two apartments at the landing. There appear to be five floors with two units on each floor.
The apartment itself is small, about 30 sq. meters (330 sq. ft), but has a sofa bed for two and a separate bedroom with a queen size bed. The space is very efficient: immediately upon entering, there is a water closet on the left, then a bathroom with a stand-up shower in the next door on the left. The apartment then opens up to the left, with the tiny, but efficient kitchen to the left, and the main room straight ahead. On the right of the main room is the bedroom, which has a closet.
The apartment is very quiet in the daytime, but at nighttime you can sometimes hear the music from the Pub St. Germain. It is noticeable but not loud - we were able to sleep through it, but others might be annoyed by this.
No outside sitting area, and of course, no pool.
The sofa bed was excellent as both a sofa and a bed. It slept two adults comfortably. Because the apartment is tiny, you need to move the bar stools into the hallway to open up the sofa bed. But when it is closed, there is room for two people on the bar stools and two on the couch, for relaxing or watching TV. There is no dining room - we would have apartment picnics by using the slim counter between the living room and kitchen, with the kids on the bar stools, and us standing in the kitchen.
The apartment was clean. Some might quibble because of the tile floors, which always seem to collect dust and dirt, but we found it clean.
As mentioned, the sofa bed is great. The queen bed is hard, but I liked that. The linens on the bed were a little rough. There is little room in the bedroom for anything other than the bed, the closet and a small stand. But there is enough light for reading on the bed during down time.
The water closet was just that, and functional. The bathroom was great: a modern stand-up shower that worked great, especially with the tankless water heater - there was always enough hot water. It also had a heated towel bar, which was great for drying the towels quickly; a decent sink; and a washer/dryer (we suggested the owner do a more thorough job of describing precisely how to use the washer/dryer, but hey, it's Europe, and we Americans have an innate inability to figure out European appliances, it seems!).
The model of efficiency. Two people have to squeeze past each other to be in it at the same time. But it was very usable, and one could cook here if one wanted to. There is a stove, oven, dishwasher, microwave/convection, and espresso maker, and of course a sink. There were plenty of dishes and utensils, and enough pots and pans to cook, although we stuck with cheese, pate, bread and wine for 90% of our apartment meals, along with pastries from Carton. The dishes, etc. are of average quality.
Problems or Bonuses
We blew the fuse using the electric kettle (for instant coffee, I have to admit), but quickly learned to turn off most of the lights and the heater when using the kettle, and did not have a problem after that. We figured out where the circuit breaker was, obviously. We were able to wash clothes, but the dryer was more of a heater, so we hung things to dry.
We couldn't figure out the TV, and didn't care enough to call about it until our fourth day. The owner's sister came out and finally figured it out, and I think they have now provided better instructions on how to use it - I think the cable system was brand new. Good TV, though.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Vacation in Paris is great. They were very responsive when I had questions pre-trip, and they are based in the U.S., and obviously speak English. Their prices are in U.S. dollars, which is convenient, and they take credit cards. They don't charge an exorbitant security deposit, and the deposit is with them, not the owner, so you don't have that uncertainty. They also mail you the keys prior to your trip, which is far superior to arranging a meeting for the keys.
The owner was immediately available and responsive on the two occasions we had to call with questions.
The pictures of the apartment on the website make it seem a little bigger than it is, but that is always the case with online rentals, so no complaints there. Everything was as advertised.
The price went up after we booked, but I believe it is currently $200 a night low season and $250 a night high season.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would recommend this to an American couple, but I honestly don't think most families of four, and certainly not two couples traveling together, would find it big enough. The four of us travel well together, so we enjoyed it immensely. Would we stay here again? Next time our kids would be older, and I don't think I would make them sleep in the same bed as they get older. That's the only reason I'd say no.
Otherwise, I highly recommend this apartment. The location is perfect for those who love the Left Bank, and it is nicely furnished for its size.
Things to do in this area
Everything! The kids got crepes within a block almost every day. It was centrally located with the Odeon Metro a 1/2 block away. We got pastries at Carton or Kayser every morning. We got groceries at Champion, wine at Nicolas, schmaltzy potatoes on Rue de Seine, all within a block. Gerard Mulot is maybe a five minute walk away. The Luxembourg Gardens is maybe a 10 minute walk, as is the Seine.
Nearby, we ate at Polidor (a 7-9 minute walk), and Leon de Bruxelles (a 3-5 minute walk) - loved both, and both were under €100 for four, with wine. The girls enjoyed the clothing stores on St. Germain and down Rue Bonaparte; the guys enjoyed the game store on Rue St. Andre des Arts.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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