Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4101: Paris Attitude, Le Marais (#4219)
1bed/1bath apartment in 3rd arrondissment, Paris
April-May 2009, 16 days
The apartment is located in a quiet inner building near the very busy Centre Pompidou. The address is 179, rue St. Martin.
Bakeries, cafes and a G-20 grocery store were within a short distance.
The apartment is in a 17th century building, has beamed ceilings, repaired old stairs and a small elevator. There appeared to be three or four apartments per landing. It is obviously the owner's private apartment and not originally set up for renters. It was in moderately good shape, although a bit worn looking. The linens were old (my pillowslip was actually shredding)and mismatched.
There is no outside sitting area and no sunlight, as the apartment is located deep in a well surrounded by nearby apartment buildings.
The owner has a number of antiques or antique reproductions, with lots of small and fragile chairs. Generally, the place was clean enough but a bit worn appearing.
There is no separate bedroom, just a partial wall between the bed and living room area. The pull-out couch was adequate. The shower was tiny -- fortunately my daughter and I are fairly small! The washing machine/dryer was handy to have available.
I presume that the owner doesn't cook. None of the pots, pans had lids except for one old flat one that we sat on top. They were mismatched, old, dented. There is no oven except for the microwave/convection, with instructions in French. We took some cooking lessons and had friends over, so managed OK, but it isn't a good kitchen for cooks.
Problems or Bonuses
I didn't realize until just before arriving that there wasn't a phone, as many of the other apartments that I considered included one (often with free calls to USA). This was a problem with lost luggage and the need for a doctor, let alone allowing local friends to contact us. We ended up schlepping in the rain to a nearby 'cabine' to make calls with phone cards.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Out of 11 apartment/house rentals I have arranged in Europe (Paris, Rome and Stockholm), this was the third time that I have used an agency -- and the last! It has been a hassle every time I've used one, from having to go out of my way to pick up a key at an office, to having an agency person in the apartment for part of first three days making repairs to a broken light and shower fixtures, to a mountain of paper work and refusal to use credit cards.
With Paris Attitude, I had three different contracts and three different methods of payment -- none of them via credit card. There was the agency, the owner and an insurance company. On top of that, they expected €1500 in cash as a security deposit, necessitating changing dollars to euros and back again. I could have -bought- an apartment with less paper work. When I have dealt directly with owners, all has gone smoothly and simply.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would not rent the apartment again and would not recommend it to friends. While the owner's "manager" (separate from the agency) was very nice and tried to be helpful, the whole experience was unpleasant and stressful, not to mention expensive.
Things to do in this area
Some old favorites -- Polidar restaurant on rue M. La Prince in the 6th (funky and old-fashioned); Cafe de Commerce near Metro Cambronne in the 15th (balcony, traditional and charming). Take a cooking class (from 30 minutes to several hours) at "L'atelier des Chefs" which has five locations in Paris. Visit the "Jardin d'Acclimatation" in the Bois de Bologne ... it's not just for kids. Enjoy the fascinating architectural displays at Palais de Chaillot with an unsurpassed view of the Tour Eiffel from the cafe terrace. See the house and studio of Bourdelle at Musee Bourdelle, tucked away in the 15th.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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