Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4171: Owner, Pierre Lescot Penthouse
1bed/1bath apartment in 1st arrondissement, Paris
June 2009, 10 nights
The apartment is on the top (sixth) floor of a Hausseman-like building on a pedestrian street a few blocks from Forum Les Halles in the 1st arrondissement just off the border of the 4th. There are two flats per floor and, thank the Lord, there is an elevator. It is a great location within easy walking distance of Ile de la Cite, the Marais, the Louvre. Two subway stops are within a five-minute walk: Chatalet/Les Halles and Etienne Marcel.
There is a supermarket a block away on Rue St Denis, a bakery (Paul) across the street, several cafes within a couple of blocks, and several restaurants in the immediate vicinity. There is no walk to speak for groceries/wine, a morning coffee or baguette, a lunch. While the local cafes are decent, this area is hardly known for its fine restaurants. Since we didn't choose to eat in restaurants we did just fine in the cafes.
The building is in excellent condition and is well maintained. We heard nothing at all from the other tenants except a few footsteps on the stairs and the occasional shut door. Because it is on the top floor even the street noise, which is considerable despite the absence of traffic because of the busyness of the pedestrian street, it is even somewhat insulated from that.
There is no sitting area except for the local cafes.
The apartment was fairly clean but not what I would call spotless. The furniture is eclectic and not particularly attractive but it was sufficient for the two of us. There is really no place to sit comfortably and eat a cooked meal, but it was fine for breakfast. It desperately needed an ottoman for when you sat on the sofa. The apartment is small and might be a tight fit for more than two, although the sofa converts into a second bed.
The bedroom is the largest room in the house and the bed was queen-sized and very comfortable. The bathroom was fine. It lacked a stall shower and those of you with physical problems should understand it takes a bit of dexterity to get in and of the high tub. The shower was fine with immediate hot water and good water pressure but it had only a 1/3 glass partition which required some care. The owner left an old PC with a French keyboard (no problem if you touch type) and a high speed connection which was very helpful and useful.
The kitchen was tiny but sufficient for our tiny needs. The refrigerator was quite small and required defrosting, as it leaked a bit of water onto the shelves. The washer/dryer is combined into one unit and did a good job, although of small capacity. In my opinion the kitchen would be a difficult place in which to cook full meals but otherwise more than adequate.
Problems or Bonuses
See directly below.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Among the reasons for choosing this apartment were two glowing reviews on this site about the owner, Paul. We found him quick to respond to emails but he also sent several to us that made no sense, as he was confusing us with other folks. He required a reminder or two about our time of arrival and payment method but got it right in the end. He told us a few days before our arrival that he would not be able to meet us and delegated his housekeeper, Rodolfo, to wait for us and teach us the ropes. Unfortunately Rodolfo was in a hurry (our flight was one hour late), was not very good with details (how to turn on the heat, how to work the washer) and mediocre in English. Paul has left instructions in the flat but they weren't always accurate. However, we managed to get everything to work (except the broken safe) and I imagine most of you would easily manage also. The website is not a very good one but, except for the quality of the living room furnishings, not at all misleading.
We stayed in mid-June and paid €160 per day, a fair price.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would stay there again and recommend it to others. The location is great, the flat was clean enough, everything worked, it was very comfortable for the two of us (given we hadn't planned to cook dinners or eat them there), and was very quiet for a rather busy neighbourhood.
Things to do in this area
We enjoyed a cafe on the next block, the Pere Tranquille, but did most of our eating elsewhere. Its proximity to Le Marais and its great cafes and restaurants was a plus. The Les Halles immediate area has a dicey reputation due to the banlieu youth who hang out there, but we were never afraid and never bothered. And a five minute walk from the B-line RER stop directly from de Gaulle was a very convenient way to arrive and to leave. We found the famous Rue Monteguille shopping area overrated but found all we needed in the immediate vicinity.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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