Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4261: Owner, Luxurious Flat (#123825)
2bed/2bath apartment near Pompidou Center, Paris
July 2009, One week
The apartment is located on a pedestrian only street overlooking the plaza in front of the Pompidou Center. It's in a six (maybe seven) story building, on the sixth (seventh American) floor, with two elevators. I was nervous about this area, never having spent much time there but really liked it.
There were at least two dozen restaurants/cafes within a block radius - not just French, but Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Lebanese, etc. Also two boulangerie within a block, groceries, supermarkets, chotchkey stands, clothing stores, copy centers, movie theatre, creperies, ATM machines and the Rambiteau subway, all within a block.
The building has two security doors to enter (each with a code or key to get through), and two elevators, one smaller than the other but both able to fit five people, no luggage, or two people with a couple of bags each.
The apartment is one of several on the 6th floor, which shares a common entrance door with a studio next door, owned by the same man.
You enter inter the living area, which is an open area consisting of a family/living room, separated from the kitchen area by a counter. In this area you'll find an l-shaped couch, table for four (though I think there were six seats around it), entertainment area (aka TV, DVD player and shelves) and kitchen with refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, and dishwasher.
There's also a small utility closet off this area that contains a washer/dryer combo.
Down a hall, you'll find another closet (for clothing storage for the second bedroom), bathroom (with shower stall), bedroom with two twin beds (that can be combined) and master bedroom suite (with king bed, sitting chairs and bathroom with tub and shower and its own closet).
No garden but a tiny balcony overlooking the plaza with a tiny table and two chairs. There's a very large and somewhat awkward step up and out onto the balcony through a window in the living room area. But the views from the balcony are wonderful; you're able to see all the way to the Eiffel Tower, which is lovely especially at night when it's all lit up. We never did sit out there for morning coffee but did climb out now and again to admire the views.
The furniture was in good shape and comfortable. My 14 year-old nephew slept on the "pullout" sofa, and said it was fabulous. The chairs around the table were also very comfortable and I know because each evening we would spend a couple of hours there, after dinner, playing rummy cube.
The apartment was clean. We actually arrived as the owner was cleaning it between guests. We had a 1:00 check-in time and he allowed us to store our bags (we arrived about 11:00am), while he cleaned.
Definitely enough sitting area for the four of us.
In addition to the TV (a few English language news stations), the apartment had a DVD player (unfortunately, it could not play our DVDs but there's a rental place down the street) and WiFi. You're also able to make calls on the phone, within France, at no charge.
Oh, the apartment had an air-conditioning unit in the living area - which kept the kitchen and living room quite comfortable. The bedrooms, in the back, could get a bit warm but there were fans and we managed. I hesitated sleeping with the windows open only because of the typical city noise, which was completely obliterated by the closed windows.
The beds were comfortable. The bedrooms were ... stark ... no that's not the right word - simply decorated. They each had bedside lamps for reading (adjustable light), which I appreciated. The second bedroom did not have an area to store clothing - that was in the closet in the hallway. There was, however, a desk and table. Each bedroom had windows that opened, with shutters that rolled down, using a rod within the bedroom (kind of hard to describe), that totally blocked out light. The master bedroom had its own closet and chairs too.
The bathrooms were quite nice. The one in the entrance hall had toilette, sink and shower stall with enough towels for two (no washcloths, we brought our own). The towels, were the thinner, European variety. The master bedroom had the same as the hall bathroom plus a large bathtub. It also had a "medicine cabinet" so plenty of space to store toiletries.
Okay - I love to cook, and I thought I would probably end up making some meals while we were there but truth be told, by the time the end of the day came, I was just too tired. We had breakfast in the apartment each morning (cereal, yogurt, fruit and/or pastries from a nearby boulangerie aka bakery) and used the American style coffee pot and toaster. In the evening, we'd have snacks and drinks (and used the dishwasher). I did see pots and pans but can't comment as to their quality and quantity. Though there were enough dishes and glasses for us and the refrigerator was plenty big to store our yogurt, fruit, cheese, soda, water and wine. I will say though, like most rentals, the knives left a little bit to be desired but they weren't the worst I'd ever seen. There's probably enough counter space for two to work at the same time in the kitchen but no more.
Problems or Bonuses
Surprises good or bad ... well definitely none bad. I was a little unsure about the area, having never spent time in the vicinity before but it couldn't really have been more perfect for us. Having the #11 line stop right by the apartment, made traversing the city very easy and as I said above there were plenty of amenities in the area and the street performers in front of the Pompidou could always be counted upon for a show. It was really a good cross-section between tourists (some visiting the museum) and Parisians, mostly Parisians though.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We rented directly with the owner. He's a sweet man and I think did the most thorough walk-through I've ever had in a rental - we spent almost an hour together learning how everything works and where everything is stored. He provided us with two numbers to reach him during the week, though we never needed him. His speaks English well and prior to our arrival was always prompt with e-mail responses to my questions. We paid €1500 for the week, which I thought a very good value for a two-bedroom air-conditioned apartment and location. As a matter of fact, the apartment was completely booked for the summer but this one week, so we changed our travel plans in order to book it.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this rental and when I return to Paris, if I need a two-bedroom apartment, I wouldn't hesitate to rent it again.
Things to do in this area
As I said, the Pompidou is directly across the street from the apartment. We spent an afternoon there (and also bought our museum passes there). The Jewish museum (and the Marais) is a few blocks away and if you have any interest at all in European Jewish history (and beyond), it's well worth spending a couple of hours here. From the apartment we also easily walked to Notre Dame, Les Halles, and the Bastille Market (we could have walked to other places but I had some whiny teens).
As I've also said before though, this is Paris, there are a million things to do!
As far as restaurant/food choices - as my mother said, you can't starve here. Within a block radius around the apartment, dozens of choices.
Oh, one more thing I almost forgot - there's a Velib Bike Stand right outside the apartment too. We didn't make use of it (my mother was with me and doesn't know how to ride) but it could have been great fun.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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