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Review 4451: Owner, Design, Quiet, Luminous Rue Cler/Rue Saint-Dominique (#202910)

www.vrbo.com

Recommended
Review by JonJohnsen from CA who is a SlowTrav Contributor

Studio apartment in 7th Arrondissement, Paris


When

December 18, 2009, to January 4, 2010, 16 nights

Location

We stayed in this very large studio apartment during the Christmas - New Year holiday while Paris was experiencing weather much colder than usual: most days featured minus degrees Celsius! We saw a lot of snow.

It’s on the second floor (third floor American) of a small apartment building on rue Amelie in the 7th Arrondissement, only about two blocks from the La Tour Mauberg Metro station. It’s only a few blocks farther to the École Militaire Metro station. Part of that walk takes you the length of the pedestrian portion of the Rue Cler pedestrian market.

Nearby Amenities

The apartment is just a half block from the rue St. Domenique commercial district, which features an SFC cell phone shop and a SCNF (French railroad) office, as well as grocery stores, bakeries, cafés, and more. There’s a wonderful toy store at the other end of the block!

There’s a post office on Rue Cler, near the École Militaire Metro station. And a Lenôtre very upscale deli for the ultimate in fast food!

Only about four blocks to Pont des Invalides, you can walk about double that in the other direction and find yourself in Parc du Champ du Mars gazing at Tour Eiffel.

The 69 bus line passes through the area on rue St. Domenique; it can take you through neighborhoods containing many of the museums and churches you’d likely visit in central Paris.

The House/Apartment

First of all, the photos on the website don’t do this apartment justice.

This large studio apartment would be better described as a one bedroom apartment, but the small bedroom and shower/sink/washing machine areas are separated from the living area by only sliding doors. It felt like a one bedroom apartment to us, especially when one of us needed a nap or an early bedtime.

The living area contains a very good couch (which can sleep one), a large coffee table we used for organizing our activities and using the laptop we brought with us. Or you could use the furnished notebook computer. High speed wireless Internet access and free phone service are included. There is also a firmly cushioned, tall, love seat sized couch, which was great for my back.

There are two small elevators and a wide stairway from the ground floor on up.

Garden

Windows from the bedroom-living room area look out on an attractive, partially landscaped, mid-block garden area below. Although other apartment windows are visible, it felt mostly private to me, even with opened curtains.

We frequently watched snow falling onto the plants below.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

I’ve mostly described this already. This is the cleanest, most inviting apartment or room we’ve rented in years. There are more electrical outlets than you could possibly need.

Although it was literally freezing outside, the apartment was always comfortably warm.

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

The bedroom area contains a great double bed (it was good for my bad back) with good reading lighting for both sides of the bed, and a great television set. Not many of the channels are in English, but we watched some great old Hollywood films, and one new Hollywood film, as well as a documentary and several news channels.

The bedroom area had room for more clothing, both hanging in a closet and in drawers, than we brought with us. We could easily live in this apartment for a month with the available storage.

The shower and sink, which are beautiful (we would like to have brought them home with us!), also contains a hidden clothes washer, which leaves washed clothing only damp. The toilet is separate, near the entry to the apartment, which can be very convenient.

A heated towel rack quickly dried towels and washed clothing.

Kitchen

The kitchen is better equipped than our own, in many respects. You could easily cook a dinner for six or eight, just using the utensils, cooking pots, bowls, etc., using the American full size refrigerator-freezer, dishwasher, stove top, oven, and microwave oven. The kitchen area table easily seats four.

I cooked several meals for the two of us, buying food in local stores and bakeries, and nearby rue Cler. The freezing weather, and my need for sleep, made cooking in the apartment very desirable at times.

Problems or Bonuses

The apartment was larger than we expected, even though we had seen the online pictures and knew the floor area. It was cleaner than our own home, but we do have two cats.

I know I’ve already said this, but the apartment was immaculately clean. We tried to keep it that way.

We kept finding pluses, such as seasonings, utensils, extra towels, extra storage, and spare paper needs, as our two plus weeks stay continued.

There’s a garbage chute near the elevators and stairs.

We experienced only two “problems”:

First, I have long hair, and my hair partially clogged the shower drain. We called the rental agent, and within ten minutes, the French-speaking woman who maintained the apartment, who lives in the building, was showing me how easily it was to clean the trap in the shower. Totally “my bad!” (Note that I speak just about zero French; she was very patient.)

Second, our flight to France was delayed for almost two hours, due to terrible weather in France. Then our entire flight’s baggage took over two hours to turn up at the baggage claim area. Then our cell phone, which should have worked in France, since we’d notified our cell phone company, had a problem. So it took quite a while to contact the rental agent after we arrived in the neighborhood. It was after 20:30! He graciously (turns out he is very gracious and helpful) offered to meet us at the apartment in one hour. We bought sandwiches and a dessert for dinner later, then found a café and drank too much wine on empty stomachs; didn’t take much. We’d been up for over 30 hours at that point, cold, and tired from carrying our luggage around the neighborhood. So we forgot too many of the apartment details he instructed us in that night. He humorously reminded us of that a couple of times in person or as we emailed or called him for help or information.

Agency and Representatives (and price)

We dealt entirely with the agent, the wonderful Louis! We couldn’t have asked for a better temporary friend in Paris. We only wish that my bad cold and the weather would have allowed us to follow more of his advice. He directed us to great restaurants, and mentioning his name garnered us extras at more than one café or restaurant. He really knows Paris.

The apartment was more expensive than other places we’ve rented in Paris. Unfortunately, much of that is due to the low value of the dollar compared to the euro. The location was great. The apartment was great. Louis’ help and advice was great. But it cost us only about the same amount as a small studio cabin a half-mile from the Russian River in northern California we’ve just rented. So it’s a great value!

And did I tell you Louis is great? He’s the good, connected, old friend you’d really like to have when you travel. And he has a great sense of humor!

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

Of course!

Things to do in this area

Live like a local. Walk along the Seine. Watch the light show on Tour Eiffel; take the elevators up unless ice shuts them down! Visit Hôtel des Invalides, Quai Branley Museum, Musée Rodin, and shop for food,.

But most of Paris is only a Metro ride from here.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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