Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4530: Frenchy Rentals, Constance
1bed/1bath apartment in 18th arrondissement, Paris
April 2 to April 12, 2010, 10 nights
My rental apartment was located in the wonderful area of Montmartre just a one minute walk to rue Lepic and just a 12 minute walk to Sacre Coeur. The area was brimming with markets, shops, cafes and sights that captured the essence of Parisian life. And in just a three minute walk to Boulevard de Clichy I caught the Blanche metro. On one mild, but sunny day, I set out to walk downhill to the Louvre and the river Seine and made it in an hour and a half. I could have walked there in an 75 minutes but I stopped for a cafe creme. The actual apartment was located on the quiet, narrow street of rue Constance and it had a small elevator that would take you up to my fourth floor flat (5th floor in Canada), but I chose to only use the lift once since I enjoyed the invigorating walk up the wide, well-lit winding staircase. I loved everything about the area and everyday I stopped at the nearest bakery and super market (just around the corner) to buy the items I needed to prepare my meals in the small, but efficient kitchen that had everything one would need to make a meal for four people.
The grocery store was less then a two minute walk away on rue Lepic and my favourite bakery was actually at the corner of rue Lepic and rue Constance. Although I usually bought an already cooked chicken from a nearby butcher I often made baked potatoes and a large salad bought from the local markets and there was a great wine store on the rue Lepic where you could purchase a lovely Bordeaux for €7. I often packed a picnic lunch , but always ate a hearty breakfast of granola and yogurt before setting off for each days adventure.
I am 61 years old and I travel with only carry-on luggage so it was great to have a clothes washer in the apartment although there is a laundromat very close by. And the heated towel rack made the perfect place to dry your hand washed under-things and socks (there was also a handy collapsible drying rack).
Usually around nine in the evening I would go for a stroll around a different neighborhood and sip on a glass of wine at a different cafe every night since there are dozens of quaint, friendly bistros to choose from. I always felt safe!
The building was a typical Parisian apartment in excellent shape. This cozy, immaculately clean apartment consisted of three rooms and a newly tiled and decorated bathroom that had a shower that had lots of hot water and a huge supply of soft bath towels, hair shampoo, hand soap ... and best of all ... a heated towel rack!
When you entered the apartment, the tastefully decorated living room was to your left and had a large L shaped couch (that made into a very comfortable bed, although I just set it up to try it out, but did not sleep on it!), a TV where I could enjoy the BBC and NBC in English and a small table where I ate all my indoor meals.
What I noticed first, as I entered, was the light coming in from the windows. Each room has a 4 foot by 6 foot window and each can be opened to let in the wonderful sounds of the chirping birds and the sounds of the quiet street below, and you can step out onto the narrow terrace to check out the weather or simply sit on one of the patio chairs and sip your morning coffee.
The bedroom was a little larger then the living room and it had a fantastic king sized bed with pristine sheets and a warm eiderdown comforter. I found this bed to be more comfortable then the one I had back at home so I slept right through to the next morning, always waking to the garbage truck that came by around 6:45 every morning. I took my laptop and was able to email home everyday because they had wireless Internet and I worked at the bedroom desk in front of the open French window most early mornings or late afternoons (be sure to take an electrical adapter).
The kitchen had everything you would need and when I arrived there was already tea bags, coffee, hot chocolate, cooking oils, salt, pepper, etc. ... so I felt instantly at home. The pictures of the apartment on the Frenchy Rental site shows you exactly what you are renting.
Although the balcony was only about 34 inches wide it went the full length of the apartment and had a small metal table and two small metal chairs and on several occasions I sat out around 8:30am to feel the morning sun (but, remember, this was April, so I had on my coat and I was sipping hot chocolate with a tad of Bailey's Irish Cream in it). You could access the balcony by all three windows and you could stand out and admire the roof tops or the cobbled street below. I only ever passed two people on the stairs in my 11 day stay and I only heard the sounds of another TV through the walls on two occasions. All in all, it was a very quiet building, and as you entered the foyer your key chain had a special gadget that opened the main door to the stairs. I always felt safe coming and going from the apartment.
I can not say enough about this wonderful little flat. The sofa had tons of pillows so you could prop yourself up while leafing through more then a dozen Paris tour guides (in English), or read several books that are left for your enjoyment or listen to their radio. I also had four umbrellas to choose from, and Paula, the rental agent, had created a book full of all the things to do and see in the area, emergency numbers, telephone numbers for medical aid, taxis, and information on how to run all the equipment, water heater, micro wave/convection oven , washing machine, TV ... and she created a map showing locations of local markets, laundromats, subways, etc.. Paula has thought of everything and, since she lives in the Montmartre area, she lets you know you can call her if you have a problem. Luckily, everything went without a glitch so I did not have to call her. The apartment also had a copy of a street map called' Paris Circulation', which I found the perfect guide of finding my way around Paris, and I actually bought several copies (from €5 to €8, depending on where you buy it) to take home and give to friends that are hoping to visit Paris in the near future.
As I already mentioned, the bed was wondrously comfortable and there was a full length cupboard on the end wall where you not only had enough room to hang your clothes, but there was a good sized dresser inside the cupboard, where you could unpack all your things. It was also the area where you could find the fan, a brand new iron and ironing board, hair dryer, collapsible drying rack, extra towels, sheets... The owners of this apartment has thought of everything the intrepid traveler would need.
The kitchen had a beautiful set of dishes that would easily service four people and there were pots and pans. a cork screw, tasteful kitchen utensils and, although the kitchen is only big enough for one person to comfortably work in, it leaves nothing out for you cooking needs. My favourite meal to prepare was the simple three-cheese omelet. I did prepare lobster one evening and steak on another evening.
Problems or Bonuses
The only surprise I had was that the Montmartre area has turned out to be my most favourite area to stay in. In 2008, I stayed in the Latin Quarter and in 2009 I stayed on rue Grenelle by the Eiffel Tower, and this area including rue Constance is now my number one choice to hang my hat while venturing out to see the rest of the city.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
This is the second time I have dealt with Frenchy Rentals and and each time I was looked after by Paula. I loved their web site and all their apartments include a large number of photos for each flat and it clearly outlines the amenities of each apartment, plus you can Google each location. I loved dealing with Paula. She responded to all my emails quickly and no question was too silly for her to answer. I made my payments through Pay Pal using my Mastercard each time. This was not only very efficient, but a very secure and safe method. I always received my damage deposit back within two weeks of returning to Canada. Paula is an American living and working in Paris and all our business was done in English. I will continue to use Frenchy Rentals as I have always been pleased with the accommodations and the dependable service. The price that is quoted for each flat is exactly what you pay ... no hidden costs.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would stay here in a heart beat! I am hoping to return to the Montmartre area again next year and I will definitely get my accommodations through Paula at Frenchy Rentals.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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