Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4616: Paris Perfect, Cote de Beaune
1bed/1bath apartment in 7th arrondissement, Paris
May 27-June 11, 2010, two weeks
The apartment is superbly located, on the avenue de la Bourdonnais, in the seventh arrondissement, three blocks from the Seine and the Branly, a short walk to the rue Cler market, two blocks to the wonderful shopping in the rue St. Dominique, with all its restaurants. The location is the best thing about the apartment. The Eiffel Tower is a block away, and there is a view of the top over the apartment building across the street. I loved the neighborhood, which, except for around the Tower, is full of locals going about their lives. Especially for people who are perhaps old enough not to be looking for what is hip and happening, it's a great area.
We walked everywhere. Every amenity imaginable is within a few blocks. The rue St. Dominique is one of Paris's wonders, and the rue Cler is a 5-10 minute walk. Within a day, we had our boulangerie, our cheese shop, and our butcher (who was sold out of rotisseried chickens but made one for me later in the day, which I picked up at the prearranged time and which was wonderful. He also sent me to a small shop I'd never have found for veggies.)
The apartment building is over several shops and cafes that run along the avenue. Noise wasn't a problem for us (but we live in Manhattan, so we're used to it). The building was rather shabbier than I might have hoped. It did have an elevator (the usual tiny French installed-way-after-the-building-was-built kind). There were three apartments on our floor.
There was no outdoor space, but the wonderful Champs de Mars is a block away.
The bed was of high quality, as were the furnishing. Everything was clean, and the apartment in general was in good condition.
The bed, as I noted, was of good quality. My daughter slept on the pull-out in the living room and found it was as good as these usually are. The bathroom was quite small but adequate. The bedroom was attractively decorated.
The kitchen was surprisingly large for what is a small apartment (about 450 sq. ft). It has a two-burner stove, a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a washer-dryer and a small but adequate supply of plates and flatware. There were a microwave and an espresso maker, as well.
Problems or Bonuses
Our problems and the reasons I don't recommend this apartment are twofold. First, as I noted, it is quite small; yet it is quite expensive. I've rented before in Paris, and except for the location, I can't quite justify the price. Paris Perfect says that its special niche is quality service. This brings us to the second objection. Their service was quite poor.
Don't read on if you're particularly squeamish or if you're eating -- you've been warned.
The toilet in the apartment is operated by a motor, which extracts waste rather than flushing it as we're used to. There is a big sign over the toilet that one shouldn't put anything at all unexpected into it, and we of course respected that. Nonetheless, the first day we arrived, on a Friday afternoon, the toilet blocked up. We called the office, and someone came over, agreed that it was quite blocked, insisted on "flushing" it, which caused it to overflow, and then suggested that we had put something untoward into it, which was not true. He didn't quite know what to suggest, so he went back and conferred with his superiors, who did not want to deal with us directly.
We were of course rather upset about all this. They had a plumber working on another of their apartments, but he wouldn't come this late on a Friday, so we suggested that we go to a hotel (at their expense, of course), since basically the apartment was unusable in its present condition. Again, we called repeatedly, trying to get the owners, but they would not talk to us and we could not get contact information for them.
Eventually, our contact, who was always pleasant but frankly unhelpful, said that their solution was that they would get a plumber in early on Saturday and that -- not to be too fancy -- we simply "hold it" until then. This struck us as unreasonable -- it was, after all, about 6pm on Friday and my husband rather lost his temper.
Finally, they suggested that we use a tiny toilet in a filthy storage closet in the hall of the building where workmen stored their equipment and which hadn't been cleaned since the Napoleonic era. We had no choice, so we agreed, but it wasn't pleasant, and we found their solution -- that we just not use the bathroom until sometime Saturday -- not realistic.
In the end, the plumber came Saturday, fixed the thing in a half hour, and all was well -- but I have since learned that there is a 24-hr emergency service in Paris, and if they had been willing to spend the money they could have resolved this much quicker.
A second, smaller problem is that we were promised a second air conditioner and for reasons I won't go into were given a runaround about delivery (it was supposed to be there on our arrival but wasn't). It came a week later, after the heat had broke. Overall, we found Paris Perfect considerably less than perfect despite the high prices and we will look elsewhere next time.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency people were always polite and courteous -- they were just not helpful. We paid more than €2000 a week -- their sale price -- which were paid in dollars when the euro was around $1.48 or so, so about $3,000 a week. I know this agency gets wonderful reviews everywhere, but we found that when put to the test, they failed rather spectacularly.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Guess I don't have to answer this one.
Things to do in this area
We had a wonderful dinner at La Fontaine de Mars in the rue St. Dominique, another fine dinner at Le Bosquet, a quiet, chic cafe on the avenue Bosquet, and a very good dinner at Pasco, near Les Invalides. Davilo in the rue Cler is an amazing Italian deli if you don't mind paying €43 a kilo for salami!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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