Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4673: I Love Paris, Cardinal Lemoine
2bed/2bath apartment in 5th arrondissement, Paris
May 2010, 1 week
Very well located just minutes walk to Notre Dame and the Seine and within easy walking distance to metro stations (Cardinal Lemoine or Jussieu).
Everything you could want is within a short walk (patisseries, grocery, restaurants). Just a few doors down is a little market with beer, wine and other essentials and the market is often open very late. There is even an American style breakfast restaurant within an easy walk, but we did not try it out.
Apartment is #14 on the 5th floor of a building that is at least 150 years old. There is a small lift that holds maximum three people or one person and luggage. The building entry hall and stairway is worn-looking and could use a coat of paint. There are at least 10+ other apartments in the building and more than one are used as vacation rentals. The apartment itself is located in the back off the street so there is no street noise. However, potential renters should be aware that the apartment, though renovated, has very old wood floors that squeak and creak very loudly. A sign in the entry asks that shoes be removed while in the apartment to cut down on the noise. We had no problem with this request, but it does not stop the floors from creaking loudly when one walks through the apartment.
The apartment overlooks two different courtyards and windows on three sides allow for good cross ventilation when all windows are open. There are window boxes in the windows, but sadly, no flowers. Only dirt.
The shared entry courtyard was clean and had a little "island" of potted plants and trees to provide a bit of green. There were no benches to sit in this area. There is no private outdoor area for this apartment. No pool.
Furniture was comfortable and modern. There was enough seating for at least six people. Dining table and chairs were more than adequate. TV worked but there was no radio or stereo for music, no directions how to use and the greeter did not know how to use it. Apartment was clean when we arrived, but there was a bug that appeared from under the baseboard in the master bath. However, there was bug spray in the kitchen for our use and one squirt was all that was needed.
Beds were comfortable and adequate. The master has a double bed and lovely walk-in closet, however, the light bulb was burned out. The second bedroom is very small and has only a trundle bed: one single bed and cot-like bed that pulls out from under it. We had four people sleeping in the apartment. We felt the second bedroom was too small for two adults. When both beds were set up, one could not walk around in the room. We solved this by moving the lower trundle bed to the living room and one person slept there. This bed was adequately comfortable.
The apartment has two toilets. One toilet is located in a hallway near the entry. The other toilet is located in the master bathroom. The master bath toilet does not flush like a regular toilet. Although it has water, it uses a very loud grinding system for the waste disposal. Hence, each time the toilet is "flushed", there is a noise so great that the next door neighbor bangs on the wall. Because we like to be good neighbors and because we did not want to awaken or disturb anyone else in the apartment or apartment building, we did not feel comfortable using this toilet and therefore shared the one toilet in the hallway between four people. There is a bathtub and shower head in the master bath, however, there is only a shower curtain that sticks to your body when you try to shower. We therefore used only the bath tub. There is a shower stall in the small second bedroom that was adequate. Potential renters should be aware that due to water pressure and the hot water heating system, only one person could shower at a time. To avoid the person showering from getting a blast of cold water, the rest of us had to avoid using the tap in the kitchen or other bathroom.
Kitchen was adequate for normal vacationers, however, a gourmet cook might find it lacking. We did not cook any meals, but used the kitchen to heat up cooked items purchased at the outdoor markets.
Problems or Bonuses
Bad surprises: neighbor banging on master bedroom wall when toilet flushed in master bath. Due to a plumbing problem in another apartment, the water to our entire apartment was turned off one day from 9am to 3pm with no notice (and before we were able to shower in the morning). When water was turned back on, there was no hot water and we had to call the agency to have someone come in to reset the water heating system. Squeaking, creaking floors made it difficult to walk quietly through the apartment, especially to use the toilet at night. Children running across the floors very early in another apartment above the master bedroom woke us.
Good surprises: We liked the location a lot.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Agency was very cordial and sympathetic when problems arose. When water was turned off in our apartment, the agency offered to move us to another. However, the only other apartment available was in a different part of town and packing and moving meant losing a day of sightseeing so we opted to stay put. We were not offered any monetary compensation.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Would not stay here again. Would not recommend to a friend. But if there are seasoned travelers who are used to older buildings and the problems mentioned that can occur, others might find the location makes up for it.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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