Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 5427: AirBnB, Charming Flat St Paul/Marais
1bed/1bath apartment in 4th arrondissement, Paris
September 12 - October 3, 2012, 3 weeks
The apartment is located at 28 rue du Petit Musc, Paris, 75004, in the Lower Marais. Excellent location, at the centre of a region bordered by rue de Rivoli/rue Saint-Antoine/Place des Vosges; Bastille; Ile- Saint-Louis; Saint-Paul. Excellent metro and bus access. Two taxi stations within a couple of hundred meters.
The apartment is on the third floor (fourth floor North American) with elevator. The elevator is a retrofit and it is quite small but it works well and allows at least two people at a time.
This is the heart of a residential area. Along rue Saint-Antoine, on its south side, one can find everything that is necessary: three boulangerie/patisseries; two cheese shops; two charcutiers; about five or six traiteurs; four wine shops; chocolate de-lux store; dry cleaning; pharmacies; four or five brasseries; Monoprix, G20, Franprix.
On rue du Petit Musc, at the corner with rue de la Cerisaie, there is a wonderful boulangerie/pattisserie, two houses away, and the wonderful neighbourhood restaurant "Le Temps des Cerises".
On the north side of Saint-Antoine there are cafes, restaurants, services, including an SNCF agency).
Just above: rue des Rosiers.
The apartment is large (62 sq. m2; 667 sq. ft.) It is comprised of three large, high ceiling rooms, with lots of light from both the east side (dining room) and the west side (bedroom and living room); a small kitchen (no oven); separate toilet; small washroom. A large, flat screen TV is available, with many cable channels. The telephone (land line) permits free calls anywhere to North America, including to cell phones, and anywhere in Paris to any kind of phone. The shower is small and would not accommodate very heavy or very large people. Hot water is never a problem. The fridge is large and has a freezer section. Everything worked to perfection and we never lacked for solutions to our needs. If we had a question, the owner was one telephone call away. Free WiFi available.
The building is the typical Paris five stories, probably built at the beginning of the 20th century, maybe earlier. On our floor there were two apartments. There are young couples and families in the building. One feels at home.
You can view the property directly: Charming flat St Paul/Marais.
There is an interior court, with cobblestones. No garden. All exceedingly clean, well lit, safe.
Lots of storage was made available to us. In the bedroom there is an excellent king-size bed. In the living room there is a queen-size sofa-bed of superior quality, a Barcelona lounge set and the large, flat-screen TV mentioned above. Very generous quantities of bedding linens, covers (duvets), and pillows.
The dining room had a round table and two chairs. There are a few more, antique, chairs but they seemed fragile and we used four stools, which resolved all sitting requirements.
A special mention for the abundant number of extension cords and plugs. But if you come from outside Europe, do not forget plug adapters. I have four of them and they were all in use, including a travel stepped-down converted from 110v to 220/240v.
Both beds were of excellent quality (we used both) and I wouldn't mind having them in my home. I mentioned above that the bathroom offers all one needs but the shower would not be adequate for people of very large build. We are not slim (I weigh 80 kg.) but it was enough for us.
The toilet is separate from the washroom, specifically the toilet is near the entrance to the apartment while the bathroom is accessed from the bedroom. There is a long corridor full of light between the toilet and the rest of the apartment.
The apartment is very clean, well organised, and it was cleaned once weekly at the cost of €50 per week.
The kitchen was sufficient for us; we don't cook or bake when we travel. But we made pasta dishes a few times. There is a very efficient ceramic heating plate with two heating elements. We never used more than one. But there is no oven, so the cooking of full meals will be limited to the heating plate. Dishes and tableware were sufficient, of good quality and there was the "piece de resistance", a Nepresso machine which worked like a charm and it was my daily joy to always have an excellent espresso a few feet away. The owner left us generous quantities of Nespresso capsules, but I need lots of espresso and I didn't think it fair to use his supplies other than an initial courtesy capsules and so we bought 40 capsules at the Nespresso HQ on Champs-Elysees for only €14.
Problems or Bonuses
Everything was good and allowed us one of the best vacations we ever had. The owner was always available, made suggestions, helped us with the luggage both on arrival and at departure, for which we were very, very grateful. He helped me on arrival with setting up the WiFi, explaining the use of the TV and of the telephone, the water heating system. Over the three weeks we developed what, I hope, is friendship. We were in touch by email, and when needed, by telephone.
We adopted many of his recommendations, and generally, I don't see how this entire three weeks experience could have been any better.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Airbnb works well if one is willing to pay the rental in advance. We were; we took insurance. From the moment one expresses interest in a property, Airbnb becomes the middle-party and one gets directly in touch with the owner only after all terms and conditions are agreed. Money paid is held in escrow by Airbnb and it is turned over to the owner only 24 hours after arrival. This ensures that, if there are problems, the money is being withheld until they are resolved. For this Airbnb charges a fee, which is almost the equivalent of a one day rental. Airbnb also places a hold on a credit card for a security deposit, to protect the owner and to ensure that the owner is satisfied with the manner on which the property was left at departure. This fee was released 48 hours after our departure.
I found dealing with Airbnb very smooth and reliable.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, yes, yes; no hesitation. And I would go back tomorrow!
Things to do in this area
We lived in this apartment "like the Parisians do". The cafe-restaurant "Le Temps des Cerises" became our home restaurant and so the corner bakery.
There is no end of things to do: Opera Bastille, Place des Vosges, rue des Rosiers, rue de Turenne, the Quai des Celestins, Henri IV, Ile Saint-Louis, Ile de la Cite, Square Jean XXIII, the Seine, the Marche Richard-Lenoir, Canal Saint-Martin, Beaubourg and Hotel de Ville and the BHV superstore, the little stores on rue Francois Miron, the Village Saint-Paul, etc., etc., etc.
Restaurant reviews will follow.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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