Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 5444: Owner, Romantic Montmartre
1bed/1bath apartment in Montmartre, Paris
7-20 September 2012, Two weeks
The apartment is located on the second floor (third US) of a building at the upper, 'quiet' end of rue Lepic, perfect for exploring both sides of the butte, and a short downhill walk to Abbesses metro station. From there, the whole of Paris is within your reach.
The Moulin de la Galette is only a few meters to your left, and the busy areas of Place du Tertre and Sacre Coeur are a few minutes walk to the right, but far enough that you're not in the thick of the tourist masses.
There are many, many places for coffee and food within just a short walk. We particularly liked Coquelicot on rue des Abbesses (very busy on weekend mornings, but plenty of room during the week). The lower end of rue Lepic is full of food shops, including a supermarket, plenty of restaurants and all the specialty shops you could wish for - bakers, butchers, grocers, seafood, chocolate, and organic foods store and more. There are a couple of small corner stores scattered around, some closer to the apartment, and plenty of places to eat around Place du Tertre, if you like being in the thick of things.
The building is typical Parisian - just what you would expect in Montmartre. It is quite secure, with the outer door opening with a code, the inner door with a key, and then a security key for the apartment door.
The apartment is on the second floor, but there's a small elevator for two (or three very friendly) people. The elevator wasn't working for a couple of days during our stay, but we were okay with that - the polished timber staircase had its own charms.
The apartment is well maintained. It has a few quirks, but that's more to do with the age of the building than anything else, and to be expected. There's a fairly large and light lounge/dining room at the front of the apartment, with a narrow balcony looking over the street (and if you look left, the Moulin de la Galette is right there!).
The middle of the apartment has the bathroom (with a small, high window opening onto a courtyard for ventilation), a short hallway, and a closet with hanging space and storage.
At the back of the apartment is the bedroom and the kitchen.
Judging by the number of door buzzers, there are 14 apartments in the building, spread over seven floors. It's generally pretty quiet, especially with the windows closed, although someone upstairs seemed to be moving furniture around at odd hours occasionally.
There's a small garden/courtyard at the back of the building, but it's more of a utility area, with rubbish and recycling bins in a shed down a little path. It's nice to look out on a little bit of greenery in the city anyway :)
The small balcony at the front would be just big enough to sit on if you really needed to, but I was traveling with a nine-year old, so didn't suggest it!
The furniture was all fine. There's a sofabed and a tub chair in the loungeroom, along with two dining chairs and some folding chairs if you need more. The dining table can be extended to seat six (we didn't try it or the sofabed). The apartment was very clean, but 'lived-in' enough that we could be comfortable.
Elaine, the owner, provided a thorough manual with details for the WiFi, computer, television and DVD player (there are DVDs in the apartment too), telephone (free international phone calls to many countries, including Australia), and washing machine, as well as lots of information on Montmartre and Paris, how to get around, where to eat and more.
The WiFi service was great - I used it to blog everyday and also for Skype to home, and my son figured out the desktop computer pretty quickly. We were missing out on the new Doctor Who episodes (we're big fans), and Elaine even tried to find a way we could access them (unfortunately the country restrictions got in the way, but they were recorded for us when we arrived home).
The bed was very comfortable, and there were extra blankets available (we didn't need them). The bedroom was light and airy, and warmed by the afternoon sun. It had heavy curtains for privacy when you needed it, and a huge (almost) floor to ceiling double window (similar to the one at the front). One handy feature was that you could close and open the windows fully, or lock them open a tiny bit to let in some air without having the wind catch them (and it can get quite windy up on the hill). There were two more chairs in the bedroom, a set of drawers, and built in bookshelves with plenty of reading materials (guidebooks etc. plus novels). Hanging space for clothing was in the walk-in closet/storage room opposite the bathroom.
The bathroom contains a deep bath with a detachable shower head, a basin, the toilet and some high shelving. The bath might be a problem if you had limited mobility, as the edge is quite high. There's a shower curtain which behaves as shower curtains do, but it was okay. There's a bit of condensation on the ceiling pipe when you use the shower, even with the small window open, but that's just one of the quirks of older buildings, and it only dripped on me once.
The kitchen is small (as expected), but had everything we needed: a cook-top, small fridge, sink, microwave oven, toaster, kettle and drip coffee-maker. Actually, we didn't use the cook-top or small appliances at all - we assembled a few simple meals, reheated a few things bought down the road, and went out a lot - but there seemed to be plenty of knives, pots and other cooking essentials. There were also pantry basics (we didn't use them either) and plenty of plates, cups, glasses, cutlery and so on.
The washing machine is in the kitchen, and worked very well. There's a clothes rack for drying that we set up in the lounge room - with the good ventilation in the apartment, clothes dried fairly quickly - mostly overnight.
Problems or Bonuses
A bottle of wine and a vase of white roses were in the apartment to greet us.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I dealt directly with Elaine (who comes from Ireland originally and so speaks English) over the internet to book the apartment. She's very professional and the apartment was exactly as described. She was going to meet us at the apartment, but was called away for her job at short notice, and let me know by email while we were en route in Hong Kong. She let us know about the change to the arrangements, who would be meeting us, and what to do about the rent balance, and it all went very smoothly. We met her a few days later, and she was lovely in person too.
We paid €840 per week for two weeks (in September) plus a €200 damage deposit (which was refunded promptly). This included all utilities, WiFi, telephone etc.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would absolutely stay here again and I highly recommend the apartment. My intention for my next few visits is to stay in different areas to explore different parts of Paris more thoroughly, but I can certainly see myself coming back to Montmartre and staying in this apartment again.
Things to do in this area
We wandered all over Montmartre, and particularly liked the area behind Sacre Coeur - no crowds, quiet and leafy, beautiful streets full of history, and we even found a little playground to hang out in.
We stopped at Coquelicot a number of times, for breakfast and afternoon tea (the cafe gourmande is great), as well as for bread and pastries. The front window of the upstairs salon is a great place to watch the "busy-ness" on rue des Abbesses below.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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