Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 968: Owner, Rue Aubriot Apartment (#36071)
1 bedroom loft apartment in the Marais, Paris
June, 2004, 1 week
I have very mixed feelings about this apartment. While I'd happily stay here again, I have difficulty recommending it to others because of a few glaring shortcomings. Loads of charm, a fabulous location, relatively quiet for Paris, air conditioning in the bedroom ... But never did it occur to me while getting information to ask if there is a 3-foot drop two feet from the end of the bed! If you survive getting to the bathroom in the middle of the night, how much does a five foot woman need to veer to the left to avoid being concussed by a beam angling in front of the bathroom door? That is, if you can make it up to the loft bedroom at all! Never mind. It had a huge, airy kitchen, a tiny patio, and was quiet at night.
The apartment is on rue Aubriot, a tiny, quiet street in the Marais. The immediate area is quite lively, with many restaurants, bars, shops, historical homes and museums. In spite of the popularity of the neighborhood, the apartment's fourth floor setting and the street's size make for quiet nights. We love the Marais, and thoroughly enjoyed the area. Many excellent restaurants and stores all around the neighborhood make eating and shopping a delight. There are bakeries, butchers, cheese shops, and greengrocers galore a few blocks up on rue Bretagne, as well as the small daily Marche des Enfants Rouges. Supermarkets a few blocks over on rue St. Antoine, and the twice-weekly Marche Richard Lenoir near Bastille.
The building is at least 400 years old. You enter via a massive wooden front door after keying in an access code, then another to unlock a metal gate. Then, a 62-step climb up winding stairs. There are 2-3 apartments on each floor, and the neighbors and concierge are very friendly. You enter into the living room, which has an old tile floor and massive wooden beams. Furniture is worn but servicable. The living room has two sofas and a desk area. Sofa covers are in need of a good washing. The apartment was cleaned shortly after our unexpectedly early arrival.
The apartment has a small terrace off the living room french doors. There is a glass table large enough to eat from, and two chairs. Many plantings and flowers. You look onto the top facade of the neighboring church, but do not have a view of the street. The terrace can be hot in the noon sun, but gets afternoon shade and is delightful in the evening.
Around the corner from the living room is a huge, airy kitchen. The large wooden table makes up for the lack of counter space. Not too many pots and pans, but it's fine for basic food preparation. Small espresso-style coffee pot, good bread knife, and basic things like salt, pepper, oil, spices, paper towels were available.
Now, the fun part. To get to the loft bedroom, you need to climb what is basically a glorified ladder. Steeper than a stairway, with no rails. We didn't mind it, except I did need to use a silly side-stepping clinging-to-the-steps technique to go downstairs because I'm just a sissy about going down steep stairs without handrails.
Once you've reached the beamed loft bedroom, there's a comfortable bed, though wedged under the eaves somewhat. And when I say somewhat, keep in mind that my husband and I are quite short. If we were banging our heads on the ceiling, you can be sure that you would be as well. And here's the best part. Around two feet from the end of the bed, there's a three-foot drop down to a second floor level. The person sleeping on the far side of the bed must make it to the bathroom side of the room without falling off the ledge, all the while ducking slightly to avoid the low pitch of the ceiling. See the photo for details.
If you've survived the walk to the bathroom, watch out for that beam angling in front of the door. Once inside the huge bathroom, you'll find two sinks, a large tub with handheld shower, toilet and bidet. Gentlemen, here's where you'll encounter some difficulties. The toilet is also under the low eaves, perhaps necessitating some adjustment in your usual bathroom habits. Larry was less than charmed.
So. We enjoyed our stay in the apartment, though we really couldn't recommend it to others without massive warnings. For us, the location, quiet, and terrace made up for the physical difficulties. Your mileage may vary!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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