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Review 3677: France Insiders, Paris Rental

www.franceinsiders.com

Recommended
Review by BGE from Alberta who is a SlowTrav Contributor

1bed/1bath apartment in 6th arrondissement, Paris


Corinthe Cereal Sticks at Bread and Roses, photo by BGE

When

July 5th - 20th, 2008, 2 weeks

Location

This pretty Paris apartment is located in the 6th arrondissement, just a block from Luxembourg Jardin ... a beautiful location with a wonderful bakery and deli cafe, Bread and Roses, right across the street. It is located on the top floor of a six floor apartment building, and yes, there is a compact little elevator, so you don't have to climb all of those stairs!

This area is a quiet and peaceful neighbourhood, with all amenities within a few blocks of the apartment. Because it is on the top floor, there is excellent light coming in both front and back windows, and those tall windows open up to allow the cooling breezes to provide instant comfort on a hot evening.

There are other apartments on the same floor, but there is no sound from one to the other. The only sounds we heard during our stay was a lovely piano concert every afternoon around 5:00pm. One of the apartment owners usually played beautiful piano for a half hour most evenings, and when our windows were open, it was so nice to hear ... it was our dinner music, most evenings.

Nearby Amenities

This location has an excellent variety of cafes, restaurants, small supermarkets and grocers ... all within a short walk of a few blocks in any direction. Right across the street, Bread and Roses is an excellent bakery and deli that provides top-notch quality breads, brioche, croissants, pastries and other delicious treats. They also have a few sidewalk tables set out each morning, and there is a small sitting area with tables inside, if you wish to order something to eat and a glass of wine or a cappuccino. I cannot say enough about this glorious bakery and the warm people who are there to help you ... they are fantastic!

There is a small grocer next door to the bakery, and we shopped there quite often. However, the last few days I lived there, the grocer was closed. He might have been on vacation.

There are also several other cafes and bistros within walking distance, plus a cafe in Jardin Luxembourg. The food's not the best, but the atmosphere and the surroundings are simply lovely and more than make up for the average eats.

Hôtel de L'Avenir is next door to this apartment building, and there is also another hotel right around the corner on rue de Fleurus, so you could stay at the apartment and any extra family or friends who are traveling with you might want to stay at one of these hotels.

I found several bakeries and patisseries in the neighbourhood, as well as a good number of food stores. There is a Monoprix, a Champion Foods store, one Franprix at 6è Rennes and another at 11 Rue Delambre. Then, there is my foodie heaven, better known as Ste. Exploit Grande Epicerie De Paris at 38 Rue Sèvres. These are just a few of the delish food stores in the area. All are within a few blocks of the apartment.

The House/Apartment

The building is an older six storey apartment building, in quite good condition. The courtyard is cobble-stoned and filled with lush greenery. From the street, you access the inner courtyard by entering a code in the keypad on the wall outside of the front door. Walk across the courtyard and open the second door with a key. The building security is excellent and we felt very safe staying there.

The apartment is incredibly quiet and peaceful. Because it is on the top floor of the building, there is very little sound from anywhere but the traffic on the street below. I was able to sleep quite well, even with the window over the street being open.

When stepping into the front entryway of the apartment, the bathroom is immediately to the left and the main room opens from the entryway. This room has very tall windows that open to provide lots of fresh air and a cooling breeze anytime of the day or night. In fact, we had to be careful with all of the windows open, because the cross-draft would blow them closed in a split-second.

The main room holds a kitchen area with brand-new cabinetry that provides everything possible for a comfortable stay. The top cabinets are stuffed with all of the dinnerware, glasses and serving bowls that we needed. The lower cabinet contains a two burner glass-top range, a built-in dishwasher, a washer for your laundry, and my favorite appliance ... a full size refrigerator with a small freezer on top. There is also a cabinet section full of good pots and pans and cooking utensils, stored in open-wire shelving.

The kitchen sink is a lovely, deep stainless steel restaurant-style sink, so much better than the tiny wannabe-sinks I've seen in some rentals. Underneath the sink are two storage areas ... one is a pull-out drawer with storage for dish detergent, rubber gloves and scrubbers, the other is a lower pull-out drawer holding laundry soap cubes, dishwasher soap cubes, a garbage container and bags.

The dining area has a dark wood table and four chairs, and provided all of the seating room we needed, even with company. The living room area is furnished with a queen size sofa bed, a chaise lounge and a huge ottoman. There is a linen cabinet along one wall, with a flat screen TV and a good stereo sitting on top.

There is also a clothes closet beside the kitchen cabinetry, which holds the iron, ironing board, brooms, dustpan, electric broom and a folding clothes-drying rack that I didn't discover until I was leaving. It might have helped to check out the contents of that closet sooner! I hung laundry over the shower frame a few times, before I realized that the drying rack was there.

Past the main room is a small bedroom with a queen-size bed, a low stool that serves as a night table and some narrow wall shelving where we stored our personal items ... books, shoes, folded clothing and toiletries. Our clothing was hung in the closet in the main room.

There were other apartments in the building and on our floor, but truly it was so peaceful and quiet, we hardly knew they were there.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

Because this is a new rental, everything inside of the apartment is also new. The furniture is in excellent condition, very comfortable and as clean as can be. There is comfortable seating space in the living room area for six people.

The sofa bed is as comfortable as a sofa bed can be. I'm not a fan of sofa beds, but I slept on this one for a week, giving the bedroom to my grand-daughter for her privacy, and it was better than I thought it would be. Still, I think that sofa beds are much better suited for younger bones than mine!

The apartment is very clean, with a linen cabinet full of crisp and clean sheets and thick fluffy towels and terry bath mitts! I usually pack a facecloth or two because most places I've rented don't provide them, but this apartment comes complete with a healthy stack of bath mitts and they work just fine.

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

The queen bed in the bedroom is very comfortable and has a duvet, quilt and blanket, so we chose what we needed to keep us warm in our beds. The bed linen is spotless, crisply laundered and folded. There is a wide selection of sheets to choose from in the cabinet.

There is a small shelving area built into the wall in the bedroom for books, folded clothing and personal items. There is no dresser or clothes closet; we hung our clothing in the closet in the living room. The bedroom is small, so does not allow room for a closet. The closet in the living room worked just perfectly for us.

The bathroom is heavenly! The shower is really large, has shiny-new sliding glass doors and it has the best water pressure and hot water supply of any vacation rental I've stayed. A skylight over the shower floods the bathroom with gorgeous light during the day. We absolutely loved the shower; it was such a treat for us!

Kitchen

I totally adore this kitchen ... brand-new, filled with everything I dream of finding in a kitchen when I'm traveling! The top cabinet is filled with enough kitchen dishes to keep us going for a full day or two of food prep. Besides the usual dinnerware, there is a stack of cafe latte bowls ... perfect for cereal for my granddaughter and my morning fruit salad and yogurt.

We ate breakfast here every morning, made countless pots of Earl Grey tea and green tea, and created a few evening meals of gorgeous bread from Bread and Roses Bakery, cheese and veggies. This is a great kitchen unit. The owners really knew what they were doing when they chose it.

Problems or Bonuses

Biggest surprises? Hmmm, let's see...

  • The shower! Stellar.
  • The kitchen! Ditto.
  • Mother Nature's air conditioner that worked like a charm every time we opened the tall windows on both sides of the apartment, creating an amazing cross-draft and a cooling breeze that aired out a hot apartment in a few minutes at the end of the day.
  • The quality of the food at Bread and Roses.
  • The warm welcome by Touria, the contact person; she dropped by on our second day, with a beautiful African violet in full bloom, and a warm, “Welcome to Paris!” What a lovely and thoughtful thing to do for us!

Agency and Representatives (and price)

The English-speaking owners of this apartment are fantastic to work with. They accommodated our travel dates without a second thought, added a day on at the end to help me out when my flight home was delayed, answered every single question that I asked and provided crystal-clear directions with loads of helpful hints in a very informative package,.

The apartment is exactly as shown in photos on their website and on VRBO. Actually, it is nicer than the photos show, especially the bathroom. Everything that the owners have listed in their info on the various websites is accurate to the nth degree.

I was very well informed by their advertising and pleasantly surprised to find the apartment was everything they promised, and more.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

I would stay here again in a Parisian heartbeat! I'd recommend this apartment to my best friend, and to anyone else traveling with a group of one - three people. It is perfect for a couple or for two friends, as long as one person doesn't mind sleeping on the sofa bed.

I truly loved this location. Walking home through Luxembourg Jardin in the evening, the pathways cooled by the massive shade trees ... it was such a treat for us. We settled in like long-time residents, walking to the grocer's for our fruit, yogurt, cereal, and for batteries for the grand-darling's camera, when our rechargeables ran out of juice.

Things to do in this area

We never ran out of things to do in this area!

Luxembourg Jardin is perfect for sitting and daydreaming, for watching people, walking in the shade of the walls of trees or sailing a small sailboat in the hexagonal pond.

I've mentioned Bread and Roses a few times and I'm telling you, it's amazing. Go there for a Tarte Limone that will pucker your buttons! Have a huge pot of green tea and a Raspberry Tarte, heaped with fresh raspberries set in a custard creme filling. I love the Mushroom Quiche served with a side salad; it is a huge serving and completely yummy!

At the north end of Luxembourg Jardin is the Cafe Medicis, 19 rue de Vaugirard. We never made it for lunch but next time I'd make sure to make time for this cafe. As well, the Musée du Luxembourg houses some wonderful pieces.

It is a 10 - 15 minute walk to the Louvre and Notre Dame, a short bus ride to the Eiffel Tower and there are many buses in the area that will make getting around Paris easeir, if walking is not for you. There are two metro stations within a few blocks.

Rue du Bac is a wonderful walk from the Louvre, as the shopping along that street is stellar. I cannot remember all of the stores and ice cream shops on this street that we enjoyed while we were walking home after a day at the Louvre. I do know that every single shop window had huge 'SOLDES' signs posted in them, and we were pleased to participate with great abandon in the summer sales!

The RER arrives at the Luxembourg station, if you want to take that to and from Charles de Gaulle airport.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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