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Report 926: My Dream Trip To Italy and France

By BGE from Fox Creek, Alberta, Canada, Spring 2005

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Page 3 of 38: A Home Away From Home

photo by BGE

104 Cavour dream kitchen

The next step was to find a location and a place to call home for a few weeks. After browsing through a ton of websites, reading some really great trip reports on Slowtrav, and asking more questions of my friends on Slowtalk, I chose Florence because it is a small city and not so overwhelming for me on my first trip to Italy. Rome felt too large and too busy for me, and being an artist, the amazing array of art treasures in Florence hooked me and I was very comfortable with that decision.

I'm not one of those travellers who lives to hit the ground running at 5:00 A.M., burn through seven museums, 4 galleries, 15 cathedrals and 5 cities...all before lunch. Nope, I like to settle down in one place and see what it is like to live there. I want to shop in the local grocery stores, take my trash out to the recycle and trash bins at the curb and sit on the terrace or front step and watch people in my neighbourhood going about their daily lives. Because I love this way of travelling, I was very happy with my decision to stay primarily in Florence, while in Italy.

Once I knew where I was going, I needed to decide where I would stay! I began looking for a rental in Florence. A small apartment is perfect for me, because I love to bring home local foods and make meals in a well-supplied kitchen. I like my own space and I also like my space to be beautiful, clean and well-stocked with everything that caters to my creature comforts. I Googled and Ask Jeeves’ed til my fingers were numb, bookmarked a ka-zillion apartment rental sites, and finally chose Cavour Attic on 104 via Camillo Cavour, just north of San Marco and a half-block south of Piazza della Liberta.

I contacted the rental manager for Florence Vacations, Lorenzo Duranti, and asked him about availability and the cost of rent for a 3 week stay. I received a very prompt and cordial response, giving me more information about the rental and the company’s services that I expected. He quoted me a really reasonable rate of 400E per week… that’s a shade over 57E a night! The bonus for me with this apartment was the fact that everything was included in the rent. There were no extra charges for heating, air conditioning, linens, electricity, firewood and all of the other myriad odds and sods that a lot of other rentals charge, over and above the rent.

Then, a lovely surprise!

My son decided to come with me!

After many conversations, we decided to add a week in Paris at the end of the 3 weeks in Florence. My heart was full to overflowing. I never expected this or ever thought I’d have the opportunity to do this…Florence AND Paris in one fell swoop? AND, with one of my children wanting to join me? Amazing, simply amazing to sit back and watch the flow of this trip take shape.

Now I needed a place to live in Paris, also… no problem, right? Sure, no problem, except that everything I inquired about was booked, and I was beginning to panic, thinking I might not find accommodations at all. I contacted Truffaut on Slowtalk and found that his apartment was also booked for the exact same days I needed! However, he very generously passed my name on to his rental manager in Paris, Lauren Greenwald with Lets Paris, and within hours Lauren contacted me, recommending 27 Damremont in the 18th Arrondissement. She told me know it was vacant for the days I needed! I had already looked at the website and liked the apartment as it was shown on the site, so I told her to reserve it. Finally, finally... I booked a place to sleep while in Paris!

27 Damremont… 700E a week… 100E per night. Not bad at all! It looked like a perfectly elegant apartment on the website. I was really excited about my two choices. After the deposits were made, this trip then became a reality for me and the excitement started to grab at my heart.

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