Living Like a Local in our Paris Apartment

Renting a Paris Apartment was a New Experience that Worked out Well:

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Bedroom of our Paris Apartment

After many hours of searching for a Paris apartment, I finally settled on booking Olivier’s apartment through the VRBO network. When you haven’t rented apartments directly from strangers in the past, you get a bit uncertain about making a commitment, especially for a one-month rental. But from the many positive reviews left by past customers, I felt re-assured in dealing with Olivier and his apartment in the Marais district fitted our location criteria.

Our Home Away from Home

After the huge effort by Tony to carry our heavy cases up three flights of steps, we were rewarded to find an apartment that was very much to our liking. As mentioned by others, Olivier’s apartment is small, cozy, but very well designed to include everything that you would need for a comfortable stay in Paris.  He even has nice artwork on all the walls of the apartment.

Our Apartment Facilities

We arrived in Paris expecting the start of summer, but it was unseasonably cold – on the day of our arrival, it was 4°C maximum. Fortunately for us, our apartment had heating. Friends of ours rented a larger apartment in St. Germain, which unfortunately did not have any heating and they toyed with the idea of buying a heater as it remained  cold for the whole week.

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Paris Apartment Rental

Our apartment on rue Beautreillis is located in the heart of the Marais. Although this trendy Paris arrondissement is noted for its gay life, and hence is teeming with bars, restaurants, coffee shops, food shops and retail stores, fortunately we were on the quieter side off the busy rue Saint-Antoine.

We were very pleased to see that the apartment had a work desk for Tony and that I was able to set up a work area in the living room as well. Olivier’s internet connection was very good and we were able to work in the apartment during our stay and not have to run to internet cafes.

The kitchen is well equipped with cooking utensils, two hot burners and a microwave, sufficient to cook simple meals . The water flow in the bathroom is good and there’s ample hot water for our showers.

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Paris apartment office

Food Shopping in the Marais

Monoprix, the local supermarket is only five minutes away and they have a good range of food, including a real fishmonger. Although I started buying food in Monoprix when we first arrived, I later discovered a whole range of specialist food stores on rue Saint-Antoine and began buying food from these neighbourhood shops. Miss Manon does really nice baguettes and pastries. There’s always a queue of people in the morning, buying bread and other treats. You can also have a light meal in their cafe.

On our side of rue Saint-Antoine, there are also a couple of specialist cheese shops, a honey shop, greengrocers, etc. Although we did dine out during our stay in Paris, Tony in fact preferred the fresh food that I bought from these shops and the meals that I prepared at home.

Getting around from the Marais

There are three metros close to our apartment.

  • Sully-Morland is about three minutes walk away and Line 7 takes you to tourist attractions such as Pont Neuf, Palais Royal, Musée du Louvre and the Opera
  • St-Paul, on rue Saint-Antoine is about 8 minutes away – Line 1 takes you to Hotel de Ville, Louvre Rivoli, Tuileries and Champs-Élysée and Charles de Gaulle-Etoile
  • Bastille is also about 8 minutes away. This is a larger station and several lines run through Bastille.

The Joys of Renting a Paris Apartment

In renting an apartment, we were able to somewhat live like a local and the fully-equipped kitchen allowed us to cook and dine at home. Although our apartment was three flights up, and with no elevator,  each morning I would to go to the boulanger to just to get fresh croissant and a baguette pavot or baguette sesame or tradition.

With my somewhat limited French, I loved being able to chat with the fishmonger and he was ever so helpful and encouraging when I apologized for not being fluent.  The cheese shop owner was also helpful in his advice on cheeses and he recommended an absolutely delicious truffle cheese that we loved.   These are some of the daily thrills and joys when renting an apartment in Paris.

For anyone interested in renting Olivier’s apartment, you can search for 4 rue Beautreillis, Marais 75004 at www.vrbo.com.  By the time we arrived at our next destination, the deposit that we paid was already refunded to our account.

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