Marais-Oberkampf, Paris, France
A great value 2-bedroom apartment that's quirky, understated and on the cool side of town
There is much to praise about this quirky, comfortable bolthole and
those looking for a simple pad in a cool location will be very
happy here. You’re in the youthful 11th arrondissement, with
the Place de la République at one end of the street and the
Bastille at the other. There’s a varied assortment of
independent bistros, bars and boulangeries around here, and we
found it a real joy to stock up on cheese and wine before utilising
the kitchen and munching down like the locals do.
Set in a traditional 18th-century apartment block (smart but not overly grand), the apartment is insulated from the street noise by a cobbled courtyard, giving that rarest of Parisian commodities: a peaceful night’s sleep. Indoors it’s airy and uplifting in a simple way. Walls and parquet floors are painted various shades of white, and natural light pours in through the Parisian floor-to-ceiling windows. If it’s a sunny day you can even open the master bedroom doors onto your private terrace. There’s also a big comfy sofa, a TV and some books in the sitting room: perfect for relaxing before an evening on the town. But the biggest prize you get here is space: 3 rooms, a charming terrace, and no one to bother you!
Set back off the main street, beyond an inner courtyard, the
apartment feels enclosed, private and refreshingly quiet (excluding
the odd rumble of the metro). You get the whole place to yourself:
2 bedrooms (perfect for families), an open-plan
kitchen/dining room and a cosy shower room.
White walls and floorboards give the apartment a light and airy feel, while quirky touches like Parisian wall art and craft shop pillows give the décor a colourful lift.
The master bedroom has a low-slung double bed, ample wardrobe space and French windows which open onto a private terrace. The children’s twin has a huge gilt mirror on one wall, and a slightly industrial strip light that's likely to be spurned in favour of the funky green and pink lamps. White voile curtains protect against the neighbours but not the light, though thankfully there are shutters to assure a lie-in. Framed contemporary posters hang on the walls, and cupboards hold extra blankets and pillows.
The shower room is simple but adequate; there’s no bathtub, but it’s been redecorated and they’ve added a brand new washing machine and tumble dryer - a real asset if you’re travelling with mischievous little ones.
The main room is a bright open-plan sitting room and
kitchen. Here you'll find a small white dining table (seats
4) and simple cooking equipment suitable for those using the
apartment as a base: 2 hobs, a fridge, a kettle, a Nespresso
machine and a microwave.
Grocery stores are on every corner, but bear in mind that they’re closed on Mondays (Sunday is market day). Local markets nearby include: Bastille (Thursday and Sunday), the wonderful Marché d’Aligre behind the opera house in the 12th (where Parisians flock to forage for food before taking to the bars and cafés), and Marché Richard Le Noir (Thursday and Sunday); where the best food in France tends to end up (the fish stands are known across the city). Even if you don’t intend to buy, a walk through a Paris market is a real treat; the cheese stands are irresistible and define a nation.
There are hundreds of restaurants on your doorstep too: head south to Bastille and rue de Lappe (more touristy than in years gone by, but still worth a potter), east to rue Oberkampf (where young, cool Parisians gather), southwest into the 4th arrondissement for the old-time chic of the Marais, or northeast to Belleville (up-and-coming, very arty) for great Chinese and Vietnamese nosh.
Paris is wonderful all year round. A good time to come is August when the locals leave and the city is relatively empty; the sales are on in January. And, of course, Paris is the perfect destination for a romantic spring-time break.
Tear yourself out of bed early to take advantage of the amazing boulangeries nearby. We loved starting the day in the apartment with fresh pastries (still warm from the oven) and morning coffees from the Nespresso machine.
Children are welcome. There are 2 bedrooms (1 double and 1 twin); the twin room is decorated in fun and child-friendly style. Bear in mind that the standard occupancy is 2 people, so extra bedding must be requested if using the second room (small additional charge). Baby cots are also available.
Appartement Blanc is very well situated right between the Marais and Oberkampf - 2 lively, trendy and very different quarters of Paris. You are in the 11th arrondissement here. There are 3 metro stations within a 3-5 minute walk: République, Filles du Calvaire and Oberkampf. Between them these cover lines 3, 5, 8, 9 and 11, giving easy access to whole city.
Fly into Paris Charles de Gaulle (30km to the north) Paris Orly (20km to the south). Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.
From the Airport
Both airports are connected to the city via the fast RER railway (line B); change at Chatelet-Les Halles for metro line 11 to République.
If you'd prefer to travel overland from the UK, you can take the Eurostar straight into the Gare du Nord. From there it is a 3-stop metro ride to République, or a short taxi ride.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to France and getting around
The Times, September 2010
"A good-sized flat with a terrace, ideal for families, this is between the Marais and Oberkampf. Overlooking a cobbled courtyard, it is quiet at night and the slightly frayed furnishings mean that you won't be constantly worrying about sticky fingers. It sleeps four in the double bedroom and a twin-bedded room, and a cot is available."
The Independent, February 2010
"Cosy up in this contemporary apartment in the Marais district, on a street once called home by Blaise Pascal and revolutionary figure Robespierre. The apartment's prevailing white colour scheme is warmed by 17th-century wooden beams and a fireplace in the snug living room. Back down at street level, this bourgeois quartier is littered with boho cafés, art galleries and chic boutiques."
The Guardian, April 2008
"As a general rule, if i-escape gives somewhere the nod, you can take their word for it. Of their Parisian offerings, the Apartment Blanc, hidden within an 18th-Century apartment block is the best value; with two bedrooms, an open plan kitchen/diner and a roof terrace. Guests also have the added perk of being in the heart of the 11th arrondissement, with the boutiques of the Marais and the excitable cafes and bars of Oberkampf within walking distance. For the best of both, flick through the clothes rails at Mademoiselle Vegas and Gaspard Yurkievich, then push on through to the wee hours at club du jour Nouveau Casino."
Reviews are from people who have booked through us.
“Perfect location. Good communication regarding arrival and getting keys etc. It is well appointed and large and offers value for money. Bedrooms face courtyard so it is as quiet as can be at night. We will return and recommend highly for independent tourists. Would be perfect for a family.”
“The location of the apartment is perfect. It is quite comfortable, enough space for a family of four, the right value for the money. The bathroom is quite small and the bathtub was clogged when we first arrived. The apartment is partially clean, some of the equipment for cleaning was either missing or dirty. There was a mistake with the email Christian (the manager) had so I didn't get any messages from him until very much the last moment. Thanks to i-escape great staff the connection was made and after that it worked well.”
“A couple of glitches - the heating wasn't turned on for long before we arrived, which meant the apartment was very cold for the first night. It would be great if hotwater bottles were provided! The light fitting in the bathroom was faulty, the shower head needs a major descale (or replacement) and the shower door leaks terribly. Apart from that, a great location and very cute apartment.”
“The apartment is very basic and the kitchen equipment minimal - don't expect to cook. The odd assortment of books, magazines, etc., just look untidy. We found the mattress is very uncomfortable. Apart from the noise from the Metro that runs beneath the apartment, it is clean and serviceable but not very comfortable. We did however receive good service from Christian who booked a restaurant for us. Unfortunately I do not think we would stay there again which is a shame as the location is exactly right.”
“Great apartment in a very convenient location. Everything was close - the metro, supermarkets, great dining and yet, the flat is very quiet. Christian and Rafael were very professional and let us check out later, as they had no guests coming on the day we left (a great bonus, as it gave us no headache over where to store our luggage for 4 hours). I will definitely recommend this place to my friends - it makes you feel more like a true Parisian rather than an omnipresent tourist... Thank you!”
“The apartment suited us perfectly because we loved the area and the airy feel of the flat. The Bozart Bistrot around the corner is an added bonus and the Marché Bastille on Sunday morning is not to be missed.”
“Had a great time and it was our second time in the appartment, this time with a 9 year old and a 7 year old! It worked perfectly for us. Ideal for a couple or a family. Location is perfect, easy access to metro, supermarket and patisserie close by. Nice area, feel safe. Would recommend it without hesitation and plan to go back. Newly refurbished bathroom great and lovely to be provided with coffee, washing powder, washing up liquid etc. They organised a taxi for us for the return journey back to the airport. WiFi great for finding out about things on in Paris and DVD great for children as only French TV.”
“I have stayed at Appartement Blanc several times as have friends
and we love it. It's simply chic, in a great location and very good
value for money.
Christian is very helpful and this time very sweetly allowed us to leave our luggage until 3.00 pm. Will definitely return!”
“This is the first time we have stayed in Paris and the whole thing worked really well. The apartment is ideally located just off la Republique which makes it really handy for getting around town and we ate at some exquisite restaurants on the square. The flat is ideal for a young couple or small family - modestly decorated with all mod cons, and lovely high ceilings. We'll be back! Thank you to Christian and the folks at i-escape.”
“This very charming apartment was a pleasure to visit. It was both
spotlessly clean and homely, and we really loved the personal
touches of home-made art on the wall. The service from Rafael and
Christian were excellent.
I'd go back in a shot!”
“We loved this apartment! Very clean and cool (by our standards!) in
a friendly 'ordinary' neighbourhood only an easy 15 minute bus ride
from the hot tourist spots such as Le Notre Dame but away from the
crush of the crowds. It worked perfectly for our family of four and
we definitely plan to return. It is well equipped, light and gives
the tourist the impression of living like a true Parisian for the
duration of their stay. The bathroom has just been refitted and
decorated with a lovely shower! Very nice.
We didn't receive any instructions on how we would be greeted before we arrived, and did not receive answers to the two emails to the owner either, also one of his telephone numbers doesn't work any more. Consequently we had to stand in the street for 15 minutes, panicking a bit, with two kids and two big cases, trying to get hold of him. Then he got home and we spoke to him and then he gave us the door codes and also contacted his official 'greeter' Raphael who was absolutely charming and helpful when he arrived to let us in moments later. Better communication is essential and that is the only reason I have scored less than 5 for service as the actual people could not have been nicer, nor the apartment.
The apartment was an easy and cheap cab ride from Gare du Nord and if you don't have baggage it is also easy by bus and metro. It would have been nice to have been told that there is a bus which runs almost from by the front door down to The Hotel de Ville area. (To go South it is on Rue des Filles du Calvaire close to the junction with Rue de Turenne). There is no local information at the apartment which is a shame as there must be lots of places very nearby worth recommending as well as useful transport tips. There are very good, very local bakers and a butcher and little general stores which stay open very late. We didn't eat out locally in the evening but we enjoyed the covered market on Rue de Bretagne and had lunch there...we also had a lovely breakfast at Cafe Charlot opposite where the staff were very friendly. The Marais is very close and a pleasant walk on foot and there were lots of nice bars and restaurants to try there. We had done some extensive research before we arrived which stood us in good stead but for those who don't, more info would be good. Please note the apartment is very close to the Cirque d'Hiver and it's worth looking into whether there will be performances while you are there.”
“This was a gorgeous place to stay - all three generations of our group loved it! Lots of lovely fluffy towels, nice new bathroom, light clean pretty space to stay in and good local takeaways and bakery if you're tired or on a budget. We would definitely recommend and hope to book again ourselves.”
“An excellent location and a great apartment. Lots of nice restaurants nearby and we would recommend la bricola which is great for Italian.”