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 with 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 small private terrace (do note that this is very overlooked). 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. Bear in mind that the standard occupancy is 2 people, so extra bedding must be requested if using the second room (small additional charge).
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 Guardian, June 2014
"Affordable family-friendly pads are hard to come by in Paris, which makes this pied-à-terre in a traditional 18th-century apartment block even more of a find. For more or less the same price you'd pay for a poky room in a Parisian hotel, you get an open-plan kitchen/dining room, a master bedroom with doors to a private terrace, a twin room and a small shower room. It's simple and quirky rather than luxurious, but the white walls and floorboards and floor-to-ceiling windows give it a bright, airy feel. The location, in the 11th arrondissement, with the Place de la République at one end of the road and the Bastille at the other, is spot on and there's a good choice of bistros, bars and boulangeries within strolling distance."
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."
Reviews are from people who have booked through us.
“The apartment furniture is run down and uncomfortable. The presentation is not good and there is a building site with scaffolding right outside the window. The terrace has no furniture and is dirty. The location is good.”
“Great value for a two bedroom apartment in Paris. We were travelling with two children so the understated décor suited us well (it's more relaxing than hoping your children don't break the homewares). The washing machine and dryer were a blessing especially for a long stay and with children. However the provision of a small amount of washing powder would have been valuable. The terrace was unavailable as it was being renovated (boards missing). Christian was very prompt with all communication however a little welcome book outlining the facilities of the apartment and the local area would be handy.”
“Great place to stay. Good location and it was great to be able to shop for food and relax and eat in our own Parisian apartment.”
“The room and value were great. As for service we heard nothing from the owners having sent numerous texts, emails and voicemails to try to get into the apartment. We also never received our i-escape extra. Having said all that we were very comfortable, excellently located and would stay there again.”
“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.”