Appartement Blanc

Marais-Oberkampf, Paris, France Book from Eur165

Reviewed by Tom Bell
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!

Highs

  • When we revisited in 2012, the apartment had just been repainted and given a new bathroom suite
  • The décor is pleasingly simple, with fun touches of colour
  • Your're in a great position on the cool side of town
  • The Gare du Nord and Eurostar are 3 stops on the metro
  • The honest price tag makes it a good value option for a couple or small family, particularly for Paris

Lows

  • Not for those expecting the lap of luxury; this is a fun, homely, understated pied à terre
  • The apartment is slightly overlooked, but we never felt like our privacy was intruded upon
  • The small bathroom has a shower but no bathtub - not ideal for little ones or longer stays

Best time to go

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.

Our top tips

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.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Apartment
  • 2
  • Self-catering (walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Laundry Service
  • Washing machine and tumble dryer
  • Books
Room:

Rooms

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.

Features include:

  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Radio
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Tumble dryer
  • Tv
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

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.

Features include:

  • Coffee maker
  • Fridge
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Visit Pere Lachaise cemetery, where Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are both buried. It’s a real Paris landmark and not to be missed

  • You are just up the road from the magical Cirque d’Hiver. Make sure you check out the listings before you go so you can catch a show here - it’s worth it for the beautiful 18th-century building alone

  • Head north from République and loop around the Canal Saint Martin, a very pretty walk at all times of year and notable for its lack of tourists

  • Dive into the 4th, the prettiest quarter in Paris, where you’ll find stunning architecture at every turn: the impossibly pretty Place des Vosges, the old Paris of Boulevard du Temple, the Musée Picasso

  • If you want to, walk all the way into town for the Louvre, Notre Dame and other major sites. It’s no more than a leisurely half-hour stroll, but metros from République (3 minutes away) will whisk you any which way in no time

  • Take in a show at L'Opéra Bastille; the modern opera house designed to replace Palais Garnier (in the 12th arrondissement)

  • We loved using the Velib bikes. They’re cheap, really sturdy and very easy to ride. Bike stations are everywhere and there are plenty of cycle lanes. Great fun, so long as you keep one eye on the French drivers!

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wine tasting

Kids

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).

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

There are 2 bedrooms (1 double and 1 twin); the twin room is decorated in fun and child-friendly style.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Families Should Know:

Note that the fuse box, internet router and telephone are in the twin room

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
8/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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