“Unpretentious Parisian pied-à-terre apartment in the trendy 3rd arrondissement, offering an authentic experience of local life (sleeps 2-4)”
Your apartment (yes, it feels great to say that) is the epitome of Parisian functionality, with bespoke space-savers incorporated in the most unlikely of places, designed by owner Christian and his artist wife. And there is so much cupboard space that we defy even the heaviest of packers to fill it all.
The living area is open plan, with kitchen and dining area, giving onto the roomy and airy lounge. The high ceilings, lack of vis-à-vis, and huge French windows ensure that this is a light and tranquil space. We loved the upright glossy black piano and the thoughtfully provided sheet music, although we’re not so sure that the neighbours were big fans of our musical endeavours. There’s a comfy (and stylish) leather sofa, and a comfy (but not so stylish) sofabed, suitable for 1 adult or 2 kids. A flatscreen TV (French channels only when we visited), a selection of DVDs, and an eclectic mix of books and magazines are supplied for rainy days, and there is a work area (complete with desktop computer) for anyone unfortunate enough not to be in Paris for leisure alone.
The bedroom is cute and cosy in red hues, with a small but comfy low-slung double bed replete with plump duvet and emblazoned cushions (Embrasse moi, Cerise). Through a semi-arch is a cleverly compartmented dressing area with large wardrobe and a Louis XIVth-style chair. The ensuite bathroom takes a gently nautical theme, with blue and white tiling and even a model lighthouse. Look out for the Parisian skyline adorning one of the windows, and ponder the existential questions posed on various surfaces while soaking in the full-sized bath.
The colourful, open-plan kitchen and dining area has custom-made cupboards painted in bright purples and pinks, and is fully equipped with pots, pans and utensils, and settings for 4. There’s an oven and 4 hobs (complete with stove-top coffee-pot), microwave, large fridge-freezer, dishwasher, kettle, and espresso machine. Basic cooking products are provided (condiments, cling film, dishwasher tablets etc.), and there is a wealth of food shops within a 2-minute walk.
We also recommend – in fact, insist on - a visit of the Marché des Enfants Rouge on rue Bretagne, a typical French market open Tuesdays to Saturdays and on Sunday mornings. Pick up fresh fare to consume back at the apartment, watching the world go by from the open French windows.
For those wanting a break from cooking, you are in one of the food hotspots of the capital. For a true gastronomic experience, we particularly recommend Le Pamphlet on rue Debelleyme, run by chef Alain Carrère. While the à la carte menu adds up quickly, the 3-course set menu offered at lunch and dinner (€30-35 in 2010) is excellent value. Just make sure that you have a good appetite, since the south-western fare is notoriously heavy, and portions are generous. We enjoyed a huge plate of meltingly tender jarret de porc and aligot (a south-western specialty of cheesy mash potatoes), and struggled to fit in a fluffily light millefeuille. Another south-western inspired restaurant we’ve had recommended, but not yet had the fortune to try, is the cosy Le Réconfort, on rue de Poitou.
For a change of cuisine, head to Le 404 on rue des Gravilliers, where delicious Moroccan flavours are served up in sumptuous surroundings; then pop next door for post-dinner drinks in the eclectically designed Andy Wahloo bar. Or just saunter the streets, and take your pick from the hundreds of restaurants in the area; the hardest part will be making a choice.
Children are very welcome, and there is even a custom-made child-sized chair and table. The sofa bed in the lounge is adequate for two kids on cordial terms, and a travel cot is available for babies. The bathtub (rare in Parisian apartments) and washing machine are big bonuses. Parents of particularly inquisitive toddlers should be aware that although the floor-to-ceiling windows looking onto the street have iron railings, an alert eye is advised. The apartment is on the 3rd floor with no elevator, so be prepared for buggy-lugging, or leave it at home.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Child's chair and table in the dining area
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking