Staying in a cosy little apartment in Paris should appeal to the romantic side of us all, even for just a few days. It can be preferable to staying in a large, luxury hotel; there is a sense of ownership, it belongs to you for the period of the stay. Therefore when offered the opportunity to stay in an apartment in the centre of the French capital with accommodation provider Wimdu in the company of a friend I jumped at it.
The process is simple, browse the website for a suitably located place to stay in the city of your choice. There are usually plenty of detailed descriptions and photographs, including the facilities and location. Most give an indication of the space available and of course the photographs give an indication of this but a word of warning; the apartment we took looked noticeably larger in the images. Therefore don’t be too surprised if it turns out to be slightly snugger than anticipated.
Once a suitable property is found, it is booked through the website and eventually if successful, confirmation with any specific details such as address and entry codes will be provided. Do ensure that all the rules have been read thoroughly and are understood. In France many of the proprietors will require a deposit, in this case 200 euros, this is returned without issue provided there isn’t any damage.
It is also worth remembering that the owners are not hospitality professionals. They are members of the public that own a property which they rent out. This can mean a degree of quirkiness in dealing with them. We were met by two young females that were friends of the owner, they spoke almost zero English. Communication was awkward and when asked to provide a receipt for the deposit, initially they misunderstood and then appeared to resent being asked.
A Local of Montmatre
As is reasonable to expect the apartment was clean and tidy. There was also a requirement to clean it before departing or pay a 40 euro fee to have it cleaned. For this reason we were grateful it consisted of just one small open plan room and a bathroom as we opted to clean. No issue, it took about an hour before leaving but something that needs to be clarified prior to confirming any booking.
Situated in the Montmartre district just below the hill on which the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur sits. This is one of the most popular attractions in Paris and despite it raining when we arrived, visiting the Sacré-Coeur to admire the views of the Eiffel Tower and the “City of Light” was too good an opportunity to miss.
It was especially pleasing to also discover there were a number of bistros and restaurants close by, lining the narrow, cobbled streets and petite district square. The aroma of French onion soup and bœuf bourguignon drifted temptingly through the area on the faintest of breezes. We promised ourselves a return visit before departing; a promise we thankfully kept, finding a lovely little bistro offering an excellent plat du jour on our final evening.Incidentally the bœuf bourguignon tasted as good as it smelled.
The apartment was also located within a few minutes walk of the metro, so using the excellent public transport system to explore the city was a cinch.
Eating like a local
The great thing about living like a Parisian is having a place all of our own to chill after a hard day discovering Paris. There was a small market shop within a block of our accommodation, selling all the supplies we would need. Freshly baked, crusty baguette, creamy camembert, ground coffee as well as fresh fruit and salad vegetables. We intended to take lunch on the hoof, so just breakfast and dinner to sort out, then enjoy it in front of our own television. The perfect way to chill out.
We all may enjoy a touch of luxury and staying in a simple, small self-contained apartment may not be everybody’s ideal holiday accommodation. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay however, the size was not an issue, it was comfortable and the facilities were adequate if not exactly luxurious. An apartment can be a great way to explore a city and to feel like a local.
Wimdu provides a simple and effective way in which to find a suitable one. There is the additional comfort that owners are required to adhere to the terms and conditions which should ensure a trouble free stay.
This inspired me to provide a slightly different view of the city of light, not the typical tourist portfolio. The French capital is a city of protests, we saw two in the three days we were there, humourous statues and locks of love in the city of romance, there was much more to entertain than the usual attractions. I hope you enjoy my alternative view of gay Paris.