We are often asked if we take the same Paris apartment every time we are here. The answer is no. We never take the same apartment because we have yet to find the perfect one. Our first apartment here was a splurge and we found it, ironically enough, through the American agency Paris Perfect.
It looked a bit like this one although it was smaller. It had pull-out couches for the girls and two quite excellent bathrooms. The kitchen was tiny but had great appliances (it convinced us to buy a Miele dishwasher). It offered a view of the Eiffel Tower and was in the tony, residential 7th arrondissement. We wanted to be there because Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker lived in the 7th and we had been reading his Paris column for years. It is a great spot to raise kids and to live for a few years, but is not actually that central. The perfect Paris apartment should be an easy walk (i.e. less than a half hour) from the Louvre.
Our next place, in the 13th Arrondissement, was our home for six months. We had a challenging wish list: four bedrooms ( a rare thing here) to house us, our two daughters, and the lengthy list of guests who wanted to come. We also needed a terrace for our two doggies. We ended up with something fantastic: a four bedroom, three bathroom, three storey house which united a cool loft-style industrial space for the kitchen/living/dining to a renovated 19th century worker house for the bedrooms. The terrace looked much like this one:
The entryway was like this.
It had beams and stairs like this.
The living area had much of this vibe , a spacious area mixing the modern and ancient.
The place in the 13th was really cool, but I don’t imagine I will ever need something so big again. Important travel tip: if you rent it, they will come. We began to feel that we were running a bed and breakfast in the 13th and we still didn’t manage to accommodate everyone who wanted to visit. SOOO, having extra space can be something of a liability in your Paris apartment. And was this place expensive. We rented out both our Montreal duplex and our country house and managed to cover HALF the rent of this cool house. Also, the 13th is about a 40 minute walk to the Louvre.
Last year, we found a charming place in the Marais, just the perfect location for us. With its 17th century buildings, chic boutiques, incredible food shops, youthful artiness and central location, we feel the Marais (3rd and 4th arrondissements) is us. You may have seen these photos:
By now you are wondering, what’s wrong with this place? Looks… perfect.
Here’s what’s wrong. World’s tiniest kitchen. Broken/inferior appliances. No counterspace. AND, I can’t even show you the shower area, too embarrassing that I lived with that for three months. The whole space was charming but shabby. One day, it will make a great apartment, after the renovation.
This year, we went for what seemed a slickly renovated place, again in the Marais. Check it out.
Here is the kitchen/ dining end of the living area. Cool chandelier. Tulip table. Plastic chairs, as seen in design magazines, are surprisingly comfortable. AND counterspace is totally inadequate. I have, I think, twelve inches of prep space. The whole thing looks nice, though.
Is this THE ONE, then? The perfect Paris apartment? Perfect, no. All that glitz, it’s just not for me. Which of these apartments would suit you best?