Consider the 18th

Jun 16th, 2011, 03:26 PM
  #1  
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Consider the 18th

Last month I took a friend for her first trip out of the US, a week in Paris and a weekend in London. I admit to a bit of sticker shock when I started to look for accommodations in Paris. I’ve been there a dozen times or so and usually stay in the 5th, 6th or 7th. My usual 3 star hotel in the 7th was quoting 268 Euro a night. It’s a nice place but come on… it’s a 3 star! I started looking at apartments and apartment rental websites.

Since my last trip to Paris, I’ve developed a curiosity about the 18th. I had taken a taxi ride to Sacre Coeur which went through what I thought looked like a really interesting area. I’ve spent a lot of time on Google maps street view, “wandering around” streets and alleys. So when I came across Feels Like Home in Paris I was intrigued. The apartments looked really nice; bright, cheery, friendly. The street view strolls around the neighborhoods looked so charming. This week Le Figaro did an intriguing article about the 18th http://www.lefigaro.fr/sortir-paris/...osmopolite.php

I picked a two bedroom and made my query. Available! Perfect! But then I dawdled, struggling with whether or not I really wanted to stay in the 18th…. And it was gone. However they offered me a one bedroom on Rue de Courlaincourt. It seemed like it had everything and it seemed like it was on the perfect street.

Bottom line, it WAS perfect. So much so that I can’t wait for an opportunity to rent it for 3 months and “live” in that neighborhood. The apartment itself had everything you could want. Big windows provide lots of light, and while it can be noisy when they are open, the double panes make it very quiet when they are closed. The apartment is owned by a woman who loves to cook so the kitchen is stocked with everything you could possibly ask for, including a cabinet full of spices. There is a regular size washer and dryer (not one of those combo things many Euro domiciles often have that take forever to do a load), a bookcase that invites you to spend months reading, a computer equipped with internet, wireless, free long distance (international) calls, Cable TV, a stereo, literally anything one might need. The chairs were comfortable, the bed was comfortable and the bathroom very nice.

Downstairs is a Thai restaurant. Across the street is a beautifully colorful produce market. Two doors from that is the wine cave. Two doors up from us a bouchon, next to that a patisserie, and then my new favorite bistro. Also within a block are a chocolatier, a Spanish restaurant, a Japanese restaurant and another bakery. The number 80 bus stops right outside, with stops at the Champs E’lysee and the Eiffel Tower.

Yetunde, from Feels Like Home in Paris, met us upon arrival and walked us through all the details of the apartment, the neighborhood and anything we might want to know about Paris. There were laminated maps with recommended walks in the area, bus schedules, and a 50 plus page PDF on the computer with anything we might want to know, links to restaurants, bus schedules, phone numbers, contact info… They provided us with a welcome basket with coffee, biscuits, crackers and a lovely bottle of champagne. They also invited us to a wine and cheese tasting the following evening at a local cooking school.

One of the things I loved about living in the 18th was that once we paid our visit to Sacre Coeur, and Place de Tertre, we never saw tourists. The restaurants were comfortably full and we seemed to be the only tourists. Shopping at the produce market, the patisserie and the bouchon, we lined up with locals. We sat on the bus with folks from the neighborhood. It really allowed us to play to our fantasy of being Parisians for the week.

Of course we did the touristy things during the week; visited the Louvre, went to the Eiffel Tower (we had lunch at Jules Verne on a special birthday), went on a Seine Cruise, sat in the Tuilleries, took a train to Geverney. But it was always so pleasant to come “home” at night and get away from all the crowded tourist areas. We spoke French (or attempted to) in the shops and restaurants and felt truly immersed.

I think you can pick a bad neighborhood in the 18th, and in fact we were glad we didn’t get the two bedroom apartment when we saw the block it was on. But don’t let that deter you from trying this really charming and historic part of Paris.

www.feelslikehomeinparis.com For those of you on Facebook, follow them for interesting daily blog postings about cooking classes, fun things to see in Paris, great restaurants, and interesting goings on.

At the end of the week I asked my (somewhat travel phobic) friend what she like best about the trip. Number one was lunch at Jules Verne. Number two was that she wandered out alone on the last morning and went to the patisserie to buy, in French, croissants and pastries for our breakfast and train journey to London. That was progress!
Grassshopper is offline  
Jun 16th, 2011, 10:03 PM
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Hi Gss,

Love hearing about your trip and all its wonders!! What a great report!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 03:36 AM
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Hi Grasshopper,

Can you post the URL to the specific apartment you were in? It'd be great to know for sure which one allowed you to write of your happy experience.

Many thanks!
scotlib is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 05:00 AM
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Your report and the Figaro article you linked are tempting me to try an area I have not explored. Thank you.
Nikki is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 06:35 AM
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Here's the link to our apartment: http://www.feelslikehomeinparis.com/...classique.html
Grassshopper is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 08:45 AM
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Grassshopper, shhhhh! Just kidding. The 18th is our 'hood when we're in Paris, so I couldn't agree with you more, especially about not a lot of tourists (and thus, not a lot of English, very good for my French).

I've looked at a lot of the apartments at feelslikehomeinparis (because of their focus on the 18th) but have yet to rent from them. I'm happy to hear you recommend them.

We rented the Constance apartment from Frenchy Rentals, back in February - great location - quiet street, just off the Rue Lepic. Great experience, overall.

http://www.frenchyrentals.com/

Thanks so much for the link to the Figaro article. Despite having stayed there a few times, there is still plenty we've yet to explore.
YankyGal is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 09:38 AM
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YankyGal, I completely struggled with whether or not to post this for that very reason!

Also, I don't want to sound like a tout for FLH but they were really great to work with. Yetunde is a bundle of energy and immediately felt like a personal friend. They were also very patient with my bank in the US who kept denying my transactions.
Grassshopper is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 09:43 AM
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Please, all you Americans are supposed to demand to stay in Saint Germain des Prés or the 7th arrondissement and nowhere else. Do not vary from that strategy.
kerouac is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 09:46 AM
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Kerouac, I looked for you everywhere in the 18th!
Grassshopper is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 10:32 AM
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Grasshopper: Many thanks for the tip! This company sounded too good so I was waiting for the "shoe to drop" when you said it was perfect. So glad I was wrong.
Isadore204 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 11:33 AM
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I, too, looked for kerouac, but considering I don't know what he looks like, it proved to be a fruitless effort. ;-)

Your Yetunde sounds like my Paula at Frenchy Rentals. Professional, yet friendly, and extremely responsive - before, during, and after.

I also forgot to mention that in addition to numerous metro lines in the area, we used buses as well. The 68 deposited us in front of the Musee d'Orsay, and whizzed by the Louvre pyramid on the way. Very cool, not to mention fast and efficient.
YankyGal is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 11:47 AM
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Thanks for the URL, Grasshopper!
scotlib is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 01:04 PM
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I have an invisibility cloak, like Harry Potter.
kerouac is offline  
Jun 18th, 2011, 04:51 AM
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Just adding a comment so the link goes on my page. The apartment looks lovely and the kitchen looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing it.
tarquin is offline  

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