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Trip Report Feed them on your dreams - Anselm and Margriet in Paris

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“Un dessert ou un café, monsieur?” The waiter had just lifted away my plate, cutlery, and wine glass. “Un café, s’il vous plait.”

The espresso arrived in a white cup, which I twisted so that I could read the lettering on the side: lavAzzu. I picked up the tube of sugar, held it for a few seconds between the tips of my fingers, and tore off the end. I tilted some into the cup and stirred. There was a tiny clink when I replaced the spoon on the saucer. I could smell coffee, warm food, and a hint of cigarette smoke. I raised the cup, sipped, and gazed out into the street. Paris.

I arrived on the morning of February 8th; Margriet, my wife, arrived on the 15th. Kate, our daughter, and Graham, her boyfriend, joined us on the 16th. They all flew home on the 24th, while I went on to Montpellier to see a friend. I returned home on the 28th.

I’m going to post a description of the apartments we rented and some notes on the trip. Margriet has agreed to be our food reporter. We’ll talk a bit about what the kids did. Along the way we’ll put in links to our photos.

The first apartment: Thanks, fishee

Inspired by fishee’s post about VRBO #28993, I booked it for the week I was to be in Paris by myself. The apartment is on rue de Saintonge in the 3rd, just a few doors south of rue de Bretagne. Two weeks before my arrival, Guy, the owner, wrote to say that he and Jean-Michel would be away when I arrived, but that Ilana, his neighbour, would meet me. “Between 10:30 and 12:30,” Guy wrote, “she must go to work, but it’s only two blocks from our place and she can quit her job for a moment and come give you the keys … you have to call her at your arrival.”

I was aiming to arrive well before 10:30, but as luck would have it, my flight was late. I bought a phone card at CDG and taxied in, fretting that I would have to find a phone booth. I arrived seven minutes late; Ilana was waiting.

When the elevator reached the hallway outside the apartment, the first thing I saw through the glass door was a penguin (or was it a puffin?) wearing a waiter’s uniform. There were plants and flowers on the stairs; mirrors and Chinese calligraphy hung on the walls.

Once inside, the apartment was exactly as shown on VRBO: www.vrbo.com/28993. You walk into the kitchen area; the bathroom is off to the right. Just past the kitchen are the bed, dresser, bedside table, and chairs. Beyond are the double doors to the balcony, where there is a table and two chairs. You can see the thoughtful touch of the owners in many little details, such as the two booklets of information on local amenities and restaurants. These are illustrated with photographs, maps, instructions, and menus.

I had the pleasure of meeting Guy and Jean-Michel and two of their four cats. (The Siamese—shy but curious—sat on my lap.) These men are welcoming, helpful, and kind.

I liked the neighbourhood. In the space of a couple of blocks along rue de Bretagne, there is the small Marché des Enfants Rouge, plus butchers, bakers, wine shops, banks, cafés, restaurants, green grocers, grocery stores, a fish store, and a cheese shop. The nearest Metro station is Filles de Calvaire, about five minutes from the apartment door. The street and the building are quiet.

I would recommend this apartment for anyone travelling alone. It would also work for two, although Margriet and I prefer more space when travelling together. There are, however, many entries in the guestbook from couples who have been very happy there.

Next: living on rue de Saintonge and the second apartment.

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