Recently during a stay in Paris, I rented a gorgeous one-bedroom apartment through one of my favorite rental firms, Just France. Renting an apartment in Paris is one of life’s great joys. Different than a hotel, a vacation apartment rental affords you some space to throw your clothes about, relax and sip coffee without a hefty room-service tab, and to pretend you are a vrai Parisian for the week. Going to the market on Sunday morning (in my case the nearby Raspail Organic Market) is reason enough for an apartment stay. Lugging back perfect French radishes, rotisserie chicken, flowers for 5 euros and fruits and veggies that I’ve handpicked for a proper Sunday lunch is seriously one of my favorite things about France. Market shopping is a sport, and picking out the best vendors is an art.
This and many other pleasures are what an apartment stay affords. What you won’t have, of course, is a concierge, but many apartment rental agencies will supply you with concierge service for an extra charge. Girls’ Guide also has a service you can use for however many days you wish. You’ll also have to lug your luggage upstairs (if the apartment is a walk-up) or haul it into a tiny elevator (in most cases). So keep that in mind when you pack at home. Luckily, most of the time, the greeter, the person who meets you at the apartment and who will show you around and give you the key, can help you with your luggage.
You’ll have to go out and buy toilet paper and other necessities when you run out, but this is the part that’s fun. I love any excuse to go to a Monoprix. For a large group, there is no more economical way to stay in Paris than via vacation apartment rental. But be aware that not all firms are the same. Some are simply listing sights for owners who rent their apartments out, and the agency will take no responsibility for the shape the apartment is in when delivered to you. That can be a major bummer, something I experienced several years back that nearly ruined a monthlong stay. So be sure to double-check with the agency that it is on top of the cleaning aspect of the rental and is responsible for the condition of the apartment. Oh, and whatever you do, do NOT rent from Craigslist. On that site, there are a number of fraudulent “owners” renting places that they do not own. That would certainly be a horrible surprise after a long overnight flight.
Just France is a company that I trust 100 percent. I’ve been dealing with it for nearly a decade. It rented out my apartment in Paris and now rents out my house near Bordeaux. It’s been in the business for more than 20 years, far longer than most of its competition. Yes, you might pay more for some of its apartments than you would through other firms, and it only rents for a week or more, but you get what you pay for. It never ever rents out an apartment that it doesn’t personally inspect, and the ladies there have great taste, so you’ll be very, very happy.
My abode was directly across from the Musée Maillol, in a posh part of the 7th Arrondissement, right at the crossroads where it meets the 6th near the boulevard Raspail. It was close to several metro stops, a Vélib’ station and a number of lovely small market shops. The famous cheesemonger Barthélémy was just down the street, but it was the full French windowed view of the facade of the Musée Maillol that took my breath away. That, and the absolutely divine and perfectly tailored decor of the apartment: ironed sheets, cushy little sofas with the perfect throw and lighting that was really thought out, along with the all white china and a Nespresso machine that turned me into a believer. The greeter, who is also the femme de ménage, was very kind and spoke perfect English, even though I always need to practice my French.
Most apartments in Paris do not have air-conditioning, and you don’t really need it except for one or two days in July or August. Two questions you should always ask: (1) Is it a walk-up? and (2) Is the bedroom in the front or back? (Facing the street can be noisy.) Certainly my stay on the rue de Grenelle was infinitely more delightful than a stay in any hotel room could have been. I made breakfast every day and even a dinner or two while I worked away on my computer. My only complaint was the lack of Wi-Fi, but an Ethernet cable kept me connected and allowed me to work with a spectacular view. This particular one-bedroom apartment rents for around 2,000 euros for the week, depending on season.
If you haven’t yet tried the apartment rental experience, check out some of the wonderful places you can rent, and consider it for your next trip.
51, rue de Grenelle, in the 7th.
01 45 48 56 75. Mon-Sat, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Editor’s note: Find a huge selection of apartments approved by the Girls’ Guide.