By Jane Paech
I rattle up to the third floor in the tiny elevator and turn the key in the door. It’s charming and adorable and oh so Parisian, and as much as I want to explore this romantic one bedroom apartment I am drawn straight to the lounge, where before me is a tantalizing view of the Eiffel Tower. I fling open the French doors to let in the spring breeze and the sounds of Paris, and peer out. Down on the street below, scooters zip by and locals walk their dogs. I can almost smell the coffee at the café on the corner with its large wrap-around terrace.
Here in the delightful Volnay apartment, through five sets of French doors, I have an amazing window to Paris life, and it’s ever so hard to to pull myself away. But there is a deep bath to relax those aching feet in after a long day of researching, a cosy couch to curl up on and a welcome bottle of wine to share.
The Volnay sits at the intersection of five busy roads but as soon as I snap shut the double glass doors it’s surprisingly quiet inside. It is also spotlessly clean and beautifully appointed with a lovely, warm feel. The kitchen is compact but well equipped with everything you could possibly need, and after dark, if you ever tire of the Eiffel Tower sparkling on the hour, you can close those beautiful, heavy curtains to black-out the light, and slip between a set of luxurious sheets.
I first met Madelyn, founder of Paris Perfect with her husband Philippe, when I was researching Delicious Days in Paris and fell in love their hand-selected, luxury rentals. All of their apartments are in quarters with a neighborhood feel and many, in fact, are right here in the surrounding streets, on light-filled upper floors with stunning views of the Eiffel Tower.
In the heart of the Left Bank, this chic part of town in the 7th arrondissement boasts an idyllic central location and is one of the city’s most desirable residential pockets, with a mix of classic old apartments and elegant village-like streets. It is also walking distance to several impressive monuments and museums, and to the banks of the River Seine.
The quarter is chock-full of cozy neighborhood eateries and the nearby rue Saint-Dominique is one of my favorite restaurant streets in Paris, arching gracefully across the 7th. In addition, there is a bounty of gourmet delights on the doorstep, making it an ideal locale for food lovers to spoil themselves by renting an apartment.
Freed from the limitations of a hotel room, an apartment provides the facilities for food lovers to cook and experiment with an exciting array of new produce, gives the flexibility to eat in or out and the opportunity to live like a true (if rather privileged) Parisian, falling in step with the rituals of daily French life. You can pretend, just for a while, that you are bolted up in your own little pied-à-terre in Paris … and live the dream.
Such joy comes from nicking down to la boulangerie early in the morning to return with a bag of warm, sweet-scented pastries, or from filling your basket at the market before heading home for lunch. The traditional merchant street rue Cler is a favorite food destination in the quarter, where you can buy beautiful fresh fish, meat, cheese, bread, wine, fruit and vegetables – along with a bunch of flowers to brighten your table.
While in Paris this spring, I was also lucky enough to try out two more of Paris Perfect’s gorgeous apartments, both just a stone’s throw from Volnay in the same little pocket of heaven. Each has its charms.
The Bergerac is so close to the Eiffel Tower that you can almost reach out and chink your Champagne glass against it in a toast to Paris. This elegant three bedroom, two bathroom vacation rental is stylishly decorated and very comfortable. The friendly, English-speaking team go the extra mile for you, and along with a great service mentality there are beautiful little details everywhere.
With the sun streaming in, I cranked up the Nespresso machine and popped down the street for some sticky pastries for a relaxing French afternoon tea.
If you don’t feel like cooking in the evening, enjoy an aperitif as the sun sets over the rooftops and the Eiffel Tower begins her magic show, before walking to dinner at one of the many fine restaurants nearby.
The Lalande made my heart skip a beat. Flooded with natural light, this glam address with three bedrooms and three bathrooms stretches over the 5th and 6th floors of a classic old building and woos with 1,000 square feet of space to unwind in after a hard day of sightseeing. The dreamy duplex is elegantly furnished and super for entertaining. This is me living the dream!
I can just imagine a glorious Christmas here, with plump oysters and roast turkey with all the trimmings. Perhaps followed by a platter of artisan cheeses from Marie-Anne Cantin’s perilously-close fromagerie, and a beautiful dessert from Stéphane Secco’s Belle Epoque bakery just a dash down the road.
Alsace is perfect for a large group, which is another perk of renting an apartment. Rather than being closed off behind separate hotel rooms, you can spend more time with those you love – and in doing so make more wonderful memories.
Accommodation courtesy of Paris Perfect.