This apartment was slightly (really) over our budget, but it included everything on my apartment rental wish list: two bedrooms, bathtub for kids, washer/dryer, fantastic location (bonus: in the rich-with-history Palais Royal – Palais Royal Gardens literally at our doorstep), walking distance to the Louvre and Tuileries Garden, and next to a main metro station. Plus, when I saw this picture I feel in love with the arched windows.
Was the apartment worth being a budget-buster? Yes. Here are a few highlights -
The Agency – Paris Vacation Apartments
Paris Vacation Apartments promptly responded to my emails, sent me many pages of information about the neighborhood: closest grocery store, bank, ATM, metro routes, bus routes – you name it. They also arranged our transportation from CDG to the apartment, and arranged a taxi for our return trip to CDG. I highly recommend them.
The apartment windows mimicked the shape of the arcade arches giving us a unique view of the tree tops and of the arcade below. It also meant it was incredibly quiet. The only outside noise was from the restaurant setting up their outdoor tables in the morning, the occasional clicking of a woman’s heels echoing down the arcade, and a few rowdy people on Friday and Saturday nights. One night we were serenaded by a woman singing opera.
The living area was cozy. The decorations tasteful and the bookcase full of books in English. The TV wasn’t limited to French channels; we watched the nightly news about major transportation strikes on an English language French news station along with the BBCNews. Kids were delighted to find the Disney channel, as were we. They watched morning cartoons while we sipped coffee and nibbled on warm croissants, before gathering our strength to wrangle them into clothes, and out the door.
The dining room table was also our activity table: homework, coloring, searching through guidebooks, wine tasting…
Notice I’m not the one cooking. That’s how it should be when a Mom’s on vacation.
The kitchen had pots, pans, cooking utensils, plates, cups – enough to host a small party. It was also equipped with a French press, electric tea kettle, coffee and an assortment of tea. Plus, the washer and dryer – an absolute must when traveling with three kids.
This lovely hallway connects the master bedroom to the main living space. The kids loved this hallway. From their perspective - it was a golden runway!
They sounded like a herd of elephants running on the hardwood floors. If you’ve learned one thing about my children during this trip it’s that they are incapable of walking. Even inside the apartment. Bummer that the floor of the hallway was also the ceiling of a restaurant, and the restaurant complained. This hallway is why in the future I’ll book ground floor apartments, only.
And it’s because of this hallway, that our goal each morning was to get the elephants dressed and out the door ASAP. This leads me to the highlight of the apartment: location on the Palais Royal Gardens.
To access the gardens, we went through a private back door on the ground floor. Opening that door reminded me of Mary Lennox opening the door to her garden in the book The Secret Garden. Just like Mary, I’d pull the large door back slowly, say to the kids “we’re opening the magic door…” and voila!” We are surrounded by open space to run, large fountains and whimsical statues, and rows of trimmed trees and benches for tired parents — a Parisian paradise at our doorstep.