Because the dollar is being slammed by the euro, two decent hotel rooms were going to cost as much as an apartment rental. I searched for affordable hotel rooms but concerned about how comfortable my parents would be in a strange country, I decided on an apartment we can call our own for seven days.
I called and exchanged emails with several agents. I judged by the agent's website and photos and how fast they returned my emails.
I’ve always imagined that when I finally make it to Paris, I’d live like a Parisian so I rented a loft on one of the most coveted neighborhoods in the city, on Ile Saint-Louis. For the exact listing, please visit:
There was another sun-filled loft on the 7th arrondisement with a porch that I liked but Paul, the Paristay.com agent, insisted that I take this one. If it wasn’t for a French friend's raves of the island on the Seine, I don’t think I would have. The building dates back to the 1550s and the apartment was just recently renovated. It looked spare on the photos but it’s fully-equipped. I also fell in-love with the old wooden beams and the high ceiling.
It’s a pain in the neck to rent an apartment in Paris. I received the rental terms via email after I submitted an inquiry. I printed, signed and faxed them back. I went to the bank to wire the agent’s fee to receive the lease from the owner. I printed, signed with a "lu et approuve" and faxed them back. I went to the bank a second time to wire the week’s rent to secure the apartment. I still owed the refundable security deposit but I didn't have to worry about that until we got there. When we arrived in Paris, I bought a calling card from the money exchange booth at the airport, called the agent and we met at the apartment. I gave them the rest of the payment with the security deposit in exchange for the keys.
While in Paris, most of the stops we made after hitting the touristy spots were around the island of Saint-Louis. The apartment was the perfect space for three people complete with a loft bed, a bathroom, a fully-equipped kitchen and a sofa bed in the living room. The neighborhood in itself is one of the most coveted in Paris because residents are on their own island on the Seine River, away from the hoopla of the city but right by most necessities and all kinds of luxury. There was a bakery on the ground floor and the smell of freshly-baked bread wafted to our apartment each morning. A small grocery store was across the street where we bought daily necessities. Numerous French bistros were a stone's throw away, so drinking a bottle of wine by myself during dinner was not a problem because all I had to do was walk home.