When we received an invitation to attend a wedding in Paris I was rather excited! Paris is one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic cities, images of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Louvre immediately popped into mind! Having visited Paris many times before I wanted to experience it a little bit differently this time. Rather than booking another hotel room which could be just anywhere in the world I wanted to live like a local and plunge into Parisian life by trying to find an apartment through One Fine Stay, an upscale letting company, which has a fine selection of luxurious private properties that are available for rent while the owners are out of town.
We managed to rent the most gorgeous looking apartment for our stay – Rue Saint-Honoré III – in dreamy Louvre-Opera. Most of the famous sights were within comfortable walking distance, with the iconic Louvre museum just a stones throw away, allowing me to take photos of the gorgeous architecture of the Louvre at different times of the day. The first image above was taken just before sunrise while the crowds of tourists were still fast asleep and busy Parisians slowly starting to get ready for the day ahead.
The apartment, with its Parisian flair, was tastefully decorated with luxurious rugs, light coloured wood panels on the walls, various pieces of art and antique furnishings and everything I imagined an upscale apartment in Paris would look like. Once we walked up the winding creaky staircases we felt right at home – ready to enjoy Paris like a local.
Everything in the apartment was carefully planned with great love for detail, giving it a homely feel that you only get in someone’s home. The chanteuse sofa with its cushions was a great place to sit and relax while listing to mellow Jazz in the background played on the owners stereo.
It would have been even more amazing to have those jazz tunes come from the old gramophone – being transferred back to the glamorous Paris of the 1920s which reminds me of of the book ‘The Parisian Wife’ by Paula Mc Lain which beautifully describes life in jazz age Paris.
My favourite piece of furniture in the apartment, however, was the dark wooden piano and the uniquely shaped chair.
The bedroom was another beautiful room in the apartment – the heavy curtains, textile wall paper and ornate bed were perfectly colour coordinated. The room faced a small shared courtyard – at night the noises from the neighbouring flats came through the open windows which did not disturb us at all but just added to the sense of what it would feel like to live here.
The en-suite bathroom featured a silver slipper bath that was most impressive to look at if not a little bit inconvenient for practical use.
During our stay we did not have to miss out on the usual hotel amenities such as high-quality toiletries, fluffy towels, high quality bed linen and 24/7 availability of a very friendly and responsive team were provided by One Fine Stay. We also appreciated the organic milk in the fridge, Nespresso coffee machine, and impeccable cleanliness of the place. Upon a arrival we were greeted by one of the local One Fine Stay team members who introduced us to the apartment and the do’s and don’ts – red labels on furniture indicated no go zones for visitors, a clever concept to protect the owners privacy.
Much appreciated was the iPhone we were given as part of our stay, filled with recommendations from the home owner – places of interest, bars, restaurants and local landmarks – it was also the place to find instructions of the various appliances and booking details. The homeowner’s recommendations was one of the things I was looking forward to the most – I usually do a lot of research of where to go in the area but having the advice of a local is just priceless! The only thing we found difficult was that the restaurants were not categorised into cuisines or lunch/dinner places but were merely dots on a map and the only way to get more info was to click on the dots individually. We found a beautiful breakfast place nearby through the list of recommendations (blog entry coming soon).
What I also liked about the service was the possibility to book extras like local guides and even a private chef who would prepare a meal in the apartment’s kitchen, however, with the wedding we were not able to fit any of the extras in that weekend. A nice touch were also the little presents that were left for us on the glass table in the dining area which included a note, guestbook and a voucher of 125 Euros for our next stay with them.
The large french windows of the dining and living area opened onto a tiny balcony with small chairs and large plant pots – we had the windows open whenever we were in the apartment, enjoying the summer breeze coming in from the outside.
Right opposite our apartment was the Eglise Réformée de l’Oratoire du Louvre, a historic protestant church founded in 1611 by Pierre de Bérulle.
The charming neighbourhood of Louvre Opera, right in the heart of historic Paris, was the ideal location to make the most of our limited time. Some of the most important sights were close by and the long strolls along the river Seine with its street vendors, cafes and restaurants a beautiful way to soak in the atmosphere.
The main reason of our stay in Paris was of course to spend time with friends and to attend our friends wedding celebration which took place in the stunning ‘Le Circle de l’Union Interalliée’, an impressive building with quintessential French rooms, elegantly decorated with opulent chandeliers, golden ornaments and antique furnishings.
It was a hot summers day that we spent mainly in the beautiful well kept gardens of Le Circle de l’Union Interalliée where we enjoyed a wonderful BBQ with the wedding party the night before. It was a gorgeous wedding and a great honour to be part of our friends special day who we wish a lifetime of love and happiness!
To cap it all off – here is a sunset image of the Louvre reminding me of the beauty of Paris – until the next trip!