We booked an Airbnb apartment for our week in Paris. It was smack dab in the middle of the 18th Arrondissement. “The 18th” includes such famous sites as Montmartre, Moulin Rouge, and the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Our apartment was found near the crossroads of Rue Ordener and Boulevard Ornano. The Metro station is Marcadet-Poissoniers on Lines 4 and 12.
When we arrived, we were greeted by the owner, Heloise. She’s a pretty, young, and friendly Parisienne. We only met her the one time, but she was very pleasant and friendly during our short interaction. She gave us a little package complete with a couple of keys. I totally forgot to take a picture of our apartment key, but it was like a round key used for utility boxes, but with many more bumps. It was unique for me seeing such a key.
The apartment was exactly like the photos on the website. You could tell Heloise had a creative and decorative touch. The mirror in the bathroom looked like a beautiful antique. There was also a washing machine, which came in handy. I couldn’t get a decent photo of the shower. It had a wonderful rainfall shower head which was just simply relaxing when showering under it.
The toilet was in a narrow room beside the apartment entrance. It was separate from the shower and the wash basin. The kitchen simply consisted of the counter with stove top, sink, microwave/oven, and cabinetry. The cupboards were stocked up with a few essentials. We definitely ended up making use of the cups, glass, and bowls during our stay.
Across from the kitchen counter was the sofa, coffee table and a tiny dining table. This just the perfect little pad for the two of us to hang out in. There was a small flat screen TV and a “Freebox.” The Freebox provided us with TV channels and Internet access. It also worked well with Apple’s AirPlay from my wife’s iPhone. Sometimes we didn’t know what to watch on French TV. So my wife would load up something on the Internet via her iPhone and then rebroadcast it via the Freebox onto the little TV. That was really handy on the first night where we tried to watch TV to keep us up to overcome our jet lag.
The building had a two-stage entrance system. One had to enter an access code at the giant front door. Then there were secondary doors for each side of the building. Each of these secondary doors also had their own access codes. These access code panels seemed to be ubiquitous across Paris for every apartment building I passed by.
The apartment was on the 7th and top floor of the building. We would take a tiny, but really cool, 3-person elevator from the ground floor to the 6th floor. It looks like the elevator was an add-on and that it had to be specifically designed to fit within the tight area inside the spiral stairs. At the top, we’d have to continue up the spiral staircase to the 7th floor. We would exit onto the rooftop to access the apartment. This made Heloise’s apartment feel really secret and secluded because we had to access it in such a weird and wonderful way.
The apartment had two giant windows that looked out towards the northeast. Because we were near the edge of Paris proper, the view was actually towards the outer regions of Paris. Hence, there were tall apartment buildings that don’t look like your typical Parisian abode.
The rooftops of our building and most of the surrounding buildings all had these earthen coloured chimney spouts. It all looked like inverted flower pots to me. It was quite distinctive. I wonder if these spouts are common throughout Europe or if they are more of a feature of Parisian buildings.
In the middle of the building was a courtyard nestled below. In fact it seems like there were many courtyards between the buildings.You could definitely spy on your neighbour here if you wanted to. Because of the 30°C – 38°C weather while we were in Paris, we had to keep the windows open most of the time. Luckily on the 7th floor, there are less windows from which to peer into the flat.
When I went to dump our garbage at the bottom of the courtyard, I found a great view looking back up to the apartment. It’s amazing how many people and apartments can fit in a 7-storey apartment building in Paris.
The apartment was very lovely. It had quick and easy access to the Paris Metro. Only downsides were the dust that seemed to come in from local construction and the noise at night. If we could close the windows, then I don’t think that would have been a problem. However, it was way too hot to shut the windows. We definitely needed the breeze to blow through the apartment to keep us cool.
Overall, Heloise’s pad was a great home base for our week in Paris.