With my bulky suitcase lagging behind me, I clambered slowly up the steps out of the métro looking all around for signs that I had taken the correct exit. A few minutes later, I was on a bustling French street, my eyes busily scanning each door for numéro 6.
As I arrived at what I thought was the correct building and fumbled for the intercom button, a friendly voice from behind me shouted ‘No, it’s this one’. The kind stranger was Fabrice de Simone, one of three founders of RentParis, an agency offering stunning handpicked rentals across the city. While some companies offer accommodation several metro stops from the city’s main haunts, RentParis in fact has apartments across the city, all within walking distance of many wonderful attractions.
I was staying on the eastern edge of the Rue Rambuteau, a bustling street lined with greengrocers, elegant pâtisseries and packed cafés and restaurants. My apartment building enjoyed a prime location between the Centre Georges Pompidou, just two minutes’ walk to my right, and the charming, hip Marais district, with its cobblestone streets, strong Jewish community and trendy gay nightclubs just around the corner to my left. And I soon realised that I was only 15 minutes’ walk from the Louvre, the mother of all museums.
I unlocked the door to find a nicely furnished apartment. The bed was large and soft, the closet spacious and the kitchen modern and extremely well-equipped, making it easy for guests to enjoy a meal in the apartment should they not want to eat out one night.
What I was particularly impressed by was that RentParis makes the effort to meet its guests upon arrival and nothing is too much trouble for them. In my apartment there was a handy city guide filled with insider tips on making the most of your time in Paris and Fabrice briefed me on where to go for dinner that Saturday night and brunch on the Sunday. There was even a telephone concierge service, which guests can dial for free from their apartment phone for help on everything from making restaurant reservations to ordering a taxi.
My stay with RentParis was a most enjoyable one as I got to stay in a real apartment block and see the Paris that the tourist groups don’t often get to see. I can’t wait to stay in another of their apartments and see more of Paris as her authentic self.
The apartment on Rue Rambuteau sleeps two people and costs from £60 per night. www.rentparis.com