Monday, 30 March 2015

One Fine Stay - A Paris rental apartment

With surprise weekend Eurostar tickets to Paris presented to me, I thought we'd push the boat out with accommodation and we decided to rent an apartment rather than stay in a hotel.

The strap-line of One Fine Stay is 'live like a local' and that's exactly what we did in this designer apartment in the South-West of Paris.  There's something about staying in a hotel that makes you instantly feel like a tourist, and we wanted to discover the heart and soul of Paris.

Being able to close our bedroom window shutters at night, brew our own coffee in the kitchen and stroll out of the front door to pick up baguettes seemed to make the whole experience more Parisian.

The apartment is in the 15th arrondissement, with both Commerce and Avenue Emile Zola metro stations a two minute stroll away.  We hopped on the subway after arriving in at Gare Du Nord and arrived at the property within 40 minutes.  It may sound like a long way out, but it's a short walk from the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine, and the Paris Metro is so efficient you can easily get around the city.

Armed with the key code, we slipped off the bustling Rue du Commerce with it's fashion stores, through an unassuming gate into an oasis of calm.  The pretty courtyard is surrounded on all sides by apartments and we were met at our staircase by our One Fine Stay greeter.


All the communication from One Fine Stay was excellent, right from placing our booking.  I received several texts on our day of arrival which was reassuring and helpful as I was able to check last minute details about the apartment and what I needed to bring.

Climbing the staircase, we soon found our home for the next two nights, it was warm and welcoming - she had already switched on the lights, checked the heating, laid out a welcome basket of tea, coffee and biscuits and put milk in the fridge.



All the worries you might have about leaving the security of a traditional hotel stay have been assuaged by One Fine Stay.  We were able to book a breakfast package for the first morning - expensive but worth the money when we woke to pouring rain on the first morning!  There's some one to meet you and check you in.  They ensure you have the basics to be able to make a drink etc. Best of all, you're issued with an iPhone and charger which acts as your personal concierge during your stay.  On the phone you'll fine useful apps to enable you to book cabs; find cycle hire; make restaurant reservations; find tourist information, maps and so on.  Their own app is excellent, it has recommendations for things to do, places to see and dine at and a handy app which will direct you 'home' from wherever you are.  There is 24 hour phone support should you have any problems, there's gorgeous L'Occitane toiletries in the bathroom, piles of fresh white towels and excellent wifi.




The apartment we chose was compact, but plenty of room for the two of us - much more space than you'd have in the average hotel room.  There's a separate dining area, an en suite toilet and shower room and a small kitchen area - no oven but I wasn't planning on doing any cooking! The bedroom has a fabulously comfortable kingsize bed with crisp white cotton linen and original art deco reading lights at the bedside.  Over the bed is an imposing art deco cloud-shaped mirror which frames the bed perfectly.



But the biggest draw to this property is the decor.  The pied a terre of a Parisian antique dealer, the apartment is beautifully furnished and decorated with original art deco pieces and vibrant modern art.  Brushed chrome and Anglepoise lamps aplenty. 



On the Rue du Commerce you'll find a pleasant mix of clothes shops, together with grocery shops such as a bakery selling delicious artisan bread and the all important croissants, a greengrocer with a mouth-watering display of fresh fruit and vegetables, a fromagerie offering every kind of cheese imaginable - you can even buy oysters from the shop just opposite if the mood takes you. There's a bar on the corner where you can take your morning coffee or a glass of wine in the evening, and a good restaurant - the Cafe du Commerce where dining takes place on 3 floors in galleries with a huge indoor tree growing in the centre of the building. This place is famed for it's steaks - although of all the places we dined this one offered the least help with our limited language skills!





I'd recommend an evening stroll to the Eiffel Tower.  Not only is it less busy than during the day, the tower is spectacular illuminated.  The atmosphere is carnival-like and even the street vendors selling tatty souvenirs seem to become more good-humoured and friendly.  You'll find carousels and candy-floss stores and lots of families enjoying the ambiance.



Every hour of darkness, the tower puts on a brief light show for the first 5 minutes of each hour, all 300 metres of it light up with 20,000 sparkly twinkling lights, and it's definitely worth seeing.  Stroll back along the river before cutting back to your apartment and you're home in around 15 minutes.

        

We thoroughly enjoyed our break with One Fine Stay and will certainly consider them for other city breaks - they have hand-selected properties on their books in London, Paris, New York and LA.

Points to note:

One Fine Stay require the lead guest to be at least 25 years of age.  They require a deposit to be held from a credit card (in our case £1000), and this will only be reimbursed 5 days after your departure.


Linking up with All About France

59 comments:

  1. Oh my what a wonderful way to stay in Paris, I love the little details like the iPhone loaded with apps and the welcome milk etc.

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    1. I think they'd thought of pretty much everything!

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  2. This apartment looks beautiful. My husband prefers to stay in a hotel but I think an apartment like this is great, you can get ourself a simple breakfast or snack if you need to and the space is great, compared to a hotel room.

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    1. I love Paris by the way! We had lunch in the Eiffel Tower and it was a nice way to relax with a great view.

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    2. We'll definitely be looking at an apartment again. We often stay in cottages when we're in the countryside, but this had a lot more 'added extras'.

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  3. This looks wonderful. It sounds like One Fine Stay really captures the experience of living in Paris, where it's all stylish close quarters and easy walks to quintessential Paris sights. What is more francais than staying with your very good friend the Parisian antique dealer?

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    1. Oh how I wish she was my very good friend! I'd be visiting her often!

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  4. This looks like you had a brilliant time, I will definitely be looking the company up for city breaks in the future.

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    1. We did! You should, I wholeheartedly recommend them.

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  5. How fantastic! What an amazing way to enjoy a break. I had never thought about hotels underlining the touristy feel of a holiday, but you are totally right! Wonderful photos, I am not the least bit jealous! ;-)

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  6. wow stunning pictures!! what a fantastic way to enjoy Paris xx

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    1. Thanks Angela, it was a great way to experience the city.

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  7. Replies
    1. It truly was! I didn't want to come home Becky!

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  8. Wow that looks amazing, what a great way to stay in Paris. I love Paris and we are returning there with the children this summer and I will definitely check this site out as I love the way everything is so organised.

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    1. We've already promised Ruby we'll go back and take her next time so we'll have to check their site for a bigger apartment!

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  9. What a wonderful way to say in Paris - I love the idea of having your own little home away from home. x

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    1. That's exactly what it felt like. Only swankier obviously!

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  10. This looks great Lizzie - just the perfect apartment! Handy too as we are looking for a place to stay in New York in September so I'll check them out - thanks :)

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    1. Oooh do! I bet you'll find something right up your street.

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  11. that is absolutely adorable, loving the blue staires and the seating for two

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    1. There were so many lovely details to look at in the apartment, so thoughtfully styled.

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  12. Love your pics and love the place. Great idea to live like a local with the safety net of a virtual concierge, what a great concept.

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    1. The virtual concierge was great, certainly felt less intimidating being in a strange city with that back-up.

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  13. I love the idea of an apartment rather than a hotel and it looks like you found a great one!

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    1. It was so different to staying in a hotel, completely different experience.

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  14. This apartment look gorgeous. It's great to stay in an apartment in a city because it helps you to feel less like a tourist and you usually get more space and facilities than you do with a hotel room.

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  15. Wow what a gorgeous place! I love that they gave you a phone to help with your stay too xx

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    1. It was really fab, and the phone came in handy too!

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  16. Wow oh wow the place looks amazing, hey I see some very nice food yumyum .

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    1. Oh yes, there was a lot of food action that weekend!

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  17. How nice is this and so you Liz. I bet you were chuffed when they handed you an iphone with all the info you needed! Mich x

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  18. Wowee! How chic;) Looks fabulous and I had no idea you could do such a thing. Will defninitely bear One Fine Stay in mind in future - hope you had as wonderful a time as was poss xx

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    1. They have so many amazing properties on their books - well worth a look.

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  19. Oh woooow! I am trying so hard not to be envious! I love Paris with a passion, and I can't believe I've never heard of One Fine Stay before - it sounds like a fantastic and totally stress-free way to travel. Love the idea of the iPhone concierge. And I WANT that cloud mirror! Hope you had a lovely relaxing time xx

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    1. We had an awesome time thank you x

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  20. Liz ... you had me at the title .. and then i only drooled more .. what an utterly stunning location and accommodation .. Paris is on our list .. it was for this year but with 2 surgeries it will have to be next year now .. thanks for sharing (and making me green with envy! ) x

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    1. I hope you're well enough to go soon. x

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  21. That looks so beautiful, you have got me thinking about Paris right now. Sounds like an interesting concept to more traditional hotels.

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    1. It was SUCH a different experience to a hotel stay.

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  22. OOh you lucky thing you, I would be more than chuffed to be presented with Eurostar tickets and the apartment looks amazing x

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  23. That looks beautiful! - we are big fans of Paris and always stay in an apartment, it's a great way to see the city!

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  24. Oh what a wonderful way to experience and enjoy a trip. I adore Paris and now I want to go and sleep like a local

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  25. Look slike a lovely place for a grown up weekend away.

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  26. I would love to stay there! Sounds like you had a fabulous time in Paris :) x

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  27. Looks great! I'd love to stay amongst locals and spend my time searching for local eateries. I've been to Paris 4 or 5 times and never seen any of the major sights (tower included).

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  28. I have always wanted to go to Paris, maybe one day.....it looks amazing

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  29. Fab photos and an apartment sounds so much nicer than an hotel

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  30. What a way to see a city Liz! A fantastic idea that really does make you feel 'at home'. I love the art in that apartment and would love to see the twinkly lights one day too.
    Thanks so much for linking up to Time Traveller, this is a fantastic and very handy read.

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  31. This looks gorgeous - I've stayed in an apartment with AirBNB in Paris and it really is a lovely way to experience the city. This looks a lot more glam!

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  32. Awesome! Staying in an apartment is the only way to go when traveling. So glad you had a positive experience in Paris! Love the cat ;-)

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  33. Appreciate, like so many others here, your stating how a hotel stay makes one feel like a tourist. Except for few instances - like the stay at the George V "someday" I once promised myself! - there is no better base than "one's own" apartment from which to enjoy a lively walking city like Paris.

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  34. I've been to Paris 4 times now and only stayed in a hotel on the first trip. After that we have used apartments- SO much better. We've used a few agencies, but never across the loaded iPhone- that's such a great idea.

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  35. I nearly always stay in apartments on city visits and agree that you get a more "local" experience. One Fine Stay really pulls out all the stops with the iPhone and Occitane toiletries! Wow! I'm impressed. Thanks for linking this to #AllAboutFrance

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  36. This apartment looks beautiful.I prefers to stay in a hotel but I think an apartment like this is great, you can get ourself a simple breakfast or snack if you need to and the space is great, compared to a hotel room.......

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