Friday, September 5, 2014

Feeling Like a Local in Paris

One of my dreams is to live in Paris. 

But since that is unrealistic at this point, I choose the next best thing. I stay in my "own" apartment  whenever I'm able to visit the city of croissants and macarons. 

Take a look at our Paris digs on our most recent trip. I booked this apartment through AirBnb.

With AirBnb, we've "lived" in St. Germain--in a tiny apartment right on Rue Cherche-midi. It was an unbeatable 6th-arrondisement location.

We've also stayed a couple of times in the 4th--the Marais--a very fun and of-the-moment area, and the only place where the shops are open on Sundays.

I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying I haven't rented a dud of an apartment yet.

I'm still adventurous enough to take the risk of getting a less-than-stellar place. So far, my risk-taking has only yielded unique experiences.

Bea, who is a true Paris local (having lived in the 15th arrondissement  for the past ten years) actually gets a kick out of seeing which apartment I book next because she gets to see a new area with new eyes. 

Even if I book something wonderful, I'll never repeat apartments. I know there is still another apartment to experience and another area to discover. 

Each trip should be a chance to live in a another part of Paris--that is even better than being a local who lives in just one place, right?

This apartment, on the border of the 3rd and 11th arrondissements was simple, spacious, bright, and tastefully furnished.  The kitchen was huge by Parisian standards.

With AirBnb, sometimes you're booking an apartment that is exclusively for rent, but most of the time you're renting  a home that is vacated for your stay.

Our host in this particular apartment was vacating it for the week we were there and told us to use what we wanted in the apartment. He even told us to help ourselves to anything in the fridge. And like good guests, we did.

In the morning, B would make an omelet with eggs,  porcini mushrooms and veggies he found in the fridge. We also bought our own food of course, but at least we didn't have to worry about salt, pepper and other cooking ingredients. We were also a gracious guests and  left them a thank you note with packs of dried mangoes.

I noticed from looking over my old photos that each apartment we've booked had books and magazines all over.

The location of this apartment allowed us to explore the young and hip Canal St. Martin area of the 10th and visit the cool new restaurants in the 11th arrondissement which are off the usual tourist route.

The building had a tiny elevator--and I mean T-I-N-Y--something like 4 feet x 1.5 feet--only enough bring up two suitcases and one person.

Actually that's all one needs--otherwise it was a short walk up.

 The building was obviously retrofitted with an elevator shaft

When I first saw the building's blue front door, I almost got a panic attack-- specially when I saw it was between two uninteresting shops (one was even abandoned). After one afternoon at "home" I realised I didn't have to worry. From this experience, I learned not to judge an apartment by its front door. 

Across our street was the Musee des Arts et Metier, a gem of a museum.

Around the corner was a pharmacy and a florist,

And anywhere you walked, it was...well, Paris--where everything looks charming.

I'm looking forward to my next AirBnb experience.

It's he closest I'll get to being a local in Paris.

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