|For some reason, I’ve been waxing nostalgic about Paris this week. Perhaps it’s because Fashion Week and all of the spectacle of the 2013 collections will soon take over the City of Lights in a way few events can. Or perhaps it’s because January tends to be a reflective month that has as its companion this spiritual vessel into which we pour our hopes, dreams and plans for each new year (which in my case always includes a visit to Paris). Or maybe it’s simply because I miss Paris.Whatever the reason, I’ve got a case of Paris on the brain, and I’ve got it bad. So of course, this week, I’m revisiting the City of Lights with an eye toward two options for accommodations that are quite, quite enchanteur.
My belief about Paris is that after you’ve seen all the major sights on your first visit, the best option is to eschew hotels altogether and set up home base at a rented apartment (unless of course you’re traveling for business, in which case a hotel may be more appropriate). There are tons and tons of eye-popping apartments to be had, and best of all, in the final analysis, they tend to be more economical. No, you may not have room service at your fingertips, but you will likely find a splendid café steps away from your door, along with a pâtisserie, a boulangerie and more wine and cheese than you can imagine. I’ll take that over room service any old day.
Case in point—on my first visit to Paris as a teen, I stayed in a charming hotel right off the Champs-Elysées and had a wide-eyed and wonderful introduction to the city. But since that initial visit I have often rented an apartment, because, to be completely cliché, I am enthralled by the lives of Parisians and as such get swept up in the feeling of living like them. There is no better way to do that than to live in the heart of Paris life. Living in an apartment allows you to really slink into the rhythm of the city, get to know a neighborhood, meet people, find out-of-the-way places—and these are the experiences that make Paris such a remarkable city to visit.
With that in mind, there are two apartment rental resources in Paris that stand head and shoulders above the rest—Haven in Paris and Absolu Living Paris.
Absolu Living Paris is a straight-friendly resource primarily dedicated to serving gay and lesbian patrons (though they welcome all clients). In Paris, many of their apartments are located in Le Marais, which is not only one of the most stylish neighborhoods in town but also the heartbeat of gay life in the city. That means that when you stay at one of these apartments you’re in walking distance of fastastic shopping, the Metro, celebrated restaurants and, of course, Le Marais’s notable nightlife scene.
On my first visit with Absolu Living, I was pleasantly surprised by all the services they offer. They can pick you up from the airport, help you get into your rental, give you an introduction to the appliances (which can have a few quirks) and even offer a walking tour of the neighborhood so you can familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. Not only that, they remain available to you 24 hours a day should you have any emergency needs arise. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that my rental was stocked with guides to Paris, a selection of DVDs and a library of great books celebrating the best of both Paris and France. Trust me, few hotels have ever made me feel so at home.
Haven in Paris offers all of the same amenities as Absolu Living and much more on a more luxurious scale. Visiting one of the Haven in Paris apartments is like stepping into a dream. Each apartment is carefully selected, beautifully appointed and located at one of the best addresses in Paris. Think a two-bedroom penthouse in St. Germain with a panoramic view of the Eiffel Tower, a picture perfect one-bedroom flat just around the corner from Notre Dame or a breathtaking three-bedroom designer loft in Montogueil and you’ll get the idea of what Haven in Paris is all about.
Add to all of that the fact that Haven in Paris clients have access to a chauffeur and concierge service as well as tours and classes for everything from language to cooking, and you have the makings of an anything-but-run-of-the-mill visit to the City of Lights. I have had conversations with the owner of Haven in Paris, and she goes out of her way with the help of her many connections to make your Parisian fantasies come true.
Are you having champagne dreams and Eiffel Tower wishes yet? Well, If you’re not, I’m sure to be having enough for the both of us (and you’re crazy).
Until next time…be well…live Wells!
Find out more about Haven in Paris at haveninparis.com.
Find out more about Absolu Living at absoluliving.com.