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Comforts and Niceties

Our friend and architect Debrah Walker designed the apartment with an eye to making every inch of space functional and beautiful. We completely renovated the original apartment (that is, Zygmunt, our Polish contractor did), keeping its ancienne character--and have filled it with antiques (we're regulars at the Marchés au Puces at Clignancourt) and books and music (as well as a little dishwasher, and a combination washer/dryer--and of course all the normal kitchen accoutrements). Since we're on the top floor of the building (third floor by U.S. definition, second by French standards), we were able to open the ceiling up, exposing massive 400 year old beams. The walls between the rooms are stone one to two feet thick; consequently, the sound insulation is amazing.

There is a living room with kitchen (copper pots and pans, a rotisserie in the oven, good knives and gadgets), a separate bedroom, a sleeping loft with a skylight which opens, and two bathrooms.

We've found that the apartment is sublime for two guests and excellent for four. But even though we have a sofa bed in the living room, it's getting a little close with six people unless they're very good friends!

The apartment was originally two studio apartments with a hallway connecting them. There are three large French windows across the front, one in the living room, one in the hall, one in the bedroom. The light is quite lovely. There is a window over the kitchen sink that looks out towards a small courtyard. There are also windows in each bathroom, and a second window in the bedroom that opens onto the small courtyard below. The stairs to the sleeping loft (with skylight) go up from the hall. The loft is closed off to the bedroom, but open to the living room.

We have a wireless (Wi-Fi) network, connected to the Internet via a cable modem, which is great for anyone who comes to Paris with his or her own computer. (We keep the password to the network posted on the fridge.)

There is also a great stereo system with jazz, classical and blues CDs. The stereo is wired to accept an i-pod or any other MP3 player. There is not now, nor will there ever be, a television (this is Paris, after all, who needs a TV?). And there are a lot of books, quite a few about the literature and history of France, and Europe in general, but also a lot of novels, mysteries, etc. We have an extensive collection of guidebooks and maps as well.

In fact, hanging out in the apartment has been so nice that we no longer feel required to head out into the city at all possible moments, as we did when we stayed in a nearby hotel. Just sitting in front of the window, reading, listening to music and the intermittent church bells and watching the world go by on the magical rue de la Montagne Ste. Geneviève is quite wonderful in itself.