Comforts and Niceties
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
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.