Style secrets of the French by Casilda Grigg
Airbnb, the website that allows hosts to rent out spare rooms and properties, is a wonderful invention, no doubt about it, but it’s nothing like staying in a hotel. There’s no reception, no minibar and no little form to fill in stating that you’d like your morning eggs poached, not scrambled, and your orange juice freshly squeezed. Having just done it for the first time in Paris here are my 5 suitcase essentials:
1. A smelly candle of some kind. Naff I know. Expensive too. But if your host is a smoker you might be very glad to be able to defumigate your temporary lodging with some fig or mimosa (don’t forget the matches)
3. A spare plastic bag just in case there is no bin. Accumulated litter is very bad for the soul
4. Soap. A nice smelling soap is very comforting and no soap at all is a calamity for you and possibly everybody else
5. A bottle of WD-40 just in case the lock’s a bit sticky
I stayed with my friend, Ruth, in a small ground-floor flat in the 6th arrondissement belonging to a young guy called Cosme. Here’s the link:
On location alone it scored 10 out of 10. The neighbourhood had a fabulous greengrocer and cheese shop (Quatrehomme), a friendly, very decent café on the corner and a terrific Carrefour (open till 11pm) that stocked all sorts of wonderful things with the exception of bread (do not buy your baguettes at Carrefour!). It was direct on the métro from the Gare du Nord and just minutes on foot from Bon Marché and its amazing food hall (pictured below). Paris, for all its splendour, is not nearly as green as London but the flat had the added bonus of being very close to the Luxembourg Gardens.
On the down side Cosme’s abode was darkish and basic but it did have a very decent shower with lashings of hot water. And it was also clean. We paid just over £150 for two nights which we considered a bargain.
The one that got away
Here’s the link:
Had I not set my heart on the Left Bank I would have gone for this stylish apartment in Batignolles in the 17th arrondissement (northwest Paris), an area so up and coming that Christian Louboutin, the shoe designer, has even named one of his nail polishes after it.
It belongs to a girl called Valentine and it looks spacious, light and very elegantly done up. It’s next on my list.