Though the apartment’s street address is Rue des Grands Degrès, the orientation of the building allows for a breathtaking view of the bouquinistes on the Quai de Montebello, the Seine herself, and Notre Dame’s revered southern Rose Window. From the multiple tall windows of the gracious salon, one can just imagine the multitude of events for which this residence has been a backdrop since its construction in 1743; from Victor Hugo’s musings about a deformed bell ringer in the grand cathedral to the victory parade led by Charles de Gaulle in 1944.
The American owners of the property completely renovated and reconfigured it in 2007 to take full advantage of its picture-perfect view. Together with the exquisite taste shown in the decoration, the fine materials throughout and the provision of two bathrooms for the one bedroom, the apartment is ideal for a couple wishing to experience the lifestyle of Paris at its most elegant refined.
Two codes are required to access the entry hall and building. The public areas of the building are exceptionally well-maintained and well-lit. Access to the apartment on the second (French) floor is by an elevator or a large spiral staircase.
Immediately upon entering the apartment one is struck by its bright and cheery disposition. Polished wood floors run throughout the apartment. Light-colored walls enhance the abundant natural light and crown molded ceilings with recessed fixtures create an atmosphere of voluminous space. The wall hangings are mostly impressionist landscapes and portraits, all beautifully framed and thoughtfully placed.
The entrance to the apartment is a handful of steps down from the apartment itself. A hidden trap door allows access to this space below the steps, a perfect location for storing luggage during your stay. The bedroom is to the left of the entry and has one queen-sized bed. The light-colored wallpaper, with an iridescent swirling pattern, is offset by light blue accents in the comforter and curtains. There are two nightstands and individually operated wall sconces for nighttime reading. A small built-in closet offers hanging space and shelves for personal effects. Two windows overlooking a central court flank a flat-screen television that offers satellite TV reception with CNN and BBC, as well as a handful of additional English-speaking channels and a DVD player. An ensuite bathroom is fitted with a stall shower (there is no
tub) with sunflower head, as well as a glass vessel sink and mirrored vanity. The combination washer and dryer are concealed within a closet. Consider this “his” as across the hallway from the bedroom is “hers”: a lady’s bath and dressing area, complete with makeup table and chair, small dresser, stall shower and vanity area with glass vessel sink and plenty of shelves for personal effects. Separated from the hallway by a thick curtain, it is the epitome of luxury in a city where appearances speak volumes. The WC for the apartment is to the right of the apartment’s entrance.
Slightly further down the hall is the kitchen, on the left. Though small, it is expertly outfitted and has a surprising amount of counter space. A full-size La Canche cooker is the focal point, though the custom blond-wood cabinets and sliding etched-glass windows are just as lovely. Additional appliances include a full-size dishwasher, microwave, toaster, large European refrigerator, and a drip coffee maker.
The sliding windows allow the chef to interact with dinner guests relaxing in the dining room as final touches are added to a meal. The dining room lies beyond the kitchen on the left side of the open room that overlooks the river. The windows can also be closed to conceal the preparation and add an element of surprise to the presentation. The oval glass-topped dining table can seat four and is situated just beside one of the three full-length windows overlooking the Seine. A small buffet behind the table houses fine linens, crystal stemware, and china to set a luxurious table.
The living area of this large salon is comfortable and equally well-lit with abundant natural light streaming in the two full-length windows, as well as recessed fixtures and wall sconces. The seating area is comprised of a white leather sofa and two Louis XIV armchairs covered in elegant white fabric surrounding a small round glass-topped coffee table. An end-table offers a reading lamp, as well as a cordless telephone with free unlimited calls to American landlines. The apartment also offers a wireless high-speed internet connection.
Outside, turn away from the tourist mecca of the cathedral and within a short walk you’ll find a taste of vrai Paris, the Paris that the Parisians know and love. Less than five minutes away on foot, Place Maubert is lined with tiny streets and their charming shops and neighborhood merchants, not to mention its thrice weekly open-air market that calls to the gourmet inside of even the least kitchen-savvy traveler. Nearby metro stations and taxi stands put all of Paris within easy access of your lovely vacation home, an ideal location for relaxing or sophisticated entertaining.