Our first night in Paris began with our arrival from Tours on the TGV (after dropping our car at the station…without filling up with petrol because NONE of the 3 petrol stations we tried had staff – only automated machines that would not accept our credit card!! Tant pis!). We were late getting into our apartment and spent some time waiting on the street below for the agent, who happened to be in the apartment the whole 45 minutes we were waiting downstairs – we had not been given a number for the flat to ‘buzz’, and we soon discovered that the phone number we HAD been given was “the old one” (!!!). Great start with the customer service.
Apart from the incredibly dodgy internet service, the lack of towels (2 bath towels for 4 adults – rectified the following day), the queen bed in the second bedroom when two singles had been requested (rectified the following day), only 2 keys (when we would not be spending all our time together), dirty rugs and one toilet when the website says “toilets”, the apartment is actually quite good. The location is outstanding, and all other aspects worked out well. And to be honest, having such a central location in Paris makes things terribly easy and convenient (we are half way between the Seine and the Chatelet metro – perfect) The company who acts as an agent for the owners, Private Homes, were prompt and clear in all correspondence, and I would happily use them again (they manage apartments in Paris, London, Rome and Barcelona).
We proceeded to settle in and unpack, then popped downstairs to the local ‘Carrefour’ supermarket to get provisions (only 20 metres from our door…and by ‘provisions’ read breakfast stuff and champagne). Enjoying a tipple with our gooey French cheeses as pre-dinner ‘yay, we are in Paris’ moment, got us in the mood for a lovely evening out, meeting friends for dinner. I should point out that we were flatting with 2 other friends and meeting up with more, all in town for the International Drama Conference being held at Diderot University.
I had scouted out some options for us all for dinner on our first night – something vegetarian friendly was not as difficult as expected. So we walked a couple of blocks to Le Potager du Marais, that provided us with not only top shelf vegetarian food, but a solidly fantastic evening out (I was a big fan of the vegetable pie and the lentil balls on a bed of spinach – fantastic). Our stroll back to the apartment was full of the nostalgia of previous visits, and the joy of introducing friends to Paris’ magic. Lots of talking, laughing and gawking, full of excitement for what the following days would bring. Great first night!