One of my neighbors was asking about some of the details of our recent trip to Europe so he could plan something similar. Rather than just letting him in on the details, I figured I'd write a few blog posts about it.
Back in college, my buddy and I stayed at Woodstock Hostel. It was fun, and had all the good things you'd expect from a hosteling experience (more on that trip here). However, now that I'm married and all grown up, something better was in order. Thankfully I was able to find this apartment with a great host on AirBnB, just a stone's throw away from Notre Dame Cathedral and Les Halles Station.
The location could not have been better. I could pop out in the morning for a photo-walk around Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint-Louis to watch the Seine and the rest of the city wake up. In the afternoons and evenings, I could head over to Place Georges Pompidou or Esplanade de la Liberation for some pictures and people-watching. C'est tres magnifique.
Really the only down side was that there were a lot of steps to get up to the apartment. However, being on the top floor also afforded a charming view of the rooftops of Paris (picture above). It also allowed for more light and less noise. The place was totally silent at night, in spite of all the restaurants and shops below. Speaking of which, there was a convenient Carrefour (care-A-foo) grocery store right across the street. One of the restaurants we enjoyed in the area was Pain Vin Fromages, which was a cozy fondue place with a friendly staff, and more varieties of cheese than I'll ever remember.
One recommendation I'd make before departing for any apartments in Europe: write down the coordinates and bring a GPS. Paris is notoriously difficult to navigate, especially if you've just arrived on an airplane and popped out of a subway station. If you have a Garmin GPS like I do, make sure you write down the coordinates in decimal-minute format. There are several websites that will do the conversion for you. Alternatively, you can do what I do and put Google Earth in decimal-minute format, mouse over the point of interest, and write down the coordinates at the bottom. Also note that it may take your GPS a few minutes to lock onto the satellites since you've presumably traveled a great distance. Sit down, relax, and enjoy an overpriced bottle of water while you wait. Oh yeah, don't forget extra batteries for the GPS.
More to come...