Friday, December 3, 2010

Bedrooms and Water Closets

Since we traveled over a pretty fair distance in France, we stayed at three different places on our vacation.  It was great to compare the places--they are very different, each one suited to a different kind of stay.

When we arrived in Lyon late in the afternoon, we were ready to drop our bags and walk around.  The whole area around the convention center was booked, so we met my husband out at the Park&Suites Hotel.  Not a central location, but close to a metro stop, close to the Lyon Part Dieu train station, and big enough for us.  Personality?  Meh.  It made me think of a Euro-Embassy Suites.  But for a single night it was quite spacious, with super-comfy beds and even a kitchenette.  It also had (like all our lodgings) separate water closet and sink/shower rooms.  The kids thought that was novel.  But it was such an exciting hotel that we neglected to take pictures!

We slept in the next morning, completely by accident.  By the time we had dragged ourselves out of bed it was 9:30, and the hotel's "petit-dejuener" (breakfast) was just about finished.  Luckily there was a little market around the corner and we were able to have the first of our numerous food-shopping adventures there.  Good Lord, I love to shop for food in France.  I'll digress if I don't stop here.

We headed south that morning, to the ancient Roman city of Nimes.  I had found Hotel des Tuileries on the internet, and it had been very highly rated on Tripadvisor.com.  We had emailed back and forth a little, and so we knew that we had the entire fourth floor to ourselves.  Perfect!

Our little hotel was exactly what we wanted:  a traditional French hotel with tiny elevator ("one bag/one person"); narrow street; lovely breakfast room; walking distance to the sights in town.  We loved it!  The gracious owners were a bonus; Andrew and Caryn are English and love their new town so much.  They were eager for us to love it, too, providing great recommendations for dinners and merry yellow and orange umbrellas that were desperately needed one afternoon!

This isn't to say it was luxurious, just comfortable.  Our top floor consisted of two guest rooms, one with a double bed and bathroom (yes, plus w.c.!), the second with a living room, bedroom and bath.  Both rooms had multiple balconies looking out on the neighboring rooftops.  We were pretty high up:  in Europe the ground floor is "0" or "rez de chaussee" (ground floor), so the fourth floor is what we think of as the fifth.  I'd call the decor funky; Bill says that sounds critical and it was comfortable.  But I think orange carpet = funky, so I'll stick with my description.  It was immaculately clean and warm.

J was kind enough to take multiple photos of the hotel:
The Salle de Bain
The adjoining W.C.
Roof of an adjacent building.  I mean "Toile."
Breakfast was perfect.  Yogurt and cereals in addition to the traditional croissants and bread, all accompanied by cafe au lait, tea, or hot chocolate.  The kids learned to order "chocolat chaud" pretty fast!
Dee-lish.  (That is not French.  That is 'murrican.)
The cute breakfast room.
After a lovely two nights in Nimes we left our new friends to drive north.  We had really shifted our vacation plans around to spend five nights in Paris, which allowed us to stay here:


We rented an apartment from Paris Perfect.  Let me just say the name says it all.  We've rented plenty of places (beaches, especially) over the years but I've never been as happy with an agency or a rental.  Romanee is pretty small, only 780 square feet, but perfectly laid out and wonderful.

We decided to look into apartment rentals after checking hotel prices in Paris.  OUCH!  We would need three rooms, with six people, and prices were pretty steep.  Even staying out from the city center was incredibly expensive.  We were able to rent this apartment, with kitchen, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and even a washer and dryer for less than the cost of the hotels.  (Not a lot less, just a little, but we got so much more!)  AND we got to look at this amazing view from our dinner table every evening:

One great thing about the apartment rental was that it allowed us to prepare some of our meals ourselves in our kitchen.  This meant that we could try out the markets and shops in the area and start to feel like a part of the neighborhood.   After a couple of days the lady in one of the bakeries knew us, and she never failed to greet the kids with "Bonjour mes enfants!"  That trumps a hotel stay.

Kitchens, or at least our kitchen, are masterpieces in efficiency.  We had every convenience, including dishwasher and full-size fridge, just packed into a space just small enough to be crowded with two people.

Here is a picture that P took of their bathroom.  She was impressed with the fact that you could put water in the tub four different ways.  Pretty cool!  Again, here we had w.c.s, with the disconcerting division between toilet and sink.  I'm still not sure what I think about that.


Cabinets lined every wall, even this one behind the cool decoupage:


One thing that we were very conscious of was the need to be quiet.  Our neighbors were totally silent!  Since our building was quite old, I always felt like we sounded like a herd of elephants.  We tried to creep around and be mindful of our shoes, but that might be the only downside to the apartment:  I was continually shooshing (is that a word?) the kids.  Our creaky wooden floors (1880?  I saw a date on the building that was around that.) seemed to magnify every sound.  But no one complained, so we either were quiet enough or I worried too much.  That was a tiny price to pay for feeling like a Parisian for a week.

So, we loved two of the three places we stayed and we'd gladly recommend them.  It was a great chance to feel French (in Nimes) and truly Parisian in Paris.  Next up will be what we saw with the kids...a bientot!

1 comment:

musicalmary said...

Cheryl, this looks just heavenly. I bet your children will remember this FOREVER!