Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My AirBNB Picks in France and Italy

PARIS: Carlo Ninchi’s Apartment

The 1950s building had no lift so I had to drag my luggage three floors up. My reward was a view of Karl Lagerfeld’s bookstore just down the street. At 20 sqm., the flat was tiny but well-planned, with storage discreetly tucked into the walls, and a sofa bed that can be turned into a double bed. A modern Boffi fan provided sufficient ventilation, assisted by tall windows on warm nights. The kitchenette had two induction hobs, which I never used; a toaster, where I warmed slices of baguette for breakfast; a coffee pod machine for my espresso (a box of Nespresso capsules was provided); and a personal refrigerator for my stash of cheeses and a small complimentary bottle of Champagne. There were heavy drapes to ensure a good night's rest.

The best thing about this place is its location. Turn a corner and you'll find the Louvre just across. You could get to and from the St. Germain de Pres metro in 10 minutes. This place is ideal for 2 people with medium luggage. There is no closet space so you'll have to keep your clothes in your luggage, which will eat up significant floor space. The condition of the place is not as pristine as shown in its AirBNB photos, but well-maintained overall.

AIX-EN-PROVENCE: Eric Perraud’s Flat

I could have stayed forever in Aix and part of the lure was staying at this apartment. Sure, I had things to complain about, such as the tiny toilet, the low showerhead in the bath and the low headroom in the mezzanine. But the place had a lived-in look that gave it character. The tall windows let in the sound of the church bell tolling the hour and a soft breeze that allowed my laundry to dry. It also offered a view of Aix’s red-tiled rooftops. The apartment was quiet but the minute I stepped out of the building, I was in one of the narrow, cobblestoned pedestrian lanes of Aix with charming restaurants and cafes in every cozy corner. With a quick right and left turns, I was in Aix’s grand central street, the Cours Mirabeau and the rotonde.

Mahe, the property manager, was very warm and welcoming. She gave me a tour of the place and gave me recommendations on where to eat. She made it a point to mention that there was a daily open-air market by the town hall, something I was very keen on checking out.

VENICE: Paolo Brunetti’s Casa Sofia

Paolo gave me very clear instructions on how to get to his apartment and, when I arrived, he was personally there to hand over the keys, show me his place and give me advice on interesting places to visit during my stay (all of which I was able to do, including visiting the Jewish ghetto!). He even helped me with my luggage, which I badly needed because his place was on the top floor (4th floor) with narrow stairs.

And his place? Wow. Plenty of space (80 sqm.) and character, with hardbound art books and a tasteful CD collection. The bed was very comfortable, the bathroom seemed new and the entire place was spotless. The apartment is equipped with air-conditioning, heating, TV and a washing machine. The double-paned windows completely shut off the noise from the busy street. I enjoyed opening them in the morning for some people-watching. The apartment overlooks Strada Nuova, which has plenty of shops, bars and restaurants. The location was perfect for me because I liked being in the middle of the action without getting caught up in the rumpus in Piazza San Marco and the Rialto. A 10-minute walk will get you to the Rialto Bridge. Just a few meters away, you can catch a vaporetto at the Ca’ d’Oro stop to take you to Piazza San Marco.

FLORENCE: Martina and Paola’s River-view Apartment

I wasn't able to meet Martina personally because she was in London but weeks prior to my trip, she sent me her mom Paola's number so that I could make arrangements regarding my arrival. I had a hard time reaching Paola through SMS but when I was finally able to talk to her on the phone, I liked her immediately. All the more so when I met her. She was very warm and welcoming.

My heart melted the minute I saw the apartment. It was the loveliest AirBNB I had ever stayed in. The interiors were so tastefully done. It was spacious, very clean, and well equipped, as if the owners had anticipated all I'll need during my vacation. And when I stepped onto the balcony, I had a view of the bridge over Arno River. I took a cab from Santa Maria Novella train station because it was drizzling when I arrived. It was so near that I only had to pay 8.50 euros.

I loved the location. There was a fantastic gelateria called Carraia in one corner and a great trattoria called Dante in another. The Duomo and main shopping areas in Via de Tournabouni and Via Calzaiuoli are just a 10-minute walk away. Paola saw me off on my last day and we had a nice chat. I'll definitely stay here again if I ever get a chance.

Also see: How to choose an AirBNB Rental

1 comment:

  1. Really this is wonderful place every one would like to stay here. good decoration everything is really nice. and I would like to offer visit same day delhi tour.



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