Atelier in Montmartre.
Photo courtesy of José and Carmen.
The apartment is located near Pigalle on the main boulevard, on the sixth floor - where the view of the city is heart stirring. I arrived at the old Haussmanian building, up through the caged elevator and to the front door, where I was received with a warm smile from all three. Right away I felt at ease.
José, Carmen and their adorable daughter Garance warmly welcomed me in, and offered me coffee right away.
As I spoke to them and walked around the apartment, like I’ve done many times in the past, I took in the surroundings and quickly understood what kind of people and place I had come to as a guest. The well decorated, spacious and old fashioned-like furniture gave the place a certain peace, even right off a busy city artery.
Going from room to room I discovered a very luminous and cozy apartment. Ramon Alejandro, a surrealist painter with a style similar to Dali’s, is the landlord of this old atelier d’artiste, and his name is inscribed above the guest room door. Inside the room, many art and travel books are aligned on the shelves, which precisely represent the family’s interests and open-mindedness. Yet, the most striking element in the guest room remains the dead-on view of the Sacré-Coeur. The bed is perfectly lined up with the window, which allows you to fall asleep to a starry Sacré-Coeur and to wake up to its distinct reflective white stone.
Very thoughtfully, José and Carmen have written a wonderful personalized guide to the city, listing bars, restaurants and museums amongst other interesting spots - a true insider’s guide. Additionally, they have gone out of their way to leave a smartphone with Internet and two Velib’ passes (bike sharing system) for their guests. The smartphone was a first for me, and as I mentioned it José simply responded: “When I travel, I wish that I could have Internet on my phone, just to keep me from getting lost!”. They have indeed put themselves in a traveller’s shoes to create the best homelike comfort for their guests.
Before moving on to the inevitable picture-taking, they recounted their last few visits and how the temperament of their guests was quite different. They recalled having a delightful late evening over a few drinks in the living room with an Irish couple, then at other times leaving their more reserved guests to their privacy. Their ability to adapt seemed key.
José and Carmen, with their combination of hospitality, wonderful apartment and attention to detail, have made them the ideal hosts in my opinion - whether by guiding, socializing or just respecting their guest’s privacy.
After seeing many apartments as a scout for 9flats.com, I have been very happy to affirm that this is, most definitely, one of my personal favorites.
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