While in Paris, I was extremely fortunate to stay in a stunning apartment on the left bank just minutes from Notre Dame and the Seine. The apartment was rented from Haven In who has a whole list of apartments all over Paris from studios/one bedrooms to apartments for whole groups or families. This is my second Haven In apartment stay and they have both been equally as beautiful and charming but in completely different areas in Paris. Staying in a Paris apartment can have you feeling like a local immersed in the culture and everyday life.
As some of you might know I used to live in Paris. I actually lived in 5 different apartments over 3 years as I traveled back and forth between Chicago and Paris. Over the years I have met a good amount of people and when I am in Paris I want to see them all! The best solution was to have one big party and invite everyone! Well... not everyone but you get the point. By party I mean small get together over my favorite meal, wine, and cheese.
What I loved most about this apartment were the balconies. There were not one, not two, but three!! I pretty much didn't budge from these windows unless I had meetings or it was raining where I had to shut the windows. But can you blame me?
I had plans with a friend to explore the local area which meant an easy 10 minute walk to the Pantheon. After we finished our coffee I had to start preparing for my soirée later that evening. While you can purchase cheese at a grocery store like Monoprix, I prefer to purchase at a local fromagerie. There are a few close to the apartment but I prefer this one on Rue Monge and I will explain why.
I am not fluent in French but I get by okay. Years of going back and forth has taught me a few things. I was doing pretty well navigating the fromagerie until the cheese monger asked me a question I couldn't answer. He smiled and switched to English which was helpful. The key to charming the French and getting good service is to do your very best attempt to use your French. You will be so surprised at how kind they really can be with a simple Bonjour!
The cheese monger wanted to know everything about what else I was serving with the cheese, how many people were coming, and of course, he wanted the correct amount of sheep, goat and cow options on the cheese board. He took his time with me letting me sample the cheese before he cut. You can imagine the line that had formed at the shop as it was close to dinner time. He took his time with me and the patrons were patient as it was very normal. At the end of the transaction he even went the extra mile to write the name of every cheese on the outside of the package so I knew what I was serving.
I am just as serious about my baguettes as I am my cheese. I popped into Eric Kayser on Rue Monge for a few baguette for my guests. It had started to rain, the woman asked me if I had a bag and I had forgotten I needed one. She kindly gave me an Eric Kayser baguette bag to go with the baguettes. I am pretty sure my face lit up and a huge smile was planted across my face. I quickly ran back to the apartment as the guests were due to arrive very soon.
I had just a few minutes to unwrap the cheeses before the guests started to arrive. A simple evening of wine and cheese and catching up with friends is the perfect way to spend a night in Paris. A little peak of the Parisian rooftops beyond the balcony. It is my version of heaven.
Haven In is kind enough to leave a bottle of wine in the apartment to start your stay on the right foot. But just in case there is a Nicolas (chain wine shop) down the street on Rue Monge as well as a wine shop just downstairs if you happen to run out. The Nicolas was extremely helpful in choosing wines for the evening and made sure to pair the red and white wines to the cheese I had chosen. I was completely blown away by the kindness of the boulangerie, fromagerie, and wine shop on Rue Monge.
While I wish I could have invited you all over to join me I hope the photos help feel like you were right there with me. If you would like to live like a local in Paris and rent this apartment by Haven In here is the link I have so many others on my wish list of apartments for future visits to Paris.
When it came time to handing over the keys to the greeter I was so sad to leave this apartment and especially these balconies. Until next time!
If you have questions on renting an apartment in Paris or best areas to feel like a local please comment below I am happy to help!