Paris

An elegant Airbnb at a special location

Le Passage du Désir

My first experience of an Airbnb in Paris

Airbnb is something I have never tried, and here comes my first experience! A friend found several addresses including the apartment  architect’s triplex/ Haut-Marais. The photos of this charming former artist’s atelier spread over 3 floors were too attractive so I had to give it a try.

It was only about 13 minutes walk from Gare du Nord, or 5 minutes from Gare du Est which is convenient but I was not charmed by the busy and rather run down area close by the train stations. It was not quite what I had in mind of Haut Marais: upper Marais, this is the 10th arrondissement and in my opinion, too far north to be able to call it Marais. However arriving at the address, I was surprised to find a quiet side street separated by an iron gate from the busy Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin.

Le passage du Désir       The passage has iron gates on both ends and is accessible only to the residents or users of the buildings. It is very quiet, clean and the buildings are well kept.

Later on, I found out that this path was first called Allée du Puits, already listed in the 18th century. In 1852, the opening of the boulevard de Strasbourg cut it in half, so there are now two parts both with iron gates. My address was on the eastern part. The western part retains buildings dating from the 18th and 19th century whereas the eastern part (between Boulevard de Strasbourg and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin) is contemporary with the opening of the boulevard, the north and south facades are perfectly ordered. They form a succession of identical low buildings (two levels on one side, three on the other) built in a brick and stone style reminiscent of the architecture of the early 17th century. This route was called Passage du Désir ( the alley of desire) by the inhabitants of the district in 1789 without anyone knowing the exact reason … According to certain sources, this passage hosted former brothels intended for Napoleon’s officers. Whatever the source of the name, it is a picturesque and attractive alley. Many of the buildings were used by artists, an ideal atelier space with big windows for daylight.

The elegantly furnished apartment was compact but had everything one needs with a perfect modern kitchen with all the amenities, dining area and bathroom in the basement, living room with a sofa bed on ground floor and a nice bedroom on the mezzanine floor. The stairs were narrow and steep and the apartment is perfect for me but not for tall people. The location was handy with a lovely bakery right nearby.

Le Passage du Désir from Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin