Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens
France, Travel Tips

A Secret Bastille Retreat and a Sunset Cruise on the Seine

Paris was full of surprises for me.  The friendliness of the people, the happy summer vibes and positive energy filling the streets, the way it tugged at my heartstrings like certain other cities very near and dear to me.

The narrow alleyways, the endearing neighborhoods, the quaint restaurants and shops, each one seemingly better than the last.

During our first four days in Paris, we explored by foot, by metro, and by bicycle.  We saw much of the city including many of the “must-sees,” so by the time we came back for one final night, we were perfectly content to stick to one neighborhood and relax, living a bit more like a real Parisian might.

Enter: Cobblestone Paris.

The unique and luxurious apartment rentals offered by Cobblestone Paris Rentals are scattered all over the city and offer guests a chance to relax in their own secluded little piece of paradise in between city outings.  When I was offered the opportunity to stay in one of these beautiful retreats, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

Not only do these apartments give you all the comforts of your own home, though, they are a surprisingly affordable choice for a stay in the City of Light.

Allow me to introduce you to…

Le Secret Du Bastille: A Parisian Oasis

Bastille was a neighborhood we had chanced upon during the Paris Pride Parade a few weeks earlier.  It seemed understated and cool, young and happening.

It must have been fate that brought us back for a closer look.

We coordinated our arrival at Le Secret du Bastille with a greeter from Cobblestone Paris named David, an American transplant who’d been calling the city home for two years.  The personalized and friendly reception we received from him was arguably my favorite part of the day!  His engaging demeanor was simply delightful and put us at ease right away.

He explained the features of the apartment in thorough detail and oriented us to the neighborhood, giving us a seemingly never-ending list of things to do, see, and eat.  It was abundantly clear how much love he had developed for his adopted city; his every word dripped with enthusiasm and made us ever more excited to get exploring.

Having just arrived by train from Bordeaux, however, we simply enjoyed our beautiful new “home” for awhile first.

An apartment rental offers comforts that a hotel simply cannot–the fully stocked kitchen (complete with coffee and basic cooking essentials like oil and seasonings) meant saving money on meals; the on-site washer/dryer meant clean clothes!  Finally!  The robust entertainment center meant a night in enjoying a movie was not out of the question (of the variety of Paris-themed films available we chose Ratatouille, in case you were wondering).

Of the many suggestions David left us with for getting to know the neighborhood, we started with Le Café de Anges just a few minutes away down Rue de La Roquette.

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Much of the afternoon was spent in our hidden oasis–tucked away from the street, through a leafy courtyard and up a few flights of crooked stairs.

I couldn’t help but admire the thoughtful details sprinkled around the apartment to make it feel so homey, so chic.  The exposed wooden beams of the ceilings, the crystal light fixtures, the sweet details like flower pots and ceramic angels.Cobblestone Paris Le Secret du Bastille Cobblestone Paris Le Secret du Bastille Cobblestone Paris Le Secret du Bastille

The tall windows allowed in plenty of light, so even when the day turned drizzly, our moods never dampened.  No detail had been overlooked in the bedroom or bathroom, either; we had every necessity at our disposal to make the stay as convenient and comfortable as possible.Cobblestone Paris Le Secret du Bastille Cobblestone Paris Le Secret du Bastille Cobblestone Paris Le Secret du Bastille Cobblestone Paris Le Secret du Bastille Cobblestone Paris Le Secret du Bastille

David made himself readily available if we ever ran into problems, and even rang the apartment phone just to give a good-natured “How’s everything so far?”  And, when we needed tickets printed for the one excursion we had planned for that night, he showed up again at our door, paper in hand, to send us off to our sightseeing river cruise on the Seine.

Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens

A river cruise on the Seine was something I had only considered in passing on our first visit to Paris, but once we boarded our boat at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, I quickly realized it should have been priority number one!  The sights dazzled me right from the start.Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens

A sightseeing cruise on the Seine with Bateaux Parisiens costs just €15 per person and lasts just over an hour.  It takes visitors past some of the city’s most fabulous sites and monuments before turning around to run the same route in reverse.  We chose to go right around sunset–once you purchase the ticket you can board the boat anytime you like, with a new one departing every hour or half hour depending on the season (see the full schedule here).Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens

With the sun setting quite late in the summer months, we boarded a boat at 9:30 (one of the last of the evening) and it was just right.  Long pants and a light sweater were enough to keep me warm on the breezy top deck once the sun went down.Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens

From start to finish on our Seine river cruise, I couldn’t help snapping away–I’d never seen Paris like this before, and it resulted in some of my absolute favorite photos from the trip.Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens Sightseeing cruise on the Seine, Paris Sightseeing cruise on the Seine, Paris Sightseeing cruise on the Seine, Paris Sightseeing cruise on the Seine, Paris Sightseeing cruise on the Seine, Paris

Each bridge passing was a thrill, with onlookers eagerly waving and shouting to us from above as we greeted them in return.  In fact, if I wasn’t photographing, I was waving–waving to other boat passengers, to people picnicking on the river banks, to our bridge crossing friends up above.Sightseeing cruise on the Seine, Paris Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens

The sky lit up with oranges, purples, and blues, the cloud cover adding an unexpected element of drama.  The beguiling architecture every which way we looked sent my heart into a flutter.  Paris, you are a dream.Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens Sightseeing cruise on the Seine, Paris Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens

The energy of the city was coursing through all of us that night.

We cruised back to our starting point, the Eiffel Tower, now lit up in all her glory creating a striking contrast against the dark blue hour sky.Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens

Cobblestone Paris, je t’aime

Cobblestone Paris generously hosted me for my final night in Paris, and I enjoyed every minute of my stay.  The personalized customer service–from the booking process to the arrival to the exceptionally thorough and friendly orientation–put the experience in a league of its own.  I haven’t felt so well looked after in quite some time.

That said, I wholeheartedly recommend considering an apartment booking with Cobblestone Paris Rentals, whether you plan to visit Paris with friends, a significant other, or even on your own.  The units come in various sizes, meaning there’s a perfect match for just about everyone.

Browse their stunning properties here.

**As a special thank you to The Sweetest Way readers for booking with Cobblestone Paris, they are generously offering two free tickets for a Seine river cruise when you mention that you found them on this site.**

Where to stay in Paris: Cobblestone Paris Rentals

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