In the hipster enclave of Canal St Martin lies a Parisian apartment of a design-lover’s dreams.
Boulevard Saint Martin is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home bursting with characterful, artistic flair, where geometric patterned cushions complement mid-century velvet sofas and kitsch photographs of American theme parks grace the walls.
This enviably cool apartment is a new home this year for private rental company Onefinestay, which became part of Accor in 2016.
The company has tapped in to the surging desire to live like a local on holiday, affording clients the convenience of staying in someone else’s glamorous home, combined with hotel-style extras, such as fine linen and plush toiletries, and a concierge service.
I was greeted in front of the apartment by Johann, a member of Onefinestay’s service team. As well as showing me around the apartment and reeling off suggestions of local favourites for breakfast, lunch and dinner, he explained I could call the 24-hour Paris Guest Services number.
The team could help with everything from restaurant bookings to taking grocery deliveries. They could also book me on to a selection of nearby walking tours, including a cheese tasting with a local fromager.
I opted out of the tours but did try Johann’s excellent brunch tip, Holybelly; recommend clients arrive early to avoid long queues.
While at times it felt slightly voyeuristic to be staying in a stranger’s apartment – there were small, tamper-proof red stickers on cupboards and drawers to stop me snooping – I loved gazing at the owners’ art collection, perusing the bookshelves and generally felt inspired by the flat’s elegant mash-up of contemporary and classic design.
I also enjoyed exploring the boutique shops that line Canal Saint Martin’s quayside, and stopping for coffee in the area’s Scandi-inspired cafes.
I felt freer being in the apartment than I would in a hotel, and the stay felt authentic – turns out it’s easy to feel like a local when you’re staying in the house of one.