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Fragrant wood and waxed floors, fresh floral wallpapers, elegant, antique furniture, and portraits of loving ancestors await anyone staying at this apartment. It is perfect for those who are a little on the indulgent side and looking for luxury with an 18th century feel. The Balcon Saint Louis exudes historic charm in a most noble setting.
Once I had resettled in the 5th arrondissement of Paris after several years in Province, I began looking for a place that would allow me to share my passion for the elegance of the 18th century with guests and an authentic French way of life. I also wanted to find a place that I could decorate and refurbish myself as this is something I do for work. This project, which I wanted to be fairly modest and had very carefully thought-out, naturally led me to Versailles - where better to set up my business? After visiting a few other apartments, I instantly fell in love with this one and its calm, almost provincial atmosphere and endless charms. The layout, the details, the size, and the location of the apartment in the Saint-Louis district just behind the Cathedral all fitted with what I had in mind. I could immediately see its potential despite the simplistic decor.
It was definitely once part of a much larger apartment; traces of this can be found in some of the old passages that have been transformed into alcoves and shop windows, but the division was very well executed. The apartment is on the first floor of an old mansion that has been transformed into an apartment block over the centuries. As it is located on what is known as the 'noble floor', it has the benefit of high ceilings unlike the upper levels. The bedroom opens onto a balcony which is the only one on the street and the whole neighbourhood - hence the property's name: Le Balcon Saint-Louis! There are plenty of features and details that are typical of the 18th century such as the Hungarian parquet flooring and the high casement windows, as well as some more recent contributions like the 19th century chimneys and the iron railings that date back to the 20th century. My recent decorations were simply added to bring back the original spirit of the apartment.
According to the archives that I was able to consult, changes started to be made to the original mansion as early as the 1780's - it was initially built in the 17th century on a building plot that the king ceded to his Sommier de la Paneterie-bouche. The mansion once consisted of a single main building with eleven windows and a main entrance on the rue d'Anjou, four windows on the rue Saint-Honoré, a floor of cellars, a ground floor, two square stories and a third that was used as the attic. Many owners have come and gone since the beginning of the 19th century and have shared different lots in individual lodgings.
A journey through time and an insight into a unique way of life in an aristocratic residence...but on a slightly smaller scale. Something of a model aristocratic residence, you might say, a demonstration of the know-how and expertise that goes into them. With an emphasis on authenticity, I wanted to create an atmosphere that was elegant without seeming ostentatious through a fusion of refinement and modern comfort. I was inspired by what I happened to learn through family and friends. I took great care with the slightest of details, calling in specialist craftsmen and suppliers with renowned expertise to create this blend of the 18th century and the modern day - something that can be found in certain French castles where each new owner has brought their own changes to the decor and layout. So, the living room and bedroom here have evident aspects of the 18th century, the antique furniture in particular, whereas the bathroom is inspired by the first bathrooms of the 1930's, the tap for example is typical of that time.
One naturally thinks of the Chateau at the mention of Versailles, and it is without a doubt an unmissable attraction for any lover of French art and history. But Versailles is also a city, and a charming one at that, with many hidden gems. The Saint-Louis district has retained more of its authenticity that its neighbour, the Notre-Dame district. Fully renovated by the city council over the last few decades, Saint-Louis is perfect for strolling around the streets that are mostly still paved and lined with 18th century (or even older) buildings. It also has access to large open spaces that are great for walking such as Balby park, the King's Vegetable Garden, the Swiss lake, and a little further away is the Chateau's park which can be reached by the Porte des Matelots. These places are also full of history with the Convent of Recollets, the former Hôtel des Affaires Étrangères of Louis XV, the Salle du Jeu de Paume where the monarchy was abolished, and the cathedral. Not forgetting the famous 'Carrés Saint-Louis' - four squares that were built by Louis XV to house a new market at the time, they are still home to art craftsmen and charming restaurants that are perfect for lunch or dinner outside on a sunny day.
750 € - 1000 € per week
The layout is very simple as the bedroom is located in the extension of the living room whilst the corridor that bypasses it leads to the bathroom, as well as the separate toilet and the kitchen that doubles up as a dining room.