Writing a fair review of this beautiful Parisian flat is challenging. For some, this is a five star apartment representing one of the best values in Paris. But for others, it will present challenges and discomfort that won't be easy to overcome.
First, the flat owners are responsive and kind. They communicate well, and may even be present in the studio apartment that they keep for their daughter one floor above. They were easy to reach, and they also offer a local contact for times when they may not be available.
The flat itself is borderline spectacular. Massive. Beautiful. Shabby chic. A near-rooftop terrace that's fifty feet long. Wonderful and functional small kitchen. Full bath and shower (bath off the master, shower at end of Hall, and single water closet also in its own room off the hallway). Lovely Yamaha Grand piano. Fireplaces everywhere. 3 large bedrooms. If you ask for more from an Airbnb flat, you're unreasonable.
So why not five stars?
Two primary reasons:
First (and this will very likely be fixed soon with the addition of a small working elevator), the flat is six long flights up a very dark and very dirty stairway. We did not look forward to that long trek after days of non-stop walking.
Second, for many travellers, the neighborhood will simply not *feel* safe. I emphasize "feel" because we had absolutely no problem whatsoever. But this is not a tourist area. It offers a lovely view of Sacre Coeur, but it is not located in Montmartre. Instead, it is located in La Chappelle, which is just to the east. The area is dominated by African immigrants who enjoy a very lively street life. It's noisy (but the windows close and it's very quiet inside!), dirty (like lots of urban neighborhoods), and there are street hawkers trying to sell you everything from iPhones to roasted corn. Homeless people stretching out on the street right in front of the flat entrance.
Is it safe? Yes.
Will you feel safe? I have no way of saying. If you have lots of experience in dense urban environments, you may well have no issues. If you're a suburbanite or country dweller, the street may just freak you out a bit. The Barbes Rouchechouart metro stop is less than four minutes away, but you will walk a gauntlet of street sales and harmless homeless folk to get there. Read the (SENSITIVE CONTENTS HIDDEN) reviews of the metro stop to be sure you know what you're getting in to.
All told, we felt perfectly fine in this neighborhood. We would strongly consider staying here again, although I might rather stay in an area much closer to the Seine next time. It's about thirty minutes to the center of the city by metro.
As I mentioned, offering a fair review of this gorgeous flat is challenging. Once the elevator is operating, it will become a solid four star recommendation. But the neighborhood makes a five star rating impossible.