Sarah Pank: I arrived here in 2006 for a holiday and never left
Meet Sarah Pank, a Sydney native who moved to Paris in 2006. Recognising a gap in the market for high-quality rental apartments, she decided to take matters in to her own hands and establish what’s now known as Apartments Actually, a luxury apartment rental service. Sarah explained to Advance through her own lens about how she came to be living in Paris, the best part about running her own business, and how Apartments Actually is a superior choice for anyone looking to rent an apartment in Paris.
Like most travellers, I was completely charmed by Paris. I arrived here in 2006 for a holiday and never left. France has always played a big role in my life, with my family spending a whirlwind year in Provence in 1996. One year wasn’t nearly enough, so my parents decided to buy an apartment in Paris. I helped them with their search, spending several hundred hours researching and visiting apartments with varying success. It was during this process (and after visiting in excess of 100 apartments), I recognised a genuine niche in the market for service-focused, high-quality rentals. Following the purchase of their ideal apartment on rue Charlot in the Marais, I acted as property manager for my parents, renting the apartment out whenever they returned home to Sydney, Australia. Its immediate success lead to the birth of Apartments Actually.
Once I started my small business in Paris, some friends contacted me about managing their properties in Provence. I know each of these areas very well; and for the travellers with a little more time, I always recommend combining Paris and Provence for a vacation; you get the best of both worlds of French living.
Having lived in the 6th (St-Germain-de-pres), the 18th (Montmartre), I now live in the 3rd (Marais). The streets around rue de Bretagne, rue Debelleyme, rue Saintonge, rue des Archives, rue Charlot and rue de Poitou are fabulous, and it's easy to forget you're in one of the world's major cities. The area is buzzy and quaint at the same time, it's full of restaurants, cafes, boutiques, galleries and markets. There are so many interesting and diverse parts of Paris.
I have a small portfolio of apartments, in the very best streets and locations in Paris. We are very selective in the apartments we represent and plan to remain very small and personal. We offer a high level of service in the way we manage our apartments, and make sure we cover all bases around cleaning and maintenance. Through my family's own experiences with renting, we knew where the service gap was and have tried to fill that gap whilst offering a very personal service.
Many of my property owners come to me through recommendations from current landlords. We have also had some renters who have had such a good time that they have decided to fulfil their own dream of buying in Paris!
Through my job, I love the engagement I have with people. Hearing clients speak fondly about an experience that we helped create really makes it a very rewarding job. Renting an apartment helps people immerse themselves into the city and live like a local. We go above and beyond to really make someone's trip fabulous. Things like restaurant recommendations and helping someone get the most out of Paris through our personal touch is very time consuming from our end, but we wouldn't have it any other way.
One of my greatest loves is food and assisting our guests with restaurant recommendations according to their preferred style, budget, occasion etc. We ensure our guests feel at home in their space for their precious time away and they have everything they could possibly need.
The food and coffee scene has changed dramatically in the last year or so – there are many new (and fabulous) places opening all the time. I’ve listed some of my favourites below, for any Australian to take advantage of!
- Les Enfants Rouges between rue des Archives and rue de Beauce
- Les Deserteurs, a hidden gem.
- Septime La Cave, perfect for a pre-dinner drink.
- Frenchie Wine Bar is a longtime favourite and great for a last-minute meal as they don't take reservations.
- Au Passage
- Boot Cafe
- Fragments, for speciality coffee