I have this thing. I can never think of François Rabelais without recalling Robert Preston:
Professor, her kind of woman doesn’t belong on any committee.
Of course, I shouldn’t tell you this but she advocates dirty books.
Harold: Dirty books!
Two of these are French, and they name streets after Balzac and Rabelais. So it happened that the apartment we rented for a week in Tours is on Rue Rabelais. And could not have picked a more bare patch of pavement. It’s about a car width, with a dream of sidewalks. It runs two blocks, and it’s done.
Of course, we knew all this before coming, thanks to the miracle of Google Maps, by which means we navigated about a mile from the train station. We rented through VRBO, Vacation Rentals by Owner.
A big part of getting into a vacation rental like this is connecting with the owner to move in. There’s no front desk with a helpful clerk to take your credit card and hand you the room keys. This can be a problem when starting from opposite sides of the planet.
In this case the process went smoothly. An email from the owner supplied us with the access code, and all we had to do was walk up to the entrance and punch in the code. Here’s Barbara doing the deed.
The exterior is on the grim side, apparently under construction, but once in there’s a recently remodeled living space. That cubby hole in the background has a work space for your computer in case you, like me, spend a lot of time banging on the keyboard.
This couch folds into another bed, but you might not want to do that unless you are serious about having an extra bed. If you open it up you will have to find another place to put the coffee table, which also serves for dining. That extra bed sucks up a big part of the living space.
There is a kitchen with the latest appliances. The microwave oven was most useful, but its control panel was opaque, in the sense that it gave little clue by way of operating procedure. A little experimentation enabled us to heat water for making tea.
There is a spacious and comfortable bed.
Extra shelf space is at a premium. If you have a bunch of stuff you like to spread out you have to make use of the top of the refrigerator, which also serves to hold facilities for coffee.
Disposing of trash seems to be a systemic problem with these French rentals. The locals know where to take the trash, but this was never explained up front to us. We had a succession of three rentals on our trip and had the same problem with each. An email exchange with the owner cleared up the matter at this apartment. At the bottom of the stairs is a door that leads to a car garage, and past the car parked there were some trash bins.
Of course, checking out was also a cinch. Just walk out and close the door behind you. In our case there was a general failure of service lighting, and we were wondering how we were going to negotiate the looping stairwell with our luggage in the early morning hours to catch our train. I shot off an email to the owner, and when we prepared to leave in the morning there was a table lamp turned on and sitting on the floor at the top of the stairs.
We got to meet the owner, Phillippe, when he stopped by to show us the trash bins. I’m guessing he is a business man with a number of these rentals. It’s a small building, of which Phillippe may be the owner.