Feeling like a European City break in a beautiful city apartment this Autumn?

Susie Marquis is the founder of The Luxury Travel Book, the city apartment and villa rental experts, with an enviable portfolio of properties. Susie shares some ideas for European travel this autumn, writing...

Having just returned from a wonderful visit to Paris last week, and with the weather already getting noticeably cooler here in the UK, we are feeling that it’s time to consider autumn city breaks? All the cities mentioned below are perfect for exploring by foot, and enjoying the history, art. great restaurants – and a stay in a centrally located, luxurious apartment!

Paris



Paris has the huge advantage in that you can travel by Eurostar, which is currently a much easier experience than travelling by air. It is less crowded, and also has the benefit that all the checks and forms required are only done at your departure at both ends. When you arrive in Paris (or back to London), you can just walk straight through without having to be checked again. As well as the obvious famous sights to visit, there are some wonderful art exhibitions in Paris, all showing until early January 2022. We visited several of these very recently, including the Raoul Dufy exhibition at the Musée Montmartre, the amazing Dali-Gaudi experience at the Atelier des Lumières, and the Picasso-Rodin exhibition, which is taking place at both the Musée Picasso and the Musée Rodin. We also recommend a visit to the wonderful Musée Carnavalet, which has just opened again after 5 years of substantial renovations.


Recommended apartments



Pont Marie




2 bedrooms, sleeps 4

This absolutely charming 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment to rent in Paris is located on the idyllic Ile Saint Louis, a delightful area of Paris, and with plenty of quality restaurants and food shops nearby. You will also be within easy walking distance from the Marais area on the right bank, the Île de la Cité, and the St. Germain area, just across the bridge on the left bank.

Apartment Bon Marche




3 bedrooms, 6 people

A newly renovated ground floor apartment in a quiet street just behind the gardens of Matignon (the residence of the Prime Minister), the apartment is just a short stroll away from the famous department store, the Bon Marché, also with its luxury food hall, La Grande Epicerie. The surrounding streets offer a great choice of boutiques and restaurants, and the Rodin Museum is also within an easy walk.

Palais Royal Gardens




4 bedrooms, 8 – 10 people

This stunning apartment is situated directly overlooking the gardens of the historic Palais Royal, and you will be just an easy short walk across the beautiful gardens to the Louvre Museum and the river Seine, as well as nearby Place de la Concorde, Tuileries Garden, Place Vendôme, and St Germain on the Left Bank . The apartment is in an elegant Parisian building that is part of the original Palais Royal, dating back to the 17th century.

Venice



We visited Venice last September in between lockdowns, and can’t wait to go back! Without the usual crowds and large cruise ships, the canals were noticeably clearer, and the city was looking more beautiful than ever. Visitors generally are respecting the fact that sustainable tourism here is a responsibility for everyone in order to retain the beauty of this unique city. Even in the main tourist spots in Piazza San Marco and on the Rialto Bridge, we found it easy to move around – and sit and relax in one of the city’s beautiful squares, with a morning cappuccino, or a glass of local Prosecco in the evening. We always love visiting The Peggy Guggenheim Collection. on the Grand Canal between the Accademia Bridge and the Church of Santa Maria della Salute. Within very easy walk from here, art enthusiasts can also visit the Accademia museum, the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta Dogana.

Recommended apartments



Apartment Grand Canal




4 bedrooms, 8 people

This exceptional apartment in a historic palazzo, is just a short walk from San Marco, and benefits from wonderful views stretching from St Mark's Basilica to Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, and the Accademia Bridge. The stunning interiors are furnished with magnificent antiques, Venetian tapestries and Fortuny fabrics. The large double-height windows in the huge living room open to a balcony with exquisite views of Santa Maria della Salute church across the canal.

Grand Canal Terrazza




3 – 5 bedrooms, 5 - 9 people

Located in the picturesque and authentic Venetian area of Castello, Friedrich Nietzsche once resided in this beautiful Venetian palazzo, and wrote several of his books here. The location is just a 7 minute walk from the Rialto Fish and Vegetable market, a 10 minute walk from the Biennale, and 25 minutes from Piazza San Marco. The apartment features a mix of classic antiques and contemporary furniture, as well as a canal-side terrace.


Apartment Zattere




2 bedrooms, 4 people

Situated on the Zattere, in the desirable Dorsoduro area, the living areas of this apartment benefit from panoramic views over the Giudecca Canal to the Redentore Church and the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore. Guests here will be just a few minutes’ walk from both the Guggenheim Museum and the Punta della Dogana, the restored old custom’s building with a sensational art collection. The Accademia Gallery is also just a seven-minute walk away. More modern in style, and with a terrace, a sauna and a working space, this apartment is also very suitable for extended stays.


Florence


It also the perfect time of year to consider a visit to Florence, and we feature a selection of apartments in different areas of the city, including in and around the Piazza della Signoria, the Ponte Vecchio and the Oltrarno. The latter, on the other side of the river Arno, is traditionally a quieter area and home to a number of artisan workshops and quaint antique shops. Wherever you stay in Florence, you will be able to indulge in the gastronomical delights of the city’s many restaurants, tavernas, pizzerias, and cafés, or prepare your own meals in the comfort of your luxury rental apartment, with fresh produce handpicked from local food markets. For an early evening aperitivo, while soaking up the atmosphere, we can highly recommend two rooftop bars on either side of the River Arno. The terrace at the Grand Hotel Cavour, has views to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore to the right, and the Palazzo Vecchio on your left. The other is the Palazzo Guadagni Hotel Rooftop Garden Bar in the Oltrarno, overlooking the beautiful Piazza Santo Spirito.

Recommended apartments


Apartment Bellini




4 bedrooms, 8 – 10 people

This first floor apartment is in a 16th century building, with views from its terrace directly across to the historic Piazza Pitti, just steps from both the Palazzo Pitti, and the Ponte Vecchio. Beautiful 16th and 17th Century frescoes decorate the walls and ceilings of the apartment and the furniture includes original pieces dating back to the Art Deco period. In contrast there is a superb, modern American kitchen.


Apartment Oltrarno




3 bedrooms, 6 – 8 people

Situated on the top floor of an elegant 15th century Florentine Palazzo, this exceptional apartment benefits from wonderful views of the Arno river and the city centre. The Uffizi collection is less than a 10 minute walk away, as is Piazza Santo Spirito, with its daily fruit and vegetable market. The Palazzo is accessed by a lovely Renaissance courtyard and wide stairs leading to the top floor. The apartment also benefits from a furnished roof terrace.


Palazzo Vista Duomo




3 bedrooms, 6 people

This sensational newly renovated apartment, in a unique contemporary style, also retains the atmosphere of the original Liberty-style building with its beautiful Art Nouveau façade and décor. Balconies and windows benefit from superb views to the magnificent Duomo, and guests here also be an easy walk from most of the main sights of central Florence.


Villa Viale dei Colli




1 bedroom, 2 people

Perfect for a couple, this small romantic villa is situated in a quiet location outside Florence, 1 km from the Piazzale Michelangelo, which is a 15 minute walk from the city centre. The interiors of the property have been architecturally designed to a high standard in an appealing 70’s style. Outdoors, there is a gazebo with small sofa and armchair, and dining area, perfect for enjoying a quiet evening drink, as well as meals outdoors. There is also an outdoor jacuzzi to relax after a long day walking around the city.

Rome


Rome is another of our destinations that we are hoping to re-visit soon. We always enjoy returning to Monti area, with its authentic village atmosphere, antique and artisan shops, and trendy bars and restaurants. We also love visiting Via dei Coronari, the beautiful historic cobbled street just off Piazza Navona, with interesting boutiques, antique shops and restaurants. A short walk to the south of Piazza Navona will bring you to Campo dei Fiori, with its food and flower market. From here it is an easy walk across the Tiber River (via the charming cobbled street, Via Giulia, the oldest street in Rome) for an evening meal in the picturesque historic neighbourhood of Trastevere. And, of course, no visit to Rome would be complete without seeing the beautiful Trevi Fountain, despite the crowds!

Recommended apartments


Vicolo dei Panieri




4 bedrooms, 8 people

This stunning modern apartment exudes taste and luxury with stone, wood and marble features, and a spa and sauna. It is situated just a 5 minute walk from the Piazza di Santa Maria, the main square in Trastevere. Lined with cafés and restaurants, the famous Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere is in the Piazza di Santa Maria, as well as one of the oldest fountains in Rome, restored by Bernini in 1659. The Campo dei Fiori and Piazza Navona are both within a 15 minute walk.


Via del Corso




4 bedrooms, 8 people

Centrally located in Via del Corso, guests here will be close to the Piazza Venezia, with its famous Monument of Victor Emanuel II. The Piazza Navona and the Campo dei Fiori are both within an easy 12 minute walk in one direction, and the Colosseum and Roman Forum around 15 minutes in the other. The spacious and light interiors of the apartment are beautifully furnished, and stairs lead to a spectacular furnished roof terrace, with a jacuzzi and amazing views.


Via dei Foraggi




3 people, 6 people

Arguably one of the most spectacular locations in the heart of Rome, this beautiful apartment is in a charming street along the side of the Roman Forum, and just a few steps from the Colosseum, Campidoglio, the Circo Massimo and Piazza Venezia. It is also just 10 minutes walk from the Piazza di Spagna. There are stunning views from the large terraces to the Roman Forum, offering a totally unique experience for a stay in Rome!



Seville


Seville is also very high on our wish list for a return trip – for its beauty, its long history and traditions, delicious wine and food and, of course, its long sunny season. We love exploring the beauty of the centre of the city with its narrow, cobbled streets and tall buildings and intricately wrought-iron balconies, and also discovering the charming garden squares, such as Plaza Doña Elvira. Without doubt, two of the most magnificent buildings to be seen in Seville, are right in the heart of Santa Cruz, the Cathedral and the Alcázar. This entire area is spectacular at night when the buildings are lit up – and particularly magical after sunset when the sky literally does turn a royal blue, which lasts for around an hour. We can also recommend (and arrange) day trips by private car to a selection of the beautiful ‘Pueblos Blancos’ (white villages) in the Andalucian countryside.

Recommended apartments



Calle San José - Apartment 1




3 beds – 6 people

This stunning apartment is one of 5 separate apartments in a 17th Century Palace, just 5 minutes’ walk from the Cathedral and the Giralda. Entrance to the Palace is via a large patio with Roman marble columns and fountains. Apartment 1 spans the whole of the first floor of the building, with a stunning living area with Baroque features, and an impressive collection of art. There is also a spacious hall/library with three large balconies with views out to the street. The large shared terrace on the third floor, is an oasis of green in the middle of the city, ideal for a leisurely breakfast, sunbathing, and plenty of space for a quiet evening al fresco with friends.


Calle San Tomas




2 beds – 4 people

Situated in the very centre of the historic city, just steps away from the Cathedral, the Giralda, the Royal Palace and the Archive of the Indies, the apartment and its large furnished terrace benefit from breathtaking views over the city. Furnished with a table for four, the terrace is perfect for breakfast, dinner, or just relaxing outdoors. In spite of its central location, the apartment is also very quiet, and very spacious, with natural light streaming in the windows all year round.


Apartment Alcazar




3 bedrooms, 5 – 6 people

In a listed 19th Century building right in the very heart of Seville, on the banks of the Guadalquivir, the apartment is just a 5-minute walk from the main sights, including the Cathedral and the Royal Palace. There are magnificent views from the apartment’s two terraces, particularly the magnificent 250m2 terrace with its spectacular views of Seville’s picturesque skyline, the Cathedral of Santa María de los Reyes and the iconic Giralda. The terrace also features a romantic pergola with climbing plants, and deckchairs for relaxing outdoors.

September 2021