Post from Paris: La Chambre de Bonne

(Welcome to Kristin, Parisian resident, who is testing the waters with us of an AT: Europe and blogging all that's good in Paris. Let us know what you think!)

Betsy and Alon don’t have a guest room in their rented Paris apartment. A few years ago, they invested in two chambres de bonnes (maid’s rooms), tiny spaces that have long languished as storage sheds and makeshift off-campus dorms for college students.

But skyrocketing real estate costs have made Parisians get smart about exploiting the unused space under the rooftops...

They combined the rooms for a total of about 14 square meters (150 square feet), installing wood floors, a shower and an electric toilet, a “kitchen” with a mini-fridge, a microwave and a shared kitchen/bathroom sink and built-in storage. Then they furnished it with flea market finds and amateur art to give it a cozy, lived-in feel.

Now their guests stay in a private room a 10-minute walk from their apartment, on the 7th floor of a Left Bank building where André Gide lived from 1928 until his death in 1951. And you can see the Eiffel Tower from the bed.

- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France