Do You Want A Chateau Or A Pied A Terre? (big mansion or quaint, small apartment?)
There are so many different accommodations available in Paris that it would be foolish for me to recommend one particular hotel or apartment. We each have particular tastes and requirements. What is important is knowing where to look and to know what you will likely find. Keep in mind that in Paris, hotel rooms are usually small in comparison to North American hotels. Just be prepared.
In Paris you can get a cheap or expensive hotel through websites such as Expedia.ca and Booking.com. You need to ask yourself:
-Where do I want to stay—left bank or right bank? near a Metro? near restaurants? near particular sites?
-Do I want to go out for your meals or eat in sometimes?
-Do I want breakfast at your hotel or am I the type that just needs a coffee in the morning?
-Do I want a kettle or coffee maker in my room?
-Do I want free wifi?
-Do I need a hair drying in the bathroom?
-Do I want a fridge in the room?
-Do I want a TV in the room with some English channels?
-Do I need air conditioning?
I know you think those questions are silly, but when you start to narrow down your search, these questions become very important and can eliminate certain hotels. If you don’t want breakfast every morning, you can save money; however some hotels “require” you pay for breakfast. Other hotels include it. A continental breakfast in Paris can be expensive, certainly for what seems to be very little (coffee/tea/hot chocolate, chocolate croissant, butter croissant, part of a baguette and jam).
So, how do I go about finding the right accommodation?
- Decide if I want a hotel or an apartment.
- If I want a hotel, I often check the reviews on Tripadvisor.ca—I narrow down the hotel list to the area and price range that I want. I find the reviews pretty accurate.
- If I want a hotel I also check the websites of major chains, particularly those who might specialize in France, such as:
- If I want an apartment I check out these companies:
–VacationInParis.com—I have rented from this US company 5 times and have found them reliable and honest. Their prices are pretty good too. When I had a problem with the cable and internet, someone came over right away to fix it. When extra sheets for the other bed weren’t in the apartment, someone came over with more sheets. There is a $150 deposit which is refunded within 10 days of returning the keys. All transactions can be done through Paypal. I highly recommend them.
–Homeaway.co.uk is a holiday rental site that is affiliated with VBRO.com, OwnersDirect, VacationRentals.com and a number of other holiday rental sites. Many people use these sites including me. Although it is not a “company” that rents out places, it is a portal for those who want to advertise. It is important to check reviews and references to be sure the owner is legit. I have investigated apartments advertised through VBRO and HomeAway and I have rented an apartment in Montpellier through HomeAway. I would NOT consider ones that asked for money orders or transfers from my bank account or Western Union. I would only go with those who use credit cards or Paypal. HomeAway states that if you pay using HomeAway payments, your payment is 100% guaranteed up to £10,000 against Internet fraud.
–Gites de France: gites-de-france.com—national organization that registers and classifies gites (holiday home) that are available for rent. I have rented a number of gites in the Alsace and Provence and we had access to the owner’s pools each time.