Apartment in Paris for First timer?

Mar 2nd, 2008, 05:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 18
Apartment in Paris for First timer?

Hi Everyone,

I am trying to decide between a hotel room and an apartment in Paris. We are staying 6 or 7 nights and have a budget of up to 120 Euros per night. We are looking at either 5th, 6th or 1st arrondissment.

As a first timer to Paris, do you think a hotel room would be a better option as the staff can assist us? Or is it easy enough to go it alone?

allieS is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2008, 05:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
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If you are comfortable in most European cities and can speak French, an apartment is for you. It is the closest thing to living in Paris. I love it. However, if you aren't and don't speak it, then, stay in a hotel. It will make your first trip more enjoyable and prepare you to go the 2nd time and stay in an apartment. Have a great time!
JCroddy is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2008, 05:17 PM
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Agree totally that if this is your first trip to Europe or Paris and you don't have the language, go for a hotel. Apartments are great, but you do have to have some familiarity with the city and the language.

I rented an apartment in Paris two years ago after 90+ trips to that city and was totally flummoxed by the washing machine (and I speak the language since practically birth).

I think you'll be more comfortable in a hotel. OTOH, if you're up for an adventure, go for an apt.!
StCirq is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 05:29 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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I don't think it could be that difficult, I guess it depends on the back up and help you get from the agency or owner.

we're just back from staying in one of these apartments and the agency were extremely repsonsive.

doofus74 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Hi allieS
generally, the rental agencies offer leaflets not for you to get lost. Hotels staff will advice you to stuff they are related to.
Moreover, if you come from USA, the fact that with the hotel you will have to take all your meals outside can be quite a problem for your wallet, whereas apartment have often (if not always) fully equipped kitchen (StCirq, i think everybody is flummoxed by washing machine setups!!).
As a 1st timer, you will do the basics, following your travel guide.

Anyway, have a look at www.myvideoplanet.com , they have both hotel and apartments, and you can watch a video before you book
SamLovesParis is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 06:58 AM
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Great (value) apartment in the 1st:

I think since youre on this forum, you should be able to gather up enough info to get around on your own.
a week is also plenty of time to not have to squeeze everything in.
travel_buzzing is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 07:25 AM
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In 2005, my wife and I rented a wonderful place in the 15th arr. through VRBO. True, we had been to Paris in the past, but this was our first apartment experience. We will never stay in a Parisian hotel again.
USNR is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 12:04 PM
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I have mixed feelings:

First of all, I love hotels. I like knowing my room will be cleaned every day. I like a front desk to call if there is a problem. I like having a desk that will make reservations for me.

Having said all that, it is coming to the point where a nice hotel is a luxury for us. And I don't mean a luxury hotel is a luxury, but that any pleasant hotel seems to be so highly priced these days.

Our last two trips were apartment stays; one in Paris, one in Venice. Our next trip is a fast moving journey through parts of southern Italy.

Clearly, I'm not of the one or the other way of thinking. I like both.

I think apartments are great if you get something special for your money. I looked at a zillion apartments for Rome, and none of them had all the things I wanted for a bottom line price of 125 euro. I wanted AC, central location, no more than two flights of steps.

I totally agree that those with a sense of adventure can do well with an apartment for a first time stay in a foreign city. You need to be prepared, and to not feel the need for the security of a hotel.

You are the only one who knows that, I guess.

We rented from rentparis.com and we were very pleased. They were really on the spot when we had a problem, and they met us when we arrived at the apartment.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 12:13 PM
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Tuscan - I tend to agree. We stayed in a fabulous apartment in Florence. I adored it and would not have traded it.

I did not love our apartment in Rome (which btw seemed like it had 6 flights to go up - with heavy luggage and after walking all over all day was NOT fun)... it was just "okay".

I did not find it to be an issue for us not to have a desk to check in with but I did a lot of research and had books/papers with me.

I enjoyed our hotel in Paris and it was a short stay so it worked out best - in Switzerland as well, short stay and we enjoyed the hotel.
dawnnoelm is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 01:28 PM
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I think tuscanlifeedit summed it up perfectly. There are pros and cons on each side of this issue and it ultimately comes down to your own comfort level.

One thing I would mention, though, is that if you are really concerned about the language issue, there are apartments in Paris where the owner or on-site representative speaks enough English to show you around and deal with any issues that might come up during your stay. It's something that you could clarify through e-mail enquiry.

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 03:24 PM
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During our first time in Paris we stayed in an apt with no problems. I have just the barest grasp of French and my DH has none. It's amazing how just by using French greetings and then lots of hand gestures one can get by quite well in Paris.

I prefer apartments wherever possible mainly because I like the extra space, the availability of a washer/dryer and knowing that I can sleep in, or take a nap in the afternoon without being disturbed by housekeeping!
PegS is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 11:13 PM
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Thanks for all the great advice! I am leaning more towards the hotel I think... I have no French language skills yet, but plan to do a course before going so that we aren't completely stranded. The apartments I had been considering were with www.parisbestlodge.com as the owner comes around to give you a run down on how to work everything. I am an Aussie so our dollar is liveable (better than the GBP exchange rate anyway) but we are used to getting a lousy rate.

Hotel choices are down to Hotel Jeanne d'Arc; Hotel Chopin and Hotel La Bretonnerie. The washing machine and internet at the apartments is tempting, but perhaps we will be more relaxed if we know there is someone we can rely on (this is our first time to Paris, but also overseas as well)

Thanks for all the great advice

allieS is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 01:41 AM
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Best wishes allie for your trip planning, the Parisbestlodge apartments get really great reviews here and on www.slowtrav.com and it seems that Thierry is very good to deal with. I tried to book one for our trip in Sept (also our first) but not big enough for us and our 2 teenage daughters and within budget.He was very prompt in answering my emails. We ended up booking through www.vacationinparis.com
My Aunt and Uncle though recommended Hotel Jeanne D'Arc to us when planning. They have stayed there at least twice and were very happy.I always check reviews on here and www.tripadvisor.com. Good luck you'll find great info on this site.
mariebut is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 05:22 AM
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On my first time in Paris, we stayed in a hotel (and were with French-speaking Canadians), and it was very nice to have the desk to guide us around. Though my friends spoke French to the hotel staff, I know they were available to provide English information, as well.

This time we are renting an apartment. The biggest difference is that there is a lot more planning, knowing that I can't rely on the desk for help (e.g., electrical conversions, maps, etc.) But, being able to stay in a central location at a reasonable price was my first priority. I rented from vacationinparis because (1) I could pay in USD, which has worked out nicely in the current awful exchange rate situation, and (2) because they provide English-speaking help in Paris.

So, like everyone else said, if you don't mind planning more ahead of time, I think an apartment is worth it.
shelly_m is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 06:40 AM
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again, first time I would do a hotel (unless kids or frequent foreign travel to other cities). An apt can be just great but if anything goes wrong it can really go wrong. For example you will pay 50-100% before you arrive and this is not refundable. If you book a hotel and there are problems it is usually an issue of one bad night and you can usually find another place (except at peak season). A good agency will help but there is a premium for this. To quote a nursery rhyme which can sum up apt rentals.."when it (sic) was good it was very very good but when it was bad it was horrid"
travelbunny is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 09:56 AM
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I really don't think an apartment would be all that difficult. I've been going to Paris almost annually since the mid 70s and have stayed at hotels. I would have gotten an apartment a LOT sooner had I been on this forum for many years and seen all of the recommendations.

I've rented an apartment in Bangkok, for quite a while, and have had no problems. There is a lot more service there, however. However, soon I will have an apartment in Paris since I'm taking an elderly parent. It's in the same neighborhood I've stayed in since the early 80s and everything is a few steps away...grocery store, bakeries, 2 metro lines, etc... Check out vacationinparis.com Apt#122. It's in the heart of things.
I received my final paperwork from them last week and they list transportation companies so that one can get to and from the apartment easily...which I'll need with an elderly parent since she can't take the RER. There was lots of other helpful info...which I don't need since I've been there so much, but is more than adequate for a first timer. Plus, they mail the keys ahead of time, so that you have the keys before you get there...unless someone else has just finished renting the apartment. Then you contact the Paris contact...which can be telephoned from any pay telephone, in Paris, and for free. He/She will bring the keys to the apartment. I like to rent apartments because it's much more comfortable than a hotel...more space and I save a bundle on food...not HAVING to eat every meal out. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 11:01 AM
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I guess I may be in the minority. I cannot imagine going to Paris and staying in a hotel. I have done both, and much prefer the apratment to the hotel. I also do not think that you need to know any French to make it work very easily. Each time I have rented an apartment, and english speaking representative walked me through everything as was available via phone or email if I had any questions.

I just paid 80 euros a night for a wonderful apartment in the 5th that was just the right size for me and my wife. I really would not have wanted to do it any other way.
DanM is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 11:04 AM
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Guenmai - I really like that apartment. I looked at if for our family over Christmas time.
dawnnoelm is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 12:06 PM
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Dawnnoelm...I'll report back on it when I return home. I'm REALLY glad to have an apartment now. Some reasons I stayed in hotels for so long was that I just didn't know what apartment company to go with, didn't want to move out of my neighborhood in the 6th, and also the managers at the hotels in which I stayed...Welcome Hotel and Hotel de Seine on rue de Seine...were friends of mine for many years....throughout the 80s and 90s. So, it was great to arrive at the hotels and see them. I always knew where to find them, so to speak. Smiles.
But, now that that has all changed...one has passed away...and the other has moved on...it's time for me to move on to Plan B. And although the hotel that I've stayed at since 2003...Hotel le Clement...is very nice and I love the location... I have no personal attachment as I did to the other two hotels. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 12:07 PM
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My husband and I were in Paris in November 2007 for nine days. It was our first time in France, and we do not speak much French at all.

We rented an apartment in the Montmartre.

Our apartment was in a 100+ year old building, four flights up with no elevator.

We had the best time ever!

Yes, we did get lost on the streets of "our" neighborhood a couple times. And we certainly had some silly misunderstandings buying foods in some of the neighborhood shops. We had to figure out the French washing machine, and then to hang our clothes to dry on a makeshift line in the entryway of our little apartment. It took us a couple tries on the Metro to get it down - once we even rode all the way to the wrong end of the line before we realized our error.

But I always think those kinds of mishaps are half the adventure when arriving in any new place.

We made friends with the green grocer on the corner, and he taught me how to say "eggplant" and "plum" in French.. The waitress in the little bistro down the street handwrote directions to "secret" neighborhood pathway to some lovely gardens - on a napkin.. The cheese shop clerk seemed a bit reserved the first couple times we came in to shop, but ended up giving us tips and samples after our first few visits. And we patronized a really great wine shop around the corner, and learned a little about French table wines ... some of the pluses to staying in a real neighborhood (with a kitchen!), in my opinion.

I'm sure we would have been perfectly fine in a hotel, but I just wanted to say that it's certainly not that daunting to rent an apartment the first time one is in a new city.
scdreamer is online now  

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