Great experience with Airbnb in Paris

Old Sep 8th, 2010, 11:04 AM
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Great experience with Airbnb in Paris

Just wanted to report back on our experience as I know several folks have had questions. I'm not precisely advocating airbnb but for us it worked well.
As an FYI we have rented apartments before in Paris off craigslist and been satisfied. Even the one apartment we weren't crazy about from CL met our needs. - we go through all kinds of checks before we commit and never wire cash. So we may be a bit more adventurous than some.

First, my complaints about airbnb -
• no way to search a large city by area , only by price and entire apartment/shared apartment. VERY annoying as you have to wade through tons of listings to concentrate on the areas you will consider.
• There is essentially no customer service so I treated it like VRBO or CL. It was like pulling teeth to get a non 800 number we could call if an emergency arose in Europe - it's not the same # as is on their website and it took several emails to Airbnb to even get the number.
• If you choose a place with "flexible" refund policies, which protect you, you run the risk they can cancel the booking with no notice. We had names of hotels we could afford as backup in case our host canceled.
• No way to contact others who have rented the place before you unless they are also an owner somewhere else.(see below)


• If you are careful - read feedback carefully; only consider places with photos; look at exactly where the place is (maps are provided for each listing) ; establish a dialogue with
the owner before committing - you can get a really good deal.

• While you pay airbnb before you can book, they hold your payment for 24 hrs after the booking starts to make sure there are no issues. So if you get there and the place is filthy or whatever you can call to have them hold the $$. Not sure how it would go if you just didn't like the place.

• Payments are through paypal which offers some consumer protections.

• In large expensive cities you can get a really good deal on an apartment.

In our case we wanted to stay near a particular place in Paris as we were there on a short trip (5 days) to attend a concert. We saw a number of places near Etoile Metro and contacted several owners - some never responded which we wrote off immediately and did not try to contact again. As August is vacation time it's possible some owners were away but we didn't take a chance.

The flat we chose was near the AirFrance buses; a good sized studio that was spotless with an owner who answered even my picky little questions promptly. and offered to buy a fan if the weather stayed hot. (We didn't need it) She met us there early (9 AM) which was a huge help.

We also lucked out as one of the prior visitors also has an apartment listed on airbnb so we were able to contact him directly to get his review. he gave us some additional details such as size of the rooms etc.

Our 1st night after dinner, we could not get the door open with the key. Of course I panicked, kicking myself that I didn't do what we usually do in an apartment which was to try the key before the owner left. We called the owner who responded immediately and let us know the key was "sticky" - once we used just a bit more force the lock worked fine.

The bed was incredible - comfy, almost brand new and we slept great,which is always a worry when renting apartments.

We loved the location for what we needed and there was a metro strop even closer than Etoile (Argentine) so we went to Ile St Louuis one day and to the Jardin Des Plantes on the other.

When we left we just left the keys on hte table.

I would recommend airbnb with the reservations I listed above. If you treat it like a VRBO and use similar cautions you can get a great deal. We are going to stay at the London apartment of the man I mentioned above, who rented the Paris apartment before we did so it looks like we'llb e saving some major $$ while in London over thanksgiving...
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Old Sep 9th, 2010, 04:13 AM
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Thanks for your review and information
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Old Sep 9th, 2010, 04:21 AM
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mztery - Could you kindly give more details of the apartment like address or an internet link please? It sounds interesting. Thanks, Tod
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Old Sep 9th, 2010, 04:42 AM
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mztery, Thanks so much for the detailed information! I'd never looked at airbnb before, and it looks like a good possibility.
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Old Sep 9th, 2010, 06:28 AM
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note - one of her other flats, the Pont Neuf location, is across the street from where they are redoing the department store samartine so LOTS of construction noise. Our studio was VERY quiet.
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