Hotel or Apartment for family in Paris

Apr 7th, 2002, 09:38 AM
  #1  
Laurie
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Hotel or Apartment for family in Paris

We are a family of 4 [2 adults and 2 teenagers]. We hope to visit Paris in the summer of 2003. I am just starting to look at some options for us. We are on a tight budget and would like some advice about whether it would be better for us to stay in a Quad room at Hotel des Grandes Ecoles or in a apartment through locaflat.com. The hotel looks very pretty and in a nice location, but no kitchen facilities, so we would have to eat out frequently. The locaflat 2 room apartments look a little shabby and I can't tell if they are well located or not. It does list the district they are in, though. All the apartments have kitchen facilities so we would be able to save some money by cooking ourselves.The rate per night comes out to be about the same for a apartment or a hotel. Does anyone know anything about locaflat.com? It was listed in Rick Steve's guide to Paris. I truly appreciate your help and advice. Laurie
 
Apr 7th, 2002, 10:49 AM
  #2  
topper
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ttt
 
Apr 7th, 2002, 03:19 PM
  #3  
Christina
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I've heard of Locaflat, they've been in business a long time and are reputable. They are a French firm and don't cater to American tourists as much as some others, which means all of their apartments are not as fancy or in as expensive areas. They probably are a little shabby but that's because that rate is low for a shortterm vacation apt. rental, as you probably know by looking around. I would choose the Hotel Grandes Ecoles myself as I think it would be a nicer experience and it's a good location; you didn't say where your apt. was, that was help someone give you advice on location. I myself am not interesting on staying in and cooking when I travel abroad, in fact, that's one of the joys of traveling-- not only from a culinary viewpoint, but because it's fun and helps you experience the place more. Personally, aside from perhaps breakfast, I don't think you'll save that much money cooking in (if any). There are many excellent, cheap restaurants in Paris with good prix fixe menus, things you won't be able to duplicate easily. I would stay in the hotel, myself, except I'm not sure about a quad room in that hotel--with teens, that could be very crowded. Maybe somebody else knows the size of that.
 
Apr 7th, 2002, 04:14 PM
  #4  
Laurie
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Christina, thank you for your reply. There were several flats that I was looking at. They are located in the 5th, 6th and 7th districts. One that I was particularly interested in is in the 6th ardt and the address is 21 rue Dauphine. It has 2 rooms and will sleep 4 people. It's about 300 sq feet and rents for $758/week. We would like to eat some meals out, but I thought I could save some money by cooking in sometimes. It gets very expensive for a family of 4 to eat every meal out for a week. Thanks again for your suggestions.If anyone knows anything about the area this apt. is located in, please inform. Thank you!
 
Apr 8th, 2002, 01:16 PM
  #5  
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any other opinions, please?
 
Apr 8th, 2002, 03:01 PM
  #6  
Christina
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Oh, well, those are pretty good areas, 5th-7th arr, I assumed they were probably in outer areas as some of theirs are (bottom of 15th, 16th etc). That's a good location, and St-Germain is a very nice area. A quad room is probably going to be crowded with two teenagers, even if decent size, I'd guess. If that quad is really two connecting rooms so you get two bathrooms, that would still be good. I am amazed Locaflat has an apt at about $100 a day in St-Germain, which is an expensive area. However, is that a typo, or is it really only 300 sq ft? If so, that's miniscule for an apt.

Ok, I looked at it and can see what's going on. First, that rate is low season, in high season it's $920 a week. Low season is apparently only winter. The bedroom is just barely larger than the double bed and the two teens will have to sleep on a sofa bed. Do I have that right? Well, it is 300 sq ft. (more like 290 if it's 27m2) and it will have kitchenette, and it looks ok to me. I guess that's just as big as a hotel room, but not huge. Are you aware there is no elevator? It's on the 4th floor, also, I think you might get tired of that, but maybe not.

I'd find out size of the quad at Grandes Ecoles and possibly look for a cheaper apt., def. bigger. It really is a trade-off, location vs. price. It depends how long you are going to be there, if it's less than a week, I'd just get the hotel. It's going to be hard to find an apt. for 4 for about $110 a day which I gather is what your budget is? Maybe somebody else will have some resources on that, I don't know of any that cheap.

Anyway, the area is fine.
 
Apr 8th, 2002, 03:18 PM
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Christina
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Laurie, I found an alternative which I think you should look at because it's much more suitable for your family for only a little more. on www.aparisianhome.com there is a two-bedroom apt in the 14th arr on bd Edgar Quinet for only 923 euros a week + 6% tax, a total of 62m2 (about 650 sq ft), their ID no. is #1/100. It's really two studios put together, it looks like, which gives you two bathrooms, and its on 2nd floor, but has elevator anyway. I've stayed near that location many times and it is excellent for shopping and a family stay. There is a market right on bd Edgar Quinet (Saturday, I think), as well as a major grocery store/discount store (Inno) about a block away and near many cafes, restaurants, movies, and good public transportation. I know it may not seem as glamorous as being in St-Germain, and it probably isn't, but I think it's a much better choice all around.

That's only one thing I found from a site I remembered (I haven't rented from them, someone on here did, I think), but that's the kind of thing you should look for IMO. I rented from PSR which you might look at, also, they have some reasonable rates in less expensive areas (like the 15th arr.), that's www.yourhomeinparis.com
 
Apr 8th, 2002, 08:34 PM
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Laurie
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Christina, Thank you so much for taking the time to look this up for me. This is just what I have been looking for! Thank you! Thank you! Laurie
 
Apr 9th, 2002, 10:58 AM
  #9  
Christina
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Good luck! I thought that was a good choice myself. I know the apt. doesn't look very charming or quaint, but I've looked at a lot of them and that one really isn't bad at all compared to some. At least it looks new, clean and with enough room and amenities. I myself would much rather stay there than on rue Dauphine, anyway. Some tips if you try to look into that one:First, vacation apt. rentals book up very early in Paris, if they are decent, so if you decide on one, I'd try to book it by Fall 2002 for sure (I've tried in Jan-Feb for summer and it was too late for the best ones); bd Edgar Quinet is nice because it runs along the Montparnasse cemetery so it is fairly quiet--there are some interesting graves in there, it will make a pleasant stroll; there is a wonderful open-air food market on that street, as I said, I think it's Saturday morning. On Sundays, there is another market for crafts and arts. Here is a good article on that street and market:
http://www.metropoleparis.com/1999/433/433edgar.html
I noticed the apt has a washer but no dryer -- this is some weirdness about Parisian apts, I've had that also, I think you can only wash underwear, etc, simple things that hand dry easily (forget towels). There is a laundromat right near there, also, though - there's one just down rue Delambre a bit from the Quinet metro stop, as I recall. The Inno grocery/discount store is at the end of the street where Quinet meets rue du Depart. If your kids get homesick for US food, there is a good US-affiliated pizza place/bar on that street near the metro stop, also, Chicago Pizza at 9, bd Edgar Quinet. There are lots of good cafes and restaurants around there, you'll find. There are some art supply shops on that street, also, for some reason. Inno has a wonderful bakery, cheese section, fish market, takeout, etc, as well as usual groceries.
 
Apr 9th, 2002, 11:37 AM
  #10  
Harriett
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Laurie --
I have twice rented from a company called Paris Sleeps (www.paris-sleeps.com) and would definitely do so again. The first time we took our children to Paris (in 1999), they were 13 and 19 (male/female); we rented an apartment in the Latin Quarter with a futon in the living area (for my husband and I) and twin beds in bedroom -- the apartment also included well-furnished kitchen, washer AND dryer, a balcony overlooking the street, security entrance, elevator, guidebooks, basic grocery items for cooking, etc . .. This past January we took our son again and rented a slightly smaller apt. on Ile St Louis. I particularly like this company because everything is included, as you will note from their website - there are no additional charges for security deposit, linens, phone or electricity, etc, as some short-term rental companies do. And while I didn't actully cook but once or twice, it was really nice to have the extra space to spread out, and a refrigerator for light breakfast and lunch or snacks. We loved walking to the neighborhood bakeries and markets and getting an entirely different experience from staying in a hotel. I will add that this is not necessary less expensive than renting two hotel rooms, and these apartments are not luxurious, but they are, in our opinion, much more comfortable for a longer stay than a typical hotel room.

Email me if you'd like more information.
 
Apr 9th, 2002, 08:26 PM
  #11  
Laurie
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Thank you both for your comments. Christina, Could you do me one more favor and look at apt. #1/003 in the 5th e? It is on rue Buffon and rents for 607E/week. It is smaller than the one you directed me to, but is it better located? Or would we be better off in the 14th e near the Montparnasse cemetary? The area in the 14th sounds ideal for us, with the grocery store nearby and the open market and shops. But, would the apt. in the 5th be easier to get to the sites? Is the apt in the 14th very close to the 6th e? I'm not too concerned about the size of the apt., more the location. Thank you so much for your help.Laurie
 
Apr 10th, 2002, 12:11 PM
  #12  
Christina
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I don't mind looking, I just did. First, if you are definitely going on this trip, or even not, I'd probably invest in a map of Paris so you can see some of these things for yourself and get a better sense of area and distance. Streetwise Paris is a pretty good one you can get at bookstores like Borders, etc.--it is only central Paris, though, that's one drawback, it doesn't go much below cemetery Montparnasse on the south side, I think.

Anyway, I looked at that apt. and I think it is a worse area than bd Quinet myself. First, that just isn't as nice an area, it's near a train station (gare Austerlitz) and is really just barely inside the 5th quarter, it's near the 13th. I'm not sure exactly what that street is like, it's where the botanical gardens and natural history museum are, I don't know how residential it is, so it may not have cafes, shops, etc.

Bd Edgar Quinet is only one block from the border of the 6th (which is bd Montparnasse). That is roughly 1-1/4 miles from the Seine. That is not very far, roughly a 10 min metro ride. You can walk to the Luxembourg Gardens in a few blocks. There are four diff. metro lines near there, all with stops about 1-2 blocks away (Quinet, Vavin, Gaite, and then the main train station at Montparnasse where these plus another intersect). There are also several bus lines that run nearby.

Rue Buffon near Gare Austerlitz is slightly closer to Notre Dame, that's true -- maybe 1/4 to 1/3 mile closer. Bd Edgar Quinet is closer to the Eiffel Tower, Invalides, stuff over there. Once you're on a metro, that extra 1/3 mile doesn't matter in terms of museums and other things on the Right Bank. Gare Austerlitz is not as convenient for metro metro. There is only one stop near rue Buffon -- the train station, that's it. That's also an RER line and generally train station stops are much bigger and time consuming (which is why I prefer the other location as Quinet and Vavin are small stops). There are several metro lines that go through there, so you can go all directions, that's true -- just like you can from the Quinet area. Depending where that apt is on rue Buffon, it could be about 4 blocks to Censier metro stop, the next closest one, but that's from the southern end of the street. It's closer to walk along the Seine, that's true (although I don't know if I would want to down there). There are a couple bus lines that run within a block or two of there, also, one is the 91 coming from Montparnasse, actually (which goes to the Bastille), and another that runs west aLong the Seine past the Musee d'Orsay.

In short, I would prefer the Montparnasse area, I think it's more central and better all-around (although I know it better). I wouldn't choose an apt. for lcation based on such small differences in distance from Notre Dame, if that's why you thought it was a better location. As I said, the other one is closer to things on the west side of town.
 
Apr 10th, 2002, 07:43 PM
  #13  
Laurie
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Christina, Thanks so much for all your help. You have convinced me that we would be better off staying in the apt. on Edgar Quinet. It sounds like the perfect area for us.Advice like yours will make our stay in Paris much more enjoyable and with the money we save, maybe we can stay a few days longer. Anyway, thanks again for all your help and knowledgeable advice. Laurie
 
Apr 11th, 2002, 03:28 AM
  #14  
Robdaddy
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Laurie: you might also want to check out the apartments available through Vacation Rentals By Owner. www.vrbo.com. Lots to chose from. Also, to see the building, as well as what's across the street and up/down the street, go to Pages Jaunes (sorry, I don't have the web address, maybe Photos de Ville? I'm sure another Fodorite can help you with this). Anyway, just enter the street address and voila! Can really be helpful in deciding between two places that otherwise seem equally suitable. Have a fun trip!
 
Apr 11th, 2002, 07:44 AM
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Harvey
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Laurie: My wife and I are also going to Paris in 2003 and are looking for an apartment - hope you get some good references and will look forward to any assistance you can offer us, too.
Harvey
 
Apr 11th, 2002, 11:44 AM
  #16  
Christina
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Laurie, if you really want to stay closer to the Seine, there are a few apts on that web site that would be okay locations, I just didn't think the one on rue Bouffon was so great. I realize this is personal preference, but I myself prefer areas a little farther out from the main tourist areas because they aren't as noisy and the stores, cafes and everything are more reasonably priced and normal.

For example, there is a 2 BR on rue Xavier Privas near St-Michel metro that is 76 m2 and only 937 euros/wk., there is a 1 BR same address for only 833 euros. They sound good (no photos yet) and that is very near the Seine and only a block to congested tourist fast-food street rue de la Huchette, a couple blocks to Notre Dame. That would be very close to things for you, I would hate staying there myself due to the tourist congestion and the general business and type of stores that brings (and I have no idea where the nearest grocery store would be, I don't think there is one around there, although some corner markets probably) but you might like it. The one on rue Servandi, 6e (45 m2, 1 BR, 680 euros) near Odeon metro is a very convenient area also, altho I didn't think the apt looked like much. There is a real supermarket (Champion) near there on rue Seine (as well as the more expensive small food market stalls/shops on rue de Buci). I think there was something around rue du Bac metro, also (rue des Saints-Pere, 42 m2, 640 euros) which would be a convenient area.

I guess you know some of the lingo on these web sites -- note if there is an elevator or not, that is important (I wouldn't take a place above 2nd floor w/o el. myself) and affects cost a lot; 1st floor is 2nd US floor (ie, 5th floor w/o elevator is a long walk).

Pages Jaunes (www.pagesjaunes.fr) is good to see things if the web site doesn't show the outside of the bldg, even if they do, it is good for surrounding area which can informative (like finding out apt is in front of bar, graffiti, etc). Unfortunately, many apt. rental websites don't give exact addresses, only streets (like aparisianhome).
 
Apr 11th, 2002, 08:19 PM
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Laurie
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Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful replies. I found an interactive map website tonight called ismap.com and I was able to find the Bd Edgar Quinet area near the Montparnasse cemetary.

I think this area will be perfect for us. It has many restaurants, a grocery store, theatres and is very close to a metro stop. An added bonus is the open markets on Saturday.

I emailed the company aparisianhome today and asked to place an option on this property, but I don't know if this is possible. Maybe I will find out tomorrow.

If not, I plan to book this property by September 2002. I hope this will be soon enough. The only thing I do worry about is whether this company is reputable. They require half the rent to hold the room and also require a security deposit for the total amount of rent for the period of our stay. Is this a customary business practice in Paris? Well,Thanks again for all your help and advice.Laurie
 
Apr 12th, 2002, 01:08 PM
  #18  
Christina
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Laurie, I like that ismap thing, also, it's real neat. I think that's a real good choice for you, who knows, I might be around there at that time, wouldn't that be funny (I usually stay on corner of that street and bd Raspail and think I'll go next summer).

As for deposits, that is one of the drawbacks with apartments -- you do have to pay a lot ahead. Yes, that is very very common, just check out some of the other web sites to see (like www.chezvous.com, they have expensive apts, nothing in your range, but you can see their policies, as well as those on PSR). I think it is common for you to pay about 1/2 upon reservation, and then the remainder before you even get there (sometimes about 30 days ahead) or upon arrival. IN short, all the ones I've seen make you pay a lot ahead of time as deposit and you pay in full before getting there.

As for the security deposit, that's another issue. I rented from PSR and one reason I liked them was you had a choice of security deposit or buying liability insurance from them at a pretty cheap rate (maybe $5 a day or less). I went with that choice, much preferred insurance. Check with some other companies online about the security deposit to see. I agree that makes me uncomfortable, also, that is a drawback of renting apartments versus hotels, it is riskier in some ways.

I got that URL from someone posting on a travel board, I think on here but I'm not sure. You could try a search on these archives to see, or post a separate thread asking for references using that company's name in the heading to get atttention. www.france-apartment.com is a website covering lots of Parisian rental firms, you can look at some of them to see customs on deposits, etc. Perhaps you could ask them if they have any references from other clients? It's tricky because they are a French firm, so you can't check BBB. YOu might also want to see if you can check with the Paris Tourist Office (www.paris-touristoffice.com) or French Dept of Tourism (www.francetourism.com) to see what you can find out. Also, you might look into buying travel insurance because that is a lot of money to lose if something goes wrong. Given the timing, I suspect credit card consumer protection might not work as I think there is a time limitation on when you have to file have a charge.

The security deposit for the whole rent is what would make me most uncomfortable, the rest is normal. Utility costs can be extra, but they don't amount to that much, so don't worry about those (I think that firm takes them from the deposit?). They are more than in US but nothing shocking. I don't quite understand the relation of your rent to the security deposit myself, a fixed amount would make more sense to me, but I'm sure it won't do any good to argue with them.
 

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