London & Paris with no reservations

Old Sep 15th, 2000, 05:11 AM
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London & Paris with no reservations

Just wanted to hear some thoughts on going to London & Paris at the beginning of October with no hotel reservations. Would there be rooms available - nice hotels and decent locations preferred. We fly stand-by so are usually apprehensive about making reservations far in advance because of the chance we may not get on a flight. It is never a problem in the states, but we have no idea about Europe. We have chosen to go in early October becuase we didn't think it would be as crowded as the summer - is that a correct assumption? Any specific hotels you could recommend that would probably have rooms available to walk-ups would be great.

P.S. We are only going to be over there about 9 days, splitting our time between London & Paris.
Old Sep 15th, 2000, 05:28 AM
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You don't mention your preferred budget for hotels, but if you are interested in
low-to-medium cost accommodations in preferred neighborhoods, those hotels in London and Paris are usually
small places and very popular, some of them fully-booked months in advance.
Of course there can always be one room available or a sudden cancellation.
I would do a search on this website for Paris hotel and London hotel to get many many suggestions, or you can do net searches. I also have some notes on those cities which include hotel suggesions; if you want to see them, email me. Yes, October is less crowded than the summer, but it is by no means
an unpopular time to travel, and because of the euro-dollar rate, more Americans are traveling to London and Paris than ever, even in "off peak" months.
Anyway, bring with you on your trip a list of hotels and phone numbers. If you know you're getting on the flight, you can try making a few phone calls before you take off, or make some calls when you arrive. The airports also have tourist info desks which can help, but have city maps with you so you can determine which areas the suggested hotels are in.
Perhaps others can suggest more strategies.
good luck
Old Sep 15th, 2000, 05:31 AM
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Kelly, I can't answer your question about hotel availability as we always book in advance. But I wanted to mention something that just happened to us. We had tickets on United to Brussels via London and we were afraid because of all the problems that we weren't going to make our connecting flight. So after checking with many people at United and getting a lot of conflicting stories, we flew standby the day before. The person checking us in told us that it was highly unusual for anyone to be able to fly internationally on a standby basis (something to do with security perhaps?)but since someone my husband had talked to gave her approval and noted it on our reservation that they would let us do it. So I would check with the airlines to see if you can do it.

My second comment is that a lot of the online reservation services (travelocity, expedia, etc.) tell you what the time frame to cancel the reservation is; in a lot of cases you only need to cancel by 4 or 6 pm on the day of arrival and canceling is fairly simple via their website.

Most European airports/train stations also have hotel booths that can assist you in finding a hotel when you arrive.
Old Sep 15th, 2000, 06:06 AM
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Wow Kelly:
I wish I were as adventurous as you are! I can't go anywhere without preplanning everything down to the last detail. I would follow the advice of those who say to make a tentative reservation some where at least for your first night. You have until 6PM to cancel in most cases. My favorite hotel in the Montparrnesse area is Aramis Ste Germain. It is very French with a very nice breakfast. It is part of the Best Western chain (not like a USA Best Western believe me!) so if you did not get on a flight from the US you could call their toll free number. Have a wonderful trip!
Old Sep 15th, 2000, 06:54 AM
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My husband works for an airline, so stand-by is a way of life for us. We basically fly for free! So the earlier post about being cautious as far as stand-by really doesn't apply to us. Thanks for your comments thus far.
Old Sep 15th, 2000, 10:04 AM
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I travelled to Paris in late September a couple of years ago and didn't reserve hotels in advance. I had no problems finding one once I got there -- you just have to be patient. Same with London but I went there in late April.
Old Sep 15th, 2000, 10:19 AM
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Kelly -

If you are very flexible about your hotels, I'm sure you'll find something, eventually.... But for what it's worth, I started calling for reservations in Paris for early October over a month ago, and my first 5-6 choices were already booked solid. So you may want to consider making reservations and then cancelling/changing them if need be. (There is a major auto show going on in Paris during this time period, which may or may not have something to do with how booked up the hotels are.)
Old Sep 15th, 2000, 10:45 AM
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Check out The prices are reasonable and availability is usually pretty good. It'll at least give you a few hotels that still have vacancies...have fun!
Old Sep 18th, 2000, 04:45 PM
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Kelly, I really wouldn't chance going to Paris in October without reservations. First, I don't think it is really less crowded as the summer because more and more people are traveling during the shoulder seasons. Second, the Europeans are done with their vacations and there are a lot of business travellers. Third, I think it is also the time for a lot of fashion shows which gobbles up the hotel rooms. I think you will find Paris to be quite busy at that time of the year compared to if you've been there during the summer. So why not be on the safe side and shop for a hotel, now, while you still have some time. As for your concern about not getting on a flight .... many hotels allow cancellations up to 24 hrs in advance of your stay. If you can't find a hotel with a 24 hr cancellation policy, you could book a relatively inexpensive hotel (less than $100) for the 1st day or two which would minimze your loss in the event you can't get a flight out when you think you can.
Old Sep 19th, 2000, 03:30 AM
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October is a very busy time in Paris - a car show and a fashion show time - hard to get the small, charming, well-located hotels. Do get something in advance, at least for the 2nd night you'll be there. If you find something last minute, it likely will be one in a not-so-good location or is a huge chain hotel without charm - I'd start looking now, if I were you. Besides, why would you want to wander around calling and hauling luggage when you could go straight to your hotel and check in? Good luck!
Old Sep 19th, 2000, 05:32 AM
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I am actually doing the same thing -- However, I am doing Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam in early October. From those who have come back in recent weeks, although it was busy, they did the same thing and did not have a problem finding a hotel. As I am sure you already realize, it may take a little time and there are always the larger chains which, as of this past weekend, all had rooms available -- at a higher rate of course. We are going to leave our luggage in a locker at the train station and when we find a hotel will come back for it. Good luck and have fun!!!
Old Sep 19th, 2000, 10:04 AM
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Kelly --

Sorry, but ha ha ha ha ha. October is the nicest month of the year in Paris IMO . . . and Paris is packed to the gills. The pret-à-porter alone means there are *no* rooms to be had in the strollable neighborhoods (4th, 5th, 6th) . . .

Elizabeth has a good plan though -- there are businessy hotels which will have room at the inn, but you may have to métro it from La Defense or somewhere else non-central.

Don't get totally worried, you *will* get somewhere, but a friend here at work has been trying for the last 2 days to find a place for 6/7/8 Oct. and she's come up with zilch. She speaks French and every hotel has been full for months, and can't recommend anywhere else . . .

P'raps have a look at and
for some ideas & listings.

And let us know how you get along! (Oh, and London shouldn't be a worry, besides the crummy weather!)
Good luck!

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