Paris Apartment - How far in advance?

Jul 26th, 2007, 10:53 AM
  #1  
Les
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Paris Apartment - How far in advance?

We're planning to go to Paris next April, for a month. We're planning to rent an apartment. However, owing to potential family issues, we need to be somewhat flexible on the exact dates. Therefore, we're concerned about irrevocably committing a large amounty of money up front this far in advance of the trip.
How far in advance can we be reasonably certain of getting an apartment (more specifically, how long can we reasonably wait to get an apartment at that time of year, before availability becomes an issue)?

Other questions come to mind:
What is a reasonable amount to pay for a security deposit, and what has been your experience with regards to getting this deposit returned (assuming no damage, of course)?

Any other insights would be welcome.
Thank you.
Les is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 01:02 PM
  #2  
 
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Hello Les,
This one is hard to answer so can only go by our experience.
My husband and I rented a 1-bedroom apartment for 2 weeks this past March(5th arrond.) maybe 2-3 months out.
We had quickly learned that a lot of our first and second choices were gone.
I believe we 've paid maybe 1/2 cost of week's rent for security and have always had the money returned within 10 days.
I prefer VRBO listings but suspect you would do better dealing with an agency.
Good luck,
Kathy
KCN84 is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 05:02 PM
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April is a popular time to go to Paris. I almost always go either then or in March. As of last month, I just paid my $300. confirmation deposit on the aparmtent I will be renting spring 2008 through vacationinparis.com. They've been very easy to deal with so far and answer e-mails right away. I even called them and got great service over the phone,too. A lot of folks on this forum have used them. They're located in New Jersey.

I don't have to pay the apartment balance until no later than 2 months before my scheduled arrival to the apartment. They also have a company that you can get travel cancellation insurance through if something should come up. I however already have a travel insurance company that I've used forever (travelguard.com.)

Vacationinparis charges one of two prices...either $29.00 or $39.00...I think it was... for a breakage insurance that one has to pay. The price of the breakage insurance depends on the cost of the apartment.

I'm looking forward to renting an apartment as I've either lived in hotels or a couple of times stayed with Parisien friends, almost annually, for over 3 decades.

The apartment that I've confermed is in the 6th district/ apartment 122/1-bedroom loft. It's in my neighborhood of over 2 decades so I feel lucky to have found an apartment exactly where I want to be. The apartment cost is $1323 for 7 nights...paid in dollars...no worry over the dollar falling further by spring 2008... plus the $29.00 breakage insurance, plus a $150. key deposit which I will get back if the key is mailed back to either New Jersey or left in the apartment... I think it is... if someone else will be renting the apartment immediatedly after I check out of it. If the key is to be returned to New Jersey, it has to be done within a week of checking out of the apartment. So, the costs are very upfront. Hope this has helped. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 05:23 PM
  #4  
 
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That is basically an unanswerable question. Since almost all apartments are "one offs" some are booked up a year in advance and some are available at nearly the last minute. What I'd do is collect a list of 8-10 acceptable apartments and keep track of their availability. As soon as you can finalize your dates - then book one that is still open . . . .
janisj is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 06:08 PM
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..just remember, you really must be definite as most agencies charge 50% NON refundable on booking(not 50% of one night but 50% of your entire stay). In addition, many also require the remainder 30-60 days prior to arrival. This is not like a hotel where you can easily cancel so do be sure! You can get trip cancelation insurance but it it not for trivial things like my kid had to go to summer school or the dog sitter was booked that week.
travelbunny is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 07:01 PM
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True... travel insurance is not for small occurences so read the fine print very well. I've had to file a claim before with my travel insurance company due to bad weather and missing my S.F. to Paris connection out of L.A. I was reimbursed, but it took some months and due to the airline wording what had happened incorrectly, the first time I submitted the claim it was denied. I called the airline and had the letter rewritten and then I resubmitted the claim and it was accepted. I got my money back on the hotel room that I had to pay for the night that I wasn't there due to the missed flight. It was a substantial amount. I didn't give up. So wording is everything,too. But, I still always get the travel insurance. It doesn't cost that much...I've paid as low as $35.00 for an overseas trip. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 08:44 PM
  #7  
Les
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Thank you all for the prompt responses.
I will definitely check out Vacationinparis (I like the idea of being able to deal with a responsive company in the U.S.) Also, after perusing the threads on this forum, I've amassed a great deal of information about other rental sites (some agencies, some not) in Europe that I'll also look at.
Owing to my wife's back and knee problems, it's imperative that the apartment I rent be either on the ground floor, or have a reliable lift. Therefore, any sites that list this in their initial apartment "menu" would be much more convenient than having to open a site for each apartment (I have a slow dialup connection) to find out this information. Suggestions for such sites would be most welcome.
Again, thanks for all the info.
Les is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 09:20 PM
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Les: That will be a bit of a problem since most agencies handle lots of flats w/ and w/o lifts. If your dial up is so slow you can't view sites easily, I might consider going to a local library and use their computers.
janisj is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 09:35 PM
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With back and knee problems, highly recommend a location convenient to lots of bus routes. We love the buses in Paris and hardly ever use the metro (full of stairways and hallways, especially when connecting).

Definitely read the fine print in travel insurance policies (you can obtain before purchasing) to see if it would cover your needs. Often foreseeable events are excluded, so read carefully.

Obviously, the longer you wait to book, the fewer the possibilities - especially for an entire month, when any booking during your dates will make it unavailable for you.

My recommendation would be to have several or more picked out, then tell the agent/owner you are interested in the entire month of April (or whatever your dates) and let you know before they book just one week. They may be willing to give you preference rather than take the chance that it will go vacant a week or two otherwise.

Shopping for an apartment is a time consuming endeavor, unless you are able to find personal recommendations (and this forum is a terrific resource for that), especially when certain features are essential. You might also do a search for apartments on the Paris forum at TripAdvisor for specific recommendations.

It is not unusual for the initial deposit (not to be confused with the security deposit) to be as high as 50% and due upon confirmation of booking.

Totally agree with janisj - find a faster computer to use/borrow or get faster connection. You'll want to do lots more research for a month stay once you've firmed up your apartment.
djkbooks is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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Yes, apartment hunting takes time. I started gathering info over a year ago and researched through 16 agencies. But, I feel very comfortable with the one I've selected. Plus, since I will only take an apartment in the 6th, it took me more research. Since I'll be taking an 80 year-old parent with me, I need to be near a lot of excellent bus routes. Two years ago, when I took my parent to Paris, I had planned to use the metro. But, that ended up not possible due to all of the steps. So, around day 2, in Paris,I shifted gears and re-wrote the whole schedule to take the bus instead. I'm used to taking the bus in Paris anyway. The bus worked out perfectly. When in Paris, just go to a bookstore and pick up the little blue book of bus schedules/routes. It doesn't cost that much. I can't remember the name of it off of the top of my head. It's at home. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 07:33 AM
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Les,

We are renting a one-bedroom ground floor apt through Vacationinparis the end of Sept. It is located between the Luxembourg Gardens and the Jardin du Plantes. It is #145 on their website. I will post a review when we get back, but take a look at it. Not sure about closeness to buses....
amamax2 is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 09:10 AM
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Can also recommend a US based agency, drawbridgetoeurope.com

They were very good at helping us to locate a property based on very specific needs.
LAwoman is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 03:54 PM
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Les
Searching for an apartment is very time consuming, since there is no one location to search from. I tried to finalize my reservations 6 months out and all 10 of my top picks were booked. I finally found one at Residences-paris.com. Your deposit is fully refundable if you cancel 2 months before your stay. I did purchase travel insurance.

Clea
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Jul 27th, 2007, 04:23 PM
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With your special needs, I would recommend booking early through an agency with a liberal, written cancellation policy.

Some of the agencies mentioned here sound great, and I've had a good experience so far with Rentparis (www.rentparis.com). They have some nice apartments (some first floor and many with lifts), and while they do ask for a fairly large "deposit" (50% of the full price up front), they'll refund 96% of your money if you cancel within 45 days of your expected arrival.
slangevar is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 05:24 PM
  #15  
Les
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Wow, thanks for all the good info.
OK, it seems that I need faster internet access, so a trip to the library this weekend is in order (thank you, janisj). Also, a little overtime at work next week (where I have a high-speed connection available)seems to be called for.
Also thanks for the additional sites.
As for a detailed touring schedule, that's probably not necessary for this trip. I used to work in Germany, and have been to Paris many times (both for work, and with my wife for visiting). This trip is to celebrate my retirement (next march) by simply enjoying the Parisian lifestyle (bringing home bread and pastries for breakfast, wandering neighborhoods, enjoying outdoor cafes, all the things that I imagine make up life in Paris). Visiting top tourist attractions (again), of course, but on a much more casual schedule than I would for a first time visit.
So, thanks again for all the help - I have my work cut out for me!
Les is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 05:34 PM
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Since you want a month, you'll have to deal with apartments that are booked for one week or two before you get to them, obviously another consideration. You may turn this in your favor by identifying units that are LOOKING for tenants of one month or more. (They do exist, and sometimes they are very nice places where the owner doesn't want an endless string of tenants.)

While you're looking, check availability calendars where you find them (not on every site) = see, for instance, what's available for Sept and October right now, for an indication on popularity of specific units.

tomassocroccante is offline  
Jul 27th, 2007, 05:37 PM
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Congratulations on your retirement!! What a fantastic way to celebrate it. I hope you have a wonderful trip.
slangevar is offline  
Jul 28th, 2007, 07:12 PM
  #18  
Les
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Thank you, slangevar, I'm indeed looking forward to it!
Tomas, those are good suggestions, thank you.
Additional information: my wife has chosen the 4th, 3rd, 5th, and 6th arrondissements (in that order) for our search, based on a general description of each neighborhood that we found online. Always good when we can narrow the search.
Les is offline  
Jul 28th, 2007, 09:56 PM
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Les, re: the 4th, you might include the 1st in that search, as it's adjacent and includes some nice properties. This keeps you in that Notre Dame/Hotel de Ville/Ile St.Louis region.
tomassocroccante is offline  
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