The French Experience - Melbourne

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May 11th, 2011, 07:11 PM
  #1
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The French Experience - Melbourne

Hello,

Just a quick question - has anyone used The French Experience (based in Melbourne, Australia) travel company to book apartments for France? They have been great via email but just needing the extra 'moral'support to make the booking. Many thanks in advance!

Sonia
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May 11th, 2011, 10:45 PM
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Apart from booking security (dealing with a Licensed Travel Agent/ Travel Compensation Fund contributor) there is also the matter of value for money. Rightly or wrongly I've formed the view that, even allowing for their fee, Australian agents - as distinct from Australian owners of rental properties - seem to be too expensive - and there's also the matter of on-the-spot support they are able to arrange. Others here will probably be able to provide helpful comments on the particular apartment/ location you have in mind, if not the agency.

If you have the time here is a very useful thread -

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ent-thread.cfm

and here is a select list of owners/ agents from which you might form a view of the value for money of the property you are considering -

http://www.parisbestlodge.com/mail.html

http://www.parisholidayapts.com/

http://www.parisvacationapartments.com/

http://www.guestapartment.com/

http://www.parisperfect.com/

http://www.vacationinparis.com/index.html

http://www.perfectlyparis.com/

Australian owners -

http://www.parisflats.com.au/index.html

http://www.frenchcottages.com/

http://www.cottagesinfrance.com/
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May 12th, 2011, 12:21 AM
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Sonia - I realise of course you are probably seeking comment on the competence of the agent so I'm sorry I confused the issue by mentioning the 'security of the booking' (which in the Australian context of local agent licensing is more of a potential concern in dealing with owners and overseas operators). Anyway, the point I meant to make is that assuming you are dealing with a reliable operator (agent or owner, here or overseas) value for money becomes the main consideration and it is worth looking around to see what's on offer.
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May 12th, 2011, 04:21 PM
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Hi farrermog,
I cannot thank-you enough for all the links and information you have given me. I sincerely appreciate it and will start looking through it all. You've given me food for thought which is exactly what I was after.
Thanks again!
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May 12th, 2011, 08:57 PM
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Sonia - this is another I could have had on the list and it turns out I should have as you will probably recognise some of the properties from The French Experience's offerings -

http://www.haveninparis.com/

Strongly suggest you compare the rental rates!

A recent review of a HiP rental in this forum -

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nt-company.cfm
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May 13th, 2011, 03:43 PM
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Topping for Sonia - you should really check out my previous post.
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May 17th, 2011, 01:45 AM
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Thank-you! Will look into the links. I really appreciate your help, farrermog!
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Sep 16th, 2012, 09:11 PM
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Hi, I recently used The French Experience travel agency and found them great. They were really prompt and helpful in Australia and the apartment was as it is in photos, was the Lafayette apartment we stayed in, will use them again, price was good, and I believe they manage quite a few of the apartments directly.
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Sep 17th, 2012, 01:20 AM
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Anna - thank you for joining to tell us that. Any idea why the agency doesn't show rental rates on its website?
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Sep 17th, 2012, 06:35 AM
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I have used Parisbestlodge and found them completely reliable, you do not pay up front, I only had to send a cheque in my own (Canadian) funds to cover as a deposit( and it wasn't a stupid whopping amount!). They got back to all my emails promptly, and met us at the apartment. Theirry the owner/manager was wonderful, showed us how to use the washer and dryer, told us where the closest best wine/cheese/bakeries were etc.
If you google for reviews on Parisbestlodge I am pretty sure you won't find a single bad one,, I sure didn't and I looked! I found out about them from another forum( tripadvisor.com) and was able to private message several posters who had already used them, posters who had been posting for years, not posters who appear out of nowhere and only post reviews( those types can sometimes be "plants").

If you find one of their apartments that suit you will get exactly what you see, we were shown two other apartments in our building that were inbetween renters, and they were lovely as was ours!!
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Sep 17th, 2012, 09:26 AM
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The French Experience travel agency has been around for many years, probably decades, and is reputable. It is an American company formed in NYC. They are registered with certain French agencies and authorized to seel some French passes.

I have no idea how the in Melbourne would be, however. From looking at their website, it appears they are not the same company as the wellknown one and are just using the same name.

So just a bit of warning on that, be sure you get experience and comments about that Australian company in particular.
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Sep 17th, 2012, 03:50 PM
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The main issue here is whether Australians might be paying well over the odds renting via Australian agents - see my posts of 12 and 13 May 2011.

And yes, Paris Bestlodge and its owner/ manager Thierry have an excellent reputation and well located properties at reasonable rates and it was on that basis I chose them for my first Paris apartment rental last year (a stay of 12 nights on Rue Galande in the 5th).
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Sep 17th, 2012, 11:51 PM
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I am with farrermog on this. We have had four trips to France and always stay in rentals. It is a pity, because we probably would support a local agency/owner, but we have found their prices too high for us. We travel on a tight budget and for around nine weeks, so value for money is important to us. When we are researching a trip, we look at a lot of rentals throughout France. Sometimes an Australian owned gite or Aus agency pops up and they are always above our budget. Plus they are often odd start and finish days e.g. Fri-Fri or Wed-Wed. which does not fit with our other rentals. So do lots of research. For example, we do not feel the need to be able to pay in Aus dollars and never have.

Good luck.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 09:45 PM
  #14
 
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I have used The French Experience in Melbourne twice and had great experiences both times, from my other experiences I just wanted to comment re pricing. What I found easy with this company was that you had the total and final price in aus dollars and no muck about, we booked another place in Spain with another agenc , by the time you pay credit card fees, cleaning fees, local taxes, and eventually more card fees locally when paying the balance, plus the conversion from euro…it becomes so much more than the original advertised price!! I got tricked with that once and now find it heaps easier to know exactly what your paying. These guys looked after my family perfectly and I’ll go back to them.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 10:21 PM
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Now isn't that funny? Both Anna and John joined only today to praise the French Experience to the skies! I wonder if they work for the agency?

Are you familiar with the word "shill"?
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Aug 29th, 2013, 03:09 AM
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nukesafe - you need to wear your specs! Anna's post was a year ago.
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Aug 29th, 2013, 06:57 AM
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You are right about the specs, but that does not mean I'm wrong about shills. Anna joined year ago to defend the agency. She never made another post. John joined as soon as the thread popped up again. Sure sounds to me that someone at the agency has the job of watching travel blogs for negative comments and then jumping in to talk nice in order to protect their paychecks.

But then I'm just a suspicious old curmudgeon.
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Aug 29th, 2013, 02:23 PM
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nukesafe - you are absolutely right about the shills. I just had to tease you about the specs!
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Aug 29th, 2013, 05:08 PM
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Eh? What say? Where did I put those damned hearing aids? Must be with my reading glasses ---
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