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The Frustration of Booking a Paris Apartment - Is It Worth It?

The Frustration of Booking a Paris Apartment - Is It Worth It?

Dec 10th, 2006, 07:41 AM
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The Frustration of Booking a Paris Apartment - Is It Worth It?

We thought we would like to try an apartment in Paris for a week in September 2007. We have absolutely no complaints about our usual Hotel Monge and the price would not be any less. After studious Fodors research, we chose three VRBO apartments in the Marais, all highly recommended and all available according to the calendars on each site.
The first apartment owner replied that he was negotiating a long term lease with another client. The second owner simply replied that it was no longer available. The third owner (#79965) has not even bothered to reply though I have sent two emails, a week apart. Remember all three sites showed vacancies for the required time in September when I tried to book.
Is this usual and my expectations have to be adjusted?
Are the owners holding out for longer term rentals and therefore I am trying to book too far in advance?
Is this the frustration of trying to deal with individual owners through VRBO?

robjame is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 07:49 AM
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We had good luck with parisvacationapartments.com. And you can pay in $$$.
Budman is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 07:57 AM
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I like homelidays.com LOTS of great flats in all price ranges and is similar to VRBO in that you deal directly w/ the owners - but have the added insurance of an agency to back you up.

As for VRBO or any site where you are dealing w/ owners/one offs - sure, their situation can change. One may have a holiday flat and decide to convert it to long term letting. Or the flat may be sold. or just about anything. And I find in general some don't answer e-mails as quickly as you are used to in the states.
janisj is online now  
Dec 10th, 2006, 08:00 AM
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Is it frustrating? Yes.
Is it worth it? In my book, yes.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 08:06 AM
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That's different from my experience using VRBO. There may have been one or two instances over the last few years where I never received a reply to an inquiry, but I figure that was just a situation where the owner was either temporarily otherwise occupied or no longer renting but neglected to remove the listing.
I like VRBO just fine, but suggest you also look at some other resources such as www.craigslist.org where I have also had good luck.
Seamus is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 08:07 AM
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Hi R,

>Booking a Paris Apartment - Is It Worth It?<

What is it that you expect to get from an apt rental that a hotel wouldn't give you?

ira is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 08:21 AM
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I can tell you what I expect to get from an apartment rental that I can't get from a hotel:

Two rooms -- one of us can go to bed and the other can watch TV or whatever.

Plenty of comfortable seating. When we return from a tiring afternoon of sightseeing, there are at least two really comfortable places to sit down and relax or stretch out -- I don't consider a bed condusive to that, and rarely to Paris hotels have two comfortable seats and a sofa!

A place to keep cheese, juice, and chilled water. Maybe milk so I can have my own cereal in the morning. Even though we never cook in an apartment, it's sure nice to have that little kitchen for the refrigerator or to make iced tea in the afternoon.

No maids to knock on the door when I'd just as soon not see them. I'd prefer our privacy and just pull up the covers and make the bed ourselves.

Enough room to unpack everything and store the suitcases out of sight and out of mind.

A place that feels like a "home", not just a hotel. Most apartments have nice personal touches and a "lived in" feel.

Of course an apartment isn't for everyone. If you rely on the services of a front desk or need maid service everyday, then an apartment probably isn't for you.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 08:29 AM
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Good answer, Neopatrick. In addition, my husband likes his space, and the usual cramped European hotel room bugs him. And I like to get a washer/dryer, admittedly hard to find in a Paris apartment.

I'm not a morning person, and it's nice not to have to get up and get dressed by a certain time in order to get breakfast. So we usually have breakfast in. (My husband goes out for the croissants.)

And it's fun to shop in the local shops and markets, the bakery, the charcuterie....
Mimar is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 08:38 AM
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I'm always happy to read things like that! Thanks Patrick and Mimar.
cocofromdijon is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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I know of a great apartment in Dijon that maybe one day I can stay in it its not already booked up.
degas is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 08:44 AM
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I'm still waiting for you degas! ;-)
cocofromdijon is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 08:45 AM
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We leave this Thursday for Europe and are spending 8 nights at this Paris Apartment: vrbo.com/19130 and communication has been great. I'll post my thoughts on the apartment when we get back but the owner has been really helpful, quick to respond and we're able to bring a euro bank check, rather than pay cash. It's all been easy.

We much prefer an apartment to a hotel.
rosetravels is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 08:48 AM
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I *prefer* a hotel when I'm traveling. My friend stayed at Hotel Monge this summer (perhaps at your recomendation? someone here gave me the name) and liked it alot. I don't "need" hotel ammenities, but I like them. It is a luxury to have maid service, a front desk to help you, etc. Plus since I'm often traveling solo, staying in an apartment is just too lonely and weird for me (yes I have tried it several times).
suze is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 08:55 AM
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Our main frustration in looking for a Paris apt was I always wanted one that was too expensive or already booked, lol.
When working with VRBO, you are working with various people, we called sooo many who never returned our calls..they are not all on the ball with this.
We ended up using an company that owns apartments, has an on-site manager who is American and though the prices were higher than some, our satisfaction was 100%..
I love hotels, I would live in a hotel if I could. (actually I have for short periods of time)..
But in our case, our son was meeting us in Paris, he was arriving halfway through our stay from India..we usually stayed in a hotel that is on the expensive side, it would have been too expensive with a second room added.
He could get up in the night and have snacks, read etc, (jetlag) and having been to Paris enough times, we were interested in staying in an apt in a neighborhood and pretending for a bit of time that we lived there too.
Room service ( husband) and maid service( me) were missed a tiny bit but never important enough to make the apt a bad idea ..
Just keep trying or try other sites ..Good luck rob!
Scarlett is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 09:01 AM
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"Room service ( husband) and maid service( me) were missed a tiny bit"

Scarlett, you are a dear saint for giving that all up for your Son's benefit. He is lucky to have your support. I hope he took you to a fancy restaurant!
degas is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 09:14 AM
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Scarlett is like a friend of mine who once returned from a nice trip and said their hotel was like being in a third world country -- room service closed from 2 AM until 6 AM. That was "roughing it".
NeoPatrick is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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Patrick, Mimar and Scarlet, you said it all. I am with Mimar on the sleeping in part. I hate it and feel guilty when we tell the maid that we are not yet ready to leave the room.

DH is a breakfast eater, I'm not. I can never get used to having to be up by a certain time to eat the sometimes included breakfast or to have to get ready for the day, just to eat. I'd much rather sleep in. (I more than make up for the missed breakfast during the remainder of the day).

Like Patrick, DH has his cereal, juice, bread etc..
A late night cup of tea and a pastry is also a benefit.

We like the privacy, and the ability to do our own thing and to spread out in comfort. Bed sitting just doesn't do it for us.

Yes it can be a hassle, not so much the renting part with us, but being very very disappointed in the apartments themselves once we arrive.

We have rented many apartments, mainly in Paris, some good, some great, and some really bad. All in good areas which lessens the blow.

The amount of rent that you pay doesn't guarantee cleanliness and basic comfort. Not all landlords have pride of ownership - to some it is just a business with a constant turnover.

As I tell DH, 'with the right lens, I can make our bathroom look like Versailles'.

Do a search here, there have been many recent apartment recommendations in or near the Marais.

Good luck.

Nina66 is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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Thanks for your replies - thw suggestions and the reassurance to continue the quest (wish coco had one in Paris!).
We are busy sifting through suggestions - Budman - none appear to be where we wanted to try and many above our budget
Seamus - I will give that a try
janisj - thanks for the suggestion re. homelidays.com
We have found one but the map is confusing. Is anyone familiar with this Marais area and how does it look to you experts?
<<Situated in the Marais district of Paris, the flat has been completely renovated.It is an exceptional area to take advantage of Paris life. Within walking distance from Centre Georges Pompidou, the Museum of modern art also called Beaubourg by Parisians, the building is just near Nicolas Flamel's house which is the oldest house in Paris Nicolas Flamel was the alchemist who claimed he had invented the way to transform lead into gold.Thanks to its view on a planted flowered terrace, the flat is calm.>>
robjame is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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robjame - that actually looks like an OK place and the price seems good - I'd consider staying there with no more than 2 people total since it is not that large a place. If you go to http://www.pagesjaunes.fr/pj.cgi?lang=en and enter the address for the Flamel house (51, rue de montmorency) you will be able to look at both maps and actual photos - this property appears to be right next door to the Flamel house.
Seamus is offline  
Dec 10th, 2006, 10:22 AM
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I know what you mean about HomeHolidays.com's map. I just looked at the link you provided, and can tell you that it is pretty vague, IMO. In fact, I'm currently hunting for an apartment to rent, and find homeholidays.com to be about the vaguest site, although with the best prices!

You can't tell if that apartment is in the 3rd or 4th, or what the street might be like. I guess you could write them and ask.

I have found that site to be full of less than complete information, and kind of moved on. A shame because the rates are so very good.

C'est la vie, I guess. I hope someone can help more than I did. Maybe you could start a new thread, for that apt.?
tuscanlifeedit is offline  

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