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Where to start? Hotel or Apartment?

Atlanta, Georgia
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Where to start? Hotel or Apartment?

Hello!

My husband and I just booked a trip to Paris from October 1st-9th. Super last minute and we are thrilled.

I have never been to Paris and my husband went when he was 16 and now he's 39 and I am 32.

Not sure where to start looking for a hotel or should we look at an apartment?

8 nights, centrally located ( we want to do all the "traditional" paris attractions), not looking to stay at the most expensive or the least expensive place something nice but not cheap and not over the top!

Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

I'm not familar with all the different neighborhoods.

Worcester, MA
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for Dordogne
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1. Re: Where to start? Hotel or Apartment?

Decide what your accommodation priorities/wishes are:

Here is my take on this question

Positives: Apartments are probably more cost efficient. They may help you "feel" more like a Parisian and may give you more room. You can Have meals there if you wish

Many people on TA do the apartment rental and would have suggestions for areas etc

negatives (From my reading and research on TA): not all rental agencies are not created equal - you must do your research on the agency to make sure they are credible and reliable. some are not

Security deposit - this can be high and you may have to fight to get it back (see above about agencies)

You are the one maintaining the apartment while you are there I believe (meals, beds, clean up etc)This may not be the case for all apartments

Hotel:

Someone else is responsible for care of the room

You don't need to do any food preparation

You may have more recourse for problems with a room than with an apartment

It is more costly for the most part

My preference: I have always been a hotel person;

It's my vacation and I don't want to get meals - not even breakfast - or clean up the place

If I have a question about locations, directions, taxis etc, there is someone on duty to help me

Areas - I like the 7th arr. The hotel we usually stay at is the Hotel du Palais Bourbon (They have a web site) It's located bewteen the Invalides and the Assemblies Nationale, and right down from the Rodin Museum on rue de Bourgogne. It's a 26 room, very French,three star and the 150 euro rate includes breakfast. There are other hotels on the street (Varenne, Montana) and in the vicinity. It's either a walk or a short metro ride (Varenne, solferino, assemblies nationale)to almost everything, but has a real neighborhood feel(shops, bakeries, patisseries, restaurants)

This is longer than I intended but I hope it is helpful for your planning

San Francisco
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2. Re: Where to start? Hotel or Apartment?

I agree that it is a matter of preference. A couple other pluses and minuses

Apartment pluses

- much more room for the price

- great when needing room for more than 2 people

- you feel more part of the building and community

- in most cases internet is included

- in some cases free international calls are included

- you can save some money by having breakfast (fresh croissants) in the apartment

- you can cook your own meal if you like doing that (though you don't have to)

- more varied and nice, hidden locations

- if you actually talk with the owner, they'll give you a lot of local insights

Apartment minuses

- you have to clean up after yourself (good apartments will have weekly cleaning, etc. if you stay more than 7 days)

- the service can vary depending on owner or agencies (always check reviews and a few references) and their property managers

- there is a security deposit

- if something breaks, you can't run down the elevator and stare someone in the eye to fix it

- no concierge (but good apartments will have plenty of guides and a recommendations book)

- you'll run across the owner's neighbors who might look at you strange

I'm an apartment person if I'm staying 5 days or more and a hotel person when it is less than 5 days.

My preference is to look at the 1st through 6th arrondissment and I think the upper part of the Marais is an ideal location (I'm biased though!). It is quiet yet close to the middle of things. It is gentrified but not too gentrified. Every year I go back, it gets better and better.

Try http://www.vrbo.com and http://www.flipkey.com to rent directly from owners and pick the 4eme and 3eme arrondissement to start.

Dublin, Ireland
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3. Re: Where to start? Hotel or Apartment?

I would go the apartment route if you're going to be there for 8 days. Hotel rooms in Paris are quite small, even expensive hotels, and it's lovely to come back to a 1 bedroomed apartment where you can move around, make a snack, have a snooze, use the internet if you have a laptop with you, generally make free calls to landlines in many different countries etc. It's nice for one of you to go out to the nearest boulangerie for fresh bread or croissants for breakfast. It's also nice to retreat from the tourist trail for a home snack at lunchtime and to head out for a nice meal at night. I don't think making your own bed is that big a deal and if you use one of the good apartment companies you will have plenty towels etc.

As far as neighbourhoods are concerned we stay in the 4th which is the old Jewish quarter also known as the Marais, a very old fairly recently restored part of Paris. Lots of good restaurants and small shops all over and central to everything. The most popular neighbourhood is probably the 6th, the intellectual centre of Paris. Apartments are more expensive to buy here so will also be a bit more expensive to rent. A lot of different apartment agencies are recommended on this forum. The only one I can recommend is www.alacarteparis.com because we have had good experiences with them. Basically anywhere in the 1st to 7th arrondissement will be central and safe and full of restaurants, markets etc.

West Sussex, England
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4. Re: Where to start? Hotel or Apartment?

I'm definitely an apartment person, whether in Paris or anywhere else. I think others here have already put all the main pros and cons - it really does come down to what you are most comfortable with. (Which have you been most happy with in previous holiday locations?)

If you decide to go for an apartment, www.vrbo.com is a good place to start. A lot of people here like www,vacationinparis.com - they quote prices in dollars, which I imagine is very helpful for US residents. (As a Brit, I prefer to see the price in euros!)

Once you have made a shortlist, you can come back and ask for opinions - or check the search facility in case the apt or agency has already been discussed.

Sunshine Coast...
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5. Re: Where to start? Hotel or Apartment?

I too am an apartment person. We started using apartments as it was the only practical option when travelling with kids but now I can't imaging staying in a hotel for 8 days - I would hate that!

But this is a very personal decision - there are many people who don't like apartments. You need to decide what YOU want for YOUR holiday.

The pros and cons have been listed in previous posts. I will just add that I would not stay in an apartment unless there were several independent reviews of the apartment, the owner and or the agency.

slowtrav.com has many apartment reviews and is an excellent site for apartment information. You should also search on TA for any feedback when you have narrowed it down to a few options. If you decide to go with a hotel you should also check on TA for reviews etc.

<< you'll run across the owner's neighbors who might look at you strange>>

WOW! What on earth were you doing to get strange looks??

I have stayed in 9 apartments in the UK, France and Italy in the past few years and the reaction from neighbours has varied from total indifference through polite acknowledgement to incredibly friendly and helpful but I've never had any strange looks!

Even when my son put the rubbish into the recycling bin** we just received a patient explanation - no funny looks.

**He does that at home too!! :-(

Atlanta, Georgia
12 posts
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6. Re: Where to start? Hotel or Apartment?

Thank you SO much. This is so wonderful and I greatly appreciate all the advice. I'm going to take all your advice and dig in to all of this tonight. Wish me luck!

Los Angeles
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7. Re: Where to start? Hotel or Apartment?

For 8 days,I'd definintely vote for an apartment. Hotel rooms, in Paris, are claustophobically small. And as for not wanting to cook, make up one's bed, clean, etc...as some will point out...who says you have to do any of that. And how dirty can an apartment get in 8 days? There are some agencies that do have maid service at an additional cost.

Go to www.fodors.com and there's a whole apartment thread over there called, "Paris Apartment Thread". There's tons of stuff. I've also added to that thread. I have a hotel thread,over there called ,"Paris Hotels Left Bank" and "Paris Hotels Right Bank", that's very organized and easy to follow.

If you need any help on either an apartment or hotel, just contact me here on TA in the personal message section and I'll make some recommendations to you. Hope this has helped. Happy Travels!

los angeles
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8. Re: Where to start? Hotel or Apartment?

And read thru descriptions of the various arrondissements of Paris so that you'll have an idea for what suits you--you can find these on many travel websites and in guidebooks. Get detailed descriptions--not just a few cursory lines that make everything sound good. It's convenient to match your home-base with the type of traveller you are.

New Hampshire
Destination Expert
for Paris
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9. Re: Where to start? Hotel or Apartment?

I totally agree with everything said above about staying in an apartment.

HOWEVER, if you are talking about October 1-9 this year, finding a suitable apartment will be quite the challenge.

Though I do not discourage you from looking, be advised that I just went through this myself for September. September and October are very busy months in Paris. By the time I decided I was going for sure and booked my air fare, apartment availability was so scarce that I was unable to find one suitable (for me).

Be advised that calendars for many listings are NOT up to date. Not even close! I must have sent two dozen inquiries with availability on the calendar that were actually NOT available.

At least with some agencies, like VacationinParis, you can provide your dates and they will reply promptly with a list of all available properties for those date.

San Francisco...
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10. Re: Where to start? Hotel or Apartment?

djk is right - whatever you are going to do, you need to do it NOW because you're likely to have a hard time finding a place that is available, unless you get very lucky. As soon as you have an inclination what you want, start looking and try to lock it up right away if you come across something that works for you. It's a great time of year to visit, but very popular so books up fast and early.

Good luck, and have fun.