Like you, we have read many positive reviews of A La Carte Paris. Our story runs entirely contrary to these.
In April 2010 we were so looking forward to traveling to Paris again as a family of five from Boston during our children's only one-week break from school. We thought nothing of A La Carte's demand of paying the entire rental upfront, and we used our debit card (lower foreign exchange fee at that time than a credit card) to pay.
As the world came to learn, a "force majeure" occured with the awful Volcano eruption from Iceland, forcing a complete halt to air travel. Our plane trips were canceled twice during that time and a point reached when finally we could not go to Paris. We tried very hard, rescheduling after hours of being on the phone with airlines, calling restaurants, and rearranging meetings. But it was not to be.
Every company graciously either refunded our deposit or provided us with a credit for the future - EXCEPT A La Carte Paris. Even the 58 Tour Eiffel returned our deposit! A lovely chateau in Brittany has given us, without our request, a credit toward an identical stay next year. (It was a Relais-Chateau hotel, where we will direct all future business.) The airlines returned (returned!) our money in full. This was, after all, out of our hands. We only wanted them to provide us a credit, like each other merchant, not a refund. One of our parents, whom we were to meet there, actually went to the A La Carte office on our behalf that week, in person, to plead our case, politely reasoning in their native tongue. But they were as unforgiving as the volcano itself. No refund or credit of any amount was provided. If we had changed our minds at the last minute, if we missed a flight due to sleeping late - we would not argue.
Now we are out $3500. This is more than the cost of traveling to Paris. We are only writing this now as our last appeal was finally exhausted this month (September). One could argue that we should have purchased travel insurance (which 99% of the time is a waste). We cannot argue that A La Carte has broken any law, international or otherwise. But they have, in our own opinion, violated the sacred trust of merchant and customer, of traveler and vendor, of lovers of Paris.
With regrets and deep disappointment,
Ann & Justin Bullion, Boston, MA