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Booking hotel when we arrive in Paris

Chicago
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Booking hotel when we arrive in Paris

I know this has been asked before, but usually for the times during the high tourist season. We are planning to go next week over Thanksgiving weekend and the next week but are flying standby, so there's not really any actual guarantee we would get to Paris Friday, or at all. I know the Rick Steves guides suggest we can just walk up to hotels that day when we arrive, but not sure that is the best way to do it--is it better to get into town, find an internet cafe, and book that way?

Tampa, Florida
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1. Re: Booking hotel when we arrive in Paris

I'd be booking someplace that had no cancellation charges (or modest ones).

That's a big gamble at any time of year -- and that's spoken as someone who's been there, done that.

Montreal, QC
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for Nice
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2. Re: Booking hotel when we arrive in Paris

There are many hotels that will accept cancellation as close as the day before the check-in date of the reservation. Some will ask for a minor deposit and some won't, depending mostly on the type of booking (special price or standard price). A reservation is always advised, especially for popular hotels (e.g. Hôtel du Collège de France or Best Western Left Bank on Rue de l'Ancienne-Comédie)

Paris, France
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for Paris, Loire Valley
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3. Re: Booking hotel when we arrive in Paris

I should never simply walk up to a hotel in Paris and ask for a room. If you cannot find somewhere acceptable that allows short notice cancellations, at least call before you appear at the check in desk.

New Hampshire
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for Paris
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4. Re: Booking hotel when we arrive in Paris

I agree that this is a very risky endeavor over a holiday weekend. The most liberal cancellation policies require day before by 6PM cancellation, even the major chains.

Will you have web access once you're ticketed and have a boarding pass?

What is your budget?

One idea would be to select a few places with availability, keep checking availability until you leave home.

If you'll have web access, consider checking online booking sights from the airport. Or, if you have particular hotels in mind, check those. Shop ahead, so you'll have an idea of rates and be familiar with favorable (for you) hotels.

Walkins have the disadvantage of the front desk charging you any rate they please.

I've known people who've gone hotel searching once in Paris for one reason or another, and it's not recommended.

For one thing, you could find place after place available Friday, but not Saturday, and spend all day Saturday hoping to find a place for the rest of your stay.

Kamloops, BC...
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5. Re: Booking hotel when we arrive in Paris

Go to www.ratestogo.com - they're a last minute service and you pay on check out. See if they have anything suitable. Additionally, you can get a look at what your chances are for your standby ride by checking the seat availability on the flight.

Denver, Colorado
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for Paris, Denver
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6. Re: Booking hotel when we arrive in Paris

How much luggage will you have? If just backpacks, I think you would be fine without reservations. Do you speak French? that would certainly help.

There are plenty of hotels in Paris, not all of them are listed on the internet search sites - but yes, if you are looking for 3/4 star hotels, booking ahead would be better. So, what's your budget?

Maybe stay away from the popular 4-5-6-7th districts. Try hotels around Montmartre or Gare de Lyon, even Gare du Nord (though that's not my favorite area). There are streets in the 9th that just have one hotel after another - I'm sorry, I don't remember the names. I'm not sure what kind of amenities they have (don't think it's much), or what kind of amenities you need?

So to summarize - I think it can be done, but you have to have little luggage and big sense of adventure :)

Metro Vancouver
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7. Re: Booking hotel when we arrive in Paris

I have been flying stanby for years and what I do is call hotels on my list from the airport... I have done that in Europe, Japan etc. at worse I get a room for the night only.. Naturally I don't look for hotels right downtown anywhere..

New Hampshire
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for Paris
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8. Re: Booking hotel when we arrive in Paris

We met a retired couple at the airport once who also flew standby all the time and were real experts with last minute hotels, but they had lots of practice and knew what they were doing.

One thing, if you do make a reservation, is to remember the time difference.

I know from experience that booking/cancellation is very strict at many hotels. There are some strange regulations, too. People have reported that even with a prepaid reservation, if you don't check in by a certain time, they can resell your room. Someone reported that she phoned from her train to advise she'd be late, they still gave away her room, and she had to find another hotel.

Chicago
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9. Re: Booking hotel when we arrive in Paris

Thanks everyone, for your input.

We are travelling with backpacks only--and as we are not paying for the flight itself, that gives us a little leeway. Last year we did this to Sydney, and while we ended up in a hotel a bit above our price point for the first night (booked while in the airport in Australia) we were able to find another, more affordable hotel for the rest of our stay by using the more expensive hotel's internet access that night. We're expecting to pay in the 200-250 range USD.

My experience with booking hotels prior to leaving is that every time we've managed to not get on the plane and lose our deposit!

Appreciate everyone's input--thanks for the website, 1BC Traveler.

New Jersey
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for Honeymoons and Romance
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10. Re: Booking hotel when we arrive in Paris

I , in the past, have arrived in Paris without a hotel reservation. There are tourist centers at the airport that can make a reservations for you.