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Apartment vs Hotel for first timer?

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Arkansas
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Apartment vs Hotel for first timer?

I know this has been discussed but I would like some input about apartments vs hotels for my wife and me. This will be our first trip to Paris and have heard people saying apartments are the way to go and others say hotel.

I am pretty good with navigation and with planning so I think with some research we could handle an apartment. But I just don't know anything about them. I'm a bit nervous about booking an apt overseas but many seem to love it. I've checked the site VRBO. Is that a good reputable site for apartments?

So many questions! Thanks for any info you all can give!

Rocklin, California
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1. Re: Apartment vs Hotel for first timer?

We just got back yesterday!

We rented an apartment (one bedroom just off the Champs-Elysee) and got it through VBRO.

It was definitely the way to go for us. Having a kitchen saved us a TON of money! We were typically exhausted by the end of the day, so it was great to be able to go back to the apt and just relax, cook up some pasta, and hang out. We didn't feel that we *HAD* to go out for dinner or breakfast.

We were there for 10 days...so the apartment was a lot cheaper too.

A few suggestions:

1) Make sure you are near a Metro station! (Once you figure out the metro, it's great!)...if you have an iPhone, get the "Paris Metro" app! :-)

2) The Champs-Elysee is pretty centrally located...but expensive and expect lines at all the restaurants (event McDonalds)...that's where our apt was located (Rue de Marignan). We never ate near the apt.

3) If you are looking for a lively area, check out the Latin Quarter. Lot's of boutique shopping, small restaurants, etc. It's a "happening" place in the evenings but a little "lazy" early mornings. (Warning...it seemed that a lot more people smoked in the Latin Quarter...just something to keep in mind.)

Hope that helps...

-Emmett

Rocklin, California
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2. Re: Apartment vs Hotel for first timer?

I forgot to mention...I was with my family (myself, my wife and our two teenage daughters), so an evening out for dinner was $100+ for us. If it's just you and your wife, that might not be as much of a concern for you.

Victoria, Canada
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3. Re: Apartment vs Hotel for first timer?

The Champs Elysees area is not recommended by most of us for either a hotel or apartment stay,, as Emmet pointed out,, the area is expensive, lined with chain shops,, not many good cheap places to eat.

Hotel or apartment,, frankly it just comes down to personal taste sometimes,, after a long day sightseeing I would not be happy to go into a kitchen , cook a meal , and do dishes,, but thats just me.. if husband wants to cook and clean then I say go for it.

I do think for a family with kids an apartment offers some advantages, seperate sleeping room or area being a big one, french hotel rooms are not large, so having extra space is nice so family can spread out a bit

Many hotels do have mini fridges that one can store cold drinks and a few snacks in,, I have always done this and find it a good compromise to having some food on hand, but not a kitchen to deal with( yech).

If visiting in summer , a/c is a good idea,, in some areas the street noise precludes leaving windows open at night,, so ac can be a blessing,, many hotels have it now,, but fewer apartments( but some do, so do research).

Also, check out stairs,, some apartments are on 4 or 5 floors, and no elevator, not a big deal as far as I am concerned,, but if one is elderly or has some mobility issues that needs to be considered.

Arkansas
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4. Re: Apartment vs Hotel for first timer?

Thanks so much. That's a great endorsement. Did the owner meet you at the apartment upon arrival? Was it easy to find? It will be just my wife and me but we still wouldn't mind saving some money.

Rocklin, California
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78 posts
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5. Re: Apartment vs Hotel for first timer?

Yes...the owner met us and gave us her phone number. She said that if there was *ANYTHING* we needed, just call her.

Also, calls from the apartment to any Frence or US *land-line* was free, so it was nice to call home and wish folks a Merry Christmas.

As far as coming back to the apartment and cooking goes...we wouldn't have a big meal, the kitchen was pretty small. We would literally just cook up some pasta and have a fresh baguette from the store. Great way to wind down for the day.

One thing that was tough though...don't expect to kick back and watch English TV...you might find a show or two (like Glee) in English, but everything is in French. Although, it was fun to watch "Don't forget the Lyrics" in French!

As far as finding the Apartment, I just had the address written down on a slip of paper and the taxi driver entered it into his GPS. I had "Googled" it, so I also knew right where it was. :-)

-Emmett

Oakville, Canada
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6. Re: Apartment vs Hotel for first timer?

Keith, we also rented an apartment this Sept. for our first trip to Paris. We shared a 2 bdrm with another couple in the lst arrondisement. As mentioned, it was great to just walk over a block to purchase fresh made croissants and/or baquette for breakfast and have our freshly made coffee with the coffee provided by the apartment rental agency. We usually had our larger meal at lunch, so we would then head over to the Monoprix, buy some fruit and other food stuffs that struck our fancy for a light dinner, along with, of course, an excellent bottle of wine. Where we stayed, we were also a very short walk to the street market on rue Montorgeuil where we purchased our cheeses and bread etc. I would definitely recommend renting an apartment.

North Caroiina
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7. Re: Apartment vs Hotel for first timer?

Keith, stayed at a hotel (Novotel) in 11/2007 and an apartment in 6/2011. Going forward, I will always try to go the apartment route when visiting a place for more than a few days.

Apartment advantages . . .

-- Save $$$ on lodging

-- Save $$$ on food

-- Feel like you are part of the neighborhood

-- Don't have to worry about keeping the place picked up for housekeeping

Hotel advantages

-- Just arrive without need to coordinate with an agent (However some rental agencies can send you apartment keys in advance)

-- Access to concierge services / advice / assistance

-- No deposits

Because this is an active forum, you can find plenty of info on the reputation and reliabiltiy of various agencies as well as information on specific units in some cases.

How did the guide books go over for Christmas???

Rocklin, California
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8. Re: Apartment vs Hotel for first timer?

Since FrankMcB brought up the deposits...one suggestion that I would make is to ask if you can give them US Dollars for the deposit. Ours was $400, and they took it in US cash. Then at the end of the stay they gave it back to us. Saved us the fees of converting it to Euros then back to US Dollars!

-E

Arkansas
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9. Re: Apartment vs Hotel for first timer?

Frank, the guide books were a smashing success. I saw tears in my wife's eyes followed by several questions asking if I was really serious. She is so excited now. I am starting to lean more towards the apartment now.

Emmett, sounds like you used a really good rental agency. Thanks for the info.

Denver, Colorado
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for Paris, Denver
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10. Re: Apartment vs Hotel for first timer?

Just to add to the list of Hotel advantages:

- Don't have to worry about cleaning the place up before checking out

- Don't have to wait for the agent or the owner to inspect the place before you can leave the place

- Don't have to worry about what to do with your luggage if you want to do sightseeing before you can check-in

- Don't have to worry about figuring things out in case of an emergency. LIke if you locked yourself out, or if you lost the key (which can cause major hassle if you went the apartment route). Or if the shower pipe starts spewing out water. Or if you don't have toilet paper ;-)

- Don't have to worry about doing dishes or picking up dirty towels.

- You can still walk to the boulangerie and grab croissants for breakfast. Coffee at that same boulangerie will likely cost 1-2 euro, but people watching is free (vs. sitting in your apartment). You can still feel like part of a neighborhood, especially if you drink coffee and eat breakfast at that boulangerie every morning.

- If you don't want to eat out in restaurants, you can still have dinner in the hotel room - or picnic in a park. Just go to a bakery to grab some bread, then to Monoprix to grab smoked salmon, pate, ham, cheese, whatever else you need. You can eat pasta back home ;-)))

I think you can have a wonderful trip either way, it just depends on your own personal needs. I did not enjoy my vacation in an apartment - it felt too mundane to be a holiday. I like to be more carefree on vacation.