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solo female - lodging / room rental?

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solo female - lodging / room rental?

Bonjour! I am in the very beginning stages of planning a one week solo trip next summer to Paris and would be 30 at the time of the trip. Thinking of going early July because of work schedule and since it's summer it will be light longer since it is common sense to not do a lot of walking around in the dark by myself. I know Paris is a safe city and I visited Rome (not by myself) last year and am familiar with protecting against pick pockets and the hoards of people trying to sell you things/scam you.

So my first question in this planning journey is in regards to lodging. Has anyone rented a room from a Parisian from Airbnb? I know lots of people have rented the whole apartment from this site and others, but I was considering renting a room so the owner/host would be there, too. I kind of like the idea of getting a bit of an insider view into the city and also since I will be alone, having someone be aware if (heaven forbid) I wouldn't come home one night instead of a hotel where they wouldn't know one way or the other. If you have stayed in someone's home, did you enjoy it? Any huge downsides? I'm assuming they wouldn't have a safe like a hotel, so what did you do with your passport, just carry in money belt always? Would you suggest a B&B instead? I'm ok with and actually looking for some interaction since I'll be by myself. But probably not so much interaction as to share a room at a hostel :)

Again, just throwing it out there as a possibility, if you think a hotel or B&B are a better option I'm eager to hear all input! :) Also, I'm thinking an initial budget of $1,000 total or less for 8 nights. A lot of the rooms I've seen for rent would bring me in below that. If I decide to go in a B&B or Hotel direction, I'll need to do some further research. Looking for clean and safe as main priorities and close proximity to metro station.

I love Tripadvisor as a rule and the community on the Paris board is amazing from what I've seen so thank you in advance :)

Saratoga Springs, NY
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1. Re: solo female - lodging / room rental?

One of the women in my French class goes to Paris three times a year and is often alone. She likes to stay at a small hotel called Hotel Jeanne d'Arc.

Many of the smaller hotels have few rooms. There is always someone at the front desk and they know who their guests are. I stayed at one called the Balmoral near the Arc de Triomphe and they had the old fashioned system of leaving the metal room key with the front desk when you go out, so they know if you are in your room or not. I thought it was charming.

San Diego...
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2. Re: solo female - lodging / room rental?

I have been to Paris as a solo female many times. I don't eat dinner until 9:00pm or later and don't usually get back to my hotel until 12:00 midnight or 1:00. Sometimes as late as 2:00. I've never had a problem walking around because they are usually so many people out. I also don't walk down dark and deserted streets.

I, personally, would never stay in a strangers home. Nor would I want to share a bathroom with them. Most Paris apartments are pretty small. That would scare me more than walking at night after dark. I also prefer my privacy.

I don't know much about B & B's in Paris but I've heard there aren't a lot of them. But, I do believe there are some. I have stayed in a lot of small hotels where I always make a point of talking to the staff. I don't recall ever encountering anyone unfriendly or who didn't take the time to talk with me about my day or what my plans were for the evening IF I stopped to talk.

Of course, if your preference is to rent a room then I would definitely only do it with someone who has a lot of positive reviews on airbnb.

Paris, France
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3. Re: solo female - lodging / room rental?

Even though you've been to Italy, if this is your first trip to Paris, and you don't speak much - or any - French, I would recommend a single room in a decent hotel. B&B's do exist in Paris, but there aren't many of them, and they tend to be more expensive than your budget allows. If you can find a BnB that suits you, that would actually be my first recommendation, though. Here's a good site, but there are others: www.bed-and-breakfast-in-paris.com

There are a lot of pro-AirBnB folks out there, but I am not one of them, at least as far as Paris is concerned.

There are legal problems due to tenants sub-letting all or part of their apartments without permission from their landlords, as well as complaints from neighbors who aren't crazy about strangers in their buildings... you get the drift. You don't want to deal with any unnecessary problems - you want a care-free vacation.

Although some tenants will rent you some space in their apartment, they might go stay elsewhere, might be busy working, etc - so won't necessarily be there when you need them. In a perfect world, this would work, but it's difficult to assure the kind of arrangement you're looking for. The "BnB" part is really misleading, unfortunately, since that's not the service that's provided.

You want security, someone who can give you advice when you need it, reasonable rates - you want a hotel or a traditional B&B. If you do some research and come back here with some choices, people will be happy to help you decide which would be best for you.

Redlands, California
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4. Re: solo female - lodging / room rental?

I will echo what elizzie said--I've always stayed in a small inexpensive hotel and in that context felt no issues of safety after dark in a busy area. If I were not familiar with Paris I would stick with a hotel or similar establishment. But just my opinion, no experience of renting rooms.

San Diego...
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5. Re: solo female - lodging / room rental?

pattyinparis - makes some good points from a the perspective of a person living in Paris.

And even if you rent a room from someone there is no guarantee on how much help they will be able to or want to give you. I would take Patty's advice to heart.

atlanta
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6. Re: solo female - lodging / room rental?

I am a single female and find it shucking that OP thinks being out after dark is dangerous but staying with a complete stranger safe. That seems backwards to me.

I have never had any problem in Paris just using common sense

Montreal
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7. Re: solo female - lodging / room rental?

1,000 USD for 8 nights works out to about 93€/night at today's exchange rate ..so you can find a room at a 2 or 3-star hotel in Paris, even in central areas

Hotel Marignan in Latin Quarter might suit, b/k is included and there is a kitchen...

http://www.hotel-marignan.com

Paris, France
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8. Re: solo female - lodging / room rental?

I really think that AirBnB is guilty of some misdirection, whether it is intentional or not, by implying that this operation is a B&B-type arrangement. This is not always the case - and it does not occur often, in Paris.

If you choose AirBnb in Paris, you might rent a place to sleep in someone's apartment, or the whole apartment might be available for you to use - though it's possible that the person you rent from will be in-and-out to collect clothes etc, from time to time. Either way, you don't have any guarantee of privacy, and no guarantee that other people might not come over for a visit. If you are security-conscious, you might think about this.

Your host might offer you a pull-out sofa, or might offer you the bed, instead. You will get a corner of a closet and maybe a drawer to store your things, and if there is room in the bathroom, you can share whatever space there is. It's rare to find a separate bedroom, though it's possible. You might get a glass of wine on arrival, and a brief tour of the apartment. You might not have permission to use the phone, though usually internet is OK. Sometimes kitchen and laundry privileges are available, sometimes not, though you can usually share space in the fridge. Usually, breakfast or other meals are not provided. Sometimes, there will be a few travel books or brochures available, but you can't count on that. So, you get there, say Hello, then your host goes off to work or school, and you are on your own. Other residents in the building probably won't know who you are, so might not treat you kindly.

B&B's are always a little different, depending on the individuals you stay with. Most are fairly generous with their time, and enjoy helping visitors. You will be given breakfast each morning, usually with the owner(s). It's a good chance to interact with people who know the city well, and can offer good advice about things to see and do. B&B's in Paris will provide you with a private bedroom, though you might share toilet facilities. Some allow kitchen privileges - light cooking and fridge space - but some do not. Telephone and wi-fi privileges might be restricted, but are usually available. Sometimes the owner might invite you to watch TV or have a glass of wine in the evening, but not always. Laundry facilities are not always available, but you will be sent to the nearest coin laundry. Some B&B's allow you to lock your room, others do not, but you are guaranteed your privacy. The other residents in the building will be aware that you are a guest of one of their neighbors, so you will be treated as such.

So there's a pretty significant difference between the two, which I don't think is clear to many first-time visitors. There are not many B&B's in Paris, because the Mayor's office makes it difficult, and people aren't always happy to share their private space with strangers, even for money. AirBnB is a whole different animal, though. A seasoned traveller might be willing to take a chance, but a newcomer to Paris should think twice about using AirBnB. It works well in other parts of the world, but does not have a good track record, in Paris.

Le Bugue, France
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9. Re: solo female - lodging / room rental?

Just wanted to say that I completely disagree with the notion that "it's common sense" not to be out after dark in Paris. I'm ALWAYS out after dark, often alone, in Paris, sometimes until late at night. And I don't think I'm lacking in common sense.

Paris, France
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10. Re: solo female - lodging / room rental?

I agree with everyone about disregarding advice to stay home after the sun goes down. I have always enjoyed walking around at night and peeking into windows - the city is really beautiful then, and those annoying petition girls have gone home to bed.

One thing many people find disconcerting is the fact that in many neighborhoods, Paris streets will be pretty much empty after dark. Depending on where you come from, you might be conditioned to believe that this could mean danger - but it's not the case in Paris, usual street smarts applied, of course. The streets are just empty - no good guys, no bad guys - nobody but you, taking a nice walk. I highly recommend it. Just make sure you know where you are going, and how to get back home, since there probably won't be anyone around to ask.