Paris Hideaways offers top rental tips for choosing the right vacation apartment for your trip to the City of Lights.
The advantages of a vacation rental apartment in Paris over a hotel are countless: you will save hundreds if not thousands of Dollars, Pounds or Euros, you will have the opportunity to live like a local, and you have the privacy and freedom that are missing from the hotel experience.
Choosing the right vacation apartment for you can be a time-intense task, so Paris Hideaways have created a list of top tips to help you choose the right apartment for your trip to Paris.
Top Tips for booking the right Paris vacation apartment rental:
1. Do your homework
There are countless numbers of agencies in Paris renting out vacation apartments. Research the agency, and read reviews of each agency on Trip Advisor, Frommers, Lonely Planet, Virtual Tourist and other travel forums. Compare prices from various agencies, who often offer the same apartments at different rates, so you might be able to get the same apartment cheaper at an agency which charges less commission than another agency with the same apartment.
2. Book early
Paris is the world’s number one tourist destination hands down, with over 30 million visitors every year. The Christmas/New Year season sees prices jump 20% due to sheer demand, and the months of May and September are very busy due to fashion fairs and exhibits in Paris, so be sure to book far in advance during these times.
There are possibilities for last minute discounted rates for vacation apartment rental bookings, so if you can be flexible and are traveling to Paris at short notice, it is worth checking with agencies to see if there might be discounted apartments available.
3. Trade romance for realism during your apartment search
During your accommodation search, trade your romantic visions of Paris for a realistic view of the city’s accommodation options in order to ensure you find the right apartment for you, as many visitors' expectations of what it is like to live "à la Parisienne" in a French apartment may very different to what you are accustomed.
When choosing to go to Paris, it also means visiting a city several hundred years old. While the authenticity and history of the buildings and monuments give Paris its charm, if you are looking for comfortable North American style accommodation, you might consider a 4-star hotel chain that you know and trust.
Any trustworthy agency has checked out as many of the apartments it makes available as possible, and the best agencies will make sure only to work with reliable owners and only include apartments up to highly acceptable levels of cleanliness. Your apartment should feel like your own apartment, not like you are staying at stranger’s home who happens to be out of town.
4. Decide on your deal-breakers
Are you after size, view, number of beds, amenities, location or budget? Is this a honeymoon? An anniversary? Tell the agency. They are likely to know what to advise for the perfect getaway according to your needs.
Some apartments will be top-notch and top-quality, but also top floor of a building. Parisian elevators can be small and almost claustrophobic, if there are any elevators at all. Are you willing to climb up flights of stairs? Ride in small lifts? Even the best vacation apartment rental agency might over look small intercultural differences like these if you don’t ask, as they are used to the Paris way of life. So don’t be afraid to ask.
Can you live without air conditioning in mid-summer Paris? Is there a washer in the apartment and can you live without one if not? For those on business, wireless internet access inside the apartment might be essential, so make sure to indicate that during your search.
5. Pay attention to payment method
The payment options might make or break your decision to book with a certain agency. Some agencies might require full rent and deposit up to 30 days in advance, while others might require full cash payment on arrival and a check for the deposit which would not be cashed unless actual damage was done to the apartment. Some agencies will have the owner of the apartment meet you at your vacation rental, while some might require full payment and then send keys in the mail. You should never make any payments by Western Union or to an unnamed recipient no matter how good the deal.
6. Prepare your arrival
Post-booking, contact the owner as soon as the agency provides contact details and make sure you get a response from the owner. Give the owner your contact details to reach you when you are at home, when you are traveling, especially if you will be elsewhere in the days before your arrival. Once in contact with the owner, as him or her if they have a welcome pack he can send you ahead of time, if they know a good place to eat nearby, the best way to arrive to the apartment via public transport or taxi, and any other questions you may have before your arrival. The owner should be happy to help you make the best of your stay.
If you consider all of your needs and your price range and research the vacation apartment agencies far in advance, you will find the right apartment in the location and price range that you most feel comfortable with. The best advice to give is just to ask – ask in travel forums, ask friends for advice, and ask the vacation apartment rental agencies themselves, who should be very happy to help you find the perfect place for your stay in Paris.
Paris Hideaways (paris-hideaways.com) is an entity of Charming Hideaways Ltd, and is registered and based in London.
Katia Provencher is the Director of Charming Hideaways, and has several years’ experience in the vacation rental and tourism business, including being vacation rental owner herself and also having been a long-term resident of Paris.
Photography is available on request.