I was born into the hotel business. Literally. My mother was the owner’s private secretary, and my father was the Social Director for an huge upstate New York resort. My mom told me (when I was of age) that I was actually conceived in one of the hotel rooms.
It’s no wonder I grew up loving hotels and, as an adult, I’ve have had the opportunity to stay in myriad fabulous ones. You might even say that they’re in my blood.
Like most travelers to the City of Lights, on my first trip many years ago I booked the quintessential Parisian hotel, complete with blooming flower boxes adorning its facade and situated on an enchanting, slightly crooked Left bank street.
While some people take time to warm up to Paris and others never come to care for it at all, I was sold at the first bonjour.
In fact, I was desperate to go back after my first visit to dig deeper into this fascinating and at times charmingly perplexing city.
Yet after a few more trips and a few more hotels, I began to feel something was missing.
Beyond exploring the iconic sites, I grew a desire to have a better glimpse into the lives of the residents that so intrigued me. I knew that an alterntive to staying in a hotel was to lodge in an apartment. I had friends who had begun booking apartments there regularly and who happily reported their experience had been altered forever.
So I, too, took the plunge and never looked back.
I became an voracious apartment researcher and gained so much knowledge about Parisian apartment living that I wrote an award-winning book, The Paris Vacation Apartment Guide.
Today, for clients of Paris Made for You, I have access to the best apartment companies in Paris and am known for arranging the Paris apartment of my guests’ dreams.
If you are still on the fence about whether to choose a hotel or apartment for your stay in Paris, read on and soon you’ll be simply dying to get the keys to your personal Parisian nest!
10 Reasons To Rent A Paris Vacation Apartment Now
#1. You get more room.
The average size of a Paris hotel room is about 18 square meters. This gives a whole new meaning to the French word petite! And we are not just talking about the quaint one of a kind 2- and 3-star hotels.
Even in some of the familiar hotel chains, rooms can be barely big enough for a set of luggage. Sure there are hotel rooms larger than this and the old adage applies: you get what you pay for.
Only the teensiest Paris apartment would measure a mere 18 square meters and, while they exist, there’s simply no reason to rent one given the large supply of available apartments at least twice that size.
Even if you think you’ll barely be in your apartment (see #6), trust me that you’ll be glad you have a bit more room to move about when you are there.
#2. Your family will be more comfortable.
So … you’ve planned a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris for the entire family. Good luck finding a large family room in a hotel. Triple rooms are very difficult to find in any Paris hotel, leaving two rooms as the only option for families.
What’s that you say? You want adjoining rooms? They are about as hard to find as a Paris street with no cafés. The whole tab for this route can pile up to a pretty thick stack of euros.
Imagine instead your children happily ensconced in their own bedroom or rolling around on great pull-out bed in the living room (some of the pull-out couches in French apartments are really, really comfortable). Everyone together munching on fresh-baked croissants around a dining table. This makes for some very worthy vacation photos, n’est pas?
#3. You’ll spend less.
Even if you settled into a modestly priced hotel, you still need to budget in meals. Multiply three meals per day per person for the duration of a vacation and you can see how this gets costly fast. Sure you could grab inexpensive sandwiches, soups, crepes and the like when lodging at a hotel. But the savings you’ll incur by renting an apartment and eating in can translate into having much more of your total meal budget allocated for special dining splurges.
But don’t think that the fact that your Paris apartment will have a kitchen means you’ll be cooking.
Purchase a delectable roast chicken from one of the many markets (usually paired with sinfully delicious roast potatoes) and throw in a prepared vegetable, French pastries and a bottle of wine and there you go – dinner for four in your own apartment for less than the cost of two people at a restaurant.
Additionally, as stated in reason #1, space is a precious commodity. It’s worth something. Chances are very good you’ll find an apartment with more space, for less money than it would cost you to stay in a hotel. Do note however that many agencies require a week’s stay, making the argument for apartment living during your adventure that much stronger. Some agencies and direct owners do rent their apartments for less than a week, so it’s worth inquiring, and you can still reap the cost benefits of staying in an apartment even if it’s just for a few days.
#4. You can pack less.
Maybe you’ve never been a carry-on only kind of traveler. Well here’s your opportunity to start.
Since your apartment will mostly likely have a washer, you can pare down the schlepping of your entire wardrobe. If planned well, clothes for a two- or three-week stay can easily be packed in a carry-on or, at the most, requires less luggage.
Now I know the same advice can be given to people to lodge at hotels. But really, what’s going to be more comfortable, washing a load in a machine or trying to rinse out items in a cramped sink?
#5. You’ll have more privacy.
Growing up in the hotel business, I have great respect for the housekeeping department. They work tirelessly; I still don’t know how they get the sheets tucked so perfectly!
However, they are busy and need to keep a schedule. This means you might get interrupted and inconveniently disturbed at times when you could ensure your absolute privacy by skipping the hotel stay.
Many apartment rental agencies do have housekeeping services, but not everyday, so there are far less intrusions and if you want to leave your bed unmade, you can. After all, it’s your vacation.
And don’t worry about buying supplies. A large majority of apartments will have a toilet paper and other essentials stocked for at least a week. If you do need anything, purchasing it yourself can add additional layers of authenticity to your French experience (see #10)
#6. You’ll have a place to rest.
Paris is a tiring city. Despite your intentions to cram in non-stop sightseeing, you will really need to take breaks. While sitting in a cafe or on a park bench is a nice respite, what you really should do is stretch out.
Of course, you can also retire to a hotel room, but there’s nothing like being in a quiet apartment sprawled on the couch with some light music playing and a good book, perhaps noshing on that little pot of creamy yogurt you bought at the local market.
Point being, if you’re traveling with the family, an apartment is infinitely more comfortable for taking a break, especially for those with small children who need a proper place to chill.
#7. You get to eat croissants and yogurt and eggs and … all in your jammies.
Many Paris 2- and 3-star hotels do not have room service. The breakfast they might provide is usually cold cereal and perhaps some packaged pastries. And nowadays it may not even be included in the the room price. The more lavish hotels will have equally opulent breakfast offerings, but for a steep price.
You could run out to get something from the corner bakery to bring back or simply go to a cafe. But those alternatives leave you with a bed as you dining table, and you’ll have to get dressed to go out even if you’re bringing breakfast back to your room.
For me, the most attractive part of renting an apartment for me is the opportunity to use its kitchen. I’m a cookbook author and culinary instructor so just the mere fact I can go shopping for foil in Paris leaves me completely giddy. You might enjoy doing the same, but even if you don’t, a nice inexpensive no-cooking-required breakfast at your own little breakfast table is also a delightful way to start your day.
#8. You won’t be all on your own.
So it’s your first trip to Paris – that’s great! You’ll need a hotel concierge to help you plan outings, right?
As I mentioned, I didn’t try apartment living right off the bat, but you can. The agencies I deal with support the arrangements I make for my clients, so you have two parties (the agency and myself) confirming and reconfirming all your reservations.
However, you know yourself best. So while you may choose a hotel the first time out, research a few agencies you might be interested in using in the future and let them know when you’ll be in Paris. If you ask very kindly, and if they have the time, some top agencies might show you an apartment if it’s not occupied to help you get a feel for what it might be like.
Feel free to contact me as well, I can arrange for my agencies to show you apartments if they’re unoccupied at the time of your visit.
#9. You can invite people over.
While you shouldn’t plan on having any raucous parties, it’s fun to entertain in your Parisian apartment.
I’ve had friends staying in Paris at the same time as me who’ve come over for drinks before dinner, and sometimes I’ll even plan a dinner party.
Most apartments furnish wine glasses and plates for cheese and bread. Try doing that in a hotel room with glasses from the bathroom and little napkins to support all those bread crumbs! Non, merci!
#10. You’ll be part of a Parisian neighborhood … even if only for a short while.
There isn’t a day that goes by that someone on my social media doesn’t remark that they only want to be close to the locals when visiting Paris. Well, renting an apartment can afford you that experience … sort of.
French society on the whole is still fairly formal, so the chances of becoming fast pals with your fellow apartment dwellers is slim. In fact, it takes years for friendships to develop in Paris, so don’t be surprised if the neighbors pay you no heed.
However, you will indeed experience the same things a resident does and you’ll be surrounded by locals even if you aren’t buddy-buddy with them. For example:
You’ll get to go behind those magnificent wooden door entryways to your apartment; a tiny act, yes, but it is simply thrilling.
You’ll get to shop for dinner ingredients and try out French versions of your favorite brands (somehow Cherrios tastes far better in France).
Plus, you’ll be so proud of yourself for operating a French stove in celsius.
You might even have the opportunity to assist a French mother out the front door with her awkward stroller and receive a lovely “merci” in return.
These might seem like such small things, but when you look back on your vacation, I promise you that these memories we be on equal footing with a visit to the Eiffel Tower. They are simply that special.