Rent an Apartment or Stay in a Hotel in Paris, France
Apartments can be a cost-saving and roomier alternative to hotels. And, anyone who has walked the streets of Paris has fantasized about what it is like to stay in a fabulous Paris flat and live, briefly, like a Paris local.
If you're thinking of renting a Paris apartment, answer our five questions below to determine if an apartment rental is the best option for you.
Paris Apartment or Hotel - Five Questions to Help You Decide
1. Is This Your First Trip to Paris?
If yes, stay in a hotel. Unless you are really adventuresome and are familiar with big city life in a strange locale, you'll probably be more comfortable staying in a hotel. Most Parisian hotels have staff that can answer your questions in English, help with directions or hotel reservations, and can generally put you at ease on your first trip to the City of Lights.
Unlike other tourist destinations (e.g., New York City or London), you can find a comfortable hotel to stay at in a great location near all the tourists hotspots for around 70€ for a single or 100€ for a double. With these low prices, stay in a hotel, explore Paris, and scope out potential neighborhoods for future apartment rentals.
2. Are You Staying for More than One Week?
If yes, look at apartment rentals. Paris hotel rooms are small (apartments are small too, but compared to hotel rooms most apartments appear spacious), and for a stay over a week, you'll probably want some additional breathing room. A kitchen and a washing machine is also a bonus - eating all meals out and paying hotel dry cleaning rates can wreak havoc on your Paris budget.
Although there are many agencies that will rent an apartment by the day, the rates are comparable to that of a hotel room. And the hassle factor with some of these short-term rentals (e.g., pre-payments, security deposits), makes hotels a more desirable option for short stays.
However, if you can sign a lease for a week or more, apartment rates become more economical than a week in a hotel. And, if you are one of the lucky few that have the time to spend a month in Paris, you'll have the "staying power" to negotiate a stellar deal (e.g., it's not uncommon to pay the three weeks rent for a month's stay - owners will pro-rate the additional week just to avoid" finding another tenant.)
3. Are You "Particular" about Your Surroundings?
If yes, look at hotels. Apartment rentals seem to go smoother if you can honestly describe yourself as a "go with the flow" personality. If you're the type of person that has to have things "just so" or can find fault with a 5 star hotel room, apartment rentals are not for you.
This is OK - most people fall into the "I know what I like" category. However, you may be frustrated in a rented apartment, since what you consider a "fully functional kitchen", "fine bed linens" or "spacious bath" might not be in the ballpark of what the owner/rental agency thinks.
If you have special needs, like a bad back or allergies, also book a hotel room. For example, elevators break down. If an elevator breaks down in a hotel, most hotel staff will bend over backwards to help you until the elevator is repaired - carrying your bags for you, moving you to a room on a lower floor, or moving you to another property with a working lift at their expense. If an elevator breaks in an apartment building, you may be out of luck until the elevator can be repaired. Most apartment owners/agencies are limited in what they can offer you (e.g., difficulty in moving you to another apartment, no authority from owner to discount rent, etc.).
4. Are You Traveling with Children?
If yes, consider an apartment. In the US, vacationing with children is easy. Book one hotel room with a large chain, and have the kids sleep in the extra double bed, sofa bed or roll-away. These types of American Doubles are non-existant in Paris. Due to the small size of Parisian hotel rooms (even in American brand hotels, like Hilton, Hyatt and InterContinental), there is no room to cram a few small children into a room advertised as a double. Many American families have been stunned at check-in to be told "Sorry, you needed to book a quad room with us. We cannot accommodate children in a room with one full size bed."
Renting the apartment will give your children room to stretch out and play, and will give you, the parents, some much needed privacy. After all, the City of Love won't be as "lovely" if you are sharing a full size bed with a few kids. And, the savings in having snacks and drinks at home, will easily pay the difference between a quad hotel room and a two bedroom apartment.
If you need more room, but would like the convenience of a hotel, try the Citadines Apartment-Hotel chain located near most Paris tourist destinations (16 hotels in Paris). Each room in a Citadines property, has a separate living area, small kitchen and adjoining bedrooms - very similar to staying at an Embassy Suites in the US.
5. Are You Traveling with a Large Party?
This is a tricky question. Common sense will tell you to look for a large apartment. However, apartment rentals of three bedrooms or more are very rare in Paris. While a 100m2 (1000 square feet) two bedroom is considered spacious in Paris, many Americans may feel cramped with more than four adults in this space. Its also rare to find adjacent apartments for rent in the same building. If you are traveling as a party of six or more adults and want to stay at the same location, your best bet would be to book multiple hotel rooms at one property, and try to negotiate a discount.