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Apartment Or Hotel? We Help You Decide

Staying in an apartment rather than a hotel offers you a variety of
advantages while in Paris. While there is no one to change the linens
and make your bed every day, whether you’re here for holiday or to
explore living here, an apartment can be the ideal way to go.

Generally, hotel rooms here are miniscule compared to those in the
U.S. The space and comfort of an apartment far surpasses those of
most hotel rooms. Mandated by the French government’s star rating
system, hotel room sizes range from 86 square feet to 107 square feet
for a single room. An average studio apartment, in contrast, is
generally around 200 square feet. Add comfortable furnishings to that
and you’ll find your apartment is more than just a place to sleep.

I have a friend who comes to Paris two or three times a year, and
says renting an apartment has been the best thing she ever did.
"Whether you are here for a short visit or a longer stay, if you want
to get to know Paris better, renting an apartment is the perfect way
to do it."

You can quickly become part of the neighborhood by visiting the
"boucherie" (butcher shop), "fromagerie" (cheese shop), and
"boulangerie" (bakery) to put together your own dinner. Don’t forget
to stop by the wine shop and "patisserie" for the finishing touches
to your "home-cooked" meal. And if you’re not quite ready for that
realistic an experience, there is bound to be at least a "traiteur"
in the neighborhood where you can buy ready-prepared dishes.

Staying in an apartment gives you a closer connection to the
neighborhood you’re in. Michael, another friend, decided to take an
apartment near Montmartre. Ten days later he left Paris knowing his
little corner of the world–the boulangeries, the cafés, the
streets–saying "I’ll never stay in a hotel again." Friends he told
about the experience took an apartment in the same neighborhood when
they were in Paris this October. Bob had been to Paris before and
feels the apartment rental added so much to the experience, for he
and his partner who had never been here.

Deciding to rent an apartment instead of staying in a hotel is the
easy part. Going about finding a rental is probably going to be a
bigger process for you.

There are a number of big agencies that offer a large selection of
apartments. The smaller agencies, and independent managers, have a
smaller–but more select–inventory of apartments, and often, better
service. A competitive market has brought about the inclusion of
additional services beyond just renting you the apartment. Some offer
airport pick-up and return, concierge services, and even maid

While one of the best ways to choose an agency or apartment manager
is by recommendation, you may need to do some research and
comparison-shopping to find the apartment you want at the price you

Talk to someone at the agency. Ask questions about the services
included with your rental. Read the contract or letter of agreement
you’re asked to sign and ask if you have any questions. Make sure you
know what you are paying for and that there will be no surprise
charges. Get everything in writing… do not rely on verbal promises
or assurances.

Rates will vary depending on the size, location, amenities, and time
of year you rent (most have high-season rates). An apartment will
cost you anywhere from $700 to $1,500 per week for a one-bedroom
apartment. In general, the rent on a studio will be a little less,
while a two-bedroom will cost more.

The more expensive apartments–because of their location and
quality–are usually found in central Paris (4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th
arrondissements). Upscale and luxury apartments will also be more
expensive, but can be found throughout the city.

Short-term apartment rental is big business these days. An Internet
search will give you a nearly endless list of possibilities. As the
number of visitors renting grows, so does the number of apartments
available and companies offering rental services. It can be a bit
overwhelming. To help you narrow down the search, send me an e-mail
mailto:[email protected]?subject=ppiFindaRental
and I’ll give you some of our recommendations.

A bientôt,

Schuyler Hoffman
Editor, Paris Property Insider
Email: mailto:[email protected]

P.S. I’m off to the States for the holidays–they’re actually letting
me go! So there will be no Paris Property Insider next week. HAPPY

P.P.S. Decompress after all the merriment of the holidays, don’t
forget the next Après Midi on January 14, 2003! Information at:


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