Oct 28

Staying in a Paris Apartment

This post is sponsored by Haven in Paris, a boutique, luxury, vacation rental agency with more than 15 years of experience in the tourist industry in Paris, France and Italy. See all of their properties right here. They also run a helpful Paris blog right here.

When we first moved to Paris we rented this apartment in Montmartre from Haven in Paris while we looked for a permanent house. One thing I started noticing when I traveled here is all the Europeans would recommend apartments to stay in when we told them were were planning a trip. In Europe renting an apartment when you travel instead of staying in a hotel is very common. And I came to learn there are major perks from traveling like that.

One. It’s a reality that most hotel rooms in Paris, are itty bitty. We stayed at a few fancy hotels on our honeymoon and I was shocked to see how small they were compared with how much we were paying a night. Apartments in Paris, while not known for being enormous are much larger than a standard Paris hotel room.

Two. It is a more authentic Paris experience to stay in an apartment. It gets you off the tourist grid and into the adorable Paris neighborhoods. You say “bonjour” to your neighbors while you walk up the stairs and nod your head at the old woman sitting on the balcony next to yours. You get to experience what its like to live in another culture.

Three. Having your own kitchen when you travel is the best! We bought a rotisserie and some beautiful side dishes from a deli and set up a large spread while we watched the sunset off the balcony. It was fantastic. My Haven in Paris greeter Evelyne, took me around the market in Montmartre and taught me how to shop and showed me all the beautiful things that were in season. It was so inspiring that I ended up cooking in our apartment and trying new dishes all the time.

Four. You have more control over your vacation. When you book a hotel they show you the best pictures of their best room but somehow the room you end up in looks a lot different than those pretty pictures. When you rent an apartment the place you see is the place you get.

Have you ever rented an apartment instead of a hotel? What did you think?

50 Comments

  • Elizabeth says:

    Jordan – my significant other and I rented an apartment near Notre Dame on the Boulevard St. Michel several years ago for a week and absolutely loved it. I am itching to go back to Paris and would not think of staying in a hotel – I will most definitely rent an apartment when I get the chance to go back.

    It was more economical in so many ways and yet at the same time, more authentic.

  • erin says:

    Love your blog. Yes! We rented an apartment in the Latin Quarter through Home Away last fall {http://www.homeaway.com} and it was fantastic! Loved having a kitchen, our space to spread out and walking ‘home’ through our little neighborhood. Depending on what size and location, it can be much more affordable than a comfortable hotel. It was stocked with all the kitchen essentials and I was awakened to the greatness of an electric kettle! :)

  • kathryn says:

    We rented an apartment in the 7th when we went to Paris and I recommend it to anyone. We got to stay in a beautiful area and we had so much space. I think its the way to go!

  • we stayed in an apartment in Paris for two weeks the last time we visited (a year ago – exactly)

    we brought our, at the time, 18 month old – so a place with a tub and an elevator (for the stroller) were important.

    The space was AMAZING! So much room! But it was an apartment overcrowded with dust and trinkets…the place WASN’T clean…It was sorta clean, but not really. The landlady took offense at us asking about the cleaning too…(there was even a million fruit flies in the kitchen!)

    Bottom line: We had a fantastic time, we loved the location and the opportunity to spread out a bit, but I would only take a referral from a friend or colleague (or fellow blogger) from now on. The pictures were a bit deceiving…

    (I am a neat freak, yes, but this place was dirty! I ended up scrubbing the bathroom, kitchen, and area rug so that we could feel more at home…I am not THAT picky, honest! Just normal)

    (It wasn’t a Haven in Paris rental)

  • Susan says:

    I just love all of their rental properties…hope to stay in one soon!

  • I love staying in apartments where possible. I think it’s fabulous when you find a good service you trust- but there are a lot of poor agencies out there.

    I have been checking out the HIP ones for a future trip! While they are quite expensive, I would totally love to stay in one as I think the payoffs in space and authenticity are totally worth it.

    We normally stay in a tiny hotel when we go to Paris because of the price per night (about £50), but an apartment would be heaven!

  • Clara says:

    First of all, that apartment in Montmartre is amazing! What a treat to stay and cook there. My family has often rented homes or apartments instead of staying in hotels in Europe. We spent one Christmas in South of France and rented a beautiful home in the little town of Biot. It was so fun to walk to the market each day and purchase what we were going to make for dinner. It’s the absolute best way to vacation!

  • Sourkraut says:

    I will have to bookmark their site for when I get around to taking my dream trip to Paris one of these days. When I went to London we rented an apartment, which was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We were right on the Thames with a view of Parliament from our balcony and we were next door to a hotel that would have cost us nearly twice as much. Since we needed two rooms the cost of a two-bedroom apartment turned out to be a better deal. I spent each morning doing yoga in the living room while enjoying the view of the river and the city. Heaven! For me, having a small washer/dryer in the apartment was the handiest thing as I was able to pack very few clothes and have more room in my suitcase for souvenirs and, I am almost ashamed to admit, lots and lots of candy and cakes. I think the weight of my suitcase doubled from the time we arrived to the time we left.

  • Staying in an apartment gives you a better, more authentic perspective on Paris, almost forcing you out of your comfort zone. And because you can stay in and eat a meal you’ve cooked, you can actually save money in the end, instead of eating out every night.

    There are some really good, reliable vacation apartment companies in Paris, including Haven in Paris. NEVER rent one through Craig’s List. Never!

  • Megan says:

    Yes to renting an apartment. We vacation with my husband’s extended family during the winter on a little alp in Austria. Even there a hotel would be too expensive for the duration and the convenience of having a little kitchenette can’t be beat. We loved it so much that we bought a place of our own in the building and just finished renovating it. Friends and family from all over join us every year – those that have tried a hotel have only done so once.

  • Jacqueline says:

    Yes! We rented a townhouse the last time we visited Washington DC, and it was a completely different vacation experience than we’ve had there before. We were able to stay right on Capital Hill and walk around through the neighborhoods at night. Now we look to stay in a rental property everywhere we go!

  • Misha says:

    I have been on the hunt for apartments to stay in for our travels for all the reasons you named! It feels less like a trip (which is like a whirlwind experience) and more like a vacation. It’s relaxed you go back to a much spacious area and feeling good about your day instead of feeling antsy about sitting in a tuna can sized hotel room.
    I love all your tidbits!

  • Caitlin says:

    I lived in Paris for 4 months when I was in college and my parents and my sister came to visit for a week or so during Christmastime. I moved out of my apartment and into their Haven in Paris apartment on Rue des Écoles. The apartment itself was beautiful, but what my mom loved the MOST was our view of the Parisian rooftops, including la Musée de Cluny (Musée National du Moyen Âge) Notre Dame. And we could hear the bells when they rang. We had a very tiny balcony where I found my mom one morning (mind you it was the end of December) sitting with her cup of coffee listening to the bells.

    Haven in Paris was incredible helping us with anything we needed– including a car to the airport. I would absolutely book with them again!

  • Ashley says:

    I have always dreamed of staying in one of Haven’s apartments…they looks so amazing….saving up to visit Paris again soon for the 3rd time. Love it!

  • Liz K says:

    My family of 4 stayed in a two bedroom apartment in the Marais on Rue St Antoine last fall, and it was the most perfect place. We came to love “our neighborhood” and to have two bedrooms for a little privacy was much more affordable than had we booked two hotel rooms. I highly recommend it for people traveling with kids.

  • Caitlin says:

    They must have retired the Rue des Écoles apartment, and it was back in 2007. They have REALLY expanded since then!

  • I’m planning a Paris trip in March and I will definitely consider using this to rent a place. I’ve heard of several services and it does seem like the best way to go. By the way, your Paris posts make me SO excited about this trip! Thanks for your tips and tricks.

  • I’ve never actually rented an apartment in Europe, but it’s definitely something I’ve considered. France in next on our list so I’m totally going to keep this in mind. Thank you so much!!!

    - Sarah
    http://agirlintransit.blogspot.com/

  • Yes! My hubby, darling baby, and I live in Sicily, and we just traveled up to Venice for a long weekend. We rented a gorgeous little apartment through AirBnB and had a great experience. Here are some photos!

    http://makingroomwithus.blogspot.com/2011/09/venice-part-i.html
    http://makingroomwithus.blogspot.com/2011/09/venice-part-ii.html
    http://makingroomwithus.blogspot.com/2011/09/venice-part-iii.html

  • Nikki says:

    We rented an apartment in Paris through airbnb last month and I was a bit disappointed. I think I went too cheap, and the place was a little gross. But in hindsight…it had its own bathroom, a lift, a little balcony and was between two metro stops…all for $70 a night!

  • Gwen says:

    I have now been to Paris 20 times in the last 8 year; all but the first have been apartment rentals, ranging from a week to a month. I have rented from Haven in Paris (highly recommended), as well as several others, all specializing in the Montmartre area, which is my favorite. I often would rent a larger apartment than i needed then find a few girlfriends who wanted to share the rent so we could cook, etc. – after a few years it turned into a small intimate tour company specializing in flea markets and shopping. It has allowed me to continue coming back to Paris many times, and Montmartre now has become like my second home! I would be happy to recommend specific apartment rentals to anyone who wants to email me at gwen@parisfound.com

  • Naomi D says:

    We rented an apartment in Paris when we went there a few years back. It was the absolute BEST! So much more comfortable and authentic than a hotel.

  • we always rent an apartment. paris, new york, washington…. it makes the whole holiday so much easier with kids (and more comfortable).

  • Kacie says:

    Every time I’ve been to Paris we’ve stayed in an apartment. I wouldn’t do it any other way. My husband and I love cooking little meals, cozying up on the couch and feeling tres French. Hotels just don’t have that feeling!

    Kacie
    http://www.acollectionofpassions.com/

  • Makes me sad that I actually live in Paris! Looks like a gorgeous place to stay :)

  • Jen says:

    We rented an apartment in Montmarte for a week when we visited two years ago. It was perfect for all the reasons you described. We saved so much money, too – visiting the markets and making our own breakfasts & lunches. We have also rented in Amsterdam, Brugges, Bayeux, and Germany. I love the freedom it gives you. My dream is to rent a home in the south of France for a month one of these days.

  • Rochelle says:

    We are renting an apartment in Paris right now! vacationinparis.com has been fantastic. We are in the artists loft in St Germain (on our honeymoon!) After a week in Italy in hotel rooms, having an apartment has been such a relief. It is so true about having a kitchen! Particularly having a fridge so we can bring things back to snack on. Thanks for all you fabulous Paris guides. We will definitely check out the Haven flats for our next trip. Hopefully soon!

  • Sarah says:

    Yes! Renting an apartment in Europe is the best way to go! My husband and I rented an apartment in Montmartre a few years ago. We loved going to the markets and cooking our own meals. We rented an apartment in both Athens and Santorini on our honeymoon as well, and loved every moment of it.

  • Judy says:

    Spent a week in Paris earlier this month for my birthday and rented an apartment in the Boulevard Saint-Germain (6th arr.) area. It was so wonderful to experience a taste of French life that way. And the apartment was so centrally located to everything. Absolutely fell in love with that area, including an amazingly wonderful boulangerie/patisserie just a block away from the apartment that we just had to stop at every morning! Cannot wait to get back.

  • Pam says:

    Renting an apartment is such a better way to experience the neighborhood you’re in and potentially meet people you couldn’t have if you were only staying in a hotel. We rented an apartment in the Cannaregio area of Venice and we were happy with the website photos, but were ecstatic at what we actually got. It was a gorgeous 2 story house with balconies and every amenity you’d find in a 4 star hotel. Plus, the total price for 2 weeks was equivalent to possibly 4 nights in a decent hotel. It even came with a fully stocked fridge (compliments of the owners) and rooms filled with fresh flowers. The house keys were even magnificent – antique brass hanging on silk tassels. My partner and I were so swept up in the moment that we decided to marry in the actual house and the restaurant across the street opened up their windows and showered us with pots of rice and roses from the tables when we stepped out the door.

  • Nike says:

    5.
    it´s kid friendlier. A lot. What you eat. When you eat. Where to play.. the grown-ups still don´t have to tip toe while kid is sleeping in the same room… etc etc

  • Marlena says:

    We were in Buenos Aires for 10 days and rented a studio apartment and it was the best idea ever. It was affordable, helped us save money by cooking a meal a day inside, gave us more space, and it even came with a daily cleaning service. Now, whenever we travel and have an option of rending an apartment, we do.

  • Catherine says:

    We used to stay in hotels, but then my son came along (and has food allergies), so now we stay in rented apartments.

    Staying in an apartment allows me to cook our meals (since we can’t eat at restaurants due to the food allergies), gives us more space, and is usually more affordable (although not in every city).

  • Lana Cole says:

    When my husband and I honeymooned in Rome we rented an apartment/room. It was only for 3 nights, but it was WAY cheaper than any hotel and it was literally across the street from St. Peter’s. Luckily we went during down season (right after Christmas) so our apartment/room was only 80euro a night. It didn’t have a kitchen though. That would have been nice and it would have saved us some money.

  • Alex says:

    That big tea kettle painting (?) is amazing! really… so much better than my tiny french student quarters. If I regret one thing about studying in france, it’s that I didn’t take advantage of the fabulous butter in my tiny kitchen. Thighs aside, that would have been a good idea. This makes me want to go back and try it again!

    Alex
    http://objectsroomsfood.blogspot.com/

  • Di says:

    I frequently rent places to stay when I am on my travels…..most recently my friend and I rented an apartment in Arles, Provence – a beautiful house with a roof terrace just 50m from the Roman arena…..and I agree – all the benefits are there – we had lots of space, our own roof terrace where we could have a barbecue or eat our breakfast and for the same price as a nice hotel we got a room each too! I think it’s the best thing to do when you travel with kids – so much easier than a hotel.

  • Melanie says:

    Hi Jordan,

    We stayed in the most beautiful apartment when in Paris last year with a view of the Eiffel Tower. A hundred times nicer than any hotel I have ever stayed in but cost the same as staying in a mid range hotel.

    You will find pics of the apartment here –
    http://designheaven.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/more-pictures-of-the-paris-apartment/

    I prefer to stay in apartments when travelling as I like to buy local food and make my own meals every now and then. Also I love having room to relax when returning from a day of sightseeing.

    Thanks for reminding me of that wonderful holiday.
    Happy weekend!
    Mel

  • Molly says:

    I have been to Paris twice and rented an apartment both times. The first time was with 3 girlfriends and we stayed in this apartment in the 5th.
    http://www.chezvous.com/apartments.php?id=34&sort=arrondissement&select=6

    The second time, was with my now husband—then boyfriend-turned-fiancee on the trip! We found an apartment via HomeAway that is no longer listed, but it was on the Ile St. Louis and we LOVED it. It felt like “our” island. We crossed the bridge by Notre Dame with all the locks on it every night and called it “our” bridge.

    I would recommend this method of housing 100%!

    Here are some lovely things I enjoyed on our trip:
    http://thenestinggame.com/2010/10/22/friday-five-feeling-frenchie/

    (Though my favorite macarons were at Pierre Herme.)

    I have so enjoyed your time in Paris. Can’t wait to see what’s next for you and your sweet fam.

  • Joan Voss says:

    Talk about deja vu – we stayed in that same apt a few years ago! LOVED it. With kids, we always prefer apartments/houses when traveling, so much easier!

  • Tanya H says:

    We only rent apartments when traveling to Europe. Living like a local (using their local transportation, walking their ‘everyday’ streets, shopping/eating their way) is the only way to go. It’s also a great way to make new friends, invite a neighbor over for dinner or vice versa!

    We have yet to meet a property owner that was not completely accommodating and eager to share their home and hometown.

    Now, if I could just get them to start using larger, traditional U.S. sized beds I’d be over the moon!

  • Amanda says:

    I completely agree! I stayed in an apartment found on Hostelling.com with three friends from college when visiting Amsterdam. It was the best lodging we had while traveling in France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. I would definitely recommend it since you feel more at home, more grounded when traveling can feel like you’re wisting around in a wind storm.

  • Celeste says:

    If I can manage, I always prefer a home over a hotel. Airbnb has been amazing for that (in my experience), but I’m always looking for more listings so thank you!

  • Awww! what a Apartment..I love each and every thing inside of it..

  • Piper says:

    Renting an apartment is the only way to go as far as I’m concerned! I love having my own kitchen!!

  • Carrie says:

    so…how does one go about finding an apartment to rent?

  • Lola says:

    I stayed in a hotel but will definitely consider it next time I travel to Paris.

  • Being an european I’ve never stayed in an apartment for short periods. But in 2007 I was doing an internship and stayed in an aparment and love it.
    It’s true though we tend to stay in apartments as they usually give us more freedom and allow us to be a local!
    Love the apartment, Xoxo

  • renting an apartment in Paris is THE WAY TO GO. we had an apartment on the left bank one block from the sein, 5 minute walk to the louvre…for a fraction of what a hotel in that space would have cost. and I loved having a kitchen (albeit small), especially in paris where bakeries and markets are full of edible delights. I totally agree with your entire post – great tip! especially with families! :)

  • Deepa says:

    I’ve stayed in apartments in New York, Paris, Rome and Istanbul. Major cities like those will always have a great selection of apartments. I find apartments to be a much better deal than hotels.

    Also, when the hubby and I moved to Amsterdam, his company gave us a choice between a hotel in the center or town and an apartment just on the outskirts of the city. We went for the apartment. I think living in a hotel room for the three weeks it took us to find a permanent flat would have driven me bonkers (and driven us to the poorhouse with all the eating out we would have had to do!).

  • Taylor Jade says:

    OH. MY. GAWWD. I love love that dining room. Is there any way you could find out what that plant is in the dining room pic? It appears to be a succulent, but I simply can’t identify it. Love your blog and thanks for the post! :)

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