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Live Paris like a native

Apartment buildings in Batignolles, typical of the quiet residential areas of  Paris
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Parisians are confirmed apartment dwellers. Unlike Londoners who yearn for their own gardens, the average Parisian is happy to live in an apartment overlooking a garden square that someone else tends. For a real Parisian experience and a chance to see the city beyond the usual tourist areas, nothing beats renting an apartment in a residential area. With your own cooking facilities, you can have breakfast on your own schedule or remind yourself of a taste of home now and then. Short-stay apartments can be cost effective for families or groups of friends.

 

The choices

 

Apartment accommodation ranges from budget rooms in shared flats, advertised on the internet, to the large and elegant homes of private individuals available for thousands of Euros a week and generally represented by specialist real estate agents. Occasionally a hotel, like the trendy Hotel Mayet in Montparnasse, will have an apartment available.


Visitors are often surprised at how well appointed short-stay apartments can be. Expect a fully equipped kitchen with enough cutlery, glassware and dishes for the number of people the apartment sleeps, plus all the pots and pans and cookery equipment that a typical French housewife would expect. Free WiFi and telephone services (for a fee) are usually available, as are home entertainment electronics, towels and bed linens. Dishwashers and washer/dryer are common as well. Apartments that are offered as "serviced" will have daily or weekly maid cleaning services and linen changing, while others will simply provide cleaning equipment and materials and leave that to you.

 

Cautions


There are hundreds of Parisian real estate agents, holiday apartment agencies, and flat share organisations that advertise online and in the small advertisements of travel magazines. Unfortunately, while choosing an apartment this way can offer the most choice, it can also be risky. To protect yourself:

 

  • Seek recommendations from friends or business colleagues.
  • Make sure the apartment will sleep the number of people you require. A two bedroom apartment could sleep four to six (two married couples, parents and several children); or four single, unrelated adults (two each in twin-bedded rooms); or only two adults who prefer their privacy. Specify exactly what you need.
  • See as many pictures as you can.
  • Get full details and all agreements in writing before exchanging any money.
  • Pay only a small deposit in advance and don't pay more until you have seen and inspected the apartment.

 

A safer approach


The aparthotel is a new trend that offers a good compromise. Their contemporary décor may lack individuality but they offer reliability and security. Aparthotels have some hotel services - reception desk, WiFi and phone, café for breakfast and regular maid services. They offer studio, one and two bedroom apartments with kitchens in desirable Paris locations. Among the leaders are the 3-star Citadines Aparthotels with 16 Paris locations, and the 4-star Adagio City Aparthotels, a partnership between the Accor Groupe and Groupe Pierre & Vacances, also with 16 Paris hotels.

 

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