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Paris – Luxury for Less: Part 2
More tips on how to enjoy a truly unforgettable, luxurious Paris experience on a modest budget.
Part 1 detailed how to save money by traveling in low season and earning frequent flier miles even if you rarely fly.
Here’s another insider’s tip to make your Paris vacation unforgettable.
Rent an Apartment:
Eighty dollars per night (per person) buys a drab double room in a Parisian 2* hotel.
For the same price you can enjoy a luxurious Paris apartment, in a prime location, with a full kitchen.
- Space—there’s more room to spread out.
- Huge savings on food by preparing snacks and light meals in the kitchen.
- Some apartments provide free wi-fi internet access, free local and international phone calls; some include a washer & dryer and other amenities.
- Feel like a local; shop daily as the Parisians do for warm baguettes and fresh produce.
Choosing that perfect apartment can be challenging - follow these tips:
- Do your research—ask friends for references.
- Search TripAdvisor or similar sites for recent reviews for that specific unit. TripAdvisor is not independently verified, so look for trends rather than relying on one specific review.
- Consult guidebooks.
- Ask if there is an onsite management company to address concerns; is it open 7 days a week?
- Be sure the website has photos of all the rooms in the apartment.
- Ask owners if the furniture, drapes, linens, etc., are exactly as pictured. I’ve heard horror stories of apartments staged for photographs and the furniture had been replaced by worn-out flea market finds.
- Most apartments require full payment in advance; ask what recourse you have if you find the apartment unacceptable. Will they move you to a different unit or refund a portion of your stay?
- If you’re staying during summer months, ask if the unit is air-conditioned. Depending on the individual apartment and how it’s situated, A.C. may not be necessary.
- Carefully consider the location, noise level, and view. Verify the location through Google Earth. “Close” or “nearby” may actually be 2 miles away.
Why Choose a Paris Perfect Apartment?
There are many apartment rentals in Paris. My personal favorite is Paris Perfect apartment rentals, a collection of 45 luxury apartments in prime locations, all professionally managed by the same company.
I’ve stayed in the St. Julien Paris short-term rental apartment in the 7th arrondissement, two blocks from the Eiffel Tower. The St. Julien is beautifully decorated, sleeps five people comfortably ($86 per person, per night*), is a little tight for six ($71 per person, per night), and would be very spacious for four ($107/pp pn*).
Last month, we stayed in the Clairette Paris Flat in the same building as the St. Julien and loved it. The Clairette comfortably accommodates three people.
These apartments enjoy an ideal Left Bank location, with major bus stops across the street, Metro and RER just a few blocks away.
These apartments are the loveliest vacation rental apartments I’ve ever stayed in. Expect a welcome basket of milk, orange juice, bottled water, wine and cookies. The kitchens in these two apartments are modern, top of the line, and are supplied with dishes, glassware, pots & pans, coffee pot, etc., plus a Nespresso machine.
They include flat-screen cable TVs, a DVD player, free wi-fi Internet connection, and free phone calls to Europe, Australia, the U.S. & Canada.
A greeter from Paris Perfect spent nearly an hour showing us all the workings of the apartment and answering questions. There was also a great guidebook explaining every appliance, system, etc., and it has a comprehensive 32-page guide about Paris sightseeing and Paris Perfect’s recommendations.
Full prepayment is required in advance (before you ever see the apartment), and cancellation fees apply. This is why it’s essential to rent from a person or an agency that can be verified. Travel insurance is recommended because plans may need to be changed in the event of a medical emergency or another catastrophe.
On your morning of departure, you’ll feel like Cinderella—your royal coach about to turn back into a pumpkin and white horses back into mice. Ahhh, but that’s what vacations are about.
* Prices quoted for low season. Special sale prices available now for a limited time for high season and shoulder season too. Check website for details. In the interest of full disclosure, as a previous customer of Paris Perfect I received a promotional discount, but my review is honest and unbiased and not influenced by any consideration received.
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