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Wait a second–you’re not coming to Paris or renting short-term digs anywhere to have it feel like the home you left. If so, you would have stayed put and not bothered, right? You’re heading to the City of Light for an entirely different experience . . . and bets are it will be.
However, the reality is you may be accustomed to certain creature comforts that you’ll need to import or buy once you arrive at your destination. Habits—especially after a certain age—are hard to break; if they weren’t, we’d love camping or staying in a youth hostel.
Most people who opt for a Paris short-term apartment rental for only a week can put up with almost anything. In my case, I’m fine as long as the bed is comfortable and the apartment is clean. Unfortunately, some people don’t have the same definition of clean and if you run into this problem call the renting landlord immediately and voice your complaints loudly.
If you don’t receive immediate satisfaction and worse comes to worst, you may need to roll up your sleeves and do some scrubbing. That’s no way to start a vacation, but it happens occasionally.
How do you make your home away feel like home? Bring it or buy it.
What to bring from home
Assuming you’re checking a suitcase, bring your own pillow with a couple of pillowcases. It’s amazing how much better you’ll sleep if you’re not trying to adjust to a harder, softer, firmer or whatever headrest or scratchy fabric. Many rental apartments don’t provide linens that have been rinsed with fabric softener.
Bring your favorite soap. There’s nothing worse than breaking out in hives or not feeling clean because the soap in your short-term rental apartment is different than what you’re accustomed to using. Most people think nothing of packing shampoo while soap can be the source of your discomfort.
Don’t forget photos of your family and/or your pets. They will immediately give your apartment a more homey feeling.
Pack some tiny portable speakers or a smartphone charging dock with speakers to use on the flight and in your Paris apartment so you can set the mood in the room with your favorite music mix from your iPod, tablet or smartphone. It’s common for apartments to have a CD/DVD player for your use, so bring some of your favorite CDs if you prefer.
If your mobile phone, laptop or other digital device doesn’t have an alarm feature or app, bring a small travel alarm clock. Your rented apartment may or may not have an alarm clock; and there are few things more frustrating than being jet-lagged and challenged with figuring out how the apartment’s alarm clock works—especially if the prompts are written in French. You can’t leave a wake-up call with a hotel operator and there will be times when you need to be up and out.
What to buy in Paris
Make fresh flowers the focal point of your Paris apartment and you’ve made your imprint. Find a vase in the apartment before shopping or add one to your shopping list, which could be a nice keepsake to take home.
A bowl or basket filled with fresh fruit is not only aesthetically pleasing; it’s also healthy and tasty. Before you leave for Paris, know where and when the marché in your Paris “home” quartier is open.
If you’re on a romantic trip and the apartment seems less than romantic, you’ll find inexpensive votive candles at most mini-marts, groceries and specialty stores.
Set your breakfast table or tray with pretty napkins (paper will do) to use as you eat your croissants.
Staying longer? You can personalize your home-away-from-home for minimal cost if necessary:
Remember to buy items that you’ll take home as gifts. For example, if the walls are dreary, buy a poster or two to make the apartment look more like home.
I once rented an apartment with an extremely ugly table that overwhelmed the room. A tablecloth solved that problem.
Ideally, you’ll find you’ve rented the perfect short-term Paris apartment and you won’t need a thing or want to redecorate. But, even if you have snared the model premises, watch how your personal belongings will creep into its décor.
If you’ve personalized a Paris rental apartment, please share your smart tips below.
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