6 Nov 2012

Next stop ... Paris

We arrived at Paris September 4, 2012 and stayed in the city of love for 7 nights. Preparing for our big Europe trip Paris was one city I wanted to spend a lot of time at. Paris is one of those cities where you can expect to pay a lot of money for accommodation in a tiny room. Star ratings are usually inaccurate and generous in comparison to how other western countries would probably rate the same accommodation so to avoid paying a lot of money to be disappointed we decided a self contained apartment was the way to go.

Apartments are also very expensive and depending on where abouts in Paris you stay prices again vary. Obviously staying close to key tourist monuments attract high rates and so called dodgy locations like Moulin Rouge are a lot cheaper.

My opinion after staying in Paris for a week and venturing out at night, any place is fine. I think most parts of Paris is safe, if you avoid dodgy characters and be aware of your surroundings when you are out, then in my opinion its totally fine to stay anywhere in Paris.

My key tips for finding accommodation in Paris:
  • Be walking distance to a metro station. This will be your saviour! The apartment we stayed at was probably 100m from Louvre Rivoli. From this station we could access lines 1 and 7. In Paris, like London you can easily get around town just using the train system. The trains are frequent and many lines to take you from one side of town to another side without too much trouble - all you need to do is change lines. Next time I go back to Paris I would probably choose accommodation that is close to a metro station the crosses many metro lines to avoid jumping lines.
  • Avoid staying in an apartment on the 1st or 2nd floor. If you stay in key parts of Paris you will probably be close to or above public areas such as restaurants and bars. Although they claim there is a strict no noise policy by 11pm they don’t really police this. You can hear patrons at all hours at night and if you are above a bar it’s really annoying when you’re trying to get some shut eye in preparation for a big day. Yes you can close the windows however if you stay in an apartment that has no air conditioning in summer the fresh breeze a night is most welcoming.
  •  If there are certain creature comforts you look for in an apartment and they are very important to you contact the vendor and confirm these items are available. For example enlglish cable tv, towels, air conditioning, washer, dryer, hair dryer, internet etc
  • Make sure apartment block has a lift if you intend to bring heavy luggage with you to avoid carrying up several flights of stairs.
  • Ensure you are getting value for money. You don’t want to spend a lot of money only to be disappointed by the overall state of the apartment. If no photos are provided or you want a photo of a particular angle of the apartment ask for it. If they can’t provide any don’t bother booking with them.
  • In Paris (and all over Europe actually) to secure an apartment they take only require a deposit and outstanding balance will be paid upon check in. Paying for accommodation in full is not the usual practice in Paris.
Here's a review of the apartment we stayed at. Unfortunately we didn't take any photos nor is the property in Trip Advisor to read more reviews however you can check out the web site I booked through and they have photos as well as limited additional reviews from past lodgers. 

Address: 45 Rue de I’Ambre Sec
Location: 3rd Floor
  • Self contained apartment which included kitchen area, dining area, lounge area, bathroom, separate toilet and washing machine.
  • Apartment although located in an old building has been renovated. Not sure how long ago however overall facilities and fittings are modern.
  • Kitchen contains electric stove, basic cooking equipment, cutlery, microwave, large fridge and dish washer. They also provided some dish washing detergent for the dishwasher.
  • Wifi was available although our laptop had trouble staying connected. Hubby was able to troubleshoot the problem without calling the agent however my husband is in IT and when he explained to me the problem and what he did to fix it, I thought it was very technical.
  • Apartment was within meters from many restaurants, major retail chains, metro station and across the road was a grocery store that closed late.
  • Apartment was within a secured building requiring 2 points of security checks before able to enter lifts.
  • Apartment was walking distance to the Louvre, Notre Dame and St Germain. My morning running route included running through the Louvre and around the Tuileries Gardens.
  • Lots of storage space available to keep belongs from cluttering apartment.

  • No air conditioning. Wasn’t too bad in September considering we were out most of the day so by the evenings the cooler air assists in bring the room temperature down.
  • There was a rule that we could not use the washing machine after 8pm. Reason provided was to minimise noise after this time and threatened to keep your $300E bond if you do not comply with rule. We didn’t want to risk it however found rule very restrictive. We are out all day and evenings are really only the time we would want to do the washing.
  • Apartment bathroom had no ventilation so obviously room would steam up when taking hot showers.
  • Shower area would flood when taking showers as water did not drain very well. Water would eventually drain but then soap residue would be left all over the floor.
  • Apartment is above a bar with an outdoor area. Many nights I woke up at various times in the early morning to the sound of patrons still laughing or talking or bar staff cleaning up loudly.
  • A nearby apartment is being renovated and workers are up really early demolish and throwing rubbish out. I guess there isn’t a ‘no noise policy before 7am’ rule in Paris.
  • No English channels available on cable and tv was tiny anyways.
  • Bed was hard as a rock gave me back problems during the trip. The beds were actually two single beds pushed in together to create a double. Also not enough pillows either.
  • Apartment has poor lighting and not enough light solutions. Lights provided or installed were located in areas not required and then areas that needed lighting there was none.
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