Paris holiday apartments offer visitors the opportunity to “live like a local” on their Paris vacation and enjoy the extra living space not often found in your typical Parisian hotel room. Of course for families, there is also a significant cost savings to choosing a vacation rental apartment in Paris versus taking out two rooms or a family suite at a Paris hotel.
When it comes to choosing a Paris apartment rental, there are an overwhelming array of choices. The typical go-to of many travelers, Airbnb, actually isn’t usually the best option in City of Lights. Part of this is due to the restrictions the city of Paris puts on Airbnb and rental apartments, which result in less inventory on sites like Airbnb.
But don’t fret, there are many other other professional, trustworthy apartment rental companies in Paris for visitors. In this article, I’m going to walk you through some of the reputable Paris apartment rental companies, as well as some of the things you need to be aware of before renting your Paris apartment.
Tips for Renting a Paris Apartment
We have rented apartments on our travels around the world in Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Vienna, and more. Each city has its own quirks that you need to look out for, and Paris is no exemption. This is what we have learned from renting apartments in Paris.
Compared to other cities, apartment rentals in Paris can still get pretty pricey, especially if you are staying in one of the desirable arrondissement in the center of town (check out my guide to how much an average trip to Paris costs to set your budget.) If you are looking for a centrally-located, two or three-bedroom apartment with desirable amenities, don’t be surprised to spend over $500 per night.
Just keep in mind that renting through a rental agency, versus Airbnb or vrbo will cost a little extra. But with that you get a more curated apartment inventory as well as certain concierge-level services or at least a customer support team that can respond to your needs if something is amiss with the accommodations.
As I described in my step-by-step guide for planning a Paris trip, the central arrondissements are ideal for visitors. These include the 6th, 7th, 3rd, 4th, or even 8th. Expect to find the most on offer in the 7th arrondissement near the Eiffel Tower.
Just be sure to read the location carefully. You will find many listings use language such as “walking distance to…” or “minutes to the Eiffel Tower…”, which can be a little misleading. I also found many listings claiming they were in neighborhoods and showing up in database searches for particular arrondissement when they were actually close to that neighborhood, not in it.
Even if the listing doesn’t show the actual address, look at that map they do provide, ask the host for the address, or read the reviews very carefully. Many times you will find that reviewers list restaurants next door or street names. You can then use Google Maps or even better, Google Street View to check out that particular street or neighborhood.
First Floor vs. Ground Floor
As you browse the apartment listings, you will find many “first floor” offerings. Just keep in mind that in Paris, first floor is not the same as the ground floor that we may expect in the U.S. if we saw a similar description. The first floor in Paris is actually one floor up, above the shops that often occupy the ground floor.
Even if there is a lift (elevator) in the building, that often starts on the first floor. If someone in your party is mobility challenges, you will want to keep in mind that you may need to ascend one level of stairs to reach the first floor or the lift. Also, keep that in mind when it comes to dragging your bags up to the apartment. You may want to contact the host or listing agent to find out exactly how many stairs might be involved.
When a Bathroom doesn’t have a Toilet
In Paris apartments, it is not unusual for a bathroom to have a shower or bath but no toilet. Likewise, the toilet or half-bath as we think of it in the U.S. might be in the hallway or near the door, not near the bedroom. Read the listings very carefully and look at floor plans if available.
Just because it says it has two bathrooms doesn’t mean that there are two toilets. If you are sharing with another family or couple, it could get a little awkward as you try to work out bathroom time.
Check the Bed Size
Throughout Europe you need to be aware of the differences in bed sizes and look carefully at the listings, especially if you really prefer king size beds. A European “double” bed is either one bed around 140 cm or two single beds pushed together with a single sheet over both. This is between a U.S. double bed and a U.S. queen-size bed. Look carefully at the bed descriptions and sizes for each room.
Air Conditioning or Fans?
Many Paris apartments are not equipped with central air conditioning. Some have been outfitted with in-room air conditioning, but those may be just in one or more bedrooms and not each room of the apartment. If your stay in Paris is going to be in the summer, you need to be prepared for the heat waves that Europe has seen in recent years.
Read the description closely to see what air conditioning, if any, is offered. If AC is not available, do they offer fans? Go back and read reviews from the summer months and see if guests have complained about the temperature.
Minimum Stay Required
Many rental agencies require a stay of a minimum number of nights, often seven nights but usually at least five nights. This is particularly true in the high season. If you are only visiting Paris for a short stay, you may be better off at a hotel.
One of the lessons that I learned the hard way is that rental agencies have fairly stringent cancellation policies. Unlike hotels where you can often cancel 72-24 hours before arrival if you booked a refundable rate, rental agencies may have up to a 60-day cancellation policy. Be sure to read the cancellation policy closely and consider purchasing travel insurance.
Check in Time
The other downfall of renting an apartment versus a hotel is that, while both offer an afternoon check in time, at least at a hotel you can leave your luggage with the bellhop and go out and explore the city.
With an apartment rental, you will need to seek out other arrangements. Some rental agencies may allow you to drop your bags at their office for storage, or you may need to look into storage options like Nanny Bags. If you want to get into your apartment right away, consider booking it for the night before and setting up a morning check in time. It will cost more but it may be worth it!
Know Your Check in Procedures
If you are arriving on an overnight flight from the U.S., it will typically take you two hours from the time you land to the time you would arrive at the apartment. This takes into account customs and immigration, baggage retrieval, and transit time.
Be sure to schedule your check in time accordingly and always bring the number of your contact with you. You will need to call them when you are en route, or have your driver call for you if using a car service. Make sure you review your check in procedures prior to arrival.
Carefully Review Pictures and Reviews
As with any apartment rental, it is important to review the pictures and read the reviews with a critical eye. The pictures are designed to show the property under the best lighting and angles. It may look large in photos but the square footage might tell another story.
I won’t rent an apartment that doesn’t have at least a handful of reviews. I particularly look for complaints about noise, cleanliness, light, water pressure, wifi, bed comfort, neighborhood, and other amenities and features that are important to me and my family.
Paris Holiday Apartment Rental Companies
So now that you know what to look for in a Paris apartment rental listing, lets talk about a few good resources for finding quality apartments so you can fulfill your dreams of feeling like a “real Parisian.”
Paris Perfect isn’t cheap, but they have a well-curated inventory of beautifully-designed apartments. Many are in the 7th arrondissement, but you can find a few bargains in other neighborhoods as well. As part of their service, Paris Perfect also provides detailed neighborhood guides and Paris information to help you plan your trip. For an additional fee, they can also arrange tours and airport transfers.
Kid & Coe
If you are looking for family-friendly apartment rentals, especially for younger kids, Kid & Coe has an inventory of 50 properties in Paris. Some include fun features like bunkbeds, cribs, and toys.
GlamaParis was first recommended to me years ago by friends that had a great experience renting with them on a trip to Paris. They offer a wide-range of properties at different price points and neighborhoods.
Haven In offers apartment and villa rentals throughout France, including a wide selection in Paris. Many of its properties are in Le Marais or St Germain neighborhoods, perfect for a local feel.
Paris for Rent
Paris For Rent offers a handpicked selection of short term rentals. If you find the choices overwhelming, there is also a team of travel advisors to help you find the perfect vacation rental.
Plum Guide offers vacation homes around the world, including hundreds in Paris. Plum Guide critics visit and review every home, and only one in 100 pass their 150 check test.
vrbo or Airbnb
Of course, there is always vrbo or Airbnb. As I mentioned, there isn’t as much inventory on Airbnb in Paris as you will find in other cities and many of the listings are for outer arrondissement so that is something to keep an eye on.
We have had good experience with vrbo in the past but you do need to read reviews closely and realize that you are not going to get the same level of high touch service as you would through one of the booking agencies. You can use my affiliate link to find Paris apartment rentals on vrbo.
Have you used one of these rental agencies in Paris or have any tips to add? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.