I sympathise with tourists looking for accomodation in the romantic ‘City of Lights’. I, myself had some horrifying moments in my Paris hotel and apartment search. From been conned by a brand new gorgeous apartment with an older potential flatmate, who was actually looking for a girlfriend rather than a flatmate it turned out, (I had to endure a glass of wine and dinner with him whilst he bragged about his relations to Victor Hugo and how he had “a way with words” like Bob Dylan!), to living in a tiny studio where the toilet was a adjacent to the studio, and the male owner would walk through the studio for maintenance whilst my underwear was drying! I had to let a few people know what was what. And finally when I left Paris, putting my ‘announce’ or ad on the flatfinder site, my mobile nearly broke with over 200 voicemails clogging the inbox. I guess it was a good test of my French, listening to these Parisians pleading to be considered for my room. It’s clear the demand for Paris apartments greatly outweighs the supply.
I, for one, know it can be hard to find good accomodation in Paris; the normal complaints of tiny rooms with even tinier bathrooms, or of exaggerated photos showing large rooms online, that don’t quite match up to what you get. It pays to be careful where you book, in terms of location and actual size. Read this post to learn hints for Paris hotels/accomodation.
If you are looking for budget hotels, have you considered Airbnb? It’s an online site whereby you can arrange to book and stay with locals for a fee per night or hire out the entire apartment (without the owners). A great way to see how Parisian live and from my experience, the hosts were friendly and helpful with advice that you probably won’t get of a Lonely Planet book.
Its simple, you create an account, search for the desired location and sort through your options to find one that appeals. You will see a description of host, the apartment details and photos. The host will confirm if they accept the booking and payment is done online. If you search and plan in advance, you can get some good deals on Airbnb, I saw prices as low as 45 euros, for a brand new room, in the central and trendy arrondisement of Bastille. So it’s just a matter of getting in before someone else does.
Sometimes the owner will rent out the entire apartment to you. A different experience from a hotel, with the local Parisian vibe plus the comfort of having a kitchen, fridge and toilets handy to make feel more at home. Generally, you are likely to have a bigger space than just a hotel room too. I had a great experience with Airbnb, staying with a local girl in Amsterdam and a lovely couple in San Sebastian.
Vacation in Paris offer apartment hire all over Paris. Prices range from 100 euros per night to 500 euros per night (for a larger, posher apartments), and can cater for single visits or groups of 6 people or more. It’s a nice way of having your own space in Paris.
If the hotel service is more your thing, try a hotel chain you know, as generally the standards/quality of service are the same, no matter where you are. I was recommended the Ibis Paris Tour Eiffel hotel, because of the location and quality for money. It was cool to have a view of the Eiffel Tower, and not pay through the roof (prices start from $126). If this takes your fancy and fits your criteria for a Paris hotel, see more information here.
Or, if you are on a tighter budget, check the Hostelworld or Hostelbookers sites. Hostels are a great way to meet other people, especially comforting if you are traveling solo. I stayed at Le Montclair and I recommend it because of the friendly and helpful staff, the nicely sized rooms in the hip and arty area of Montmartre; see below photo.