How to Rent an Apartment in Paris

Live like a Parisian for a week. Our tips on renting a holiday apartment in Paris. 

Renting an apartment has become a popular alternative to booking hotels in Paris. What better way to get an authentic taste of the everyday à la française? Buying fresh fruit and vegetables from the local market and stopping in at the neighborhood boulangerie give you a sense of belonging that will delight you. Rental apartments often mean a better value, too, especially if you are traveling with your family.

The Marais is a popular neighborhood to rent an apartment.

The Marais is a popular neighborhood to rent an apartment.

When deciding whether or not to rent, consider the following:

Budget. There’s something for every purse size in Paris when it comes to short-term renting. 30 euros will get you a bed in a youth hostel while there are residences in Saint Germain that will set you back 10,000 euros a night! For those whose budgets fall somewhere in between, a two-bedroom can be found for about 250 USD a night on Airbnb. Decide what you are willing to spend, and set your filters accordingly.

Who to go to. You can rent through an agency or directly from property owners. There are numerous reputable agencies that have properties ranging from basic studios to luxury town homes. Renting from agencies is more expensive but they may provide extra services like cleaning and concierge services. Renting directly from owners is cost-efficient and best done via a well-known company. See below for our recs. Whatever you decide, do the research and ask questions. Do they have a stroller you could use? How far away is the closest supermarket? Any restaurant recommendations for the neighborhood? If you don’t get a prompt answer, look elsewhere.

Identify your criteria for a great stay. What matters most: location, amenities,  size, style of apartment, neighborhood vibe?

MetroSignMost companies will offer the option to search their properties according to these criteria, so consider the following: How are you going to navigate the city and how much time are you willing to spend traveling to and from your apartment? Public transportation in Paris is fast and reliable (except when there’s a strike!) and a great way to get to know the city. Paris is a very walkable city, but finding a taxi is often challenging, although the advent of Uber has made it a easier.  We find that having a stop on a central metro line near your apartment is often key to a successful Paris vacation. Enter the address of your potential rental into Google maps and investigate how long it will take you to get to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and other top destinations. Also, decide if you want air-conditioning, an elevator, a washing machine and clothes dryer, or big separate rooms for the kids or travel companions. These are never givens in a typical Paris apartments, so don’t assume anything.

Here are some service-providers we recommend:

AirBnb A great way to live like a local and not break the bank. The site has an easy to use interface featuring plenty of photographs, but the descriptions are written by the owners, and are not always consistent.

HomeExchange.com Willing to lend your home to someone else in exchange for theirs? Non-simultaneous exchanges also an option.

Haven in Paris With an extensive list of properties in Paris, this agency offers services including private greeter, detailed guidebook for your apartment and surrounding area, restaurant recommendations, weekly cleaning and free unlimited calls from the apartment to most countries.

Just France A US-based company offering high-end vacation and holiday rental properties in France. Best for self-sufficient travelers.

Kid&Coe Every property is truly roomy and meets safety requirements. They provide lists of nearby family-friendly activities and tourist sites, and also organize nanny services.

One Fine Stay Businessweek calls them “The Rich Man’s Airbnb.”If it’s in your budget, they are truly stylish and unique. They also provide high-end service like a pre-loaded iPhone to use at your leisure during your stay. Like a luxury hotel, only better.

Paris Perfect A successful rental agency run by a Canadian expat who does a great job of making visitors feel at home while staying in her adopted city.

VRBO A vacation rental website that provides properties listing services on the Internet. We’ve used them ourselves and had a great experience.

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Finding an apartment near a market is a real plus.

Bon voyage!