We're not lost, Sergeant, We're in … France

Where to stay in Paris

Melissa and I have been to Paris three times, growing to love it more each time.

That is, the first time we visited, we were overwhelmed, then glad to get into the countryside, but then happy again when we returned. On the first visit, we stayed in the Hotel Duc de Saint Simon, which was really nice, but, oh-so-small. We got vaguely familiar with the neighborhood, which is a little bit pricey, but very nice.

On our second trip, we hit on the perfect formula – both in Paris and in Normandy – and rented instead of staying in a hotel. This allowed us to enjoy Paris as Parisians do – having meals at “home” after shopping in the local markets, enjoying our wine shop purchases at our leisure and being able to stretch out and to entertain guests. If you follow the Rue de Grenelle west from Hotel Duc de Saint Simon, past Les Invalides, on your way toward the Eiffel Tower, you find a little side street named Rue de Gros Caillou. That is our favorite little street in Paris.

In 2009, we rented an apartment for a few days at #7 Rue de Gros Caillou. It was small for an apartment – only about 600 square feet – but lavish in size compared to our far more expensive room at Hotel Duc de Saint Simon the year before. In 2010, we were only in Paris for 2 nights at the end, so we stayed in the hotel at the end of the street, the Hotel de la Paix – Quartier Tour Eiffel, which kept us in a familiar neighborhood and was reasonably priced (plus they retrieved my chapeau from a restuarant and shipped it to us in the US!)

To find an apartment, I’ve used many sites. Some apartments are listed on multiple sites, so while I search them all, I do have preferences for which site to use based on the interface. As far as I can tell, there are no price differences between sites for the same apartment. All rentals must be at least 3 nights per French law, but you might be able to pay for three nights and leave early.

 The one we have used the most is Click Appart. They do have the one we stayed in, and also have another that is in the same building. Yaniv met us at the apartment to hand over the keys. I’m not sure if the others do it that way or make you come to an office.
There are three websites run by HomeAway that are slightly different:
Home Away (opens to the Paris map to see all locations)
Great Rentals (2nd best interface)
I also liked the selection at Vacation in Paris, which, interestingly, ships the keys and information to you in advance.

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