Finding the Paris pied-a-terre of your vacation dreams + a curated list of rentals
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Booking a holiday apartment in Paris gives you roomier accommodation and the chance to experience life like a Parisian, with many of the same luxuries of a hotel stay. Short-term rental apartments are plentiful in the city of lights and can come with fabulous features such as charming balconies and even Eiffel Tower views! This guide will help you find and book the perfect apartment for your trip to Paris.
I love renting apartments when traveling with friends — a living room allows us to relax together when we aren’t sightseeing. And holiday apartments are ideal for families traveling to Paris; having a kitchen allows you to prepare quick meals for hungry kids, alleviating the pressure to eat out three meals a day.
I’ve rented apartments on my two most recent trips to Paris: one was a solo trip and the other was with girlfriends. Both were wonderful experiences. I found the Paris apartment of my dreams, using a small Paris rental agency, and a well-priced Airbnb that could accommodate a larger group.
Renting in Paris is unique, and I’ve learned what to look for and what to be cautious of, all of which I am sharing here. Booking an apartment for your Paris trip is more complex than making a hotel reservation. And I think it’s well worth it!
I hope these suggestions will help you find a fabulous pied-a-terre for your own dream trip to Paris!
When to Start Looking for your Paris Rental Apartment
I started looking for a rental apartment about two months ahead of my September trip and quickly learned that was not ideal; many options I liked were already booked. As a result, I spent considerable time searching available apartments until I found something I loved.
I took away from that that if you want lots of choice at your preferred price point, it’s best to start early. At least 6 months is best and up to a year if you are visiting at a popular time of year.
There are always apartments to be found if you are looking last minute, you just may have to spend more time searching for the right one. I’ve included a list of recommended rental agencies below, to help with your search.
Tips for Finding a Paris Holiday Apartment
Which Arrondissement in Paris?
Your first decision is where to stay – central Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements (neighbourhoods) with the River Seine dividing the areas known as the Right Bank and the Left Bank. You can get more vacation rental for your money the further away you go from the Seine, and if your budget is tight, you might consider it. Using the Paris subway system (known as the Metro), to get around is very convenient with stations every few blocks.
If you want to be within easy walking distance of Paris’s most popular attractions you will want to stay as central as possible – between the 1st and 7th arrondissements. There is great debate about the best arrondissement for a Paris vacation, and there’s no one answer. Some people will recommend the 7th because it is close to the Eiffel Tower. It’s a charming area, where many Parisians live. But it is a bit more of a walk to some Paris museums and attractions.
If it’s your first visit I recommend being as central as possible which means the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th. You can find some great value in the 2nd; I stayed there on my most recent trip. The 1st tends to be where the priciest luxury hotels are located, and to be honest, it’s not my favorite. I love the left bank, the 5th and 6th. Wherever you stay, most apartments will be within a short walk of a Metro station. Apartment listings should mention this; if they don’t, then ask. And don’t be afraid to stay further out if you find a great apartment. I had a wonderful stay in the 16th on another trip, although at a hotel, not an apartment.
Many Paris apartments are located in charming old buildings and typically those charming old buildings usually don’t have air conditioning. If you are traveling in June through mid September, this is a very important consideration because Paris can be very hot in summer. Read the description carefully to understand if there is AC; if they do have it, it is usually a portable unit. I used a portable AC during an early September visit with several hot days on my trip. It made the difference between being comfortable and not so. I would never rent an apartment with no AC for a stay during the warm months.
Many charming old buildings also don’t have elevators. Some have the smallest elevator you have ever seen. This is important to know and should be mentioned in the listing. Are you ok to walk up three flights of stairs to reach your apartment several times a day?
When I arrived at my Paris apartment I was met by the property manager who helped me carry my bags up several flights. When I left at the end of the stay, I was on my own. I packed two small roller bags (rather than one large) for this reason. Two small bags allows me to carry them one at a time. I learned this lesson the hard way in Barcelona when my husband left early and I had to get my one very large and heavy bag down four flights of steep stairs from a rental apartment in a building with no elevator.
Smaller bags are also easier to store if you are traveling by train in Europe. And you can bring one as a carry-on so that if your checked luggage is delayed you still have clothes to tide you over.
Read the reviews of any apartments you are considering. You will find out things like it’s a busy street, or the neighbors above have a loud baby. Or in my case — that the loading dock for Le Bon Marché department store is across the street and they sometimes get going early in the morning. It actually wasn’t a problem for me but I was glad to be aware of it ahead of time.
Read the Fine Print
Photos don’t always tell the full story, read the fine print on the listings. I found one apartment I liked but didn’t realize until I read the detailed description that the “kitchen” was only a sink and microwave. That would be fine for some renters; I wanted a fridge for my wine and cheese.
Listings will show a place in its best light and photos taken with a wide-angle-lens can make rooms appear much larger than they are. Checking the square footage (likely listed in meters) will give you a complete picture and help you ensure the space is large enough for you/your group (1 square meter is roughly equal to 10 square feet). Some listings will include a floor plan which is very helpful. Sometimes a floor plan photo is shown on the listing page or it may be in with the photos.
Reading the terms is also crucial for understanding the cancellation rules and how much of your refund can be returned and when. More on that below.
Booking a Paris Airbnb
I’ve stayed in Airbnb’s in Rome, Barcelona and Geneva and had great experiences. The challenge with Airbnb’s in Paris is there are strict rules they must comply with; as a result they are less plentiful than in other European cities. Look for a registration or licence number which will tell you it’s a legal rental. If it’s not shown in the listing, you can request it.
I did finally stay in a Paris Airbnb on my most recent trip in the fall of 2022, and really enjoyed it. I visited Paris with three close friends to celebrate a special birthday — we were born the same year :). We shared this 3-bedroom apartment in the 2nd arrondissement and had a great experience.
I loved staying in the 2nd. There was lots within a short walk including the Palais Garnier (Paris Opera) and Galeries Lafayette which has a fantastic food hall. We were within a 15-minute walk to Place Vendome, a 20-minute walk to the Louvre, and 25 minutes to the Tuileries. The Opera Metro station was a 2-minute walk and we used it often. We also took Ubers which were convenient. That said, with Paris traffic, the Metro is often quicker than an Uber. If you are interested, our 3-bedroom Paris Opera Apartment sleeps up to 6 and starts at US$604 a night.
Pros and Cons of Airbnb in Paris
The main difference with Airbnb, versus a smaller local agency, is that you won’t get the same booking assistance, or level of service once in Paris. Some Airbnb apartments are also self check-in, although in Paris that seems less often the case, than in the U.S. The upside — an Airbnb can offer great value, more flexible cancellation terms. And there will always be a point person available to contact with questions or issues, once in Paris.
We did have a someone meet us to check us in to our Airbnb, and there were some small issues. First, although we had said that we planned to use the pull-out sofa in the living room, there was no bedding for it in the apartment. (They did get us some by that evening.) Second, there were only two keys to the apartment — two keys and four women. For a place that sleeps six, two keys seemed ridiculous. We asked if we could get additional keys and the answer was no.
Otherwise, the experience was very good. The apartment was pretty much as advertised, very clean, and we were happy with it. The main living space was about half the size that it appeared in the Airbnb listing, but it was fine for the four of us. The kitchenette was great. I adore having a kitchen and living area when traveling with friends. It’s so nice to have a fridge and a living area to spend time together relaxing, when we weren’t sightseeing.
I bought vintage champagne glasses at the Les Puces Flea Market, and we toasted our Paris holiday, and apartment, in style. ]
After that experience I would be open to renting another Airbnb, although if I had the budget I would prefer to use a local agency.
Booking with VRBO in Paris
I haven’e booked with VRBO in Paris. Ihad a negative experience with VRBO with a misleading listing (in New York City), so I don’t book through them anymore. It’s my impression that they don’t monitor effectively for misleading listings, it’s buyer beware. I know other people have had good experiences.
A Holiday Apartment with Paris Perfect
For my solo Paris trip in the fall of 2022, I was looking quite last minute, as I mentioned. I ruled out many apartments that were not quite right, and missed out on many nice ones that were already booked.
I ultimately chose an apartment with the rental agency, Paris Perfect. They had a curated selection of beautiful apartments in great locations and the reviews were very good. Apartments were priced in $US and had floor plans, so I was really clear on the setup.
Everything about the booking process was the opposite from Airbnb. There was full support if I had questions and they had many additional Paris resources and information on their website.
Although they are not the cheapest option I considered, they had the nicest collection of Paris apartment rentals. I found a charming 1-bedroom which was in my budget (thanks in part to a sale which offered a discount). So I booked the Sangiovese apartment in the 6th arrondissement, a central location that would allow me to walk almost everywhere I planned to go.
Payment & Booking Terms
With Paris Perfect, I had to pay in full for my rental at the time of booking as I was within 60 days of arrival. With Airbnb we were able to pay in several installments and had until a few weeks before to cancel for a full refund. Paris Perfect has much stricter cancellation terms and less ability to get a refund. This is a very important detail to be clear on when you are choosing a holiday apartment. Your travel insurance may be the only way to recover your payment with a late cancellation.
I will say that having to pay in full ahead of your stay is typical for boutique rental agencies in Paris. Of course, this is one of the main differences from a hotel where you provide your credit card to hold the room, but typically don’t pay until checkout, unless you’ve chosen a prepaid rate.
You may also be required to purchase a damage waiver that covers you for accidental damage. With Paris Perfect the damage waiver amount was included in the reservation confirmation. This was essentially insurance, rather than a damage deposit, as it was a small amount that would not be refunded.
Sometimes cleaning fees are in addition to the price you are quoted, so be clear if those are additional, and the amount.
Arrival in Paris
A key difference with Paris Perfect versus Airbnb was the additional information I received, ahead of the trip, I was emailed a Paris welcome and arrival package with details about the apartment, local recommendations and information about a transfer from the Paris airport which they were also willing to arrange.
Most apartment rental agencies will arrange your airport transfers for a fee, or recommend a car service which you can book directly. I decided to just take a taxi from the Paris CDG airport; it was straightforward and cost 58 euros, plus tip. I haven’t taken an Uber from the Paris airport as I’ve heard they can be difficult to locate, and not all drivers speak English.
Another great option is Welcome Pickups which I’ve used in Greece. They are reliable and you are able to pay ahead online with your credit card. Your driver will be waiting for you inside the airport terminal, with your name on a sign. Note that these are more expensive than a Paris taxi; about 20 euros more when I last checked.
With Paris Perfect, the property manager for the apartment, Thomas, reached out to me a few days ahead of my arrival to confirm my flight details. He asked if I had any questions and we were able to easily communicate via email and WhatsApp (an app I recommend you add to your phone for Europe travel).
Since I took my own taxi, I met Thomas upon arrival at the apartment. It was 11 am, and after a 9-hour overnight flight I really appreciated the early check-in. If your apartment isn’t ready upon arrival some agencies will store your bags for you. Paris Perfect will keep your luggage at their office in the 7th, until your apartment is ready.
With Airbnb, it varies. Don’t count on the fact they will store your bags until check-in. We ended up storing our bags at a locker a few blocks from the apartment. We had to book the locker ahead, and it was a bit of a walk, so slightly inconvenient.
Benefits of Booking with a Paris Rental Agency
When renting a Paris holiday apartment, ideally you have an English speaking employee greet you at the apartment and give you a tour, as I had. Most will do this but do ask when you are booking. It was great having Thomas to show me around. Unlike a hotel stay, your apartment has appliances that you will need to know how to operate. A kitchen or kitchenette, dishwasher, and in some cases a washer and dryer. Even having someone show you how to turn on the TV is helpful. I tried to recall the French words for washer and dryer when I did a load of laundry later in the week, as a single machine performed both functions.
When I checked in, a lovely array of goodies was waiting for me — a bottle of wine, nuts, cookies, orange juice and milk.
I also appreciated the pages of useful tips and resources for everything from how to take the Metro in Paris, to names of a local dentist and doctor, and most crucially, recommended boulangeries (bakeries) in my neighborhood. Since I was traveling solo, it was reassuring to know I had support if I needed assistance while in Paris. And I did ask Thomas to help me, with a dining reservation.
My Paris Perfect apartment was even prettier than the pictures. The bed was beautiful and comfy, the kitchen was fully equipped and I loved the little extras like umbrellas and a collection of Paris guidebooks. Similar to a hotel, there was a hair dryer and an ironing board and iron. There were also several adapters which I appreciated as I was only traveling with one. There was also a washer and dryer and since I was in Europe for three weeks, that was a wonderful convenience.
Book a Holiday Apartment in Paris - Six Rental Agencies, Beyond Airbnb
Clearly, my experience with Paris Perfect was wonderful so I highly recommend it. My apartment was gorgeous and spotless and the service from booking to check-in was excellent. All of the apartments are designed in a traditional French style: gorgeous chandeliers, ornately framed artwork, velvet drapes and so on. If you are looking for a modern aesthetic for your Paris stay, then look elsewhere. Paris Perfect are luxury apartments, so can be expensive. If you have a tight budget they may not be for you.
They do have many apartments with an Eiffel Tower view and balconies (two are included in my “short list” below). Like many agencies they have staff available to help you find the right apartment, so if you don’t have time to do your own search, they will be a huge help. I found the information book they provided incredibly valuable.
Paris Vacation Apartments
Paris Vacation Apartments has a curated collection of 21 beautiful apartments, all decorated in a traditional French style. This is a great starting point to get a feel for prices and options and not be completely overwhelmed. They’ve operated since 1995 and their apartments have multiple reviews. This is a full-service rental company and they offer lots of local knowledge. I would love to try them on my next visit and I’ve listed a couple of options below in my own short-list of apartment rentals for a future trip. Note that these seem to book up well ahead.
Plum Guide touts itself as having a highly selective process; only a fraction of homes that apply are accepted into their portfolio. It is a London-based company, similar to Airbnb in that it has rentals in many cities, not just Paris. Like Airbnb, they are a listing and booking platform but seem to offer more specialized expertise during the booking process. Their customer service agents are referred to as “matchmakers” (cute marketing) and have all lived in at least one of their flagship destinations, so can answer questions and and help you find a suitable apartment. Once booked, the guest is put in touch with either the owner or property manager (similar to Airbnb in that regard).
When searching for a property you can select the currency you want to see prices in, saving you having to check exchange rates. I also really like that they show the properties on a map, so you can do a visual search by your preferred areas. And I love that every listing has lots of photos, square footage and a floorplan, so you can see clearly what you are looking at.
They offer extras for a fee, such as airport transfers and stocking the fridge for your arrival. (Many agencies will do this). They do some options for budget travelers. I just did a search for the fall, highly desirable, and found listings as low as
ParisForRent & Haven In
I’ve listed ParisForRent & Haven In here together because they are owned by the same company. Haven In seemed to have more expensive apartments overall and there were multiple options for very large apartments of up to 4 bedrooms. If you are visiting Paris with a group, or large family, they have options.
They offer an in-person welcome, 24-hour support and planning services. San Francisco & Paris-based Paris For Rent has some of the same apartments in their portfolio. The prices are in $US and there seemed to be more options “from” under $300 a night. Some of the apartments offered discounted rates for monthly rentals.
Paristay - Options for Smaller Budgets
Paristay has a much larger inventory than the others on the list, 700+ properties. The time I spent looking seemed to indicate there was more choice for tighter budgets so you might start here if that is what you’re after. Note that rentals begin at a minimum of 5 days and are available by the month as well.
When I was looking for a holiday apartment, there were fall rentals for as low as 650 euros for five nights. I liked the search interface of their website.
OneFineStay - Luxury Rentals in Paris
One Fine Stay is a luxury vacation rental agency with properties around the world. This is on the expensive end; if you have a large budget this might be for you. They have a curated selection of around 40 properties in Paris. I had a lovely time perusing them, and imagining which I would pick. Friends who have used One Fine Stay say they have been very happy with the experience.
Holiday Apartments in Paris
(My “Short List” for Future Trips)
Paris Apartments with Eiffel Tower Views
Paris Holiday Apartment with a Garden
One-Bedroom Paris Apartments
Two-Bedroom Paris Apartments
Three-Bedroom Paris Apartments
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J'adore! Paris Holiday Apartments
My stays in holiday apartments in Paris have been truly magical. I’ve loved having a living area to relax in, whether on my own, or with friends. And having a kitchen has allowed me to shop like a Parisian. I’ve visited Farmers Markets, which they call a Marché de Plein air (open-air markets). On one weekday, I visited the Marché Raspail along with mostly older Parisians who asked very pointed questions about the provenance of the cheese or the freshness of the fish. It was a delightful slice of French life. And by the end of my solo stay I was wearing a beret and buying baguettes on my way home in the afternoon, just as the French do.
I do enjoy staying in hotels in Paris, but apartments offer a different experience — the chance to “live in Paris”, even if only for a few days.
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