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Apartment vs Hotel in Paris

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Apartment vs Hotel in Paris

story by: Jo Wedlock

It may sound like a cliché, but Paris really is the city of dreams, fashion, food, wine and everything else good in life! However, indulging in it all first requires some detailed planning. There are so many different options to choose from; from which unique quarter of the city you could stay, to deciding between a hotel and an apartment.

Hotels come with the luxury of someone to make the bed and tidy the room, whilst room service is often restricted to the more expensive hotels. As in most big cities, hotel rooms are generally compact, and some will offer tea & coffee facilities.  An apartment tends to offer more space and you’ll have the option of buying your own food from the markets to prepare that gourmet French feast.

Paris is separated into various ‘quarters’ or precincts, which are referred to as arrondissements.  The system is quite simple but knowing where a quarter is and what it is famous for, is a vital first step in getting to know the city.

There are 20 arrondissements of Paris, which are known on maps and subway signage by numbers 1 – 20. One of the main areas is Isle de La Cite (1st District) which is one of two islands in the middle of the Seine and is the historic heart of Paris. This island houses the very famous and historic monument, the Notre Dame Cathedral.

1st – 8th Arrondissement is home to the Louvre/Champs Elysees.  8th to 11ths is the Grand Boulevards and the heart of the shopping area which includes the Opera and many big department stores. The Latin Quarters and St Germain des Pres are found in the 5th and 6th Arrondissement. The 9th, Pigalle and Montmartre, the 18th are also very popular.

Pigalle is the night life district, famous for its clubs, cabarets and bars and is also known as the Red Light district of Paris.  Among the world famous cabaret bars are the Folies Bergere and the Moulin Rouge which are tourist attractions in their own right.  Montmartre is the area surrounding the hill on which sits the famous Sacre Coeur Basilica and the so-called artists’ quarter of Paris.  It’s quite commercial these days, but still holds remnants of the Bohemian routes that made it famous.

Previously I’ve stayed in hotels scattered around Ile de La Cite and the Latin Quarter as well as small hotels in Montmartre. Of all the options I have found for a hotel, La Demeure is definitely a real favourite.  It is a short walk from the Parisian bustle of the Rue Mouffetard Market and is in an excellent location near the Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Gardens) and Natural History Museum.  It’s got very easy access to metro and bus lines, 24 hour reception, free Wifi and all the usual goodies.  The hotel is set in a character Haussmann building and as such the rooms do vary in size and shape.

La Demeure also has an option for a suite, which is more spacious and provides a sitting room. It is a family owned and run hotel, and the staff are amazing. They’ll organise taxis and re confirm transfers, store luggage, recommend eateries on the local area, where to watch rugby, where to shop and much more. It’s well priced for its location and while it’s listed as a 3 star, it’s very well appointed. It underwent a total refurbishment in 2014 and has a new look that is “chic with personality”. On the ground floor, there is also a little breakfast room serving a French style continental breakfast, which is included in the nightly room rate  - a lovely nice addition so is a great way to start your day before heading off to discover more of the city!

Also, bear in mind that not all hotels in Paris have a lift and if they do, they are often very tiny – enough room for just you and your suitcase – so be prepared to walk stairs in a busy check in or check out period.

When choosing an apartment, select from a serviced or a private apartment. The private apartments can be more hands on to organize, such as picking up the key and deciphering directions/password for the door access, but they have all the facilities to live like Parisians, allowing you to wander the farmers’ markets, buying up Poussin, pate, fromage and large baguettes. Then spend your evening overlooking the roof tops of Paris, drinking red wine and feeling well and truly at home!

There is plenty to be said for both options and just being in Paris will be something to be extremely happy about.  For a first timer to Paris, book yourself into a central hotel in your selected quarter of the city via your House of Travel specialist and once you are familiar with the way the city moves – come back again for your apartment stay and live the life of a true Parisian.

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