Home Away, House Trip, Loving Apartments, Morning Croissant, Paris Autrement, Travel, Travel books, Travel tips for Paris, TripAdvisor, Vacations

Best Last Minute Accommodations in Paris

The adventure in a vacation destination often begins before one steps on the plane. The word really is what it means : An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

Reading travel guides, researching the metro, sites to see, planning day trips are the positive side of the “adventure” definition. It’s my favorite thing to do.

This book by Karen Henrich is filled with tips, links, and insider information- a bargain at 2.99 for Kindle or Free on Kindle PRIME lending library. 


My travel pal and I have a great place to stay for a week, thanks to her timeshare option, in northern France. It’s the other 22 days that are the ‘not so positive’ side of the adventure. 

Yes, I’ve heard it all about starting early, especially from a TripAdvisor poster, who replied to my request for assistance on lodging options, with a snarky, chastising comment. The other comments were helpful and options offered were B & B’s, hostels, and apartment hotels with the websites listed.

We aren’t too picky but we do need two different sleep areas: twin beds or bed and sofa bed, preferably in Arrondissements 1-14, with elevator if beyond the 2nd floor, non-smoking and no more than 800 Euros per week (that’s $1,000 USD).

Searching  for an apartment on line has been the hazardous part of this adventure. You have to know the nomenclature for your search:

Footage is listed as 23 m2. That is square meters or approximately 230 square feet. 

Kitchens can be hot plates and a tea kettle.

Lofts, that have a bed, often have a 4 to 5 foot clearance. Roll out of bed, don’t stand up.

Historical buildings are beautiful but don’t expect elevators.

Sofa’s are usually futons. I have to think twice about sleeping on a thin futon for days. 

No Linen means you have to fork over 20-50 Euros each for bed sheets and towels. 

No util  means you pay for gas, light, water. 

Ground floor does not mean the 1st floor. So the second floor is the 3rd “American” floor. 

Excludes agency fee. These fees range from $200 to $350, by credit or Paypal prior to arrival.

And off the top, it is rare to find air conditioning. 

This is what they do in Paris instead. (Fine with me).

Bonjour.com

There are hundreds of property sites online. I have perused 50. Only a handful made it on my “best last minute search list.” *

These are ‘best’ because of the ease of use, photos, map locater, and pertinent info on the page without having to click through to others, plus Euro converter, a ‘my favorites’ list to refer too and some have a free protection plan.  Many of these sites also search for other locales:

  1. http://www.housetrip.com for those who “enjoy space, authenticity, safety.” 
  2. http://www.lovingapartments.com for the “stylish but affordable stay.” A little too steep for us.
  3. http://www.morningcroissant.com for the ‘travel smart, travel authentic’ types. Good for college aged.
  4. http://www.parisautrement.com for those who want to search by “Your affinities: soul of an artist, business, passionate about history, romantic…” Very nice-unfortunately nothing left  within budget.
  5. http://www.tripadvisor.com/vacationrentals for “trusted rentals.” A vast selection.
  6. http://www.homeaway.com My favorite “Let’s Stay Together.” Great search set-up.
The good news is that the we have found an affordable place in the 11th Arr. through Home Away and are waiting to sign a contract. It’s huge: 600 sq. feet. 

This site, and the others, all had speedy customer service, their rental calendars were up to date, and the listed prices didn’t change. Even better- we were able to get our place for a couple of hundred Euros less because we are staying more than 7 days.

I’d like to post as many legitimate sites as possible on TripAdvisor and help out fellow travelers.(even the snarky one). 

If you have had good experiences with lodging sites, will you please let me know? 

Hopefully, our accommodations search is over, but I’m sure that the adventure has just begun. 

*Please note: I have not used 4 of these sites nor am I affiliated with any of them. I’ve used VRBO and HomeAway before and they were fine. With any travel sites, check out reviews from a couple of sources before you make a decision.


Au Revoir



Travel, Travel books, Travel to Prague

Travel Books

I deemed today as ‘Traveling Thursday.” One of the things I mention in my profile is that I love to travel. Next month, in 33 days, I will be on my way to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest-in that order via LAX then train between the cities. That photo up there is the Charles Bridge with the spires of Prague Castle up on the hill; in the background.

Few things are more relaxing to me than having a glass of wine and watching Rick Steve’s travelogues or PBS’s aerial travel series. Now I didn’t say the most relaxing, but it’s in the top 5.

For months prior to the trip I’m a madwoman on TripAdvisor and Frommer’s. If I’m booking my own flights and making my own itinerary it’s a 6 month project with fare alerts from Kayak and Bing, in addition to the TA and Frommer’s.

The hunt for the appropriate travel book begins three months before the trip. If Triple A cuts me a good deal I get the book there, but that is few and far between. They don’t have a big selection and they like Rick Steve’s’ books. Now I don’t have anything against RS, in fact see the 1st paragraph, I love watching his show. But his books are 5 pound weights.

I need all available luggage space for my own stuff because I haven’t checked bags for 3 years, after landing in Paris without my luggage for the entire 8 days.I didn’t even need to check the damn thing, but my sisters checked their two suitcases, each, and I’d have to end up waiting at the carousel anyway. Bad decision. But half way lucky for me, I had an extra set of undies, blouse, and shawl in my carry on tote, with my toiletries. Their luggage was also lost, but for only 3 days. British Air shipped my bag to me a month later.

I went through a period of cutting and pasting info from various travel sites onto MS Word and then folding the 3 or 4 pages into my purse. Triple A has some great maps called ” MapEasy’s Guide to…” They’re awesome and the Travel Agent usually gave them to me for free or half off. But this method is cumbersome. The map is 10 inches tall and folds out three times the width.

The perfect travel book has to have a pull out map, not too thick and not papery thin. A transportation guide for the metro, bus, train has to be included. The book has to weigh less than 1 lb and smaller than 8×8 inches. And it has to have pictures, in color and have print that is at least 10 font (really 12 is better or I have to don my 99cents reading glasses). Organization is very important as well as the highlights of the area. If the book throws in history, culture, helpful phrases, and all that stuff then it’s a keeper.

With all that said, I do have one favorite and that is DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10: Your Guide to the 10 Best of Everything. The book is a little over 4×6 and contains all of the above material. The books are approximately 152 pages and less than 1/2 inch thick. With my Borders coupon I usually buy them for $10.

So on Traveling Thursday’s I’ll share some tips and stories about my travels throughout my life, from the first time I went to Tijuana with my friends, when I was 18, to my trip to Costa Rica last year. If you want you can grab a glass of wine, cup of tea, bottle of beer or water and meet me here next Thursday.