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).


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

Kids, Travel, Vacations


     Touring parts of Eastern Europe a couple of months ago took a big bite out of the finances. I’m glad I went and loved almost every minute of it, but I don’t think my kids are happy about that trip’s impact on the family vacation this summer.

     So when the question of a family trip out of state came up, I came out with the concept of “stay-cations.” WHAT? Stay-cations? I nodded my head and smiled like it was the best concept since my recipe for Mora Mona’s,(Blackberry Dolls-A play on the Spanish word for blackberries and my nickname). This blackberry puree, vodka, and diet ginger ale drink refreshed me and my friends in the 90% humidity of Costa Rica a couple of years ago. That and floating in the turquoise water of an infinity pool. But, I digress.

     “Yes a stay-cation, where we take mini-vacations here in our own county, without having to stay overnight in a hotel. You know, local fun, ummm, with locals.” My daughter’s eyebrows remained raised, my son ducked his head back behind the computer. “There’s lots of things we can do in this county,” I say, with a disturbingly bright smile that even scared me. It did not lower daughters eyebrows at all.
     “We’ve done everything in this county, we’ve lived here all our life,” daughter said.
     “Did you know we have a lighthouse at the beach, only six miles away?” The brow lower a half a centimeter. “And have you ever gone to Paradise Cove in Malibu?” Brows down, she’s listening.
     “We can get to LA in an hour, can we go there?” daughter asked.
     “Sure, you can plan a trip there for us.” A smile curves up on one side of daughter’s mouth.
     “Mijo, any ideas?”
     Head bobs while he looks at the computer screen. “I liked San Francisco when we went there six years ago. Let’s go back.”
     He did not get the concept of a stay-cation.
     “Local places, or LA or Santa Barbara,” I reiterate.
     “Ah, then no, no ideas.” He puts in his ear phones.

     I forgot about the conversation until today. Daughter read about the Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibit on Tim Burton. “Can we go?” I nod my head and smile, I’m so proud of her for choosing a museum, until I remember that Tim Burton has those animated movies like Sweeny Todd and Beetlejuice. But I do like Edward Scissorhands.

      Admission is usually reasonable and we can go and come back within a day so I say “Yes.” Then I look at LACMA’s site: admission is $20 bucks apiece, for 17 yrs. and over, which they are and parking is $10. Doors open at noon, so that means we won’t be back on the road until 5 p.m traffic, which means we have to stay later, like 7:30 to avoid said traffic, which means we not only have to eat lunch out but dinner too. And gas is still $3.89 a gallon at Costco. I don’t want to figure out the total right now.
     I think I forgot to mention an important concept in the stay-cation definition. It’s supposed to be low cost, like free hikes to a lighthouse, or in Sycamore Canyon, Malibu & Santa Monica beaches, picnics, bike riding, festivals-that kind of stuff. But it’s too late. Daughter already picked a day that she had free. She tells brother about the Tim Burton exhibit. 
     “Oh, cool,” brother said and bobs his head again. “Can we go to San Francisco on the train? We don’t have to spend money on a hotel, or gas.”
     It appears he did not get the concept of stay-cations either or maybe I need to brush up on my communication skills.