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Those of you who know Paris well - please help!

I have a dilemma and I am loosing my sleep over it (seriously). I am going to Paris for 5 days in August (changed from Venice; desperatley wanted both, but for the lack of time had to choose only one). I grew up on the great classical literature and feel that I know much about the city, but in fact this is my first trip to Paris, finally. I will be there alone. I booked a studio with a booking service, located in the 5eme, right on the border with the 6eme. The nearest big streets are Blvd. St. Germain and Blvd. St. Michel. Just a few blocks from the Seine. It is a neat little studio, very cute, completely equipped, even with a computer! The cost for the 5 nights is 400 euros, all inclusive. I provided my CC for the 120 euro non-refundable deposit, the balance is due two weeks before I arrive. Ok, I am excited and all is well, and at that point I should have stopped searching and trawling the Internet, right? But no, I keep looking and inquiring, and here comes to me an offer from Kensington Hotel, for a tiny single room with a shower and toilet (basically that's all I need) for a fabulous price of 57 euros per night, and the hotel is located in the 7eme, and that fables Rue de Cler that everyone here is raving about is right there, and the room has a view of Eiffel Tower!!!!!!!
And here is where the headache comes - what do I do now? If I cancell my studio, I am out of 120 euros. Hotel Kensigton at 57 euro per night for 5 nights is 285 euros, plus my nonrefudable deposit of 120, adds up to 405 euros actual cost to me. That versus 400 if I keep the studio reservation. What do I do? Where is better to stay for the first time - in Latin Quarter or by the Eiffel Tower? That tower thing is really getting to me.

Posted by
4125 posts

First, they are both fabulous locations. Second, one thing that classical literature may not have told you about Paris is how easy it is to get around on the Metro. So you can easily end (or start) your day at the Eiffel Tower or Rue Claire even if you sleep in St. Germain.

Posted by
473 posts

I think you're worrying too much about this. Yes, the hotel is cheaper, but with the studio apartment, I assume that you're getting a fridge and stove. If so, then you can save some money by having some of your breakfasts and, possibly, lunches in your apartment. This would help offset the extra cost of the apartment. We stayed near Rue Cler and were walking distance to the Eiffel Tower. But it wasn't a big deal. You can always take the metro to the Eiffel Tower.

Posted by
421 posts

We will be staying in an apartment for the first time on our next trip to paris and I am excited about it. We stayed in a hotel before which was nice but I like the idea of an apartment. You are booked so why lose out on the deposit? I say stick with the apartment and just enjoy the trip!!!! Paris is the best place in the world

Posted by
104 posts

Relax and just let Paris seduce you. You're in a great area, and as others have pointed out, you can get anywhere in Paris quite quickly once you have mastered the metro which should take you about 1-2 trips at most. Since the studio is equipped, you can take advantage of the street markets (we love walking down Rue Muffetard)to make inexpensive meals/picnics and save money there. We have been to Paris three times now and the last time, we tossed our side trip itinerary and just spent days taking the metro to a neighborhood where we had never been before and walking, enjoying the parks and finding a great bistro for lunch. Often, we were the only tourist around. Went back to our hotel in the Latin Quarter after picking up picnic items (so much fun to go to European grocery stores to see the differences) and eating in the courtyard. A suggestion if you're a history buff-take the metro to St Denis and see all the royal funerary statues in the basilica. Bon voyage and bon journee.

Posted by
4555 posts

We go to Paris every year or two and we ALWAYS rent an apartment. It makes you feel like part of the neighbourhood. And it's great to have a nice place to come "home" to....plus the savings in cooking some of your own meals, as others have pointed out. You won't be around your hotel room long enough to enjoy the "view" anyway!

Posted by
2 posts

Natasha,

Stick to the apartment. You can spread out, have the fun of shopping in local stores, saving big bucks on always having to go to restaurants and pretend you are a local. Another big advantage I Ialways find is that you can come and go as you please and not have to worry about getting out of your room so that it can be made up. I went to Paris and rented an apartment by myself last year and am taking my grand-daughter and kids this year. You won't be sorry.

Posted by
138 posts

Rick above is correct, I have a tendency to worry too much;)
It is amazing that all of your advice was uniform - stick with what you've got. And I did. My card is debited for the deposit, I stopped looking for other places, and now can concentrate on figuring out the Switzerland part of my trip.
I will report after I come back on how things went. But for now I can at least say that Victoria Bourjault of victoria-parishomes.com has been very prompt with all the communications.

Posted by
705 posts

I've just come back from Rome where I rented an appartment rather than stayed at a hotel. I too travel alone and it was the first time I did this and was a little wary of it. Best thing I have done, a totally different experience. I got a buzz every morning going out feeling like a local and just getting to know my neighbourhood. I know you're off to Paris but the atmosphere I'm sure would be the same.

The appartment you have booked is in a great area and I'm sure you'll love it. As far as having a view of the tower out of your window, I also went to Venice where I had a room overlooking the Grand Canal and the only time I saw it was in the morning when I opened the shutters and looked out to see what the weather was like. The rest of the time I was out experiencing the city. I know it sounds great, but unless you intend to sit in your room gazing at it, that really all it is - sounds great.

Posted by
2000 posts

I agree, the apartment seems to be in a fabulous location and you will love it. It is easy to get to the Eiffel Tower - metro or walking. It is an incredibly romantic thought to have a view of it from your window, particularly at night when you are likely to be in your room, but you will see it a lot, don't worry. Do the hotel on the next trip - You will return I'm sure. I rented an apartment in Paris last year for 2 weeks in the 2nd arr. a new area of town for me, and I loved it. Will always do this for stays of at least a week. Great to make your own breakfast before you hit the streets, and you feel more a part of the neighborhood --having to go occassionally shop for bread at the local bakery, and soap, soft drinks and coffee at the local market. Tedious chores here at home are fun in Paris!

Don't worry about could have beens or relative costs - you have a good place and will learn a lot this first trip, and next time you will know exactly what you want to do.
bon voyage

Posted by
149 posts

We rent a studio in the same 5th arr. area and it is a perfect location. We eat some meals in restaurants, and some in the studio. We really enjoy shopping for food at the street markets and at the supermarket. Having a fridge (we can make ice!) and stove are nice. The studio we rent also has a washing machine/dryer, a computer, and wifi.

Posted by
10 posts

My husband and I went to Paris for a full week a few years ago, stayed in the St Germain area and loved it!! We were close to local stores, great markets, metro stations, etc. We could even walk a lot w/o using metro. Nice park was nearby also. We loved that St. Germain area!

Posted by
466 posts

I stayed at the Hotel Kensington in October and had a great experience. It is very close to the eiffel tower in a pretty neighborhood. It is a nice brief walk to the rue cler (great place for breakfast in the morning.) I was at Kensington for 6 nights and everyone who worked their were very helpful and nice.

Posted by
31 posts

Natasha, we stayed in a 3rd floor apartment (stairs were fine, elevator about 4x4) on Rue St. Andre des Arts off St. Michel, about a block from the Seine. Very near to St. Germain also. Great location. Notre Dame just across the river. Three Metro entrances and we were able to get anywhere quickly. You'll enjoy the area, I'm sure.

Bob