Just in case any of you are considering whether or not to rent and AirBNB or a hotel room in Paris, I wanted to share my experience. I’ve been lucky enough to get to travel to Paris a fair amount and I’ve stayed in both AirBNBs and hotels. Which one will be the best fit for you depends on a few things.
First, you should consider your travel style. Are you a person that only goes to the room when it’s time to sleep? Do you like to be in the center of the city near the main attractions, or are you OK with staying in a less touristy spot? Are you comfortable with traveling using the metro system?
We are not the kind of travelers who use room service or breakfast in the hotel. Not to say that I don’t LOVE a really nice hotel, but in Paris I like to stay a while longer and spend less money per night. It’s a great place to visit for longer than a week. Decide what’s important to YOU about your trip.
The benefits of staying in an Air BNB
Size – The first benefit from staying in an AirBNB is that you get so much extra space to spread out. Paris hotels are pretty tiny unless you have a big budget. If you are traveling with family it can be nice to have an entire apartment with a living room and more than one bedroom. Most hotel rooms list the square meters of their rooms (20 square meters is 215 square feet, roughly 10x).
This was the inside of our Airbnb.
Experience – If you want to get more of the experience of what it’s like to LIVE in Paris, and AirBNB is the way to go. Many of them are located in the courtyards that you never get to see. You’ve seen all the amazing exterior doors, behind most of these is a courtyard. People who live in the building use it as a common garden area and often set up table and chairs in the afternoon and evening. You get the feeling of what it would be like to live in Paris.
Quiet – Because many of the apartments face an inner courtyard, they can be quieter. Our apartment was right off of a really busy street in the 10th arrondissement, but we couldn’t hear a thing.
Better Deal – The AirBNB we stayed in was about half of what a hotel would have been at the same time. We don’t typically stay at really fancy hotels, three or four stars, but an AirBNB was a lot less expensive than the type of hotels we stay in. We like to stay for 7-14 days so that we have plenty of time. To give you a frame of reference, the hotel that we stayed in 2022 is around 500 Euros/545 dollars per night, but I would have to book two rooms for three people. The Airbnb with the service fee and cleaning fee was $475 per night. That’s more than a 50% savings.
Kitchen – Our Airbnb had a full kitchen including a dishwasher. If you get tired of eating out and you want to try cooking a few of your own meals, it’s so nice to have a refrigerator and a coffee maker.
Privacy – If you don’t like having a maid come into your space every day, an Airbnb is great for that.
Laundry – The apartment we stayed in had a washing machine. This enabled us to travel light because we knew that we could do small loads of laundry.
The benefits of staying in a Hotel
Air conditioning – If you are traveling in the heat of the summer this can be a big factor. Most apartments don’t have air conditioning. We stayed in an AirBNB in June and it cooled off enough to be comfortable at night with the windows open. Most apartments in Paris don’t have AC. You can have a comfortable stay without AC any in most months except July and August (and you don’t want to come in August anyway). Many shops and restaurants are closed in August.
Hotel Concierge – Most hotels have someone at the front desk that speaks English. If it’s your first trip to Paris and you don’t speak any French, these people can be very helpful in guiding you. They can recommend restaurants, call a taxi, help you with directions and provide a map.
Elevator – If you have an issue with stairs it is very hard to stay at an AirBNB on the ground floor. Most hotels have an elevator.
Clean Towels Every Day
How to Find a Good AirBNB in Paris
The best way to narrow down the airbnb listings in Paris is to start by searching in the neighborhood that you want to be in. If you have no idea, I’ve got you covered below. If you do have an idea, you can search for availability by arrondissement. I recommend choosing hosts that are labeled as a”super host”.
It’s a good idea no matter where you are staying in Paris, to be close to a Metro stop. Be sure to read guest reviews and carefully study the photos. Sometimes a bedroom will only have a twin bed. If there are no reviews or only one or two I wouldn’t chance it.
You can also check VRBO, they have apartments in Paris.
Choose the Right Arrondissmont for Your stay in Paris
In our travels we have visited most of the arrondissements in zone 1 & 2, which is where you want to be. This site has a great tool that allows you to see each arrondissment individually. If this is your first time in Paris I’ve listed out the tourist attractions in each area below. If you only have a few days it’s best to choose a place to stay that is a short walk to a metro in an area that is a central location to what you want to see
Here are the highlights by neighborhood. Our favorite place to sleep in is the 7th, not because we love the Eiffel Tower views, but because the Rue Cler pedestrian street is nice to be close to. This street has everything you want in a Parisian neighborhood.
Our second favorite neighborhoods to sleep in are the 3rd and 4th. There are so many great restaurants and shops, and we always go to the Pompidou museum because we enjoy arguing over some of the bizarre artwork like these photos below. You probably know my side of the argument.
I don’t recommend the 19th, This area is not as picturesque as other parts of the city, although it is home to the best Croissant in 2023. The same goes for the 20th.
- 1st Arrondissement (Louvre): It’s home to the Louvre Museum, Tuileries Garden, and the Palais-Royal. It’s the historical heart of Paris and a great area for art and history lovers.
- 2nd Arrondissement (Bourse): Known for the Paris Stock Exchange (Palais Brongniart), the covered passageways like Galerie Vivienne, and Rue Montorgueil, a lively street known for its food shops.
- 3rd Arrondissement (Le Marais): Houses the Musée Picasso and the Musée Carnavalet. Le Marais is also famous for its trendy boutiques, art galleries, and vibrant nightlife.
- 4th Arrondissement (Le Marais – Notre-Dame): Home to Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), and the Centre Pompidou, a modern art museum.
- 5th Arrondissement (Latin Quarter): Known for the Panthéon, the Sorbonne University, and the Jardin des Plantes. It’s a lively student area with lots of bookshops, cafes, and a vibrant nightlife.
- 6th Arrondissement (Saint-Germain-des-Prés): Contains the Luxembourg Gardens, the Church of Saint-Sulpice, and the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Famous for its bohemian past and its literary cafes.
- 7th Arrondissement (Eiffel Tower): Features the Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, and Les Invalides. A prestigious district known for its government institutions.
- 8th Arrondissement (Champs-Élysées): You’ll find the Champs-Élysées, the Grand Palais, and the Arc de Triomphe here. A luxury district with upscale shops and restaurants.
- 9th Arrondissement (Opéra): Known for the Palais Garnier (Opera House), Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores, and the Musée de la Vie Romantique.
- 10th Arrondissement (Canal Saint-Martin): Popular for the Canal Saint-Martin, it’s a trendy district known for its vibrant bars and boutiques. This neighborhood is home to Gare du Nord, a good place to visit if you want to take day trips outside Paris.
- 11th Arrondissement (Bastille): Known for the modern Opera Bastille and the vibrant nightlife along Rue Oberkampf. It’s a youthful area with many bars and clubs.
- 12th Arrondissement (Bercy): Features the Bercy Village, AccorHotels Arena, and the Paris Zoological Park. It’s also the location of the Gare de Lyon, one of Paris’ main train stations.
- 13th Arrondissement (Place d’Italie): Known for the modern National Library (Bibliothèque Nationale de France), the Asian quarter, and the Butte-aux-Cailles neighborhood with its village-like charm.
- 14th Arrondissement (Montparnasse): Houses the Montparnasse Tower, the Paris Catacombs, and the lively rue Daguerre.
- 15th Arrondissement (Vaugirard): Known for the Montparnasse railway station and the Parc André Citroën. It’s primarily residential but with plenty of shops and restaurants.
- 16th Arrondissement (Trocadéro): Features the Palais de Chaillot, Trocadéro Gardens, and many of Paris’s foreign embassies. It’s a prestigious and largely residential area.
- 17th Arrondissement (Batignolles-Monceau): Known for the Parc Monceau, Palais des Congrès, and the charming Batignolles neighborhood. It’s a quiet, mostly residential area with a mix of young families and older residents.
- 18th Arrondissement (Montmartre): Known for the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, the Place du Tertre, and the Moulin Rouge. It’s a bohemian district known for its artist community.
- 19th Arrondissement (Buttes-Chaumont): Features the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, La Villette park with the City of Sciences and Industry, and the Philarmonie de Paris.
- 20th Arrondissement (Ménilmontant): Known for the Père Lachaise Cemetery, the Belleville neighborhood, and Parc de Belleville. It’s a multicultural area with a strong artist community.
If you enjoyed this post you might like, this one about shopping flea markets in Paris.