June 18, 2011 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Accommodations in Paris screwed at the last minute. What's my best option?

My girlfriend booked (non-refundable) flights to Paris tomorrow, as well as an apartment in the 2ieme Ar. for a week (from Today, the apartment owner called to say he's made a terrible mistake, that the apartment was already booked when we made our deposit.

TODAY he tells us!

It will cost close to a grand to cancel or reroute our flights, and it appears that all of the hotel rooms in Paris for less than $150 euro/night are booked. I figure we've got only a few options left:

1) Accept the "substitute" apartment offered by the owner. He claims it's a much nicer (more expensive) suite, but it's in the 20ieme arrondisement, 40 minutes transit away from the tourist attractions. We're also worried about the shadiness of this last minute switch.

3) Try to find some other place. I saw some availabilities on other apartment rental websites, but their offices are now all closed, and I haven't gotten replies from my email. Do any Mefites know of a good place?

2) Stay outside of Paris, or even have our vacation in another town in Paris. We could get on a train for the South of France, or Louxembourg or something maybe. Where though, and how do I get this done at the last minute?
posted by Popular Ethics to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have a friend who lives outside Paris who has an apartment in Montmartre. I'll give him a prod & see if it's available.
posted by pharm at 11:58 AM on June 18, 2011

I'd take the other apartment being offered and chalk it up to having an adventure. The 20th is an interesting part (and often unexplored) of Paris. The Metro makes it easy to get everywhere and I don't really think it will take you 40 minutes to get everywhere you want to go.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 12:01 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Have you looked on airbnb? A cursory search shows some options.

Also, maybe check out some hostels. Hostelworld is good for finding a place, but it's good to book directly through the hostel. The rooms they have reserved for online bookings are just a fraction of their rooms, so if it says they are full give them a call. They might have space. My friends and I stayed at Hotel Caulaincourt and liked it. It's in Montmarte.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 12:05 PM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

I would go to a hostel for a night and contact people on airbnb until you find something suitable.
posted by desjardins at 12:20 PM on June 18, 2011

When I went to Paris I arrived in August without a place to stay. My friend and I walked around neighborhoods looking for hotels with vacancies and there were plenty. We eventually found a place for 50 euro a night, though we had to go a bit outside the city center to find it. But under 100 euro would have been easy. I don't know if it's any different at this time of year but I have to think there are plenty of rooms in a city the size of Paris. A lot of hotels probably don't book online through whatever systems you're looking at.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:28 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use Couchsurfing for many situations, and it looks like it could be helpful here.
posted by jeffmshaw at 12:29 PM on June 18, 2011

I stayed here for a month in Paris. It appears available. Cute place, well situated, quiet location despite being near the Eiffel Tower, responsive owner. Memail if you want more info.
posted by shoesietart at 12:32 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

this place is where my wife and i stayed in paris. it's spitting distance to notre dame, and quite lovely. depending on what's available (if anything) the cost my be slightly or vastly over your 150/night budget, but it's worth a call.
unfortunately their website doesn't let you know what vacancies they have.
i would also find the offer to switch you to a different place shady.
posted by qnarf at 12:48 PM on June 18, 2011

L'Adresse is a small but classy boutique hotel with a room available for less than 150 euros a night. It's 50 yards from the Metro and less than a mile from the Arc de Triomphe. I stayed there once and would stay there again.
posted by Akke at 12:53 PM on June 18, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks Akke, but the online booking suggests that the only room available is > 400 Euro/night, which is a bit rich for us this trip!
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:57 PM on June 18, 2011

It sounds like you're getting lots of good suggestions here, but just in case--I have stayed at the Hotel Montpensier a few times and it was reasonably priced (under 150 Euros/night), and well-located. I could actually see my hotel when I looked out of one of the windows of the Louvre; it took me about 3 minutes to walk to the Louvre and 2 minutes to walk to the closest Metro station if I dawdled. The newly renovated rooms were nice (although I know that some of the old rooms were still waiting to be upgraded the last time I was there).

They do not do instant online booking, so you'd need to phone them directly to ask about availability. But it might be worth it just to check.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:06 PM on June 18, 2011

Best answer: Probably worth seeing if anything turns up in your price range on Priceline reverse bidding. A couple of weeks ago someone got a room at the four star Marriott Rive Gauche for a bid of €112 per night.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:11 PM on June 18, 2011

If you're not familiar with Priceline, you can't increase your bid for 24 hours, but you can widen your area and increase your bid at the same time and Paris has 8 areas. So the best strategy is to choose a lowish rate (perhaps €100 for a four star?) and select only one area. Then, if that is rejected, add another area and up the big by €10. Continue adding areas and upping the price until you reach your maximum bid, then throw in all the areas.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:17 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hi, I live in Paris. You should take the apartment in the 20e and enjoy a totally different side of the city! There are totally definitely unmissable attractions on that side of the city - Montmartre, Pere Lachaise, the Parc Buttes Chaumont, and more, are all right next door! Just a little further away are the Marais - quintessential restaurant and night spot and art gallery area - and the Centre Pompidou.

It is, however, 30ish minutes from the Eiffel Tower and stuff by metro. There are buses that are more direct, and also the handy Velib bicycles that you can make a short-term subscription for. Also take care coming back late at night, depending exactly where in the 20e it is.
posted by whatzit at 2:36 PM on June 18, 2011

Response by poster: Hi, I live in Paris. You should take the apartment in the 20e and enjoy a totally different side of the city!

Thanks Whatzit. We've done it. The owner called me this afternoon, and I got a better impression of him (I'm less worried he'll rip us off now). And despite sending dozens of emails out for other apartments (including those on arbnb, thanks rabbitbookworm) I haven't received a better offer. It's now Saturday night in Paris, and I needed to pull the trigger on something. Priceline and Couchsurfing look interesting, thanks, but I'm just out of time.

Also take care coming back late at night, depending exactly where in the 20e it is.

Oh, that's a bit ominous. We're at Rue Stendhal and Rue de Bagnolet. It's a bit of a walk from the closest metro station, so we will probably be out at night :(
posted by Popular Ethics at 3:37 PM on June 18, 2011

Don't be afraid, just take care, it's common sense and normal big city stuff: keep your cameras in your bags, keep your bags in front of you, keep an eye on the people around you. I'd also add don't go speaking really loud in English as it marks you as a tourist who would be carrying tourist things (cameras, passports, lots of cash).

The other alternative is to get those Velib subscriptions, and use them from the metro or from the Paris center out to where you are staying. It's really a great way to see the city, and makes things much more comfortable at night since you can fly through the empty streets.
posted by whatzit at 10:42 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The 20th district is a great place to stay: you simply need to orient yourself to the joys of east Paris via the Place de Republique. You got Belleville (chinese dim sum in Paris is amazing!) you have the ring of Algerian kosher Jewish cafes and bars near Pere Lachaise... The locals are a lot friendlier because it isn;t a tourist magnet area. Just rethink it and you'll have a wonderful time.
posted by zaelic at 2:57 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sounds like you're sorted, but just wanted to note that I stayed a week at Mama Shelter hotel which looks like it's half a block from where you'll be staying. I really enjoyed that neighborhood and never felt like I was too isolated. The walk down to the metro every morning (munching on a fresh croissant) became one of my favorite parts of the day, and it was very easy to get to any attraction I was interested in. The whole area felt much less touristy and more authentic. I never felt unsafe, though Rue Bagnolet did quiet down late. This was late november though, and it was pretty wet and cold that week. (Cafe Abribus was a fun place to eat that felt very local.)
posted by Noon Under the Trees at 1:01 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, you're (literally) just round the corner from my friend's place on rue de Bagnolet. Fine--easy access to the line 2 will take you anywhere in the north of the city, or a short distance (especially by Vélib) to Nation, from where you can get straight into the centre quickly and easily. Obviously you're super-close to Père Lachaise; you could also walk the short distance up rue des Pyrénées, too, to Gambetta.

An easy trip on the 2 would take you to the bassin de la Villette (m Jaurès or Stalingrad) on the canal, which is a cool and interesting place and is also near the parc de la Villette where there are many remarkable things, which will be described in your guidebook but which relatively few tourists (and relatively LOADS of people who live there) actually go and visit. Or head south and walk the Promenade Plantée.

And, of course, all the suggestions above. The pavilion by the lake in the parc des Buttes Chaumont has been renovated recently and now serves drinks and food--try a champagne mojito.

Look out for space invaders, too. That part of town is rich territory for them, there are a couple on rue de Bagnolet itself.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 3:36 PM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older How do I find someone to find clients for me?   |   package forwarding from France to US? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.