How to be a Paris Luxury Road Warrior

By: Rita Borges

Fortunately, there is not a shortage of Paris vacation apartments but where do you begin and what questions do you ask?

First decide it if you want to rough the waters on your own or book with an agency.
If you decide to deal with owners directly, the gold seal of vacation rentals is VRBO (vacation rentals by owner).You might strike gold or you might be stuck with a dud. Unfortunately, most owners will not be able to accept credit cards and ask for cash directly. If you wire funds to a personal bank account and the apartment does not fit your standards or what you expected, you have absolutely no recourse. If that frightens you at all, I strongly suggest working with a US based agency that accepts credit cards. Your credit card company will fight for your rights if you feel that you have been ripped off.

First decide if you are a budget, midrange or luxury traveler. Vacation apartments are not all alike and you can find different categories with degrees of luxury. Be a smart vacation apartment dweller and know your hot buttons. What are your deal breakers? Is location more important than that extra bedroom? Does the apartment include concierge service since vacationing in an apartment can be isolating for the first timers visiting Paris.

Regardless of the direction you choose, make sure you ask these questions:

1: How many people will the apartment sleep? Is there an additional charge for use of the sofa bed? What is the bed configuration, twin, double or King.
2: Is there a 7 night minimum stay? If you are staying over 4 weeks, ask if there is a discount?
3: Does the apartment allow children under 15? Are pets allowed? Is smoking permitted?
4: What is the nearest Metro? Where is the nearest taxi stand?
5: Is there a supermarket nearby? Is there a noisy restaurant or bar on the ground floor?
6: What floor is the apartment on? Is there an elevator in the building?
7: Does the apartment have a washer/dryer? Does the phone allow for International calls?
Does the television have English speaking channels? Is the kitchen fully equipped?
8: Whom can you call in case of problems or emergency? Is the person fluent in English?
Will he/she be available around the clock or for a limited time?
9: Are sheets and towels included in the apartment? Does the apartment come with a starter kit with a few groceries and toiletries.
10: What is not included in the rental fee? Is Internet and housekeeping included?
11: Do you have a booking contract that I can review?
12: Can I contact previous guests either via phone or email?

Make sure that you built a rapport with your booking agency, photos can only tell a portion of the story. Ask to speak to the person that has inspected or better yet has spent a couple of days in the apartment. Be wary if the booking agent only raves and does not say anything negative about the Paris apartment. It is similar to being set up on a blind date, no one is going to be perfect so why would you assume that the Paris vacation apartment will be?

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