Living Like a Local in Paris

Living Like a Local in Paris

Traveling from city to city is great, but as most of you probably know by now, that’s totally not my typical travel style. As a lover of culture and language, I really prefer slower travel; the type of travel that forces you to see and do things as a local would.

Living like a local is important to me, and it’s this mentality that got me stuck in places like Japan and Hong Kong for so long.

I know that obviously I can’t spend a year or two in every country I visit, but even when I am only staying in one location for a few days, I still try my best to experience the local culture as best I can.

Paris - June 2014

It’s so hard to put yourself in the shoe of a local while sleeping in a ritzy hotel or while sharing a giant dorm with a bunch of backpackers, and while I’m a bit too nervous to try couchsurfing, I’ve found plenty of other great options.

One of which is– apartment rentals.

I honestly never tried renting an apartment before while traveling because I thought that was only for long-term options. I never knew you could rent an apartment for three or four days just as you would a hotel. I know, silly right?

So when I knew we would be staying in Paris, a city almost as expensive as London, for a longer duration than most other cities on our trip, I thought it would be the perfect chance to give an apartment stay a try!

What better place to live like a local than in Paris?

After browsing available apartments on FlipKey, I found a few that I liked, including one that seemed too good to be true. It was located minutes away from many tourist attractions, it had a washer and dryer, and it was totally within my modest budget.

The next day and one inquiry letter later I found myself signing the contract for my new Parisian apartment! (And Parisian it was, but more on that later)

Even though getting into the apartment was a bit of a fiasco due to our poor planning, once inside we could relax and felt at home. It was a one-bedroom flat on the seventh floor, again, with washer and dryer (!) and a fully stocked kitchen.

Paris - June 2014

It was fairly small, but hey, that’s Paris, but it still had all the amenities we could possibly need– meaning TV and, more importantly, wireless internet.

We actually took advantage of the fridge and kitchen a lot during our stay. It worked out perfectly because right outside the front door of the apartment they’d hold a little market in the street in the mornings and around the corner was a grocery store that stayed open pretty late. We stocked our fridge with plenty of breakfast items and even stayed back a few nights to cook dinner.

Paris - June 2014

It not only helped us cut costs, but I really did feel more like a local returning to my tiny Parisian apartment each night. And other than the scary tiny Parisian elevator, I absolutely loved it.

The total price of the apartment was around $120 per night, and this was in June during high season. And did I mention it was right down the street from the Louvre? Because it totally was. I honestly don’t think we could’ve gotten a better deal.

It truly was a great first apartment stay and I loved being able to slow down, have more of a home-base, and travel more locally. Renting an apartment definitely aligns more with my travel style and I’ll always consider renting an apartment over hotels from now on.

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Have you rented apartments before when traveling? Tell me about it in the comments below!

A huge thank you to FlipKey who provided me with some credit towards my apartment rental. I still had to do all booking and contract negotiating on my own, but it really is something I recommend and I will continue to use on my own dime when I travel.

25 Comments

  • Ryan Zieman says:

    Absolutely agree! Taking a walk in a local’s shoes is the best way to explore a city. I rented a private room in an apartment when I visited Porto and my host was awesome. Being a local, he had amazing recommendations and marked up my map with all his favorite spots – places I would have definitely missed otherwise.

    • Beth Williams says:

      That’s awesome! I agree, with our trying to live locally, you often miss some of the best little spots– and those are always the highlight of my trips!

  • I used to be all about cheap hostels and couchsurfing. Now, as I get older (ha) I love the privacy that apartment rentals offer. When I’ve traveled with friends to France and Germany, we did apartment rentals that ended up being just as good a deal as a hostel. And I often do room rentals at private homes when it’s just me, and I’m looking for peace and quiet instead of a loud hostel (like when I moved to Barcelona and needed to find housing—renting a room for a couple days was so much more relaxing than being in a hostel).

    • Beth Williams says:

      I have yet to try couchsurfing…. maybe I should finally give it a try? Hostels get overwhelming for me and I agree that it’s nice to be able to have your own place to return to without having to deal with other people (which is why I’m so hesitant to try couchsurfing as well)

  • Fantastic insight on local living in Paris. I have often wondered what the apartments looked like as it’s been a pretty big dream of mine to move to Europe. It’d be SOO nice to live somewhere close to the Mediterranean. But to answer your question, I’ve never rented an apartment but came close a few times both in Bangkok as well as Nicaragua…I think it’d be a phenomenal experience! :-)

    • Beth Williams says:

      Hm, I actually hadn’t thought of renting an apartment in Nicaragua … that might be a good idea as we’re headed there today!

  • Nice appartment! Very big for Parisian standards too! :D

  • budget jan says:

    It’s housesitting and renting apartments for us for sure. We love the local feel of being in a real neighbourhood apartment block living with locals, shopping where they do. It is a much more relaxing way to see a city.

    • Beth Williams says:

      I really want to get into housesitting! It seems like the perfect way to travel more locally.

  • Lauren says:

    I would love to try apartment rentals during my next holiday! It sounds like a great way to live and see the city at a reasonable price!

    • Beth Williams says:

      It was! It’s great that there are so many companies now offering apartment rentals, which makes it really easy to find an apartment without hassle.

  • Such a cute little apartment! Sadly we actually we’rent too taken by Paris (blasphemy I know!!), though I do love renting apartments when traveling. A lot of the time we veer more towards housesitting, but we love the notion of living like a local and fully immersing yourself into a new culture.

  • That’s a really good way to travel. I usually stay in hostels as I always believed apartment rentals are more expensive, but it may not be the case! Will definitely look into Flipkey!

    • Beth Williams says:

      Depends. If you’re booking a dorm room, probably not. If you usually book a private room, it’s about the same cost (depending on location of course).

  • Marysia says:

    I really think you shouldn’t be sacred to use Couchsurfing, it is really great and you can really see how locals lives, and just like a side note, some Parisians lived in Ritz for most of their lives, like Chanel so I guess that is like a local as well :)

    • Beth Williams says:

      Very true! It is local also :)
      I’d give couchsurfing a try I guess, but probably only if I traveled solo.

  • Anne says:

    I did the same thing in Paris! I think apartment rentals are always a great way to experience a city to a little bit more of a local degree, and for me it feels especially true in Paris. Some of my best memories are just bringing home some French groceries back to my little place for myself :)

    • Beth Williams says:

      Yes! I loved hanging out at the grocery store, picking up local items and bringing them back for dinners. It’s the little things like this that made me enjoy my time in Paris.

  • I couldn’t agree more. Apartments (or other self-catering accommodations) are the way to go! It’s definitely more convenient when traveling with young children.

  • Yes! I do apartment rentals all the time when I travel as I find it a very affordable option in comparison to hotels as well as being able to have the privacy I need when traveling! :D

    • Beth Williams says:

      Exactly! I love being able to have privacy, especially since I need to write and work while I travel. (That’s why I don’t really like to stay in loud hostels or do Couchsurfing, since I feel obligated to be more social)

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