Live Like a Local in a Paris Vacation Rental Apartment

Living Like a Local in Paris

It didn’t have a great view. I slept on a click-clack sofa bed that was little more than an Ikea futon and the kitchen was the size of a postage stamp. But the location of my Paris vacation rental apartment more than made up for its minor shortcomings.


Living room/bedroom of “Opera Bohemia” vacation rental apartment in the 9th Arrondissement in Paris

The longer I travel, the more I strive to connect with the culture of every destination I visit. One of my secrets for accomplishing this has always been to haunt coffee houses, where I meet locals rather than other tourists. On this trip to France, I added a new weapon to my arsenal when I accepted an offer from, the UK’s number one holiday rentals site. HomeAway connects private property owners with vacationers around the world who enjoy the freedom and value of a holiday rental home over a hotel. I jumped at the chance when they offered to put me up in a Paris vacation rental apartment located in a residential neighborhood, where I would be more likely to have a local experience.


Small but sufficient kitchen in my home away from home apartment in Paris


Modern, spacious bathroom in HomeAway apartment

In addition to providing me entry into the local scene, staying in an apartment with a fully-equipped kitchen meant saving on meals. Within easy walking distance I found a neighborhood shop where fresh fruits were polished and stacked high. Close by was a neighborhood grocer where I picked up French Brie, a robust gourmet olive oil, and black olive tapenade. Each morning I followed the delicious yeasty aroma of fresh baked bread to a local bakery and carried home a traditional baguette, still warm from the oven. After stuffing my face with these French specialties each morning, I walked two blocks to the Metro, which whisked me to any of Paris’ famous sights for €1.9 (Euros), especially convenient when I did a self-guided walking tour of Paris by night.


Cadet Street, one block from my apartment in the 9th Arrondissement of Paris, was full of theaters, cafes, and shops.

When my brain (or my feet) couldn’t take any more, I returned to the 9th district and plopped down in a cafe for coffee and conversation with Parisians who were unwinding after work. Fortunately, there were no lack of choices. My apartment was located in the heart of Paris between Montmartre and the Louvre, an area teeming with theaters, restaurants, retail stores and, of course, the requisite coffee shops. A restaurant kitty-corner from my apartment served the best apple crumble I’ve ever tasted and the owner of a Tabac one block away whipped me up a fantastic salad with roasted vegetables one Saturday afternoon when I took a break from cooking.


Parisian woman in 9th Arrndissement carries fresh-baked French baguettes home for dinner

With all that vacation apartment rentals offer, I expected the price to be high. I had unknowingly arrived in Paris during fashion week, one day before my apartment rental reservation began, so I had to find a hotel room for one night. Despite searching for hours, the best rate I could find was €160 (about $218 USD) per night. Choke! The following day I hot-footed it to my apartment, which was priced at a very affordable €69 per night or €450 per week ($94 USD per night, $612 USD per week). Comfortable and affordable accommodations with lightning speed wifi, located in a non-touristy neighborhood – now that’s a combination that just can’t be beat. I’ll definitely be adding apartments to my accommodations mix in the future.

If you’re considering a visit to Paris, my favorite site for finding the best prices on accommodations is I earn a small sum if you book by clicking on the image below, which helps keep this blog free for you to read. kindly hosted my stay in Paris, however the receipt and acceptance of complimentary items or services will never influence the content, topics, or posts in this blog. I write the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth


43 Comments on “Living Like a Local in Paris

  1. I can see that you are helping your readers a lot by providing super valuable information. I am just pumped up to see this. I appreciate your hard work. Keep continuing doing this. Cheers

  2. Such a beautiful apartment! I always used HomeAway several times whenever I travel, and they never fail to meet my expectation.

  3. I highly appreciate you for being a price-sensitive, an inspiration and a very good tips for us to really save money, instead of staying in hotel, why not apartment? Less expensive but still offers an awesome experience just like in hotel. Paris is one of my trip list so thank you Barbara, you’re such an inspiration!

    • So glad I could be of some help, Maine, and thanks for the very kind words.

  4. This and a number of other Paris and other European city apartments are actually managed by a company called BELLBOY which I would not recommend to anyone. Here’s my tripadvisor review of our awful experience of one of their apartments earlier this year …… I think every holiday rental apartment should have the decency to provide a toilet seat …… this one didn’t. Nor did it supply a coffee pot. The two are not connected, except both factors contribute to a satisfactory holiday rental, so we mark this down accordingly. And we paid about £30 for cleaning, but I can’t see that the cleaners spent much time here ….. it was a bit too shabby all round, unloved and uncared for. The photos are rather too flattering, though on the plus side the location is great and the apartment is quiet, which is a real bonus for anywhere in Paris. But no toilet seat really is pretty shoddy and we won’t be recommending this holiday stay destination to any friends or family.

  5. Indeed a superb location. It is so hard to find a great place in Paris. I have an advantage of having a great friend in the city, so no problem with place to stay, but always good to have sth to recommend to others!

  6. Beautiful Pics!! Showing modern apartments in Paris

  7. Wow! How cool is that? I love that little apartment. I think you’re right. Staying in a normal residence versus some hotel with a bunch of other tourists is a must better way to take in all the cultural and truly experience what a city is all about. I’ll have to check out HomeAway for my next vacation as well. It sounds so much better!

    • HomeAway was wonderful to work with, Leslie. I’m sure you’ll have a great experience in one of their vacation rental apartments.

  8. Romance is actually something you cannot put off or schedule; however, what you can schedule are the dates. Make time for each other, no matter how short it may be. Schedule dates ahead of time and make sure to make no other commitments. Take this time to enjoy each other’s company. It’s not a crime to take a break from talking about work problems or family issues. After all, a little breather is what you need to refresh yourself and your relationship.

  9. Paris seems to be in the air…Springtime in Paris, and all that… After 2 1/2 weeks of family travel in England and France coming up, I will be ‘set free’ in Limoges the last week of March. I am in a great state of flux on what to do (also solo traveller) I fly back to Seattle 4 days later from Orly. Have never been to Paris and was overwhelmed by all the choices of neighborhoods to rent an apartment. (Oh, and apt. rental is the way to go! Not only HomeAway but also VRBO and a host of others. Spent 3 weeks in Spain and Portugal in apartments. Only drawback is that most of them require a minimum of 3 or 4 nights stay.) Anyway, I can’t seem to make up my mind about taking trains to a few places along the way from Limoges or just hightail it to Paris using it as a base, and then take a train to say, Chartres, as a day trip. How many days were you in Paris? I’m wondering if 4 nights, 3 full days, are going to be too long. I like to “feel” a place more than doing all the tourist sights. Mona Lisa is not high on my list! ; ) What do you think based on your time there. I am also a budget traveler and over 60 (yay for Senior Discounts!).

    • Vivian, I can’t imagine that four days would be too long in Paris. I spent two weeks there and still didn’t do everything I wanted to do. In the unlikely event that you grow tired of Paris during your four days, the trains make it easy to do day trips to places like Versaille Palace, Monet’s Garden, CChartres, and the Normandy Beaches/Caen.

  10. I’ve actually never heard oh Homeaway until now, but it looks like you scored yourself some nice digs. 🙂

  11. You really had a great time in Paris. I also love becoming like a local in places I go to instead of being a tourist. Becoming a local would be enjoying the place more while not actually compelling you to spend much just like any tourist. It also helps you discover more valuable things in that place.

    • Hi Tom: There are, of course, iconic sites like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre that I felt I HAD to see, but the best times are just striking up friendships with locals and wandering the streets of various neighborhoods that are not touristy.

  12. Thank u for telling about the great apartments in Paris with modern facilities .

  13. So glad I found this, I’m actually looking for an apt to stay in when we visit Paris in April. My husband will be working out of his company’s Paris office for a week which is actually in the 9th so that apt looks perfect. Could you share the link to that apartment?

    • Hi Cassie: I rented through Just now I went to their site to find a link for you and it doesn’t appear to be listed on their site. It’s a property owned by Bellboy Apartments, named Opera Bohemia. I seem to remember that it was not listed at the time that HomeAway arranged for me to stay in it, so perhaps try contacting them and explaining that you saw the review on my site, etc. If it truly is no longer available, I’m sure you can find a similar property for a like price. HomeAway literally has thousands of apartments in Paris. Best of luck.

  14. Hi Barbara, I love your blog which I just discovered through Facebook…..I am also a solo traveller woman and like you always on a tight budget……so I appreciate a lot all of your tips….I am a venezuelan lady of 60 years old …..Thanks a lot for sharing all your experience……

    • You’re very welcome, Noella. I appreciate your support of my blog and you taking the time to leave a comment.

    • Hi Megan: I don’t like to use the “amazing” word too much, but in this case you are so right; I can’t think of a better word to describe Paris.

  15. When I was in Europe I was a big fan of apartments and less of hotels. You have privacy, kitchen plus all the other utilities, a feeling that you belong there, and you save considerably if you travel with other people

    • Hi Izy – I’m with you. I’ll be staying in lots more apartments in the future.

  16. Hi Barbara,

    Thank you for sharing your experience renting the apartment in Paris. I couldn’t have come at a better time… Paris has been on my mind.

    Have a super day,
    Jen 🙂

    • Hi Jen: Sounds like Paris is calling you – if you can, heed the call. I had such a wonderful time in France and I highly recommend it as a vacation destination.

  17. Well you KNOW that apartments are OUR favorite way to travel whether it is here in Europe or in Australia or New Zealand. All of those apartments over the years have really contributed to our enjoyment of each place. I was so happy to read that you had such a wonderful time in Paris!

    • Debroah, despite being tired from all the fast travel that preceded my arrival in France, I had the most amazing time in every French destination I visited. What a wonderful country!

    • I travel solo, as you know Jessie, but having now stayed in a vacation rental apartment I can easily imagine how much nicer these types of accommodations would be for a family. Room to move around, more privacy, a way to prepare your own meals, etc.

  18. Andy and I really love renting apartments when we travel, especially if we stay in one place for more than a couple nights. It’s nice to have the option to cook, even if we don’t use it. It’s more spacious. And I really enjoy having more of a local experience. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • I enjoyed it so much that I think I’ll be staying in vacation apartment rentals a lot more, Ali. Sending you a big hug!

  19. Always stayed at hotels while visiting Paris. I am over that! I want to stay in a cute little apartment and pretend I am French. Love Paris and haven’t been in years, I should visit more often, specially since one of my best friends lives in Versailles.

    • LOL Cristina. I would have tried to be French but for the fact that I spoke not a word of French. After six weeks, I had a 200-300 word vocabulary, but I still slaughtered the pronunciation.

  20. An apartment is the only way to go when in Paris! Sure, a 4* hotel can be nice, but you PAY PAY PAY. Not to say that all apartments are cheap — not the case at all. But I feel like you get the real Paris experience when you have a little kitchen and place to call your own. Lovely little space! Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Hi Diane: As you say, apartments run the gamut of price ranges in France, but they did offer some of the most affordable accommodations I found in Paris. And I SO enjoyed having a place that felt more like a home than a sterile, characterless hotel room.

  21. Oh but I will definitely be bookmarking his for future reference…..France seems to be calling me at the moment, you know how everytime you log on the same destination comes up, as if the universe is trying to tempt you to come?

    That is an excellent price for such a prestigious city! That said, I had the same, excellent experience with HomeAwayUK last year in London, so I know their standard.

    • Hi Linda: The folks at were absolutely wonderful to work with and they have literally thousands of properties in France, across all price ranges. I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that’s affordable and well located.

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