If you’re spending a few weeks, or even a few months in Paris, attending to life’s admin doesn’t just become necessary, it becomes tricky, especially if you’re working in a second language. Fortunately, thanks to the wonder of the internet it is simpler than ever to find the perfect network of contacts and services — and all in just clicks. Everybody knows about Uber, but we need more than just budget car services. With these new and innovative platforms, you can truly settle into life in Paris with ease. Welcome to the share economy à la française.
What: Getting your hair done, even at the last minute, doesn’t have to mean banking on the first friendly-looking salon you cross. Especially if making an appointment for a brushing (blow out) fills you with terror. With Ciseau’s online concept you can find salon recommendations near you, make hair appointments and enjoy 50% off last-minute services. Le Ciseau even features salon partners across Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lyon, Montpellier, and Marseille, as well as Paris.
How: Once you have created your Ciseau.fr account, launch your search, opt for your service, and then pre-pay online. You will receive a text with appointment information and confirmation codes. Cancellations can be made up to 24 hours before any appointment.
What: If you’re enjoying an extended visit to Paris, subletting an apartment, and planning on living like a Parisian, this free service is for you. Designed to connect neighbors, Mutum matches unused items with people who need them. It’s everything from bikes and tents, to games consoles and small kitchen appliances. Need a hairdryer? Want to host a raclette party? Planning a barbecue? Your French neighbors are willing to share their stuff and save you money.
How: Here comes the caveat. Because Mutum is dependent on members sharing as well as borrowing, in order to get started you must be prepared to post at least one item you are willing to lend. Why not offer up that giant suitcase you hauled across the Atlantic and won’t be using? One of your new neighbors could put it to use for a short vacation. No need to stress about getting your items back, Mutum makes it simple to set guidelines on precisely when you are willing to make your items available.
What: When you’re in need of a helping hand, look no further than Stootie and its online directory of peer-to-peer services including everything from beauty treatments and manicures, to language classes, tech help, and what every parent craves: a babysitter. Want to meet a running partner or tennis buddy? Need a coach? Stootie can pair you up with the perfect person. As a bonus, consider it a great way to meet new people and work on your language skills.
How: Begin by creating a Stootie account and profile. Once you’ve answered a range of questions about your needs, you can start connecting to services. You should receive responses within 15 minutes of posting a search. Better yet, you can download the Stootie app to dial into help on the go. Stootie even operates across several other regions including Normandy, Brittany, the Loire, Corsica, and the French Caribbean.
What: Good news, house swapping isn’t just for homeowners anymore. Thank Nightswapping.com, who has given the entire concept a much-needed Airbnb generation update. Whether you rent a room and have it free for the weekend, or have an entire apartment with a spare room, with Nightswapping.com nights work as a virtual currency so members who offer up rooms have the ability to stay with others for free later. You set the terms, you fix the dates, and then once you have earned night credits, you can either travel or cash out for money.
How: Sign up, become a host, build credits, and then choose from the thousands of rooms offered up by 300,000 members across 160 countries. As with other online platforms, you always have the power to determine which members stay in your home.
What: Side trips become a breeze with this ridesharing alternative for travelers heading further than the average Uber ride. And, with a ride from Paris to Lyon costing from just €24, it proves much more reasonably priced than public transport as well. Better yet, drivers will pick you up from your location so you can avoid lines and waiting times. For women traveling alone, BlaBlaCar also offers a women-only, Entre Femmes service.
How: Create an account, start planning your trip destination and time, learn about the various drivers available, check out passenger reviews, then simply reserve and pay online. Just as with shorter distance ridesharing apps, no money will change hands on the day, you’ll just be expected to leave a driver review. Bon voyage!