The photos looked so nice and the apartment was rated four-stars, so you booked it on AirBnb or another apartment rental website. But what seemed like the perfect little apartment stay turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. The kitchen wasn’t a kitchen, you couldn’t contact your host about the location of the towels, and you strained your back getting you and your luggage up to the sixth floor.
Here are 11 things to look for when you’re booking an AirBnb in Paris to make sure that the apartment you want is the one you get.
1. What floor is it on?
A lot of the cheapest apartments available will be on higher floors. Look out for notices at the bottom in the section on accessibility and “things to keep in mind” about needing to be able to climb stairs. If the apartment is listed as being in the attic or a “chambre de bonne,” know that it’s very likely the ceiling will be slanted.
2. Is there an elevator and how big is it?
This is important to know for both your physical abilities and bringing luggage up. If there is an elevator, don’t assume it can fit your massive suitcase in it or even a wheelchair, if that’s a factor.
3. Do you have to go outside to get to your room?
This is rare, but it happens. Some apartments are only accessible from a second entrance upstairs and outside. So you would climb the stairs in one building, go out a door, and follow a walkway or cross a terrace to your apartment. If you have a fear of heights, don’t get an apartment that is accessible only from the outside on a higher floor.
4. What appliances are in the kitchen?
For one apartment in the 15th, whose listing says it has a kitchen, the “kitchen” is described as “a fridge, freezer, microwave, cooking dishes, dishes, and utensils.” So if you like Picard, the affordable frozen foods grocery store, (which you should) then you’ll do just fine! If you want to make a camembert chaud in the oven or eggs for breakfast, make sure to filter your search to include only apartments with the needed appliances.
5. Is there a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector?
Since 2015 these have been legally required in all residential buildings, but you will frequently come across properties during your search without a smoke detector, and more commonly without a carbon monoxide detector.
4. Is there wifi?
A given (mostly) in AirBnbs in the United States, this is not always the case in France. Just double check to make sure it’s there before you make your reservation.
7. Is the bathroom in the apartment or down the hall?
This is very important. Unless you want to share a bathroom with several people and put on shoes to use the toilet in the middle of the night, don’t take an AirBnb with a toilet that isn’t in the apartment. On the flip side, a chambre de bonne or other one-room apartment could have the shower, toilet and sink located all in the room together.
8. How close is the Métro?
Though truly the Métro is never that far, if you’re choosing to stay in a neighborhood you don’t feel super comfortable in, at least check to see what the closest Métro stations are so that you don’t have to spend that much time wandering around the neighborhood
9. Is the nearest Métro station open?
The closest Métro station may be closed at night, on weekends, or closed completely due to construction. Check the RATP website to find out which Métro lines and stations are under construction during your trip.
10. When is checkout?
A noon checkout may seem reasonable, but if your flight departs Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 9 p.m., you don’t want to haul your luggage around for five hours before heading to the airport. Those with evening flights would do well to inquire about leaving luggage at the AirBnb and coming back for it after checkout hours, or finding a location with a later checkout.
11. How do you contact your host?
If the primary method of contact with your host is text or calling and a French cell phone plan isn’t in your budget, shoot the host a message about the possibility of alternative means of communication before you book the room.
Featured image credit: Stock Photos from Pascale Gueret / Shutterstock