How to find your Parisian apartment
If you have made the decision to stay in an apartment rather than in a hotel, then the first task is to be very clear on what you are looking for: you need to list the criteria that will help you narrow down your search. Most important criteria are likely to be: location (for recommendation, check “How to make the most of your Parisian experience”), number of people to be accommodated and budget per night. Other criteria may be: do you want an elevator or are you ok walking up the stairs? It’s important to know that floors are labeled differently: the 1st floor in North America is called Rez-De-Chaussée in France, which means that if you’re looking at an apartment on the third floor with no elevator, you are looking at a fourth floor by North American standards.
Check the reviews.
Once you’ve written down your criteria, check airbnb.com and vrbo.com to pull a selection of apartments that match your criteria. Once you have your list, check the reviews first: how many are there? Are they recent? What do they say about the property? It’s ok to have a so-so review if all the other reviews are very positive (not everybody is a happy camper) but if all of them describe issues then it’s probably best to stay away. One thing to consider as well is who wrote the review: we are all different and one thing that may not be an issue for someone may become one for another fellow traveler.
Be mindful when it comes to payment.
All payments should always go through the website, never directly to the owner. When it comes to the security deposit, make sure you know when and how it will be refunded to you (To your credit card? To your Paypal account?) and realize that with the fluctuating exchange rate the amount that will be refunded in your currency may be different from what you paid originally.