5 Reasons to opt for an Airbnb-like apartment for your family's Parisian home away from home
The popularity of Airbnb and other hotel alternatives has become a traveler’s mainstay, but there still can be some hesitation, especially when traveling with kids. Concerns about sacrificing the full range of services and convenience of a traditional hotel may be a barrier for some; however, I have found that staying in a more culturally-integrated apartment always provides a richer experience for my family.
Here are 5 reasons to opt for an apartment for your family's Parisian home away from home.
1/Find restorative time in private sanctuaries
The lack of routine and unfamiliarity that comes with travel can wear anyone out, but kids are especially susceptible to hitting that wall. An apartment’s ability to act as a surrogate home away from home can provide a great deal of comfort and restorative power when the days are filled with non-stop activity. Being able to prepare and have family meals around a quiet dinner table while recapping your day or planning the day ahead over breakfast is time well spent, easing families in and out of their busy days.
2/Get a look behind closed doors
Most Parisian apartment buildings have intimate, and often beautiful, courtyards that are hidden from street view. When walking the city, you don’t get much of a sense of this quieter side of Paris, but once inside these grand period apartment buildings, you’ll find a shockingly serene setting, oblivious to the bustling world outside. The restful pause and sense of community that comes from becoming a part of the local fabric can be a welcome break for a traveling family.
3/Be a part of a living history
Look for an apartment with a historic location or original details, and you’ll be able to soak up the city’s rich history, even when you’re not strolling through museums or at crowded attractions. It can be equally or even more impactful as any museum tour to open one of the classically massive apartment building entry doors, ascend a set of narrow marble stairs, and then walk on the well-worn floors used by centuries of Parisians. Your imagination can be a powerful tour guide, and in the right space, you’ll easily be swept away.
KidTripster Tip: Learning a bit about your building or neighborhood’s history prior to visiting can make the place even more interesting and provide powerful context for your kids.
4/Save a significant amount of money
I believe staying in an Airbnb saved our family around 40 to 50% on our Paris vacation. With a family of five, we were able to rent a three-bedroom apartment for the same cost of a single hotel room for two. Meals in or the ability to make meals to bring on outings saved us a significant amount of money, as well.
5/Get to know more than the corner bakery
One of the absolutely wonderful things about Paris is that it’s kept the small shop culture alive and well. The bakeries, cheese shops, and butcher shops are all still there, but there’s so much more. Staying in an apartment that is tucked into any of the 20 arrondissements, or neighborhoods, allows you and your family the chance to participate in the Parisian ritual of shopping daily for your culinary needs and beyond. You'll have a reason to visit nearby shops regularly and take the time to make connections with the shopkeepers. With just a little effort and a few visits, you’ll have the opportunity to get to know the warmer and more personal side of the city that is often missed.
KidTripster Tip: Challenge your older kids to do the shopping in a foreign country. Learning to navigate the unfamiliar will build their confidence.
Jason Bacon is a travel-addicted Creative Director in Portland, Oregon, and wanders regularly with his wife and their three adventurous kids. They love challenging each other to eat the odd, unknown, and unexpected during their travels. His oldest daughter is the most daring, hands down.