When we visited Paris with our kids, I wanted to re-visit this coffee shop my bestie took me when I went without the kids about a year and a half ago.
It had a merry-go-round in front and so many adorable shops and bakeries nearby.
So, when I found a nearby apartment on Airbnb, a vacation rental site, I decided that this was definitely where I wanted to stay. I was worried because we’ve used vacation rentals before and had mixed results. Airbnb made me feel reassured because of the review system, the fact we used a credit card and the fee we paid to Airbnb that made me feel taken care of IF something went wrong; we’d have a way to fix it and a forum to let our feelings be known and heard. I also wanted a place with a little more room and traditional hotel rooms in Paris seemed pretty small and living in a Paris apartment even with kids just seemed like a dream.
It turns out our place was absolutely clean and charming. I really appreciated having a washer and dryer with kids in Europe because kids can’t help being messy and then we didn’t need to pack so many changes of clothes. And being able to put the kids to bed at a reasonable time after dinner and then finish the meal with my hubby at our leisure was so nice. There were many takeout places nearby that helped with meals too-we could eat something I made, or something we bought. It was so nice having that choice.
We loved pretending we lived in Paris. I think renting this Airbnb also helped slow our pace down. We could relax at our home-base and it didn’t feel like we were in a hotel room. We could enjoy Paris and didn’t have to go through a lobby or wait for housecleaning, or sit down at a restaurant all the time for meals. We had a big fridge to store yogurt, milk and ice cream and even tomatoes from the market and I think that helps us be healthy when we travel as well as try a lot of new foods that we see in the grocery store.
The kids loved being in their own space and having a lot of room to relax in. (And I don’t know about you, but when we travel the kids love spending time in our hotel rooms-even when there is so much outside to explore!) And we had free and reliable wi-fi so we could research our day’s adventure while we made ourselves a cup of coffee (and NOT in a hotel bathroom!)
We loved this one so much we canceled a hotel booking in Denmark and rented another place from Airbnb too. (And yes, we still LOVE hotels and I do especially love Expedia when I book hotels for family travel because there are often hotels that can be cancelled with no penalty until 24 hours before your arrival time and traveling with kids is so unpredictable. I’ve really appreciated Expedia too when we’ve had a problem at an individual hotel because they’ve been really good to help remedy the situation and I love their VIP program.)
Anyways, because of Airbnb we had two lovely vacation rental experiences and we would definitely use them again and I wanted to share it because I was so skeptical when I booked. It was such a romantic dream to feel like we were locals even just in a little part of Paris. I hope we can go back again one day.
(PS. we had a lot of resources for Paris with kids, but my favorite was called “The Little Bookroom Guide to Paris, Play, Eat, Shop Stay” and we liked reading “Paris Hide and Seek” and Dodsworth in Paris together. The kids also really enjoyed the Travel with Kids Paris DVD, but that is where they got the idea that they wanted to go to the Sewer museum which I promptly vetoed. )