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Short-term apartment rentals are an alternative type of lodging, particularly for independent travelers looking to explore the city for longer than most tourists, and for people looking for more space than the the typical Paris hotel room allows.
Rental apartments range from studios with the bare minimum of furnishings and amenities to graceful homes with every luxury. They are located all over the city.
Apartments can be rented from specialized agencies such as Coach House Rentals (www.rentals.chsparis.com) or directly from individual owners, many of whom are readily found on the internet. You will also find references and reviews on this site. During August and other holiday periods, many Parisians sublet their apartments while they are out of town, so interesting places become easier to find, particularly if you speak French. For longer stays - three months or more - local Paris real-estate agents usually offer better deals. Some other websites with extensive lists of rentals in all price ranges are: www.vrbo.com or www.homeaway.com or www.cyberrentals.com
Renting an apartment differs from staying at a hotel in important ways. Typically you will need to pay up front, on booking rather than on departure. Cancellation policies are much more restrictive than hotels. You won't have front desk service; if you don't like the room you can't change to another; and maid service, when available, is on request and at an additional charge. Most apartments will be stocked with a small amount of soap, kleenex, toilet paper, etc, but you will be expected to replace whatever you use. Many apartments add post-departure surcharges for utilities or telephone.
But if you have an independent and adventurous streak, and a talent for planning ahead, renting an apartment can give one an insight into the city and Parisian life that you just don't get from standardized hotel-chain rooms.