Are you hesitating between a hotel and an Airbnb for your stay in Paris? There are pros and cons to both and this is what we will discuss here.
We’re from Paris and have been in this business since the last century, so hopefully, we’ll be able to provide good insights.
Table of Contents
Airbnb offers about 300,000 accommodations in France, including 60,000 in Paris.
Here is the geographical breakdown of Airbnb rentals in the capital. The areas with the most rentals are the following: Montmartre with more than 6,000 rentals, a part of the 11th district towards Popincourt with almost 6,000, Vaugirard with 4,000, and the Temple area with almost 3,000.
The following are the areas with the least accommodations: the Luxembourg area with 1,700 accommodations, the Palais-Bourbon area with 1,600 and the Élysée area with about 1,500.
Accommodations in Paris are mainly studios or flats. Although they are rarer, houses are also available for rent.
There are about 18,000 hotels in France, including nearly 2,000 in Paris. There are about 90 five-star hotels in Paris, mainly located in the 8th, 16th and 1st arrondissements. Nearly 400 four-star hotels, located in the 6th, 7th, 8th and 16th arrondissements.
And almost 700 three-star hotels, 170 two-stars and about 20 one-star hotels are spread throughout the capital.
You will be more independent with Airbnb because you will not be disturbed by schedules. Except for the delivery of the keys offered by certain owners, where you have to agree on a schedule, you can organize your days as you want. You can feel at home.
For some accommodations, you can be even more independent. Some owners do not give you the keys in person but give you a place to collect them, or an entry code to enter the building. In this case, you can come whenever you want.
In hotels, you are also independent but you must respect certain hours, especially if you eat on site. Restaurants are open at certain hours, and room service is also available at certain times (often in the late morning and early afternoon).
However, these schedules are not that restricted. In general, you can have breakfast between 6 am and 10 am.
Breakfast and meals
Breakfast and meals are not included with Airbnb. Once you have the keys, you can use the flat as you want. Therefore, you will not be able to enjoy room service.
However, contrary to hotels, you do have a kitchen. So you will have the occasion to cook dishes just like you do at home, and it will certainly cost you less than a room service every day, several times per day.
Some owners provide essentials such as condiments like salt and pepper. If the advert does not specify it, do not hesitate to ask because you will have to buy these products or bring them from home if the owner does not provide them.
In hotels, you will have the opportunity to eat meals in the restaurant or with its room service. If you do not want to cook, it can be an advantage. But do not forget to ask for information, because all hotels do not offer this service.
Breakfast is often offered, contrary to lunch and dinner, but it can be quite expensive.
Kitchenettes in hotel rooms are rare. In consequence, most of the time you cannot cook by yourself and will have to buy ready-prepared meals (sandwiches, among others) or go to a restaurant. You can also go to a fast-food or a snack bar, which is less expensive than a restaurant, or buy a ready-prepared meal in small shops such as Carrefour Market (similar to Tesco in the UK or Walgreens in the USA).
Comfort and facilities
Airbnb has some advantages regarding comfort and facilities. You can feel at home in your accommodation. Often, you have a kitchen and some electrical appliances (washing machine, dishwasher, etc), which can be really convenient. You can cook what you want, when you want.
However, do not forget that many Parisian accommodations are small and that some have a kitchen but no electrical appliances.
With children, you can sleep in a room and they, in another. This way, they will not be disturbed during naps by your activities in the flat or the house and you will be able to keep busy without any problem.
If you are going with other people, you can rent a flat or a house with several rooms. This way, everyone can have their privacy.
When you arrive, your accommodation will be clean and tidy. Some owners do not charge a cleaning fee. In general, for these accommodations, you must tidy up and clean it yourself.
Other owners charge a cleaning fee. So you cannot refuse those fees to pay less. Some indicate the tasks you must do before returning the flat, such as washing dishes and unmaking beds. By paying these fees, you do not have to clean everything in the accommodation.
Service charges are also imposed, and the explanations for that are not very clear.
In consequence, in addition to the price per night, service charges are imposed, as well as a cleaning fee for some rentals. When you are searching for accommodation on the website, the price displayed next to the advert is the price per night. By clicking on the advert you will see the additional service and cleaning fees.
So be careful because with Airbnb extra charges are sometimes very expensive. You may therefore be surprised by the difference between the price per night and the final price.
At the hotel, you will have many advantages in terms of comfort and facilities.
In some hotels, mainly in the four and five-star, you will have the chance to have room service or restaurants. So if you do not feel like cooking, it is an advantage. However, most hotels do not have one. If you are interested, you should choose star hotels (at least 3).
Some hotels also offer a cleaning service for your room, which is quite convenient. Every day, or almost, an employee will come to tidy up your room, change towels, empty the rubbish and clean the bathroom, among other things.
Certain hotels also have a swimming pool, a sauna or a hammam. So you can enjoy these activities within the hotel, for free or by paying an extra, which can be expensive. So look for information.
These places are usually communal, which may bother you if you want to enjoy your stay with your family, or just relax. Sometimes you can privatize the place for one or two hours.
If you are going with other people, you have several options. Book several rooms, or book a room with several beds to pay less. But this last option may be uncomfortable. You will have less privacy and you will have to adapt to each other’s lifestyle.
Some hotels offer adjacent rooms too, separated by a door.
Authenticity of the experience
By choosing Airbnb, you will have the opportunity to enjoy an authentic experience. Put yourself into Parisian’s shoes by visiting the area.
With a decorated flat, you can feel at home and live the most out of the experience. Some flats are also decorated in the colours and particularities of the city.
Some owners leave a guidebook, maps or recommendations for restaurants, places to visit, or places to shop. A real plus.
A stay at the hotel will also allow you to discover the area. However, a hotel room is often less personalised, so you will feel less at home.
As hotels offer cleaning services, you may be disturbed by someone coming into your room and you may feel less comfortable.
Attention and advice
When you rent an Airbnb accommodation, sometimes you meet the owner to pick up the keys. It is common for owners to give you tips to visit the city, recommendations and advice on what you should see. Therefore you often get a welcoming reception.
However, nowadays, there are more and more owners that give you an entrance code to the accommodation. This means that you do not meet them, which may be rather impersonal. Some also leave guides, maps and advice for your stay.
Therefore, attention and advice depend on the owners.
In hotels, you will receive a professional welcome. You will meet the staff every day and will have the opportunity to talk to them whenever you want at the reception. So you are always welcomed in a hotel.
The staff, who are familiar with the area, can also give you tips for visiting the city. Do not hesitate to ask them questions.
With Airbnb, hosts chose the cancellation policy for stays under 28 nights.
Three options are available to receive a full refund, depending on the owner’s choice.
Flexible cancellation: you can cancel your stay until 24 hours before check-in.
Moderate cancellation: you can cancel until 5 days before check-in.
Strict cancellation: you can only cancel your stay until 14 days before check-in.
For example, if you cancel 8 days before check-in, you will not receive a full refund. The choice of cancellation policies is specified in the advert.
If you cancel before check-in, the cleaning fees are always repaid. The service charges are only repaid if you cancel during the cancellation period.
Be careful because owners sometimes cancel reservations on their own only a few days before your arrival. Nevertheless, this is very rare.
In hotels, canceling your stay can be complicated. Most hotels have cancellation policies. However, terms and conditions are different for each hotel. In most cases, cancellation is free until 24 hours before arrival.
In some hotels, you may be charged for the amount of one night if you cancel. In some cases, you have to pay an extra to get free cancellation. This can be cheaper, or more expensive, depending on the price of the extra.
Remember to check cancellation policies with the hotel.
Unlike Airbnb where the owners sometimes cancel themselves, in this case, you are deciding. So you do not risk losing your reservation a few days before your arrival.
Value for money
For Airbnb, prices are very variable because the owners choose them. So compare several Airbnb in the same area to check if prices do not differ too much.
In general, prices are still appropriate regarding the accommodation (house or flat, number of square meters, etc), the neighborhood, or the equipment (washing machine, dishwasher, oven, etc).
Nevertheless, be careful because prices can be misleading. When you are searching for accommodation on the website, several choices are offered, with an indicated price. This price is the one per night. So do not rely on it because service and cleaning fees are added (depending on the owner’s decision), as well as a tourist tax. You should expect to pay an extra hundred euros for the total price.
Hotels generally choose their prices regarding supply and demand. During major events or holidays, prices can double or even triple.
As with Airbnb, prices are accommodated depending on the area (lively, well-known, etc), the standing of the establishment and the size of the room.
Contrary to Airbnb accommodations, the indicated price is generally the price you will pay. Service charges and tourist tax are included. So you will not be surprised when paying.
Airbnb / Hotel comparison example #1 – Next to the Louvre
Boutique Hôtel Konfidentiel – 64, Rue de l’Arbre Sec 75001 Paris – 4-star hotel
This hotel is ideally located, at a 7-minutes walk from the Louvre and 500 meters away from the Forum des Halles. The rooms are original and decorated in relation to historical figures such as Molière and Marie-Antoinette.
Enjoy the Large Deluxe Room (25m2) with its various equipment: flat-screen TV, minibar, air conditioning, hairdryer, iron, etc. You can enjoy a seating area, a private bathroom and large beds. You can also enjoy the bar and the terrace.
A daily cleaning service is included.
For a two-night stay from 28 to 30 May 2021, you can have this room from €610, so €305 per night. However, the stay is non-refundable and breakfast costs €20 per person.
To enjoy the free cancellation until May 26, you will have to pay €678 so €339 per night.
Airbnb – Rue Vauvilliers 75001 Paris
Enjoy this loft renovated by a designer, located a few minutes’ walk from the Louvre. You will have a sleeping area and a fully equipped open kitchen. The following pieces of equipment are available: hairdryer, iron, washing machine, TV, wifi, etc.
For a two-night stay from May 28th to 30th 2021, the price is €605, which includes €250 per night, €85 service fees and €20 tourist tax. You can cancel freely up to 48 hours in advance.
|Name||Boutique Hôtel Konfidentiel||Center of Paris: Louvre (Reem)|
|Address||64 Rue de l’Arbre Sec 75001 Paris||Rue Vauvilliers 75001 Paris (180 metres walk from the hotel)|
|Date||From May 28th to May 30th||From May 28th to May 30th|
|Characteristics||Large Deluxe Room for 2 persons.
Air conditioning, seating area, TV, ironing equipment, etc.
|Renovated loft for 2 persons. Bed for 2 persons, open kitchen.
TV, wifi, iron, washing machine, etc.
|Gross price for 2 nights||€610||€678||€500|
|Cancellation policy||Non-refundable||Free until 24 hours before||Free for 48 hours|
|Extra||–||–||85 € service charge, 20 € tourist tax|
|Net price for 2 nights||€610||€678||€605|
Airbnb / Hotel comparison example #2 – 17th arrondissement
Hôtel du Théâtre by Patrick Hayat – 5, Rue de Cheroy 75017 Paris – 3-star hotel
This hotel is located 1 km away from Parc Monceau and 900 metres away from the Square des Batignolles. The rooms have modern equipment.
Enjoy two separate rooms (12m2) with various equipment: TV, hairdryer, ironing equipment, wake-up service, bathtub or walk-in shower, etc.
If you prefer, you can enjoy two adjacent double rooms (24m2) with the same equipment as the previous rooms.
For a four-night stay from the 23d to the 27th of August 2021, enjoy the two separate rooms starting from €280 for a room, so €70 per night. Expect to pay €560 for the two rooms. Or you can also enjoy two connecting rooms from starting €532, so €133 per night. Breakfast costs €13 per person.
In both cases, you can cancel until Saturday the 21st of August at 11:59 pm.
Airbnb – Rue Boursault 75017 Paris
Located in the Batignolles area, enjoy this 80m2 renovated flat. You will have 2 bedrooms at your disposal, a living room and an open kitchen. The following equipment is available: hairdryer, iron, basic equipment (towels, sheets, etc), TV and wifi.
You will be on the 5th floor, without a lift.
For a four-night stay from 23 to 27 August 2021, expect to pay €740, including €150 per night, €102 service charge and €38 tourist tax.
|Name||Hôtel du Théâtre by Patrick Hayat||Charming apartment (Anne)|
|Address||5 Rue de Cheroy||Rue Boursault (350 metres walk from the hotel)|
|Date||Fromthe 23rd to 27th of August||From 23rd to 27th of August|
|Characteristics||Double room for 2 persons
TV, ironing equipment, fan, wake-up service, etc.
|Adjacent double room with 2 single beds and 1 double bed
TV, ironing equipment, fan, wake-up service, etc.
|Newly renovated flat with two bedrooms (2 double beds), living room and open kitchen
5th floor without lift
TV, wifi, iron, etc
|Gross price for 2 nights||€560 for 2 separate rooms (€280 per room)||€532 for 1 adjacent double room||€600|
|Cancellation policy||Free until 21 August at 11:59 pm||Free until 21 August at 11:59 pm||Free until the 22 August at 3:00 pm|
|Extra||–||–||€102 service charge and €38 tourist tax|
|Net price for 4 nights||€560||€532||€740|
Airbnb / Hotel comparison example #3 – Latin Quarter
Hôtel du Jardin des Plantes – 5, Rue Linné 75005 Paris – 3 stars
This hotel is located in the Latin Quarter, opposite the Jardin des Plantes, and 15 minutes from Notre Dame. The rooms are comfortable and simple but elegant.
Enjoy the Comfort Double Room (13m2) with its various equipment: flat-screen TV, wake-up service, coffee machine, air conditioning. You can take breakfast every morning, in the dining room, from €13.50.
For a two-night stay, from the 27th to the 29th of August 2021, enjoy this room from €154, so €77 per night. However, the stay is non-refundable and breakfast costs €13.50 per person.
To take advantage of the free cancellation until Tuesday 24 August at 11:59 pm, count about €176, or €88 per night. And to enjoy breakfast included, the price is €194, or €97 per night.
Airbnb – Vers Rue Cuvier
Located just a few minutes from the Jardin des Plantes, enjoy authentic accommodation with a bright living room and a fully equipped kitchen. The following equipment is available: hairdryer, iron, washing machine, basic equipment (towels, sheets, etc), TV, wifi, oven, etc.
For a two-night stay from 27 to 29 August, the price is €252, including €81 per night, €45 service charge, €35 and €10.
|Name||Hôtel du Jardin des Plantes||Functional studio in the heart of the 5th area|
|Address||5 Rue Linné 75005 Paris||Towards Rue Linné 75005 Paris|
|Date||From 27 to 29 August||From 27 to 29 August|
|Characteristics||Room for 2 persons
TV, coffee machine, air conditioning, wake-up service, etc.
|Studio for 2 persons
Sofa bed, fully equipped kitchen
TV, iron, washing machine, etc.
|Gross price for 2 nights||€162||€184||€162|
|Cancellation policy||Non-refundable||Free until 23:59 on the 24th||Free before 26 August 15:00|
|Extra||–||–||45 € cleaning fee, 35 € service fee, 10 € tax|
|Net price for 2 nights||€154||€176||€252|
You should choose Airbnb if you want to enjoy an accommodation with all possible facilities to feel at home. You will have the opportunity to cook in an often fully equipped kitchen. You can also take advantage of certain electrical appliances such as a dishwasher, a washing machine, or an oven, which are available in many accommodations.
If you want to enjoy a rather quiet stay, go to a hotel where you will have a room with a private bathroom. A daily cleaning service is available and in some hotels, you will enjoy a bar, a terrace or a restaurant. In consequence, you will not have to worry about cleaning and cooking as you can eat at the restaurant if you want.
Regarding prices, the price per night is often equivalent. Sometimes you have to pay an extra to the hotel to get free cancellation. However, with Airbnb, the final price is more expensive as there are added fees (service, cleaning and taxes). But if you want to stay for longer periods, there is an advantage to choose Airbnb as its fees are fixed regardless of how long you stay.
Compare the prices of several accommodations in the same area, and especially these extra costs.
It is important to consider that a hotel room (often around 13m2) is smaller than an Airbnb accommodation, and is less equipped, which also explains the lower prices.
So it’s up to you to choose between a stay in a whole flat with a kitchen and equipment, to feel like at home, and a rather quiet stay in a hotel where you won’t have to worry about cleaning and cooking.
I aim to share my tips and recommendations for the beautiful country of France. My goal is to help you plan your next adventure, whether it’s a weekend getaway or a once-in-a-lifetime trip. From finding the best hotels and restaurants, to discovering unique activities and sights, I’ve got you covered!