Because the best way to feel like a local in the capital of France is by living like one.
It’s no secret I love Paris. Having been lucky enough to call it home three times, I return often to visit friends, reminisce, and use it as a home base for visiting wine regions. But Paris is one of the most highly trafficked tourist destinations in the world, making it difficult to find a place to stay that’s off the beaten track, available, somewhat affordable, and cute. Here’s five Airbnbs I stayed in and loved on recent trips.
This charming little gem is the place I last stayed in with my now fiancé on our Paris trip in August. Upon arrival, I’ll admit, I had low expectations. It is really right in the middle of the Montmartre tourist jam – the exact place I usually wouldn’t hit with a ten foot pole. But this summer was an incredibly popular time to be in Paris, which meant that even Airbnb options were limited. And while I was expecting something kitschy and highly trafficked, I was blown away by this little retreat. It’s tucked away down a private (locked) alleyway behind Sacré-Cœur and is probably the quietest building I have ever stayed in. It’s cozy but complete with everything you could possibly need, PLUS it has a beautiful little terrace with multiple seating options to enjoy your coffee in the morning or a glass of wine after dinner. The host was lovely and easily switched from French to English (a must, since my fiancé is still working on his French) in addition to being very accommodating. He left us two beautiful bottles of wine from a Parisian winery which we enjoyed on the patio on warm August nights. While it was quite hot while we were there, our host had set up two high powered fans in the bedroom and kitchen so we didn’t have any problems sleeping at night, which we appreciated. Don’t let the tourist area deceive you – this place is truly a diamond in the rough!
I’m sorry, a private rooftop in a trendy area with a view of Montmartre? Sign. Me. Up. When I first found this place on Airbnb, I couldn’t believe my eyes – this had to be a joke right?! I simply didn’t believe that a place this picturesque could exist for a decent price and was still inhabited by a true Parisian.
Timothée’s place fell right out of a Bohemian fantasy and I still can’t get over the fact that I stayed there. It’s tucked away on the border of the 10th and 11th arrondissements, which is a super hip area right near the Canal St. Martin. The photos on the listing simply do not do it justice – while you might think it’s an old, run-down Airbnb for those on a budget, it is oozing with luxury quality antique pieces – from a velvet couch to newspaper clippings from the 1950s, and a vintage record player. It’s on the fifth floor of a traditional Haussmanien building, but it has an elevator! Albeit tiny, that little lift made getting suitcases up and down a breeze (even if a tight squeeze). Timothée is very kind and was there to greet me. A true music lover and foodie, he also had a list of great boulangeries and upcoming concerts in Parisian parks that he shared. Honestly and truly, this stay was one to beat!
Staying at Sébastien’s place this past spring almost felt like staying in an art gallery. His beautiful, upscale Gambetta apartment is both spacious and eloquently decorated with tasteful antique pieces and art from around the world. Sunny, breezy, and immaculately clean, this is the perfect place to stay if you’re working remotely. I loved the quiet in the mornings, and the best part is that my favorite Parisian coffee shop, The Dancing Goat is located just a few blocks away. I had some trouble opening the door at first (mostly due to jet lag, and the fact that European locks and I have never gotten along), but Seb was kind enough to call me until I figured it out! Really appreciated his kindness and willingness to give of his time during check-in. Oh, and the view from this place is also pretty incredible!
If there’s one place I stayed in that honestly and truly felt like a second home, it was Elodie’s, just a few streets down from Père Lachaise cemetery (that sounds morbid, but I promise it isn’t). While this one is definitely a hike up five flights of steep stairs, the sweeping views of non-tourist Paris and the abundant light found throughout is truly spectacular. I loved Elodie’s minimalist, cozy vibe. It made everything in the apartment feel light, warm, and airy – a slice of heaven in a city that can sometimes feel very gloomy and even dark. The cherry on top of the cake? It has THREE balconies! I basically lived on them while I was staying here. The fresh breeze and the quiet was the perfect creative respite. If you’re looking to stay off the beaten path away from crowds, Elodie’s place is it.
If you want to splurge, look no further. Brigitte’s apartment is as fabulous as it looks in the photos (yes, including that beautiful bathtub!). At $400 a night, it is definitely at a different price bracket than the other spots on this list but wow is it worth it. Completely renovated, with elevator and new kitchen and bathroom, this place is the crème de la crème. This is another example where the photos simply do not do it justice! The views are out of this world and it is wonderfully romantic, too. A must visit!
All in all, Paris still has a lot of incredible hidden gems to discover. With a little searching and patience, you can find the perfect place to stay, meet a local, and take in breathtaking views of Paris – no matter the time of year you’re visiting.