Traveling to Europe: Sister Cities & AirBNB

11th February 2015

This past August and September we had the privileged to travel to France and Italy for almost 3 weeks! It was the most amazing experience and I cannot wait to go back!! We were particularly fond of France but Italy was great too. We traveled from August 31 – September 17, flying into Paris and leaving out of Rome.

A little background on how our trip came about: In all cities there should be some type of “sister city” program with different cities around the world. The program was founded by President Eisenhower and is meant to promote “peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation — one individual, one community at a time.”

One of Raleigh’s sister cities, is Compiegne, France. Raleigh and Compiegne are really trying to establish a great relationship between the two cities and this past year, Compiegne invited Raleigh golfers to take part in the exchange program where citizens of Raleigh are invited to play golf around Compiegne and vice versa each year. Different families in Compiegne invited families from Raleigh to stay with them in their home and then while in Compiegne, golf would ensue. Mostly the men took part in the golf and the ladies toured the area. It’s such a unique opportunity and I would encourage anyone to investigate what opportunities are available with sister cities in your town!

Since we were given the opportunity to take part in the exchange program we decide to extend the trip since we had never been to Europe. We decided to fly into Paris first, since I was DYING to go, and then travel around Italy for a week after the exchange program.

When we knew we wanted to go to Paris, I thought about a hotel, but they’re quite pricey in Paris so I began to research AirBNB and VRBO for possible apartment rentals. I asked a friend from  Paris what Arrondissement  she recommended and she advised the 7th, 6th and First. I decided to focus on those areas and really the 7th in particular because that’s where the Eiffel tower is and why not stay close to the Eiffel tower when in Paris?!

I ended up finding a lot more properties on AirBNB so I focused my search on apartments through their website. These are a few apartments we looked at and I would recommend someone visiting Paris to definitely look at these properties. Almost all are under $150 a night.

We ended up choosing this apartment on Rue Chevert, just around the corner from Rue Cler and a 5 minute walk to the Eiffel tower. It was a rather large apartment but also 4 stories up with no lift, so we definitely received our exercise everyday! I loved being so close to everything and one evening we took a blanket and walked to the Eiffel tower and watched it sparkle for two hours while drinking wine.. So Parisian!

The experience with AirBNB was rather smooth. I found our host a little difficult to get a hold of, which made me nervous, but it ended up working out just fine. The location really was sublime though, so close to the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Musee Rodan, the Siene, etc. We really walked everywhere! I’d say I’d recommend AirBNB to others for their international trips, but I have also read scary stories of scams, so just be very careful. I take reviews very seriously too and that’s my biggest piece of advice. Read the reviews and leave your own review, I find they go really far in this day and age. (This is not sponsored by AirBNB, these are just my own opinions, FYI.)

Here’s some photos of our apartment in Paris!

 We had the most amazing weather and were lucky enough to have the windows open and cute quintessential Parisian rooftops to stare at when they were open. At night you could see the Eiffel tower spot light going around as well! (Although we couldn’t quite see the tower itself!)

And that’s the cute little apartment we had. I’d love to hear your stories of AirBNB if you have them and any stories you have of Paris or if you’ve taken part in a sister city program too!!

xoxo,
Amanda

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