On a weekend trip to Paris to catch up with some family and wander the chic Parisian streets, eat bakery delights from the Boulangerie and duck leg from the Brasserie, one of the main things we had to organise (and often the biggest headache) was the accommodation. Paris is huge with many gorgeous areas and half decent hotels here are not renown for their value for money. Hostels are also €30 just for a dormitory bed – and when travelling as a couple or in a group of 3 or 4 this is not ideal. Cue Wimdu.
The idea behind Wimdu is that it acts as a middleman between hosts (those who have a space to rent) and travellers (looking for a place to stay).
The point is that it ultimately creates a better value deal for all involved, hosts can earn some money renting out unused space and travellers pay less and get more than they would for a standard hotel room.
It’s also about staying in an area that’s not overflowing with hotels and getting a more ‘local’ experience. Your host is encouraged to provide you with a few local tips to help you maximise your visit.
Wimdu is not the only one to come up with the concept of renting out your own house/apartment/room to travellers – but the concept is a sound one, and Wimdu is doing it all very well.
We had some set criteria in what we needed, as we were visiting Paris to visit some of my family who happened to be there as well. We were driving down from Rotterdam with four of us (2 couples), so wanted to get our own apartment with room for all of us around an area known as Belleville near the metro stop Jourdain or Pyrenees.
Pretty specific, right? Well, Wimdu rose to the occasion.
The whole process of finding and booking a place is easy. You simply type your city into the home page search box and input the dates you’re after and Wimdu will populate your screen with options.
What I found really useful was the option of using the map to show places in a specific suburb or area. We wanted to stay around the suburb of Belleville so the map was incredibly handy to help us narrow down our accommodation options.
Once you’ve found what looks to be a good place (read the reviews, do a bit of personal research on the area, make sure you’re getting value for money) you can make the booking.
Once you hit book now you’re given the following:
You then input your payment method (credit card or PayPal), the host then has 24 hours to confirm the booking, and when they do the booking becomes binding and your account is charged.
In our experience, our host confirmed the booking well within the 24 hours so we were not left wondering what was going on. He then contacted us again to provide a PDF on exactly how to get to the apartment and where we can pick up the keys (he was not going to be in town to meet us, which is not a problem for me as long as I get the keys!).
It also included a few tips on restaurants to eat at nearby and he gave us his direct phone number in case we had any problems.
Our host, Guillaume, had given us instructions to collect the keys from the hairdressers about 10m from his apartment. We hit a slight travel hiccup which so often occurs when all you want to do is get settled and explore, there was a bit of confusion with picking up the keys and the location – but we got them in the end with no problems. Sometimes it’s important to remember you’re not booking a hotel, but the advantages of that fact far outweigh some of the minor problems that sometimes occur.
Upon entering the apartment, we were met with this (I’ll let the pictures do the talking):
We were definitely pleased with what we got, Trudy and I got the master bedroom with a queen size bed, and our friends got a large and comfortable sofa bed. We had our own kitchen and even a washing machine – it was perfectly suitable for the four of us and it equated to around $30 USD each per night, which to have your own space like this is great value for money.
The location was superb, if you’re planning on visiting Paris, along with Montmartre (and lots of other places, actually), I can highly recommend Belleville.
Here is where we were staying, on a street called Rue Des Envierges:
On our relatively small street alone there were two tasty Boulangeries (bakeries), two excellent restaurants and a view at the end of the street overlooking Paris and the Eiffel Tower.
On the first night, we ate at the musical Le Vieux Belleville – mouth watering Entrecote with frommage (blue cheese) sauce and crispy potato slices.
As you ate you were treated to a robust sing-a-long of old French classics like Edith Piaf or songs from the revolution, complete with a jovial accordion.
On night two we ate at OParis, where board games went hand in hand with dinner and views of the Eiffel Tower sparkled in the distance from the outside tables. It was very French, the red wine was delectable and I had lamb cutlets with soft, naturally sweet potato mash nestled with chestnuts.
All in all, it was an excellent experience and in terms of a review, we would definitely use the Wimdu site again! For those in groups or travelling as a couple wanting their own space, it’s the perfect solution.
Wimdu were kind enough to offer to partner up with us and provide some credit in exchange for an honest review of their website and the apartment we booked in Paris. The article is completely our own thoughts based on our experience of the site and the apartment we stayed in.