It felt kinda surreal when I was taking the Eurostar from London to Paris. It’s…Paris??! The city of love and where cabarets are a norm. It’s just the kinda place where I know I wanna be. In spite of a few hiccups in Paris, I think Paris is beautiful. I can’t say I love it, it’s a mixed feelings. The pros are the mind-blowing architecture , the amazing duck confit, hot chocolates and delightful french pastries. I love the romance of Paris and how love is a celebrated thing everywhere and everyday. Their window displays are second to none and Paris is sooooo beautiful lit up at night. Not to mention, their wine is soooooo cheap! The downside however is the snobbish and rude french people I met (which is a lot by the way). The french I came across were generally very rude and racist to anyone not speaking french. I hate being treated “unwanted” so I kinda detest my time there at the same time though I enjoyed Paris itself. Paris is quite dirty as well :/
It’s still a place everyone should visit at least once in their life though. Moving on to the pictures!
We accidentally deleted ALL our Paris pictures on the camera but luckily I took quite a lot with my phone.
Pierre Herme. The best macarons I’ve ever eaten!
Eiffel tower which was very majestic-looking! No…it’s not really just some steel put together like how some people put it.
Fresh produce in Paris!
New year’s eve! So blessed to be able to welcome 2015 in Paris. Wouldn’t wanna have it any other way.
Shopping in Printemps!
NYE’S countdown at Arc De Triomphe
Last day in Paris at Champs Elysees!
Arc De Triomphe in the day against cotton candy blue sky
Last meal in Paris!
Sadly, I didn’t really shop much in Paris except to buy a few gifts for friends and some parisian groceries. By right, most branded goods would be cheapest in Paris but cos I was in London during boxing day sale so it was cheaper in London than Paris. Lucky me! But I wish I bought more in London had I known Paris would be more expensive. We spent 5 short days in Paris. Think I’ll go back again next time to comb Paris properly.
Paris apartment drama
As I mentioned we had a few hiccups in Paris and one of it was being unable to contact our Paris Airbnb host who disappeared which left us stranded outside the apartment in 3 degrees from 9pm – 1am. We were all so cold and scared cos Paris can be quite dangerous at night. We felt so helpless cos I couldn’t contact my Airbnb host who was overseas. I was suppose to meet her friend to get the key but the host didn’t give me her number, vice versa and I admit that’s partially negligence on my part. We felt sooooooo helpless so Ange decided to call Airbnb main office in San Francisco in hope that they could help us. Little did I expect, the staff in Airbnb (not the ones I work with in SG, so to them we were really just regular users of Airbnb) were SUPER helpful and empathetic to our predicament. They kept telling us to wait at somewhere safe and warm while they try to book us a hotel room to stay for a night first.
For some reason, it was very hard to book a hotel at 1am in Paris because I think Paris hotels don’t do midnight check-in? Eventually they managed to get us a room at the outskirts of Paris (like in a village kind) which we were soooo thankful for still. Honestly, I felt they went beyond their obligations to help us cos after all it was the Parisian host’s and my fault for not communicating properly.
The fact that Airbnb booked a hotel room for 4 of us on such short notice and offered to cover our hotel room cost really speaks volumes about their customer service. And I’m not paid to write this FYI. I’m genuinely thankful and impressed till now. They also offered a 20% discount for my next airbnb stay!
So after we settled down in the hotel, I contacted Airbnb Singapore to tell them about our problem. They kept apologising (which I regurgitate, it wasn’t Airbnb’s fault AT ALL) and they were very worried about us. I tried booking another airbnb apartment but it was 3am in Paris and no airbnb host was awake to reply me. I was really panicking cos after we check out the next morning, we would have NOWHERE TO GO!! It was the worst feeling ever, to be stranded in a village outside Paris not having a place to stay. The next morning I still couldn’t find an apartment so I contacted Airbnb Singapore again, and lo and behold they got me a hotel room in Paris city centre for the rest of the trip. Not just for me but for me and my other 3 friends with me! Right smack in the middle of Galleries Lafayette!
You have no idea how thankful I was!! Some of you may think, HUH you kena stood up by your host already you still dare to stay in airbnb next time ah? In fact, after this incident, I’m even more certain that I’ll stick with Airbnb cos they have shown me that…
1. They are truly sympathetic and empathetic to my situation and would go lengths to help
You can say, of cos they will help la cos you’re a blogger and you’re working with them what. But what about the MAIN HQ in San Fran who had no idea who this asian girl was? I didn’t mention anything about being a blogger or working with Airbnb. You could say I was also testing their customer service, which they passed with flying colours.
2. They take responsibility for anything that goes on in Airbnb
It was clearly negligence on my part and the Paris’ host fault for disappearing. Airbnb is just a platform for people to list and find apartments. They could have left me in the lurch and let me sort it out with the host but they didn’t. Instead, they went the extra mile to contact as many Paris hotels as possible until one was willing to take us in. Because I’ve used Airbnb to book my apartment, they are returning me with the reassurance that I’m protected and well taken care of.
3. They are problem solvers
Shit happens but if they can clear your shit in such short notice, you know they are pretty damn reliable. Who knows, I could have been robbed if not for the fast response I received from them.
4. They are well-connected and easy to reach
You know those hotlines which transfer you from one person to another, from one department and one country to another. No such thing with Airbnb. I called San Fran HQ and they didn’t transfer me to Paris line or SG line. They solved my problem in Paris all the way from San Fran. No language barrier, not much waiting time and no unnecessary time-consuming call transferring. That alone to me is already stellar.
5. Your booking gets cancelled, you get your money back!
Yes every dime, don’t worry!
Will I still book with Airbnb in future? Yes. Wasn’t it a bad experience with Airbnb? No, my bad experience was with the Parisian host. In fact, my experience with Airbnb itself has been nothing short of splendid.
I’d still book an apartment with Airbnb if I visit Paris again cos I haven’t lived out my Parisian dream home yet! Do you have any idea how pretty Paris homes are!! My friend is there now and I’m SO envious of the airbnb home she’s staying at!! Urgh so annoyed the host spoiled my experience for me. Next time I book, I just gotta make sure I read the host’ reviews carefully. The reviews left by travellers are a good gauge to the host’s reliability and the apartment conditions.
So anyhoos here was my Paris hotel, Residhome Appart Hotel.
Wow you know I actually feel breathless just typing such a chunky blog post!
Back to surfing Airbnb, I’m finding my next apartment for my upcoming Tokyo trip (: