In 2012, we kickstarted our vacation in Northern France with a few nights in Paris. To maximize our time in the city, we wanted something as central as possible so that we could easily visit all our favourite sights. This wasn’t our first time in Paris, so we would be visiting some old favourites, and a few things off the beaten path.
Bed and boat
Accommodations in the heart of Paris can be rather expensive, so we started looking at Airbnb options. Airbnb was just becoming mainstream and it was still common to book individual rooms in people’s homes, sharing bathrooms and kitchens.
We came across a rather unique listing for a houseboat on the Seine River. It was a single room, with an ensuite bathroom, a small desk and a kitchenette consisting of a mini fridge, kettle and toaster. The roof of the boat was a terrace with an outdoor table and chairs. The rest of the boat was the owner’s living space.
Location, location, location
While the accommodation itself was great, it was the location that was the main selling feature. The houseboat was docked alongside the Jardin des Tuileries, with the Louvre only steps away, and the Musée d’Orsay on the other side of the river. Within a 30 minute walk, we could get to Notre Dame, Les Invalides, Panthéon, Centre Pompidou, Palais Garnier, and more!
The only drawback… returning to a boat after a few drinks can be off-putting.
When it came time to leave Paris, we picked up a rental car and got to drive it down to the banks of the Seine to pick up our luggage, something limited to “residents” of the houseboats.
Big Mac with a Heineken
And while in Paris, we couldn’t help dining on a McDonald’s Big Mac because they serve Heineken beer! (We promise that we otherwise feasted on delicious French cuisine.)
So next time you’re looking for accommodations, think outside the box… and you may find yourself on a houseboat in Paris.