The morning view outside of our Airbnb-rented place, a 7th-floor apartment whose owners were in Lisbon for the weekend. In a popular destination city, people are making good money by renting out their empty place, even for a simple weekend.
That sound you hear, the nervous rattling of hotel keys? (Ok, they don't really rattle anymore since most of them are plastic cards, but work with me). It's the sound of hundreds of thousands of hotel and motel industry executives as they ponder and fret over the emergence of Airbnb.
Airbnb, if you haven't already heard, is a person-to-person accommodation provider. The vacationer, tired of hotel prices and looking for a more authentic travel experience, contacts the owner, who has either a room or an entire apartment or home to rent out. The prices vary from very low-end dives to high-end villas, but you can set your price range and fully check out the photos and even speak with each other before committing.
If you don't mind (as a guest) living in a lived-in place, or (as a host) having strangers in your bed, Airbnb is an ideal arrangement. Over 2 million nights have been booked on it so far - that's a lot of empty hotel beds too.
We used this for the first time in Paris, and it worked perfectly. Compare 250Euros for three nights in a very nice place where you can eat your own food and feel much less like a tourist versus paying 350-400Euros for three nights in a lousy, cramped hotel. A quick stop to the grocery store downstairs, and 3 days' worth of breakfast for 15Euros later and nous rions!
Below, more sights from a sunny October weekend in Paris:
The view from Parc Belleville - also featured in earlier posts from 2010, but it seems there is always a different light and the Eiffel Tower always beckons.
Above, images from the flea market Marche aux Puces de Vanves. It had your standard flea market stuff - Elvis posters, creepy dolls in sailors' outfits - and, uh, THIS. I have no clue as to its origin, but I'm guessing it's not Brazilian:
Outside a busy Rue Saint-Martin. Some B,er - boys?