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Airbnb poses challenge to Paris's luxury hotels

Ben McPartland · 10 Aug 2015, 16:19

Published: 10 Aug 2015 16:19 GMT+02:00

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No other city in the world has more apartments on offer through Airbnb than Paris.

But the home-sharing website that has dramatically altered the tourist accommodation industry is not just providing an alternative to budget hotels.

It is increasingly challenging the luxury market in the French capital, which is not going down well with a hotel industry that has already declared war on the website it accused of providing unfair competition.

Airbnb currently has on offer around 400 apartments in the French capital priced at over €500 a night and of those some 40 are listed at over €1,000 a night.

One flat available was once the home of film star Brigitte Bardot, and whose “140 metre square terrace offers you a breathtaking 360 degree view of the capital city” - all for €1,200 a night.

Then there is the Penthouse on the Champs-Elysée that stands opposite the Bristol Hotel and offers “exclusivity in the heart of Paris” for a cool €1,589 a night.

A map shows most of the luxury apartments are located in the ultra-chic west neighbourhoods of the capital around the Champs Elysée and the 16th arrondissement.

The chance of renting a deluxe apartment for a no-expenses-spared stay in the French capital could be a popular option for flushed visitors from the Middle East, the States or Russia, who might usually stay in one of the famed plush hotels like the Ritz or the Bristol.

“The Paris market is going to get very difficult,” Didier le Calvez, managing director of the Bristol told Reuters.

Jose Silva, who runs the Four Seasons George V added: “It’s obvious that a large part of our clientele, especially the families, will abandon the hotels.”

Airbnb has had a fraught relationship with the hotel industry in Paris.

In February The Local reported how hoteliers penned an open letter to the Prime Minister urging him to even out the competition.

Story continues below…

The French Hotel Union UMIH said the key was that the rental sites weren't playing by the same rules when it came to taxes, even though they are essentially offering the same product as hotels.

"Without respect for the rules, our profession, our values, our jobs, and our investments are in danger," wrote Roland Heguy, the president of the union.

Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky visited authorities in Paris earlier this year to reassure Paris them about the merits of his company in boosting tourism.

“I don’t think for us to win [that] anybody has to lose,” he said after the meeting with Deputy Mayor Bruno Julliard

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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