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Image of person biking in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris The Eiffel Tower is the most famous landmark in Paris

Are you planning a trip to Paris but craving something more than the same old cliché Paris attractions? The Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and the Champs-Élysées are all beautiful sights to see but we know what you really want is a more authentic experience, a chance to really get to know the place. There’s no better way to do that than to rent a real Parisian apartment, live among the locals and get out and explore some not so common areas and attractions. So we’ve made our own little travel guide to give you some ideas of off the beaten path things to do, plus some truly unique apartments to match, so you can experience the City of Lights in a whole new light.

Neighborhood Markets are Full of Local Flavor

Image of a man in a market filled with antiques and household items You never know what gem you’ll find in the local flea markets

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Image of Union Jack flags strung between buildings So many unique neighborhoods make up the city of London, how many are you familiar with?

An Area Steeped in Literary History & Academic Achievement

Bloomsbury, London’s most vibrant and historic district, is situated in the southernmost part of the Borough of Camden and is recognized as the intellectual and literary capital of London. This lively and remarkable area was made most famous by a group of turn-of-the-century writers that included Virginia Woolf and Charles Darwin. The arts and education have a long history here, so it’s not surprising some of the most prestigious, oldest and most important schools and colleges in London and all of the UK are found in this neighborhood. The University of London has made Bloomsbury the base for a number of its colleges, including the famous London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. On any given day a lively rush of students and professionals keep the area buzzing.

What could be a better location to rent an apartment if you’re coming to London for academics or professional pursuits? You’ll find likeminded colleagues and intellectuals studying over a cup of tea at one of the neighborhood literary cafes or bookshops or winding down their day with a pint and some stimulating conversation in one of the local pubs.

Image of the facade of the former Hotel Russell with double decker bus in front The former Hotel Russell is still an impressive landmark of the area

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Image of Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, Queens with water and NYC skyline view Get a spectacular view of NYC from Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, Queens

If this isn’t your first trip to New York City then you’ve already seen most of the usual famous sites and you’re looking to discover more of the lesser known, non-touristy things to see and do. Getting to truly know a place is less about the gimmicky tourist traps and the places everyone has seen and more about spending time exploring and getting to know the real heartbeat of the place and its people. For some ideas on alternative attractions for your next visit to NYC, read on and find out some of our insider tips…

View Manhattan from a Different Angle

Everyone has heard that Dumbo is a great spot for capturing the Manhattan skyline, but as an alternative that is perhaps even more breathtaking, Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City is the top of our list. The park’s gantries are its centerpiece, harking back to the area’s past, where barges would unload at the docks. Today, this waterside location has been reinvented as a 12 acre waterfront park where you can enjoy stunning views that include the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and the United Nations, not to mention the famous Pepsi Cola sign (a relic of the Pepsi bottling plant that once operated in this formerly industrial area) that recently gained NYC landmark status. Stroll through the planted walkways or stop for a game at the basketball or handball courts. There’s also a fishing pier and a stage that hosts summer concerts with the added perk of an iconic backdrop. Grab a bite from one of the nearby restaurants or food trucks or bring your own picnic and stay for a spectacular sunset while relaxing on one of the wave-like lounge chairs set up right by the water for a relaxing end of day.

Stay Like a Local in a Not-So-Touristy Area

Image of the living room area of apartment NY-15441 in Long Island City, Queens For an alternative apartment option, try this alcove studio located in a former firehouse in Long Island City, Queens

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Image of multiple red London telephone booths lining a street Discover London while staying at a unique property. Photo credit: Mike Dixon

We all love London for its hip energy, its forward-thinking music and fashion, and its wealth of history and culture. It’s no wonder this city is always bustling with arrivals from all over the world! If you’re considering heading to London for business, academics or leisure you’ll want to find the perfect home base to settle into. We’ve selected some of our favorite London properties that showcase the diversity of style and local tastes that make this city so unique — from classic, historical charm to peaceful outdoor oases and mod apartments with skyline views. So let’s jump right in and pop by the first of our most desirable properties in London…

Modern & Trendy with Skyline Views of London in Southwark

Image of black leather couches looking out over London’s skyline through a wall of windows See London from above in this modern apartment in the sky

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Image of SoHo Street with shoe-tossing SoHo, NYC is famous for its Shopping, Boutiques and Fashion

It’s that time of year again, the semi-annual event known as Fashion Week, and all its accompanying designers, models, photographers and entourages are about to take over the major style capitals of the world. Twice a year in Winter and Fall, New York, London, Milan and Paris host the fast-paced runway shows of Fashion Week and their fashion-forward events. We know how busy all of our fashion industry clients are, and that hotel rooms can be impossible to find. We’ve compiled a list of apartment suggestions in NYC, London and Paris that we think would be just your style…

New York Fashion Week (February 9 – Friday, February 17, 2017)

The streets of NYC are always an un-official runway and during fashion week the local fashionistas and the influx of fashion gurus can be found out and about in full force so keep your eyes open for some serious style inspiration.

Image of living room of NY-16635 in the Upper West Side This 4 bedroom/3 bath duplex on the Upper West Side is spacious enough for your whole entourage

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Image of heart shaped padlocks Lock in your love intention at the Point des Arts bridge

Valentine’s Day in Paris should be a fail-safe plan for guaranteed romance but some insider suggestions can always take it up a notch. Read on to find our carefully curated suggestions for impressing that special someone, including our most romantic accommodations in the City of Love!

Image of couple at sunset with Eiffel Tower in background With so many romantic vistas all around Paris is truly the City of Love (Photo credit: Jellio Coe photos)

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Image of graffiti street art on side of building in East London Discover East London’s vibrant street art!

When planning to visit London, visitors may find it difficult to decide what area to stay in given the wide choice of neighborhoods and little information on them. New York Habitat has prepared a wonderful guide to one of London’s most vibrant neighborhoods — East London — and some fantastic furnished apartments you can rent in this interesting part of the city.

The terms East End and East London are more or less interchangeable, though some people refer to Shoreditch/Brick Lane/Whitechapel as the East End and the area around Olympic Park as East London. Liverpool Street is a local transportation hub and great place to start exploring the area.

Image of double decker bus in the streets of London East London is full of independent boutiques, ethnic restaurants, vintage shopping and street art.

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Image of Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and plaza decked in holiday lights The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a must-see on a holiday trip to NYC. (https://www.rockefellercenter.com) Photo Credit Francois Roux

Many people dream of warm locales for their winter travels, but the holiday season can also be a great time to check out a new location while airfares and rents are their lowest of the year and you don’t have to battle as many crowds. The slower season before and after the big holiday rush is one of the best times to visit any destination, even one you have been to before in other seasons, because nothing is quite like being immersed in the local traditions and the collective energy of a place leading up to the holidays. Stick around after the rush when all the locals are back at home and you get a real sense of local neighborhood life. New York City gets in the holiday mood early, so you can catch all the holiday preparations and enticing sales plus find a great furnished rental to stay at for a reasonable price. Many properties lower their prices for the shoulder seasons, so it’s a great time to save while you explore a new place and see how the locals really live outside of the hectic tourist season.

Of course if you are headed to NYC in the winter, the holiday season is also a favorite time for people to experience the Big Apple all aglow with holiday lights and decked out in all its glory. Read on for some of our suggestions of the not-to-miss things that should be on your to-do list.

Famous Holiday Shows & Entertainment

Image of holiday window displays at Saks Fifth Avenue department store Christmas window displays are an NYC holiday tradition. Photo Credit Francois Roux

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Image of shopping street with colorful holiday lights, double decker buses and people shopping London’s streets are alive with colorful holiday lights and frenzied shoppers enjoying the sales.

The Holidays are such a festive and magical time of year, with all of the colorful decorations, nostalgic music and the scents of traditional holiday baking. It’s also a great time to travel and see cities you may have even visited before in a whole different light. Wander through markets, snack on seasonal nibbles and enjoy all those fun wintertime activities. What better time to visit a new city and immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions?

Holiday Light Illuminations

Image of shopping street with with double decker buses and angel-shaped Christmas lights Take in the holiday light displays as you check off items on your Christmas wish list.

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Image of Paris department store Printemps with pink and white Christmas lights outside Major department stores like Printemps go all out for the holiday season. Photo credit: 2015-11-Noel-Actualites-Vitrine-Façade-Printemps

Paris isn’t called the City of Lights for nothing! As the days get shorter and holiday cheer spreads through the shops and streets of the city, shimmering Christmas lights and unique festive decorations go up across Paris. The city’s holiday traditions, from ice skating and carousels to chestnuts and mulled wine, bring Paris’s outdoor spaces to life despite the winter chill. Visit Paris for the holiday season and you can see for yourself!

To help you make sense of Paris’s many wintertime offerings, this guide lays out the city’s can’t-miss experiences for the holidays. For more guidance on choosing the right home away from home, take a look at our furnished apartments in Paris.

1. Christmas Lights in Paris

Image of a Paris street with yellow Christmas lights and a white tree Paris’s streets are transformed with Christmas lights, full of holiday spirit. Photo credit: Paris-avenue-de-montaigne-fashion-ninara

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