Home Exchange

Smallest House Swap Ever

On a recent visit to Paris I had two nights alone in the city. I needed a place to stay for just one person. Airbnb has some reasonably priced options in Paris. But of course I prefer a home exchange to a rental. After a relatively short search I ended up booking a place on the GuesttoGuest  house swap network. The place was described as a small studio of 18 sq meters, so I didn’t expect anything fancy. And it was exactly as described. Tiny!

To be fair, I did once stay in a smaller place. In Hong Kong I spent a few nights in an Airbnb rental that was just one room with a bed, a small chair, and an attached bathroom. In order to get into bed you had to crawl up from the bottom. The home exchange place in Paris was luxurious by comparison. It had a desk and chair, a two person dining table with chairs, a double bed, and a very small kitchenette. You did have to hop over the corner of the bed to avoid the table and chairs to get into the bathroom. But the studio was plenty big enough for all of my needs for a few nights.

The Paris apartment is home to a student who was away for a few days. His shelves were filled with books. He had done 14 previous exchanges, all with fabulous reviews. And in fact he had a house swap scheduled for the three days prior to my arrival. My host arranged to leave me a bag with clean sheets and towels, and for me to get the keys from the previous guests (two very nice women from Sevilla, Spain). His communication about the exchange and how to use various things in the apartment was excellent. As was his English (fortunately for me since I don’t speak any French).

Probably the best part about this home exchange was the location. In the 11th district it was within walking distance of many fun areas and sights.

I’d say the main lesson I take from this home exchange is that honesty in advertising is the best way to have satisfied guests. So many people, including myself, were happy with this tiny studio. But we knew exactly what we were getting.


  • I had an Airbnb in Lyon about that size. Location matters far more than space, as long as it’s clean. Btw, Dawn, I’m now living in Nice, so if you find yourself in the area, let me know.

  • We would like use Guest to Guest more but we can’t seem to get any guests! So we have used up our points and have no more to “spend.” We live in a wonderful area of the States but it isn’t where most European tourists come. So sad.

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