The panicked saga with an Airbnb host

To say that this move to Europe has been very stressful would be the understatement of the year.

We’ve tried to plan things and make arrangements as best we can and well in advance. So when it came time to make plans to move to Bordeaux, we did so two months in advance. We needed a place for the first three weeks in June and were ready to get out of a city environment and into a quiet suburb where we wouldn’t be subjected to loud parties until 4am. We were pleased with all of our experiences thus far and used them again to book our housing in Bordeaux and were even more excited by the look of our place in Bordeaux. It’s also worth mentioning that prior to booking, we’d inquired about a weekly or monthly rate, given that our stay was more than just a weekend getaway. The host, Christelle, offered three weeks for €500 so we booked it and thought nothing more of it, other than how I would enjoy having morning coffee on the sunny balcony.

You can imagine our panic/anger/frustration when this afternoon—6 days before moving, she emailed us and told us she was sorry, but she could no longer honor the request. Her reasons were something about her travel plans changing. Ugh. Airbnb sent us a note saying our card would be credited, along with a nominal amount in addition, to make up for the inconvenience, but we’d still essentially be homeless come June 1.

Let me be clear: we don’t think Airbnb is at fault. It’s unfortunate, but what could they have done to prevent it? Nothing, I’m sure, but hopefully they will look into the matter. Still, this sent us into a complete tailspin, desperately seeking housing in Bordeaux for the month of June. Unfortunately, there are no places near Dave’s school and all the places in town are either really expensive (we’re hoping not to pay more than €1000 for the month, but we also get that we’re in no place to be picky!) or only available for a partial month. Upon further inspection of their calendars, most seem to be unavailable the same days of VinExpo in mid-June, so we’re also investigating split time places.

Anyway. During our frenzied search for places, I looked on the French version of Craigslist, Le Bon Coin and found this lovely listing, with a patio that looked very familiar! Upon further inspection, Dave and I realized the listing, which boasted availability for the entire month of June, was posted on April 8— 5 days after we had confirmed and paid via!

Livid, we sent it to airbnb, for their review. Because I am the way I am, I emailed the person behind the Le Bon Coin listing, saying I was visiting friends in Bordeaux for the month of June and would the apartment be available and what was the monthly price.

You can imagine the feelings that came up when Christelle N’dohi emailed me back saying that yes! It was in fact available June 1-22 for €900….interestingly enough, €400 MORE than she’d agreed to with us via

We responded to her via airbnb and she tried to pawn it off on her sister being the one that accepted via Le Bon Coin and it was their miscommunication (funny, I have two siblings and I don’t share an email address with either of them and certainly not one that bears my name, but whatever). So now I’m on a mission to make sure that anyone who considers renting from her be warned: she is likely to cancel and leave you completely hanging. Her apartment has two previous cancellations: one at 115 days or something like that, and one at 2 days prior to the reservation. While there is no way to tell who cancelled–her or the renter, it’s alarmingly suspicious. I’m sure we probably dodged a bullet on the whole thing and we didn’t lose any money but this is enough to give a girl (more) gray hairs.

In other news, if you know of a place to live in Bordeaux for a month…and yes, the full month. The other fun part is that Dave’s school threw the class a curveball and extended the Bordeaux schedule an additional week. While I’m not-so-secretly hoping the class revolts and boycotts the final week so we can have our fun trip around France, right now we figured we might as well book and pay for a full month.

Isn’t this the glamour that everyone dreams of when living in Europe?!?

8 comments on “The panicked saga with an Airbnb host

  1. my friend had a similar thing happen when moving to london, but didn’t get her 1,000 euro back!

  2. &I highly recommend you go to Basque country!! I haven’t been (yet) but I’ve been reading a lot about it for class. Bordeaux seems very close 🙂

  3. Quite disgusting. I have had good luck with homelidays…was just in Bordeaux in April 2013 but I realize fully that you are under the gun for getting something timewise. That being said, not everything could possibly be rented. Also the trams are so great and fast that you don’t have to be close to everything, just close to a tram stop. My thoughts are with you. Sorry that you were treated so poorly. I would be beside myself. You can report her to the site of course.

    • I’m glad to hear the tram system is good there and thank you for your good thoughts. After combing through multiple listings on multiple sites (everything seemed to be in the center of town and far from school!), we found a place last night. While it’s definitely more than we were hoping to pay, at least it is settled. Phew!

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