For the last 2 years we have been staying in apartments while traveling.
I was able secure a cute little space near Montmatre for our upcoming trip next spring on airbnb.ca.
I feel this is the best way to get a taste of local life. We got to know our neighbours, shopped for groceries at the local markets, used buses and trains. I try to find something in a safe location where we can walk to the points of interest. Some places even offer daily housekeeping and free Wi-Fi. We also saved money by making most of our meals at home.
2013 is not coming soon enough!