A Residence hotel—sometimes called an "ApartHotel" or all-suite hotel—is a cross between a hotel and an efficiency apartment in a doorman building.
It's bascially a serviced, furnsihed, fully-equipped apartment or studio available for short-term rentals (by the day or by the week)—think of the all-suite hotels and extended stay chains in the States—and there are about 150 of them in Paris.
Accommodations are at least studios with kitchenette, if not full-blown mini-apartments, and might sleep anywhere for one to six people. They tend to be a bit functional and bland, with a focus more on basic comfort and amenities rather than style.
Residence hotels are usually used mainly for longer stays—some have three-night or one-week minimums, though many allow you to stay for as few as 3, 2, or even 1 night—and they are usually cleaned weekly (sometimes more frequently).
Essentially, it's a bit like getting a time share just for the week or month—only without the whole annoying sales pitch.
Residence inns are often used by folks in town on business for an extended period, but that doesn't mean travelers can't shack up in them as well. It just means you sometimes have to plan to stick around town for a bit longer than the average tourist.
For example, when I studied abroad in Rome, Italy, a "residence" near the school (the Residence Medaglie d'Oro) served as student housing for the program. (As it happened, I became friends with the girl who lived in the mini-apartment above mine. Before long we started looking for an apartment to share, and have remained together for more than 18 years. So yeah, I'm a big fan of residence hotels.)
Speaking of which, all-suite hotels are a godsend for traveling families, since you can use the kitchen to treat meals more flexibly and cut down on dining costs. (Also, they tend to be bigger—if duller—than your average hotel room.)
The reason this page is separate from that on how to rent an apartment is because I consider apartment rentals to be where you are getting a private apartment in a building surrounded by flats inhabited by actual local residents, whereas in one of these "residence" hotels, everyone is a visitor from out of town.
You'll typically pay between €115 and €200 per night (though they can range as low as €56 or as high as €250). However, since these suites are designed to be rented for more than one night, the per-night price drops pretty quickly after you stay three nights.
Rent by the week, and they can be very cheap indeed: from €350 per week in the city outskirts, €500 per week in the city center.
Yes, the most famous rule of real estate—location, location, location—continues to holdstrue. The most central charge more than ones out near the péripherique.
Also, note all residence hotels are created equally. They are rated on the star system, just like regular hotels, so you pay more for one with more stars (and, hence, more amentiies).
Most Parisian appart'hotels (about 65 of the 80 or so in Greater Paris) are part of one of three big chains—though there are a few smaller chains and independent properties.
Adagio City Aaprtments (www.adagio-city.com) - Some 32 residence hotels in Paris; about half are in the city center charging from €530 per week; the other half are in the outskirts and start at €350 per week—though you also book them by the night for €56 to €220.
Citadines (www.citadines.com) - Major French chain of ApartHotels, with 17 properties in Paris (as well as ones in Aix, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nice, Marseille, Lyon, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Lille, Grenoble, and Cannes). There are other locations thoughout Europe and Asia. One nice thing is that you can book for even just one night.
Suite Novotel (www.suitenovotel.com) - A new chain of all-suite hotels—with 15 in Paris—aimed squarely at the business traveler. The concept is you can turn your suite's public area, with its unlimited high speed internet and satellite TV channels, into a meeting room or office reception while leaving the sleeping area separate. Rates start as low as €79 per night for stays of at least three nights.
Booking.com (www.booking.com) - Major lodging booking agency that conveniently has a category for "Residence" with 40 options in Paris, from the Citadines and Adagio properties to a half dozen independent appart-hotels.
Venere.com (www.venere.com) - This European booking engine is one of the few to list residences—under "Vacation Rentals," which is a mix of 78 aparthotels and rental apartments in Paris. I'd suggest it as the best one-stop shopping forresidence hotels since it includes many one-offs and private ones, not just the chain properties.
Apartotels.com (www.apartotels.com) - U.K.-based booking site for more residence hotels and other apartments for short-term let from some 35 chains and agencies (including Citadines and Adagio, above) throughout Europe and Asia, including 39 in Paris.
Syndicat National des Résidences de Tourisme (www.snrt.fr) - French naitonal association of "tourism residences"—which means a bunch of beach and ski rental properties alongside the city apartments. The 33 in Paris barely go beyond the Citadines and Adagio properties. Search can be a bit buggy, and pricing is often wildly off (it puts the rack rate for one at €300 per night, but if you go directly to the property's site prices actually start at €56.50). Still, with 1,030 residences in 447 destinations across France (from three dozen chains), a useful place to rummage around.
Barclay International (www.barclayweb.com) - One of the world's premier rental agencies since 1963. (And yes, "premier" does mean "a bit pricey"). Excellent service at about 135 Paris properties. Though they're billed as rental apartments, these aren't just some bloke's flat; most of them are actually residence hotels or buildings of entirely short-term rentals or condos.