I have returned from a glorious week in Paris, February 18th to 26th.
Many thanks to all who provided advice – your recommendations were much appreciated and acted upon.
Here is the link to my request for advice:
Transportation to Paris:
I live in Blackheath, South London, so the Eurostar station in Ebbsfleet Kent, is only a 20 minute (32 Euros taxi ride) from my house. I took the 0812 and arrived in Paris Gard du Nord at 1125. I booked Premium Standard, for about £250 return, on short notice. It was an excellent trip both ways. WIFI and a selection of movies available. Took a taxi to the hotel, in the 5th Arr,, light traffic and cost about 12 Euros.
I booked the hotel on Hotels.com, as I had a ‘free room’ available. I was pleased with the rate (average £85 per night) as the website quoted about 130 Euros per night.
I was very pleased with the hotel. Service was friendly and helpful, the room was relatively large for Paris, nicely decorated and VERY clean. Location was at the ‘top’ of the Latin Quarter, on a quiet street, with excellent bus routes to everywhere.
I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel. This is a Three Star hotel, and I normally stay in Four Star hotels. Not anymore! This hotel was about 30% - 40% less than I have paid in the past for a hotel of similar standards, and I was more delighted with this hotel than many Four Star hotels in Paris.
I have been to Paris over 40 times, beginning when I was a teenager, coming back on a few times after that, and then visits as a professional with Global responsibilities, where I was there at least 3-5 times per year over 11 years, when I worked on projects with French companies. So, there a few major tourist sites in Paris that I have not seen at least once!
My vague plan for this trip was to mix some of the old and some of the new: Revisit some places I had visited before, and be delighted by new experiences.
I did not prepare a day-by-day itinerary for this trip: I prepared a list of experiences that were ‘probable’ and ‘possible’, and decided when I got to Paris what I wanted to do. It worked out perfectly.
A new thing – travelling by bus: On previous visits to Paris, I generally travelled by either the Metro or taxis, and had never taken a bus – sad, but true. This time, I almost exclusively took the bus, and it was wonderful: Getting to my destination was half the joy, as I saw so much of Paris, and it was so less stressful than using the Metro.
Thanks to those that recommended using the bus, and provide the RATP website and app – a constant companion, so easy to use.
A new thing – getting out of Paris: I wanted to do at least two trips from Paris during the week, and was in a complete quandary, as there were so many choices: Chartres, Lyon, Dijon, Strasbourg, Rouen, and Troyes. I discounted Lyon, Dijon and Strasbourg based on the price-point: The train fares to Lyon, Strasbourg and Dijon were about 90 Euros each way, and I was not willing to pay that amount for a day-trip.
I decided on Chartres and Rouen because my heart called me to them, and train fare was 12-16 Euros each way. I am passionate about the medieval period, and I have wanted to visit Chartres for two decades, but never made it. Now was the time. Rouen: Jeanne d'Arc: She was my first female hero, who I discovered at about 10 or 11, and I was smitten with her bravery and her ‘F-U’ attitude. I had to go to Rouen and pay homage. Had I had one more day, I would have also visited Troyes.
My itinerary emerged as follows:
Saturday 18th February: Wandering around the Latin Quarter
Sunday 19th February: Wandering around the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Marais
Monday 20th February: A Medieval Journey: A trip to St. Denis, the Cluny Museum and the Conciergerie
Tuesday 21st February: A Pilgrimage to Rouen
Wednesday 22nd February: An Art Frenzy: The D’Orsay, L’ Orangerie and Marmotten
Thursday 23rd February: An Effing awful Day: The Louvre and Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine
Friday 24th February: A Pilgrimage to Chartres
Saturday 25th February: An extraordinary and delightful visit to Quai Branly Museum
Sunday 26th February: An appreciation of the extraordinary artistic treasures in the Musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet
Of course, in between the above itinerary, there was eating and drinking, which I will discuss in the next episode.
Next: The Restaurants
Best .. Ger
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