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1st time to Paris or Europe. Please help with some questions..

1st time to Paris or Europe. Please help with some questions..

May 11th, 2005, 06:45 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 28
1st time to Paris or Europe. Please help with some questions..

My sister and I will be in Paris June 6-14th. We have several questions.

1) How and where can I get museum card? What museums are covered with this card?

2)My sister booked the Marriot on the 15th district(??) due to the dates no other was available. I am not to happy I would have like something modest but more "french". Anyway, any places that offer a quick coffee and pastry or light lunch in that area??? What can we expect to find in this area??

3)Will be booking Paris shuttle transport from airport to hotel. Are they reliable??

4)Any info. on concerts in any church or park? any websites that I can get this info. in english??

5)We do not drink alcohol, therefore will be offensive if we request water or soft-drinks with our meals??? suggestions please.

6)What should we look for in menus not in restaurants but the equivelant of tratorias (sp.) since we do not eat beef or pork?

I appreciate all the feedback I can get. Thank you much!!!!
Claudis is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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do a quick search for all of the paris posts and you will find the answer all of of your questions- and some you haven't thought of!!
highledge is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 06:59 AM
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1) You can pick this up at any museum, tabak or metro station. The list of museums it covers is included with the pass.

3) There is a recent thread about Paris shuttles, do a search for Paris Shuttle and it should come up. I've used them in the past and haven't had a problem. I believe others here have had the same experience.

4) There is a lot of information on paris.org. I think there is concert information there. I have usually picked up a Time Out or similar publication when I get there.

5) I'm not sure why it would be offensive to order soft drinks or water with your meal.

6) get a good menu translation book. Do a search here for ideas. I've used the book "What Food am I?" for France and Italy and have found them to be incredibly useful. I have found that the type of meat can be called different names depending on the preparation or cut - that's been confusing to me.

I think there is a super-thread of Paris information. You might try a search for it if you haven't done so already.

Have a fun time! Paris is a wonderful place to visit!
cls2paris is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 07:06 AM
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cls2paris Thanks!!! I asked about soft drinks or water when eating because people have told me that they get bad service when doing this or have gotten thrown out of a place when requesting soft drinks with their meals. I do not know if this is true but do not want to risk it.
Claudis is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 07:14 AM
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Oh really! Have you actually ever heard of someone being thrown out of a restaurant , anywhere, for ordering a soft drink??


this is the Paris Superthread.
This is all the information you need, all in one large thread, posted by people who have been there and done that. None of these people to our knowledge have been tossed out of any establishments for ordering soda LOL
Scarlett is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 07:31 AM
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Hi C,

>...therefore will be offensive if we request water or soft-drinks with our meals??? <

Only if you ask in an offensive manner. CocaCola is very expensive.

ira is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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That's great that you're going! My husband and I went to Paris in 2003 and we're going back in September with our parents. We found it to be delightful -- and much friendlier than we expected, and when we thought of where we'd want to go back to and spend some time, Paris is it. I've answered your questions to the best of my ability below, but want to make sure you get this one very important tip about Paris and the French in general: They are very kind people, as long as you don't start a conversation in English. If you just say "Bonjour!" they will hear your accent and most will switch to English for you on the spot. Get a good phrasebook and point at what you need if they don't speak. Like other big city people (like New Yorkers), they have a reputation for being rude, but in fact they are very nice to talk with, especially if you use the polite words like "bonjour", "merci", etc.

Now to answer your questions:
Nearly all the major museums and some churches and the Arc de Triomphe are covered with the card, and some other sights as well. I strongly recommend getting the Streetwise Paris Map (it has subway maps and an outstanding city map in a handy laminated size) and Rick Steves Paris 2005 book (we're going again in September this year and it's by far THE definitive book on travel in that city)
In it, he tells you about what sights are covered by the Museum pass and how to get it easily (He recommends buying it at Ste. Chappelle on Ile de la cite, where the lines are shorter), then you don't have to wait at the Louvre for example. And whatever you do, don't miss going inside Ste. Chappelle! It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it will blow your mind with the gothic architecture and stained glass.

Don't worry too much about the hotel...you won't be staying there much anyway outside of sleeping hours, and it's on the other side of the Eiffel Tower from the 7th, which is where we prefer to stay -- so it's not a bad location. The hotel will likely be in the French style anyway, they don't usually plunk down an American hotel in Paris without trying to make it fit in. If you want to look around a little more, I'd check Venere.com, it has a terrific store of hotels and you can check availability and book online.

As for the shuttle, I haven't done that...you can easily take the RER from Charles de Gaulle into the city, but if you want a shuttle, you can book one online or call the hotel and see if they have one.

Again, any information about concerts (Ste. Chappelle does them), or other entertainment information is provided in Rick Steves book and any other guidebook you may get.

As for alcohol, it's not the law that you have to drink it in France, any more than it is here in the States.

You can easily eat whatever you like, restaurants have lots of food to eat. Get a phrasebook so you can use it to order food, and find out what the words are for beef and pork so you can avoid it on the menu.

jules4je7 is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 07:40 AM
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5) For "fitting in" European style the most common thing to do is order a bottle of still or fizzy water - it would normally come in a size for 2 people to share. Soda is OK but would be a more likely tourist request and don't expect it packed with ice. See other recent Fodors thread about not ordering wine - concensus is no one really cares if you drink or not and know that soda is usually the same price as wine (as far as the waiter is concerned).

6) Roast chicken is common. As are mussels & frites. Crepes and omelettes. As anywhere, ethnic restaurants often work well for vegetarians, say Greek or Italian (do you know the meat vs meat sauce names? i.e., you want pomodoro not bolognese).

For French places, I highly recommend a cheat sheet from the back of a phrase book. You'll find all the restaurant words to sort it out for yourself.

suze is online now  
May 11th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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I believe the best time to acquire a Carte Musée is the first time you get to a Métro ticket window. Here is a list of what it covers:


(Note that the Eiffel Tower is not included.)
Robespierre is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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Just a couple of additions. You can see a schedule of some church concerts at www.ampconcerts.com. where information is available in English. Once you get to Paris you will see lots of posters for concerts around many churches including Ste. Chapelle, San Sulpice and St. Germaine. Ste. Chapelle is a wonderful place to attend an evening concert because you can watch the beautiful stained glass as you listen to music.

Check the search function using "Paris bistros" for ideas for restaurants. You can expect to see seafood, poultry and even vegetarian options in most bistros. As for wine, nobody will care at all if you don't drink wine. Watch out for the soft drinks, however, as they are commonly more expensive than wine! Bottled water is available everywhere.
mamc is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 08:32 AM
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a website I subscribe to is "metropoleparis.com". Mr. Erickson lists all the upcoming "events" in the Scene section...something may catch your eye.

My tip is, there are markets, restaurants, cafes, etc., all over the place...don't worry about anything not being convenient. As well, there are lots of ethnic food places. My friend adores couscous with seafood or chicken when he's in Paris. I haven't yet tried these.
SuzieC is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 08:39 AM
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take the great advice above, including Scarlett's link to the Paris superthread

here is a link to complete information on the museum pass


Are you pre-paid at the Marriott?
If not,it's not too late to explore some other hotel you might prefer.
What is your budget per night?

Almost every cafe in Paris will offer fish and chicken. Take the advice above and with meals order bottled water.
Part of the experience in Paris is to savor meals, perhaps in new ways, and sweet drinks such as Coke don't enhance most good French food. It will be nice to try a new approach, imo.

I have a long file on Paris; if you'd like to see it, email me at
[email protected]
elaine is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 08:44 AM
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Here's another non-alcoholic drink to try at cafes in Paris:

If you want to stop into a cafe for a drink, but don't drink wine, and can't take too much coffee in one day (my problem!), try a citron presse'. (I don't know how to make an accent mark over the final e, but I hope you get the idea from the apostrophe I tacked onto the word.)

The waiter will bring a tall, thin glass with at least half a lemon mushed in the bottom, so that the juice and pulp make a thick mixture. You will also get some little packets of sugar and a carafe of water. You just add water and sugar to make your own French-style lemonade.

I find this wonderfully tart and refreshing, even without ice. The carafe holds enough water to refill your glass; the first glassful will be very sour because of the high concentration of lemon, and will need some sugar, but the second will have a lighter lemon taste.

For some reason I also find it amusing to concoct my own drink at the table!

If you are fish eaters and you see rascasse on the menu, give it a try. It's a wonderful white-fleshed fish.

Have a great trip!
BlueSwimmer is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 09:57 AM
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I am so thankful I found this travel community. Thank you for all the help. One more thing, another sister is meeting us in Paris with 3 of her young ones. The kids have never been to an entertainment park and are crazy to visit disney in Paris. None of the adults want to deal with kids and metro/or rr for the 1st time. We do ot mind paying extra for this day trip. Question-

Do you know of a company that will bus you to and from the hotel to Euro disney?
Claudis is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 11:15 AM
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look for these websites--these companies provide lots of tours in and around Paris

elaine is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 01:41 PM
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The RER is not too bad, really. You board on RER-A at several places within central Paris, and the stop is the end of the line, within Disney.

Here are some tour operators(some already mentioned), pretty expensive:



Travelnut is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 01:55 PM
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I'm with travelnut on this one.

The RER simply isn't all that much of a hassle. By assigning one child to each adult, the logistics of getting everyone to the park would be minimal. One simply goes into the station, looks for the signs that say "Disneyland" and follows them to the train.

If this were my family, I would go to the RATP office at CDG, buy a 5-zone Carte Orange and Disneyland Passport for each person, a Museum Pass for each adult, and be done with it once and for all.

Then I would take the train to town, the Métro or bus to my hotel, and not think about transportation costs again. If I wanted to spend a few hours at Versailles, the trip would already be covered. If I wanted to grab a bus instead of walking six blocks just to get some bread and cheese, I'd just get on and enjoy the view.
Robespierre is offline  
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