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A few ( stupid) questions 1st time to Paris

A few ( stupid) questions 1st time to Paris

Old Oct 21st, 2014, 01:48 PM
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A few ( stupid) questions 1st time to Paris

Ok, a few stupid questions for our 1st trip to France
1) We are staying at the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel on Boulevard Saint Jacques. What district is that in? I cannot seem to find that information. Also, any restaurant recommendation in the nearby vicinity? Bistro, nothing fancy.
2) I have heard mixed reviews about using the Metro. Some say to avoid and take a taxi, it will be safer. I think NYC subways are fine, (I live here) so I am not sure what to believe.
3) Do we want a Paris city pass or a Paris Museum pass? I am not sure.

Thank you all for your help, this is a wonderful site.
Lovestripletees is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2014, 01:56 PM
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the district is included in the hotel address . . . 14

. . .17 Boulevard Saint-Jacques, 75014 Paris . . .

>>2) I have heard mixed reviews about using the Metro. Some say to avoid and take a taxi, it will be safer.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 02:00 PM
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>>2) I have heard mixed reviews about using the Metro. Some say to avoid and take a taxi, it will be safer.

No not at all a silly thing IME decades of riding metros - as many folks get pickpcoketed on the metro and especially in crowded mega stations but if you know there is a thread and take proper precautions you will not be victimized - no physical threat just pickpockets and bag snatchers that often work thru diversion.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 02:20 PM
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Just returned from our 9th trip to Paris.

1) As Janis says, your hotel is in the 14th Arrondisement.
There is a wealth of information on Paris restaurants on this board - do a search. Some of our favorites are L'Epi Dupin, Ze Kitchen Gallerie, Fish, Liliane, Metropolitan, Le Regalade and Le Regalade St Honore, Les Enfants Rouges and L'Orangerie on the Ile de St. Louis.

2) The Metro is fabulous - a great way to see Paaris. Taxis are sometimes convenient and best is walking.

3) You don't want a Paris city pass but if you plan to visit lots of museums, a Museum Pass can be a good value. Do a search on this board to see if it will work for you.

Have a wonderful time.
mamcalice is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2014, 02:22 PM
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The Metro is the best in the world, easiest to use, and yes, DO watch your surroundings, as you would in NYC.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 02:31 PM
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I certainly never felt physically threatened while using yjr Paris metro, although I did not go late at night. There is of course a risk of pickpockets, but a bit of caution will help a lot.

The Paris city pass is a waste of money.

The Paris Museum Pass can be a good buy, IF you plan to go to lots of museums in a short time. If you only want to see one or two museums during your entire trip it's not worth it. On my last trip I bought a four-day museum pass and I went through enough museums in two days to make it worth the cost. But I'm the sort who gets bored very quickly in most museums. I loved being able to simply walk into a museum, look around and then leave after half an hour without feeling like I'd thrown away the entry cost. And, of course, I went into the Louvre three times in those four days. That would have gotten expensive if I'd had to pay for each visit.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 02:34 PM
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Welcome tripletees and congrats on your first Paris trip.

My late DH and I took the Paris metro all the time and never had a problem. As we got older, the lack of escalators became one, so we started taking busses and taxis more. We liked busses because we could see things. We often took a taxi to the furtherest site on our list and then worked our way back slowly.

According to googling, your hotel is near the Denfert-Rochereau metro (there is one closer-St Jacques-but Denfert is a good hub for different directions if memory serves). There will be busses from Denfert also.

The more we re-visited, the more we liked the Montparnasse area and you are closer to it than to Notre Dame, but Paris isn't huge and if you are young, you'll enjoy the walking.

janisj, you taught me something I didn't know about arrondissements. Thanks!

Also with janisj about the pass. When you buy it, see if you will be going to most of the places on it. Not having to wait in long lines was worth any amount we had to "eat" by not going to all of the places.

You will find bistros all over. We often stopped at places with "formule" on the black board--usually good price and food. Google Rue Daguerre--it should be an easy walk from your hotel. It is a short pedestrian only street and there was a market and couple of little restos when we were there.

Please let everyone know how it goes.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 02:36 PM
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Looks like anyegr and I were typing at the same time. I agree there also.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 02:37 PM
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the worst problem in the metro is not in the metro IME but in mobbed stations like Gare du Nord - I've seen people jam up to someone from behind to try to enter the turnstile at the same time or I've even seen a guy reach into someone's day pack at such crowded entrances (turnstiles) - carry nothing in your back pocket or day pack on your back that is valuable.

There are many reported pickpockets in such places. Once aboard the problem is less but there still are ruses - diversions, etc.

Again knowing the problem is much of the solution but to not know the problem is to be open to being victimized.

taxis are expensive and you cannot hail a cab in Paris IME but must go to taxi ranks (or call for one) - not always easy and the metro is so so great - goes everywhere - I'd take the metro for sure over taxis but just beware of the very real problems that naive folks may face. Proper precautions and there will be no problem.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 02:42 PM
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There are pickpockets almost everywhere - you are no more likely to be pickpocketed on the Metro than walking down the Champs Elysees
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 02:58 PM
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as an alternative to a pass for the metro/RER/buses you can buy a "carnet" of 10 tickets, all valid for one journey in the central area of the metro, buses etc. either of you can use them and when you use them up, just get some more - all metro stations sell them. They give quite a saving on the price of 10 individual tickets and it's always useful to have some in your pocket.

depending on your interests, IMO a museum pass can be worthwhile even if you don't exactly break even due to the time you can save not having to queue. The shorter the trip, the more important it is not to spend time standing around in queues.

don't be alarmed by all this talk of pickpockets - if you are used to NYC I suspect that you will be fine so long as you take normal precautions - don't put wallets in back trouser pockets, don't walk round with your handbag wide open or leave it on the back of your chair, don't take any notice of people saying that you've dropped a gold ring....
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 02:59 PM
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I personally don't like to take the metro. I don't like being underground and although I do have some limited French and have been to Paris over a dozen times, I find it difficult to navigate. But I LOVE taking buses in Paris. I really like seeing the sites while I'm getting where I'm going.

And yes, I think that there is a higher likelihood of getting pickpocketed in Paris than many other places, or pounced on by gypsies who are trying to get something from you, or a perfectly normal looking person who finds a "ring" and wants to give it to you, or someone who is cleaning "bird poop" from your jacket, or cell phone thieves, or countless other people preying on first time visitors. So it really pays to do your homework and know what to expect.

What I like most about the museum pass is the ability to skip the lines. But you must plan your museum days carefully so that they coincide with the days your pass is good. Remember that they are consecutive days so if you get a 3 day pass, you must go to museums three days in a row.

The best way to find your own favorite bistro is by trial and error. The good news is, you probably won't go wrong. Read the posted menus, look for one that looks good to you.

Enjoy Paris! There's only one first time in Paris so you're in for a treat!
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 03:30 PM
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There are pickpockets almost everywhere - you are no more likely to be pickpocketed on the Metro than walking down the Champs Elysees>

janis don't make light of a real problem in large metro stations - you are much more likely to be pickpocketed in a place like the Gare du Nord metro station than on the Champs Elysees - you simply in this case know little of what you say - you say it is silly to worry about pickpockets on the metro or in stations and that is the worst misinformation possible - there is a problem on the metro - the U.S. State Department not long ago issued a warning about RER trains from CDG Airport and pickpockets and bag snatchers. Nuff said - don't want to make hysteria but it is worse to pooh pooh a problem without any basis of doing so as obvious in your case.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 04:07 PM
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I understand that pickpockets can be a real problem. In 20+ visits to Paris I have never encountered one. Perhaps I am just lucky. I grew up in a city and am careful in crowds....hold my purse with my hand over the opening, walk as if I know where I'm going and don't acknowledge strangers who attempt conversation.

I think you just need to take reasonable precautions and be vigilant.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 04:21 PM
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I personally don't like to take the metro. I don't like being underground and although I do have some limited French and have been to Paris over a dozen times, I find it difficult to navigate. But I LOVE taking buses in Paris. I really like seeing the sites while I'm getting where I'm going.



This is sound like Gracejoan , who wrote this....!!!!!!!!
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 05:50 PM
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Anyone who said not to use the Metro would probably faint if they heard you used the YC subway. It's a perfectly safe (except for the usual pickpockets and basic city smarts will prevent that) and very handy, efficient. We usually walk a lot - just because it's one of the joys of visiting Paris - but would never hesitate to take the Metro.

Our DDs - 14 and 11 at the time - used it by themselves the first time we took them to Paris - but they too were used to the NY subway.

Navigation is NOT difficult - you just need to know the name of the station at the end of the line for the direction you want.

And we always just get carnets - no passes for anything.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 06:05 PM
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Never say, "never," and while we have been to Paris many, many times--the most recent the first week in October, I have not had any real issues with pickpockets, but having said that, I am fairly careful. I carry about 20 euros in a pocket that is easily accessible and the rest of my cash in a money belt that would be most difficult to access. So take reasonable precautions and you will be OK. While the ability to sight-see while on a bus is a plus, the time savings on the Metro are significant, IMHO.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 06:05 PM
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NYTRAVELER,

"Navigation is NOT difficult - you just need to know the name of the station at the end of the line for the direction you want."

Excellent suggestion. I got very messed up going from the LOUVRE RIVOLI stop, through the CHARLES DE GAULLE ETOILE (huge) stop to PARK MONCEAU on my was to the MUSEE NISSIM DE CAMONDO MUSEUM. It wasn't pretty, but I realized later that it would have been much easier if I knew the end stop on the line I needed.

Should have bought the CARNETS too - not easy buying individual tickets. Live 'n learn.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 06:11 PM
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If you look at the statistics of how many people use the métro/RER each day compared to how many people are pickpocketed on the métro/RER each day you'd realize that the chances of you becoming a pickpocket victim are very slim. What increases your chances of being pickpocketed is being unaware but if you are used to riding the subway in BYC and know how to guard your valuables then you shouldn't have any problem with the Paris métro or RER trains. The métro/RER is incredibly simple to use because like just about every similar system on the planet you only need to know the end destination of your train to be sure you are going in the right direction. There is nothing complicated about it.

To learn how to get around Paris by métro/bus/RER use www.ratp.fr. Here is a link to a route planner:

http://www.ratp.fr/itineraires/en/ra...herche-avancee

Here is an interactive map of the system:

http://www.ratp.fr/plan-interactif/carteidf.php?lang=uk

Since parts of this website are only in French you can also use www.transilien.com or www.vianavigo.com. Via Navigo probably has the most complete English website.

To learn about the various types of transport passes look here:

http://vianavigo.com/en/tickets-and-fares/

A good website to learn how to use public transport in Paris is www.parisbytrain.com. It will likely answer any of your questions about what is the métro, what is the RER, what kinds of tickets you need, how to buy tickets, what kinds of passes are available etc.

Buy a good detailed map of Paris of around the scale 1:12,000 and it will show all streets and street names, museums, monuments, gardens, parks, sites, attractions and the location of all RER and métro stops. A handy booklet to buy is called ''Plan de Paris par Arrondissement, L'Indispensable''. It is available in the Relay bookstores you'll find in the main line train stations and RER stations. It can be bought in many other places as well, such as bookstores, magazine/news stands, many touristy souvenir stores, larger supermarkets, tabac stores etc.

In any métro or RER station with an information booth you can get free maps of the Paris transport system and use those in conjunction with your street maps to figure out how to get around and determine where you are.

You can figure out walking times and distances between sites by using a mapping website like www.mappy.com or a similar website.

You can look at the Paris tourist office website for info about what to see and do in Paris as well as learn about the various passes for visits and public transport: http://en.parisinfo.com/
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 07:28 PM
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Somebody up thread said that you can not hail taxis on the street in Paris. This is not true. A taxi is not allowed to stop if it is within a certain distance from a taxi stand, but otherwise you can certainly find taxis on the street. Some neighborhoods have lots of taxis passing all the time and it is easy to hail a cab but other neighborhoods do not.
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