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Better location for short family stay in Paris

Better location for short family stay in Paris

Jan 13th, 2011, 07:20 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 148
Better location for short family stay in Paris

This summer, my husband and I will be taking our 3 kids (ages 12, 10, and 8) to Paris for a week. I have found 2 apartments which meet our needs, but they are in different areas, and I am not sure which would be better for us. The first one is located in Montparnasse - very close to La Tour Montparnasse (on Rue d'Odessa) and the second apartment is on Rue de Berni in the Champs Elysees area. We like to stay in safe, walkable areas (even in the evening) with cafes,small groceries nearby, and at least a few kid-friendly attractions within walking distance. A convenient Metro stop would also be nice. The Champs Elysees apt. is about $80 more expensive per night, though the interior photos look very similar to the other apartment. Is this area in a more desirable location? Please advise - Thanks for the help.
Neal623 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 07:29 AM
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I like the Montparnasse area. It has more of a neighborhood feel with cafes, restaurants and a Monoprix.
There is a carousel near the station (I think it's there year round)but your kids might be too old for that.
On your arrival I recommend going to the top of the tower for great views and for getting your bearings.
sassy_cat is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 08:35 AM
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I'm assuming your second choice is on the Rue de Berri. Where you are on that street determines the convenience of a Metro station.

Montparnasse is not in the center of Paris. For almost all sightseeing, you will need to take the metro or a bus. Your other location is in central Paris and is walkable to some of the sights. This is not the ideal location (I'd prefer the Left Bank or the Marais). But it would allow you to drop back to the apartment (to have lunch or rest or drop off packages) without making a journey to Montparnasse and then having to journey back into town.

For a first-time visit to Paris or a visit with a biggish group, a more central location than Montparnasse is best. And Montparnasse has that tower, which is very much non-traditional Parisian architecture. Whereas central Paris has mainitained the old style buidings 4 or 5 stories high.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 09:16 AM
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True, Montparnasse isn't in the center of Paris: but with a number of metro lines running through Gare Montparnasse, it's actually not a bad location for getting to the places you'd want to see.

IMO, the Champs Elysees area isn't all that fun as a place to stay - for adults or kids. And IME, I don't particularly feel all that happy there late at night because it gets quite deserted (though evening certainly is fine). While I don't know the exact area of your apartment, I can definitely attest to a lack of kid-friendly attractions in the immediate vicinity of the avenue - nary a park in walking distance, for example. And rather a dearth of casual dining options and small groceries.

Lastly, while Montparnasse indeed has the tower, the neighborhood surrounding IMO has a much more low-key residential feel. If you're standing under the tower, you don't even see it. And certainly the view from the top is terrific. Maybe a little weird for kids(?) but the cemetery nearby is a pretty place to wander through - and you're not too too far from the Jardin de Luxembourg, with its pool where kids sail little boats...
ggreen is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 09:28 AM
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Rue de Berri is a very expensive area I can't imagine there are going to be neighborhood cafes and small groceries nearby. I wouldn't even know where the closest grocery store to that location is. It would help if you actually named the location, that street runs quite a ways (I imagine teh rental agent would call any apt on that street by that name to impress people, even if it is on the far end of the street). If it IS near Champs-Elysees, I think that's a terrible location for an apt. and especially people with kids. It would be okay for folks who want to stay in a 5* hotel or something.

Now there is a kids puppet theatre thing over at Theatre Marigny near the FDR metro.

In short, both areas are perfectly safe and both are near metro stops. The Champs-Elysees is a business area.
Christina is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 09:32 AM
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The Montparnasse choice is by far the better one. The Champs-Elysées area is boring, deserted at night, and has little to offer kids (or adults). Montparnasse is a lively neighborhood with plenty of cafés and such and lots of métro options.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 13th, 2011, 09:55 AM
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<< I wouldn't even know where the closest grocery store to that location is. >>

A "hundred" years ago when I lived on rue de Bassano, there used to be a Prisunic right on the Champs Elysees, alimentation au sous sol. Other than that and a small farmer's market off Avenue Marceau, I was pretty much out of luck on the grocery front!
ggreen is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 09:59 AM
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I would definitely go with Montparnasse location. You'll enjoy a more authentic Paris stay, save some money with the accommodations, save money by the collection of restaurants and cafes that are in the area, and be able to get around the city perfectly fine with the metro.

David Robert Hogg,
Publisher of My Little Nomads
MyLittleNomads is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 11:08 AM
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well, there is a Monoprix on the Champs-Elysees now that I think of it. And I think they do have a grocery section in the basement. I'm not positive as I never go in that location to buy groceries -- I know they have an underground level, but I forget what all is down there (school supplies are, as I recall, for one thing).

I often stay in MOntparnasse and have a favorite cafe at the end of rue Odessa. There is a movie theater on that street and a bunch of other businesses, also (couple hotels). I think there are a couple fairly large modern apt buildings, it might be in one of them. I'd check on the situation of the apt on that street, if it overlooks the street, it could be very noisy. That sort of goes for lots of Paris, of course. But if it's inside which I think it might be (inside a courtyard area), it should be okay.

Luckily that is not right next to the tower as it is not particularly pleasant right next to a train station, either.
Christina is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 01:55 PM
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Thanks for your advice. It sounds like Montparnasse is the better choice. Just out of curiousity, what are other desirable sections of Paris which would be considered "family-friendly", safe, and centrally located? (I have not yet booked, so maybe I should reconsider after hearing from a few people. Thanks!
Neal623 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 01:57 PM
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I agree - Montparnasse.
hpluss1 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 02:08 PM
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Other areas:

Somewhere near a park or garden would be good, such as the 6th around Luxembourg. There also would be plenty of eating places etc.

The western side of the Marais, to the east of the Centre Pompidou, which is a delight for all ages.

Most of Paris is safe other than occasional scammers in the more tourist-heavy areas.
Alan_CT is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 02:39 PM
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Just about any part of Paris would be safe or what you might call family friendly. Although I would say near Luxembourg gardens would be nice (5th or 6th). I'd say just about any area except the very heavy business areas (which to me are along rue de Rivoli/the Louvre area and then around the Champs-Elysees and around Chatelet metro/rue de Rivoli is pretty full of stores and congested.
Christina is offline  

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