Does Paris have to be expensive?

Jan 19th, 2006, 12:24 PM
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we have been to paris twice and will return again this may. i really did not find it very expensive. tax is included in your meal price and tipping (if you do) is minimal. wine does not have the same mark up as it does in the states. you can eat a great meal for far less in paris than in ny.
i also think that it is a shame not to enjoy at least one great meal there. i love the fact that dinner is not rushed, ends w/ a cheese course (a course that i wish u.s. restaurants would adopt) and service is very professional the other days do picnics etc.
plambers is offline  
Jan 19th, 2006, 12:57 PM
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We weren't in Paris, but when we went to Europe we ate at the hotel in the morning, included with the room, grabbed a light lunch from a vendor or did grocery store food then experienced the culture at a resteraunt for dinner. My husband and I try to stay pretty reasonable on food, and this helped. We got to experience the food and afford it too. By the by...I think McDonald's in other countries is worth experiencing! And you know, if you are there for three weeks, you WILL start to crave that good old American Grease!
fiesty1 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2006, 02:58 PM
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When a department has the same name as a river, will the river and the department always necessarily have the same gender?
cmt is offline  
Jan 21st, 2006, 03:03 PM
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Sorry, I posted on the wrong thread. I have no idea how that happened. I thought I was on that thread about why certain department names require an article.
cmt is offline  
Jan 21st, 2006, 03:38 PM
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Part of the fun of trip planning (to all destinations) for me is to see how inexpensively I can stay yet be well located.

We usually rent condos, apts, or townhouses for a number of reasons. I like having the additional space so we aren't going stir crazy in one small room. We like to fix breakfast in the mornings and not have to get dressed in order to eat. I also like to have a glass of wine and a bit of cheese "at home" before dinner so I'm not starving before we go. and one of the best reasons for renting a condo is availability of a washer/dryer directly in the unit.
amwosu is offline  
Jan 21st, 2006, 11:02 PM
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you can keep wine and snacks in a normal hotel room too. i always fix up a little 'kitchen' space on top of the dresser. bottle of wine, glasses, flowers, crackers, nuts, cheese, like that.
suze is online now  
Jan 22nd, 2006, 01:17 AM
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A baguette with cheese certainly can be tasty. But much of its appeal for visitors is its novelty: it's tasty and it's different. The locals eat this sort of thing all the time—to them it's very much as McDonald's is to Americans. And the French are not the gastronomic connoisseurs that you might expect.

I recall that, when Disneyland first opened outside Paris, each of its restaurants featured a different type of food—Italian, Chinese, Tex-Mex, seafood, 50s-style burgers and fries, New York bagels and egg salad, bacon and eggs with buttermilk pancakes (!), etc.—and all of it was good. But the resort discovered that the French (and Europeans) were really not that sophisticated when it came to food … all they wanted was the stuff they found at home, which meant primarily baguettes with Swiss cheese and ham, or cheap frozen pizzas, or things like that. Back in those halcyon days after the opening, there was an extraordinary variety of food in the resort; but today it's mostly pizza and salami sandwiches everywhere, because that's what the French recognize and it's about all they're willing to buy.

It's interesting to note that many people crave adventure in various domains … but still prefer to remain conservative on food. Lots of people enjoy seeing and doing all sorts of things in Paris, but still prefer to eat food that they are familiar with when it comes time to dealing with hunger. For Americans (and some other nationalities), this is where places like McDonald's come in. I don't see any reason to criticize such people just because they don't want to eat frog legs or snails every evening. As I've said, some people just eat to live, and they want to satisfy hunger with a minimum of fuss, which means eating something that they already know will do the job. And these same people usually like to eat fast, so that they can continue doing more intersting things as soon as possible.

Incidentally, there's a star system run by the government for hotels, but none for restaurants that I'm aware of. In any case, you don't need stars to find good food. The best food in Paris tends to be in the mid-range from a price standpoint: restaurants that pride themselves on their cuisine and charge a fair price for it. The cheapest places only want to make money and don't care how the food tastes; the most expensive places, surprisingly, have much the same philosophy.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 12:05 AM
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If you're a teacher, you can get into the Musee D'Orsay for free. (I don't know if it was just one day a week or all the time...) Need a faculty ID card or other documentation.
fishee is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 06:47 AM
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Anthony, I am not sure that McDo gives you the opportunity to "eat to live": judging by the extremely unhealthy content (sugar, fat) their food is saturated with, it would rather be "eat to die". See the excellent documentary "Supersize me" about this (actually, the guy was ORDERED by his physician to stop the experiment otherwise he would waive all responsability).
As for Disneyland being the ultimate reference point for what's good and bad in public food, I must say that Fodors will have enabled me to discover this before I die...
Art_Vandelay is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 07:23 AM
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The other question to ask is "Do you get good value" in Paris? For example, I've visited (and lived in) London and Paris a lot. I find that standard hotels in London and Paris aren't a good value - very expensive and you don't necessarily get a lot for your money (compared with, e.g. Spain). On the other hand, 2-3* hotels in Paris can be a good value (especially some of the Best Westerns and Holiday Inns - some of which actually have charm), whereas the London hotels for the same price are drab and depressing. So you get more for your money in Paris than London in this price range (albeit somewhat less than what you get in Spain).

Food. The food in Paris is generally good to superb, at almost all price levels (excluding chains at the bottom of the range). By contrast, I always felt that, however good my restaurant meal was in London, it was never worth what I paid for it. Spend your money on food (either from markets or in restaurants) and scrimp a little on your hotel. Choose intelligently as others have suggested here: choose the daily menu/prix fixe, ask for tap water, splurge on lunches rather than dinners. If you have a minibar, stash some cheese and bread in your room and have it for breakfast.

Shopping. Not necessarily a good deal in Paris, unless you're here during the sales or go to visit the discount malls outside the city. There are some exceptions. Some leather goods are good value (not as good as Italy, but you can find some fabulous shoes and purses here). Home decorating fabrics are abundant and there are wonderful readymade curtains here (a strange thing to take home, I know - but they are great). Tablecloths are gorgeous (some are expensive but they're worth it).

Transportation: You can walk to a lot of places, and the public transportation system is cheap.

But I see that you're thinking of visiting Paris in April. One thing to keep in mind is the impact of the Easter holiday on prices and activities. Your hotel could be a little more expensive than usual for that time of year. Of greater concern, public service workers take great delight in going on strike on or near major holidays. They did last year at Easter. So, if your visit will coincide with Easter, try to plan your travel dates so that you arrive at least a few days before or a few days after the Easter weekend, lest you end up stuck, or stuck trying to get to the airport to go home.
Kate_W is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 08:18 AM
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If you actually take the time to look at the nutritional analysis of McDonald's food, you see that there's nothing particularly unhealthy about it. Plain hamburgers, in particular, are very well balanced.

The movie Supersize Me was a deliberate attempt to exaggerate and sensationalize an imaginary threat to health from McDonald's food. The protagonist could have eaten in the same way anywhere and would have suffered similar health effects. In particularly, he always said "supersize me," whereas virtually no one does that in real life. And he just ate too much food overall.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 07:08 PM
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Not to fall victim to a thread hijack, but.. Anthony, do you really beleive that people don't supersize all the time? Why do you think it is such a common promotion? And how many do you think order a plain hamburger? C'mon - this is the Lipitor generation we're talking about!
Seamus is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 03:23 PM
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Momliz is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 05:01 PM
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No, it definitely does not have to be expensive. There are plenty of cafes, reasonably priced restaurants, boulangeries, and crepes to be had for very little. What? $6.00 for bottled water? You can buy a whole six-pack at Monoprix for that price. Also, we have never paid more than $150 for a hotel room. We tend to pay about 60 Euros for a nice dinner, sometimes more sometimes less, but we balance that by eating a wonderful sandwich at Cosi or a crepe. We had a delightful meal in Montparnasse at one of the creperies, and it was very inexpensive. Buy a Carte Orange for unlimited rides on bus or Metro and a telecarte for both local and long distance phone calls. I hope you will go to Paris. You can do it for much less than your friend. Check out for reasonably priced package deals.

sandypaws3 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 07:01 PM
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As far as I know, McDonald's in France doesn't even have a "supersize" option. Nothing surprises me among Americans, but Europe is different. In fact, even the portions at McDonald's are smaller in Europe than in the USA; if you look at the actual volumes, you'll find that a medium Coke in the USA is like a large or maxi Coke in Europe.

Plain hamburgers in McDonald's in France cost just 75 cent and contain about 262 kcal, evenly divided among protein, carbs (starch, mostly), and fat.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 07:06 PM
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Yet another hijack to the thread... What about the opposite of "supersizing" it? I loved, loved, loved the teensy tiny four bite packages of Ben and Jerry's ice cream that I first spotted at the gasoline stops in France a couple of years ago.
amwosu is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 07:57 PM
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If you don't mind cooking once in awhile, you can stay at an apt. (which will be more roomy than any hotel at the same price) and then shop at the food market at Bon Marche and other nice markets.

Even regular supermarkets have nice produce and fish/meat at decent prices.
wco81 is offline  
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