Engaged in Paris

Mar 10th, 1999, 02:26 PM
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Engaged in Paris

I have a trip planned for May 10th thru May 16th in Paris. I booked a delta vacation package which includes a dinner cruise on the Seine, tour of Vesaille, and a meal at Le Menu Bistro. Staying at the Best Western Hotel Bergere Opera in the 9th.

First time in Paris!!

1. Has anyone done this Delta Vacation?
2. Is the dinner cruise worth it?
3. How is the Hotel?
4. Is the 9th a good location?
5. Where is a good Le Menu Bistro?
6. A romantic resturant from which I can walk to the Eiffel Tower to pop the big question?
7. Has anyone done the illuminations night drive?
8. A close day trip maybe to a vineyard or a must see?

Thanks for taking the time to help me out. I will update as to her answer.

Mar 13th, 1999, 10:07 PM
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Congratulations Scott!! I just want to start off by saying how romantic your ideas are!!! As for the restaureant, why not just take a stroll down the banks of the Seine and decide together which restaurant you would like? I'm leaving for Paris on the 15th of MArch (2 days!!!) I'll keep my eyes open for a good one for you!! Besides the dinner cruise, why not try a bateau Mouche (htey run boat tours to) or, for a day trip, you can take the RER to Versailles, the ultimate romantic place for me!! Or maybe you would prefer Chatres, a town with a beautiful church, the stain glass there is excellent!!
This is also my first time in Paris, but I have heard that the 9th is nice. I return on the 23rd, feel free to E-mail me for some first hand details! Good-luck!
Mar 13th, 1999, 10:31 PM
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Scott -

I've been to Paris but have never done the dinner cruise. From what I read and hear on this site (and I've read quite a bit), it would not be worth it. From what I've gleaned, anything that includes dinner and a "something" (show or site or whatever), the food is terrible. This includes The Lido show, Moulin Rouge, and the boat cruises. By all means take a boat ride but leave dinner out.

I think you might better spend your money on a nice restaurant. If you were asking me, I think dinner at Jules Verne restaurant (on the Eiffel Tower, 1st or 2nd level) and then a ride to the top for the proposal would be fabulous.

Perhaps others will post and give you some ideas.

Good Luck!

Mar 13th, 1999, 11:11 PM
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Hi again -

I couldn't resist looking up your hotel. I can be a bit crazy about details sometimes.

We spent 6 days there last Sept. '98 and are going back in 2 weeks for another 6 days.

We looked for 3 weeks last year before we settled on a hotel but the effort was worth it. We ended up in a great location, central to everything and very lively. (we stayed in the 5th near Place St. Michel Fountain)

As for the 9th, it's not a bad location, but it's not a great location. Your 2 closest metro stops are on line 8 and 9. From what I can tell on my Paris map, there's only 1 or 2 major sites on these lines.

For everything else, and that's just about everything, you have to make 1 or 2 changes. This isn't a huge big deal it's just that during the day if you want to freshen up or drop off bags, you may not want to take the extra time and then end up carrying everything or not feeling "fresh".

I would recommend finding out what your other options are and what street they are on. Then, go to the bookstore and look up the area and read a little bit about each. This would give you a much better idea about what you're in for when you get there.

If you like to wander at night and people-watch and soak up the atmosphere, then this metro thing is important. The metro stops at 12:30ish so if you want to take the last metro back to your "area" and still be able to walk around and people-watch, you need to be a fairly lively place.

For this, the 5th or 6th area is probably best. Again, depending on age and tastes.

My best advice is to read alot at the bookstore. You can get so much information there not to mention many of the guides have color pictures.

Sorry to go on so long, hope this helps.
Mar 14th, 1999, 01:32 PM
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Scott, I've been thinking about your questions especially about the romantic restaurant and I like Lynn's suggestion about the Jules Verne restaurant on the Eiffel Tower. I think it is an excellent choice. I would pop the question in the restaurant or as Lynn suggested take the ride to the top. Either place would be memorable. You might want to check on making reservations ahead of time to make sure you can get into there.

As for the dinner cruise ... never did it, but I always do take the Bateau Mouche cruise at night. I think it is awesome and one of the better deals, if not the best, in Paris. I do think the dinner cruise is about 3 hrs long and although Lynn is probably correct that the food is not the greatest, it would still be pretty romantic. I think that after the Jules Verne, the dinner cruise would be my next choice.

Concerning the 9th ... I agree, again, with Lynn that it wouldn't be my first or 2nd choice. Actually, I wouldn't even think about staying in the 9th. I would opt for the 5th, 6th and 7th over the 9th.

I always had a car when in Paris so I always took my own illuminations drive. Paris is called the city of lights and it is a sight you won't forget.

As for a close day trip, Versailles is nice and almost always on everyone's must see lists for 1st timers.

Mar 14th, 1999, 04:02 PM
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Scott, I base my comments on having lived in France for a few years. Incidentally, I'm looking forward to moving back to France in a few years.
I agree even with those that have never been in Paris but who seem to have done a bunch of research. Goes to show you that there's a lot of info on the internet.
1. Never did this Delta vacation. Go there on business frequently, and use Delta, but always on business.
2. The dinner cruise: you know, France doesn't much have what you and I would call bad food. I recall once being in the city of Tours at a short order restaurant in a factory. I told the guy I wanted my steak well done. He through a fit! This 20 year old thought he was a 3 star chef. My point is that the French take food seriously. You might call it a stereotype, but I found that my French comrades knew a lot more about cuisine than the typical American. Therefore, my guess is that the dinner cruise will be quite alright and, if not, there will be plenty of wine. Also, the banks of the Seine at night are not to be missed. Go for it!
3.. The hotel? It's fundamentally an American hotel run by folks who speak French and English. If I wanted a Best Western I'd find one in the US, not France. You're going to miss out on a lot of France right there at the hotel. Scott, this sucks! Don't they have some other option?
4. The 9th is off the beaten path. Okay, but nothing special. City. Period. I'd be opting for romantic charm, hence the 5th or 6th, also known as the Latin Quarter. Some nice , romantic and charming hotels there.
5. Scott, I think Le Menu Bistro is a single place. So it's not a question of where a good one is. It just is. If you want to have great eats, buy a copy of the quintessential guide to restaurants, the Michelin Red Guide. Sure, Michelin makes tires, but they also invented the system of assigning stars to restaurants. The Red Guide is available at Barnes & Noble or you can order it from them. They list restaurants every which way: by specialty, by arrondissement, etc. There're probably 500 entries for Paris. A no star restaurant will be very good. A one-star restaurant will be extraordinary, believe me! A two-star restaurant is expensive, but worth it. A three-star restaurant will be one of the top 50 or so restaurants in the entire world. Book way, way ahead and expect to spend $250 apiece. As I said, the very best food to be had in the world today.
That said, I tend to stop at the first little brasserie I see, grab an outdoor table and order something simple: oeuf dur mayonnaise, jambon de Paris, etc. The idea of a dinner at the Jules Verne is outstanding. A very fine restaurant: 2 stars, as I recall, however there are a number of other very good restaurants in the immediate area. See the Red Guide for the 7th arrondissement. But... (and this is a big But...) if we're talking about popping the question, I'd do it in the Jardin des Tuileries, which is the huge garden between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, or, I'd do it on the Quai de l'Horloge on the little island where the Cathedral of Notre Dame is located.
7. Haven't
8. Take the train from Gare Austerlitz to the city of Tours. Get a bus tour at the Gare in Tours to see the chateaux. Be sure it includes Chenancon and Azay-les-Rideaux. Unforgettable.

Mar 19th, 1999, 09:07 AM
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Hi Scott, I will try to answer some of your questions :

- The dinner cruise is righteously described by the former respondents as not indispensable. The food will be bad and expensive, but the landscape is worth it, provided it doesn't rain.
- If your hotel is rue Bergère, you will be in a very lively, somehow noisy, working-class, Jewish neighborhood. If it's closer to Opera, it'll be more sedate, more touristy. The 9th is OK, very central, although it is not my favorite place in Paris (totally subjective and personal opinion ! )
- I soppose that what you call a good "Le Menu Bistro" is a café/restaurant with a prix fixe menu. You'll find one at every street corner in Paris. Just try to avoid the ones in tourist areas (e.g. with the menus translated into English, or the grand boulevard, where you will be staying), and prefer those where locals meet. Warning : those "typical" Parisian hang outs might reach a level of smoke that could be unbearable to American lungs.
- Romantic restaurant : nothing can beat "Le Totem" in the Museum of Mankind (musée de l'Homme)at Trocadéro, with the view on the Eiffel tower. But don't repeat it : it's a secret ! Reservations a must (eat outside, weather permitting).
- Illuminations drive is very easy to do, and actually very "romantic" : just take a cab at night at gare d'Austerlitz, tell the cabbie to drive on the Left Bank until pont des Invalides, where you'll cross the Seine, and from then on, to the Champs Elysées. $10 worth of pure magic !
- A day trip to a vineyart : Dijon is 1h40 mn away by TGV, then,if you rent a car, it's 20 mn to the vineyards. Or you can take the train to Reims (champagne). Or you can rent a car and go to Vaux-le-Vicomte, (60 km south of Paris), as stunning as Versailles, much less crowded.
Mar 19th, 1999, 01:15 PM
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Hi Scott
I hesitate to chime in in case you've already booked and paid, but since you asked...
Price out the airfare alone for a proper comparison.
I don't know what your budget is but
there are many simple, convenient, clean and even charming small hotels for $100-$150 per night.
If you buy museum passes, highly recommended if you want to visit the usual sights and museums, the Versailles entrance fee is included I believe. You can easily get to Versailles on your own by using the RER suburban rail system.
The provided Versailles tour in your Delta package may combine the admission, transportation,and guided tour for you, and there is something to be said for convenience, especially if this is your first trip to Paris.
People have differing opinions about Seine dinner cruises, gondola rides, and
carriage rides in New York. Some people wouldn't be caught dead, others
are into the traditional tourist spirit and wouldn't miss those things. Lynn is absolutely right in that the food on dinner cruises is usually second-rate at best. However, if your bonne amie
is a sucker (and I say that kindly, not sarcastically) for traditional romantic things, the food will be secondary.
If you can afford it, the Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower is an extraordinary experience, truly, but it is very expensive. I would estimate at least the equivalent of $150-$200 per person currently, depending on the wine. Remember that in Paris tax and tip are included.
I'm sure wherever you stay and wherever you dine, this will be a trip to remember. You can always learn from it and do it differently for your anniversary.
Mar 19th, 1999, 05:38 PM
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Scott, what a wonderful,romantic idea.Any real woman would be totally enchanted.How can she say no? May as well start planning the wedding.
Mar 20th, 1999, 12:40 AM
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Lots of good advice here. Unfortunately, I have to back the "thumbs down" on the 9th (like Vincent-just a personal opinion), but if you don't have a choice, after she says yes, go visit some of the truly great romantic hotels in Paris like the Relais Christine together to pick one out together for your honeymoon! (Or your 5th, 10th, or 20th anniversery-you get the idea)There are lots hotels listed here on the forum which I think you will find under romantic hotels...

Vincent is right about the Totem it would have a great view and it is terrific, but the Jules Verne would be fun too. I would spend my money at one of those before the dinner cruise, and I would rent "Charade" with Cary Grant and Audrey Heburn before you leave and watch them be romantic on the dinner cruise instead! Then you grab a bottle of wine or cognac and take the last bateau mouche of the evening and cuddle in the back and celebrate your betrothal!
Mar 20th, 1999, 05:59 AM
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Scott, I have never taken one of the dinner cruises, but I think they sound terribly romantic and have been planning one for my next trip to Paris. The food may not be the greatest, but as long as you don't expect it to be, it should be fine. I'm sure its one of those bad, tourist things that locals would never do. But what you, and I, and all the others are after, is romance, combined with some food and wine. Think of it as a restraunt with an incredible view, and you'll be fine.

I agree with the previous posters who recommended eating in the eiffel tower and then taking the elevator up. If you are looking for any other places to propose, someone else posted a similar question last fall, so do a search. One of the better recommendations was in the gardens at the Rodin Museum. Considering you will be there in May, I think this would be another great place (and it might be less crowded). My favorite place in Paris is inside Sainte Chappelle, but thats becasue I am a sucker for stained glass.

Versailles is beautiful, but in my opinion, overrun with tourists. I personally found it heard to recapture the romance with so many kids and tourists running around with cameras.

As for other day trips, I would recommend the town of Chantilly. They have an amazing chateau, featured recently in the film, "Ever After." When I was there we were one of about 12 people around. Its an easy ride from Paris on (I think) the RER, only about 40 minutes away, and a good 1/2 day trip.

As for your hotel, I don't know it. You said you had already booked it, and I wouldn't worry too much about what others have said. It may not be the most perfect neighborhood in Paris, but you are not going for the hotel room, you are going for PARIS. I'd worry more about the perfect hotel for your honeymoon, though Since this is your first time in Paris, you may receive a lot of comfort in the fact that it is an American chain and the rooms will be basically what you expect. There are some districts that are nicer than others, but don't forget, you are in Paris, and nothing can take that away from you. You will hardly be spending any time in your room, so don't sweat all the negative replies above.

I think its wonderful you are planning such a romantic trip. Your fiance is very lucky to have someone so thoughtful! Let us know what you decide to do, and how it goes!
Mar 20th, 1999, 01:47 PM
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What a great idea! Hmm... How can I get my boyfriend to do something like that?

I have to cast another vote for the 5th arrondisement or Latin Quarter. The 6th near the Sorbonne is good, too. I don't know a hotel but I also suggest staying away from an American chain. You will not even know what country you are in when you are in there. Also, you will definitely enjoy these lively areas along Blvd. St. Germain filled with life both day and night. You can walk to the Seine and see Notre Dame all lit up at night. Just another romantic idea.

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