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First time to Paris. Can anyone give me some tips (hotels,best district,restaurants,etc)?

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First time to Paris. Can anyone give me some tips (hotels,best district,restaurants,etc)?

Old Oct 18th, 1999, 05:54 PM
  #1  
Michael
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First time to Paris. Can anyone give me some tips (hotels,best district,restaurants,etc)?

Hello everyone!

I'm taking my girlfriend to Paris this December for a week. Since this is both of our first time there, I was hoping for all the help I could get. Especially when we don't speak French.

1. Best district to stay in. I guess the best spot to reach the subway and many sites from.

2. Best Hotels within the range of $50 - $100

3. Best restaurants

4. Best sites to see in a week.

Again, any help is deeply appreciated. Thanks.

Michael
 
Old Oct 18th, 1999, 06:09 PM
  #2  
Bob Brown
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Let me suggest you run a search on the topic of "PARIS". Paris has been the most active city topic on this forum for over a year. If some of the answers I got in response to a query I posted about 5 months ago are still active, you will get generous amounts of information. I think, however, that you will find that an $70 - $80 a night hotel room is about as low as you want to go, in the better arrondissments. The general concensus of opinion seems to be that the 5th, 6th and 7th are Ok areas, with many tourist type hotels clustered in the 7th.
I stayed in the 6th at the Acacias Saint Germain on rue de Rennes, at about $100 per night. It was Ok, but next time I will try my luck elsewhere.

As for the top attractions: You need to prioritize. Art? History? Architecture? Etc. Just what is it you want? Of course, the Louvre is the big sight to see along with many others. Before going to visit the Louvre, I suggest that you prepare by reading at least one comprehensive book on the subject. Otherwise, you will end up wandering aimlessly staring at pictures that often seem to look alike after 4 hours.
But do a search; the question you ask has been reviewed in depth many times on this Forum. There are reams of info already out there. I hope the good stuff is still available.
 
Old Oct 18th, 1999, 06:18 PM
  #3  
barry
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I don't speak a bit of French other than the obligatory phrases everyone picks up in basic conversation, but haven't found that to be a big problem in Paris proper. Making a sincere attempt to learn some phrases and showing respect for their culture is always appreciated, I think. I also haven't run into much of the rudeness that many comment about, given that overall Parisians are a little cooler/more reserved than those from some other parts of Europe, but I haven't perceived actual rudeness.
You'll have no trouble filling a week's itinerary. Just the basics can take that long: Louvre, d'Orsay, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Arc de Triomphe, Latin quarter, etc. Strongly consider a trip to Versailles (whole day), perhaps Giverny.
Be forewarned that hotels in Paris ain't cheap, and for $50-100 you'll get a whole lot less than what you'd expect for similar in the U.S.
The Metro (subway) system in Paris is excellent, easy to use and requires minimal effort to master. Convenient to lots of hotels.
Hope you have a great time. It's a great experience and you shouldn't have to fight any crowds.
 
Old Oct 18th, 1999, 06:21 PM
  #4  
dan woodlief
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It is possible to visit all the "major" sites in Paris in a week along with many minor ones. Still, there is enough in Paris to last for months if not years. Plus you should have time to make 1-2 1/2-day trips to places like Versailles or Chartres. There are many people on this site with a wealth of information about Paris, including some who live there. Tell us what your major interests are, and we may be able to point you to some less covered sites too, as well as help you make the best use of your time. One good hotel that I have used in this range is the Grand Hotel Leveque ($65 a night). It has been greatly popularized by Rick Steves, so you may or may not be able to get a room at this short of a notice. It is on Rue Cler in the 7th on a pedestrian street lined with market stalls during the day. They have a web site, but I can't remember it. Someone listed it a day or two ago, so do a search on Paris.
 
Old Oct 18th, 1999, 07:16 PM
  #5  
sabrina
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I wholeheartedly agree that you should do a search. You will find out all the nuts and bolts information that you need to know.

Most posts here will recommend Left Bank. I concur. I personally recommend Hotel St. Christophe on Rue La Cepede in the 5th. Double is $100, 01 43 31 81 54; email: [email protected].

I was there for the first time in September and had the time of my life but left with swollen feet and ankles. Why? I tried to do too much. I agree with earlier post that you need to pick something and go with it: Either you're going to shop, see art, the monuments, eat, go to the opera, party. But you can't do it all and you shouldn't try. You could spend a week alone at Musee D'Orsay (which I enjoyed much better than the Louvre, for the record). You and your girlfriend will love strolling on the Champs-Elysse (and if she is a "girly-girl" she will love the huge Sephora make-up/perfume store on the Avenue).

Just relax and enjoy it. You will lose yourself in the rhythm of the city.
 
Old Oct 18th, 1999, 08:21 PM
  #6  
arjay
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MAJOR disagreement: I dispute that hotel values are better here than in Paris. We found just the opposite. I can second the vote (just above) for St. Christophe (I believe our very pleasant room there last (1998) spring was !08). We also paid in the neighborhood of $80 for a slightly smaller, but still eminently acceptable and pleasant, room at des Grande Balcons. Get to a bookstore and buy Cheap Eats in Paris - an invaluable investment if you are watching your centimes in Paris. There is, I know, a certain "stage fright" (for some of us) when heading to Paris for the first time -- the language, the mystique, the history...all seem to combine and make us a bit quake-y at the whole idea. Relax. It's a lovely town. The people are pleasant, if a tad reserved....and you will have a WONDERFUL time!
 
Old Oct 19th, 1999, 04:08 AM
  #7  
elaine
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Hi Michael

I have some Paris notes available, updated from my most recent trip. Most of it is on sightseeing.
If you would like them, please email me.
Thanks.
 
Old Oct 19th, 1999, 06:58 AM
  #8  
Bob Brown
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On the subject of museums, my wife and I enjoyed the Musee d'Orsay, also. It is much smaller than the Louvre, but contains many great works of Ipressionist art.

On the subject of eating, we had a copy of the Cheap Eats book, but used it only once, and then just followed our instincts.
The restaurant Bistro de la Gare close to the Montparnasse Tower turned out to be our most frequented place. We had full meals for under $23.00 per person including service. Of course, you can spend $100 per person quite easily.
The restaurant at Musee d'Orsay was very good; best dessert I had in Paris was a creme something or other that is almost worth a return visit.
We found the bus system to be easy to use and, by riding the buses, we could see Paris street scenes. I found the metro to be hot, always crowded, and buried in yards of tunnels and steps.
Just one word of warning, heed the admonitions about pickpockets. Those guys and girls have a way of picking out easy, or supposedly easy, victims. I was "spotted" boarding the train. Obviously I was a tourist -- you cannot hide it. As I boarded, a fellow pretended to be reading the subway route map over the doorway. As I got on, he moved into me, causing contact around my shoulders.
That, of course, was the distraction that pickpockets use. I was a little slow on the uptake, other than to move quickly out of his way. Whether I seemed to be too poor to be worth the effort, or I moved unexpectedly, I still had my billfold. (It had $7.00 and my voter registration card in my hip pocket; my credit cards, drivers license, and "big" money were under my shirts.) Some posters have minimized the risk as being overstated. I don't know, but in my case the frequency of occurrence was 100%.


 
Old Oct 19th, 1999, 09:11 AM
  #9  
Ray
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Michael,
Definitely stay in the 6th or 5th arr.-very alive at night(7th is very quiet). A great restaurant on Blvd St Germain is La Vagenende. Learn to use the Metro. Do top of Eiffel Tower and Pont Alexander III at night. Have a great time.
 
Old Oct 19th, 1999, 10:20 AM
  #10  
kristi
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We stayed the Hotel Muguet, a very nice hotel, 540FF for a double, in the 7th. The neighborhood was very quiet, but was close to the Latour Mourborg metro station, within walking distance to the Rodin Museum and Invalides, so it really didn't matter to us. If you're looking for a lively neighborhood with lots of restaurants, this is not the place for you.

The best tip I have for Paris, if you are interested in visiting a lot of sites, is to buy the Carte de Musee, a 1, 3 or 5 day museum pass that allows you to skip the admission lines at the majority of the attractions in Paris and saves money if you plan on visiting several sites a day. We were in Paris between Xmas and New Year's and Paris was quite crowded so we thought it was great. You may have a different experience if you are going in early/mid December. The pass is also good for Versailles, Fountainbleu and several other sites outside Paris.

Another great tip I received was going to the top of the Samartaine department store for a free view of Paris.

Don't worry too much about not speaking French although it is nice to try to learn a few basic words wherever you go. Most Parisians speak some English, if not fluent English.

We walked a lot in Paris but also found the metro to be quite convenient. You can buy a carnet of 10 metro tickets for about 55FF (metro ticket is 8FF) which I found to be a better deal for us than daily/weekly passes.

Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle are near each other, try to see on the same day. Saint Chapelle is a lovely church with beautiful stained glass windows. Go to the top of Notre Dame for a close up view of the gargoyles and a view of the city. Musee d'Orsay is a must for a lover of impressionist art. I was a little overwhelmed by the size of the Louvre, don't feel like you need to see everything. Try to get out to visit Versailles. Take a stroll down the Champs Elysses. Go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

Have a great trip!

 
Old Oct 19th, 1999, 02:16 PM
  #11  
Carol
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Hi Michael:

Here are a few hotel recommendations within your price range.

5th arron. (very lively area):

Cujas Pantheon
http://www.france-hotel-guide.com/h75005cujas.htm

Hotel Familia
http://www.123france.com/europe/fran...s/hofamius.htm

6th arron. (quieter than 5th, but very nice):

Hotel des Balcons
http://www.paris-hotel.com/files/aph...os=3&langue=gb

7th arron. (not as lively as 5th and 6th - mostly quieter at night - but near Eiffel Tower, Invalides, Rodin Musee and good metro access):

Hotel du Champs de Mars
http://www.adx.fr/hotel-du-champ-de-mars/

Grand Hotel Leveque
http://interresa.ca/hotel/leveque/


Good luck!
Carol
 
Old Oct 22nd, 1999, 12:19 PM
  #12  
Michelle
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I made my first trip to Paris this past February - off-season is the way to go, no crowds. We stayed in the 4th, in the Marais, it's less touristy than the Left bank. Great hotel - Hotel Jeanne D'Arc on quiet little street, well under $100, english-speaking staff. Near Saint Paul metro. Go to the crepe guy near this stop. He stands outside, in all weather. best crepes I had in Paris.
 
Old Oct 22nd, 1999, 01:29 PM
  #13  
Patrick Ashton
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Many good suggestions above, but I must comment on food. I probably overspend in Paris on the hotel -- decor and comfort are important to me --not just a clean bed and bath. But I am always amazed how little I spend there on food, yet always eat very well. In the areas near St. Michel and all along just off St. Germain (Rue Gregorie, Rue St. Benoit, and Rue de Buci) are dozens of wonderful small restaurants with three courses of great choices for a price often $15 and less. And it is the one place you can really count on inexpensive house wines (I never seem to like them in Italy). As someone else said, use your instincts and read the posted menus, looking for the various price categories for meals. Streetside creperies are great also, and I love the inexpensive chain of Leon's (Mussels and frites to die for.
Does anyone not love Paris??
 
Old Oct 22nd, 1999, 01:29 PM
  #14  
Patrick Ashton
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Many good suggestions above, but I must comment on food. I probably overspend in Paris on the hotel -- decor and comfort are important to me --not just a clean bed and bath. But I am always amazed how little I spend there on food, yet always eat very well. In the areas near St. Michel and all along just off St. Germain (Rue Gregorie, Rue St. Benoit, and Rue de Buci) are dozens of wonderful small restaurants with three courses of great choices for a price often $15 and less. And it is the one place you can really count on inexpensive house wines (I never seem to like them in Italy). As someone else said, use your instincts and read the posted menus, looking for the various price categories for meals. Streetside creperies are great also, and I love the inexpensive chain of Leon's (Mussels and frites to die for.
Does anyone not love Paris??
 
Old Oct 23rd, 1999, 07:28 PM
  #15  
joaquin bustamante
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Don't miss the view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, it is worth while.Also walk along the quays. Square Rene Viviani. Furstemberg square.
 
Old Oct 24th, 1999, 06:49 AM
  #16  
arjay
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Yes, the Arc is another good view...(esp at dusk), but be prepared for a climb. I forget how many stairs I counted last year when we did it - it was either something like 140 or 240. Do-able, if tiring, for the avg person, but not something to do if someone has a bad knee or the like.
 

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