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First time to Paris...heck...first time to Europe!

First time to Paris...heck...first time to Europe!

Dec 24th, 2004, 02:21 PM
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First time to Paris...heck...first time to Europe!

I have been lurking here for awhile...and thanks to all of you I am coming to Paris in early April!! I reserved an apartment that is located on rue Beranger, in the Third Arrondissement at the Place de la Republique. Any thoughts on that area? I am coming with a friend...possibly two. It will be our first trip to Paris (and Europe!!) for all of us! I am looking forward to getting more information from this board to help me plan my trip. Thanks to all of you for wonderful trip reports, suggestions, and words of encouragment.
Kelbert is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 02:37 PM
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Enjoy your trip, K.

ira is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 02:41 PM
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I have a long file on Paris; if you'd like to see it, email me at
[email protected]

Let me encourage you to go through this thread, the Paris Superthread

Also, buy a basic map now, the Paris Streetwise is excellent and is available at amazon.com and most chain bookstores
Looking at it as you plan your trip will help you orient yourself and organize your itinerary

Bon voyage
elaine is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 02:42 PM
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Oooh, what fun, all the planning and anticipation..lucky you!
You will be north of Belleville, in Montmarte, I think. A part of the city that I am not very familiar with aside from the usual streets in Montmarte.
My suggestion would be to get as many guide books as you can. Read up on your neighborhood, what you most want to see and do and plot your course and fill each day with as much as you can.
My favorite guide books are the Acess Paris & Frommers Irreverant guides .. my favorite maps are the Streetwise Paris and the Paris Mapguide, Michael Middleditch..everything you need to know on those pages!
You are in the right place to get answers to questions on Paris
Happy Holidays & Happy Paris Planning~
Scarlett is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 03:03 PM
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Thanks so much for the replies...makes me feel even better about my trip. I was originally going to London...but changed my mind. I was concerned about not knowing the language...scared really, as I will be with one (maybe two) girlfriends who also speak no French. But...I enrolled in a conversational French class so I can attempt to speak the language. I am in their country after all!! Being from the SF Bay Area, I understand the frustration with tourists who assume or expect you to speak their language...and get quite upset if you can't help them. I had one tourist spat in my face when I said (for the tenth time), "I'm sorry...I just don't understand what you are asking."
Kelbert is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 03:31 PM
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Scarlett, what are you thinking about..?Sugar-plums?...rue Beranger is in the 3rd by Republic, just as Kelbert said...
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 03:43 PM
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Hi Travelnut--

Is that a nice, safe area for a first timer in Paris? A couple of girls...maybe one boy if we can convince him. =)
Kelbert is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 05:21 PM
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Sugar plums? hmmmm...I looked on a map and thought I knew what I was talking about
Scarlett is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 06:04 PM
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I've never stayed by place de la Republique, but I'm sure I've walked around the area on the way to somewhere... I'm sure a few folks have stayed there - I've read that there's a nice Holiday Inn at Republique so perhaps someone can chime in that has stayed at that or other hotel in the area. (I've stayed around Parc Monceau, Eiffel, place Monge and Montparnasse...)
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 06:08 PM
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Kelbert, I believe Place de la Republique is actually in the 11th, but the neighborhood straddles into the Third. I think you'll like it and I regard it as a safe area. Canal St. Martin and Rue Oberkampf are a short walk and the metro connections are excellent. Place de la Republique may not be the most touted area of Paris for tourists, but it's one that I prefer after many visits.
Flyboy is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 06:10 PM
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Travelnut, I am looking at my streetwise map, while I do know where the 3rd is and Place de la Republique, is that not close to Montmarte? Sorry, I am confused, and my son is on his way to Paris in a couple of months and looking also for reeeeally budget accomodations. So hopefully, I can get info here for him.
We always stay on the Left Bank~
Scarlett is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 06:12 PM
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Ahh, that answers my question, Flyboy,
Scarlett is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 06:22 PM
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Scarlett, when you said 'north of Belleville' I thought you were referring to the 19th arr, hence my 'correction'. >-
Anyway, here are a few random remarks about the area of Republique, lifted from earlier postings...It sounds like it could be an enjoyable (and safe) area to stay.

Author: Sherry
Date: 04/25/2002, 09:45 am...stayed in Paris last August at the Holiday Inn Republique.... We found the location really great, right at the metro stop Republique, and Hopon,Hopoff tour bus almost right there. ... Close to Italian restaurants, especially for Pizza. .... Charming area and you can walk to Louvre, etc. if you don't mind a good walk. We would definitely stay there again. Check out the canal near hotel. (St Martin).

Author: Michael
Date: 05/01/2004, 04:18 pm
Message: One side of Place de la République is lined with bistros and cafés. There is also Léon de Bruxelles if you like mussels.

Author: Flyboy
Date: 05/01/2004, 05:10 pm .....Oberkampf - This is a really neat neighborhood with plenty of bistros and cafes to choose from. (Check out Rue Oberkampf for plenty of nightlife.) This is an area that has become a more trendy in the past few years...

Author: Seamus
Date: 05/01/2004, 05:57 pm
Message: You are just a few blocks away from the Place de Republique in what is becoming known as a funky-hip area. There are several small to medium size 2-3* hotels in the general area. It is not what I would call upscale, but it is not unsafe. You'll finds lots of little business of all kinds of food, and are relatively close to the Marais (walkable if you are ambitious.)

Author: LarryJG62
Date: 04/22/2004, 01:00 am...For nightlife, you'll probably enjoy barhopping in the Marais and the Bastille-Oberkampf-Republique area. Get a copy of Time Out for an updated list of nightspots. Time Out also has a guidebook. AvantGuide also puts out a hip guidebook. Those areas are also loaded with inexpensive but good restaurants and bistros.

Author: Etienne_dOhio
Date: 04/15/2004, 07:38 pm......Day 8: Walked the Republique area , a working class neighborhood, full of life and an interesting contrast with the more upscale, staid-by-comparison parts of town. Like the Bastille, the Republique area had a genuineness about it that we felt was being sucked away by tourism and gentrification in the Marais and the Quartier Latin. And the Republique area has some really interesting attractions, such as the Louis XIV arches on Rues St Martin and Rue St Denis, and the complex of restored medieval buildings at the Arts and Metiers museum, including a free public library with the world?s squeakiest chairs, housed in a medieval monastery?s refectory, in the Arts and Metiers museum complex. A lot of guidebooks describe this area as slightly seedy. I don?t think so. There is a block or two on the Rue St Denis further south towards the Beaubourg that has a few peep shows, but they seemed almost quaint to us...
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 06:30 PM
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Scarlett, I haven't stayed at this hotel but we do like the area very much. I believe one of the "chicks" has tried it out (Bookchick? Beatchick?). Perhaps it would be a good budget choice:
Hotel de Blois (14th)

Also, this is one in the 5th that has been mentioned:
Hotel Marignan (5th)
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 24th, 2004, 07:05 PM
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Let me encourage you to prepare well for your visit, particularly to Paris. I say that in hopes you don't make the mistake I made as a young man when I first went there.

I was totally unprepared and, as a result, I missed several vital places. For example, I did not see Versailles or several other destinations that later were on my list of Priority 1 objectives.

Yes, you can get a good bit of information on this board. But let me encourage you to acquire a copy of the Green Michelin guide to Paris, a good street map with a layout of the Metro, and a good practical guide such as Let's Go Paris.

Everybody will have his or her own agenda of interesting places to visit. Whether or not you like art museums is your own personal choice, but without a knowledge of art history, the Louvre can be especially daunting. It is exhausting as it is, and after 4 hours of viewing works of art I find they all start to look alike.

I am not going to make specific recommendations without knowing your preferences, save one: Sainte Chapelle.
Those stained glass walls to me are one of the wonders of the world when you consider when the church was built and when the stained glass was installed.

It was built in the 1240s with no heavy cranes to do the lifting, no hydraulic or motorized tools of any kind, yet the building was so well engineered and tightly constructed that masonry cracks are few and far between.

Paris has a lot to offer. I have been there 4 times, and there are still many entries on my "must see" list that are not yet crossed off.

Go prepared to that you don't waste valuable time thrashing about aimlessly like I did on first visit. Time in Paris is too precious to waste.
brookwood is offline  
Dec 30th, 2004, 05:51 AM
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Rue Béranger is definitely not Montmartre, but rather the northern most tip of the Marais. It is a bustling, genuine, and very central part of Paris. For the anecdote, this street hosts the offices of "Libération", France's leading left wing daily. You'll be within walking distance of Canal Saint Martin, the Marais, the hip bar area of rue Oberkampf, Bastille, and anyway with so many metro lines in République, you'll be hard pressed to change more than once, if any, to go anywhere around Paris.
Art_Vandelay is offline  
Dec 30th, 2004, 01:01 PM
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Kelbert, My first (and so far only) trip to Paris was fantastic. Was traveling with one friend, stayed in Latin Quarter. I did absolutely no preparation at all beyond we had a hotel reservation. We got a free street map in the hotel lobby and played it by ear. Complete lack of language skills (while unfortunate) did not hinder us one bit.

That said... good for you for taking a class. Even with your best efforts I recommend learning the phrase in French... "I'm sorry, I don't speak French" said with a humble smile. My reasoning is with only a few months of study, even if you can ask a question in French, it is doubtful you will be able to understand the answer given.
suze is offline  
Dec 31st, 2004, 11:39 AM
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Thanks for the tips Art Vandelay--love the Seinfeld reference...should have made my screen name Mulva. =)

I was concerned that where we had chosen our apartment might be a little far out...but after researching the tips you gave, I'm very excited. I had heard about Canal St. Marin and didn't realize I would be so close. It seems Rue Charlot & Rue Bretagne are good areas to stroll. One question, do you know if there is any open air markets that sell yummy produce, breads, cheeses, etc.? We would love to be able to pick stuff up and bring it back for light meals. Any grocers nearby?

This board is great...thank you all for such wonderful advice. I hear it is "customary" to post a trip report upon return. I only hope mine will be as good as some of the ones I have read here.
Kelbert is offline  
Dec 31st, 2004, 12:04 PM
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Kelbert, I find the Republique area very good for visiting Paris, mainly owing to the big metro station (easy access to Paris in all directions). As others have mentioned, Republique is also a lively and colorful section.

In addition to the Canal St-Martin, it will be a nice walk to the Place des Vosges and Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise.

You might also check out the 2 triumphal arches (St Denis and St Martin) to the west of Republique. There is also a covered market (Marche St-Martin) on Rue du Chateau d'Eau, but I have never been there when it was open, so I don't know what's inside.

One more plug, according to my FIL who grew up in the neightborhood, the smallest "house" in Paris is at 39 Rue du Chateau d'Eau (I think that's the street address). I don't know whether or not his info is accurate and it's not clear if it is a true building or not, but the place is pretty small.

Finally, I think it is also about a 20-25 minute walk to the Seine and the same to the Grands Magasins in the 9th.

As for markets, I don't remember seeing one when I've stayed in the area, but there is a big one in Belleville, which is not too far. There are a few supermarkets in the area. In particular, I recall one being around the corner from the Oberkampf metro.

Have a good time!
mhulot is offline  
Jan 1st, 2005, 07:39 AM
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Compare the markets on this list to your location to see if there are any close by...
Travelnut is offline  

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