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

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

Jan 4th, 2005, 08:05 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 358
Travelnut's suggestion is spot on. I know that, on some days of the week (to be checked precisely on the website) there is a huge street market on boulevard Richard Lenoir. Otherwise, for your daily needs, there is a big Monoprix on rue du Temple, at the intersection of rue Béranger. If you want to be a bit more adventurous, rue du Faubourg du Temple is chock-a-block with all kinds of shops, many of them ethnic (North African, Turkish, etc. ).
Art_Vandelay is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,942
You are so fortunate to be going to my favorite travel destination. After 8 visits, I can't wait to return. If you are lucky, Paris will get into your blood and you will go again and again. It is good to learn some French but the Parisiens, we have found, speak very good English. With a Streetwise map, a Michelin guide and lots of research, you will have a splendid visit. As Brookwood says, don't miss Ste. Chapelle!
mamc is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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Kelbert, make sure you're all in good shape before going on this trip! I was surprised at how many of the Metro stops were raised platforms. (Think of the El in Chicago.) I never climbed so many stairs in my life as I did on the Metro. I think you'll like the area you've chosen very much. It's a little grittier than most other neighborhoods tourists choose to stay in, but it feels so real and so Parisian (and perfectly safe). Have a great time!
Jan 4th, 2005, 10:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 123
Thanks Art, mamc & dln for the tips! Greatly appreciated. I already have the streetwise map (from an old boss who traveled to Paris a lot on business) and I am off to the bookstore soon to see if I can find the Michelin.

You are right Art...Monoprix is right around the corner on rue du Temple...I peeked at mappy.

And dln...I started walking up the hill we live on (it's very steep) and doubling my dogs walks (they love it!!) in order to prepare for the Metro. =)
Kelbert is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 11:04 AM
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Kelbert, here's a website I found yesterday while doing some research on a Paris neighborhood. It's written by a guy named Tom who must be either a student or a young professor. It is his journal of Paris, with sections on restaurants, places to visit, hotel info, etc. I think it's hilarious reading because Tom lets it all hang out. Even if I weren't going to Paris, I'd still read his guide; it's that funny.


Jan 4th, 2005, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 943

I love Tom's website. Thanks for the link! Hilarious and helpful all at the same time. I greatly enjoyed his musings on the paradox of whether the Eifel Tower if worth ascending or not.

You have a great attitude and you are already picking up tons of information here. You will have a blast in Paris. I agree with brookwood that St Chapelle is not to be missed. I think it is even on the Carte Musee. I also love the gardens of the Rodin museum and the Musee Marmottan. Of course, some of my best memories are just walking around and hanging at cafes.

Check out the thread 100 Great Things to Do In Paris (sorry I don't know how to link to it here.)

Have a wonderful trip.
BlueSwimmer is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 10:44 PM
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dln-Thanks for the link to Tom's website...I loved it! Very informative and with a great sense of humor!

BlueSwimmer-I AM picking lots of information here...I feel so lucky to have come across this board. Funny you mention it...I am most excited about sitting in a cafe and soaking up Paris. I just hope that I am not so excited I make a fool of myself. =)
Kelbert is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 07:22 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 943
"I just hope that I am not so excited I make a fool of myself. =)"

You won't! You will charm everyone with your delight. In my experience, no one is ever negative when a traveller/tourist sincerely seems to love the country, customs, food, etc. They take it as a compliment on their homeland (or they are amazed that you adore something they take totally for granted.)

It is only the grouchy complainers who get bad reactions. Like my mom always says, "You catch more flies with honey."

I've always interpreted this to mean that if you are resolutely positive, you will have mostly positive experiences and memories, even when those frustrating or unlucky moments we all experience while travelling happen.

I know you will have a great trip. I can't wait for the trip report.
BlueSwimmer is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 10:44 AM
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So true Blue Swimmer--

I feel great pride when I see tourists get excited about the Golden Gate Bridge. I take it for granted...I commute across the thing every day, so I start thinking of it as "just a bridge"...which it is not.

My friends are already teasing me...saying I will meet so many new people. I am a very friendly, open person who is genuinely excited about new places and/or experiences. OK...maybe I won't make a fool...but I'll drive them nuts! =)
Kelbert is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 01:39 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 26
here was my report from a month ago...email me at [email protected]. we used michelin and steeves and it worked out just peachy. picked up the 2003 michelin for 3 dollars off ebay...i suggest people look on ebay for cheap travel guides they are usually 1 or 2 years old and the info really doesnt change too much.

Message: Stayed at Marriott Champs all of last week. Best part was didn't cost a dime using incentive points. I can't find one reason why someone wouldn't like this place. Location was perfect right on Champs, 1/2 block to metro stop, 4 blocks to Arc and plenty of eating and bars around. Monoprix 1/2 block has groceries down stairs..use your balcony as a refrigerator this time of year...wine cheese, more wine, bottled water, you get the drift. Of course I was staying in a US500/night room for free so maybe i am biased but if you require an american style room with excellant service this is your place, breakfast was included in my deal which was buffet americn style with fruits and eggs, bacons, cheeses, etc which cost 16 euro perperson if you are paying. I personlly would go elsewhere and eat lighter if i was paying but we ate huge breakfast and less for lunch. Exchange rate is a killer as we all know and paris prices are high anyway so i encourage everyone to shop very carefully for your lunches and dinners. its very difficult to get a bad meal in paris so why spend a fortune. The restarants, cafes, etc all have menus in front so take a look at the prices and meals and move on..we usually looked at 10 places for dinner before settling plus we get to exp[lore. Best dinners we had were under 20 euros..worst dinner we had was 40 euros per person. Also, get your wine in pichet(pitcher) bottles will eat you alive and very few people could tell the difference what comes from a bottle and what comes from a pitcher. Buy a metro pass and don;t step one foot in a cab and get a museum pass and enjoy. Dont be loud and learn the basics , Bon Jour, Merci, say vu play(please) and you are ready to go nad you wont get any attitude and dont be a complainer...if you order and it isnt exactly what you wanted well eat or drink it and enjoy unless if you order chicken and they bring you fish. any questions send me email to [email protected]. FYI, air france bus is the way to go..gets you there just as fast as taxi and round trip is 18 euros or 24 usd. champs is absolutely awesome now with christmas lights up..montmarte is great with no tourists right now..we had the run of the place last friday night..go to top and walk down to moulin rogue stopping in for wine at the cafes allt he way down..what a joy to hang with the french and feel a part of their world and not hear any english. Wewaited 10 minutes to go up in eiffel no line at louvre or anywhere else..sit outside under the heat lamps at the cafes...other than missing the flowers which i can see in pictures we easily covered three times as much ground this time of year than someone could in the summer because of lines.


Author: jfaul4820
Date: 12/11/2004, 07:28 am
Message: should have said walk down to moulin rogue area..we didnt go in nor did we want to..area is seedy but worht checking out and there is a metro stop right there to get you out.

jfaul4820 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 02:56 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Kelbert - we went to Paris in late November - it was my first time in Europe as well, and my husband and I do not speak any French.

I bought a couple guides - The Unofficial Guide to Paris was really good. The introductory chapters were really helpful. I really recommend this guide as a first-timer. I also used the arrondissement maps and attraction reviews to put together a list of my "must sees" and "would like to sees" and then grouped them by neighborhood, so it would be convenient to see more things in a day. From there, I made a schedule on when to visit what attraction/museum based on the days that they're closed and other concerns. (Gosh, I sound like a dork!)

I knew from this site and the guides that despite my complete ignorance of the French language, greeting waitstaff, hotel staff, and shopkeepers with a hearty Bonjour or Bonsoir was all I needed. I had learned "I'm sorry, I don't speak French" but I never needed it, because the panic-stricken look on my face communicated as much! But no one was perturbed to speak English to us, and we were always very humble and appreciative. I admit that before my trip I was so scared (it's the first place I've been where English isn't the primary language), but it was incredibly easy to get around.

You'll have so much fun - good luck!
kgh8m is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 03:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,738
Kelbert, that is the way I feel when we go on these trips, I want to just stand there in the street and stare at everything with a big grin on my face. While I don't actually do it, the grin usually stays
I have a wonderful list that my apt owners sent to me.
I will try to condense it into links that everyone can use, and will post it on here soon. You should take a look at it, there must be something on there for you to use too ~
Scarlett is offline  
Jan 8th, 2005, 08:47 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 19
I went to Paris for a weekend this summer by myself. I don't speak ANY French. I was intimidated going, but I had a wonderful time. (I was also a woman traveling alone...I was extra careful in the metro, on the street, etc., but then again I'm a city girl anyway and am always careful...don't engage with people who might come up to you knowing you're a tourist...just keep walking.) I bought a small tour book that had useful French phrases in it, but I found that once I said "Bonjour" or "Merci" and then asked if someone spoke English, there would always be someone who could. I felt a little bad not being able to speak in the native language and making others speak mine...so it's good that you're taking a class to get some of the basics. Despite all this I had a wonderful time ... walked all over for two days straight and didn't want to leave. Enjoy!
Liz27 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,571

There's an outdoor food market on Boulvard Voltaire,in the 11th arrondissement, between rue Jean Pierre and rue Oberkampf, not far from your apartment. Not quite sure of the day, but I believe it's Tuesdays. Chez Jenny, a large brasserie just off Place de la Republic, is a Paris institution, and deservedly so. The Astier, on rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, is a fine place for traditional French food, and the prices are very kind. Great cheese course! The Canal St. Martin, noted by many in this string, is a charmer. There's a wonderful little Italian restaurant in the 10th just back from the canal, called La Madonina, on rue Marie et Louise. (Isn't that a great name for a street? I don't know the history.) I lived very near your Paris home for many years and don't live so very far away now. I think you'll love it! Have a great stay!


Dave_in_Paris is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 02:42 PM
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Dave--Thanks so much for your suggestions. I pulled out my Streetwise map and located all the places you spoke of. I am really getting excited for my trip...don't know if I can wait another 2 months!!
Kelbert is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
Kelbert, congratulations! My future trip will be the first one too, so I almost know how you feel. I am excited and can't think of anything else!
FainaAgain is offline  

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