Getting around Paris and France

Old Sep 12th, 2011, 12:16 PM
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Is this your hotel? http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_R...de_France.html

I don't know how much you booked for, at rack rate, there are comparably priced places in the heart of Paris. However, what you can get at this time would require you to call the hotels directly: the online availability is usually conservative and email correspondences would take too much time. Even if they have rooms, the online info would have no time to get updated. Use the search function in this forum to look for many other low cost hotels in the heart of Paris and start calling them direct using a VOIP that costs you little to make international calls.

I would not just hop on train and go some direction hoping to find "something" especially with your constraints. If you are looking for architecture, cheese, etc, do find a place that offer what you are looking for, find out if acceptable accommodations are available. You do know want to end up in a town/city with limited accommodation availability and have to pay a top price for what are left. If many hotels are indicating availabilities, a reservation is not needed as long as you get there earlier in the day.

Unless you are using a train pass, you need to purchase train tickets to specific destinations. On TGV train lines, the tickets are for a specific day at specific time for specific seats.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 12:25 PM
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Using a rental car would be a better option to do a "just wander around" type of trip.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 12:43 PM
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This could be a total disaster in the making if you don't act, and act NOW! It's NOT true that hotels in Paris are expensive - you don't have to be in a central tourist area to at least be IN the city, and if you stay in one of the outer arrondissements you can find cheap accommodations AND cut down on the time and expense of getting out of Rosny-sur-Bois every morning and back every night.

Your husband's desires aren't going to be met way out in the boonies, especially if you're staying at a Comfort Inn (are you?). And chatting could be a challenge without French. But that's the least of your worries.

You are probably going to be lost and frantic much of the time if you go forward with your plan of just jumping on a train to go "somewhere." You need to plan an itinerary, figure out where you're going and how you're going to get there, study maps, and make reservations.

You've got a full week's work ahead of you.

Hotels: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-under-100.cfm
http://www.eurocheapo.com/paris/hotels/price/cheap.html
Also check Hôtel Parc Montsouris

Metro, Bus, and RER (commuter trains) in Paris:
www.ratp.fr

French Rail System (SNCF): www.voyages-sncf.com

Guidebooks: Michelin Green, Let's Go, Rough Guide, Cadogan, Eyewitness, Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Blue Guide

Maps: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Paris+...ed=0CCkQ8gEwAA

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...QEwAw&dur=3494

General: http://en.parisinfo.com/
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/france
http://www.letsgo.com/13-europe-travel-guides-france-d
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 01:18 PM
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Cancel that hotel now, and book a hotel that is actually in Paris. Paris has hotels that are in all price ranges.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 01:26 PM
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That must be her hotel, Greg; the address is the same. Did you read the reviews? "Worst hotel in Europe!" was one of the better ones.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 01:29 PM
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Just read the reviews...Dear God!

RidgeRose, CANCEL the reservation NOW!!
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 01:31 PM
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And if you are in that Comfort Inn in the 'burbs, the TripAdviser reviews are TERRIBLE! Cancel that reservation now! You can get a room in Paris that is affordable, just get looking.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 01:50 PM
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I am sorry but your idea of a trip is a recipe for disaster--staying in Paris a couple of days and then jump off a train and "enjoy the culture".
You can stay IN Paris and enjoy the culture of just ordinary things.
You have been warned off of your hotel, both for the location AND the hotel.
You "can" get a reasonably priced hotel IN PAris. Now you've cut down on your possibilities.
Why would you go on a trip of a lifetime, and NOT PLAN. the best way to have a budget busting trip is TO NOT PLAN IT.
I have a lot of community things too, but if I'm gonna spend my money on a trip, that is also a priority.
I suggest you get a place in Paris. Try Priceline. STay there, and take a day trip outside. You don't say how long you have for this wandering trip. I'm sorry to be so negative. You say up front you are both inexperienced, and you certainly waited long enough to ask for experienced people to comment.
Paris is a magical city. Lots to see, and just "experience". Try it--you'll like it. THEN go outside for atrip if you must.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 01:51 PM
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The hotel is the Comfort Inn Rosney that we booked through hoteldirecteurope.com. We're paying a total of $203 for two nights. The reviews on that site were good and we also checked the reviews on one other site that had similar reviews. I saw the reviews on Trip Advisor today and they definitely AREN'T good. We can cancel up to 3 days before we leave for a $30 charge. Here's the link to that hotel through the site we booked at: http://www.hoteldirecteurope.com/web...rency=usdollar

I need to find an alternative BEFORE breaking this to my husband. I've got hours of community work to do tonight and tomorrow morning, but will get right on this tomorrow afternoon. I wish I could do it right now, but I've got too many people depending on me getting this project done and I can't mess them up. I PROMISE to look at the links you guys have sent me regarding reservations. If any of you have a hotel recommendation within that price range, I WILL DEFINITELY APPRECIATE IT!! I'm so behind the eight ball, it's pathetic. But I fully intend to role up my sleeves and get this trip back on track.
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH. As I make changes, I'll post more. Until then, I'll continue to read your suggestions as they all are EXTREMELY helpful.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 01:52 PM
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AND just to get your trip started off easily, take a taxi into Paris to your hotel IN PARIS. Budget 50E for it. You can take the train back to the airport, MAYBE, but at least begin with a relaxing ride in, and see the Eiffell Tower in the distance, and enjoy.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 01:54 PM
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I am thinking troll.

No one is that naive, and if they were, they couldn't find Fodors.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 02:08 PM
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I gave you a link to two websites for hotels in Paris under $100. Plus I recommended the Hotel Park Montsouris. Check the links.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 02:15 PM
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well, $100 a nght for a hotel is pretty darn cheap. You could have gotten something in Paris for that, though. And so what if it is 5 km outside Paris, that isn't close. Okay, hotels exaggerate things, so those time estimates are short (ie, the 10 min walk to RER station is probably really 15-20, the 15 minute ride to the center is probably double that).

And the main thing you want to do (experience real culture and life), you won't be doing staying in a hotel in a commercial center that is used for Disneyland tourists, no doubt.

If you never have used public transportation, I'm surprised you thought all that local travel just to go places was no big deal.

IN any case, you need to book something quickly, find a good booking site that hopefully can give you pretty good ideas of vacancies and has some budget choices. The problem is you aren't choosing very well based on location, and you'll have to do that if you use a booking site.

try www.venere.com and www.booking.com

That is a very busy hotel period, also, so not a lot of vacancies at this point.

I can't match $100 a day which is only around 70 euro. But this hotel has doubles for 140 euro and seems to have vacancies during your dates. I stay in the raea, it's nice. http://www.delambre-paris-hotel.com/

That is actually a very good rate given this is peak hotel rate period.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 02:44 PM
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RidgeRose, you don't have to stay in the more expensive central arrondisements but do try to stay in some of outer arrondisements. (higher numbers maybe 11-18).

The Metro is very easy to use and you can easily take the train in from CDG (the parisbytrain site is excellent...no need to be afraid of it). If you can find a hotel near a Metro stop, you will be able to get around very easily.

Don't panic but do use the week to find better accommodations to salvage the trip...a little more will be worth it. You could try www.tripadvisor.com for hotel reviews and to sort by price.

While you don't need to speak French....do try to learn a few words (which I know is a tall order now), but a few words and phrases will help tremendously. (Yes, no, please, thank you, hello, goodbye maybe a few more).

It's a lovely city and I love it. I wish you well on this.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 04:02 PM
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If this is your husband's dream, why not get him to do some of the research? The Destinations tab here at Fodors is a good start. As are guidebooks. Maybe you'd be comfortable with Rick Steves Paris; he focuses on first-timers. And I always buy the Michelin Green Guides.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 04:03 PM
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Oh, and pick up a phrase book in French, especially one with a menu translator.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 05:57 PM
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RidgeRose, is it possible for you to postpone your trip until you have a better plan?
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 06:45 PM
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Not really a better plan - but any plan.

You really weren;t kidding when you said you know nothing about public transit. To take hte train in paris you have to buy a ticket specifically for the place you are going to. Plus there are several major train stations - and the trains from them go to differnt parts of France and other countries. It's not like getting on a bus and getting off in 1 mile or 2 miles or whatever you want.

And if you/your husband really want to get to know some French people you will have to learn some French - or you will be talking only to waiters and shop assistants (the ones that speak English).

Agree that if it is possible to postpone this trip you should do so - but I anticipate that your tickets are fixed and expensive to change.

If you tell us how many days you have in France - I didn;t notice that - you can get recos - perhaps staying in Paris and doing 2 or 3 days trips to different areas/smaller towns if that's what you want. Although agree that in general the smaller town (unless purely tourist centered) the less English will be spoken.

And you MUST get a menu reader - or you will be totally lost in restaurants/cafes.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 08:08 PM
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Troll, perhaps--but definitely very, very naive about European travel, and also about hotel reviews on a hotel's own web site. Are they going to post negative reviews?

RidgeRose, stay up all night if you have to, but get a different hotel and get a guidebook tomorrow!!!
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Old Sep 13th, 2011, 04:21 AM
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Thank you all, even the person who believes I'm a troll. My husband and I travled to Italy 23 years ago when we got married. Due to family and work matters, we haven't traveled out of the US since. I found Fodor's at that time and thought I'd give it a try now. I agree what we've done and assumed so far is totally off base and I will put my time and energy into following the wonderful recommendations from everyone. Thank you all for putting your time and energy into helping me. I really do appreciate it.
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