Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Info requested for Paris, Strasbourg and Berlin

Info requested for Paris, Strasbourg and Berlin

Nov 11th, 2014, 01:20 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 250
Info requested for Paris, Strasbourg and Berlin

Hi All,
Panning our first trip to France and need some info before we set about finalising.
We are 2 adults and 2 children of 13 yrs and 12 yrs.
we plan to arrive in Paris. Spend a week in Paris.
Please advise on areas / hotels where we can get a family room for around Euro 100/-. We need to be close to the main station as we plan to go to Strasbourg.
We like to see the usual places of interest but will not include Disneyworld and not too many museums. We like to eat hearty french food. Not interested in designer food. Is french food hearty like the German meats.
Do you recommend we stay in Strasbourg or in another small town in Alsace. We will not have a car and will depend on public transport.
Now for the next part - we want to go to Berlin. Is this feasible. I checked dbahn site but they do not give fares. Then I checked sncf and the fares were ridiculously high. If this is true we will skip Berlin and continue to Rhone Alps and fly out from Lyon. In fact sncf does not show options via Mannheim which is shown on dbahn. Am I doing something wrong. Please advise.
Kind regards.
SKPKCP11
SKPKCP11 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2014, 02:47 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 6,420
There is no main station at Paris. Trains from CDG airport arrive at Gare du Nord and continue then through the city center up to Denfert and Antony, where you have to change if you want to go to Orly airport.
Trains to Strasbourg leave from Gare de l'Est, close to Gare du Nord.
Strasbourg - Berlin train fares start at 39 EUR/pax; standard fare 145 EUR/pax.
You may also go by Ortenaubahn from Strasbourg to Offenburg (30 min; 8 EUR) and buy a domestic train or bus ticket from there to Berlin. Train fares start at 29 _EUR, those of meinfernbus at 25 EUR and those of flixbus at 23 EUR
neckervd is offline  
Nov 11th, 2014, 02:53 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
<< Please advise on areas / hotels where we can get a family room for around Euro 100/-. We need to be close to the main station as we plan to go to Strasbourg. >>

There is no "main station" as Paris has 6 train stations. The one you use depends on where you are going. The trains for Strasbourg leave from Paris Est.

As you are in Paris for a week there is no need to stay near the train station just for 1 journey. And I doubt that you will find a hotel for 4 people for E100 in the very central part of Paris. You'll need to go farther from the center if this is your budget and perhaps look for 2 rooms rather than a quad as this will give you more options. Look in the higher arrondissements (14, 15, 18, etc.) where lodging is less expensive.

You might want to investigate apartments since your budget is very low. That will help save on some food costs. You can start looking at vrbo.com

Once you find lodgings, then just walk around and look at the menus posted outside restaurants and choose according to your taste and budget.

French food is generally not as hearty as German food but you can find restaurants that serve beef burgundy. I have no idea what "designer food" is. You'll be able to tell the type of food served by looking at the menus and you can avoid the food you don't want to eat.

<< we want to go to Berlin. Is this feasible >>

Of course it's feasible to go to Berlin.

<< I checked dbahn site but they do not give fares. >>

If you don't see fares on bahn.de then you're looking too far in advance. I believe fares are posted about 90 days before departure which is when you can buy tickets and when tickets are least expensive. I see some fares from Strasbourg to Berlin. The least expensive fares are the bus/train option at E49 per person.

Sncf is not the easiest site to use. Check seat61.com for other options on buying French train tickets. The German site is the easiest to view schedules anywhere in Europe and and to buy tickets for journeys to/from/within Germany.

Please visit your local library and check out some guide books which will give you lots of information. The Let's Go or Lonely Planet will give tips on traveling on a budget.
adrienne is offline  
Nov 11th, 2014, 04:54 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17,240
"Is french food hearty like the German meats."

Well really it is hard to describe "French Food" as most food in France is regional.

Breakfast in France is generally much smaller than German.
The French food nearest to German food is Alsace food which is available in Paris. However beer while important does not hold such a major position in the diet in France as it does in Germany
bilboburgler is offline  
Nov 11th, 2014, 05:32 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
No - French food in general is not as hearty a german food (although food in Alsace is somewhat more similar to German). Portions are generally smaller and wine rather than beer is the usual beverage - but you can of course order whatever you want.

Your budget is very low for a family room - suggest either, increasing it, considering a very small apartment - or you may have to stay fairly far from the center (and do check out the neighborhoods - most are fine, some not that pleasant). When we took our teen/tween daughters we got them their own room since there is no way I would share a bath with 2 girls that age - but our budget was very different.

You don't say how long your trip is in total - so it;s hard to make recos on Strasbourg and Berlin.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 11th, 2014, 06:00 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,156
Especially if this is your first visit to Paris, consider upping your room budget and staying in the center, say, in a single digit arrondissement. Then you can walk to a lot of the sites, sightseeing along the way. And you won't need to spend valuable vacation time and money on commuting to and from an outer arrondissement.

If you're not familiar with the arrondissements of Paris, it's worth a moment to learn them. Arrondissement 1 is the Ile de la Cite, where Notre Dame is. Then they spiral out from that center. Here's a map: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrondissements_of_Paris. The last two digits of a Parisian postal codes is the arrondissement. For example, a lot of people recommend first-timers stay in the Left Bank-Boulevard St. Michel area; it's postal code is 75006, the sixth arrondissement.
Mimar is offline  
Nov 11th, 2014, 06:21 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,866
IF you must stay with 700 € for Paris hotel, perhaps stay only 5 nights and get a more realistic 140€ a night place to stay.
DebitNM is offline  
Nov 11th, 2014, 08:07 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
https://picasaweb.google.com/stuartt...42971001683362

SK: You want hearty food? Try this Alsatian resto in Strasbourg...with a touch of German/French and the kitchen sink. Very pleasant and reasonable (stateside). It's just down the street from the magnificent cathedral.
Strasbourg is a goodsized city and has many choices.
stu
tower is offline  
Nov 11th, 2014, 11:32 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
check www.seat61.com for lots of great info on discounted tickets talked about above - for general info on European trains and night trains (there may be one running from Paris to Berlin, not sure) these sites are very informative: www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 11th, 2014, 05:08 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
topping
adrienne is offline  
Nov 11th, 2014, 11:31 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 250
Thanks all for the quick reverts. Yes, we can stay for 4 nights in Paris and get rooms for Euro 130/- range. Any info / tips on hotels is welcome. Just thought of staying close to train station so that accessibility for food / water is made easy. Would like to try beef bourguione and coq au vin in Paris. Any other must eats please advise. We are foodies. Along with Paris we want to go to Versailles Palace. Any tips for our visit to Versailles.We do not plan to go to Disneyworld.

Also please advise us hotels in Berlin. Any must eat recommendations in Berlin? Please advise the names of the grocery stores and the chain bakeries and meat shops in Berlin. Always love planning holidays in Germany. Please keep the info coming.

Thanks.
SKPKCP11
SKPKCP11 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2014, 11:44 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,866
(Best to make a separate post for Berlin info.)

We have eaten at this bistro in Le Marais, "Les Philosophes"several times and price is reasonable. Their boeuf Bourguignon is very good.

Best places to eat on a budget are bistros and order the plat du jour. also, think about having bigger meal out for lunch rather than dinner where you can often get a reasonable prix fixe (formulae) for 2 or 3 courses with maybe a coffee for 12€. Order plain tap water (une carafe d'eau, SIL vous plait) and skip ordering Coke or ant similar soft drink which are expensive and small.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/les-philosophes-paris
DebitNM is offline  
Nov 12th, 2014, 12:07 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
I just stayed in a small hotel in Berlin recommended by a couple of posters on this board. It's not quite central but only a short walk from the bus stop which will take you to Zoo Station in 15 minutes or less. It's in a quiet residential neighborhood in Charlottenburg and the owners were so helpful. They have a quad room and offer a good breakfast (traditional German) for a few dollars per person - it's well worth the money. After being in busy central Berlin all day it was wonderful to come back to this hotel.

Hotel-Pension Bregenz

Kaiser is a German grocery store. Linder is a bakery.

<< Just thought of staying close to train station so that accessibility for food / water is made easy. >>

Food and water is available all over Paris. There is no need to stay close to a train station to eat and drink. You can hardly swing a cat without hitting a cafe or bar.

<< beef bourguione >>

It's boeuf bourguignon.
adrienne is offline  
Nov 12th, 2014, 05:02 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,552
There are loads of blogs and websites devoted to restaurants/food/eating in Paris that you can easily google. Often they will sort things according to your budget or a specific neighborhood/arrondissement. Here is one such website:

http://parisbymouth.com/

Look at the official website for the Château de Versailles to learn more:

http://en.chateauversailles.fr/homepage

To learn how to get around Paris (and to Versailles and the airports) by métro/bus/RER use www.ratp.fr. Here is a link to a route planner:

http://www.ratp.fr/itineraires/en/ra...herche-avancee

Here is an interactive map of the system:

http://www.ratp.fr/plan-interactif/carteidf.php?lang=uk

Since parts of this website are only in French you can also use www.transilien.com or www.vianavigo.com. Via Navigo probably has the most complete English website.

To learn about the various types of transport passes look here:

http://vianavigo.com/en/tickets-and-fares/

A good website to learn how to use public transport in Paris is www.parisbytrain.com. It will likely answer any of your questions about what is the métro, what is the RER, what kinds of tickets you need, how to buy tickets, what kinds of passes are available etc.

Buy a good detailed map of Paris of around the scale 1:12,000 and it will show all streets and street names, museums, monuments, gardens, parks, sites, attractions and the location of all RER and métro stops. A handy booklet to buy is called ''Plan de Paris par Arrondissement, L'Indispensable''. It is available in the Relay bookstores you'll find in the main line train stations and RER stations. It can be bought in many other places as well, such as bookstores, magazine/news stands, many touristy souvenir stores, larger supermarkets, tabac stores etc.

In any métro or RER station with an information booth you can get free maps of the Paris transport system and use those in conjunction with your street maps to figure out how to get around and determine where you are.

You can figure out walking times and distances between sites by using a mapping website like www.mappy.com or a similar website.

You can look at the Paris tourist office website for info about what to see and do in Paris as well as learn about the various passes for visits and public transport: http://en.parisinfo.com/
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Nov 12th, 2014, 07:09 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
SK: I recommend an Italian gem of a restaurant...yes, Italian..in Berlin.
The Via Condotti on Fasenenstrasse, across from the Kempinski on Ku'dam.

www.viacondotti-berlin.de

We were taken there by a Berliner family friend...and wondered ..Why?? It was outstanding..and one menu offering that we were urged to try, was a flambe' with cheese and pasta, in a coconut bowl of sorts. We went back twice and have since recommended it to others heading for Berlin. The prices were "stateside"... not at all overwhelming. The owner was a fun, jolly guy who personally lights the flame to the cognac...then returns a few times asking if you like it.

For breakast, you might try Kranzler's, second floor overlooking a busy Ku'dam corner (forgot the name of the street)...But eastward from the Kempinski (which, by the way, announces some heavily reduced rates..check it out).
tower is offline  
Nov 12th, 2014, 08:54 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 250
Thanks for all quick reverts. True I will start a separate forum for Berlin.
Just a quick thought - would it be nice to stay in Strasbourg or in one of the small towns like Eugesheim or Riquewihr? Read a lot about them.

Also we love the mountain towns and the local farmer's markets. We do not do sking but love to take cable car and do a mountain trip? Also, interested in cave visit or a safe and easy walk in the gorge.
Any recommendations for such a place?

We can skip Strasbourg and go to that place and then move to Berlin as both cities would have lovely architecture so something different would be nice.
These are just considerations. What are your recommendations?

Meanwhile have started looking for hotels in Paris. Any recommendations are welcome.

Kind regards,
SKPKCP11
SKPKCP11 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2014, 05:30 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17,240
Strasburg has an old city centre plus some waterways and is worth a visit on its own. Eguisheim is a multiple ring walled town and after about 5pm is a very pleasant place to stay. The original Roman Camp streets can still be seen though now named in the French manner.

So both are good, but since you are doing so many city stops I stay in Eguisheim. There has been recent debate about Riquewihr as an over night stop, I've never done it but sensible Fodorites have and they liked it.

I don't think there are any cable cars up to the Vosges but if you have time drive up to the Balon d'Alsace (wiggly steep road) and walk onto the meadow there to see a lot of the Alps laid out in front of you, also somoe yomping will take you along the Vosges ridge to see the odd cemetery and vista.
bilboburgler is offline  
Nov 13th, 2014, 07:22 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Riquewihr is a sweet wine village at the foot of the Vosges mountains - sans car trains and buses go there from Colmar.
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 13th, 2014, 08:13 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 6,420
"Also we love the mountain towns and the local farmer's markets. We do not do sking but love to take cable car and do a mountain trip? Also, interested in cave visit or a safe and easy walk in the gorge"

There are no high mountains in Alsace. If you want to do a gondola ride, you may go from Freiburg to Schauinsland, however.
neckervd is offline  
Nov 13th, 2014, 11:52 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
We do not do sking but love to take cable car and do a mountain trip? Also, interested in cave visit or a safe and easy walk in the gorge">

yes for ture high Alps do as you speculated, drop Berlin and head for Switzerland's Jungfrau Region or say Chamonix in France - easy to go from either of those to Lyon if you fly out of there.
PalenQ is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:38 PM.