Paris Clarification

Old Jan 4th, 1999, 11:39 AM
  #1  
Carol
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Paris Clarification

Thank you for the quick response to my first inquiry on Hotel Sully St Germaine. I don't think I made myself clear about walking from the Trocadero to Musee D'Orsay and all the stops in between. We plan to take the Metro to Trocadero and walk from there. My question is whether this is too much to do in one day. There is so much to do and see and I can't get a feel for time and distance. I want to see as much as possible in 10 days. Yes, I do have three maps and lots of books. I have another question. I read about the International Currency Express, Inc., 427 North Camden Drive, #F, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210, 888-278-6628, a company that will mail foreign currency (francs) to your home before you travel. Is this a good idea and is this company legitimate? Love this website and your books, they have been so helpful and informative. Thanks again.
 
Old Jan 4th, 1999, 11:48 AM
  #2  
Lu B.
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I have not heard of this company. But, my local bank (who does not have foreign currency on hand) will take my request for foreign currency about a week before I need it and they will get it free of charge from their home office. They will simply deduct the amount of my request from my checkbook. Perhaps your bank would do the same? Good luck.
 
Old Jan 4th, 1999, 12:12 PM
  #3  
Christina
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I don't know what your first post said, so am a little in the dark about your plans. It's probably about a mile between the Trocadero and the d'Orsay. If you are ONLY walking from there to the museum and then touring the museum, that would probably be fine in one day if you are used to walking and being on your feet a lot. But, when you said "all the stops in-between" it sounds like a lot more. In that case, I'd say it does sound like too much. Re the francs, I used to live in LA and there are branches of Thomas Cooks there, I believe (eg, one in the Glendale Galleria) where you can get foreign money directly. I personally wouldn't do it by mail, even if reputable--I'm sure you'll pay a lot (Thomas Cooks' rates are bad enough) for that. If you don't live in LA, most major cities have a Thomas Cook or something, as should any international airport. If you don't even have one, I would probably just get some spending money in francs at the major airport you depart from in US (JFK or wherever) although that will probably be more than Thomas Cooks. I also thought any bank could get it for you, even if it took a few days, although they may rip you off also if you live in a small town. I like to have some before I go for unforeseen circumstances (which has happened to me, such as planes being delayed and me arriving at CDG at midnight when no money exchange is possible), but it is probably safe to wait until you get into Paris if you plan on arriving in the daytime and not on a holiday. Most people have an ATM card, also, which might work but I wouldn't totally bet on it as you never know if it will work.
 
Old Jan 4th, 1999, 01:51 PM
  #4  
anne
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The high cost of getting francs before departing the US, or even exhanging dollars while there, is really unnecessary - it's so easy to get francs right when you arrive at the airport at an ATM machine. The rates are superb, and there are no additional fees for many bankcards. If you want a back-up, just take along some US currency that you can exchange if you HAVE to, otherwise use your bank ATM card for cash, and credit cards whenever possible for the best rate of exchange. We travel to Europe several times a year, and have rarely used any of the supplementary US cash we've brought. There are ATM's everywhere!

 
Old Jan 4th, 1999, 01:58 PM
  #5  
Monica
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I usually pick up about $50 in foreign currency before departing the USA. Then I get the rest in that country via my ATM card or make my purchases with my Master Card. Don't get all your francs before leaving. You won't get the best exchange.
 
Old Jan 4th, 1999, 01:59 PM
  #6  
Monica
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I usually pick up about $50 in foreign currency before departing the USA. Then I get the rest in that country via my ATM card or make my purchases with my Master Card. Don't get all your francs before leaving. You won't get the best exchange.
 
Old Jan 4th, 1999, 02:00 PM
  #7  
Monica
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I usually pick up about $50 in foreign currency before departing the USA. Then I get the rest in that country via my ATM card or make my purchases with my Master Card. Don't get all your francs before leaving. You won't get the best exchange.
 
Old Jan 4th, 1999, 05:08 PM
  #8  
Diane
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Hmm. this is my third try at replying -- this must have happened to Monica! She is right on about the ATMs.

The Cluney is very near your Hotel Sully.

Get the Carte Musee (at least the 5 day version) so you can go in and out of museums as you wish. The best spent $ on your trip. They are available at any of the museums.

The Musee D'Orsay was my favorite. We only got to see about a quarter. Should have gone earlier in our trip, we could have gone back. Just have to plan another trip.
 
Old Jan 5th, 1999, 03:53 AM
  #9  
Monica
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I guess my message didn't go thru completely. I wanted to finish by saying you won't get the best exchange rates from the U.S. My ATM (from Nations Bank) gives me two uses without charging the normal $1.50 at other Non Nations Banks every month. So I end up with a pretty good rate.

Musee D'Orsay was also my favorite museum! How wonderful it was to be in Paris and to see all the wonderful art work!
 
Old Jan 5th, 1999, 09:23 AM
  #10  
elvira
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The answers "get $50 from your bank" are the best. If you go to any large bank (Chase Manhattan, Citibank, Wells Fargo, etc), they can get you the currency - sometimes right on the spot. Allow, though, a week or so and 'order' it ahead of time. American Express offices also have ff on hand. Use your ATM card and credit cards for everything else.

If you are walkers, the trip from Trocadero to d'Orsay can be done in one day...are you planning to visit the Eiffel Tower, les Invalides, the Rodin Museum, etc on the way? If you are, do it on a Wednesday and start out around 8:30am, finishing up at the d'Orsay (I think it's Wed. is the day they are open until 9:00pm). Realistically, figure one other stop and the d'Orsay. You'll be walking through the 7th, which is a pretty neighbourhood so you'll be gaping and gawking (slowing down your purposeful stride). The d'Orsay floors are marble and your feet hurt like nobody's business after just a couple of hours (and I'm a walker so I don't have wimpy feet). You cannot see everything in 10 days...which is why we francophiles return year after year after year....email me if you'd like some ideas for itineraries. I agree with the museum pass...you save lots of time not waiting in lines - again it depends on how many museums and sights you're visiting.
 
Old Jan 5th, 1999, 11:14 AM
  #11  
dan
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The 7th has tons of sites and is hard to do in a day. However, I will offer you a ray of optimism. My wife and I arrived in Paris from Bern about 10:30 and took the subway to the hotel. We checked in and took the metro to the Assemble Nationale. Then we walked to where you are starting (Trocadero). Along the way, we toured the Rodin Museum at some leisure, spent about 2 1/2 hours at Napoleon's tomb and the military museum (saw most of the museum, had lunch, and bought a few souvenirs), and stopped at the Eiffel Tower (an hour before sunset) and Trocadero for quite a while. We then took the metro to around the Louvre and walked by the Tuileries across to the Musee d'Orsay. We were there until closing and then metroed back to Aux Deux Magots for a leisurely dinner. Yes, my feet were killing me, and really never stopped the whole time in Paris (we arrived after a couple of long days hiking in the Alps), but it is possible to do all this.

I would divide the 7th between two days, and try to stay off your feet some (leisurely lunches - maybe a bus or boat ride). We ended up going back to the 7th for 2-3 hours because there was just so much to see there. We also saw some of it on daily walks as we were staying on Rue Cler (near the Invalides).
 
Old Jan 5th, 1999, 11:25 AM
  #12  
dan
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When I visited Paris, I was there for a week. My wife and I are pretty good at getting around and usually manage to get the most out of a trip. We did see a large part of Paris and also went to Chartres and Versailles. I knew that I would return many times, so it didn't bother me that I left a lot undone - I only saw half the Louvre, for example and didn't get to any cemetaries. Enjoy what you can in ten days and plan to return. Ten days is enough to see most of the major sites. To truly explore Paris though could keep you busy for months and months.
 
Old Jan 6th, 1999, 06:45 PM
  #13  
Donna
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The ATM advice is excellent. I would not rely entirely on an ATM card, though. We always take some traveller's checks in French Francs which we purchase at an excellent rate with no fees from AAA. We also obtain $50-100 in currency from our bank before leaving. As for walking - plan to ride whenever possible. In spite of this, you will do more walking than you can possibly imagine. You don't want to be totally worn out after a few days. The Carte Orange is an excellent deal - unlimited travel on the metro, buses and RER. This is a weekly pass which is valid Monday through Sunday (regardless of the day purchased) and can be supplemented with a carnet of ten tickets for your other days (these are valid on the buses and the metro but not the RER). To purchase a Carte Orange, you need a passport size photo. It's easiest just to bring extra passport photos, but you can also cut your headshots from snapshots or have your photos taken in a booth at the metro station. This pass is a terrific bargain and a huge convenience. Be sure to learn to take the busses. Advantages - stops more conveniently located, no pickpockets, you can hop off in and interesting neighborhood and hop back on later, and you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery everywhere all along the way. Again, plan to ride whenever possible. The Musee d'Orsay, for example, has three very large floors with exhibits on both sides. If you walk to it, you'll be too tired to enjoy the entire museum. The advice concerning the museum pass is excellent also. Be aware that the five day pass is for five consecutive days. I would recommend two three day passes. Once purchased, you can decide which day to start on. As for planning your itinerary, you may want to get yourself a one page map of Paris and highlight all the museums, sights, attractions, neighborhoods, you want to visit. Then, plan your daily destinations accordingly. I highly recommend investing in the large Michelin Paris Par Arrondissements map book. I made photocopies of each of the neighborhoods (these maps are excellent and show everything in wonderful detail). On the front, I highlighted every place I wanted to visit, and on the back, I made notes of street addressed, opening times, days closed, phone numbers and so forth. When out and about, I took only a metro map, and one or two neighborhoods folded in my pocket. Well, okay, I also took my CityFlash Paris map and the Access Guide. Here's a tip, though. Make your first stop Paristoric. This is a multimedia presentation in a brand new theatre (11 bis rue Scribe, just around the corner from Opera Garnier) of the history of Paris and all the museums, sights and attractions. We went here our last day and wished we had gone on our first. Having seen this (no matter how many tour guides you've read) you'll know what is most appealing to you - what not to miss, what to skip, and what to visit "if you run out of things to do" (not likely).
 
Old Jan 8th, 1999, 06:23 AM
  #14  
Brian in Atlanta
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Donna: Can the Carte Orange be bought at the airport (CDG) so it can be used to get into the city?
 
Old Jan 8th, 1999, 04:54 PM
  #15  
jeanne
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Carol-I too missed the your first inquiry-but wanted to add my two cents worth as well. I live in Paris part-time and I think that $50 in francs is good advice if it is easy to get locally where you live. Usually, as stated by someone earlier, you can change a bit of money right where you pick up your luggage at CDG, but the rate is a bit higher at the airport and the booth could be closed if it is late, etc. I agree with Donna not to depend entirely on your ATM-I have had to bail out friends who were told that their atm's would work and didn't bring any back-up, and then found that for some reason, their card wouldn't work. That said, I would say that 9 times out of 10 these days in Paris, you shouldn't have any problem with your card, but it is a drag to be that one out of ten who can't get their card to work. And you can always keep your travellers checks for another trip.

Brian asked about the carte orange from CDG. If it hasn't changed I think you have to take a "navette", a little bus shuttle from CDG to the RER line that runs into Paris, and you can't take much luggage on the metro/RER, so I never find it as convenient to go that way into the city. There is an Air rance Bus that I think is much easier and there are some new shuttle services people here seem to like as well.

Also, for Carol, just a little restaurant suggestion near the Orsay. One of my favorite little restaurant there and quite well known in Paris is Tan Dinh at 60 rue de Verneuil. tel is: 01 45 44 04 84 and the metro stop is Solferino. It is one of hte best Vietnamese/French restaurants in town and would be a yummy place to stop near the museum. I know some folks feel it is sacrilege to anything but French in Paris, but this is a really great place with a wonderful wine list, great food and really nice people who own it.
Have a great trip!
 
Old Jan 8th, 1999, 09:17 PM
  #16  
Donna
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To Brian in Atlanta: To the best of my knowledge, the Carte Orange is available at nearly all metro stations, so I am assuming you could purchase on at the metro station at the airport. However, this may not be your best choice. The pass is sold by Zones and priced accordingly. For going all over Paris, Zones 1 & 2 are sufficient. To the best of my recollection, it is much more economical to purchase a pass for just Zones 1 & 2 and (all depending on where else you plan to go)and purchase separate tickets for your other trips (such as from the airport to the city). I don't recall off had which zone covers the airport. Unless you are on a very strict budget, I would avoid traveling with luggage on the metro. The hallways and stairways and crowded trains are grueling with luggage (and if you do, keep a close eye on all of your belongings). Better to take the Air France (you don't have to have traveled on Air France) or other shuttle bus, or arrange a ride on the new Paris Airport Shuttle. The bus (which will drop you off downtown, whereupon you can take the metro or a taxi to your hotel) is about $10 and the shuttle is a bit more but delivers you and your luggage to your hotel. There are several excellent resources on the web for information on transportation to Paris from the airports. If you e-mail me directly, I'll try to dig them out for you. Also, you may wish to search this board for previous responses to this or post a seperate topic for more specific information.
 
Old Jan 9th, 1999, 04:03 PM
  #17  
Susan
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We're goint to Paris the end of January and staying at the Hotel Capitol in the 15th district--9,Rue Viala. What can you tell me about wonderful, yet reasonably priced restaurants, the hotel or the 15th district. Thanks. Susan
 
Old Jan 10th, 1999, 08:49 PM
  #18  
Donna
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You'll be staying in the 15th not far from the border of the 7th which is chock full of charming and moderately priced (for Paris) restaurants. Check out Cheap Eats in Paris, one of the few resources with restaurants listed in the 15th.
 

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