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Sophiepie Jun 17th, 2016 01:20 PM

Paris during the holidays

I am planning on traveling to Paris during the Christmas holidays. I cannot depart before the 18th of Dec and must be back home by Jan 4. I’ve traveled a great deal internationally but have not been to Paris. I plan to stay 8 or 9 days and would like advice on the best area to stay. Having read comments above still wondering central or further out, especially since I am traveling during the winter. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. BTW, I am a 68 yo female traveling with a male companion. I am in good health, but not as robust as I once was, sigh.

Lastly, I usually travel on my own, not through organized tours. But, Trafalgar has an 8 or 9 day trip called Explore Paris. If anyone has any advice about using Trafalgar or that particular trip, I would appreciate your thoughts.


PalenQ Jun 17th, 2016 04:32 PM

Christmas Day I was shocked to find out the streets of Paris were thronged with locals and tourists - small shops and cafes were open much like a Sunday - even some lesser museums were open - plan on taking a nice walk around that day or go ice skating at the open-air ice rink usually in front of the Hotel de Ville.

The most awesome thing me me has been the department stores' display windows - the grands magasins like at Printmeps and adjoining Galeries Lafayette:

RonZ Jun 17th, 2016 08:46 PM

The lighting is indeed fabulous, are the Christmas markets, located in various sections of the city.

kerouac Jun 17th, 2016 09:16 PM

Winter is a time when staying a bit further out could be more advantageous if you are on a budget. On a cold and/or wet day, the metro is the most logical and pleasant way of getting around instead of "walking everywhere," and areas around the river tend to feel much colder and damp than locations like Montparnasse or Montmartre.

Even the fans of riding the bus often decide that waiting at the bus stop is just too miserable an experience on certain days.

fuzzbucket Jun 17th, 2016 10:13 PM

Any location would be fine - as kerouac mentioned, you'd be advised to take the Metro, since the weather will be rotten almost all the time.

I would look for a nice hotel, a comfortable bed and a good price.
I would definitely prepare for cold, wet weather.

denisea Jun 18th, 2016 03:33 AM

Christmas is a great time to be in Paris. I think you could stay farther out but I would want a metro station near by. It's Paris, so there will be something wonderful around the corner no matter where you are.

I am not a tour person and wouldn't want to be tied to that. Paris is so easy to wander and get lost in. Let the day take you where it wants!

Ackislander Jun 18th, 2016 03:58 AM

I might look in the "near 14th" roughly in the triangle formed by Denfert-Rochereau, the Gare Montparnasse, and Alesia metro stations.

There are lots of hotels, and transport connections are excellent, both Metro and bus. If the weather is nice, you can walk to Notre Dame via the Luxembourg Gardens, if it is bad, you can go to one of the many movies near the station. In addition to the big brasseries on the Boulevard Montparnasse, smaller places will be open to serve travelers, and there is an excellent bus from Denfert-Rochereau to Place d'Itallie and Chinatown for a more exotic Christmas dinner.

Nikki Jun 18th, 2016 04:35 AM

I don't know what the advantage of a tour would be when you are not traveling around but spending the whole time in one city. You can arrange day trips and walking tours in Paris on your own, and their are guided tours given regularly in museums. You don't have to be part of a tour group to experience these things.

People here have a wealth of experience and can help you find things that you can do yourself (and probably for less money).

Sophiepie Jun 19th, 2016 01:04 PM

Thank you all for the tips. I do think I will plan my own itinerary and forget about the tour. I'll definitely look into the 14th.
I see someone posted on weather in winter recently, so reading that was helpful too.

Christina Jun 20th, 2016 03:14 AM

I also don't think a tour gives any advantage when you are only going to one city. the only reason for the Trafalgar thing would be if it was really a package (with maybe a city overview tour thrown in or something) and had hotels you wanted and was cheaper than doing it yourself.

Looking at the itinerary it includes an "optional" D-Day tour, which you could do on your own if you really wanted, as that means it costs extra. I wouldn't do that in December, not a good weather period for going to Normandy coast. It includes an excursion to Versailles but that is really easy to do on your own, it's right on the RER train line. It also includes a city tour, as I suspected, but you don't need that. It also includes a few meals which is nuts in Paris, you are going to trip over restaurants. For this they charge about $1850 per person in double occupancy rooms, which does not include airfare. So for 2 people, $3700 for I guess 7 hotel nights and a few meals. This is crazy, that is over $500 per day!!!!

Okay, that might be reasonable if you were staying in luxury hotels and wanted to do that. But the hotel is a chain hotel in a somewhat inconvenient location, the Novotel on the river. And you can book that hotel for US$180 a day or less yourself in a superior room at that time, it is not a super deluxe hotel. I used to think Trafalgar was supposed to be good, but this is really disgraceful to refer to that hotel as some special hand-picked luxury hotel, as I think their description claims.

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