paris for first timers

Apr 21st, 2004, 09:45 AM
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paris for first timers

my friend and i (both in the mid 20s) are going to paris at the end of may and need help in planning our paris itinerary. Can anyone recommend a place/park to have a picnic? restaurants for a nice dinner that is moderately priced and suggestions for clubs/bars? thanks
eurotrip is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 09:50 AM
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The Parc du Champ de Mars is a great place to picnic with a fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower.
Ann1 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 10:47 AM
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I know I've seen people on the grass at Champs de Mars. What are the current rules about walking/sitting on the grass. I believe that there are now more places where you can go on the grass in the parks. Eurotrip - if you don't see people on the grass then it's not a good place to picnic.

Do you have a hotel and where is it? Are you willing to travel within Paris for a restaurant or do you want something near your hotel?

Pickup a copy of Let's Go Paris. It's a very good budget travel guide. Also, there have been lots of threads here on budget restos in Paris. Here are some links to get you started. There are some well-known clubs but I haven't been to them.

adrienne is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 12:23 PM
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hi eurotrip-

The garden inside Rodin's museum is a lovely place to have a picnic (and lots of people do it). But of course, you'll have to pay admission to go in.
yk is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 01:04 PM
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There are a limited number of parks where you can picnic on the grass in a public park, but they are clearly marked with signs when you can't. They will say "pelouse interdite" or "pelouse au repos" when it is not allowed.

It is a minority of them where you can, but I believe Champ de Mars and Place des Vosges are two of the main ones where you can.

I have a French weekly magazine (L'Express) which did an article on this subject last summer, and it suggested:

- square Louis XIII in the center of place des Vosges
- Parc du Champ-de-Mars
- Espanade des Invalides (very nearby)
- Square du Vert-Galant (this is at the point of Ile de la Cite, but isn't really a park)
- Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (19th arr, sort of out of the way)
- Parc Georges Brassens (ditto, in the 15th, and newer)
- Jardins du Ranelagh (interesting idea, lawns behind the old Muette gare, also has kids' activities)
- Pont des Arts (this is a pedestrian bridge that some people picnic on, although it is not a lawn, of course)

I think those are some good choices.
Christina is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 10:00 PM
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I'll add Parc Monceau (northeast on Ave. Hoche from the Arc de Triomphe).

For nightlife, you'll probably enjoy barhopping in the Marais and the Bastille-Oberkampf-Republique area. Get a copy of Time Out for an updated list of nightspots. Time Out also has a guidebook. AvantGuide also puts out a hip guidebook. Those areas are also loaded with inexpensive but good restaurants and bistros.

Have a great trip.
LarryJG62 is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 12:15 AM
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I would not picnic on the Esplanade des Invalides. Every time I go by there, a bunch of people are having an enthusiastic soccer game (often more than one) and they are not too careful about where the ball goes!
The Parc Andre Citroen in the 15th is hugely popular with Parisians for picnics. You can spread out on the grass for as long as you like.
However, if your "picnic" is just having a sandwich, snack and drink while sitting on a bench, rather than spreading out on the grass, then the Luxembourg Gardens or the Tuilieries are also fun.
BTilke is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 01:32 AM
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As BTilke sais, cancel the Esplanade off the list...we laughed at the irony at this locale last time we passed by--though there was no actual game in progress, there were obvious signs clearly stating "pelouse interdite", and right behind it the full length the grass was totally denuded where obvously the sign had been ignored and great soccer battles had raged!
klondike is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 05:14 AM
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My wife and I went to Paris a few years back and I have posted a trip report and some pictures on my personal homepage Maybe you can find some useful information there. We were walking around the Eiffel tower by the way and we stepped out on the gras to take some pictures. But all of a sudden we heard a whistle and we got instructions from a guy to get off the grass Paris is great in my opinion and I'm sure you will love it.

Stavanger, Norway
gard is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 06:36 AM
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thank you everyone for your replies! They were very helpful and i will cross off esplanade off my list. Paris sounds wonderful and I can't wait to go! thank you so much.
eurotrip is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 11:11 AM
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that's kind of funny because the magazine specifically recommended it and it sounded like they were considering the rules. I think they did say in some cases you may get away with picnicking even when not allowed, if you are discreet, so maybe that's what they did. I do not picnic myself so have no opinion. It actually mentions a couple other spots which I didn't put down because I thought they were of lesser interest (such as Parc de Bercy, Arenes de Luteces, Parc de la Villette, etc).

They do not include Monceau, so I wonder if it is allowed there. About the Esplanade, this is what they wrote (briefly translated): "From one side, the Invalide, from the other, the Pont Alexandre III. And, in the middle, the large lawn square separated by an avenue. Taken by the "footeux" (which maybe is the soccer players), these green carpets can suit the appetites of the kings of picnic. For the prestige of the spot, more than the calm."

well, I guess they are saying it can be busy with soccer players but has some merits. It would not be my choice, either, as I like places with some shade if I can find it.
Christina is offline  
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