Planning First Trip to Paris Questions


Aug 1st, 2007, 06:08 AM
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Planning First Trip to Paris Questions

Our family (2 adults, 1 young teen) would like to travel to Paris if/when we see a "good deal" available.

We haven't been there before. Our budget
is middle of the road. I want clean and comfortable beds with restaurants and coffee close by...

What district/area would you recommend for a hotel?

I know airfares can fluctuate, but what amount would constitute "a good deal"?

Not looking for much detail at this point, just a starting point. Everyone was so helpful with my Rome trip. I love doing the research, but Paris/France has never been on my radar so I don't know where to start.

GranthamMommy is offline  
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Aug 1st, 2007, 06:15 AM
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I would recommend the 5th, 6th or 7th arrondisement for being central with many hotel options, nearest famous landmarks, public gardens, restaurants, shops. Some people stay on the outskirts and use Metro to 'commute' in for sight-seeing, but I prefer to stay centrally so I can walk to many/most things.
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Aug 1st, 2007, 06:23 AM
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Since you appear to have quite a bit of time to plan, I suggest buying a very good, detailed map of the city. Make sure it shows Metro stops. Study it for a bit, so when you come upon hotel recommendations, you can look them up and see for yourself if they are in convenient locations and if they are close to a metro stop.
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Aug 1st, 2007, 06:24 AM
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i think a good deal on airfare might be under $700. it used to be $500+ was possible, but fares have really gone up. there was a thread here recently about the high fares to paris. but you should definitely go! our family of three loves it. it just might be in january.
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Aug 1st, 2007, 06:26 AM
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In 2005 my wife and I stayed at the Hotel des Grandes Ecoles,,
near the Pantheon. The hotel was charming, the price of our room was reasonable, and the neighborhood was excellent. This is a popular hotel, and if you wan't to stay there you'll have to reserve well in advance.

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Aug 1st, 2007, 06:28 AM
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My thoughts on airfare are that fares from the U.S. East Coast "in season" would run $700-1000 per person, and "off season" $600-800 per person, a little less if you can leave from a hub city, and more if you leave from the West Coast. That's a very rough estimate. You have to choose a timeframe to travel, then start 'tracking' average airfares by using Orbitz or Kayak or similar. Then, when you do see a good airfare, you will recognize it.

Hotels located in the 'mail codes' ending with 01,04,05,06,07 are usually the most appealing to first-time visitors. Those are the arrondissements closer to the Seine. I think it would be actually difficult to find a location that is NOT near restaurants and cafes. You will be searching for a "triple" room and rates for such will run 130€ and up, espec. if you want a hotel with A/C in summer.

Good threads for general planning:
Paris Superthread
100 Great Things to Do in Paris

Other good sites: (with an English version) (Tourist Office) (free .pdf files) (tickets and passes info) (CDG information) (hotel reviews and good forums) (Paris Yellow Pages) (free Paris 'walks')
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Aug 1st, 2007, 06:37 AM
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We live in NH, so would be flying from our connecting through Boston, Philly, NYC probably.

With a teenager I'm still tied to the dreaded school schedule. I am assuming April will be expensive. How is February?

Thanks you all.
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Aug 1st, 2007, 06:39 AM
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Typos...I should be concentrating on my job......I have to work to pay for my travel habit. Have to have one vacation in the planning stages at all times
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Aug 1st, 2007, 06:55 AM
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I agree with the other posters that staying in the inner arrondisements makes for a lovely first time trip. I stayed in the 7th for my first two trips and found access to major sites and the metro easily accessible.

No one has mentioned yet renting an apartment. I would definitely suggest this since you will be traveling with a teen. An apartment allows for more privacy than a hotel room and would also provide you with a kitchen for breakfast before you start out or a late night snack. A good place to start looking is, however there are several threads on Fodors with specific links for recommended apartments.

To start planning your stay, I would look up other people's trip reports here. They have always given me great insight to planning my next trip.

Good luck!
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Aug 1st, 2007, 06:57 AM
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Also look at Expedia and Travelocity. I used them for a package deal (flight/hotel) to Paris last november, staying in the 16th (upscale, quiet neighbourhood, but bit further from centre.)

Depending on budget, an a appartment might work out to be cheaper, even assuming you eat out every meal.

As others have stated the 1st-8th districts (arrondissements) are a good choice for first timers. Part of the equation is deciding to decide if want central location where can walk to sites but may be bit busier and $$ or maybe a bit more remote (but still in central paris) where it may be cheaper, probably quieter, but you will need to metro to start your day. Note: the Metro system is great, so even if you are less central, we're still talking about 15-20 mins as a possbile max travel time.

Determine your budget. That will help us help you decide. In my mind, and I'm not extravagent, I pick a number around 100 euro as a starting point. But if you are 3 people, it may get a bit higher. Note that the price is for the room, not per person.

Clean and comfortable goes without saying. You will not get ANY recommendations here that are anything but. Some people get a bit sensitive about implications that hotels in Paris are not C&C.

You will find that cafes and restos will bre everywhere you might stay in Paris. In some areas there will be more (like the 4/5/6th arr.) So that won't be an issue.

Have a look at the Destination guide here for info and some hotel rescs. Then I'd start to see what hotels will accomodate 3 people (maybe 2 rooms?).
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Aug 1st, 2007, 07:11 AM
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it would probably cost less to go in february than april. it will be cold, but you can still do all the same things. definitely look in to the renting a flat.

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Aug 1st, 2007, 07:14 AM
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I usually don't have a budget ahead of time. I figure out what we want to do, then save for it.

In the US, I'm usually staying in hotels 150-200 dollars/day range. I've paidy more when it warrants it - big cities, special occasions....

My husband is 53, I'm 47 and my son 13.
We make a good living, but don't have any hope of retiring soon. I don't need extravagent. Clean, comfortable, good service, not "stuffy"

Thanks for all the good links....I haven't finished my trip report for Italy yet....maybe tonight...
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Aug 1st, 2007, 07:27 AM
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The 6th is my favorite Arr but to be more specific, the 6th but as close to the river as possible. For example, there are several hotels on the rue Jacob which are very nice, and this street is about 2 blocks from the Blvd St Germain and, in the other direction, 2 blocks to the river and walking distance to Notre Dame, Ile St Louis and a lot of the gardens and cafes you will probably want to visit.

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Aug 1st, 2007, 07:36 AM
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There are so many nice hotels and apartments in Paris, and lots are named on this forum. I think a good place to start for you would be to think about what you most want to see in Paris; what landmark or area represents Paris to you? If it's the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, try to find a place near there, preferably with a view. Otherwise, it can be overwhelming trying to pick a neighborhood by looking at maps or listening to advice. So many choices makes Paris such a great city to visit.
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Aug 1st, 2007, 07:56 AM
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Aug 1st, 2007, 09:45 AM
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I have traveled from Boston to Paris during February school vacation week several times. It's not nearly as cold there as it is here in Massachusetts, and in the city of Paris there is no ice or slush in the streets, boots are not necessary.

As with any travel during that insanely busy week to fly from Boston, you must book way in advance. Prices for airfare are far better, though, than they are in the summer.
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Aug 1st, 2007, 12:27 PM
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Prices are highest in Summer, lower in Spring and Fall and lowest in Winter, however the experience in April vs February may be worth a few hundred dollars difference. How long do you plan to stay?
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Aug 1st, 2007, 12:38 PM
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How long we stay depends on the time of year. If it's summer time, we'll do two weeks and probably add some combination of London, French Riviera or Italy.

Otherwise, I'm thinking about 7 - 9 days, staying based in Paris.
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Aug 2nd, 2007, 07:13 AM
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bookmarking too!!
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Aug 6th, 2007, 09:37 AM
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Try the packages on I used them and it went swell. Also, April is not an expensive time to go, nor May. This year it was unseasonably warm in both February and April. You can't really guess anymore.
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