Taking a group of 5 students to Paris!

Jul 9th, 2014, 04:04 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2014
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Taking a group of 5 students to Paris!

I am excited about taking a group of 5 students to India for 2 weeks this month. The students are excited because we have a 3 1/2 day layover in Paris on the way back. We have a host in India but not in Paris. I have never been to Paris and want to make this a wonderful experience for the students and myself as well. I was curious as to whether it would be better to get a travel pass and stay out by the airport where hotels seem to be less money and better reviewed or spend a little more money and stay in town? Where is the best place to exchange money? I am a total Newbee when it comes to Paris any advice/deals/do's-don'ts/how to get around/websites about Paris would be much appreciated. I am very thankful this forum exists and very thankful for well traveled people who are willing to share there wisdom and experience. Thank You for any help you can provide
Barney72 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 04:16 AM
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No - do NOT stay at the airport - you will be wasting hours every day trekking to and fro. You want to be in the center (arrondisements 4 through 6 IMHO) so you can walk to many major sights.

And you don;t change money anywhere - you definitely don;t want to be carrying all that cash. To get the best rate of exchange you pay for all you can with credit cards and pull walking around money from your checking account with a debit card at an ATM at any of the gazillion banks.

Suggest you get a couple of decent guidebooks on Paris and read them - then come back with more questions.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 04:23 AM
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Hi Barney72!

I have taken student groups to Paris twice! My groups have been 7 and 9 people, all teenagers. It's a lot of work but we had a great time both times.

Each time we stayed here: http://www.hotelprinceparis.com/. I had stayed at this place on another group trip a few years before. It's not fancy, but the price is right and it's clean. It's in a great neighborhood--I was able to let the kids go off by themselves for a bit in Rue Cler market and not worry about them. The highlight of the trip for them was having a picnic on the Champs du Mar (the big lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower). I know it's a touristy thing to do, but I think this is a must for teenagers who have never been to Paris.

It's pretty late to be booking for summer in Paris, but if you can find something inexpensive in the city, I would definitely opt for that over the airport.
kimharp is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 06:13 AM
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Paris is no different than any other major city.

You want to be in the city rather than staying at a hotel in the outskirts commuting each day.

Since you're going this month and the month is already 1/4 finished you need to act quickly to secure a hotel.

You do not exchange money - use ATM machines to get cash. This gives the best rates.

Please specify what you mean by a travel card. Some are worth the money and others are not. Students often get into museums free with their student card.

Get a couple of guide books and start reading. You can click on "Destinations" on the orange banner above to get immediate information on Paris.

Ask the students what they want to see in Paris - tell them to read up on the city. Put together a preliminary itinerary and then post again here for review. It's best to schedule only 1 large sightseeing visit per day along with visits to smaller sights. Don't forget that you need time between each sight to get from one to another.
adrienne is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 06:37 AM
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Hello Barney72,

I have had the great pleasure of going to Paris with my folks back in 2012. No, do no stay near the airport, takes several hours out of you sight seeing day going back and forth. This is peak season for traveling in Paris, so many hotels are already booked up, so book FAST!!!!! When you get off the plane, do not sleep right away unless you get there late at night. Try to stay up until a reasonable bedtime in that countries time. For sights, the biggies: The Louvre, Orsay, Tuillirie Gardens, Eiffel Tower, Rodin museum, Arc De Triomphe, Notre Dame, Sacre-Couer, Military museum, Napoleon's tomb, Rue Cler, Champs Elyesse. The best way to get money is by ATM. Airports have the worst rates. Here is a tip: Locals will scam you, they will drop a ring and pick it up asking you if it yours. It is reall heavy so it looks and feel expensive and they will try to sell it to you. They will ask for about 20 euros when it is only worth 25 cents. This happened to us atleast 5 times. You will have a blast!!
brendonb29 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 06:42 AM
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"Locals" will scam you, probably not but you will not know who are locals.

Do not stay at the airport, book rooms asap.

Travel pass?

Read the Paris section of this forum then come back with questions.

How old are these students, 14 or 25?
bilboburgler is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 08:45 AM
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Does anyone in the group speak French? It might help to find your way around.

"Locals will scam you" I'm afraid brendonb29 doesn't know much about the "locals" in Paris. Obviously he/she had a close encounter with a Romani trying to make a living off a gullible tourist.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 11:32 AM
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The man who tried the ring dodge near me last summer was of Asian racial heritage. Every ethnic and racial group can produce scammers. And the "locals" in Paris are drawn from nearly every group now.
Southam is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 11:53 AM
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Thanks for all the wonderful advice. Keep it coming. I have hotels reserved in town and by the airport and have the ability to cancel either without penalty. I only recently came across this site and it has by far been the most helpful. It is far better to here from real people who have actually been there. The students range in age from 17-21. The travel pass I am referring to is the 2 day pass offered on the parismetro.com website. Once again thanks for all the help. Your wisdom and experience is invaluable.
Barney72 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 12:11 PM
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I see 4 passes on the paris metro site so it's not clear what you mean. Can you please use the pass name to identify which one.

Do not buy the Visit pass - way too expensive and you won't get your money from it. The weekly metro pass probably won't be worthwhile for you since you're only in Paris for 3.5 days.

If you stay in the center of Paris you will be able to walk to many sights. For others farther away you can buy a carnet of 10 metro tickets very inexpensively.

Determine in advance what museums you'll be visiting so you can book the tickets ahead on the museum web sites so you don't have to stand in line to buy tickets.
adrienne is offline  
Jul 10th, 2014, 09:00 PM
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adrienne, thank you for your willingness to help with our trip. Your advice is very welcomed. Here are the passes Metro and Museum we are looking at purchasing from parismetro.com. What are your thoughts? 2 Day Adult - Zone 1 to 5 - Paris+Subs+Versailles (Item# E-034) $67.50
Paris Museum Pass 2 day (E-115) $70.69
Thank you again for your help.
Barney72 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 02:53 AM
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There is no way I would spend that much money on those passes. I didn't spend $67.50 in metro/RER transportation in a month let alone in 3.5 days. You're paying for Zone 1-5 for the pass when you only need Zone 1-2 for central Paris and then a separate ticket for Versailles (if you're going there). See my comment above about buying a Carnet.

The museum pass will pay for itself if you visit 6 to 7 museums in 2 days that have admission charges (some museums are free). I love all sorts of museums but I would rebel if someone dragged me to 7 museums in 2 days. Under 18 year olds are free to most museums.

Again - you need to make the determination as to the value of the passes as you know where you're staying and know which sights you will visit.

About the "locals will scam" you comment. I rather doubt that these people are living in Paris so not local. I've been to Paris many times and never saw this ring scam. Paris is a large city and you find the same sorts of quick money tricks in any large city. Don't be put off.
adrienne is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 04:11 AM
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I agree with Adrienne. For your timeframe, the Carnet is the way to go on the metro. My group was in Paris 4 days and we did not purchase any of the passes for the same reasons Adrienne mentioned. Also, do some googling about the best ways to avoid lines at the museums. There is an alternate entrance at the Louvre that is much less crowded.
kimharp is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 04:45 AM
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It seems to me that these student are well old enough to do some research themselves and decide where they want to go. They should have a look at the Let's Go Student Guides and the Thorn Tree section of the Lonely Planet web site - especially to find the best places for inexpensive student night life. (They are well old enough to go out in the evening and meet local students in Paris).
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 09:38 AM
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A few years ago while in paris, I met an American prof who took students there every year.

He stayed at a very basic 2 or 3* near saint Michel metro. We've since stayed there, and are planning to return this fall. One advantage being near st. Michel, is that it's a stop on the RER B to Charles de Gaulle airport, so a direct run to and from, which makes it very easy.

For a first trip especially, I really like Eyewitness Top 10 travel guides. They are well laid out, shove them in your pocket, easy to read, lots of good basic info. I still take them with me. Sometimes you don't want an essay, you just want to know where to eat!

Sounds like a great trip!
markland is offline  
Jul 12th, 2014, 07:36 AM
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Once again thank you for all the incredible advice. We will be staying right near the eiffle tower and musee de l'armee and we will not be getting the passes. We have 3 museums, a play and some street vending areas picked out as well as places to eat and other must sees. Just know that there will be a small group of young people who will be having a blast enjoying Paris thanks to your wonderful wisdom and advice. You guys are awesome!
Barney72 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2014, 10:40 AM
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Take them on a Seine River cruise the first night (at sunset). It gives one some perspective on where landmarks are. And it provides a magical first view of the Eiffel Tower.

I like Bateaux Vedettes du Pont Neuf, but your hotel will be closer to the Bateaux Mouches (opposite bank from the ET). I know the Vedettes company allows you to purchase online in advance...and you get a coupon for discount. Don't know about the other company.
JeanneB is offline  
Jul 12th, 2014, 10:49 AM
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The Yves Robert youth hostel is an excellent place for school groups.

The Eiffel Tower area is one of the worst places that young people could possibly stay -- totally dead at night with no cheap restaurants or cafés. That area is more appropriate for the 65-85 age group.

kerouac is online now  

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