Travel agent vs DIY

Old Feb 10th, 2014, 11:01 AM
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We have been to Paris more than a dozen times, and I still prefer a hotel. The desk is great for making arrangements or suggestions. And the breakfast room can be nice for meeting others even.
Your length of time is super--and you'll be able to comfortably have some day trips.
As for "getting out of the 7th", that is some people's mantra--it isn't ours. We love it. But you might enjoy the 5th or 6th more because it is a more "happening" part of the city, and you are young and will enjoy that also.
Paris is wonderful wherever you stay!!
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 11:24 AM
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Sunday - I'm going to recommend that you read the next two threads I'll provide links for. They are from a solo, first time abroad, female traveler who was absolutely scared to death about planning and going on their first overseas trip on their own. This first thread is their original post:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...d-to-death.cfm

The poster has returned from her trip and has an active report going at the moment detailing their travels. Despite having two severe personal crisis' just before her trip she had an amazing time and I think you'll get a lot of inspiration reading her report. If she can do it on her own, despite her initial fear and anxiety, you can do it. Her report is just fantastic and I know for sure it will give you confidence.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ed-no-more.cfm

If you'll be in Paris for two weeks I'd encourage you to take a couple of day trips outside of Paris. Since you mentioned Monet then why not visit his house and gardens in Giverny? Have a look at this thread which will list many of the most popular day trips from Paris and explain how to get there and do these trips on your own, including Giverny.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-with-kids.cfm
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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I used to stay in the 7ème all the time - for 20+ years. I never felt I had to use public transportation to get much of anywhere. I used to have a regular route from my hotel to Les Invalides to the Musée Rodin, to the Musée d'Orsay, to the rue de Buci, to the Seine down to the Place St-Michel, over to Notre Dame and the Ile St-Louis...and back at the end of the day. Not a big deal if you can/like to walk. These days I prefer the outer arrondissements, but staying in the 7ème isn't exactly an impediment to getting around. Probably better for the OP to stay more central, but perhaps she'd enjoy the relative quiet of the 7ème.
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 02:18 PM
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And I will add that for instance, Hotel Muguet, is between two major Metro stops and 4 bus lines.
Sunday--look at the bus system, when you get to that. it is SO cool to be on TOP of the road--and see Paris there. With 2 weeks you don't have to have high speed all the time!! ;o)
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 05:19 AM
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Ok guys. Hotel it is.

Recommendations to get me out of the 7th?

My mum is worried traveling alone as a woman isn't safe. She's worried. What should I say to calm her nerves?
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 06:13 AM
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Tell her that you are as tough as nails, but hide it well.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 06:29 AM
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Hi sundaymorning,

Your biggest worry will be pickpockets -- having a cell phone, wallet, or camera stolen. You can avoid that if you are smart -- don't walk around like you're lost and stand in the middle of the sidewalk staring at a map. Make sure you know where you are going, and go there with a purpose.

It's really pretty rare for you to experience violence as a tourist in Paris. Just be sure you don't get drunk in a bar and then leave with a stranger -- ; )) You should be all right.

I'd also like to suggest that you look at the Esprit de France group of hotels for Paris. I stayed at the Hotel Brighton one time with views over the Tuileries, and it was great. But I think for a return visit, I might opt for the Hotel de la Place du Louvre, with some rooms having views over the Louvre. That would be both romantic and central. Check it out:

http://www.paris-hotel-place-du-louv...ver-the-hotel/

Have fun!

s
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 07:30 AM
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<My mum is worried traveling alone as a woman isn't safe. She's worried. What should I say to calm her nerves?>

Parents worry. That's a fact. Tell her you'll email her every few days to let her know you are OK. You'll be fine if you pack your common sense.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 07:31 AM
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How's the backpacking trip to Japan coming? Are you leaving next month as planned on your other thread?
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 07:58 AM
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Your mother does not have to worry. My 20-yr-old daughter lived in Paris for four months in an apt by herself!

BTW--she lived in the 7th. Her school was in the 16th, but she decided the 7th had more of the "home feel" she needed for the long stretch.

Yeah, I know I suggested you move closer in, but depending on where you get your hotel in the 7th, it's cozy there.

Do read Guenmai's master threads (I put links in my first reply post to you) for overviews and help deciding.

Now, as to which hotels we stayed in in the past in what I think is the order in which we stayed...
--<b>Hotel D'Angleterre</b> in 6th close to 7th once
--<b>Hotel Le Regent</b> in middle of 6th 3 times
--<b>Jardin Des Plantes</b> in 5th once
--<b>Hotel Colbert</b> in 5th bordering on both 4th/6th once, but for whole week
--<b>Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais</b> 4th once
--<b>Hotel Le Pavillon Bastille</b> 12th once
--<b>Hôtel des Deux-Iles</b> 4th on Ile de St. Louis once
--<b>Best Western Aramis</b> 6th but close to 15th/16th border
--<b>Hotel du Pantheon</b> 5th near 6th once
--<b>Relais Bosquet</b> 3 times

There are some more that I just can't remember. We stayed at the airport a couple of times because of odd arriving or departing hours, and we rented an apartment three times. Given how many years it's been since we may have stayed any place, I can't give you any confirmations of quality.

Locations don't change, though, and here is what I thought of each location..

--<b>Hotel D'Angleterre</b> seemed close in. It wasn't. Yes, we could walk to the Musee d'Orsay easily, but it just felt out of it. And we were there in the middle of December.
--<b>Hotel Le Regent</b> had one of my favorite locations. Rue Dauphine isn't that busy in itself, but it's a great connector to get to strolls along the Seine or for shopping areas of Boulevard St. Germaine. Great RER/Metro connections.
--<b>Timhotel Jardin Des Plantes</b> We only stayed here because we were leaving from Gare d'Austerlitz early a.m. Not my fave.
--<b>Hotel Colbert</b> This may have been the best location EVER for us. It's on a sort of secret street that is just seconds away from all the action in the 6th. Notre Dame is a spit across the Seine from here (which worked out well since my husband likes to go to church every day if he can--I suspect he is praying hard for my soul). We stayed pre-renovation, so we got a good rate. I have no clue what this place is like now.
--<b>Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais</b> This was a fun location in Le Marais. It had easy access to Ile de St. Louis, the Place des Vosges, and some good Metro lines. Still, I probably would not recommend for a first-timer
--<b>Hotel Le Pavillon Bastille</b> Obviously, this is near the Bastille. I just would not recommend this area for a first-timer at all. Metro access was good, though.
--<b>Hôtel des Deux-Iles</b> The Ile de St. Louis is often what people envision Paris to be (when they are not thinking about the Champs Elysee).
--<b>Best Western Aramis</b> We ended up staying here because we needed four rooms for a last-minute trip. My parents liked it so much, they stayed there again. We Paris veterans were not fond of the place--lots of traffic and not a lot of sites. On the positive side, though, was that it was just down the street from Gare Montparnasse, which meant that one had instant access to the Air France bus to/from the airport. It was close to TWO subway lines. And it was a spit from the Bon Marche food court
--<b>Hotel du Pantheon</b> We had a good time with this location, and I'm trying to decide whether or not I'd recommend it for a newbie. You'd be just up the hill from the RER B line, which means you could easily plop on the train to/from CDG easily there. Although it's a tad away uphill from the Seine, there are views of the Eiffel Tower up there that are neat, and if you "go out the back" of the neighborhood, you end up going towards the Rue Mouffetard area, the home of James Joyce, George Orwell, and Earnest Hemingway. So...
--<b>Relais Bosquet</b> I first booked this place because I was taking an older daughter and her roommate for a Xmas trip, and I wanted their room to have a view of the Eiffel Tower (it did!). Both had been to Paris before, so I knew that we didn't need to pound in a lot of sites. And I was so pleased with our location that we came back here in subsequent trips two more times (plus rented apartments in the area). I liked the restaurants, my laundromat (don't sneeze at that!), my bakeries, my English bookstore, and all the little kids coming home from school. The Xmas lights on Rue Cler and Rue St Dominique were so darn cute. It did not have the best Metro lines there, BUT you can snag one of the best bus lines there.

When my daughters and I were staying in the 7th (three different trips), we were always running into single women travelers in the laundromat. Most had decided they were going to have "an adventure" and were so pleased that they did.

The same scenario played out in our cooking class (Cook'n With Class which was just getting started then). Only one or two people came with friends--the rest were on solo adventures and were loving it.

And I think you may have read that in the 7th, Catherine Reed gives lessons, too.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 08:02 AM
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Suze, that was touched on previously. Leave it.
Get a belt bag that will go under all your clothes for your money and charge cards. It will be cold so that will not be difficult to conceal.
Since you are travelling alone, I suggest you have two credit cards. Leave one in the hotel safe just as a fall back should the worst happen.
An across the body bag for your travel book and camera and water bottle will be good.
As said, Moms are made to worry. Paris is a very safe city--and just stay aware of your surroundings, especially on the Metro. That is the pickpockets' area--do not let anyone press up against you no matter how crowded they "seem" to be.
Do look at the bus service--it is fun to see what is passing by.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 08:31 AM
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Thank you for so kindly and gently telling me that my question had already been addressed above.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 08:35 AM
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<Recommendations to get me out of the 7th?>

I think the 7th is OK. Or you can look in the 4th-6th if you want to be more central.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 09:41 AM
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Sorry Suze, but it sounded like a "dig", and I thought we had nicely gotten away from that with Sunday. Really, I AM sorry.
I agree --the 7th is fine and 4-6 as you say. I don't think the area around the Louvre is very exciting.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 09:42 AM
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op has gotten so much information here (as on the japan forum) and i see no evidence she/he is doing any research on their own or any indication of serious planning. Obviously many here just love to help...I actually do as well but expect the actual traveler to do most of the work.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 09:48 AM
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<I thought we had nicely gotten away from that with Sunday>

Again, my mistake. I had not been following her other threads. So was surprised to see the mention of backpacking in Japan from a person afraid to even book a plane ticket to Europe. And then being rudely shushed by you about it.


BUT back to sundaymorning...
Going solo to Paris is about the easiest possible trip you can plan & take. There is nothing a Travel Agent provides that will help you once you arrive and are on the ground and on your own. So you might as well plan the whole trip (as it seems you have already decided).

Definitely book a hotel, not an apartment, so you will have people to help you if some need arises. And make an arrangement with your mother that you will call or email her every so often.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 07:51 PM
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To keep your Mom happy (and friends too), consider starting a travel blog. Go to www.mytb.org
It is fun and your Mom will feel really special and reassured when she receives news of you that way.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 11:56 PM
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I would ( and do ) choose the 4, 5th or 6th over the 7th. Parts of 7th are very quiet and residential so walking home alone at night is not comfortable for me when I am alone . I am NOT saying its not safe.. its a very safe area.. but I prefer cafes and such as oppose to deserted streets when alone at night.

PS I stayed at Le Regent too and brought a friend who had never been to Paris .. she loved the area and said "its exactly as I imagined Paris to be"
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 04:14 AM
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I am fine with her not being in the 7th, but I will bring up the Hotel Muguet as an excellent (and much used hotel here) place in the 7th. There would be NOTHING safer than walking from the metro back to the Muguet along a well used and lighted street. It is steps from rue Cler which IS a well used BY Parisians market street. And actually the Hotel Champ de Mars is on rue cler and a real budget hotel.
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 04:17 AM
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next will hear about the fiance in the south of france...buckle up.
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