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Visit Paris for the 1st time and would love some tips.

Visit Paris for the 1st time and would love some tips.

Old May 10th, 2005, 07:01 AM
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Visit Paris for the 1st time and would love some tips.

Hello,

My husband and I are visiting Paris for the very 1st time at the end of the month. We will be there for 8 days and if anyone could share tips for enjoying Paris, we would truly appreciate it.

We are trying to figure out the best way from CDG to our hotel. We have never traveled to Europe before and are nervous about the metro. Should we buy a train pass and how do we go about doing so? Are there any stations that we should avoid?

What would be the best way to get to Versaille as we do not want to join a tour.

Thanks in advance.
Aries288 is offline  
Old May 10th, 2005, 07:06 AM
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ira
 
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Hi A,

Look up Paris under "destinations".

Read the Paris Superthread
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34519236

Unless you are on a very low budget, I suggest www.parishuttle.com or www.beeshuttle.com to get from CDG to your hotel.

We get along very well with 2 carnets (10 metro/bus tickets 10E) per week in Paris.

To get to Versailles see http://www.chateauversailles.fr/en/

Enjoy your visit.


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Old May 10th, 2005, 07:43 AM
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Our very first trip to Europe was to Paris. We took the train from CDG to Paris, and got very lost and confused in the Gare du Nord train station (you need to change trains here). We hooked up with a British couple, got some help from some friendly Parisians, and we were fine. Upon exiting the station at San Michael, my wife was almost overwelmed by the sheer beauty and feel of Paris - a moment we'll never forget! The Paris Metro is confusing to a first timer (as is all of Paris!), but you will be fine. Just resign yourself to the fact that thing are very different, and you will get lost a few times, but thats part of the adventure. For example, when I walked into a pharmacy looking to buy a ball point pen, they looked at me like I was crazy! All in all, Parisians were quite helpful and pleasant. An English/French pocket dictionary is a must.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 09:01 AM
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We had arranged/planned to call parishuttle before clearing customs, get some euros from an ATM, and be off to our hotel. But our flight to CDG was from FRA, and not into an international terminal. So, the only phones I could find required a phone card I didn't have, and there were no ATMs to be found. We ended up taking a cab, which cost maybe $20 more than the shuttle.

Moral of the story: have 100 euro in your pocket when you arrive.

Even for us small city folk, using the metro was easy. Lines are color coded. Whatever the line, you just need to know the name of the last stop in the direction you're traveling.

Paris is a wonderful city; have a great time.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:29 AM
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HI
I have a long file on Paris; if you'd like to see it, email me at
[email protected]

Tips:
comfortable walking shoes
a good map (Streetwise Paris, or National Geographic, are good)
A good general guidebook (Fodors Paris is very good)

In many trips to Paris I have never felt the need for a transit pass. I'm with ira, I buy carnets. And I do a LOT of walking.

Versailles is an easy train ride.
Where are you staying?
You can get on the RER (suburban train lines, that also have stops within Paris) and go to the stop Versailles Rive Gauche (sometimes abbreviated RG).
From there there is either a shuttle bus to the chateau gates or a half-mile pleasant walk. Suggestions on how to see Versailles are included in any Paris guidebook (and in my file).
enjoy your trip
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Old May 10th, 2005, 11:15 AM
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Hello all,

Thank you for the comments. Indeed, we are both very excited to visit Paris, (well more me than he). I'm just counting down the days until I get my hands on a crepe and cheese and teabags from Mariage Freres and the list goes on and on...

We were going to just take traveler's checks but now after Beachbum's comment, I will go exchange some Euros.

Elaine, I will be emailing you later as work does not permit logging onto to outside email sites.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 11:56 AM
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Aries,
You won't need the traveler's check's. They're often a hassle to use, and you will get unfavorable exchange rates. All you need is a credit card or two. If the credit cards don't allow you to get cash from ATMs, you'll need a debit/check card too. The debit card you use in the USA will probably work in Paris too. Check with your bank.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 12:01 PM
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Whether or not to buy a transit pass depends on how much you plan to travel by Métro or bus. The former is most useful for longish trips, the latter for short hops and/or lots of changes.

Single tickets cost €1.05 when purchased in a carnet of ten, and are good for one Métro ride regardless of how many lines are involved, or one bus ride (no transfers).

If you will use more than 5 tickets in a given day, a Mobilis pass is more economical: for €5.30 you can get on and off buses and trains all day. It's a great way to get around, even if you only go a few blocks at a time. Print out the excellent map titled Bus Touristique from this site:

http://www.ratp.info/orienter/tous_plans_pdf.php


If you will use public transport more than twice a day in a calendar week (Monday through Sunday), then a Carte Orange weekly pass at €15.40 is your best bet. It is issued with a photo ID card, so take a 1" square picture with you (home-made digital OK).
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Old May 10th, 2005, 12:30 PM
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I would spring for a taxi from the airport to your hotel. I think it's around $50 or so and would be *well* worth it to me (especially for a first timer and I assume getting off a long transatlantic flight)!

Travelers checks kind of old fashion and are a pain to use these days - you will most likely only be able to cash them at your hotel (maybe) or by going to a bank. Don't count on businesses taking them directly.

Most people agree the best is to use your ATM card to withdraw euro (try a 'search' here on Fodors there are countless discussions on the topic).

You can also purchase euro (maybe a couple hundred worth) from your home bank or exchange bureau before the trip. They cost more that way, because there is a fee and possibly bad exchange rate... but worth it for peace of mind (for many travelers) to have cash in hand upon arrival.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 12:35 PM
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In explanation to my taxi suggestion... Public transportation is OK once you're settled, but I don't like to do it jet-lagged, dragging luggage, in a new city where I don't speak the language. I would find it overwhelming.

Because most of what we did in Paris was walking, (walking, walking) no type pass would have saved us money. We just paid for the couple trips we took on Metro, when we decided to use it.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 01:41 PM
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I would take a taxi to your hotel, then you can use the Metro to get everywhere else. One subway stop I got scared on was trying to find Sacre Couer - I think the street stop was Barberre or something that sounded like Barbara.

Must-sees:

The August Rodin museum. Rodin is a famous sculptor and the museum is actually his old house - some inside and some outside in the garden. You'll at least recognize "The Thinker" when you go through it.

Eiffel Tower. This is a great, leisurely way to spend your first night...not too hard after jet-leg. It lights up at night and is beautiful.

Shopping on Rue Madeline.

Tea at the Fauchon The Salon

Chinatown Who knew they had one in Paris? Lots of Vietnamese food there too.

Les Deux Magots - a restaurant where Hemingway used to eat.

Bon Voyage!
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Old May 10th, 2005, 02:07 PM
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The scary stop was probably Barbès-Rochechouart. To get to Pigalle, I'd take Métro Ligne 12 or Bus #30, 54, or 67.

Some people don't think twice about getting off a transatlantic flight and onto a train in a strange city. For others, it's an insurmountable obstacle. Each person is the best judge of what one is or is not capable of. I don't specifically advise taking a taxi, door-to-door bus, station-to-station bus, or public transport for anyone - I just try to help with defining the choices.
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