Wanted: Any information on Paris!

Mar 29th, 1999, 05:35 AM
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I would suggest taking the taxi even though it's going to cost about $45. I've taken the RER and it takes at least 45 minutes to central paris from the airport...I just found the taxi to be so much easier. Especially when you're jetlagged. You might want to take the RER back to the airport when you're leaving rather than arriving. About omelettes....I had a lot of them in France and pretty much every cafe is a good one. If you're concerned about money, head off onto a sidestreet cafe. If you go to the flashy cafes near the attractions you're going to pay higher prices. As for shopping, I don't think you'll have much of a problem there. Paris prices are like NYC prices, expensive but nothing you've never seen before. When you're tired from walking around all day and if it's still sunny out, go to Luxembourg Gardens and take a load off, it's so beautiful there when the flowers are out. Just explore things for yourself and you will soon find the places you like the best for yourself. By the way, Parisians can be rude to everyone, not just tourists, but it doesnt hurt to speak french, you'll get a little more respect. This is my advice, if you're in a restaurant and you've ordered your dinner and you've had enough of the rude waiter, don't hesitate to walk out. French people do it themselves....don't take their crap. Remember that you don't have to tip a french waiter but remember also that he doesnt have to be nice to you either since his pay doesnt depend on your tip. You will experience the full spectrum of nice and rude in Paris. Don't sterotype and if you feel like any anti-american sentiment, just think how anti-foreigner americans can be and that'll put things in perspective. If you have further questions post here or you can email me. Andria
Mar 29th, 1999, 08:10 AM
Bill Irving
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To Lydia, I don't have my information with me today, so I don't remember the name of the boat companies. During the day, we went on the boats from the company at the base of the bridge near to the bottom of the Effiel Tower, on the same side as the tower. That boat was ok, but it seemed that there was not alot of leg room. For the night tour we went on the boat from the company on the other side of the river from where we started the day boat ride. I enjoyed that one much more. There was alittle more leg room, & we took the longer lasting boat ride. When I find the names & exact locations of the boat companies, I will Email it to you. Have never taken a lunch or dinner cruise. Pros & cons to that to. I have as yet not been moved enough by the thought to go on a dinner cruise. That topic has been discussed many times in the forum.
Mar 29th, 1999, 08:27 AM
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Also Lydia, for boat trips on the Seine, they start & stop at the same place, not like on the Thames is London where you can get off. Most trips usually go down around Ile de la Cite & Ile St.Louis. Then come back to the starting point. Some go past the starting point to give you alittle view down the river past the Eiffel tower & then return back to the starting point. When we decide to take a boat tour, we just go down by the bridge, check the schedule board that the boat companies have listed, buy tickets for the cruise we want, ususally the current cruise or the next 1, & get in line about 1/2 before the cruise starts. I have been to Paris in early September, late May, & also in early June. At those times, the lines to get to the top of the Effiel tower have not been too bad. I have had almost no wait in line at times, & or up to a 15min to 30 minute wait, which isn't too bad compared to what it can be in July & August. If we go to the Tower & see a long line, we go do something else, such as a boat ride, & come back to the tower when the line is shorter.
Mar 29th, 1999, 12:57 PM
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Bill and Vincent Thank you ever so much for your input. Would sure like those names, when you locate them, Bill.
Mar 29th, 1999, 12:59 PM
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Bill & Vincent Thany you ever so much for your input. Would sure like those names when you locate them, Bill.
Mar 29th, 1999, 02:28 PM
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The Picasso museum is truely delightful and often overlooked. It is hard to find so you will need a good map of Paris. We walked from the new Les Halles
Apr 1st, 1999, 12:47 PM
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here is the number of paris airport service, a shuttle van from the airports. 01-49-62-78-78. we took this from orly sud door E and the cost was 155FF for 3 people. took us right to our hotel door. when we got to the airport i had forgotten which door to go to so i called the numero vert, which is a free number-08-00-83-07-90, from the pay phone at orly. just lift the receiver and dial it. they speak english. to get around paris i recommend buying this book -plan de paris par arrondissement- in french and english versions. i thought shopping was expensive but i did buy some things on sale. we just hit the sales at the bigger stores.i bought the carnet of 10 metro tickets rather than the metro pass, it saved us money. a carnet costs 52 FF. also did get the museum pass. rude people? did not have any problems there even when my trusty french failed me! do plan your sightseeing with the weather in mind. we went to versailles on a miserable day and should have gone the day before when it was sunny. go see do whatever because you will want to go back. i spent 1 month there as a student in 96 and just got back from there 1 week ago. needless to say i saw a lot of things i missed the first trip. have fun.
Apr 1st, 1999, 03:43 PM
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Paris is a wonderful city and you will have a great time. There is so much to see and great food to eat! One word of caution: watch your belongings. Pickpockets are a problem, especially in subways and in crowded areas. We took the bus from the airport to the Opera area and were apparently spotted as tourists when we got off with out bags and were followed to our hotel. As we checked in the thief took a small camera bag from beneath our feet and got away before we or the hotel personnel spotted him! Be careful!
Apr 2nd, 1999, 04:05 AM
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i just remembered another thing that you may have already been told. Don't go anywhere in Europe without your umbrella. buy a small one but make sure it's sturdy because it's always so windy and they flip inside out.
Apr 3rd, 1999, 04:39 AM
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Hi Michele,

I returned a few days ago from another trip to Paris, and I went also for two weeks. I wanted to cook, so I rented an apartment in the Latin Quarter, and was within sight of a market, bakery, etc. My tips to you include:
1. If you go to versaille, be sure to go to door "D" and request a private English speaking tour. The cost is 25FF (app. $4.00) and we totally avoided the line of 1500 people who were there ahead of us. We had even arrived within the first hour of opening. After this tour, you can go directly in to the main exhibits, without waiting in the line.
2. I didn't see any omelletes on the street, but we ate lots of crepes and simple sandwiches from the vendors. They cost between $2-4.00 and were pretty filling.
3. Avoiding lines means getting up and getting to the popular destinations when they open. That means leaving at least 45 minutes before, unless the place you want to visit is directly across from your hotel.
4. The airport door-to-door service is the easiest, but we reserved online, and they "couldn't find our reservation", and we were left standing out on the busy road in cold freezing weather for nearly three hours, while they kept promising to be there in a few minutes. They finally charged us only half price for the delay, but it was a bad start. You should definately call them, and ask to have a confirmation number secured before you go to avoid this. Even only having carry-on luggage is a great hassle going up and down Metro steps, through the turnstile-ours got stuck and held up the busy lines-it was almost a mutiny!
5. St. Chapelle for a concert on a sunny day, with the sun setting through the windows. It was beautiful and magical.

Please E-mail me if you want any more info on anything else. I went with my two children and another friend this time, so that posed some different problems.
Hope this helped,
Apr 23rd, 1999, 07:30 AM
Max Cidon
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[email protected]

Hi Michelle,

I see that your initial question was posted on 3/24 and I hope this message doesn't come too late.
I am French and I lived in Paris for 10 years. I will not be able to tell you how to get to your hotel from the airport in the most efficient way. I thought the bus or the RER were the best way to go but I don't have the details that other repliers seem to know. Nor will I have any knowledge of what the prices are on perfume, compared to New York, and I've seldom had to rent a hotel room there. But on top of having worked in a Parisian hotel before, I have been a (unofficial) guide to many people in Paris and I, myself, came from the provinces, had all those dreams about places to see in the French capital, had to find my way, and was shocked, at first, by the Parisians' rudeness. In short I can offer the knowledge of an insider and the point of view of a seasoned tourist as far as the best places to see.

Why do they seem so unfriendly?
The Parisian are "assaulted" all day by all types of sollicitations, questions, tensions, agressive advertising, crowds that don't let you get through in the metro, etc. If you lived in Paris through one whole year you would understand pretty well why they are the way they are. The Parisian's mood is typically at its lowest point after the holiday season, when the sky is gray almost every day, the snow arrives with its mud, the cold doesn't go away, the joy of the holiday is behind you, you must take the same overcrowded metro every morning -- you sometimes can't get into the first or second train -- and you are not getting out of it all for another three months!
But fortunately, things get better in the spring with the sun's arrival and the mood is at its brightest in the summer. The very best month to be in Paris is by far August since most Parisians are on vacation. The salespeople in the department stores are mostly sweet, devoted students; the Parisians who stay -- owners of boulangeries, épiceries, hôtels, restaurants,... -- are "on vacation" too since the constant pressure went away with the crowd.
If you realize that Parisians are the way they are with everybody and not only with Americans, you'll find it easier to cope with. The way to avoid it? Be very assertive and quick when you ask for something and they will respect you. And get out of the way on the road, if you decide to drive in Paris, or at the cash register of a supermarket, once you have paid -- you have to bag your own groceries and products in every store. What few foreigners know is that the huge bunch of five-hundred-franc bills pulled out of the pocket or the loud tone when tourists speak to each other is more annoying to the Parisian than the fact that they don't speak French. French people, at least in those areas, like subtlety. Nevertheless the idea that speaking a few words of French -- or the language of the country you are visiting, in general -- makes the native want to help you more is always true. The same is true if you visit Greece.
Also, the outfit is very important in Paris. Dress as much as possible like the autochton. No bermudas, shorts, or baseball hats, no camera hanging at your neck or they will "smell" you a mile away; only (American) tourists dress that way.

How to see the best
A weekly guide to buy as soon as you arrive in Paris is the "Officiel des Spectacles". Its price must be around FF5 now and you learn about all the shows of the week including theater, movies, concerts, trade shows, exhibitions, on top of the all-year-long places like the museums and monuments you shouldn't miss. The bateaux mouches will be in it as well as the hours and prices to visit the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel [Ehfell]), the Arc de Triomphe, or anything you wish to see.
You will probably want to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower but the best viewpoint over Paris is on top of the Tour Montparnasse, much closer to the center of the city. Choose a rather clear night and at any time in the year, TAKE A SWEATER WITH YOU -- always windy. But it's the most beautiful sight and it will make your evening unforgettable. Notre-Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, Montmartre, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysées, and of course... the Eiffel Tour are at your feet; everything seems a lot closer than it really is from up there. A day-time visit is much less "magical". Get in line downstairs one hour before closing time in the summer and be ready for a very fast elevator ride (your ears will remind you).

What you absolutely want to see (everything!)
The best Bateaux Mouches for a first ride are found at the foot of the Eiffel Tour. If you are facing the Eiffel Tower from the bridge, it's just after the bridge on the left handside. You will have to go down some large steps and the entrance will be in front of you. The most magical rides are the night visits. There you embark on a rich historical visit of the City of Lights featuring the love story of Chopin and George Sand (French writer), of the French Academy and its founder, or the early city of Paris when the bridges where made of wood and were toll gates. You will see thirty bridges and many famous buildings, all linked to a part of French history. It's customary to leave a tip for the hostess when you get off. During the day, it will be a good idea to go back to and admire the most beautiful bridge in Paris -- le Pont Alexandre III, near the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, off the Champs Elysées (the name comes from Greek mythology and means "Paradise"), the most expensive avenue in Paris and one of the longest avenues in the world. It starts at the "Arc de Triomphe" -- Napoleon had it built and wrote on it the names of all its generals -- and ends, after a walk along lovely gardens, at the "Place de la Concorde". There you can see the obelisc that Napoleon brought back from Louqsor during his Egypt campaign, the National Assembly (equivalent to the American Congress) and the Hotel Crillon where stars like Micheal Jackson, President Clinton and many others stay when they come to Paris. Less known by tourists but very famous among French people, the Madeleine church -- which looks like a Greek Temple -- is also visible from this large square.

Do you know that you can take the boat-bus with a regular bus or metro ticket (there's only one kind of ticket for all transportation in Paris) and go along the river Seine for the price of a single ride? Ask at a window in the Metro. Also when you don't know your way in Paris, find the closest Metro entrance and ask at the window. They will pull out their map of Paris and tell you how to get there. Very often you can take the map with you. Although be tactful -- avoid a very crowded window where 20 people will be waiting behind you. Their job is primarily to sell tickets. Don't be afraid to ask the second person behind the closed window. They will understand that you're only looking for a street and will appreciate that you are trying not to block other users' way.

The best flea markets to which the Parisians go on weekends are around Paris, at the "gates" (portes) as they call them -- Porte de St Ouen/Porte de Clignancourt, Porte de Vanves,... You'll find the information necessary in the Officiel des Spectacles that I already mentioned.

If you visit the Louvre, you can't miss the Louvre's famous pyramids. They created great controversy in the late 80's and every Parisian and French person knows about them. They were built under Mitterand, some say by the Masonists, and the biggest of them is made of 666 individual windows! Few people know this.
During the centuries that have elapsed since the foundation of Paris many, now forgotten, buildings have existed that were destroyed in order build something new over them. Because of this, you can find, in the Parisian ground, many layers of ruins that spell the history of Paris. In the late 80's the foundations of the oldest construction in the Louvre perimeter was discovered and can now be visited. You don't want to miss these stones, full of so much meaning and history.
Also don't miss the "colonnes de Buren", not far from the Louvre (ask in a shop or at the Louvre how to get there). They are black and white decorative, partial columns and were also criticized and praised by many in the lates 80's.

If you want to buy new CD's or cassette tapes, or buy any concert tickets, do what all Parisians do -- go to the FNAC! A enormous department store devoted the pleasure of your ears and eyes. The best prices too. There are many FNAC stores all over Paris. Another good store for music is the Virgin Megastore on the Champs Elysées, open until midnight, with a Prisunic -- small supermarché -- nearby, also open until midnight. Excellent Pizzerias and movie theaters in the same area and many charming patios called "Galeries". The Champs Elysées are the place to have fun in the heart of Paris.

Some of the best Parisian parcs: Monceau, Montsouris. And please, please do go to the "Ile St Louis" and take a walk along the Seine with all the Parisian lovers. The island itself is a historically rich, peaceful area with almost a classical concert every night in the churches around.

Don't miss the Musée Grévin des Halles, a fantastic wax museum where you are taken automatically (no human interaction) with a few other visitors through a street of Paris at the beginning of the century. You will see the men and women who shaped the history of the city and of France in the early 1900's. A show with lights and sound. It's worth your time and money!

I could speak about Paris and give you tips for hours but I have to stop. If you need any particular information, let me know.

Have a nice visit in one of the most fabulous cities in the world -- where I won't be able to go for a while, unfortunately. Say Hello to Paris for me, please. Thank you.

Apr 23rd, 1999, 09:27 AM
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I have used both the Bateaux Mouches and another company called Vedettes du Pont Neuf.The boats for the second company are smaller. We did not pre-book. You may want to get there earlier so that you can get a good seat on top, outside. When we went, we took the last boat of the night so that we could more appreciate the buildings and bridges all lit up. Vedettes is at Pont Neuf (Ile de la Cite), Left Bank side.
There is live commentary on them, but we found it somewhat hard to hear it.

Before our cruise we ate at the Ruche Gourmande, on Rue Dauphine. Good food, and only a couple of minutes walk to the boats. A note: people eat late in Paris, near 8 PM.

Oct 24th, 2001, 11:49 PM
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Oct 25th, 2001, 06:51 PM
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All these suggestions look good. Use the airport shuttle--access at Paris-anglo.com. Take it easy and eat well and sit at cafes and drink wine or coffee. Bon voyage.
May 25th, 2003, 02:59 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3
take a large wallet we have just returned from paris and we found it was much more expensive than it was when we last visited last year.small glass of beer and a pastis 7 euros, any plat d jour 12 euros minimum but travel on metro quite cheap [SEE METRO TOPIC}also in a number of places we ate they had problems with threr hand held credit card machines.but ,dont let any of this put you off its one hell of a city.
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