01-17-2007, 08:27 PM
PARIS HIGHLIGHTS?hi LL Community friendsI need your help! I'm thinking that since my wife and I will be visiting my cousin Rita in Amsterdam this spring, it would be a great opportunity for us to see the sights of Paris. We'll be over in Europe anyways and Paris isn't really too far away by car or train, so why not go there too.I was in Paris in November 05 for a few days while in transit to Brussels. It was my first time in the City of Lights and I was blown away! Fabulous city. Wonderful architecture. Fascinating history. Lively people. My wife's never been, so this time I'd like for the two of us to spend about five days to a week by the Seine. I figure the first two or three, we'll take in the "must-see" sights that all tourists do, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Left Bank, the Louvre, the Champs Elysee, Versailles and the Moulin Rouge near Montmartre. But, after that, it'd be great to go to some unusual, out-of-the-way Parisian haunts.So, if you know of any or have been to some, please let us know. It'd make our trip to Paris so much more interesting and memorable. Thanx.curtiejoe
01-18-2007, 02:54 PM
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
- South Florida
- Blog Entries
Re: PARIS HIGHLIGHTS?
VIPc....you know I have to share a couple ofideas:
MetroPass (we almost never use a taxi) good for subway trains, city buses, RER suburban trains (use to go to Versailles), even the funicular lift at Sacre Coeur. If you dont think you will be riding the system everyday, at least buy a carnet of 10 tickets to stretch your Euros.
You may find it worthwhile to book a tour or two with Paris Walks,
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/pariswalking/PWTHOME.HTMThese walk are extremely informative and will quickly familiarize you with the neighborhoods, should you care to return later at leisure.
If you have time, dont miss the Musee d Orsay.an impressivearchitectural renovation and transformation ofthe historic rail stationand a tightly curated collection of artistic works.
If your travels take you to the Right Bank one evening stop by and introduce yourself to Mark Williamson (an Englishman), Owner of Willis Wine Bar http://www.williswinebar.com/. If you want a nice meal at reasonable prices, try Maco, the restaurant Mark owns next door to Willis.
We are not fans of the Buddha-Bar, however, if youre looking for something to do later in the eveningyou might enjoy some of the trendy Italian inspired offerings prepared at Barlotti (also owned by the George V group that own the Buddhayoull certainly get wide-eyed at some beautiful people in the bar area http://www.buddha-bar.com/
Of course, be a "real tourist" and take a Bateaux-Mouches along the Seine (no matter the weather, no matter the time of year, a trip to Paris must include a night boat ride on the Seine...we do iteverytime).
Lastly, we use ViaMichelin instead of mapquest whenever we travel in Europeit can be helpful in european cities thatdo not have their streets in gridsandespecially helpful in Paris www.viamichelin.com. We intend to replace most of our maps with a Garmin Nuvi370 (pre-loaded with both North America and Europe), if LL will ever offer one for auction on LuxeLife....we hate the idea of paying retail for this handy gadget!
Message Edited by omegaet on 03-01-200704:25 PM- Ω -
01-18-2007, 05:35 PM
Re: PARIS HIGHLIGHTS?hey VIPomegaYou've really outdone yourself with that excellent post full of fabulous things to see and do while in Paris. I've made a note of all of your fine suggestions and will make a point of trying out as many of them as possible, when my wife and I arrive there this spring.I'm especcially intrigued by your link to Willi's Wine Bar and Macao next door. Mark and Willi sound like two terrific guys. Also, the Bateaux-Mouches nightime boat ride along the Seine should be a magical experience and one that we'll be sure not to miss.Thanx so much for your expert advice,curtiejoe
01-21-2007, 01:49 PM
Re: PARIS HIGHLIGHTS?
When are you planning to come over to Amsterdam and Paris? We just got here (Paris) on Jan. 10th and have been dead in the water because of hard disk failure on our laptop. Took us 10 days to get the blasted thing replaced and a new Windows XP in English installed (not easy to come by in Paris... the French Version of XP raised havoc with our American keyboard..)
How long are you planning to stay in Paris? Let me know the number of days you are planning to stay and I can tailor a pretty good program for you. After all, I am the resident expert here. Have a look at LL offers for Paris. LL has a number of good properties on auction, the newest, and most reasonable being a B&B in the Marais which they are offering for 3, 5 or 7 nights. There is the Hotel Regina near the Louvre that is pretty reasonably priced. I booked for our friends to stay in Regina in March and I will check it out in the next few days. Omegaet had some negative comment about it, but I want to see for myself. There is the Hotel Raphael which runs about $1700 on auction for 3 nights. Lovely location, near the Arc de Triomphe and very comfortable rooms.
01-21-2007, 09:17 PM
Re: PARIS HIGHLIGHTS?Hi VIPtravelfanGreat to have you back and in Paris! Thanx for your wonderful suggestions on places to stay. I already have my eye on that super B&B in the Marais, but will take a look at the others you mention.Our plans are not yet 100% firmed up. But, most likely we'll spend a part of early April in Paris (always loved the old love song about being in Paris in the spring when it drizzles...). We'll spend about four days in the City of Lights, then drive north to Brussels and Waterloo in Belgium *I have a cousin who lives in Waterloo). Then, it's off to Amsterdam for a week there to the end of April visiting another cousin, Rita, and taking side trips with her here & there in Holland. at the end, early May, we drive back to Paris and fly back home to Toronto.I'd appeciate any info/experiences/program you, 'the resident expert' would be willing to share with me (and the LL Community). Thanx.curtiejoe
01-22-2007, 06:37 AM
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- Dec 2006
- South Florida
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Re: PARIS HIGHLIGHTS?
lhb...actually, I said the Hotel Regina looked a bit tired and worn in the common areas we visited. I also said our friends had a wonderful stay in the upgraded suite. Following is the post from member 9096460923.
HotelRegina 9096460923.Hotel Regina is NOTwhat is advertised! We stayed here in Nov 2006, On one of the nights, we stayed out past midnite, when we returned, the Hotel was locked with fencing over the doors, the Hotel has homeless people sleeping at the doors outside, we purchased pkg with Luxury Link,
We were so excited to go to Paris, upon our arrival we were very disappointed to find a very tired and worn room, nothing like the advertisement. When we ask for a different room, Natalie, the Hotel rep, was very challenging not willing to help, until we called Luxury Link, and then we were given a nicer room, still not what was advertised thru Luxury Link. Thoroughly research any comments when purchasing a pkg.
Message Edited by 9096460923 on 01-09-200712:25 PM- Ω -
01-22-2007, 08:26 AM
Re: PARIS HIGHLIGHTS?hi VIPomegaSeems like part of the 'charm' of Paris is dealing with 'challenging' people like Natalie. On mt last visit to the lovely City of Lights, everything, including the veryhospitable staff,was just fine at my hotel. But,I had a challenging time dealing with Roland, a waiter at an otherwise charming bistro/bar around the block. Perhaps it's the custom of Parisian waiters to try to live up to their reputation of aloof rudeness, but this 'garcon' took the cake.My cousin Jarl and I went out for a late bite and a drink one evening. Found this great looking place and went in. We were the only ones there! Sat at a round table for two near the front so we could watch the night life outside on the boulevard (lots of Parisians out for a late stroll). Roland stood at the bar near the back, saw us come in but said not a word nor acknowledged us in any way. He just ignored us. We sat and talked a while, expecting him to approach for our order, at least for our drinks. No dice. After 15 minutes, Jarl, who speaks fluent French, called out to the waiter, who still remained at the back silent pretending to arrange cutlery or napkins. Another 5 went by. Nothing. I then got angry and said we should get out and go somewhere else. But, Jarl got up and went to the back and spoke brusquely to Roland face-to-face. Only then did the waiter come to our table, looked at us snidely (no welcoming or smile) and waited for our order. We told him what we wanted and he quickly turned on his heels and disappeared.After what seemed an eternity he brought us our beers and baguettes (which were delicious!). Once finished, we left, without tipping, and resolved never to return to the insolent Roland. C;est la vie!Maybe Natalie and Roland could get together...curtiejoe
01-26-2007, 08:36 PM
Re: PARIS HIGHLIGHTS?
Tried to send you detailed suggestions for Paris, but the board accepts nothing over 2000 characters... Well, I will try to redo my suggestions in a couple of days being more brief....
01-27-2007, 08:10 AM
Re: PARIS HIGHLIGHTS?
Let's hope LL Community Admin. considers increasing the amount of characters allowed in a single post to more than 2000 (sometimes there's just a lot to say). Look forward to your Paris itinerary suggestions.
By the way, do you know that just for St. Valentine's Day in mid-february, about 170 luminous announcement boards strategically located in Paris are being turned over to romantics. These boards are normally used for every-day civic announcements the rest of the year, but will now come to life with declarations of love, messages of infatuation andeven marriage proposalsby individuals. Anyone interested may post a message after Feb.1 on the website http://www.paris.fr
Then, why not take your love to Paris to see, along with the whole City of Light, your declaration of undying affection!
Message Edited by curtiejoe on 01-27-200708:33 AM
01-28-2007, 11:25 AM
Re: PARIS HIGHLIGHTS? Hotels
Great post, great pix. Haven't seen the Valentine's promotion yet, but will keep an eye out for it.
Here we go again, trying to post my suggestions.
LL has quite a number of nice Paris packages on auction. As I mentioned before there is the rather inexpensive B&B in the Marais, currently on LL auction for 3, 4 and 5 nights. I will try to go to the Marais in the next few days to check it out for myself. I did find a rather bad review on the TripAdvisor, please check it out - this was alarming news....
Also in the Marais is the lovely hotel of Pavillon de la Reine, www.pavillon-de-la Reine.com Officially opened in 1612 as the Place Royal, the Place de Voges was constructed under Henry IV who died before it was completed. It quickly attracted High Society to the Marais, often visited by Madame de Sevigne, Racine, Moliere and La Fontaine. After a long period of decline, the Marais has recovered its aristocratic credentials. Nowadays, beneath the arcades of the square, its a pleasure to browse in the antique shops, visit the art galleries or dine in a fine restaurant. In the heart of Paris, it is a delightful pied-a-terre that offers all the comfort of a grand hotel.
Here is a TripAdvisor Review:
"Paris: Pavillon de la Reine: "Lovely hotel"
We had a wonderful stay at this hotel in early November, 2005. Our stay was for four nights. While this hotel was a bit pricier than what I wanted to spend, I will say it was worth every Euro for the splurge!
I used to work at a five-star hotel (for 8 years!), and hence tend to write lengthy, detailed reviews!
SHORT VERSION: Lovely hotel, beautiful rooms, great service, highly recommended!
This hotel came recommended by one of my aunt's, who has stayed there on several occasions. While initially I thought it was completely out of my price range, they did post a special on their web site approximately two weeks prior to my trip. We paid 290 Euro (inclusive of taxes and breakfast) per night for a room with two twin beds.
This was my first trip to Paris, so I am going to list some highlights of the hotel, based upon the concerns/questions I had prior to my travels!
Bedroom: We were in a Superior category room, which, as it turns out, is the smallest room that two can share (their Standard category room is for singles only). As I was traveling with an aunt, we needed two beds. The room was quite small (my aunt compared it to a cruise ship room...the twin beds were side-by-side, which was not a problem for us, but may be of concern for others). However, I understand that small rooms are pretty much the norm in Paris. The room did have some great features which helped make it seem not-so-cramped, including ample armoire space (plenty large for our two monster suitcases!). Our request for non-smoking was honored. The bedding/linens were wonderful.
Bathroom: This was the best feature which made the room not seem as small as it could have felt. The toilet was separate from the bathroom, with its own little door. The bathroom was a very nice size (by European standard, I imagine it could be described as "large!"), and had two sinks, which was GREAT for two women sharing! [I do not know if all Superior-category rooms have two sinks and the separate toilet configuration, so do ask if this is important to you.] The bath amenities were very nice (including a heated towel rack). The shower pressure was excellent, and hot water plentiful. I loved this bathroom!
View: We were on the first (ground level) floor, with an interior courtyard view, which was lovely. While I normally never like to stay on the ground floor (just for safety reasons), I felt perfectly safe in this room, as it faced an interior courtyard which is entirely enclosed by the building.
Decor: In a word, lovely! Our only gripe was with the lighting in our bedroom...while there are several lamps, they all seem to have extremely low-wattage bulbs. It was just too dim in the room (and that's with having a VERY large window)! It was hard to find things in the armoires when something got pushed to the back, quite a bit of groping in the dark! The bathroom lighting was very good. The lobby lounge is lovely, but we did find the smoke from the fireplace a bit overwhelming on two evenings.
Breakfast: A nice deal if you get it included in a package rate. A heavy buffet, and you can also order omelettes. The breakfast attendants were lovely. Great coffee. The breakfast room is sub-ground level, but does not feel at all like a "cavern" (as I have seen others described). It had great lighting and a very nice atmosphere.
Service: Overall, excellent. Prompt, and everyone was very patient with non-French-speaking guests! There was one Concierge who was exceptionally good, went out of his way to really tailor restaurant suggestions for dinner for us. The other Concierge was not as helpful, just sent us to Chez Janou (see below) with no other helpful suggestions. One thing we found, you need to ask all of the staff for VERY SPECIFIC walking directions! They would tell us that something was, "just around the corner on the right," when in fact you would have to make two rights to get to it, etc. After one frustrating evening, we learned that we needed to ask them to give us the restaurant's card (or write down the street address, if they didn't have a card), and also to jot down their walking directions. [This issue with giving walking directions was something I witnessed with other guests, not just my own experience.]
Overall Location: Excellent! In the Marais, literally on the Place des Voges. From Gare du Nord train station, expect to pay ~15 Euros for a cab ride (keeping in mind, the Parisian cabbies sometimes tack on a customary luggage charge inbound from the train stations and airports, which can add a few Euros). Easy walking distance to the Bastille, Cluny Museum and Carnavalet Museum. I felt very safe here, we had absolutely no hesitation in walking about the neighborhood after dark, and the Hotel staff were very helpful in advising if there were areas to avoid (as we were there during the car-burning/riot incidents).
Area info: LOADS of choices for dinner (I cannot advise regarding breakfast, as we dined at the hotel as it was included in our package rate). We loved Gaspard's and had dinner there twice! We tried Chez Janou (recommended by the Hotel, and also mentioned in a lot of guide books) and were less impressed. Although we were treated very well (very likely because the Concierge at the Pavillon made our reservation), it was just wasn't as good as other restaurants we sampled, and too loud for our taste. Everyone in the area was very helpful if we needed assistance with directions, even those who spoke little English! There are lots of lovely shops, although we did not get to sample them much, as we were out and about so much during the day.
Odds and Ends: Laptop with free internet service just off the lobby, very handy! Some difficulty with the phones, sometimes had to try multiple times to get a dial tone. A little bit more printed info in the rooms (especially concerning phone usage) would have been helpful, but this is very minor.
Overall, the Pavillon de la Reine was a great choice for a first-time visitor! I have no hesitations in recommending it."
Hotel Regina currently on LL auction starting at $1310 for 4 nights. I booked our friends into the Regina. Omegaet and one other very negative review currently on the Hotel Regina Thread got me worried. I went over there to check it out, told the receptionist about the very bad review and bad attitude by Natalie. She apologized and was more than nice. The hotel was full, but she told me to come back tomorrow and she would show me some Luxury Link rooms. She said they have 15 newly renovated rooms, and she made sure our friends are assigned one of the newly renovated rooms on the upper floors. The downstairs looked fine, true it was not flashy, but it looked cozy with lots of wood trim and marble floors. The breakfast and dining room looked fine. She did admit that they have had a problem with homeless people trying to sleep in the arcade, but they are actively trying to discourage that. I think the LL auction price is fair seen what Paris hotels run.
Hilton Hotel by the Eiffel Tower www.Hilton.com/minibreaks is currently having a mini-break promotion for 3 nights minimum for 235 Euros/night for a classic room including breakfast and tax. For an upgrade to a superior room add 45 Europs per night and this will give you a larger room with a view of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. The rooms were very nice and comfortable (American comfort nothing French about it except the view if you spring for the extra 45 Euros). I booked our friends in to the Hilton for 3 nights when we get back with them from Rome.
My recommendation would almost have to go to the Hilton Hotel by the Eiffel Tower.