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First time in France Questions

Hello! My name is Alexis and my husband and I are taking my mother to Paris in March 2017.. I have a couple of questions hopefully someone can answer! 1. I do not know what arrondisement/neighborhood to stay in. I would like one that has a lot of little stores and restaurants, and one that is easy to navigate to get to the metro... We are planning to do everything Rick recommends for about 5 days..... thanks in advance!

Posted by
774 posts

You will find that every neighborhood in Paris has a lot of little stores and restaurants, and with easy access to the Metro.

Our favorite area to stay in is the 6rh arrondisement (St. Germain), north of Blvd. St. Germain. Close to several metro stops with easy access to other popular tourist sites, plus an easy walk to the Seine. Many restaurants and all that, and lots of cafes for good people-watching. Some people feel this area is too touristy, but I will say that when we've been at cafes in the area, what we mostly hear around us is people speaking French.

Posted by
3551 posts

It would help to know your hotel daily budget. Paris can be pricey. Many moderate hotels do not have elevators or air cond. and brfast is extra.
Let the forum know.

Posted by
28 posts

Hello. I was looking at B&B's. I was looking to spend no more than 100$ a night. We will actually be going to France for about 5 days (not done planning the itinerary) and then Italy for another 5... as for the B&B I am mainly looking for washer-dryer-wifi- and possibly breakfast.

Posted by
5262 posts

Little stores and restaurants are everywhere. Most of the major sights are near the river, and I'd suggest the 4th, 5th, or 6th if you can pay for this convenience. But the double-digit arrondissements are just as lively and interesting for lower cost, if you're willing to ride the Metro a little longer or more often. If you find a place near a Metro station where two lines intersect you'll have more options for getting around.

Since you're following Rick's sightseeing recommendations, you might consider the neighborhoods his guidebooks recommend for lodging -- the Marais (4th), Latin Quarter (5th), and Rue Cler area (7th). But there are many other choices. If you want to "explore" a neighborhood, the Street View feature of Google Earth can tell you a lot.

EDIT -- Just saw your last post. Your budget is low for Paris, I doubt if you'll find much in the areas near the river. Try using booking.com to look for affordable places in good locations with the features you want. Bed-and-breakfasts are rare in Paris, but there are thousands of little family-run hotels. A hotel may serve breakfast for an extra cost, but you'll likely pay less at a nearby café if you don't mind going out. Hotels aren't likely to provide washers and dryers for guests, but many will do laundry, and there are many laundromats where you can do your own. In March there will be no need for air conditioning.

Posted by
8291 posts

Try Hotel Marignan in the 5th arrondissement (my favorites are 4th, 5th and 6th too, like Dick). Budget hotel, near the river, communal kitchen, and they used to have a communal washer and I believe still do. May or may not have a dryer, but a large area to dry your clothes on racks.
You can also go to Booking.com and see what appeals and read all reviews.
As Dick said, B&Bs are rare in Paris.
Does your mom have any issues with walking? The Mêtro can involve a lot of walking and a lot of stairs. I prefer busses.

Posted by
28 posts

Okay thank you! I was looking on airbnb.com I guess that's why I thought they were B&B's .... Is the 4th arrondisment called the Marais?

Posted by
2893 posts

Do you mean US$100 per night for two rooms one for you and your husband and one for your mother or U$100 per night for each room so that you spend US$200 per night for your room? If it is US$100 all in for two rooms or for a triple room, that is going to be very, very difficult to find in a decent hotel or B&B (of which there are not many) in a semi-central area of Paris. your budget may even be a tad low for AirBnB. AirBnB is not a B&B; it is a listing platform that people can use to rent apartments or rooms in apartments to vacationers. Le Marais is an area of Paris that is in both the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. You may want to look at http://www.discoverfrance.net/France/Paris/Paris_maps.shtml to get a sense of the layout of the arrondissements and https://www.airbnb.com/locations/paris to learn about the neighborhoods, many of which are in more than one arrondissement.

Posted by
3336 posts

Paris can be quite expensive and $100 for 3 people is probably not going to happen, especially with your wish to stay in a place that provides breakfast as well as a washer/dryer. I don't know of hotels that provides a washer/dryer without being a self-catering apartment. Dryers are not as common in Europe in general as many people air dry their laundry.
If you're not opposed to such a thing I ran a quick search on Airbnb for a week in March and found about 20 places inside the Peripherique ring road that have washers for under $100 per night. You need to look carefully to see if the configuration of beds, baths, private vs. public spaces would work for the 3 of you! It certainly keeps your costs down though.
Quick add: I just saw your post, two above this one, and saw that you thought Airbnb listings were for actual bed and breakfasts. That is not the case! Airbnb listings are almost exclusively self-catering apartments or rooms for rent in people's homes.

Posted by
3336 posts

The Marais crosses into both the 3rd and 4th arrondissements.

Posted by
28 posts

I actually found a ton of B&B in Paris, the only problem is they are about 120$ which if it comes down to that I don't mind. But I am paying for my mother also. I only wanted a dryer bc I want to try packing light like Rick suggests and washing the clothes in the sink. But if it's possible to air dry then that's fine. I just didn't know about the weather in March...

Posted by
1804 posts

Consider some of the budget "business travel" hotel chains, like Ibis. Sometimes if you book in advance and are very positive that your plans will not change, you can find a decent rate but it could be deemed "non-refundable", so you can't cancel last minute and need to be sure on your dates. I've stayed at Ibis in the 10th Arron and really liked it as it was about a 10 minute walk to Gare du Nord or Gare de l'Est and the RER. Also, there were a few small metro stops that were even closer, as well as good access to the public bus. Lot of local white collar and blue collar locals living in the area and the stores/restaurants and laundromat all near by. Plus Ibis had free WiFi - breakfast was an additional charge, but I skipped that and went to a bakery right on the corner which was far cheaper.

Posted by
6616 posts

I have not seen a triple room in a B&B for 90 or so Euro. You might find one in one of the budget hotels on the edge of Paris like a Mr. Bed or Ibis. That is a really really low budget for Paris where hotels rarely provide breakfast without an additional charge of from 10 to 20 Euro a head. Ideally you would want to be in one of the inner arrondissement; with that budget that is not likely even in March. You might find an airbnb apartment with one bedroom and a fold out couch in the living space for that and breakfast is quite cheap when you do your own -- a baguette is about a Euro.

Posted by
28 posts

I am NOT looking for 3 rooms. I wanted one bed and one pull out couch. Breakfast isn't a big concern for me. I plan on making breakfast myself

Posted by
28 posts

Everyone is giving such mixed reviews.... At this point I will go to 125-150€ but I need somewhere that is cozy and not far from the metro. The furthest I want to travel to get to a museum/attraction is 30 mins.

Posted by
4693 posts

Check Hotel Diana, it's in the Latin Quarter very close to La Sorbonne and the Cluny Museum.
It's a family owned hotel with friendly staff available 24/7. It has an elevator & it serves breakfast (extra fee)
My daughter & I enjoyed our stay at this hotel in June. There is a Metro stop & bus stops close by.
We ended up taking more buses than the Metro ( to avoid all those stairs due to my bum knee).
We did not eat breakfast at the hotel so can't comment on it.
We saw a self serve laundromat a couple of blocks from the hotel, if you need one.

Hope this helps :-)

Posted by
3685 posts

Using booking.com and some typical filters for your situation, I did a test for 5 nights, arriving March 13 and departing March 18. I limited to city center and came up with a few apartments roughly in your price range, €75 - €150.

Booking. com usually lists B&Bs as well, but without any filters except the test dates and 3 adults, there were only 16 listed out of a total of 4314 places to stay in Paris. There were 1234 apartments.

As a comparison, doing the same test for Rome, there were 1176 B&Bs and 2524 apartments out of 8286 places to stay in Rome.

Soooo, the low number of Paris B&Bs seems to be consistent with what people say about the lack of B&Bs in Paris. I would love to know what resources you used to find tons of B&Bs in Paris.

Having stayed with my husband both in a hotel in the Rue Cler area and in an apartment in the Marais, I can safely say that the apartment was better. Especially with 3 of you, I'd highly recommend you consider an apartment where you have a kitchen of some kind. Even we got a one bedroom as opposed to a studio because I'm an early riser and he isn't. A one bedroom with a sleeper sofa might work well for you, but you might find a place with 2 bedrooms at about the same price.

This Parisnet site is only one of many that can provide information on the arrondissements. Google is your friend if you want to find more.

Posted by
28 posts

I just found an amazing B&B in the Latin quarter for 108$ a night. I look on airbnb.com. You can filter the location and prices/amenities

Posted by
11613 posts

You can also filter by B&B on booking.com.

Posted by
276 posts

I booked the Hotel Excelsior in arr 5. Very close to the University in the Latin Quarter. It's a 5 minute walk to the metro, line 10, and a 15 minute walk to Notre Dame. Very close to St Michel for shops and restaurants. Montparnasse and the catacombs are very close by metro and about 30 minutes by walking. The Louvre is also about 30 minutes by foot, metro connection is easy. I did a quick lookup and a triple room in March was 130 euro per night. I haven't stayed there yet so no first hand knowledge but the location looks good, reviews were good. I took a leap of faith.

Posted by
2466 posts

Remember that you have to state how many people will be staying in the room - whether it's a traditional B&B, apartment, hotel or hostel. If you bring your daughter, even if she will sleep with you in the same bed, she must be mentioned. You can be turned away, if you don't.
There is a big confusion about B&Bs on sites like booking.com, AirBnB, TripAdvisor and many other websites. These are just the same illegal apartments - not like traditional B&Bs where you stay in someone's home, have a nice breakfast and can ask for information if you need it.
Some apartments have started including breakfast, but breakfast prices are always included in the rental fee. Some apartments will just give you a croissant, coffee and juice. Some will leave stuff in the fridge and you make your own. If you run out of food, or don't like what they leave you, you're out of luck.
However, you can go to the nearest bakery or supermarket and do much better for far less money.

Or, go to the nearest cafe, enjoy people-watching and order the "formule petit-dejeuner" - normally under 6 EU. If you want eggs and meat, it will cost more.

Posted by
6616 posts

I don't think anyone suggested you need 3 rooms but if you book a hotel or B&B you need a triple or a double and a single -- you cannot put more people than you book into a room regardless of how many are willing to pile into a bed.

The Hotel Marignan is the cheapest central hotel I know of and might have a triple in your price range. Good location and very cheap.

Posted by
1118 posts

Hotel Ylllen Eiffel offers triple rooms and a superb breakfast. The quarters will be very cramped, but the rooms are nicely decorated, it's as close to the metro as humanly possible (Practically on top of Volontaires - near Gare Montparnasse) and is in a nice little neighborhood. They offer a laundry service but not machines for your use (though there is a laverie close by)

Posted by
12887 posts

Hi,

If staying at the Ibis in the 10th Arrond is under consideration, there is another one on Rue St Quentin, straight ahead as you exit Gare du Nord down the block from the Kyriad at the end, on the right hand side, and next to the Chinese restaurant "Le Jumbo" ca 3-4 min walk.

Posted by
28 posts

Thank you all for your advice. I've ultimately decided to go in May and not March for weather purposes, and hopefully book the Vintage Hostel Gare du Nord...

Posted by
12887 posts

Hi,

The Vintage Hostel is just on the line between the 9th and 10 Arrond., ca 15-20 mins walk once you exit Gare du Nord turning right. I've checked this hostel out, not just "kids" or those in their 20s staying there, ie not a bad place.

Posted by
282 posts

Hi Alexis, I think you should keep looking. $100/night isn't that low. I prefer to spend my travel dollars on other things than hotels, and when I look for places in your price range, I'm usually able to find them. In September I stayed in an Air BnB on the Ile St. Louis for about $100/night and since there was an extra pull-out couch I invited my daughter to come along. (I looked for this place but didn't see that it was available still so I'm not sure what happened. It wasn't luxurious but it was serviceable.) Also, I just saw today that the euro is down again, 1 euro = $1.08, so that's in your favor.

It's wonderful that you're taking your mother to Paris, and May will be beautiful. You'll all have a great time!!

Posted by
2466 posts

There are a lot of short-term rentals that are being pulled off the market - either the property owner has been told to stop renting illegally, the tenant has been told to stop subletting illegally, or the owner has given up and is selling the property.

This is one very good reason not to book short-term rentals in Paris at the moment, and in the foreseeable future.

I've been searching for an apartment and there are a lot of apartments for sale on Ile-Saint-Louis, in particular. Most of them are being sold with the furnishings intact, which is not normal.