My girlfriend and I are visiting Paris for the first time for 4 days. We are in our late 20s. Where should we stay and what must we see or do in Paris, or the surrounding cities.
I didn't post the question but this is very similar to a trip that I am taking with my boyfriend in September. We arrive from Munich on Tuesday and depart for home on Sunday. I do have Rick's Paris book but was wondering if there was any personal experience of hotels/locations that anyone could add. We are both in our late 30's (well, I guess by then he'll be 40) so "night life" is not critical. I thought the Marais area would be a great place to stay because it seemed central.
Any personal hotel recommendations from your own trips? Looking for comfort and great value. "Luxury" is not critical but we aren't looking for dirt cheap.
Pete, purchase the latest Rick Steves' Paris guidebook, or any other good one you like. The cost of it will be more than made up for the convenience and good ideas you will receive. You'll get all the information you need about where to stay, what to see. I personally would not stay in the 7th district (Rue Cler) -- nice though it is. I think you might enjoy the 5th, 4th more -- Marais or Latin Quarter areas.... right in the center of the city, easy to get to main sights, walk around and really get the flavor of Paris. You will have a short metro ride to the Eiffel tower and Arch de Triomphe, no big deal. But get a good guidebook, learn about the city and make a plan.
Four days is not a lot of time so you need to be selective. However, without knowing your personal interests and your accommodations budget we can't be very helpful.
I suggest that you go to the library and read some Paris guidebooks. I recommend that you buy either a copy of the Lonely Planet Paris City Guide (more detailed than the Rick Steves Paris guidebook and geared more toward people your age) or the Lonely Planet Paris Encounter Guide (shorter than the full LP guidebook with less emphasis on accommodations and more emphasis on neighborhood highlights). After you've done some reading, come back and ask more specific questions about how to make the best use of your four days.
Stay somewhere central: 4th, 5th, or 6th arrondissements. You can walk to almost all major sites. Lots of reasonably priced hotels listed in Rick Steves guidebook, or search-able on this forum. Hotel Jeanne d'Arc in the Marais (4th) for one. Or (on the more expensive end) Hotel de Lutece on the Ile St.Louis.
I agree with Dale. There is a lot of nightlife in the 5th, and usually lots of street entertainment in and around Notre Dame plaza. It's great fun.
With only 4 days I would not worry about any surrounding cities.
Great, thanks, I think I will stay on the 4th, whatever that is (street?). I will want to view the Eiffel Tower, Arc-de-triomphe.......anything else?
Four days is a very short time for Paris as there's a LOT to see and do in that area. With such a short time frame, I wouldn't be concerned with "surrounding cities" on this trip, although a short day trip to Versailles would be a possibility.
Many of Rick's readers like the Rue Cler area, which is in the 7th Arrondissement as I recall. It's close to the Eiffel Tower and other sites so easy to walk, has good Metro access (Ecole Militaire), good ATM access and the street has a good selection of small Cafes, etc. While some consider it a bit "touristy", I don't mind that.
Regarding places to stay, check your local Bookstores and have a look at the Paris 2010 Guidebook as there are LOTS of suggestions in there for Hotels in different price ranges. Website information is provided so you can have a look at the properties on the web. One Hotel in that area is the Grand Hotel Leveque. It's not luxurious but I've found it very comfortable and the staff are wonderful.
The Guidebook will also provide lots of ideas on "what must we see or do in Paris". There are a wide variety of activities and sights so it's a good idea to research that so that you don't waste ANY time.
If you're planning on visiting Museums, a Paris Museum Pass would be a good idea, perhaps the two-day version. At the least you will minimize long queues. Don't try to see all of the Louvre on such a short visit, as it's enormous. You might want to focus on the Denon wing, where the Mona Lisa is located.
Be sure to wear a Money Belt, especially in crowds or on the Metro. Beware of the "bracelet or ring" scams.
I'm assuming this is also your first trip to Europe? If so, I'd highly recommend reading Europe Through The Back Door before you go, paying special attention to rail skills.
If you need information on getting to Paris from CDG, check www.parisbytrain.com - it's an excellent website!
The "4th," "5th," "6th," and "7th" refer to the districts of Paris which are called arrondissements. The numbering system starts in the center of Paris and travels out from there in the form of a spiral. The lower the number, the closer the arrondissement is to the center of the city.
Thanks, Steve! That is good to know. One more question if this thread is still alive. We are going in September. Am I better off booking FAR in advance or waiting until summer for a special? I'd hate to wait and miss an opportunity but I also don't want to book now and miss a "last minute" deal.
One of the things I did last April in Paris (this was only my second time there) was go for two bike tours; the company we used was Fat Tire Bikes. We were able to see so many of the main attractions in such a short time; we took both the day and night tours.
September is a BUSY month, book now.
I forgot to put in the third day that I want to try to fit in Left Bank or Latin quarter...I need to do my reserch in wich one is closer to Notredame or Luxemburgo...
have a nice trip
Same story here...
This is my itinerary so far:
First day - Louvre, Champ Ellises and Arc of triumph.
Second day - Montmartre (go to city free tour, they do free tour every saturday and sunday 11am and 5 pm), Champ de Mars (nice place for a picnic), and Eiffel Tower at night.
3er day - Notredame, Luxemburgo and Siene River (there are little cruises you can take at night)
4th day - trip to Versalles
Hope it help
Oh yes I forgot I found a great hotel in Rick steves book that a coworker stayed there too and it is Hotel Du Champ de Mars... go to their website
Thanks so much! I was hoping I would get some info like the one you handed over to me. You are a blessing. I think I am going to do almost everthing you spelled out. I got a little hotel in the 5th like the other guys stated before you. It only cost me $100 a night and it is next to the train. Thanks again! Any