Well...either Ed or Kent gave me the scoop on how to seach old threads on the graffitti wall and I am totally bummed!! I planned my trip prior to discovering this awesome graffitti wall and according to most of the posts Rue Cler sucks oops Rue Steve Ricks!! Please someone tell me good things!! I am a first time visitor to Paris. Should I have gone to Vegas instead at this point?! I need cheering up!!
There's nothing wrong with Rue Cler. Yes, half the people you see there will flash the dreaded Blue Book Sign, and you'll overhear lots of nonsense about "off the beaten path", "becoming a temporary local" and "must-sees". But it is a pleasant, quiet neighborhood. If you really want to avoid other American tourists, you could stay in the Le Defense area or in one of les banlieu... but that would be like someone from France taking a trip to Burbank or Oakland. At least there's no Starbucks or McDonalds in the area...
Thanks Steve and Tom,
One of the posts actually compared Rue Cler to Epcot Center and that just bummed me out. I don't mind seeing other tourists, in fact I think my hubby will enjoy it but most of the posts made it sound that I will see every american carrying a Rick Steves Book and Pbs tote and not a Parisian in site. Oh well!
Epcot Center? I don't think so. We were there in April, 2005, staying in an apartment a block away, and thought it was a perfect location. Yes, the shopkeepers are a little more used to Americans than elsewhere in Paris, so it could be faulted as not as "authentic", but it is still Paris and you will meet Parisiens there.
We went with 2 teenage daughters and they loved having fresh croissants for breakfast (lovingly fetched by their doting father each morning) and fresh baguettes with dinner each night (same). We walksed over to see the Eiffel Tower lit up after dinner each night, and walked lots of other places during the day. We also caught the bus to the Marais, and the RER train to Versailles.
We thought it was fine.
People probably criticize it as one of the locations that has been "ruined" by Rick Steves--like Cinque Terre and Gimmelwald. Just don't walk around with your blue book, learn to speak a bit of French, and you'll find it's a great base from which to explore Paris.
I have been to Paris three times and every time there I have stayed in the Rue Cler neighborhood because I like it there. It is was not overrun with Ricknics anytime that I stayed there, the last time being summer of 2009. Easy to get to on public transportation and an easy walk to lots of sights. I have explored other neighborhoods in Paris and might consider staying elsewhere just to experience something different. You will enjoy the neighborhood and remember some folks can find fault with a free meal.
Many of the group here have differing opinions on which is "the best" area of Paris to stay, but I really like the Rue Cler neighborhood and fully intend to stay there again on my next visit.
While Rue Cler does tend to seem a bit "touristy" at times, that's not always due to Rick's readers. There are some nice Hotels, restaurants and other facilities in that area, and that along with the fact that it's close to the Eiffel Tower and other sights makes it popular.
As it's your first visit to Paris, I think that Rue Cler would be an ideal place to stay, while you explore the city and form your own opinions in which is "the best" area.
The Paris or France Guidebooks will provide you with a good overview on the merits of each section of Paris.
I have been to Paris twice. The first time I stayed in a hotel in Rue Cler. The second time I stayed in an apartment in the Latin Quarter. I preferred the apartment in the Latin Quarter. If I had the chance to go back to Paris but was told I had to stay in Rue Cler, I would go for it! There is nothing "wrong" with Rue Cler, I just personally enjoyed the Latin Quarter more. Rue Cler is a nice neighborhood and I wouldn't worry about staying there.
Regarding seeing tourists...Paris gets more tourists than any other place--on the planet. So, no matter where you stay, you're going to see tourists.
Remember, you're staying on Rue Cler, not chained to it. You have an entire city to see.
I've only stayed in the Latin Quarter or Luxembourg areas when I've been in Paris (I'm in an apartment in the LQ now for this month,) but I agree with Amy -- central Paris is not all that big and you won't be just hanging out in your hotel neighborhood while you're here. I've enjoyed Rue Cler for picking up picnic stuff and having a people-watching lunch at the Eiffel Tower, and I liked the friendly atmosphere of Rue Cler. You'll have fun wherever you stay -- it is, after all, PARIS!
To add to my previous post, I feel very "comfortable and at-home" in Rue Cler.
I may try other areas in future, but for now I'll be staying in Rue Cler.
Lisa...Rue Cler is a perfectly good choice..People of Paris actually live there and appreciate the markets, shops and access to bus and metro. Friends of mine have stayed in the area, in apts, not hotels, but loved going not far at night to see the lights of the Tour Eiffel. I think you will be happy with your choice, enjoy the 2nd visit and don't be upset if you hear people speaking English...
For the record, Rue Cler and it's surroundings do not suck.
It is not unique.
It is slightly over-priced.
It is a tad inconvenient from most sights.
It is over-hyped and over-populated by one segment of travelers.
For those reasons I would not choose to stay there. Were I traveling with others and they made the sleeping arrangements, I would not mention my thoughts on the matter.
I have knocked it for several reasons, depending on the response to the question at hand:
some myopic posters postualte that it is the only place worth staying
some questioners were panicked because they could not find a place to stay there
some questioners sought more economical places
some questioners had specialized interests that would not best be served by staying anywhere near there
The area does not suck.
We stayed in the Rue Cler area. Nothing special I thought, but nothing terrible either. We liked the proximity to cheap eats and many transport options. The fact was, we got up every morning, grabbed a coffee and left for the entire day, returning only late in the evening. I wouldn't fret...the whole of Paris is at your door. Depart the Rue and return to snooze. You'll have a great time.
As others have said the Rue Cler area is nice enough. Maybe it has been over-hyped because Mr Steve's mentions in his books but there are a lot worse places to stay. We stayed near there before it became 'famous' and it was a great area to walk at night.
Paris is one of the easiest cities in the world to get around in if you don't like the area go somewhere else in a 10 minute metro ride.
I liked Frank II statement of "you are just staying there, you are not chained to it". All of Paris is right outside your door - even if you HATE Rue Cler (and I doubt you will) - you are a 10 minute Metro ride away from anything in the most amazing city on earth. I wouldn't set yourself up with negative thoughts.
I stayed there on my first trip simply because I wanted to be near the Eiffel tower. If I went back tomorrow I could toss a coin of whether to go again or try somewhere else just for fun.
I didn't find it overly run with tourists (we were there in the fall).
I apologize because I have written this before - but one of the highlights of Paris for my husband and I was the cheese shop on Rue Cler. IT STINKS! It can nearly knock you off your feet how bad it smells. So we went by it too scared to even try to pick out a cheese. Instead we went next door to the wine shop and I asked the attendant if he could recommend a nice full bodied red wine. He asked "are you going to be having cheese with it?" At what point he saw our fearful terrorized faces. He then said "would you like me to talk to the cheese guy and pair something for you?" HELL YEAH!! He then proceeded to pick us out a nice wine, uncork it, talk to the cheese guy, get a very fine cheese and at which point we headed over to the Eiffel Tower lawn for a top-notch picnic. Now does that sound awful?
Had it not been for him, I swear we would not have had the nerve to fight past the smell of French cheese and just dig in and try it. The best stuff on earth. (Heresy for a girl from Wisconsin by the way).
Thanks everyone for all the posts. I really appreciate it. I know Paris has tourists everywhere and I think when I was planning the trip there was a little piece of me that wants to pretend that I actually live in Paris and when I started reading the posts bashing Rue Cler I really pictured over weight Americans wearing baseball hats, Bush/Cheney 04 shirts and Parisian shop owners scowling at them as they walk past and maybe I still will but it still sounds like a very nice place to stay and the right place for me....I must see the sparkling Eiffel from my hotel room, ahhhh. Thanks again!
We will staying at the Hotel Leveque in Rue Cler in August. I'm totally thrilled to be staying there. In 1999 we made our first trip to Paris (totally unprepared). Conventions had filled up most hotels so AAA put us in an obscure spot (totally untouristy) where no one in the hotel spoke English or French. I had counted on getting help there with questions. It was a very stressful trip. But, this time we're prepared and are happy to be staying in an area that will be a bit easier for us.
The negative people are definitely reacting to what they feel is overhype. I love it and have stayed there 5 times and will continue to. I don't see how people think it's that touristy, either--compared to so many other parts of Paris where people like to stay, I think it's very neighborhood-y. And it's in the 7th, which is the best restaurant neighborhood in Paris IMO (and in Michelin's opinion as well).
Oh and I too love seeing the Eiffel sparkle from my hotel room or apartment. Where are you staying?
Lisa: Of course the Bourgeois Bohême types don’t care for rue Cler anymore. After all, they’re into discovering and enjoying new places in foreign countries before the tourists arrive. My guess is that they’re the ones doing the complaining, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing when you consider every traveler has their own style, tastes, likes, dislikes, etc. For the typical American tourist, however, rue Cler provides a lovely pedestrian market scene. It’s exactly what you might picture in your mind’s eye if you’ve never been to Paris before. Even if you don’t stay there, go check it out and enjoy it. And, don’t worry too much about the Americans with Tea Bagger tee shirts like you’ve described. I don’t recall seeing any of those in Paris…only in London and at Neuschwanstein.
Lisa, I was really hoping everyone would cheer you up, and then you had to go and put down people who are overweight, wear baseball caps, and vote for Bush. Not sure if this is three different groups, or should I assume that all Bush supporters are overweight and wear baseball caps?
I still hope you have a good time in Paris (I loved it!), but I also hope you become a little more open-minded and less judgemental.
Wow Carroll I am very sorry if I offended you. It was not my intention at all. What I described is actually from a scene in a movie title "2 days in Paris" directed by Julia Delpy. It is very funny movie and someone elses depiction of Americans in Paris. Once again sorry, never meant any offense. Thanks once again for everyone replies. I really appreciate it and now very happy with the choice!
Maybe an equivalent, less politically-charged comparison would be the obese American tourists from the movie "In Brugge". "But the guidebook said it's a must-see!" Even if Rue Cler were filled with such less-than-flattering stereotypical Americans, I'd still rather go there than Vegas.
As I seem to remember, the American tourists in "The Triplets of Belleville" were pretty obese, too. C'est la vie.
I am sure that you will have a wonderful time in the 7th arrondissement, with the Effiel Tower and many great places to eat. I have been lucky enough to visit Paris many times and I try and stay in a different place all the time. There are so many beautiful areas in Paris. You really can't go wrong in too many areas. I think they all have something special to offer.
I find it amazing that many of the posters here stay in the same arrondissment every time they go to Paris!
I guess some folks get comfortable in an area and don't want to venture out in to new areas. I would say that maybe they just don't like change. For me I would get bored. So many next time you visit, you could try a different area. One thing for sure is that Paris is an easily traveled city!
Apology accepted, Lisa. Perhaps I am overly sensitive, but I get tired of people putting down overweight people (I am not one) and conservatives (I am one) as if they are lower life forms. I didn't see the movie you were thinking of, but I do know exactly what you mean about wanting to avoid being surrounded by Americans when you are in Paris. I wanted to be around French people, who I discovered are quite wonderful, contrary to the stereotype.
My first trip to Paris was last fall, and I decided not to stay in Rue Cler because I just wanted a more central location. But it sounds to me like it has a lot to offer, and even if you decide it's not for you, I don't see how it can keep you from having a wonderful trip. Bon Voyage!
I enjoy staying in the Rue Cler area. The Eiffel Tower is my favorite part of Paris. When staying there, I am 5 minutes walk from the tower; it is my first stop in the morning and I always watch the twinkling lights that occur on the hour for 10 minutes after dark each night, not to mention great sunsets. My favorite cafe is La Terrasse (? spell) right outside the Ecole Militaire Metro stop; yes there are tourists there but many locals too, great people watching at any time of day. One of my favorite markets is the Grenelle, between the LaMotte Picquet Grenelle and Dupleix Metro stops. I will definately stay in the Rue Cler area again.
I used the bus more on my last trip, just so I could see the sights during the bus trip. Before my trip I bought "the Paris Mapguide" author Michael Middleditch, which is a great map with metro stations, bus routes major sights. It is about 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches and quite thin. I did a ton of walking in Paris, the guide was helpful when wandering around.
Stop sweating your choice and look at the great possibilities. With such a great Metro system, everything in Paris is close. Enjoy your trip.
Eds post pretty well sums some of the most valid points.
As for the Vegas comparison, I can only assume you are drinking at the keyboard.. LOL
HA HAA Pat!
Actually drinking my wine and dreaming about my trip is my favorite past time. So chances are I was drinking! For the record...I don't like Vegas!
Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. 3 more weeks!!
Have a good trip and come back and tell us all about it!