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What to do in Paris? Stay in Paris?

I am taking my 15 year old son to Paris for 3-4 days (first time for both of us). We will be arriving from London on the Eurostar on June 1st and staying until 4th or 5th. We are planning on seeing: Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysee, Norte Dame, Arch de Triomphe and Louvre and Seine river cruise at night to see lights. Any suggests on what else to see.I would like to see "old Paris" Ex: quaint little streets, little "mom and pop" stores. We are not "Museum people" or "Art" people, but would like to see "authentic" Paris.
Also: I have been doing research on tripadvisor.com for hotels (Looking for under $200 for both per night) Any help to guide me in the right direction. Per ETBD books, Rue Cler neighbor considered best, but no sure where this area is. Paris is notorious for conventions in June, would this likely cause me problems?

Posted by
416 posts

Kristen,

Grand Hotel Leveque on Rue Cler is exactly what you are looking for. It is walking distance to the Eiffel Tower and many other interesting sights. Here is the URL for them: http://www.hotel-leveque.com/ The nearest Metro stop is Ecole Militaire and is an easy walk to Rue Cler. As for conventions in June in Paris, I cannot help. Both times I was there, it was after Christmas.

Posted by
416 posts

Also, see the Paris Sights thread for additional suggestions on things to see. I posted on there about the Cite de la Musique. If your son is into music and the temporary exhibition is one he would enjoy, it is worth the time to take the Metro out there (it is on one of the outer arrondissements of Paris).

Posted by
199 posts

Thank you, just lookd at Hotel Leveque at tripadvisor.com. Very reasonable and near sights. There is availability for my dates! Thank you for the suggestion. Did you book directly with the hotel?

Posted by
277 posts

Besides what has already been mentioned, two interesting sites for a 15 year old would be: catacombs and the sewer tours. On our first visit when my dtr was 4 we visited the sewer. Now 24 she still remembers it.

Posted by
416 posts

Kristen,

Yes, I booked directly with the Hotel. Booking is very easy and they are trustworthy.

Posted by
11450 posts

I like Rick Steves( hey I am here right?) , but, I do not consider the "Rue Cler" area that great. Mainly because it is not as central to most other sites as say staying in the 5 or 6th would be.
June is a busy month , so yes book sooner rather then later for choice of hotels.
I would also suggest you look at staying in the St Germain area( 6th) , it is my favorite and very central with lots of little side streets, cafes, shops etc., and walking distance to many many sites.

I also second taking son to "Les Catacombs " you can google it ,they have a site in english. My 14 yr sons both loved it, different, but not without some history besides the " bizzare " aspect of it. LOL
I understand the sewer tour is a bit stinky though, didn't venture to do that, LOL.

Posted by
51 posts

I went a couple of years ago with my two teenagers. We enjoyed doing the Fat Tire Bike Tours. It was a great way to see the city and also to burn off restless energy from the train trip from London. We also stayed in the Rue Cler area and loved that it stayed light until almost 11 pm in June. We walked everywhere so we could see the sights. We also went to EuroDisney for a day...although it was so much smaller than Disney World, we still enjoyed it. Enjoy!

Posted by
3313 posts

Rue Cler is pleasant but it's some distance from everything except the Eiffel Tower and the Rodin Museum. The surrounding streets are pretty cold and bureaucratic. Also, the Rue Cler is swamped with tourists, many carrying a certain blue book.

One area to check out is the Abbesses neighborhood just below Montmarte. Some folks are skittish because the red light district of Pigalle is close by but the area has narrow, winding streets from the pre-Haussmann era. Of course Montmarte is also touristy but I thought Abbesses was a great area in between.

Posted by
4125 posts

I think you will have a marvelous time in Paris and that it is a great introduction to France.

However, I hope you are not disappointed in one respect. The streets of Paris have great charm and character, but I would never call them quaint. There are small shops like gems, but "mom and pop," at least not if you mean rustic or simple.

Paris is the great city of France; she is grand and certainly authentic, but she is not la France profonde.

I am not trying to warn you off. Walk almost anywhere in the city and you will find wonders. But it is the city, and a great one.

Posted by
8392 posts

I agree completely with Pat and Doug. I've lived in Paris and go often on vacation w/my now 17 yr old son. I don't like the Rue Cler area either. There are so many more charming areas, like Pat wrote, the western part of the 5th arrondissement, the 6th, the Marais (4th). I also LOVE Ile St. Louis (the island behind Notre Dame). When I'm "shopping" for a hotel I go to my favorite bookstore and look through many guide books. I notice which hotels are recommended by more than one guide and then go to their website. Other than what's already been suggested, my son loved the Metro, the skaters by Notre Dame on Fri & Sat night, the entertainers, at night, on the bridge that goes from behind Notre Dame to Ile St Louis, climbing the tower of Notre Dame, the double-decker open-top Hop-on, Hop-off tour bus and a day trip to Veaux-le-Vicomte (in RS Paris book). They filmed "Man in the Iron Mask" there and it's a great authentic castle experience. I hope you have a great time in Paris!

Posted by
360 posts

During a couple trips to Paris, I saw people doing a Segway tour. I thought it looked like fun & picked up a brouchure for www.citysegwaytours.com. They do US tours plus Paris & Nice.
The Rue Cler area does have a lot of Americans, but I do like it.

Posted by
11450 posts

Oh, yes , I forgot to mention the Fat Tire Bike tours, I did it last summer, the "Paris by night" loved it enough to book and do the Versailles one the next day. I bet your son would really enjoy it, do the daytime trip perhaps , . They have a website, just google.

Posted by
57 posts

I took my 17 year old this June and stayed in the Rue Cler area. It was nice and safe for a group of women but not very lively. As has been mentioned before it is a little out of the way. I would go with something in the 5th or 6th or the Marias before I would opt for the 7th again. Frankly I got tired of seeing all the people carrying Rick's book LOL. I

Posted by
104 posts

I have only been to Paris once, and we stayed near Ecole Militare in the 7th. We really enjoyed this area. We spent some time in the Rue Cler which is not far. We enjoyed the homey feel of the area around our hotel (Hotel Duquesne Eiffel, probably more than $200/night by now) which had a lot of great places to eat.

It's true that most sites were a metro ride away, but the metro was so efficient and easy that it was no problem getting where we wanted in a 10 or 15 minutes. We enjoyed coming back to the 7th as our home base every night because it felt pretty residential.

However, considering your relatively short stay, you might want to choose someplace more central, like the 5th or 6th districts that others recommended. We spent a lot of time in the 5th during our stay as well.

PS. If you are not museum people, you might want to avoid the Louvre. We found this to be the most miserable experience in Paris with the crowds, heat, and just feeling like we "had" to go.

Posted by
29 posts

We stayed in the latin quarter in August - across the Seine from the Notre Dame and absolutely loved it. Stayed at Hotel Marignan and while not fancy, it was clean, location was great, and we found the people nice. Also, the price was very reasonable (about 27 Euro per person) and it included bkfst.

When I read you were bringing your son I was going to suggest a bike tour. My sisters and I loved it - one of the highlights of Paris. We did a night bike tour with Bike About Tours. A great way to see Paris and watch the transformation from "day Paris" to "Paris at night." Loved Bike About cause their groups were smaller that Fat Bike. You can google them for more info.

Posted by
8392 posts

Hi Kristen, I wrote a post previously and I would not recommend Hotel Marignan. Way too basic and a little run-down. A little more money will buy you a much better experience. Rue Cler area is not the only safe area of Paris, all of central Paris is very, very safe. We stayed at Hotel St. Jacques on rue des Ecoles, very close to Notre Dame and they have many rooms w/balconies which is very nice to have. We've also stayed at Hotel du Pantheon which is nice. Stayed at Hotel des Grandes Ecoles and don't recommend it only because it's a little out of the way and very over-priced, otherwise it's nice. There are 2 hotels I'd highly recommend for location and quality: Hotel de Lutece and Hotel des Deux Iles, both in RS book and not as expensive as RS makes them sound but it's all relative. I just think if you're only going to be in Paris for a couple days staying as close to the action as possible and in a nice hotel is worth it. They are both on Ile St Louis, behind Notre Dame.

Posted by
157 posts

We stayed at the Hotel La Bourdonnais (a 4 rating at trip advisor) and we really enjoyed the area and the easy walk to the metro and Eiffel tower. It is also around the corner from Rue Cler. The rooms are resonably priced and clean. My kids (one teenager) realy liked the city in general, the Seine River tour, Sacre Coeur and the surrounding area, Versailles and the gardens there. They did not care for the trip out to Versailles but they were gald they went to see it. The kids also enjoyed my abbreviated tours of the Louvre and D'Orsay. My teen is not a "museum" type either. My teen also just liked just walking the streets and watching the various street performers. Overall my kids just enjoyed being in Paris.