Just returned from a 3 day trip to Paris. It was fantastic. I'm writing out more of a narrative in detail on my blog, but will share some finds and tips and reviews here. We took the TGV (why would we do anything else?) and found it pretty easy to get from Gare de l'Est to our hotel, Regyn's Montmarte via metro, with our light luggage. (Packing light for 3 days is easy!) Liked the hotel, was less into the neighborhood. It was charming enough and had great views, but it's just such a pain to get to anywhere from the Abbesses Metro stop. To go directly anywhere usually neccessitated at least two transfers. I really think next time I'm going to prioritize being on the 4 line, which we always seemed to end up on anyway. But if you do want to stay in Montmarte, Regyn's was a good value for the money, and we got a room with an eiffel tower view for no extra cost. Being high up meant good breezes so we weren't hot. We paid 122 Euro/night for a double. It has an elevator but top floor rooms have one more flight of stairs. Montmarte has some great history, and the non-touristy areas were nice with great boutiques, cafes, all that Parisian stuff we love. The touristy areas - up near Sacre Couer and down at Pigalle were pretty offputting to me, though. We didn't linger in those areas at all. Cont.
A lot of our trip focused on food - specifically food we can't get here in Stuttgart, such as authentic asian foods and fresh seafood. And eating exactly what we wanted each day also resulted in good savings! Here's what we had: Les Pates Vivantes - A chinese place famous for their handmade noodles, and rightfully so. Still dreaming about those noodles, it was delicious! Two locations, one near Opera Garnier and the other in the Latin Quarter. Lunch for two with wine was 25 euro. Japanese food on Rue Sainte Anne - so many fantastic looking places along here between the Opera and the Lourve. We popped into one that was decent if a bit greasy, had katsudon and yakisoba. Very fast. I don't remember the name, but when I go back I'll try Sapporo across the street. There's also a tako yaki/okonomiyaki storefront with no tables, would have grabbed some of those but we were always too full! Prices seem to be pretty consistent in the various restaurants - cheap! Dinner for 2 with beer was 24 euro. Bahn Mi - near the Arts et Meiters metro stop, this place has the BEST bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) I've ever had. Just amazing. Lunch for 2 with beer was 15 euro. No seats in this tiny shop with a super friendly owner, so we went and ate in the lovely Temple Square. La Cabane a Huitres - fantastic! Not a terribly charming space - but the food and service more than make up for it. We made a reservation, and when we showed up the waitress plopped a bottle of wine on the table before we even asked. No fancy wine list, the menu is tiny - just a first course (foie gras, duck "bacon", or salmon) and 12 fresh fantastic oysters. Total? 52 euro (including dessert). Can't recommend enough.
We also had a decent but not fantastic cheap Korean lunch on Rue Sainte Anne the last day. Not worth recommending. We visited the Louvre on Wednesday after 6pm. It was still surprisingly crowded, but better than when I'd been previously during the day. Enjoyed walking all over, particularly in Le Marais. My Mapguide recommended a Provencal restaurant behind Place Du Vosages (we'd popped into the free exhibit at Victor Hugo's house), and we weren't hungry but they had 80 kinds of pastis on the menu for 4Euro a pop. Free olives came with. Chez Janou. The food is supposed to be fantastic, the setting was nice. Will return to eat when we go back. We also toured Les Invalides, as my husband is in a "Napoleon phase" right now. I'm not into army stuff but it was still a very cool place to see, highly recommend. The museum is huge so pick one or two areas you want to focus on. You could easily spend a full day, possibly more if you try to see everything. One of my favorite things was just grabbing a bottle of wine from a grocery store and sitting with everyone else on the Seine on Ile de Cite as dusk fell. Greatest "bar" in Paris! Also enjoyed La Sancerre in Montmarte. Saved money in general by ordering beer or coffee at the bar of cafes. All told we spent 110 Euro per person per day for everything - hotel, food, drinks, and museum admissions. We weren't trying to stick to a tiny budget and didn't "go without" and this still ended up being far cheaper than any previous trip to Paris, and by far the best, too! Hope that helps with anyone's budgeting questions!
Loved reading your trip report Sarah, so glad you had a good time! I love Paris and reading your report brought me back there for a few minutes, thanks!
I've never gone wrong with either taking visiting friend to, or recommend ding, Chez Janou. My husband hates it, but every friend or relative I've ever had inParis has thoroughly enjoyed it. Great atmosphere, decent food, and somehow even with all the craziness in there, the servers have always been friendly. Definitely reserve.