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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Paris Eiffel Tower, Paris France

Welcome to my Paris Travel Blog, here Best Things to Do in Paris!

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We want to go, we can't wait!

In this trip to Paris blog, you will learn more about Paris. Paris (French say Pari, the s is not pronounced) is the most visited city of the world. It has over 30 million tourists every year and over 70 million people visit France either. Most people say that French are unfriendly but visits to France increase year after year in an impressive way. Why? Because France and particularly Paris have beautiful places to visit and the atmosphere is so nice that causes it to stay for weeks.

On the other hand you and your family want to go and in fact this decision has been postponed with no end to realize the visit. Do you know what I could say you? That if I could take the time back, I had visited Paris very young and had long enjoyed everything this beautiful city has to offer the tourist. So cheer up, do not give more long, grab your partner or your entire family and make this incredible journey in sure that ever regret having made the decision. The moment to plan a trip to Paris has come. But, how to prepare for a trip to Paris?

  • How to start?

    First decision to have is the budget - Can I go? Having the budget the next is when. Paris is always amazing having four seasons, particulary I recommend you to have your trip in spring (april-may) or autum (september-octuber). Winter is too cold and summer is too hot. Paris weather is very nice in spring. Autum is normally very rainy. About the budget I'm going to write something below.

    Next you have to decide how you are planning to go. You have two choices: a.- Using a turism service enterprise (taking a tour). b.- Planning yourself your trip with the help of your couple or your enterily family. Personally I prefer to plan my trip by myself. My wife is really smart planning incredible trips. In this Paris trip blog I hope you will learn too.

  • Where to stay?

    Having decided to prepare yourself your trip to Paris and having decided when, your next step is to ensure or guarantee the location where you and your related are going to stay. Paris and France are very popular destination and never is too early to book and assure your stay.

    If you prefer to rent an apartment I do recommend WayToStay. They are great in Apartments Rentals in Europe and you can visit the site to have a look at what they have for your convenience.

    If you prefer a hotel I do recommend TripAdvisor. They are an Expedia company and have bundle of options to select including the best reviews.

  • Why an apartment at all?

    Very good question! It has its advantages and disadvantages as all in this life. Apartments, for the same level of quality than a hotel, are cheaper. But, of course, you do not have room service. It is as being in home. Do you have room service in home? Yes? Congratulations! I'm not so rich. But talking seriously, apartments are also cheaper because you have kitchen available and if you and your couple and your family (kids do not help, well, you know), are not afraid to share some time in kitchen, you can save a lot of money in meals. Do not be foolish. Paris is a very expensive city. Then having some meals in home is a good way to reduce the cost of the trip. Moreover, the problem with apartments is that you have to pay a down payment to secure the booking. In hotels you can cancel your reservation a few days before without risking losing a hitch.

  • Oh la la... now the airline tickets!

    Ok, our location is guaranteed, next step is to buy the airline tickets. If you have a trusted airline that you already know and they fly to Paris go with them. There are many Paris airports but tell them you want to land at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport - also known as Paris Roissy. This airport is the most modern and has all kind of facilities. Paris Orly Airport should be only your second option. If you don't have an airline already selected I do recommend to try with Air France. They are the french flag airline and they know what are doing. And probably rates will be cheaper because it is a French Government Airline and some tax advantages in its country they could have.

  • Paris on a budget

    I left the budget here because if you are planning to go in a tour they have to prepare a budget for you. If you are planning to go by yourself it's time to know how much is going to cost. Here you have an aproximation for two people:

    Description Cost Notes
    Airline tickets for two people New York-Paris-New York $2000-3000 Depending on the season (Low-Med-High). I have seen offers even for less than $1000.
    Airline tickets for two people Los Angeles-Paris-Los Angeles $2400-3400 Depending on the season (Low-Med-High). I have seen offers even for less than $1000.
    Taxi from home to airport $100 Depending of the distance
    Taxi from Paris Roissy to Paris accomodation $130 Depending of the distance, price is from Paris Roissy to Paris downtown (Opera) ~80-100 euros
    Bus from Paris Roissy to Paris downtown (Opera). Called RoissyBus. Use the Paris Pass card instead. See below. $26 Two people, 10 euros per person (p/p). It's a cheaper alternative. The bus stop is at a walking distance leaving the airport. If you don't mind you save some money. Try not to use heavy baggage. Light baggage is always better. You can buy tickets at RoissyBus, but I do really recommend to buy the Paris Pass card. See below.
    Bus Paris downtown (Opera) to Paris accommodation. Use the Paris Pass card instead. See below. $10 Two people, 4 euros p/p. Using a high quality public Paris transportation (metro+bus). Again, do not forget, light baggage is always better. Metro(FR), Subway(US), Underground(UK). Here the Paris Metro Map in English. Using the Paris Pass card you don't need to buy Paris Metro tickets.
    6 days Paris Pass card $546 (2 cards) + $48 (shipping to your home in US. Buy in advance at least 5 working days). Click on the left to buy. Two people, 210 euros p/p. Last 6 days and it gives you:
    • Paris Museum Pass - free entrance to over 55 of Paris' world famous museums and monuments.
    • Paris Attractions Pass - free entry to Paris' best attractions including a Seine River Cruise, Musée Grévin, Tour Montparnasse and even a Wine Tasting experience!
    • Paris Visite Pass - free unlimited travel on the metro, buses and RER (Paris Regional Train) within central Paris. Using RER you will go to the Palai de Versailles.
    • Paris Bus Tour - Free Les Cars Rouge hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Paris, every Paris Pass comes with an unlimited use ticket valid for 1 day.
    • Skip The Lines - at a selection of the busiest museums and attractions in Paris. Paris Pass is also a Paris Museum Pass.
    • 120+ page Guidebook - a detailed guide to all of the sights and landmarks including a Map of Paris and directions, as well as loads of helpful tips and hints.
    • Special Offers - exclusive offers at shops and Paris restaurants.
    Paris Accommodation $30-$360 per room Hotels vary being as cheap as $30 per room per night up to $360 or even more per room per night. Do not be foolish about high prices. High price does not mean superior quality. Check customer review in to select the best one for you to the lower price. In general apartments are cheaper with the advantage that kitchen save you a lot of money having some meals at home. Check WayToStay for more information.
    Paris Transportation Taxi, Metro, Bus, Train Use your Paris Pass card. Really. If you want to take advantage of your time without being worried about the money, use it. It's cheaper, better and convenient. You don't need to spend your money in taxis because the public transportation is one of the best in the all world. Using the metro, buses and trains (RER) you can go everywhere. Spending a little. Here you have more information: Official Website about Paris Public Transportation, Paris Metro Map and Paris by Train.
    Paris Attractions and Visits $8-$26 p/p If you buy the Paris Pass card a good bundle of visits and attractions are covered. Most but not all of them. Price to visit attractions normally vary between $8 and $26 p/p. Of course there are attractions very expensive, as the Disneyland Paris day tickets cost between $80 and $160 depending on the season and the attraction to be visited.
    Meals $4-$150 p/p Meals are expensive in Paris. You can have a Crêpe by $4 just in the street. A lunch in a very good restaurant as Epicure (rated #1 by Trip Advisor) can cost $150 p/p. Also one of the best restaurants in Paris, if not the best, the Guy Savoy Paris Restaurant is even much more expensive. If you rent an apartment via WayToStay you can save a lot of money having some meals at home.

    Well, here you have. With this information you can prepare a budget for your trip.

  • More about Paris transportation

    Paris has one of the best public transportation system of the world. But more important: easy to learn, easy to use, easy to achieve. Metro (Subway) and Bus lines are identify by a simple number: Line 1, Line 20, etc. Here you have the Paris Metro Map in PDF. Train (RER) lines are identify by a simple capital letter: Line A, Line C, etc. Being in a line, stations or stops are identify by a name. Paris Maps (Metro, Bus, RER), that you can get for free in the Tourist Office in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (Roissy), indicate lines by color and each line has indicated all its stations by name. There are stations, as Saint-Lazare, where Metro, Bus and Train concur and you can change or switch between lines.

    Another fact I love from Metro in Paris is that being in a car you always leave it by the same side. It's great because it helps you not to feel lost. Want to go? Take your Paris maps. Identify the nearest stations where you are and where you go. Check both lines and if you have to switch, check station to make the change. And go without being worried. All is enough and well indicated. A lot of notices. Metro or RER station is far away where you go? Check the next level through buses. Same metodology. Just identify stations from and to in your movement. And go. Buses are very comfortable. And route and stations (as Metro and RER) are clearly indicated. Go without being afraid. And you will love Mom Petit Paris (My Little Paris) as I love.

  • Some tips (because I love you, Pari)

    First day in Paris take the Paris Bus Tour: The Red Hop-On Hop-Off Bus (Les Cars Rouges). They are going to tour the city and you can hop off and hop on in popular places to have a best knowledge about Paris. They stop at: Paris Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame, Orsay, Opera, Champs-Elysees - Etoile, Grand Palais and Trocadéro Paris.

    Each bus has a multi-lingual system allowing you to hear commentaries in 8 languages: French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese and Russian. When you leave the airport and take the Roissy Bus to Paris they are going to leave you at Opera. Being in Opera with your Paris Pass card collect your 1 day Car Rouges (Red Hop-On Hop-Off Bus) ticket from 11 Avenue de l'Opera 75001 Paris. Next days you can visit more quietly the same places again. Here the best info about Paris Map.

    Some other interesting tours are:

    Save a lot of money eating Crêpes and Paninis in some meals. Give yourself a pleasure to eat in a very good restaurant but also save money with these snacks that are sold in almost any place in Paris. Below I will give you some good and not very expensive restaurant to have a nice soiree (night) with your couple or family. If you want to go to something chic, and very expensive of course, the Guy Savoy Paris Restaurant is a must, as I wrote above. Book well in advance, there's no other way to go.

    Shopping in Paris is a very nice experience but expensive. Tell your wife though that did not stop them. Change your dollars in euros in a bank or using your credit or debit card in ATMs. Being in the States change some money in euros before arriving to Paris. 200 or 300 euros in paper money of 5, 10 and 20 is fine. Do not pay in stores with dollars. They will fool you giving a poor change. Have enough euros with you to avoid paying in dollars.

    To be always informed here you have online tourist Paris news and the Paris Review, both in english. Finally do not forget what I wrote above about the Paris weather. Better in spring and autumn, very nice in spring but rainy in autumn. Here you can find the Paris Weather Forecast in english too. If you go in spring and like jogging, in april is the Paris Marathon.

  • Les Arrondissements (The Boroughs) and Les Quartiers (Paris Neighborhoods)

    Borrowed from A view on cities: "The city of Paris is divided in 20 arrondissements. The first one is in the center, the following ones spiral outwards in a clock-wise direction. Most of the famous tourist attractions can be found in one of the central 8 arrondissements".

    paris arrondissements

    It is very good to know about this to be well located in Paris. Paris Arrondissements are like the Paris Districts. When asking for an address you inquire: what district? what borough? Quel arrondissement? in french. Having the information you will be inmediately located knowing how far is the place from where you are. Also there are Les Quartiers (Paris Neighborhoods or Paris Quarters). Being one of the most famous Le Quartier Latin (The Latin Neighborhood) that spread across the 5th and 6th arrondisements and where l'université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris Sorbonne University) is located. The neighborhood is called "Latin" because during the Middle age the students spoke in Latin as academic language.

C'est Paris!

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