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Newbornbairn
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The whole Montmartre area, including Sacre Coeur is well worth an aimless wander, especially if you're into photography. Likewise, Le Marais neighbourhood, just north of Notre Dame, and Canal St. Martin. A picnic lunch/dinner on the banks of the Seine or the Luxembourg Gardens is great for people watching, weather permitting. As long as you don't eat beside the major tourist attractions, it's difficult to get a bad meal in Paris. I love the place and I'm well jealous of those of you going.

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Haven't been for years, but used to like wandering around the Left Bank, markets and stuff by the river and a few streets inland for normally priced bars and restaurants away from the tourist traps.

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Any recommendations for areas to stay? Heading there in May for the first time and I think we'll be most interested in the big tourist sites through the day - Louvre, Eiffel Tower etc. Both very much like our food and the missus is a baker so will no doubt be after some of that.

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31 minutes ago, Paxo said:

Any recommendations for areas to stay? Heading there in May for the first time and I think we'll be most interested in the big tourist sites through the day - Louvre, Eiffel Tower etc. Both very much like our food and the missus is a baker so will no doubt be after some of that.

Arrondissement 9.

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Yeah, 9th/10th arrondissement are well connected and fairly handy for most of the places you'll want to see. It's a little less pricey for hotels and also food than the lower numbers as well. The Montmarte area (split between the 9th and 18th I think) is also generally on the cheaper side when I've looked at hotels. 

Parts of the 18th, 19th and 20th get a bit of a bad rep sometimes from what I've seen. I've never been to the latter two and have only been in the 18th during the day so can't comment.  The city does start to lose its charm as you get closer to the Périphérique, though - the Haussmannian style starts to fade and it becomes quite utilitarian in places. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with thise places, really, but it starts becoming unpicturesque. Detracts from one of the joys of Paris - just walking around and admiring it, even with no destination in mind. 

Going tomorrow and can't wait. Weather is looking cracking as well, with highs of 18/19 forecast for the duration. Looks like we have lucked out with that. 

 

 

 

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On 20/03/2022 at 16:55, Paxo said:

Any recommendations for areas to stay? Heading there in May for the first time and I think we'll be most interested in the big tourist sites through the day - Louvre, Eiffel Tower etc. Both very much like our food and the missus is a baker so will no doubt be after some of that.

9th near the Republique. The metro station has the most connections of any on the network therefore you can get anywhere in the city pretty quickly.

Some reasonably priced happy hour pubs around Rue Oberkampf, plenty of North African restaurants nearby as is the Bastille market (Sundays and Thursdays). 

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On 17/03/2022 at 11:27, virginton said:

What would be the best things to do in a single day? I will have a stop over at CDG between an early morning arrival and 10 o'clock flight out at night.

I'm not a museums person at all, so tips on the best places to wander and see a fair bit of the city (or Versailles instead?) and to get a good meal would be welcomed. 

As I said previously, using a single ticket on metro lines 2 and 6 will take you on a mostly overground circuit of the city allowing you to see the Sacre Coeur, Montparnasse Tower and Eiffel Tower. One of the interchange stations is Etoile aka Arc De Triomphe. You can also get off at Anvers and take the funicular up to Montmartre or if you're on the left bank get off (with some changes) at Jussieu or Place Monge for a wander along Rue Mouffetard and see the Roman amphitheatre Arene du Lutece.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Throughly enjoyed my holiday last week. Got very lucky with the weather as it was 19c all week, which was absolutely glorious. Unseasonably warm as evidenced by temperatures dropping low again this week. 

Stayed at Republique - very well connected by Metro and there are a plethora of restaurants near by. I found the prices cheaper than I did last time I was there, probably as Republique is further away from the centre than Grand Bouleverds is. There isn't really much distance between them (15min walk) but we walked to near there to use a different Metro line and had lunch on the way. Not far in distance, but the prices did go up noticeably (2-3 Euros a dish). 

Went to Disneyland, Versaille, the Louvre, the Tulleries and the gardens of Luxembourg, amongst seeing the other usual sites. The Palace of Versaille was mobbed, but nowhere else we went really was, so now is probably a good time to go whilst crowds are not what one might usually encounter. The Eiffel Tower at night in particular was eerily quite, though granted a Thursday night is maybe not peak time for crowds. 

We got a pass Navigo, which allowed unlimited usage of the Metro/RER and buses (except the bus to Paris Orly). Costs just over 22 euros, plus an additional 5 Euros for the card. You also need to give them a passport-sized photo. Much cheaper than the equivalent Paris Visité ticket, which was 65 Euros for the equivalent zones that we needed for the five days. One important caveat on the Navigo: they are valid Monday until Sunday and that runs regardless of when you buy it. If you buy it on Thursday, it still expires at 23.59 on the Sunday. So be mindful RE timings if you choose this option. Another thing is that there is no age limit for the pass, so children need one regardless of age, whereas I think under 5s otherwise travel for free. A zone 5 ticket covers the city itself and should also covers Versaille, CDG/Orly and also Disneyland (Marnee-la-Valle). 

I'd mentioned it in a previous post, but accessibility on the Metro really is crap. Escalators are rare and forget about a lift (RER is much better in this regard). Arriving with suitcases and a buggy was not fun when we changed to the Metro. Cut out the Metro on the way home and got the bus to Gare du Nord, which was much better. 

Edited by Michael W
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Was in Paris weekend before last and weather was just like summer at 19/20c though cool at night. We picked the wrong place to stay, Ibis Budget Porte de Montreuil. Was cheap but room had an interconnecting door to the next room, could hear everything snoring, tv, brushing teeth. Area was quite shabby around there, not much frenchness but there was a big Carrefeur.

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So I've gone slightly baws oot (for me) and booked the ChouChou hotel near Palais Garnier. John Cooper Clarke has a gig in Montmartre while we're there, so planning to do that along with Sacre Coeur on the Saturday.

Assume I can just wander in to half decent restaurants and don't need to book every meal?

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Unless you're going somewhere pretty fancy, you should be fine. I was always able to walk in and got a table no bother. No need to prebook. 

Once you get there, you'll see France has removed all covid measures, other than masks being needed on public transport and on hospitals. I think you will still need your proof of vaccine, the EU PLF (only if flying) and you may also need the 'sworn statement' that you don't have covid/covid symptoms. I think the UK being removed from France's red list means that the sworn statement may no longer be necessary, but do check as I'm not 100% sure. 

I was never asked to show any of those when I arrived (at CDG), but it seems there have been mixed experiences of this. 

Edited by Michael W
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  • 1 month later...

Got back last night and had a great time, thanks for the recommendations.

I can confirm that the covid stuff is gone, no masks or 'social' distancing required on any flights, public transport or in museums etc.

Visited the Louvre, Eiffel Tower (in the pishing rain - didn't hang about), Sacre Coeur (climbed to the top for the view - not recommended for the aged/unfit!), Montmartre area, Bastille market, Pompidou Centre, all very good with plenty of wandering options for food and drinks.

Ate a good proportion of my bodyweight in pattisseries, particularly éclairs au café (highly recommended from Pain Pain in Montmartre). Never struggled for food options, most kitchens open until 11pm serving excellent French food, although vegetarian options are practically non-existent.

Had the original bloody mary at Harry's bar which was great, albeit €15 a pop! Beer is generally expensive but decent wines in most cafés relatively cheap. Le Compas on Rue Montorgeuil was my favourite of the lot, oozing Parisien charm and opposite the oldest pattissier in town, Stohrer.

Travel via the metro is quick, cheap and easy, so staying around a stop with several lines running through it is a good idea. We stayed at ChouChou next to the Opera stop and found getting around very easy.

Random people joining metro trains busking with a saxophone was an experience, but be wary if claustrophobic!

Would love to go back. 

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I enjoyed my whistle stop stint in Paris last month too. Didn't have enough time due to flight connections to spend time in Montmartre, but started at the Pantheon and wandered my way around the Luxembourg Gardens, Notre Dame, the Tuileries and the Palais Royal. Beautiful place just to walk around (especially in spring) as I'm not a museum/art gallery person at all really. I normally detest megacities but would look forward to a return visit to Paris - ideally to start a European railtrip if the UK wasn't a Third World-esque offshoot. 

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Bouillon Racine on the, err, Rue de Racine is an excellent and reasonably priced place to enjoy the classic, two and a half hour style French lunch. A beautiful Art Nouveau restaurant and a very enjoyable place to eat and people watch with a carafe of good wine. There are many things to do in Paris but taking the time to enjoying lunch is sometimes better than hustling around one attraction to the next. 

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Booked VIP tickets for the late night show at the Moulin Rouge and also got tickets and a time slot for the Louvre. I've heard the Louvre is a warren, would the guided tour be worth it?

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