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First Timers

Al Ain
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36 posts
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First Timers

Very excited! Just received word we have a few days off work and my husband is taking me to Paris for 5 days! Never been before so this is where I need some advice. Are there decent pensions close to the city and reasonably priced. We would like to go to a show perhaps the Moulin Rouge? I guess it will be too cold to just sit in a cafe and watch the beautiful Parisian men and women go by??? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We are also taking our daughter and her boyfriend (both 21). We are on a tightish budget also :(

Absolutely any advice greatly appreciated.

Sydney, Australia
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for Train Travel
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1. Re: First Timers

Alas, these days the Moulin Rouge is an overpriced tourist trap. Put "Moulin Rouge" into the search box above, and you will find a number of posts complaining about the quality of the food, the service, and even the entertainment.

As to your other questions, "tightish budget" does not help us give advice. What are you hoping to spend on accommodation, in euros?

Plymouth...
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2. Re: First Timers

Congratulations! I made my first trip to Paris 3 years ago at age 47 and am now planning our FOURTH trip. I thought I would hate it but quite the opposite. It's an amazing place and I like and admire the Parisans.

My main advice is: don't over-commit. Allow time to linger and to wander about. Do see the Musee D'Orsay, Louvre, Eiffel Tower and take an evening boat cruise. Sunset at the Trocadero is a wonderful way to see the Eiffel Tower from across the Seine.

I'd also get lodging that is very convenient to a Metro stop. The Metro is your lifeline for seeing this spread-out city.

Many cafes use outdoor heaters so you might be able to enjoy that, weather depending.

You have already done the most important thing: introducing yourself on TA and started asking questions. The more specific you are, the more help you'll get. Tell us how much you want to spend per night on lodging and we can provide specific recommendations, since we don't really know what you mean by "tightish".

Brows this forum for the past several months. Read the trip reports from previous visitors and email them with specific questions. Look for posts by KDKSAIL and pay attention, she is knowledgeable and helpful.

I wish you great success in your planning and hope you love Paris as much I do....

Colorado Springs...
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3. Re: First Timers

Here's something simple and cheap ----

The city of Paris is so amazing and beautiful.

I was always so incredibly lost during my 5 days, but the getting lost part was the BEST thing about my stay.

Just purchase a 5-day Metro visitor pass, use the Metro to death, and just "Get Lost in Paris"

I know this sounds cheesy and corny, but I found some adorable and utterly charming neighborhoods I never would have found (heaven knows I never found anything I actually set out to find)

For me, I found Paris "By accident" --- and it was a stunning, charming, adorable city, all for the affordable price of a 5-day Metro pass!!!

Oregon
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65 reviews
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4. Re: First Timers

I agree that the Moulin Rouge is an expensive tourist trap. There are so many amazing things to do with your time in Paris.

Dinners are late in Paris. Restaurants open around 7:30-8:00pm but the French don't usually arrive until 8:30-9:00pm. So you can spend an entire evening eating dinner.

If you want evening entertainment, I suggest either seeing a ballet or opera at the Opera Garnier--the most beautiful building in Paris (which, by the way, you can do a self-tour of during the day for about 8E and I absolutely recommend this if you don't see a performance here. If you want to see a performance, you can purchase tickets on line and they will send them to you any place in the world for no shipping charge!) In the evening you could also see any one of a number of performances you can find on fnac.com (then type in "Paris" and then click on "spectacle"). Or you could see a classical concert at the beautiful Sainte-Chapelle while you look at the beautiful stained glass windows. (Use the "search" function at the top to find out more about these concerts. They cost about 25E, last an hour and are simply wonderful. You can purchase tickets at the door before the concert.)

Everyone has different "must sees." Mine are the Eiffel Tower (but the view from the 2nd or top level is no big deal to me--the big deal is just looking AT the Eiffel Tower during the day and especially at night when it twinkles for 5-10 minutes on the hour through the midnight hour. On this list is also, the D'Orsay museum (if you like impressionist art especially--start on the top floor and see the most famous and wonderful impressionist art and work your way downstairs as you have time and energy. It is a beautiful museum), the L'Orangerie (a small, lovely museum which has a room specially designed and built to house Monet's water lily paintings), the Louvre (go online to their site and figure out what wings you wish to visit before you go. Otherwise you will waste your time wandering and see very little of interest. It is just huge.), the view of Paris from the top of the Arc de Triomphe as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the base of the Arc de Triomphe, NotreDame, Sainte-Chapelle, Ile St. Louis, Memorial de la Deportation (in a small park very near Notre Dame), wander in the Marais District, the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germaine-des-Pres, and, as I mentioned, the Opera Garnier. I would also visit Sacre Coeur to see the church and the view of Paris as well as wandering around Place du Tertre behind Sacre Coeur. If you have more time, sit in a couple of cafes, eat some good food, visit an open market or two, and wander around finding wonderful surprise after surprise. Of--I forgot to mention to find a favorite patisserie near your lodging to get pastries as often as possible, as well as trying the ones you see around town which you just must have. The bread is amazing, the butter is out-of-this-world good (it has more fat than the butter in the USA has) and their cheese is so varied and abundant. Go into a cheese store, ask to try a couple of things and then buy some to go on bread. If you drink wine, get a bottle of your choice and have a memorable time in a park or near the Eiffel Tower just soaking up Paris.

Enjoy!

Alberta, Canada
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5. Re: First Timers

In Love With Paris, that sounds like the absolutely perfect visit to Paris.

Wrights, I would suggest looking for an apartment that would suit the four of you. Most posters here recommend staying in the center of Paris, close to the main sites, but those areas do tend to be more expensive.

On our first visit to Paris we took our two grown sons and we rented a two bedroom apartment in St. Mande, which is on the very outskirts of the city (in the 12th), but it is also right on Metro Line #1, which goes directly into the heart of the city. Very easy. It was a quaint little village, close to a park, restaurants, grocery store (Monoprix), market, etc. and we loved it. Definitely a real Paris experience. Not many people in that area spoke much English. We had to use our rusty French. Here is the VRBO listing http://www.vrbo.com/39183

If you are on a "tightish" budget (as we were also) it helps to be able to prepare some light meals in an apartment. Restaurants in Paris are expensive.

Have a wonderful trip, and feel free to ask a lot of questions here. There is a wealth of knowledge.

Tampa, Florida
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6. Re: First Timers

It can be done on a tight budget. There are plenty of good quality restaurants in the Quartier Latin that offer 3 course meals from 10-15 Euros. I also ate at a nice Italian restaurant near L'Opera and the meal was only 12 Euros. If you really want to go cheap go to a Chinese restaurant, they offer meals from 7 Euros...It's as cheap as McDo!

Oregon
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7. Re: First Timers

Paris 2004: that is a fantastic deal for a 2-bedroom apartment. And, it looks really nice. There aren't any pictures of the bathroom (WC/sink shower, etc.) Is there a shower or a bathtub--or both? Is it is good condition? Please notice that the price is in dollars, not Euros. Metro Line 1 does go straight into the center of the City and through to the other side of the City, and it is a very short trip. Great idea!

Alberta, Canada
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773 posts
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8. Re: First Timers

The bathroom was in a bit of an odd arrangement. The toilet (and a small sink) was in it's own little room beside the kitchen. The other "bath" room had a nice big tub (to soak tired feet & legs at the end of a long day) with a hand held shower and another sink. It was good, in a way, because you could still use the toilet if someone was bathing.

The building is about 100 years old, so it has some quirks, but it was in good condition. The apt. is on an inner courtyard, so very quiet.

There is a tiny elevator in the building. Enough for two people, or one with shopping cart. They provided one of those little rolling shopping carts, which was handy. There is also one of those European combo washer/dryer things in the kitchen. It even had a dishwasher (I think).

The living room has doors that close and a fold out sofabed, so someone can even sleep in there. That's what our boys did since the bedrooms both have double beds. One slept in the living room.

I usually hesitate to recommend this apt. since most posters think you have to stay in the center of the city. But the price is right, and we really enjoyed it.

On our next trip we are staying in Batignolles, on the outskirts in the opposite direction, and really looking forward to that experience as well.

Oregon
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9. Re: First Timers

Paris 2004: I am curious as to exactly what area is called the Batignolles (sp?). On my next trip I am staying in the 17eme near the Porte Maillot metro station. Is that the Batignolles?

Vancouver
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10. Re: First Timers

Les Batignolles is roughly just North-East of Parc Monceau, towards Place Clichy and Montmartre, though many people will have a slightly different opinion (check a Paris map for the Boulevard des Batignolles near Parc Monceau). What is now the area by the Boulevards des Marechaux (Boulevards with the names of famous military guys) used to be a village for mostly working class people, until the mid-19th century Paris'renovations by Haussmann made it a pricey area, at least on the 17th district side. Porte Maillot is on the western end of the 17th, very close to the Bois de Boulogne, a huge park, great during the day, rather dodgy at night.