First of all, I would like to say a big thanks to everyone in the Paris forum. I've asked a couple of questions during the past several months, and have been browsing the threads like crazy prior to my trip. TA has been very helpful indeed.
I just came back from my trip to Paris a couple of days ago, just towards the tail-end of the cold spell. The last time I was in Paris was as a student, when I stayed there for quite some time, but revisiting the place is just as exciting as the first visit.
After months of researching and worrying and researching again, decided to go with Centreparis Bellan apartment. The agency was easy to deal with, the pricing was fair, and the location was fantastic. The apartment is in the 4th floor, furnishings are very basic, and all the equipments that you would expect (laundry, iron, etc) are there. What I appreciated the most was the location - just about 20-30 steps away from Rue Montorgueil and 1 minute walk to the Sentier station. I had initial uneasiness about the whole key situation - but it turned out to be not too much of a hassle.
This is such a fantastic street - and now my favorite part of Paris. I always woke up at 7am, and for 5 days, always the first customer of the boulangeries in the area. I made sure to try most of the shops in the street - Stohrer, Eric Kayser, Boulangerie Les Petits Carreaux, the boucheries, La Boulanger de Monge, Pains Paul Gateaux, the formageries, and the cafes. I probably spent half my time in the area - but it was worth it. I'll post individual reviews in the next few weeks. I just love the energy in the street.
I asked a couple of weeks ago for restaurant recommendations in the 25-35euro budget range. I planned to eat out for dinner everyday, but my friends had to go back home on the 3rd day because of an emergency, so we only had time for 2 dinners and 1 lunch. I was able to get reservations at Le Relais de I'isle, Les Papilles, and Au Bougnat. All three have been highly recommended by TA members - and I'm so glad that I heeded the advise. For the first 2 restaurants, we luckily managed to get a table for dinner, although both were very full. Our group ordered the duck, foie gras, veal, pork, cucumber soup, cheeses, and a variety of fantastic desserts. I tried in Les Papilles the most tender and flavourful beef I've eaten in my whole life! I'm in constant search of places within this price range, because it is very possible to have a fantastic meal without spending a small fortune. Will also post reviews for each of these restaurants.
As a tourist:
I decided to revisit Louvre. Despite going there midweek and during winter, it was still quite crowded. Did not have to queue long for the tickets though. I spent 7 hours there! Mostly in the French paintings area in the 2nd floor. I also visited Les Catacombes for the first time. Winter for me is the best time to be in the city (or Europe in general), because it is relatively less crowded, and I enjoy walking around despite the cold, then constantly stopping for coffee or vin chaud.
Paris is a fantastic city, and my favorite place in the world! I've never had bad service during my stay, and all the people I've encountered have been patient with my serviceable by broken French. (Curiously and just an observation, the most impatient ones are those in the tourist ticket booths - would just ignore my French and speak to me in English - understandable though because they are busy)
I'm already planning a return trip - perhaps stay in a different area or try different restaurants (there's still La Cordonnerie, Chez Dumonet, etc), and go to different places.
Thanks again, everyone, for all the great tips here in the Paris forum!
bluegreentravelEdited: 04 February 2012, 08:51