We just got back from three fabulous days in Paris celebrating our 5 year anniversary. It was truly everything I dreamed of and more and a big thanks goes out to this forum for all the recommendations and advice. I am not going to do a typical report – I’ll give a brief rundown of what we did, but focus more on many of the questions I see come up on this forum over and over again.
Hotel: We stayed at the Hotel Sezz in the 16th. It is a very stylish and hip hotel located just off the Seine by the Passy metro stop. I loved it, but it was a bit too modern for my wife’s taste. The bathroom was to die for with a round tub big enough for four people and a huge rain shower. If you become a member of Mr. and Mrs. Smith (for around 10 British Pounds) you get a room upgrade and breakfast in bed each day – a true steal.
What we did: Eiffel Tower, Louvre, La Conciergerie, Les Catacombes, Orsay, Sacre-Coeur, Notre Dame (my favorite), evening Seine cruise (no dinner), Picasso Museum, Centre Pompidou, Arc de Triomphe, and shopped, shopped, shopped.
Where we ate: Lunch at La Table de Joel Robuchon, dinner at Café de l’Homme, a couple of meals at Latin Quarter bistros, and lots of Crepe Nutellas / Fromage. The lunch at Robuchon was one of my best meals ever. That being said, the difference in price between the pricy meals (Robuchon and l’Homme at about $250) and our prix fixe meals at the bistros (about $75 with wine) was far greater than the difference in the quality of the food and the experience. In fact, my wife’s favorite meal was at Bistro 30 in the LQ.
Museum Pass: To me, this is a no-brainer. We bought a 2 day Museum Pass for 30 Euros each (and would have gladly paid 60). All the museums had very long lines for security and for tickets. With the pass you bypass both. I’d much rather spend my short time in Paris looking at the art of Renoir and Monet than standing in line.
Metro: One of the cleanest and easiest I have used. They are extremely well signed, and as long as you know the stop you want, I found it practically impossible to get lost. All you must know is that “Sortie” means exit and you are good to go.
CDG – Paris: Originally, I decided to take the RER and Metro to our hotel from CDG. But after the long flight and waiting for what seemed like forever for our luggage to arrive, we opted for a cab. 45 Euros was money well spent. We took a cab back to CDG early Sunday morning which cost us 60 E.
French People: Could not have been nicer. Everyone I tried to talk to was receptive and friendly. The waiters at restaurants explained everything in English and were genuinely friendly (and even funny).
Safety: Maybe I didn’t go into any “questionable” areas, but I never felt uneasy at any point on the trip. I kept my wallet in my front pocket and, while on the metro, my hand in the same pocket. Nobody dropped any rings or tried to pull any other scams I have read about.
Clothing: There were many more tourists (from all over the world) in Paris than I expected. If you are comfortable in blue jeans and sneakers then that is what you should wear (as many people wore just that). I saw plenty of people wearing many different styles of clothing and not once did I see anyone pointing or hear anyone making comments. If you are going to a nice restaurant, ask your hotel’s concierge what the expected dress is and follow their advice.
My advice: Don’t sweat the details. The metro is easy to use, people are friendly, and the city is safe. Dress warmly, plan on walking a lot, and have a big appetite. You will love Paris as we did!