Where to Stay:
As one of the tourist capitals of the world, Paris has everything from Grand Hotels to modest accommodations. I have a small list of places to stay, having only visited 3 times and would love to hear comments on other places to stay.
- Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel (9th Arrondissement)
Traveling on a business budget? This is your place with impeccable service, beautiful location and opulent décor. The hotel is right next to the Opera house and set amongst the city’s most upscale shopping.
- Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees (8th Arrondissement)
The location of this hotel cannot be beat; it is right in the middle of all the great places to see and be seen. The rooms are modest by American standards, but large for Paris. The service at the hotel leaves much to be desired.
- Hotel France Eiffel (15th Arrondissement)
This hotel was incredibly modest. It has been nearly 10 years since I stayed there and remember the bathroom being so small that my hips touched the walls on the toilet and the beds were outdoor lounge chairs with mattresses on them. Even with the modesty in decor and furniture, the location is convenient to the metro and in a quieter and more “Parisian” feeling neighborhood. Note to readers: I have never been in the Paris Hilton.
Where to Eat:
Even a 1 star restaurant in Paris is the most amazing culinary experience you can ever have. Stop in a café and take your sweet time grazing on the fine food and people watching. Slip into a charcuterie (butcher shop) and purchase some fresh meat, cheese and bread and take a picnic on the Seine.
- Cafe Max (7th Arrondissement)
A small little bistro where Max is the chef, water, bartender and host. The food is excellent but the atmosphere is top notch. The establishment is filled with nothing but locals. Note: Opens at 7 for dinner. 7 avenue de la Motte Picquet Phone: 0147055766
- Café Runtz: (2nd Arrondissement)
Next to the noted theater of Salle Favart, this friendly bistro has a cozy but elegant atmosphere, with old brass gas lamps on each table. The Alsatian dishes are both excellent and quite filling. Order a pitcher of Riesling or other Alsatian wine to go along. This meal at Café Runtz had my Mother famously declare that it was the “best pork I ever had.” Métro: Richelieu-Drouot. 16 rue Favart La Bourse Phone: 0142966986
- Léon de Bruxelles:
Yes, it is a chain, but it is not a chain that has made it to the United States so it is well worth visiting. Huge Heaped plates of mussels and other Belgian specialties, such as anguilles en vert and fish soup, are continually served, accompanied by arguably the best french fries in town.
CHAMPS-ELYSEES 63, front of the Fields-Elysées (8th Arrondissement) Phone: 0142259616
MONTPARNASSE 82 (a), data base of Montparnasse (14th Arrondissement) Phone: 0143216662
St-GERMAIN 131, data base German St (6th Arrondissement) Phone: 01 43 26 45 95
You cannot do it all in one trip (or two, or ten…) and every person has a different agenda for their trip. Here are my favorite places to visit and things to do.
- Eiffel Tower (7th Arrondissement)
Even if you are afraid of heights (like me!) this is a must do. It is still pretty by day, however, the most spectacular views are at night. The city just sparkles below.
- Notre Dame Cathedral (4th Arrondissement)
The only thing more impressive then the beauty and architecture of Notre Dame is the view of the city from the top.
- Disneyland Paris
It is not a must see for most people, but this Disney kid was trilled to hear Mickey Mouse speak french and learn that the French do not understand the concept of waiting in line for a ride.
- Museum Pass
This is a must purchase item. You can get a minimum of 2 days... they are available at most places you can buy a metro ticket and it is so worth the investment. Access to around 60 museums, and the best part is the bypassing of the line (queue for those from England) with the card. With the pass you can visit a few of the smaller museums for an hour or two without feeling like you have to spend the whole day.
- Musee' Rodin (7th arrondissement)
We discovered the Musee' Rodin because it was on the Museum Pass list and it quickly became one of our favorites. The Thinker is all that more impressive when you can see it in person. Rodin’s sculptures are breathtaking. This museum is included on the pass.
- Musee d'Orsay (7th arrondissement)
A beautiful train station converted into a top notch museum, if you have any love for the impressionist movement, you will spend a whole day here. This museum is included on the pass.
- The Arc d' Triumph (8th Arrondissement)
Climb the stair day or night and look down at the most famous traffic circle in the world, where drivers enter at their own risk (insurance does not cover cars in this circle). Cars move like dancers in a ballet to get through safely. The view of the rest of the city is not too bad either. This is included on the museum pass.
- Musee du Louvre (1st arrondissement)
Major draws include the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo which draw huge crowds. After seeing the big draws, find an emptier part of the museum far away from tourists and take in the beauty of both the art and the building. Keep your eyes open for Da Vinci Code followers looking for the chalice. This museum is included on the pass.