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Forums » France » Last Minute Lodging in Paris

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Last Minute Lodging in Paris

by Sophiepie »

Hi, I am going to France for the first time and have decided at the last minute to add some days in Paris thinking that at my age I may never get back to France! My trip is a river cruise from Marseilles to Lyon. I will be in Paris for 3 1/2 days...4 nights (Aug 1st - 5th). I have looked through websites and through travel guides (Frommer's, Fodor's, Rick Steves), but am still perplexed. With such a short time, I want to see the major sites (Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arch do Triumph, the Louvre, Sacre Couer, possible one more museum if time). Then just hanging out at some cafes and drinking cafe au lait while eating a pastry or so. I'm not interested in shopping, except for a scarf. 

I am used to traveling alone internationally, having a loosely structured agenda, and making my way around, but at nearly 71 I have lost a bit of my fearless attitude. My only physical limitation is energy if there are lots of stairs. 

Paris is so large, I cannot decide even what area I should be in! 

Please help me!! Thanks so much, Sandra

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RE: Last Minute Lodging in Paris

by Road Crazy »

Hi Sandra,

Congratulations on making this trip!  You will have a wonderful time.

About the sights:

  • The Louvre is immense, as intricate as a rabbit warren, and can take days to cover.  You may want to line up a tour so you make sure you see the highlights in a reasonable period of time.  Google Louvre tours and there are lots to choose from.
  • Sacre Coeur is nothing much inside, so if you don't get there, don't sweat it.  You can see it perched on its hilltop from many vantage points all over Paris.  The thing to do is to sit on the (many) steps, but it seems to be mostly a thing to do for young folks.  Note, this area is notorious for scams - don't let anyone hand you anything or tie a bracelet on your arm or try to give you a ring they found on the ground - assume anyone approaching you for anything is trying to separate you from your money by whatever means.
  • If you are looking for one more museum, I highly recommend the Orsay, which has a ton of Impressionist art - Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, etc. - head straight for the top floor where all the best stuff is.
  • If you are short of time but want to squeeze in a quick visit somewhere, try the Orangerie, which also has Impressionist art (including an oval room lined with huge water lilies paintings by Money) but is much smaller than the Orsay.

If you have trouble with stairs, you'll want to avoid the Metro in favor of buses.  Bonus:  above ground, you'll get to see the city as  you travel.  Here's a page that will get you started:  https://europeforvisitors.com/paris/articles/paris-buses.htm

With little time and a concentration on the most famous sights, you will want to stay in the central arrondissements - 1-7.  Look for the zip code of the hotel:  75001 through 75007, with the last digit being the arrondissement.  I find the 1st and 2nd kind of boring, but they are close to the Louvre.  The Marais (3rd, some of the 4th) is a lively neighborhood if you are looking for something a little hip.  The 5th is the Latin Quarter, which doesn't have quite the cachet it used to. The 6th (St-Germain) is a bit upscale without being snooty - an area you would probably feel quite comfortable in.  The 7th is around the Eiffel Tower, but not my favorite location because it's a little too tourist central.  But you cannot go wrong with any of these arrondissements.  Booking.com is a great site for looking for hotels, and it has very reliable reviews because you cannot post a review unless you booked through Booking and actually stayed at the hotel - no fake reviews, which can be a problem on sites like TripAdvisor.

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RE: Last Minute Lodging in Paris

by Sophiepie »

Thank you for the detailed information. I went to the site about using the bus. How difficult is it to find your way? Even in my small city here, if you do not know what transfers you need to make, you can end up in the wrong place!

Also, did you book a shuttle ahead of time for transport from the airport to your hotel in the city? I see you can do so on Viator.

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RE: Last Minute Lodging in Paris

by Road Crazy »

I suggest downloading the RATP app to your smart phone (hope you have one) - that will help you make the most of the public transportation system.  You can also check with the driver.  You can ask if it's your stop without any French by saying where you are trying to get to with a question mark (no sentence) - "Louvre?"  Or, for a transfer, the French word is transfert, trahns-fayr, and show them the bus number you want.

 

You don't need to use Viator for a shuttle.  Blu-van is a service I've used successfully.  http://www.bluvan.fr/  Or you can take a taxi:  50 euros flat rate from CDG to the Right Bank (arr. 1-4) or 55 euros flat rate to the Left Bank (arr. 5-7).  If you go the taxi route, be sure to go to the official taxi stand, don't go with one of the scam artists roaming the terminals offering a "deal."

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RE: Last Minute Lodging in Paris

by ssander0 »

A couple of points:

  • Be sure to download Google maps onto your phone, That way you can use GPS without using cellular data. (Though it does use your battery) This is very helpful, even when just walking, and especially when exiting the Metro -- knowing where you are.
  • I agree that buses are a great way to get around, provided the distance is not so great.
  • Learn a little tourist French...it goes a long way to making your trip enjoyable. People in Paris are very formal/polite...and they expect you to be, too...even to store/restaurant employees, greeting them, please, thank you, etc. (in french, of course).
  • Did anyone tell you to pack light? My wife and I go for up to 12 days at a time and never check luggage. We each take a 20" roller carry-on.

Hope this is useful.

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RE: Last Minute Lodging in Paris

by MarieDaumas »

3 and a half days to visit Paris is more than enough to see most of the must-see sites! You can switch from one site to another very easily as the transport network is really developed (about the metro, I agree with Road Crazy, if you prefer to avoid steps, you can easily fall back on buses).

As a Parisian for 16 years now, I suggest you to stick to these 4 arrondissements (districts):

- The 1st arrondissement : you can stroll around the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries and visit the Louvre museum (buy your entrance ticket online if you are sure you want to visit the Louvre, the only constraint is to choose your day and hour in advance but this will save you a lot of time).

- The 3rd arrondissement: you should go to Le Marais district, the perfect place for strolling around. This is where you can enjoy incredible pastries and café au lait, like you asked for :) You can try "Carette" located place des Vosges or "Le Café Suédois" rue Payenne, these are really nice cafés where you can chill out at leisure.

- The 7th arrondissement: this is the home of the emblematic Eiffel Tower and - since you mentioned a museum - the Rodin Museum or Musée d'Orsay. Both are worth a visit.

- The 8th arrondissement: even if you're not interested in shopping, you should walk on the Champs-Élysées to feel the magic of the place! The 8th arrondissement is also the district where you will see the Arc de Triomphe.

For your accommodation I recommand you take a look here https://www.millevista.com/en/france/paris where you will find hotels with beautiful views in the areas I have mentioned.

Have a good trip, I hope you'll enjoy the city! It would be nice to have your feedback after your stay :)

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