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Post # 1   Bookmark and Share Old 02-28-2010, 01:35 PM
annie annie is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1
Default Thread Title:  Paris

At the end of June, I will fly to
Bulgaria with a family member when she visits her family. Previously I have only
travelled to London outside the US which I loved,loved,loved!. The dream of my
life is to go to Paris, so we will stay 3 nights in Paris on our return flight in
July . We are overwhelmed with hotel choices. The travel agency suggested 10
hotels which are moderately low priced. We were thinking of the Antin Trinite,
the location seems good (near the Opera), but now I'm wondering if they have
airconditioning. Will we need it in Paris in July? Websites I've perused also
talk about Hotel Valadon, Hotel Familia, Hotel Bonaparte, Hotel Pas de Calais.
What do you think? We plan to stay in the city sightseeing as much as we can.
Low budget is important to us but then again this may be my one and only time.
Plan to see the most famous landmarks.I want the French cafe experience also.
Your top 10 places to see? Really need your hotel sugggestions. Where to change
my dollars for euros?
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Post # 2   Bookmark and Share Old 04-17-2010, 04:51 PM
Stephanie Abrams Stephanie Abrams is offline
Travel Expert
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 124
Default Thread Title:  Paris is a Festival Waiting Just for YOU!

Annie:
You are going to have the best time! Now may be the time to invest in some euros before you leave home because the euro is the lowest it’s been in the last 10 months. You can buy them through an American Express office or any international bank. If the euro goes even lower, buy more to average the cost. But if the euro surges upward, you’ve protected yourself from the trip lunging outside of your budget.

If your travel agent has recommended some hotels, I’m sure she/he has personal experience or personal knowledge from returning clients providing real insights. I’d trust my travel agent but I’d also take a look at online photos of the recommended places. Location is dramatically important in Paris and a cheap room in Paris can be as nightmarish as a cheap hotel in Manhattan. You want this to be a dream trip and not a nightmare so plan on a little flexibility in terms of room rate.

As for Top 10 Places to Visit for the first time visit to Paris, here are my recommendations:
1. Be sure to think of this as your FIRST visit to Paris and don’t try to do everything and go everywhere or you’ll rush through everything and be exhausted instead of exhilarated at the end of your visit. Paris, unlike Tours, Biarritz, Grenoble which are all tucked away and require effort to get to, is an easy gateway city to get back to again. The first thing you need to visit in Paris is PARIS. Walk around! Stroll the Champs Elysees. Look at the architecture, shops, sit at a sidewalk café for a snack or coffee and people-watch. Realize that the cost of a cup of coffee or cola includes the real estate value of sitting in that spot so you understand why you can buy 4 drinks anywhere else in the world for what that one drink costs you. You are paying for the experience.
2. Take the metro to Les Halles! You will love this place! When you get off the metro you’ll find a whole city of shops, restaurants of every, boutiques and very entertaining in an authentic Parisienne experience. And since you will be there in summer, if it’s hot and sticky you will find this place comfortable and entertaining. This is a very ‘young’ area where Paris university students and young people congregate. And you’ll find neighborhood restaurants and food vendors with yummy things that won’t break the bank!
3. When you come out of the metro at the Les Halles station, look around for the Centre Pompidou. This is an amazing museum also known as Beaubourg. It is the National Museum of Modern Art housed in a building that looks like a Habitrail hamster cage where there are huge acrylic tubes which encase the escalators that you take you from floor to floor. This is an awe-inspiring place that will energize, rather than wear you out the way some museums do!
4. Visit the Eiffel Tower but check first to find out what time the sun sets and plan to take the elevator to the top observation deck about an hour before so you see Paris go from daylight to twilight to dusk to night time as the sun sets and the lights of Paris begin to come on. That is an awesome experience. Don’t forget your camera! There is a restaurant at the top which, because of its location, is a little pricey but this might be the place for the big splurge.
5. Take a walk through the Bois de Boulogne and the Tuileries. These are two beautiful parks and worth the opportunity to blend in with the locals. The French love their dogs and if you are a dog lover yourself you’ll get a chance to meet, greet, and rub noses with the doggy set! In the Tuileries you’ll find a carousel and other amusements to add to the joy of your experience a la francaise.
6. Take a walk along the Seine and visit the book sellers and rare stamp vendors. Watch the film, “Charade,” with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant to see what these vendor markets look like. In the film, the little boy sells a stamp to a vendor there which is an important moment in this thriller’s plot!
7. Be sure to visit La Madeleine just north of the Place de la Concorde. It is a church that looks like a Greek temple and it location sets it up in the middle of an intersection so that it dominates the area. While it’s great to visit the Madeleine, it also puts you in another great place for shopping where you’ll find Parisien style and flair for a lot less than you’ll spend visiting the next great walking and shopping area below and that would be. . .
8. Rue de Faubourg St. Honoree: This is a great street filled with boutique shops and fashionable brand names and the street seems to run forever! Also on this street is the home of the President of France. So on this one long street you basically have the equivalent of Rodeo Drive in LA, Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Bond, Carnaby or Sloan Street in London plus the French equivalent of the White House. When you see this charming manor house flying flags and guarded by French police, you’ll know that’s it!
9. You must visit Notre Dame Cathedral which is located on its own island called Ile de la Cite, one of the two natural islands in the River Seine. The cathedral is amazing on the inside and out. There will probably be at least one choir from a US university there singing somewhere in Notre Dame as it seems to be on the itinerary of all college choirs and glee clubs! But there are four other interesting things you need to look for when you visit Notre Dame:
a. walk through every nook and cranny, drink in the fantastic Rose Window and other stained glass
b. Note the fantastic examples of exterior vaulting arches that hold up the building!
c. If you are there in June, stand under the area where the steeple is. There is an opening in the top of the steeple. In spring, the angle of the sun allows the light to create a circle on the floor of Notre Dame. As the days approach the Summer Solstice on June 20th you’ll see the circle of light under the steeple move across the floor day by day until it reaches a column near the point on the floor directly under the steeple. As the circle of light approaches the column, it begins to elongate into an oval which daily inches up the column, changing its oval shape longer and thinner as it climbs the column. On June 20th, the Summer Solstace, the spot of light generated from the opening in the steeple becomes heart-shaped! One of those great mysteries you’ll find all over France. (Another is that the 5 most important cathedrals in France, when connected like dots on the map, form the shape of the constellation Virgo! Thought you’d like that one!).
d. Before you leave Ile de la Cite, walk out of Notre Dame and around to the back of the cathedral toward the point of the island. Keep walking to the very end and edge of the island’s point even though you may not see anything worth walking toward. When you get there you will find a stairway that you walk down to visit the Memorial de la Deportation which opened in 1962. This memorial honors the memory of the 200,000 people deported from Vichy France to Nazi concentration camps during World War II. There are 200,000 crystals which shine brightly to represent those who were deported, many of whom fought in the French Resistance. It is a very moving experience and gives insights into the people of France. As you are leaving you will see an inscription: “Forgive but Never Forget.”
10. If you find yourself with a rainy day in Paris, that’s a great day to visit Le Louvre. Choose the halls that interest you rather than trying to ‘see it all’ which is impossible. The Mona Lisa is housed here. Note that at museums in France, if you have Student ID or are a teacher, particularly a teacher of history or art-history, have your ID with you as you will be invited in either free or at a greatly reduced rate. When the sightseeing day comes to an end, take a ride on a Bateau-Mouche, one of the sightseeing boats on the Seine. There are lunch trips, sightseeing-only trips and dinner cruises. This will give you another perspective on the sights of Paris.

There is so much more to see on the Left Bank, you’ll enjoy Hotel des Invalides especially if you are a history buff, and maybe you’ll get lucky and catch ballet or opera performance while you are there. No matter how much or how little you do, you will have the time of your life!

Bon Voyage!
.
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