Posted by
Message
LSUbase13
South Carolina Fan
Charleston, SC
Member since Mar 2008
12992 posts

Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
The S.O. and I are considering a trip to Paris.

First, is it worth it -There are plenty of places we'd like to see and explore: South America, Asia, etc. But, that being said, we have never been to France and Paris doesn't take a back seat to many, if any, major cities.

Secondly - What to expect? Hotels? Airbnb? Getting around? Expensive? Museums, food, etc? Language? Aside from French in high school some 10 years ago, neither of us speak French.

Thirdly - Any do/don'ts. Places to avoid. Things to skip?

Is it worth a (say) 5-7 day vacation? Any day trips or overnight trips outside we should capitalize on?

Thanks!



hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
6625 posts
 Online 

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
Do a search--there was a recent thread on Paris full of good info.
1)Paris is always worth it to me. But I love cities, museums/fine art, patisseries, high end chocolate, bakeries, European history in general, am of French descent, and I speak passable French. A rainy afternoon parked under an awning on a cafe terrace, sipping something delicious, while people watching, must be at least be the waiting room outside the Pearly Gates, if not heaven itself.
2)Smaller hotel rooms are the norm, AirBnB isn't beloved by locals or city gov't but there are many short term rentals in the central arrondisments. Getting around is very easy, via bus, metro, regional rail. Language can be an issue for some people who make no effort to speak even the simplest words of French....but if you make an attempt, it will be met with appreciation. Learn please, thank you, hello, "may I please have...", to ask for the check, basic directions. Many people working in tourist-contact jobs will speak English.
3)don't expect it to fulfill some magical mythic ideal of La Belle France. It's a real city full of graffiti, some not so nice people, and the usual complement of urban problems of any city its size.

You and SO should (separately) make lists of why you'd want to go to Paris, and what you want out of a vacation. Then compare lists. See if you guys are on the same page....


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
13
JudgeHolden
LSU Fan
Gila River
Member since Jan 2008
5689 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
quote:

First, is it worth it -There are plenty of places we'd like to see and explore: South America, Asia, etc. But, that being said, we have never been to France and Paris doesn't take a back seat to many, if any, major cities.


Let me think for a sec. YES!!!!!

quote:

Secondly - What to expect? Hotels? Airbnb? Getting around? Expensive? Museums, food, etc? Language? Aside from French in high school some 10 years ago, neither of us speak French.


I did an apartment in St. Germain through Trip Advisor. Loved it.

quote:

Thirdly - Any do/don'ts. Places to avoid. Things to skip?


Versailles is way overrated, and as crowded as a Tokyo train. I think the Eiffel Tower is worth walking around but not worth going up. The Louvre is interesting but crowded and warm in the summer. The Musee d'Orsay is nice.

Mostly, I enjoyed just walking around and sitting in the cafes.

quote:

Is it worth a (say) 5-7 day vacation? Any day trips or overnight trips outside we should capitalize on?


I did nine days, and that was just about right. I think that five would be too short if you are coming from the States.





The Spleen
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2010
21533 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
I loved Paris. I went with some pre-conceived notions that turned out to be quite ignorant and wrong. The Parisians are very welcoming and hospitable people, adn are very proud of their city. Practice up on basic French and at least make the effort and they'll gladly bridge the gap with the English they know. 99% of the people I encountered there could speak at least some English, so don't worry about the language barrier. I knew very little French when I went(didn't take French in high school) and I got along fine.


It was 1999 when I was there, so any info I'd have is pretty dated on hotel/restaurant/transportation recs. I do remember it being a fairly easy city to get around.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
11
Fun Bunch
New Orleans Saints Fan
New Orleans
Member since May 2008
54558 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
quote:

First, is it worth it


It is my favorite city so I would say yes. But as with all things, it depends on what you like. Do you like exploring cities? Amazing food? Wine? World class art? Paris is 2nd to none for all of that.

quote:

Secondly - What to expect? Hotels? Airbnb?


I have stayed in Hotels there, but I know many people love to stay in condos which are plentiful in Paris. I just prefer staying in Hotels if I can in foreign countries for a variety of reasons (checking bags, having a concierge, etc).

quote:

Getting around?


Their Metro (subway) is extremely convenient and I used it almost exclusively outside of a few cabs and the like).

quote:

Expensive?


It CAN be. Do you want to stay at a 5 star hotel with a view of a landmark? Do you want to eat at 3 Michelin Star restaurants? It will be pricey as frick.

If you're ok with searching for a well reviewed hotel at a good price, and you research restaurants that won't kill you price wise, you'll be fine.

quote:

Museums


I mean...It has the fricking Louvre. Not to mention the D'Orsay and others.

quote:

food


I mean...its Paris. I can give you a bunch of wonderful restaurants that run the gamut of price.

quote:

Language?


Everyone speaks English. HOWEVER...learn some basic French phrases and then let them know you don't speak French well and they will speak English with you and be MUCH nicer. The French all speak English but hate when people don't at least make an attempt to speak French first. This isn't necessary, but you will have a better time.

quote:

Thirdly - Any do/don'ts. Places to avoid. Things to skip?


Skip a day trip to Versailles. I was personally very underwhelmed. Take a day trip out to Reims/Champagne or out to Normandy instead (IF you have time for a day trip, that is).


In short, go.

Tips:

Stay in the one of lower numbered Arrondissments (districts). Paris is arrayed like a snail, with the lower numbered districts starting in the center and pinwheeling out. The lower number ones (1-8) have the majority of tourist attractions with the notable exception of Montmarte, and are nicer.

Near the Eiffel Tower is a shite show. It is filled with immigrants hawking crap. The Eiffel is beautiful but that can suck. They can be kind of aggressive, and are even worse in Montmarte. Lots of gypsies and scammers all over.

ParisByMouth.com is an amazing guide for eating all over Paris. Use it.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
10
namvet6566
LSU Fan
Member since Oct 2012
3322 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
Get a translation app
Learn. Hello. Good morning. My name is. Thank you. Please. I would like not I want. I am from La. they think we are cousins

The French are not as rude as people think just want you to speak French

Too bad our pussy Country is not like they are

I am a witness


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
10
Jackalope
Houston Astros Fan
Paris. (Austin Native)
Member since Apr 2009
2250 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
Do it. I may complain about Paris sometimes because I live here and am no longer a tourist, but it's an amazing city.

One thing I would suggest, besides learning just a few key French phrases, and starting off greeting in french then asking if they speak English, is to also say hello in every shop you walk into. The French treat their businesses like their homes, don't just walk inside and not acknowledge them.

Also, if you don't want to stick out, you really need to dress nicely. No cargo, no shorts, no tshirts. You'll feel out of place otherwise.

Most everyone here will give pretty solid suggestions. I'd say a good day trip is always fun. I send family and friends to Brussels and Amsterdam pretty often and they get a kick out of the fact that it's a quick train ride. Normandy is great too.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
40
Wildcat In Germany
Kentucky Fan
Metro Atlanta
Member since May 2017
2573 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
Paris is always worth it. It's the most amazing city in the world.

quote:

Hotels? Airbnb?


We've had great experiences with Airbnb. Scored a flat in the 7th just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower for less than 200 euros a night.

quote:

Getting around?


The Metro is very good and will take you anywhere you want to go for a good price.

quote:

Expensive?


Paris can be as expensive or as cheap as you want to make it. It's really up to you. You can eat at Michelin Star restaurants, little mom and pop places with very good food, or pick up a sandwich from a boulangerie and a bottle of wine from a shop and go picnic in a park.

quote:

Museums


It's Paris... The Louvre, d'Orsay, l'Orangerie, Les Invalides, etc. There are dozens of them.

quote:

food


There is no better city in the world for food. None.

A little tip, the cheap wine in shops there isn't like cheap wine in the U.S. It's actually good. You don't have a pay a good bit for some good wine. The house wine at restaurants is also good.

quote:

Language?


Almost all Parisians speak English. As long as you know a few key phrases/words and make an attempt, they'll talk to you in English.

quote:

Any do/don'ts. Places to avoid. Things to skip?


Don't fall for the ring scam, the metro scam, the string scam or any number of other scams by migrants. Don't let your luggage out of your sight for even seconds.

Avoid Versailles. Avoid McDonalds and Starbucks (should be a given, but you'd be surprised.)

Regardless of whether you're flying into CDG or Orly, consider hiring a service to take you to your destination rather than the Metro or a taxi. It's a set price that you know in advance, you don't have to deal with watching your luggage like a hawk in the Metro and a taxi driver won't drive you in circles, charging you far more than they should, because you don't know the area.

quote:

Is it worth a (say) 5-7 day vacation?


It's worth more than that. You could explore Paris for weeks and never see everything.

quote:

Any day trips or overnight trips outside we should capitalize on?


A trip to Monet's gardens at Giverny is a good little trip. Normandy is great. Mont Saint-Michel is gorgeous. Champagne country.

The trains in France are very good and not expensive at all.



Tha Herg
LSU Fan
Herget Dorm
Member since Jul 2009
2815 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
quote:

Regardless of whether you're flying into CDG or Orly, consider hiring a service to take you to your destination rather than the Metro or a taxi.

Any particular company you’d recommend?

quote:

Normandy

This seems like more than a day trip based on my very early research. Did you do it in a day and enjoy it?

quote:

Champagne country

Any particular area / tour that you’ve enjoyed?

Thanks for the help thus far.


AlceeFortier
Member since Dec 2016
771 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
excellent post. paris is my favorite city and just walking around is worth the trip. versailles is indeed a waste of time. it was WAY overcrowded and a hassle. take a few days and go to normandy too.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
10
Wildcat In Germany
Kentucky Fan
Metro Atlanta
Member since May 2017
2573 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
quote:

Any particular company you’d recommend?


This is a good one. They'll be in the airport waiting for you and take you directly where you're staying. Saves you a lot of hassle.
quote:

This seems like more than a day trip based on my very early research. Did you do it in a day and enjoy it?


We have done a day trip. Caught a train around 8 a.m., made it up in time to check out the Bayeux Cathedral, took a half day tour of Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc and the American Cemetery at Longues Sur Mer, ate at a creperie there and caught the train back to Paris. Our guide even let us take stones off of Omaha Beach.

We used Overlord Tours and took This tour. They do an excellent job and we really enjoyed it.

quote:

Any particular area / tour that you’ve enjoyed?


You can't go wrong with Reims. The Mumm Champagne house, Veuve Clicquot Champagne house and G.H. Martel, among others, are there.

quote:

Thanks for the help thus far.




Replies (0)
Replies (0)
10
Tygra
LSU Fan
Bee Are
Member since Jan 2008
171 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
What time of year are you going? That may alter some choices. Two of my favorite things were Versailles and Musée Rodin. We went in the spring and the gardens were beautiful for both. TBH I hate crowds and didn’t find it crowded at all. Maybe we lucked out, but I wouldn’t trade that experience. Stuck around Versailles and had a carafe of wine and cheese. It was an excellent day that my SO will never forget. If it’s something you want to do, do it! Plan wisely and get there early. Def worth the trip.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
00
hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
6625 posts
 Online 

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
RE: getting from the airport, I’ve never used a car service in Paris. The RER B regional train line leaves directly from the airport, and it will have you in central Paris in 45 mins for 10,30. It is a commuter line, so it starts running very early and runs pretty late. Learn to pack light—everything for a week easily fits into a 19” wheeled carryon. Rent a place with a washer/dryer, find a laundromat, or use your hotel’s laundry service. Carrying too much crap, and then worrying about how to transport said crap, or worrying about losing said crap, is a big vacation drag.

The website Paris by Train gives step by step instructions, including photos, on getting from the airport into Paris, for navigating the principal train stations, etc. LINK

(That said, I am using a car service to get back to the airport in Rome in two weeks, mainly because my flight departs at 8 am and Rome’s transport isn’t as efficient as Paris.)
This post was edited on 2/6 at 8:00 pm


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
01
Indfanfromcol
LSU Fan
LSU
Member since Jan 2011
13534 posts
 Online 

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
About to leave for the airport now from being in Paris (and now Switzerland). A 5-7 day trip was great. We did 8 full days in Paris and never left the city. We took the days slower because my wife is 10 weeks pregnant and nauseous and exhausted. But even 8 days of dull energy I can see how you would still never run out of things to do.

We did an Airbnb right above Notre-Dame. It was great. Felt very safe and it had a washer and dryer. I’d recommend doing that if you can.

One tip I didn’t know until day 4. Cafes, if there is no silverware outside on the tables you can sit yourself. If there is, normally you have them sit you. Also, not everyone in Paris speaks English like people are saying. They will by the tourist attractions, but don’t expect them to always know English if you aren’t by a major attraction.

Also, the myth about Parisians being rude to me was far off. Never once felt anyone was rude outside of what I get back home. Maybe one bad waiter? But even my waitress the first night who spoke no English was nice and smiled and laughed the entire time as we all tried to communicate.

Definitely do it. Idk if I need to do this trip more than once, but I definitely think it’s a trip that has to be taken once in your life.


Pilot Tiger
Georgetown Fan
Northern Virginia
Member since Nov 2005
70259 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
Wife and I are planning our honeymoon finally and want to do Amsterdam and Paris so I'm definitely going to be reading a lot on this board

EDIT: we know almost no French so I wonder if something like duolingo would be helpful?
This post was edited on 2/7 at 5:54 am


hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
6625 posts
 Online 

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
Yes, Duolingo is helpful. Easy to fit into your day, short focused lessons, and the phone app lets you do a little almost anywhere.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
11
BlackenedOut
The Big Sleazy
Member since Feb 2011
4825 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
One of the great things about Paris, and this is counter intuitive when traveling, is that it is a fantastic city to have no plans in. Now I dont mean just staying in your apartment and watching 5th Wheel re runs, I mean just go out and wander with no preconceived notion of things to do, boxes to check, or paintings to see. Do research on things you might like to do in each arrondisement, places to eat, drink, snack, or shop, and then just spend a day exploring that particular area.


Y.A. Tittle
Winthrop Fan
Member since Sep 2003
67607 posts
 Online 

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
quote:

One of the great things about Paris, and this is counter intuitive when traveling, is that it is a fantastic city to have no plans in. Now I dont mean just staying in your apartment and watching 5th Wheel re runs, I mean just go out and wander with no preconceived notion of things to do, boxes to check, or paintings to see. Do research on things you might like to do in each arrondisement, places to eat, drink, snack, or shop, and then just spend a day exploring that particular area.




Went about 5 years ago, and had so many serendipitously wonderful experiences just wandering around and not yet doing any of the real things we had planned yet from the time we landed (on one of those flights that arrived around 5:30 am local time - as I think most do) until the time we could check into our hotel, that we said we could fly out that afternoon and feel like we had a great trip.


Wildcat In Germany
Kentucky Fan
Metro Atlanta
Member since May 2017
2573 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
quote:

lso, not everyone in Paris speaks English like people are saying. They will by the tourist attractions, but don’t expect them to always know English if you aren’t by a major attraction.


Everyone doesn't but most people, particularly younger people do. Many French children start learning English in elementary school now. The older generations aren't quite as proficient, but the younger ones, for the most part, can at least speak enough English to communicate fairly easily with. Hell, there are a lot of Parisians who speak much better English than a lot of people born in the US.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
10
Tha Herg
LSU Fan
Herget Dorm
Member since Jul 2009
2815 posts

re: Paris - Questions, Help, Suggestions
quote:

had so many serendipitously wonderful experiences just wandering around and not yet doing any of the real things we had planned yet from the time we landed

As a planner this scares me haha. I do like the idea of picking a neighborhood, maybe do some prelimsry restaurant planning then just going to explore the neighborhood.

I always want to “just show up and explore” but not having anything relatively concrete planned or researched for a day or two in Paris scares me that I’ll have buyers remorse regarding whatever I choose.


first pageprev pagePage 1 of 2next pagelast page

Back to top

logoFollow TigerDroppings for LSU Football News
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get the latest updates on LSU Football and Recruiting.

FacebookTwitterInstagram