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Weekend in Paris... What to do?

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by AntiHero84, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. AntiHero84

    AntiHero84 Senior member

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    Hi all,

    As luck would have it, I'm traveling for work and being sent to Paris. My wife will be joining me for a quick trip over the weekend. What should we do?

    I know that there are sites to see, but I don't really care to wait in hugely long lines if we only have a short amount of time in the city. Are there any sites to see without buying tickets and standing in line? What is a good way to spend a strolling lazy day?

    Also, I know it would be a lot easier to go all out an eat at really nice restaurants, but we're already shelling out a lot for my wife's flight. She likes to consider herself a foodie and loves vegetables and peasant dishes. Where should we go to eat at a reasonable price?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who has any suggestions.
     
  2. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    L'arpege has a mostly vegetarian lunch special. Not exactly cheap though.
     
  3. binge

    binge Senior member

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    What does she want to do/see?
     
  4. OliverGauffe

    OliverGauffe Senior member

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    I would recommend having a look at the Rough Guide for Paris. They always have budget friendly restaurants listed, and its true that you don't have to wait in all the touristy lines to experience the city. You can also buy museum tickets online now, so you don't have to wait in the long lines, at the Musee D'Orsay for example. You might want to see the Eiffel Tower, but going up, for me anyway, was a bit anticlimactic, but then, I'm from Chicago, so I'm used to the whole tall building thing. Notre Dame is impressive, however, and I would suggest not missing it!
     
  5. AntiHero84

    AntiHero84 Senior member

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    Thanks for the responses.

    My wife and I have already agreed that we're going to keep the tourist-y things to a minimum, but the one thing she would like to do is to see the Eiffel Tower (hell, I'd like to see it too). Would you say that it took a while to get to the top? I've read that you can get a good view from the Arc de Triumphe, which is good enough for me.

    My thought is to spend Saturday seeing choice tourist activity each. For her it might be the Eiffel, for me I'd like to at least browse through Shakespeare and Co. A museum might be nice to fill out the day, but something tells me the Louvre would be an entire day in itself. Musee D'Orsay could be nice, as was suggested, so we'll see.

    I'm content to see many of the sites from a distance, so I'd definitely like to walk past Notre Dame. I've also heard good things about the Left Bank. My wife and I went to Italy on our honeymoon and really enjoyed just kicking around town and hanging out in the park surrounding the Villa Borghese. Does anyone know of something similar in Paris?

    Also, are there any neighborhoods to stay away from? My french isn't great (it's non-existent) and I don't want to get caught in a dark alley. One should always be cautious while abroad, but is there anything that I could do to stay safe that may not be obvious?
     
  6. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    I like the Luxembourg Gardens and D'Orsay > Louvre.
     
  7. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Pretty reasonable at lunch if you compare it to dinner ;).
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  8. Jerome

    Jerome Senior member

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    Maybe only do one of those simple boat tours on the Seine (from where you can see and enjoy many of the major sights) and relax and then go to a creperie, after that maybe a stroll through the uni-quartier on the left bank or go to Montmatre and take a walk there and some cafe...
     
  9. haganah

    haganah Senior member

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    Here's my advice:

    Get out of that hell hole as fast as you can - take the train to Versaille even. Spend time in that town or on the camp ground or go on the tour of the estate.

    If you insist on staying, stop by the Rodin museum. The bookstore you like is a bit cute I suppose, but the tourists in it are not. The flea would be a lot more interesting than going to the Eiffel tower and getting harassed by the Senegalese souvenier hawkers. And if you're impressed by Notre Dame, you must have never stepped foot inside another gothic church - it's pretty, but not so pretty that I'd tell someone not to miss it. Henri le roux knows how to make a delicious caramel...but then again I have a sugar addiction.

    Those river cruises are uncomfortable once you notice the swastikas carved here and there. I'm not a fan of montmarte like some of the others. It's not always the safest.

    Over time I think I've gained sympathy for the French being so xenophobic. You may too after this trip. That's all I will say about that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  10. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt flea market is very cool but huge. I think it is best if you go with someone who knows what they are doing.
     
  11. haganah

    haganah Senior member

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    Why?

    It's only huge if you really feel like going into the seedier parts and you can clearly tell when that starts to happen.
     
  12. Sprezziamo

    Sprezziamo Senior member

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    Take a look at the Tour Eiffel, but don't go to the panoramic spot. The queue is long, and I don't think it's worth it.

    Go here instead, possibly at sunset: http://www.tourmontparnasse56.com

    The queue is usually quite short, it's not too expensive and the view is amazing.


    Go to Montparnasse, and walk around that area, starting from Sacre Coeur, the small market next to it and Place du Tertre. Walking down through the garden you'll eventually reach Boulevard de Rochechouart, turn right (East) and you'll see the famous Moulin Rouge.

    Since you don't have much time, I'd avoid the museums. Don't get me wrong, they are awesome and I spent many days in them, but it would be pointless to run through them without dedicating the right amount of time to all the masterpieces that they contain. In case you change your mind, visit Musée d'Orsay: it's smaller and absolutely stunning.

    You can also have a stroll in the center: start from Hotel de Ville and go South. I'll walk by Notre Dame, Saint Michel, and you'll eventually reach Jardin de Luxemburg, a very nice and relaxing garden (it gets really crowded during hot summer days though). On the other hand, if from Hotel de Ville you go West, you can walk through les Jardins des Tuileries (stop at http://www.pierreherme.com to try the best macarons in the world) and see Place de la Concorde, with its famous Obelisque. Take the Bridge at you left here and you'll see 'Esplanade des Invalides' right in front of you.

    What to avoid:
    In general, don't go outside the City of Paris.
    During the day, avoid Gare du Nord / Stalingrad / Jaures.
    During the night Chatelet / Les Halles is not great (but I heard there a riqualification going on right now). Oberkampf can get a bit sketchy too.
    In tourist areas (Montmartre in particular) there are a lot of pickpockets, so try not to look as a tourist and keep your wallet and mobile phone in secure spots (front pockets are okay). Sometimes they try to stop you and distract you using weird excuses ("Hey, you lost this ring/coin/keyring"), just ignore them.

    As a rule of thumb, West is "better" (i.e. richer and, on average, safer) than East.

    - I lived in Paris for almost 1 year, so feel free to send me a PM if you have any specific question.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  13. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    I went to 2 or 3 of the markets and was exhausted. I did find an old Apparel Arts magazine in English ironically. I also found a painting of an artist I liked but didn't like the price. I guess I could have bargained but didn't really know the culture and th price I should ask. That's why I think you should bring an expert or at least someone knowledgable.
     
  14. ehkay

    ehkay Senior member

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    Good luck getting a weekend reservation. :satisfied:
     
  15. Sprezziamo

    Sprezziamo Senior member

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    Do go there. I love books, and I went there at least once a month. I brought there pretty much everybody who came to visit me, and even non-book-lovers loved it. The atmosphere is great, in particular if there's somebody playing the piano. And if you know how to play it, just sit down and start, everybody will appreciate and you might get a round of applause as well. Also, all the books in the "piano room" are available for free, so you can take one of your choice and start reading it.

    Oh, I forgot about restaurants. Rue de la Huchette (close to Saint Michel) is very particular and has something like 30 restaurants in about 100 meters. The compitition is high and they all offer 10-15-20 € menus. The quality is okay-ish and the atmosphere is particular. In general I'd say the 5th arrondissement is a nice place to walk around in order to find a good restaurant in terms of value for money.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  16. Medwed

    Medwed Senior member

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    Or one can bring a working smart-phone instead.
    Louvre and other museums have evening hours , I recommend it. Don't go to tower it is summer, and after all there is nothing interesting in looking at Paris from above, everything interesting in Paris is at the street-level.
    Look on the web for smaller family owned restrnts with rustic cuisine. They could be found and the food could be good. Haute couture cuisine in Paris is as awful as in NYC or London , no reason to waste your time on another celebrity chef bullshit.
     
  17. haganah

    haganah Senior member

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    You can always bargain. The price is the price you want to pay. I doubt you will find an expert on everything there that knows what market value is for everything. Anyway, it's fun to walk around there.

    Versailles is where I would send anyone visiting Saudi Arabi...I mean Paris.
     
  18. AntiHero84

    AntiHero84 Senior member

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    Thanks for all the responses! I'm still making my way through all of them, but there's certainly enough here to keep us busy.

    Stuff like this could be an interesting idea for a series of threads... 48 hours in [NYC, Florence, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Puerto Rico, etc.].
     

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