Back again from another trip.
Work this time sent me on my way, to Paris, France - the city of lights and love.
Seeing as this was my first trip to Paris, I did all the touristy things. Effiel Tower, Arc De Tromphe, Notre Dame, etc.
As I was there the week that Pope John Paul II died, there was a lot of activity at all the catholic churches, especially Notre Dame. It was nice to see them being used, though I did feel a little bit ghoulish taking photos whilest people were in the pews mourning.
Anyway, here's the reviews:
Where I stayed:
Hotel Acacias, 20 rue du Temple. Given that this was my first experience in a hotel in France, I was a little shocked at exactly what 94 Euros a night buys. Small, oddly shaped room with a bathroom smaller than a closet. For a business trip, felt quite hampered by the lack of internet access in the hotel (though wouldn't be a concern for personal travel, of course). The hallways were crocked and warped. Overall, I wouldn't recommend the hotel, but I don't have any better recommendations. I just feel that for 94 Euros I night, I could do better.
The area of the hotel was nice, though really in the heart of the gay area of Paris. All the bars in the area were gay bars. Generally not a concern for me, though could be uncomfortable for some. I did get hit on by a guy from Geneva, who, upon hearing I was not gay, offered to pleasure me orally anyway. How sweet, I thought, but I declined.
Where to Eat (on a budget):
I will skip the places that I ate on the expense account, because (a) they aren't very budget friendly; (b) I don't remember the names and; (c) I don't recall how much stuff cost.
On a budget, I can highly recommend the little creperie on Rue du Temple just up from the Hotel Acasis. Coming up from the Seine, it's about 2 1/2 blocks past the Hotel Du Ville on the left hand side. Great Panini and crepes, a full meal for 5 Euros.
Also excellent were the Greek gyros places near the St. Michel metro stop - 5 Euros gets a sandwich Grec - lamb, tomato, lettuce and french fries wrapped in a pita. Yum.
Oh, and the Franprix grocery by the Saint Mande metro stop sells 1L No-name Cola Light for 0.34 Euro! That's a deal.
As a Torontonian returning to our two line subway, I have to say that Paris' Metro and RER system is SUPBERB! I got myself a Carte Orange (which as a tourist I wasn't supposed to get, but it's cheaper than the tourist pass) for zones 1 and 2 for 15.40 for the week. Most of the tourist sites are within zone 1. Where I was working was in zone 2.
I love that you can get to the airport on the train, though once you get there, a little bizzare to have to get on a stupid bus to get to the terminal, especially when you can see the terminal is only a 5 minute walk if there was a way to walk there.
That's it. Good trip, would love to go back and see more of the place (and do get to, as I have another two trips in August and September to plan).
Oh, forgot to mention - if you like tea, be sure to check out the Mariage Freres Tea Shop at 30 rue du Bourg-Tibourg. Tea makers dating back to 1854, the shop is wood panelled with a beautiful aroma and lots and lots of choices of teas.
Most of the teas have great, place related names, so it was great walking around in there doing the old, "oooh, I've been there! Oh! I want to go there."
In addition to tea, they also sell tea related items, from the implements of making and drinking tea (kettles, pots, cups, spoons), to things to enjoy with the tea (candy, chocolate, sugar) to information on tea (in multiple languages).
There is also an attached tea room to sit and have a spot of tea.
Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip - even if business had to get in the way of pleasure. Your descriptions have me day-dreaming... I positively lived on Nutella crepes in Paris, and I thought myself quite cunning (like I was the only one! ) to have brought my extra passport photo for the Carte Orange (I saved HUGE amounts, taking the Metro so many times a day).
Your hotel may have been expensive because of its location. I paid 40 Euro a night for a small, clean room with a decent-sized bathroom - but I was out in the 15th arrondissement near Porte de Vanves (sp?). It was a small trek to the Metro, but hey! I had all the time in the world to walk around and stop for a coffee and a croissant.
Oh, now I want to go back again!
Thanks for the tips. I will be heading to Paris in July for a few days to visit my friend, who is moving there from Toronto!!!
The hotel you stayed in reminds me of the bad ones I've stayed in when in Amsterdam. Tiny, small bathroom but in the end does the job.
Is there anything that you missed out on that you would have liked to have seen?
The catacombs were closed, so I definately want to see them when I go back.
I didn't go into the Louvre, so that's something I will do next trip. Also wouldn't mind checking out the Pere Lachaise cemetary, just to see all the Doors freaks frying over Jimmy Morrison's grave.
I'd like to see Versailles as well.
You have to go back, then - you missed the best parts! Seriously, the Catacombs were amazing, haunting... And Pere Lachaise! OK, I won't get into praising Pere Lachaise AGAIN...
Great timing, Greg and tway, I will be in Paris with my niece the first weekend in May!
your so lucky. i've only been to france once and loved every minute of it!! make sure next time you go back you go to one of the gardens (jardin du luxembourg is a fave) and just sit back, relax and watch the world go past. then it really hits you that you're actually in paris!! versailles was also spectacular... so opulent!! the gardens theyre are quite magnificent aswell.
have a great time when you go back to paris, wish it was me!!
I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I'm waiting for some pics to pop up in your profile....
I've given you my recommendations before, but I will probably give you more in a couple of weeks!
lol, just checked...there are pics there! I spoke too soon!