Help a Reader Travel: Paris

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Welcome to another post of helping a reader travel! As I’ve mentioned before, I have not been to every destination (unfortunately), but do get questions from friends and other blog readers on all sort of travel destination questions. Thus far, we’ve been able to help other readers travel to MauiThe Greek IslandsPacific Coast HighwayArgentinaCosta RicaCape Cod & The IslandsIcelandGenevaCanadian RockiesRomeIsraelPeruLas VegasStockholm, and Chicago.

So this weeks travel destination includes Paris. I received the following email from reader Lauren:

“My husband and I are getting married next summer and looking to go to Paris for our honeymoon. We love sightseeing and eating good food. Additionally, I am hoping to use my AA miles and am open to hotels with my points. I do not have too many hotel points right now, but once I figure out a hotel, I’ll work on accumulating more points within that chain. Primarily we are looking for: 1) Things to do; 2) Day trips to take; 3) Restaurants to eat at; 4) Hotel to stay at (with a good location!). Thanks to all of the readers in advance for helping me with my honeymoon.”

I actually have never been to Paris, but Mr. Deals has, so maybe he’ll be able to chime in and help. If you’ve been to Paris, let’s help out reader Lauren by commenting below. Also, if you have any upcoming travel where you need some help, feel free to email me at dealswelike@gmail.com to be a featured “Help a Reader Travel” Monday special. Thanks!

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  1. First thing: both of you need to get the chase Hyatt card with 2 free nights after the first purchase. Redeem those for 4 nights total at the paris Vendome. You will not regret it!

  2. @Jeff: Excellent advise.Hyatt Cards arrived last week as well. 4 nites locked in March. Hotel is well over 600 Euros/nite. All for two $75 card fees(which also give free cat 1-5 nite at renewal). Do the math on that!
    Ar: Delta has good availabilty at lower levels for back and middle of bus. I don’t think Delta metal has F. Air France from CDG shows decent availibility as well using ATL.

  3. My wife and I spent a week in Paris back in August. Before going, I did a lot of research, which definitely paid off. My highest recommendations (all of which can be found on tripadvisor easily) are as follows:

    -Pasco (romantic but affordable dinner)
    -Bam Bar a Manger (dinner – duck is fantastic)
    -Le Realis Gascon (lunch in Montmartre – amazing “chefs” salads, seriously)
    -Ciel de Paris (upscale dinner – expensive but the view of the Eiffel Tour was worth it)
    -Patrick Rogier (chocolate)
    -City Free Tours with Chris (The absolute BEST tour guide I’ve ever had, just be sure to email him to make a reservations in advance)

  4. We recently did this itinerary and loved it!
    I also highly recommend Paris Walks – cheap and excellent tours (found out about them through a New York Times article):
    http://www.paris-walks.com/

    Day one arrive
    PM: Bastille area, Palace de Voges
    Frommer’s does an awesome walking tour of this area that I absolutely would love to do again: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/paris/0062020035.html
    Best meal we had on our trip was: http://chezjanou.com/
    2, rue Roger Verlomme — sort of near the Bastille area

    Day 2:
    AM: Luxembourg Gardens > St Germain area > Ile St Louis is like a mini-island, really cute/quieter –> walk across a bridge and then next to it is Notre Dame –> Latin Quater/Rue Mouffetard — street in the Latin Quarter with lots of food places to eat. Younger/student area. àSan Chapelle chapel also right there – Frommer Walking Tour 2

    PM: Walk along the Champs Elysess including up to the Arc D’Triomphe

    Day 3:
    AM: Rodin Museum (opens at 10am; closed Mondays)

    PM: Palais Royal > Tuillieries Gardens –> Place de la Concorde

    Day 4:
    AM: Louvre (opens 9am; closed Tuesdays)

    PM: Seine River Cruise

    Day 5:
    Versailles (opens at 9am and is closed on Mondays) – I highly recommend getting the audio guide when you go

    Day 6:
    AM: Montmartre & Sacre Coeur – Frommer Walking Tour 1

  5. We splurged and stayed at the Westin Paris Vendome. We actually found a very good deal, so it wasn’t nearly as much as usual, but still a bit more than the “budget” hotels. We LOVED the hotel, however. It was incredibly clean, beautiful, and in a great location that was convenient to everything.

    While the Louvre was lovely, we were a bit underwhelmed by the art and overwhelmed by the crowds. We loved the Musee d’Orsay.

    We did a tour of the old Opera House (the Naitonal Opera of Paris) and it was really beautiful. It’s the one the Phantom of the Opera is based on. Versailles is definitely worth the day trip but I would recommend a tour so you know what you’re looking at. No need for a tour at Notre Dame (but definitely go in!) nor the Louvre, but I recommend downloading a Louvre app to help you navigate (and I hear the audio tour is good, but we didn’t do it). I really enjoyed strolling near the Centre Georges Pompidou to see the artists and entertainers. We also got great chestnut crepes there! I also loved strolling around Montmarte, and we had an iPhone app with a walking tour that was great to tell us where to go and what to see.

    The love bridge is super cheesy, but we had a wonderfully romantic time there and I’m glad we embraced the cheese. You buy a lock, write your names and date on it, lock it to the bridge, then toss the key into the river.

    We had some great meals, but my favorite was at a cafe we stumbled upon called Cafe des Beaux Arts. I’m not sure if the rest of the food would stand up, but it was the best duck confit I have ever had and my favorite meal in Paris.

  6. Was in Paris in April. Stayed at Hotel Le Petit Paris, great and highly recommend it. Great affordable (dare I say cheap) meal at Polidor, a five minute walk from the hotel.

    I see the same tips I would have given you except:
    a) Get the museum pass not just to save money but to bypass all the lines. From the hotel, it’s a five minute walk to the Pantheon, and you can get it there. Louvre – once pass is in hand, skip the two hour line by the pyramid. Go to the Richelieu wing and there’s an archway and inside the archway is an entrance for employees and handstamps — but the museum pass works too! Zero queues!
    b) Try the Musee de l’Orangerie at the end of the Tullaries gardens.
    c) Going to Versailles, watch which train you take. You want RER C – Rive Gauche. You need a supplemental ticket since you are leaving Paris center. Get in the FIRST car. When it arrives in Paris, 2,000 people will try to jam out of the station. The first car is closest to the station exit – saves you 20 minutes.
    d) Buy your metro tickets in blocks of 10 – a carnet. Saves 40%
    e) Picnics are cool. Bring empty water bottles and buy water in bulk, fill and carry. Go buy bread and cheese and make your own breakfast (saves big bucks). Bring a bottle of wine and corkscrew to picnic, cut top off plastic water bottle for instant wine glass. More fun and less wasted time than cafe or restaurant.
    f) Negotiate cab fare BEFORE getting in cab!

  7. We picked up a Paris museum pass at the airport and just spent time walking around to the various sites (we love museums) and historical places (like Ste Chapelle).

    Be sure to read some on French customs and learn a little basic French (if you don’t speak some already). I little effort seems to go a long way with the Parisians.

    To get you excited (some shameless self-promotion):
    http://www.batteredluggage.com/category/travel/france/paris-2/

  8. I haven’t been to Paris in a few years but I recommend Versailles and if you have any interest in Impressionism, go to Giverny. If you enjoy wine you can take a day trip to Bordeaux (or even Cognac). But there are so many things to do in Paris itself, depending on your interests, it can be hard to fit everything you want in to your trip.

  9. We took a bicycle tour through Paris that was great. The tour guide stops periodically and gives you some history. We met near the Eiffel tower. They also have Segway tours there which are really fun! The Aviator Club is Paris premier poker room on champs elysee but they are very snobby. Don’t miss Montmartre where the Moulon Rouge is and where all the artists lived back in the day, or the cappucin monks tomb of bones! I heart Paris! Happy honeymoon..

  10. I did 36 hours in paris for a company party once. It was nuts. Stood under the eiffel tower at 1am (it was a cool way to see it) and managed to get to the Louve to see the Mona Lisa.

    Beautiful city to walk around, but wish I had more time and a basic understanding of French. They did not seem to want to speak english to me anywhere and I couldn’t pronounce anything.

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