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First time visiting Paris. Where to stay

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Can you please recommend a place to stay in Paris, best way to move around Paris, and what places to see in 2 days.

 

 

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If you look on the France board, there are two active threads on Paris hotels. And what you should see depends on your interests. 

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My Mother and I loved Hotel le Clement in the 6th Arrondissiment - it was an excellent location where we could walk to/from many site seeing spots, the Seine, etc....an active, interesting area with lots of cafes, park, metro, shopping all nearby.  They also have a family suite with 2 separate bedrooms for a very reasonable rate. 

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Paris is a huge city that consists of several (many?) very different "feeling" neighborhoods (called Arrondissements) with hundreds of hotels.  I would suggest that you should read about the various Paris neighborhoods and decide where you would like to base your stay.  You can easily move between neighborhoods using the city's subway system, taxis, and walking.  Once you've narrowed down your desired base location, then begin looking at Hotels.  I would start with a good guidebook such as Rick Steves Paris Guidebook or similar.

Edited by MeHeartCruising

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Will echo the prior post of MeHeartCruising.  We often make the same suggestion (regarding Paris) which is to first choose a neighborhood and then look at the options in your chosen area.   While I am also a fan of the Rick Steve's books I tend to avoid most of the restaurant and hotel recommendations in his books since those places will likely be full of others carrying his book in their hand :).  A good friend once suggested that nothing ruins a restaurant faster then being recommended in a Rick Steves book :).  What sometimes happens is that the locals flee to other places, the prices increase, and the quality decreases.  

 

Hank

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5 hours ago, caripoo said:

Le Maurice

Excellent property but I would have to mortgage my first born to pay their rates.   I amused myself by looking at rates for the dates of our next visit to Paris and the lowest price rooms were in excess of $1000 a night :).  Not in this lifetime.

 

Hank

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On 1/3/2020 at 5:11 PM, Hlitner said:

Excellent property but I would have to mortgage my first born to pay their rates.   I amused myself by looking at rates for the dates of our next visit to Paris and the lowest price rooms were in excess of $1000 a night :).  Not in this lifetime.

 

Hank

WOW They have really gone up....guess I should quit recommending that Hotel!!  I would not pay that for any hotel.

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On 12/19/2019 at 4:52 PM, Hlitner said:

Will echo the prior post of MeHeartCruising.  We often make the same suggestion (regarding Paris) which is to first choose a neighborhood and then look at the options in your chosen area.   While I am also a fan of the Rick Steve's books I tend to avoid most of the restaurant and hotel recommendations in his books since those places will likely be full of others carrying his book in their hand :).  A good friend once suggested that nothing ruins a restaurant faster then being recommended in a Rick Steves book :).  What sometimes happens is that the locals flee to other places, the prices increase, and the quality decreases.  

 

Hank

We think alike Hank!  After one splurge at a  lakeside hotel on Lake Como that was ruined by loud  customers we too avoid!  I tend to ask locals where they like to eat and have had great luck this way.  I also think the Cinque Terre is a victim of this. 

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59 minutes ago, bennybear said:

We think alike Hank!  After one splurge at a  lakeside hotel on Lake Como that was ruined by loud  customers we too avoid!  I tend to ask locals where they like to eat and have had great luck this way.  I also think the Cinque Terre is a victim of this. 

For more then 25 years, we have enjoyed the villages of Cinque Terre.  Now, we generally avoid the place like the plague.  Why?  I think the blame goes to La Spezia and the Italian government's efforts to open it as a major cruise port.  This has resulted in multiple large vessels to port in an area next door to Riomaggiore (the closest Cinque Terre village) and send a majority of their passengers off to a day at the 5 villages.  These are truly small villages that lack the infrastructure to handle really large groups.  Add a few thousand cruise ship passengers to the thousands of other land-based visitors and you have an awful overcrowding situation.  It is not uncommon to see tourists packed 4 or 5 deep trying to squeeze onto the train that plys the villages.  The small ferry boats are quickly overwhelmed (when they run).  Some of the cute shops that used to exist in Riomaggiore (and other villages) are disappearing and being replaced by the typical touristy burger and pizza joints.  

 

So what does the Italian government do?  They erected movable barricades on the primary 2 lane approach road (that takes vehicles to Riomaggiore and some other villages) and have threatened to close the road on days when it is just too crowded in the villages.  But the vehicular traffic is not the cause of the problem, it is the nearby cruise port!  An easier solution would be to ban cruise ships from La Spezia and let them go to Livorno and the other traditional ports that do a great job handling the masses.  Unfortunately the Italian authorities have shown a propensity to make idiotic decisions.  We have seen this in Venice (when they created a large cruise port that is ruining the city) and now in La Spezia.  And when they make a good decision such as building a sophisticated flood control system for Venice (and the nearby islands) they screw around for 20 years with substandard construction practices and fail (miserably).    ARGH!

 

Hank

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Posted (edited)

Luckily we visited the cinque Terre a couple of times before the present situation. I think people want to go based on the hype.  Yet still many of the main pathways are closed.  Yet even a few weeks ago Rick Steves is still advising travel there.  

 

We had friends very disappointed last year when they couldn’t do two of the main walks.   People don’t seem to understand the destruction from the landslides, and that they are not repaired after several years.  And things don’t work quite the same in Italy.  

 

Thankfully, Italy is full of wonderful places off the beaten path!  We love Deep South Italy and visited a couple of amazing places in Sicily  this year.  

Edited by bennybear

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On 1/9/2020 at 1:09 PM, bennybear said:

Italy is full of wonderful places off the beaten path

 

A friend of mine took a smaller boat to familiar areas/regions, and others less so translating to fewer people, on board and land. Won't mention line as I'm meant to stay as neutral as possible unless answering direct question. They loved it. Smaller carbon footprint as well, which as we know is also becoming more of an important matter in many ways. also on land and in the sea so that there are incredible places to visit.

 

bennybear mentioned Como; sometime last year or maybe in 2018, I watched a documentary about a dog called Ice that belonged to a fisherman who lived in a small but beautiful village on Como. I was enchanted by Ice, his fisherman, the family, the village, and of course the lake. It wouldn't be easy to get to, but it would be special and unlike visiting other villages.

 

I guess people will need to begin thinking about the type of experience they want to have: one that is authentic, personal, thus somewhat spontaneous and as a result truly unique, or....the one that looks like what they see in the magazine or on the postcard or movie, and understand what the difference between the two would be. No difference, Better, Worse, Mind Blown, I won't even consider it? 

 

When I got my Cinque Terre guide book as a gift from a friend who'd visited (purchased there) no other publisher had a guide or decent section on the region comparable to what exists today. When I received the guide, it came with strong advice: go now, this won't last. That was about 20 years ago. 

 

This topic started with Brest and Quimper, still relatively less visited areas of France (they are further from port as well, of course) but particularly unique in culture and quite beautiful in their own right. I had a Breton boyfriend once upon a time. But then so too was Biarritz a beach resort destination (Coco Chanel) that was almost as buzzy as Cannes or St Tropez and is surging again. Folks are realizing (or remembering) there's a sort of Stonehenge in Brittany, at Carnac. Langoustines and cuisine that is divine in the region and a separate language. 

 

Start coloring outside the lines. 😉 

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Back to the OP questions.

 

Paris is very easy to navigate.  Pick up one of the tourist maps or use google maps on your phone. More importantly, it is a walking city, relatively flat other than Montmartre.  Buses and the metro go everywhere and are easy to manage. But I recommend walking. Walking along the quays of the Seine is delightful and a great place for a book lover.  If you are interested in art, pick one or two museums to visit. Since you are only there for two days, verify opening days and times.  Some museums are closed on Monday and some on Tuesday.  I would NOT visit Versailles during your two day Paris visit.  That needs another trip.

 

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We stayed at the Chambiges Élysées, it was a great location, we took a bus to the Eiffel Tower, but could have walked.

I booked online and it was 270e/ night.
There was breakfast available for purchase, we paid 5 e 
For us we only had a short time in Paris, so we wanted to have a centrally located hotel.

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