I travel to India for business quite often. On this particular trip, my wife was travelling with me. We were scheduled to change planes in Paris. I thought I would surprise her and make a little short trip of it. So we did. We stayed only two nights. But we really made the best of it and really saw a lot of the city. I would like to return and see the city at a slower pace and maybe even visit some other nearby cities.
We spent the night at the Hotel Du Bois. It was a quaint hotel with english speaking staff. comfortable clean rooms with small color television and private bath. The room was fairly spcious and decorated with a french country flair. It only set me back around $70 usd per night! They offered a breakfast, however it seemed a little pricey and there were plenty of cafes around the corner.
This hotel was very near the Arch de Triumph and in walking distance of a lot of nice upper end shops and a few tourist shops. You could walk to the river, however the Eiffel Tower was a little too far for walking.
The staff at the hotel was very helpful in helping us make the most of our whirlwind stay. I thought French people were suppose to be rude and stuck up. I enjoyed meeting the people in the city.....maybe I am stuck up and rude too! :-)
"Seeing the sights"
There was a tour bus that had a pick up right outside the city. For around $30 usd you can ride the bus all day. The bus has continuous audio that describes the sites you are passing. for no additional charge you can grab a pair of headsets and hear the descriptions in English. The bus was climate controlled and we were very comfortable.
At each major site, you could get off the bus and stay a while. The bus does move on and you have to pick up the next tour bus when you are ready. It was easy to do and worked like a charm.
Get this! In one day we saw the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Louvre, and many other historic landmarks and sites.
At the Eiffel Tower it was cold and rainy. But we stuck it out and rode the lifts to the top! There are some nice shops and cafe on the upper levels, so we were able to warm up. It was all well worth the entry fee, the wait in line and taking the cold wind and rain. I would do it again in a second.
When we arrived at the famous Louvre. We had already done our research and decided that we wanted to see five things: 1.) large paintings of Napoleon's Coronation, 2.) Mona Lisa, 3.) Michaelangelo's sculpture, "the Slave", 4.) Venus, and some ancient jewelry. It would literally take a lifetime to see everything. We focused on those items and saw them all and a little more. We have lunch in the Louvre. Food was served by categories in a cafeteria style. It was a little expensive, but the sandwiches and pizza were very good. There are small espresso machines that only work with a token. These tokens are not very expensice and can be purchased at the register. I thought the coffee was of good quality.
We jumped back on a tour bus and went to Notre Dame. Please note that Notre Dame is the end of the line. The buses stop running at 7:00 p.m. and getting off at Notre Dame meant that we would miss the bus ride back to the hotel. Being adventurous, we decided to stay and see the famous church. Wow! It was great! We were glad that we stayed. Mass was taking place while we were there. After visiting the church, we walked around the area. It did appear to be safe. There was only one place that we felt a little out of place. That could be the fact that we were Americans visiting Europe at the height of the Iraqi War. Nothing really happened, we just felt as though we should move on down the sidewalk . Just a couple of blocks later we found a great litle cafe (there are MANY) to eat dinner. After dinner we visited several tourist type shops to purchase some things for our kids.
Getting back to the hotel was a little difficult. We had never learned about getting a taxi. We did not know whether there were taxi stands or not. We saw a driver coming out of a bakery with bread, we asked him for a ride. He told us in very broken English that he was off duty, but he would take us to Hotel Du Bois. I did not think that the fare was very high. As a matter of fact, it seemed lower than it is in US.