Need les toilettes (bathrooms)?
It is well known that Paris is a walking city. Imagine you have been walking for hours on end, admiring the designs and hotspots around town. Walking leads to thirst, which leads to drinking water or other preferred beverage. Now, suddenly, you are thirsty. Ok, you gulp down the drink and now you have to use the bathroom.
We've heard the toilettes on the streets are of high quality. However, if this puts you off, there are plenty of other locations you can go. Creative ideas include:
-Public locations, such as town halls, libraries, municipal courts even.
-Educational locations such as Language Schools (France Langue, par exemple), universities, institutes, etc.
-Touristy buildings. Museums are especially great.
-McDonald's, or other fast food restau. They don't expect you to buy.
I have had the need whilst walking and dipped into the local language school. So perhaps do a little research and you're golden!
FYI: using a bathroom in a cafe and leaving without sipping coffee consitutes rude behavior. These tips can help avoid that.
Just a 'petit morceau' about Paris
The river Seine divides Paris in a gentle arc, and flows from east to west...and...if you face the direction of the flow, the Right Bank 'Rive Droit' is on your right and the Left Bank 'Rive Gauche' is...you guessed it!
The Right Bank is generally characterized as a centre of commerce and banking, haute couture, palace hotels, and grand, wide boulevards.
The Left Bank, historically considered the centre of learning and religious activity, and with its enclave of writers and intellectuals, is rich with cafe life. The hotels here tend to be small and charming, rather than grand hotels of luxury.
Paris is divided into 20 districts called arrondissements, each with its own mayor and town hall or "marie".
Many small neighborhoods lie within these arrondissements, several spilling over its boundaries into others. Each arrondissement is referred to by an ordinal number; the first ("le premier"), the second (le deuxieme"), etc. They spiral clockwise from the central portion of the city to the ring road called the Boulevard Peripherique.
The number of the arrondissement is also the last 2 digits of a Paris address, whereas the first 2 digits signify Paris.
For example, an address with a postal code of 75008 will be in the eighth arrondissement; one with a postal code of 75011 will be in the 11th.
This helps when you have an address you need to go to...it'll help you head towards the right part of the city. Each arrondissement has its own unique character and selection of attractions for the traveler:
1st (1er). The geographical centre of Paris and a great starting point for travelers. The Louvre Museum, the Jardin des Tuileries, Place Vendôme, Les Halles and Palais Royal are all to be found here.
2nd (2e). The central business district of the city - the Bourse (the Paris Stock Exchange) and the Bibliothèque Nationale are located here.
3rd (3e). Archives Nationales, Musée Carnavalet, Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, the northern, quieter part of the Marais
4th (4e). Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Hôtel de Ville ( Paris town hall), Beaubourg, le Marais (gay Paris)
5th (5e). Jardin des Plantes, Quartier Latin, Universités, La Sorbonne, Le Panthéon
6th (6e). Jardin du Luxembourg, Saint-Germain des Prés
7th (7e). Tour Eiffel, Les Invalides, Musée d'Orsay
8th (8e). Champs-Elysées, the Palais de l'Elysée, la Madeleine
9th (9e). Opéra Garnier, Grands Magasins
10th (10e). Canal Saint-Martin, Gare du Nord, Gare de l'Est
11th (11e). the bars and restaurants of Rue Oberkampf, Bastille, Nation, New Jewish Quarter
12th (12e). Opéra Bastille, Bercy Park and Village, Promenade plantée, Quartier d'Aligre, Gare de Lyon, the Bois de Vincennes
13th (13e). Quartier Chinois, Place d'Italie, La Butte aux Cailles, Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF)
14th (14e). Montparnasse Cemetery, Denfert-Rochereau, Parc Montsouris
15th (15e). Montparnasse Tower, Gare Montparnasse, Stadiums
16th (16e). Palais de Chaillot, Musée de l'Homme, the Bois de Boulogne
17th (17e). Palais des Congrès, Place de Clichy
18th (18e). Montmartre, Pigalle, Barbès
19th (19e). Museum of Science and Industry, Parc de la Villette, Bassin de la Villette, Parc des Buttes Chaumont
20th (20e). Père Lachaise Cemetery
La Défense. The skyscraper district on the western edge of town.
Always bring your aluminum water bottle
You will save a lot of money if you bring your own aluminum water bottle and fill it up before leaving your hotel. Just tuck it in your backpack.
Since I did I a lot of walking in Europe, about 2-4 miles per day, I brought my own aluminum water bottle. That saves me a lot of money! I probably save about E6.00-E10.00 per day.
The bottled water in Paris is expensive. The small one will cost you E1.69 to E2.69 depending on which store you bought. Bringing your own bottle container also saves the environment- eliminates those unwanted garbage! (although many recycles but it is kind of difficult to find recycling bins when you are travelling) I love walking along the Champs Elysees.
If you don't speak Français...
Here are a few useful phrases and sentences that may be helpful if you're visiting Paris:
1. Quelle heure est-il? = What time is it?
2. Je voudrais___s'il vous plait. = I would like___please.
3. Je prends un chocolat chaud = I'll have a hot chocolat
4. Ca coute combien? = How much does this cost?
5. Vous fermez a quelle heure? = What time do you close at?
6. Parlez-vous anglais? = Do you speak English?
7. Prenez vous des cartes de credit? = Do you accept credit cards?
8. Je ne comprends pas = I don't understand
9. Combien = How much
10. Aujourd'hui, demain, hier = Today, tomorrow, yesterday
11. Comment allez-vous = How are you?
12. Merci, pardon, excusez-moi = Thank you, pardon me, excuse me
If you really think you want to learn French, I would recommend the "10 Minutes a Day Series." It helped me learn German, when I bought the German version. They come with stickers, flashcards, and are very easy to learn from. You can buy them at any Chapters, and in most bookstores. They're available in several differnt languages. They cost just under $20 CAN. If you want to order one, here are the numbers. You can also visit their website.
Packing List for December
Less is better I can't stress this enough - attractive COMFORTABLE shoes. My feet and knees ached the entire week and I am only 30! I had even bought cushy insoles for my leather boots. A warm coat, scarf and gloves.
We tried to dress as Parisians do - simple and classy. You can get whatever you need in Paris.