There are always events going on in Paris and around.
Many are free and change every week.
You can have a look at the website autour2moi.fr ("around me" in French) which shows an
Interactive map of all events in Paris. (in French but still useful)
Exists also on mobiles (search "autour2moi" ) : useful when you want to know whats going on around you.
Have a nice trip.
Pont Alexandre III : with its Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses at either end, was built between 1896 and 1900.
The Pont Alexandre III connects the Grand and Petit Palais on the right bank with the Hotel des Invalides on the left bank.
Fondest memory: Pont Alexandre III is the most ornate, extravagant bridge in Paris...
The first stone was laid by the Russian Tsar Nicolay II in Oct.1896. The bridge was to symbolize Russian-French friendship and was named after his father Tsar Alexander III.
My wife and me got separate briefly in Paris Metro and used our mobile to contact each others. The 2 minutes call cost about US$2 for each the caller and the receiver.
Advise: minimise calls while overseas and use SMS if possible.
I spent a day in Paris in 2009. On my way from Munich to New Delhi , I took a detour in Paris. I just had to see the Eiffel and had heard a lot about cabaret at The LIDO. I used a day pass for metro, the underground railway. It was efficient but filthy. One needs to see the Delhi Metro in India, far superior to the Paris one. But it was well connected and comfortable. I picked up a map and had done some homework to catch as many places as I could.
Fondest memory: Along the Seine, it is a beautiful walk. I had a rucksack and a waterbottle with me. In Sept , the weather was pleasant. The view from the Eiffel is beautiful. Also, the Arc de Troimphe was nice. The Champs De Elysee is an avenue to see and did a lot of window shopping. I had a chance to drive an F1 car with a simulator(not on a driving track) at the Renault showroom. Also took a picture there. It would be better to take advance tickets for the Eiffel. I climbed the till the second level on my own.
At night there was a huge queue outside The Lido. I had not expected people to be in a jacket waiting for almost two hours before the show. But the show was worth every Euro I spent on it.
I was staying at the Holiday Inn close to the airport so only problem I had was after the Lido show at 2am , there was no public transport to take me to my hotel. So, took a cab which took care of all the savings I had done in the day :-)
I Was in Paris for 3 days in May 2009. First day hot as *%*$ second day poured rain. Last day drizzle....prepare for all "changeable weather".
Fondest memory: This little restuarnt by my hotel. The waitress was so sweet to me whenever she served me my dish she would say "Oooh La La". I loved this place so much I ate there 3 nights in a row
Paris is a lot more do-able on a budget than most people think. You just need to know where the "bon addresses" are.
Basically anytime you venture into 11eme, 20eme and 19eme, prices fall dramatically. Do not eat near the louvre, it'd break the bank. right outside of the metro exit La Cluny there is an excellent creperie stand which you can get an awesome crepe for under 3euros, make sure you get out the exit of the musee de cluny though. drinking a coffee (mind you, an "expresso", not your crazy starbucks size coffee) au bar instead of in the salle (so drinking at the bar or sitting down in the room) will cost you significantly less (say 1 euros vs. 2!). the menu for these drinks are usually behind the bar. Water should always come for free at any restaurant, and in the st-michel area, there are more than enough touristy restaurants that offer a full 3 course 10-15 euros meals. Seriously those are not bad. If you are under 25 years old, during the weekend buy the carnet des jeunes (or passe de jeunes, i forgot!), which should cost you 3.25 euros per day for UNLIMITED travels on the metro, bus and RER and the best is- it includes zone 3!
If you fly into the orly airport, do not take the high speed orly rail, take the bus which is a few euros cheaper and gets you straight into metro denfert rochereau. However, if you fly into CDG, im pretty sure the RER is cheaper than the CDG express bus (Roissy bus), but it does take you straight to Opera area.
In each area there's a steal. Here's a few secret hiding places to check out good and cheap restaurants: metro Belleville, Place d'italie, Arts & Metier- all areas with a sizable Asian community, where usually good food and cheap supermarkets are right around. Metro strasbourg-st-denis and chateau d'eau have plenty of cheap restos as well.
Shopping in supermarkets for picnics will also be moeny-saving for you, but try to go for franprix, ED, supermarchés de paris, avoid monoprix. Weekend markets in certain areas (not all, mostly in the east. basically west of metro tuileries things get expensive) will be very cheap and offer you a wonderful glimpse into parisian lifestyle. My favourite market used to be the saturday market off of metro Avron, awesomely cheap, fresh, and very fun. Make sure you check the back part of the market where its mostly Arab vendors, and their products are cheaper.
Go also to porte de clignancourt on sundays for their famous flea market. i never managed to go there but my friends always say its fun.
Another fun area to visit is the bank of canal st martin. On a beautiful day i used to go with friends for an after-work drink and picnic, lots of little cafes, and the side near metro Jaures has a very cool student bar where you drink sitting outside.
Aim for happy hours in most parisian bars and you'll enjoy a nice beer or two.
Buy your daily grub in patisseries - baguettes will fill you up easy and cost you no more than a euro the whole piece. Or, buy a freshly made sandwich in any patisserie.
Rue du cheval blanc (i think) in bastille area is a whole street full of bars and i find their drink prices very reasonable.
If all else fails, Mickey D's does offer a dollar menu, and FREE wifi (in certain ones, not all of them. Also no plugs in restaurants, charge your laptop well before bringing it in).
Surely many will argue that people come to paris to see FRENCH CULTURE, not ASIAN culture or likewise, but after living 2 years in Paris on a 250 Euros budget (whats left after paying rent and transport), i find these areas fascinating, bursting with activity, plenty of cool things to see and lots of fun.
Fondest memory: I really miss how the moment I stepped out of my door something is happening. Either its a café with people sitting and conversing, basking in the sun or just a beautiful quiet street unfolding in front of you. I love how the city is so well connected, modern and historical at the same time. I love the way they take their time eating lunch. I love the smell of fresh bread around the corner. I don't love the high prices, I don't love the sometimes (and yes its true) snobbishness of Parisians, how blasé they are, but I do appreciate their hard-working style, and those are some of the reasons that I love Paris.
For those that are interested in the b and w photography of Paris from days gone by, there are a couple of exhibitions on in Paris at the moment by two of the "humanist" photographers of the 50's, one more well known than the other and two different styles, but very well worth the time to have a look whilst in Paris this early Spring.
Robert Doisneau - exhibition at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, 2 impasse Lebouis 75014 Paris until the 18th April 2010 - Tuesday -Sunday 13h00 - 18h30 except Saturdays open from 11h00 - 18h45. Entrance is between 3 to 6 euros. The Wednesday evening also from 18h30 - 20h00 and is free. Nearest metro is Gaité.
"Izis" Bidermanis - exhibition at the Hotel de Ville de Paris, 5 rue Lobau 75004 Paris until the 29th May 2010 - Every day except Sundays and Bank holidays from10h00 - 19h00 and entrance is free. Nearest metro is the Hotel de Ville.
Favorite thing: Paris is a fascinating city just to walk around in, with lots of little backstreets and interesting squares. This one is the Place de Tertre in Montmartre. It pays to take some time just to stroll around in between rushing from one major sight to the next :)
Favorite thing: A thing to remember when you're searching for a street number on a map is that in Paris the street numbers of streets parallel (roughly) with the Seine run from East to West. That means that a street such as "Rue de Rivoli" has its no. 1 near to St. Paul and its last numbers close to the "Place de la Concorde". This is true on both sides of the Seine. I.e. Blvd. St. Germain begins near the IMA and finishes at the Senate building. The difference is with North/South running streets. They run away from the Seine, i.e. the no.1 of any of these streets is always close to the Seine and the higher nos. are out towards the Peripherique. This is also true whether on the left or right bank of the Seine.
I've never known houses to have AC in France. Or hotels. A very few restaurants may have. June isn't too hot, the evenings are beautiful sitting out in cafes. Old French buildings have thick walls which keep the rooms cool in the summer and warm in winter. You need to look for the *Acclimitise*(?) if you want to eat in a cool restaurant. Most people leave Paris in August/September for their holidays as it is hot in the City. Other than that, find a leafy shady parc to sit in where you can watch the old men playing petanque and have your picnic.
A romantic evening walk down by the Seine is quite beautiful.
Fondest memory: We lived in a very small studio appartement off Rue de Tolbiac. On Sundays we used to go to a restaurant around the corner and have a Paysan lunch of cassoulet, salad, dessert and a carafe of wine, cost then was 50 francs. About £5 each.
I miss walking into the Alimentation shop on the corner to pick up some wine and groceries, chat with Le Patron, wander down the leafy street to the appartement and prepare a simple supper of salad, bread, pate or cheese and wine. We dined on the very small balcony from which we could see Montparnasse and quite a few buildings lit up like Star Wars.
I deeply miss walking along Rue Moutard. Lots of market stalls late in the evening, selling superb food and meats. No traffic, relaxed warm evening, picking out what we would have for breakfast and lunch the next day. Perhaps an icecream to tide us over.
I enjoyed walking as far as I could throughout the Cite until my legs were weary, then taking the bus home. The buses and Metro share the same ticket system, you could buy a Carte Orange for a month and travel anywhere on both as many times as you liked, a really brilliant public transport system.
The Sacre Coeur in the north of Paris is truly remarkable. Quite a feat to get to, lots of steps or you could take a train to the top. Entering, you feel the cool tranquility of this massive space. I once was lucky enough to hear a Requiem sung by a nun with a truly angelic voice. The inside of the church is beautiful with gildings and carvings, the organ recitals are well worth hearing.
If you are a jetsetter, you already know that having a map is crucial to all your travels.
Request a Paris map at your hotel. They don't usually offer you but go ahead and ask from the reception counter. Although most receptionists are not fluent in English, some are good in conversing in English.
The map of Paris has both train map and the metro map. When I travel, I rely mostly on maps especially when the buildings are on the same heights. Updated maps are my best friends when travelling.
Fondest memory: Besides all the things that I have already said on my previous general tips, I also had a big blast watching a Parisian police officer chase the illegal sellers of souvenirs at the base of the Eiffel Tower. The police officer on a bike chased five illegal sellers until he almost grab one. But, the seller was lucky to get out of the street onto the pavement. Because of the height of the pavement, the police officer cannot maneuver his bike fast enough to catch the seller!
Walking is the easiest way to see Paris. You start at downtown crossing the bridge of the Seine River to the Notre Dame Cathedral. After checking out the Notre Dame Cathedral walk all the way to the Louvre.
Spend a few hours at the Louvre and follow the Champs Elysees. It's a very beautiful walk. Cross the rotunda and continue walking until you reach the arrays of restaurants mixed with shopping stores. Check out the stores or rest at some restaurants.
It's a straight walk all the way to the Arc de Triomphe.
If you bring a speedometer, you probably put in about 40000 steps or more.
Fondest memory: I enjoyed my walk. It was a good exercise for me.
When asked directions to most Europeans, they just assume that we know how to take the train. Generally, most Americans have never rode a train before. Americans are used to driving and those who lives in smaller cities except for bigger cities like New York, Washington, DC, etc., they have never rode a train before.
So, when asking how directions how to take the train, just politely say, I have never been in a train before and you have to direct me slowly and tell me how to take the train and read the train map. It's not being stupid! There is always a first time for everything.
Since, I have been on trains before (I rode the bullet train in Japan), I knew how to buy a train ticket and know how to follow the train map. However, most of the students we brought have never been in a train before so we have to teach them that the tickets have to be held at all times until they get out from the train station because they needed the ticket to get out from the terminal...
Fondest memory: I don't call it the fondest memory but we took the train from Milan to Paris and it was chaotic. The students and the teachers were divided on different coaches and we were too many to be in one coach. So, it scared me to death. I was under stress the whole time because we can't afford to lose one child at the Central Station in Milan enroute to Paris.
This is my personal experience that when I asked directions, I usually get kinder and more courteous answers from elderly Parisians than those younger ones. When I was asking for the direction of a particular restaurant where we were holding a VT Paris meeting, the more polite ones are the elderly Parisians.
Most taxi drivers are very helpful, too. But, it is really frustrating to ask anybody because they don't really try to speak English at all. So, it is best to have a map and a notebook all the time so you can write down the address and the person you are asking will read the address rather than trying to pronounce or saying it.
The streets in Paris are don't have the same signage as the United States. When you are driving, you cannot really see the street sign.
Fondest memory: Parisians are well-know to be arrogant and snobbish. But, defnitely, there are also nice Parisians especially the older ones. They kind of love to help in a way. They sometimes sit down on the benches on the streets and wait for the time to pass away...
The sights were beautiful. The people sucked. They were rude and acted like they were doing you a favor. If you go learn as much french as you can before you go. They treat you better.
Fondest memory: I went there for the french open. The matches were great. The scenery was awsome.