Paris Trip

I am planning my first trip to Paris for sometime in May. Any thoughts on where to stay or what to see (or not to see)? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Of course, you’ll want to see all the “tourist” things like the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysee, and the Arc de Triumph.

But, if you can find a good travel agent or ticket broker, try to book a trip to the palace of Versailles. It’s about 35 miles away from downtown Paris, so make sure your tour includes bus transit.

Bon voyage!

Paris is a beautiful city, but you are getting this from an artist’s perspective. The Museums, the Cathedrals, the Palaces, and one really cool graveyard! Art everywhere you look. The university district was cool and also the art district by Sacre Coeur. Lots of music and fun people. They were friendly too, but that is because I didn’t go there with an attitude. A friend of mine did, and got rudeness back in return.

If I had to chose something not to do, it was the tour of Versaille outside of Paris. I was there in Aug and the gardens where pretty sparce as was most of the palace itself because of losing a lot of the artifacts in WWII.

Buy the book “Let’s Go Paris”, it has so much information about where to go and what to do there. Great maps and info on how to use the subway. I would have been lost without it. I am going back in the spring…can’t wait!

I really try to be good but it just isn’t in my nature!

Just food for thought…

I’ve been in the travel business since 1978. There are two places that rate as the biggest disappointments on the traveler surveys we send out to our clients after they’ve returned from their trips: Russia (#1) and Paris (#2). The reasons they state about their disatisfation with Paris are “I expected more” and “language difficulties.”

PS- London, Rome and Sydney consistently rank the highest.

That doesn’t mean you won’t have a great time, of course. Bon voyage.

Well, I’ll need more info to be able to help fully of course. How old are you? Night person or day person? Bars, clubs or restaurants? Literature, art, architecture, or what? That sort of thing.

That said, here are a couple of places I had a good, inexpensive dinner while there last time.

17, Rue Malar, 7e Arrondisement

It’s a little northern French place. Small, so make reservations as soon as you get there. A nice walk to the Eiffel tour if it’s not cold.

Blue Elephant
43, Rue Roquette, (I think in the 2nd)

A Thai place, if you can believe it. A little on the gaudy side, but the food is terrific and the specialty cocktails are worth a try.

The guidebooks will tell you about all the big stuff. The Louvre is not to be believed and worth a full day, broken up by lunch. Aside from the obvious spots like the Eiffel Tower, I really enjoyed the Catacombs.

Euro hotel standards are not up to ours. You’re probably best off staying in a chain like Novotel unless your travel agent has specific experience with some of the smaller ones. In particular, make sure that your room has air conditioning (less common there) and a separate bathroom (yes, really). That said, they treated us great at the Home Plaza Bastille.

There is no ice in France. Prepare to beg to get ice for your soft drinks.

Enjoy your trip.

Livin’ on Tums, vitamin E and Rogaine


Don’t listen to the scaremongers. Paris’ user-friendliness for the avg non-French-speaking Yank has vastly improved in the past 15 years (since I was first there in 1985). I returned last summer, and heard through friends there that residents of the City of Lights are under strict admonishment to improve their attitude toward visitors, in an effort to buck up the city’s image (sound familiar?)

Alas–your choice of tourist venues may be beyond your control. Museum and metro workers’ unions are notorious for striking during the peak tourist events (like the French Open last year). I can highly recommend the Rodin museum (the only one of the “biggies” open while I was there!)

I would highly recommend Rick Steve’s (yes–the dweeby PBS guy) book on Paris.

Relax, have flexible plans, and you’ll have a fabulous trip.

I’m with Rysdad. I didn’t exactly DISLIKE my trip to Paris, but I thought London was way cooler, and Rome is much more beautiful and romantic. All the buildings in Paris are brown (it’s monotonous, not beautiful!), the Metro is hideously overcrowded, and it’s very expensive. However, the touristy sites are famous for a reason. Don’t forget the Notre Dame (it’s amazing), and go to the Ile d’St. Louis for ice cream. You won’t regret it.

The French aren’t that bad, too. They have a bad reputation, but my experiences were okay, although they were in disbelief over my inability to speak French.


“Anger is what makes America great.”

I like Paris. I like to stay in the more urban/touristy areas–who’m I kiddin–I’m a city boy and a tourist. When I’m traveling alone I like the Aida Opera in the Second Arrondissement (tel 00 33 1 45 11 11). They’ve been renovating, but it is a slightly seedy neighborhood. You may have trouble finding it at the corner of Richer and Conservatoire as both streets are only about two blocks long. You’re near Rue Ste. Denis, a great walk in the afternoon, head south about a mile, there is a bar called La Trappiste. They have at least a milliard Belgian beers available, sandwiches, mussels and such. The owner speaks a hesitant but excellent english, his sister lives in Indianapolis (he’s so saddened that his nephew doesn’t want to learn French). Heading back to your hotel (for a nap before dinner) Ste. Denis will have changed, you wind your way through the early drug dealers and then the avenue of French whores, er pardon me, sex workers. This Paris just feels right to me. Who knew French whores look just like you thought French whores looked? Little black dress black hose, slightly zaftig, too much make-up. In the early evening they are very nice, just smile and say non.

When my sweetheart meets me in Paris I move to the Hotel Opera Gaillon (00 33 1 47 42 47 74) also in the 2e. It’s a Best Western managed property half way between the Opera and the Louvre, and has American style bathrooms. Reserve early and ask for one of the front rooms on the second floor, they both have a lovely little balcony overlooking a reasonably quiet street. I took a cutting from the ivy growing there and rooted two pieces, one for my girlfriend and one for me.

I have friends that say the way to visit Paris is to stay in a residential area and try to act Parisian (kiddin’ no one, if you ask me) and if that is what you want I guess I’d recommend the Bordinez in the seventh (I think 00 33 1 47 05 45 42).

Go, have fun, don’t argue with the cab drivers. If you want information about restaurants let me know, I could prattle on for hours. If you paint I can tell you about kalinsky sable brushes that you would consider trading body parts for.


Ditto to everything Kyla said. Go to London and go to the Paris in Las Vegas instead ;). If you INSIST on going to the actual Paris, I also recommend the ice cream (unbelieveable!), as well as the Pompidu Center (I think that’s how it’s spelled) and a side trip to the palace at Versailles. Pretty much the only thing Paris has going for it is it’s full of old stuff, if that’s your bag. I prefer “operational” to “charming” any day. ('Course, that’s just the spoiled, rude American in me!)

“You’ll find the chap stick right next to the public toothbrush on a string.” – Miss Gretchen

I hate Paris in the springtime, I hate Paris in the fall, I hate Paris in the summer when it sizzles, I hate Paris in the winter when it drizzles…I hate Paris, oh why oh why do I hate Paris…because my love is there with his slut girlfriend…

Sorry…French Kiss moment. It happens.

“…being normal is not necessarily a virtue. It rather denotes a lack of courage.”

  1. Eyewitness makes a wonderful Paris travel guide that gives incredibly detailed information (more than any other tour book I’ve seen) about the city, museums, monuments, restaurants, walking tours, etc. Available at your better book stores, and through

  2. The ice cream shop on Ile St. Louis is named Berthillon. It’s on Rue St. Louis En L’Ile. You have never tasted raspberry ice cream like this.

  3. Do not miss Sainte Chapelle. Beautiful gothic church with incredible stained class and detail work. On boulevard du Palais on Ile de la Cité.

Sorry for what might seem to be hyperbole. But these 3 things, and Paris itself, rate very high in my book.