(Closed) Paris! Tell Me Everything

posted 5 years ago in Travel
  • poll: Would you recommend Paris?
    Yes, Loved it! : (42 votes)
    78 %
    Hated it, would never go back : (4 votes)
    7 %
    Have never been but would love to go : (8 votes)
    15 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    46 posts
    Newbee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    Absolutely love Paris!  Got engaged there last May.  You do not need to speak the language – I don’t speak any French and aside from learning basics like hello, thank you, etc . . . I didn’t speak any and found that everyone spoke English.  I did not go to the Eiffel Tower Restaurant.  We stayed in Paris for our whole trip, but took a few day trips.  We went to Versailles – which is where we got engaged.  Absolutely beautiful.  Also, took a bike trip to Monet’s Garden, which was nice.  We did a wine day tour as well out to some wine regions on Paris Wine Day Tours. All were great day trips.  Otherwise, we did lots of walking around the City and took the Metro everywhere – very easy to navigate and really the best and most affordable way to get around.  Highly recommend Fat Tires Bike Tours right in Paris – did a fun day tour and the night one also – they have several different options.  The Catacombs were interesting.  Rodin’s Garden was beautiful.  My favorite thing to do in Paris – sit outside at a cafe and sip wine!  Enjoy!

    Post # 4
    Member
    231 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2011

    well it was a few years ago I went, (I was 17!) and we managed to get about on around three words of french haha! Something that I really enjoyed wasnt so much the “touristy” sights but just walking around all the backstreets, all the places you wouldnt normally see. We got totally and utterly lost and we loved it! I fell in love with the whole atmosphere of the city.

    Also, we didnt have chance to go up the eiffel tower, and although I already knew it (obviously) from photos,movies etc, you never truly get a grasp of just how big that thing is! Just standing underneath was so…wow!

    I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

    Post # 5
    Member
    6349 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2014

    I’ve been twice and really liked it. There is a LOT to see, and the food is amazing; visiting a food market is a must. To answer your questions:

    1) You will have no issues. TBH, the French can be kind of blunt to the point of being rude, and I tend to scrap all attempts to speak French (and TBF I’m not THAT bad) fairly quickly, as they will simply respond in English. Learn some basics, but really that’s all you need; that, and an understanding of how the Metro works (we found it confusing at first but it’s actually REALLY simple)

    2) My top things to do are:

    Visit a food market; if you travel when it’s warm, there are some lovely parks you can picnic in.

    Arc du Triomphe

    Sacre Coeur

    Notre Dame

    Saint Chapelle

    Berthillons ice-cream parlour (located near the Notre Dame; the ice-cream and sorbets are UNBELIEVABLE and the streets round the shop are very pretty with lots of beautiful buildings and nice shops (like unusual jewellery shops, florists, patisseries, etc)

    Take a cruise down the Seine; there are several options for this inc lunch and dinner cruises, or just your basic tourist cruise. Great for seeing the city from a different perspective and the tour/guided ones have a commentary which is really interesting and informative

    I also enjoyed the Picasso museum, as I like Picasso, and the Rodin museum is worth a look to; the gardens are particularly lovely. The Museum of Modern Art at the Pompidou centre is also worth a look if you’re into modern art (not everyone’s cup of tea though!)

    The Eiffel Tower is also a must; we took the lift, you can walk if you’re brave!

    The Louvre is also a must, though I admit I’ve not been myself as I didn’t have the time on either trip (one was 4 nights and one just 1 night, and we had other priorities)

    Finally, the shopping is also worth checking out; they have a couple of big department stores like Galeries Lafayette, lots of chic high-end designer shops around Faubourg Saint-Honore, and art and quirkier items in the Marais area.

    3) I’m afraid I haven’t been; sorry.

    HTH!

    Post # 6
    Member
    571 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    I also loved Paris. We went two and a half years ago.  I found it super easy to get around.  We used the subway line to get everywhere and even though we don’t speak any french at all it was easy to figure out.

    Go to viator.com and purchase your tickets for the Eiffel tower before you go.  The line up is crazy long there and this allows you to bypass it.

    We also did a champagne cruise on the Siene River which was amazing.

    The Versailles castles is also something that should be done. It is gorgeous.

    My favourite day in Paris was going to the Eiffel tower and walking around to the shops where we bought cheese, chocolate, champagne and a baguette and then went and sat in the park and ate/drank it all before our time came to go up.  Then when we came down we went and waiting at the bar on the water for our champagne cruise. 

    Have a great time!

     

    Post # 7
    Member
    8042 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2013

    @skyeatnight:  

    1. Can you get about easily if you don’t speak the language? How much French do you have? I live in Canada so was taught French up til the end of high school. I am nowhere close to fluent but it did come in handy. I can speak very basic French. Most waiters/waitresses speak English at touristy restaurants. Not all store staff speak English, though.. especially smaller boutiques. I recommend knowing some basic words and phrases… ou est la toilette etc. lol.

    2. Hints and tips on where to go and what to do. There is SO much to do. Pick out a few main things you want to see (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, etc.), and make sure you do them. Budget more time than you’ll think you need. Learn to navigate their subway system. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in Paris, but if you go with the attitude that you’ll see what you can, and enjoy every moment, then you’re not compelled to run around like a headless chicken trying to do/see everthing.

    3. Has anyone experienced the Eiffel Tower Restaurant? Haven’t been.. I would like to go, but I imagine it would be very touristy and overpriced… but I would still do it for the experience.

    Other tips:

    -Pack good walking shoes

    -Do some research and stay away from some of the touristy areas if you can. Touristy = very expensive. I am sure I paid a ton extra when I insisted on eat at a place on the Champs Elysees etc.

    -If you’re into perfume, Paris is a wonderful place. So many wonderful perfume boutiques. Annick Goutal is magical, and has a few locations across Paris. Same with skincare stuff. You can find most wonderful beauty related products in Paris!

    -Get a guidebook. It will help you get a feel for how the city is organized, give you some good ideas, and will make it seem less overwhelming.

    -Stop any enjoy meals. The French savor their food. It’s not a fast food culture (but you can find fast food if need be lol).

    Paris is awesome. I went for almost a week and I felt like it wasn’t enough time. We’re going to go back at some point. I went with my sister last time, will go with my SO next time 🙂

    ETA: Go to Versailles!! It’s gorgeous.

    Post # 8
    Member
    1685 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    @skyeatnight:  

    I liked Paris, but I didn’t love it.  I’d recommend going, but I think it was just so hyped up for me that it was a let down.  It felt a lot like New York City only more artsy.

    I also went in June which was still very cold and rainy.  The weather reminded me of Seattle.

    We ate at the Eiffel Tower restaurant, but the less fancy version.  That was fun, but the food didn’t make too much of an impression on me.  The view was fantastic.  The food everywhere is rich and filling.

    I went while I was in college so I was really looking to spend all day in art museums and spend the nights partying at discotecks.  Paris is less of a party city and more of an “experience” city.  My fondest memories looking back include sitting on our balcony overlooking the Eiffel tower while eating baguette with smelly (and delicious) french cheeses and jam.  Or sitting in the grass with all the other Parisians.  Or sitting at a drinking cheap wine and eating chocolate mousse while listening to a musician.

    I’m usually more of an adventure traveler, so it took me a few days to settle into the Parisian lifestyle.

     

    (Also to note: every Parisian I met was polite and helpful)

     

    Post # 9
    Member
    1729 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    Who is voting that they hated Paris?! Most things are subjective, but this is not…Paris is amazing. I studied abroad in Avignon, but spent a lot of time visiting Paris.

     

    Your questions:

     

    1. Can you get about easily if you don’t speak the language? Yes, but try to learn some go-to pharases, it will make things easier and get you better service. (You say “Bonjour, madame, je voudrais un sandwich du jambon” and the person will appreciate that you tried and repondez en ANGLAIS!)

     

    2. Hints and tips on where to go and what to do. Some random faves: Musee Rodin, Jardin du Luxembourg, Sacre Couer, Catacombs, Versailles.

     

    3. Has anyone experienced the Eiffel Tower Restaurant? Yes. It was Mother’s Day 2004. Good and a fun experience, but honeslty I’d go elsewhere as there are so many great restaurants in the city.

     

     

     

    Post # 10
    Member
    905 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: February 2014

    I LOVE Paris. It’s my favorite city on this planet. I studied there for six months as an undergraduate and have been returning for a week or two every year since.

    1. Speaking French isn’t necessary, just very useful. Try your best to learn little phrases like ordering in restaurants or asking for directions. A phrasebook is a really handy thing to have. In my experience it’s not that someone doesn’t know French, but more so the attitude they take toward it which makes for cranky responses. Most parisians speak at least a bit of english–and the younger set will absolutely know enough to communicate effectively.

    2. Everything! Walks in the gardens are wonderful, particularly in the mornings. The Tuilleries and Luxembourg are my favorites, but I also suggest Monceau. Make sure to get an icecream on the Ile St Louis (the smaller island next to the one Notre Dame is on). Sitting on the quai with an icecream just watching boats and people is both relaxing and romantic. If you’re a museum person I need not say too much about the big ones. However, a wonderful, less-visited, museum is the Musée Carnavalet. It celebrates the history of the city of Paris and is located in a really charming, history-filled neighborhood. If you’re a bargain hunter and willing to keep a strict eye on your wallet/purse the Puces flea market toward the north end of the city is full of interesting sights and bargains. There are so many more things I want to suggest you do, but this is turning into a wall of text. Message me if you want more info on Paris travel/spots to visit.

    3. I’ve never actually been to the Jules Verne, but it looks lovely. My understanding is that the food is good, but not earthshattering, but the views make up for the high prices. Make sure when you’re over by the Tower to get some photographs from Trocadero on the other side of the river. It’s a great viewing area. 

    Enjoy!

    Post # 12
    Member
    196 posts
    Blushing bee

    I don’t have much to add, but…if you go to the Louvre, pee BEFORE you get there LOL.  Way too many people use those bathrooms, and the upkeep was not the greatest.

    I don’t speak more than 2 or 3 words of French, but I got by.  If you want to find some English speakers quickly, try finding a Starbucks.  I swear, it was all Americans inside except the employees!

    Post # 13
    Member
    1177 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    I went to Paris on my first honeymoon and have been there 8-10 times in all. It’s a lovely city, but I suggest avoiding it from June-August. In September the American tourist hordes subside and the weather is still great.

    You can get around not speaking French, if you stick to the touristy parts. But I strongly recommend using the Fluenz CDs to pick up 100-200 words before you go. (I don’t recommend Rosetta Stone.) It’s amazing how a small number of words can be so useful, and also predispose the locals to respect you so much more for at least trying.

    I could give you a bunch of restaurant and hotel recs, but instead, I’ll suggest you buy a Red Guide and use it. It’s the travel bible of France and utterly reliable in my experience.

    There are also lots of day trips you coulkd take out of Paris. They drive on the right, but it’s an advantage to drive a standard transmission, because that’s what almost all the rentals are.

    Post # 15
    Member
    1022 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    @skyeatnight:  I have not been but is on my list of places, and I’m trying very hard to get my furture husband on board with going for our honeymoon.

     

     

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