Looking back at a few days in September. . .
Be sure to press FULL SCREEN. And if you’re thinking of walking all over Paris, be sure to buy:
No Worries Paris, a photographic walking guide brings the city to life. A look inside:
“So many memorable walks at our own pace. Good maps, directions, and the accompanying text is concise enough to read while on the walk.”
“A great help for me to plan my trip. I’m glad I’m prepared for what’s in store in the next two weeks.”
“We had four full days to spend in Paris in September. We had never been there and wanted to make the most of our time. We decided to use the No Worries Paris guide, and it was a very good decision.”
“Everything was beyond amazing!! I will never travel to Paris without using this guide again. Especially loved walking tours through the neighborhoods of the Marais and Latin Quarter.”
“The experience, sights and information provided by our NWP was first class. I would happily recommend reading it cover to cover before your stay.”
Illustrated by hundreds of color photographs, NO WORRIES PARIS takes readers on a visually luscious journey along the city’s striking monuments, as well as into crannies of its villages and the full-on glamour of the fashion districts. Virtually all of Paris is covered in 10 Walking Tours, each with its own map. Walks take from a half-day to a day to complete, starting at one Metro stop and ending at another. The tours are complemented by 10 Walk Arounds, which are shorter in length, taking in the sights of a single attraction more on the fringes of the city’s arrondissements.
Practical travel tips and get-around information is included. Newcomers will most likely want to begin with monumental strolls. Francophiles may choose something more edgy and out-of-the-way. The common thread is that each walk is along a visually aesthetic pathway that has a story of its own to tell. Readers who want to get to know Paris by seeing it on foot—pausing occasionally for a gourmet taste, park bench timeout or perfumed sniff along the way— have found the right book.
No Worries Paris is available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s Books, directly through the publishers (signed + discount) at Trailblazer Travel Books as well as your friendly independent bookstores nationwide.
It used to be you could buy an article of clothing, accessory, delicacy or souvenir that had the label “Made in France”. I tried my best to hunt down such gifts only to find almost everything is made in China, Morrocco, Bangladesh, and India. Even the Chanel lotion I bought at the airport on my way home was made in New Jersey. And strict new rules forbid bringing back cheeses, pates, sausages, most everything edible. Wine and chocolate are okay.
I don’t go to Paris to shop. I have other things to do that are more important. BUT, when the days dwindle down to departure time, I develop guilty feelings and break down. Friends and family deserve a little something, and I mean LITTLE.
Tea pleases most everyone and packs light. Galeries Lafayette gourmet and the Bon Marche have great selections.
Macarons are traditional. Laduree are some of the best and there’s an outlet at DeGaulle.
All purchased at Monoprix on the Champs Elysees. 1. Caudile hydrating cream $13; 2. LaRoche sunscreen $15; 3. Chocolate, $2-$4; 4. Eiffel Tower postcards $1.20 each; 6. Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse (the best), $20
Paris bracelet, Galeries Lafayette, $7; 2. Traditional silver coated almonds; 3. Nuxe honey lip balm, $10; 4. Nuxe oil (again, because I like it); 5. Art postcard on thick matte paper, $1.50; 6. Melvita rose water, $15; 7. Hydrating face masks, 3-5 euros. 8. Vogue Paris accessory, $8.
Light tote from Grand Galerie de L’Evolution (Jardin des Plantes), 4 euros) 2. No Worries Paris, one of Paris’s best walking guides; 3. hat, $12, Au Printemps; 4. paper goods, Merci, (111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003); 5. Necklace, Au Printemps; 6. Lait-Crème Concentré – Embryolisse, $16; 7. Petite notebook, Merci, 3 euros.
Scarf, Galeries Lafayette, 17 euros; 2. Selection of trendy, cleverly packaged medallion bracelets ranging from 3 to 12 euros, Merci, a must-see concept store in trendy 3rd arrondissement (with 2 restaurants).
Alas, it will be time to depart and your leftover euros are burning a hole in your pocket. Take caution when it comes to the cosmetics vendors at the airport. Your aim was to return home with French products, non?
I didn’t check where these were made and hoping not China or New Jersey. This is the Chanel display at DeGaulle. Irresistable. I’ll take the black pair. Put it on my Visa (just fantasizing, of course).
Tourists are in luck this year. There are a glut of vacation rentals at attractive prices. We all know the probable reasons.
I recently trolled the scene at HomeAway/V.R.B.O. and other reputable agency sites and have come up with the following recommendations. Note: I don’t accept kickbacks, the listings are strictly my own.
A few tips: 1. Always check out the square footage. 2. Read the reviews. 3. Know if there is an elevator, if not how many steps to the apartment. 4. Street or neighbor noise? 5. Internet a must. 6. Proximity to metro/public transportation/city center. 7. Go to “street view” in Google Maps (see if there is construction going on). 8. Kitchen…stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave?). 9. Bathroom….nice shower? 10. Where’s the bed? Is this really a studio? Foldout? 11. Fall: When does the heat get turned on? 12. Don’t be afraid to ask the landlord questions. 13. All inclusive price? Refundable deposit…when. 14. Who will be there to give you the keys (fee if your plane is late?) 15. How do they accept payment. Make it easy. Normally you don’t have to sign contracts, give them your passport number. Book using Visa or PayPal most secure. Bank transfers costly.
Three from Welcome2France.com, an agency easy to work with offering a nice range of properties:
Champs Elysées – Faubourg Saint Honoré III
Passy – Trocadero I
Saint Germain des Pres – Prince
Some others I randomly chose that are well priced on HomeAway/V.R.B.O.
Rue De La Roquette https://www.vrbo.com/285742 Average $97/night
Rue Danielle Casanova – PARIS 1 https://www.vrbo.com/1462482a Average $126/night, sleeps 4
Apart Galerie Vivienne https://www.vrbo.com/960784a Average $129
In upcoming blogs I’ll be showcasing more vacation rentals that I consider bargains. Here’s hoping you find the perfect “home away from home.” Once you unpack your bags and are settled, start walking…….
The No Worries Paris guidebook
A few cherry-picked selections to fit into your walking/eating/shopping/faire les betises schedule.
1 rue de la Légion-d’Honneur
75007 Paris From 22 March to 17 July 2016
This exhibition, initially presented at the Palazzo Ducale de Venise in 2015, has now made its way to the galleries of the Orsay Museum. A major representative of naïve art, Henri Rousseau was, in particular, known by the nickname Douanier Rousseau. Although he travelled very little, he was renowned for his paintings which represent jungle scenes. From an album called “Savage Beasts” and following visits to the jardin des Plantes as well as the Natural History museum – these are the things behind his most well-known paintings.
Some of his masterpieces, which belong to the collections of the Orsay and Orangerie Museums, can be found here, alongside others of his paintings on loan from the greatest international establishments. Also on exhibition are works by Kandinsky, Picasso, Seurat and Delaunay but also lesser-known artists, in order to highlight the inspirations and influence of the French painter.
How to get there
Bus 24 Bus 63 Bus 68 Bus 69 Bus 73 Bus 83
Metro 12 Solférino
RER C Musée d’Orsay
Prices:Normal rate : 11.00 € Reduced rate : 8.50 €
Omnivore Festival: From 06 March to 08 March 2016
Maison de la Mutualité
24 rue Saint-Victor, 75005 Paris
Dedicated to the discovery of all types of food, the Omnivore Festival has already groomed many talents through the five act demonstration. This year, the event is bringing to the spotlight, close to 150 guests for different events of more than 110 master classes.
The food club will welcome renowned chefs like the French Jean-François Piège and Anne-Sophie Pic ; the Spaniard, Andoni Luis Aduriz; the Shanghai chef, Paul Pairet; and Normand Laprise and Charles-Antoine Crête from Quebec. By the way, Montreal is the guest of honor at the festival with about ten different Canadian dishes. The pastry club, on its part, will assemble close to 25 professionals in pastry and chocolate making. French and international producers, grape producers brewers are expected at the Craftsman and liquid clubs. The Avant-Garde club is the platform for showcasing new talents.
How to get there
Metro 10 Cardinal Lemoine, http://www.omnivore.com
The Orchestra of Found Items, From 11 March to 20 March 2016
Olympia, 28 boulevard des Capucines, 75009 Paris
Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, the creators of the spectacle Stomp, present a new show which is most detached and fascinating. On stage are uniquely talented drummers who recreate each section of a symphony orchestra using a host of everyday objects turned into musical instruments: pots, bottles, dustbins, barrels, oil cans, lids, sinks and even traffic cones. Far from the kind of chaos that is imagined, these crazy artists offer us an amazing concert. A total of sixty musicians, singers, comedians and dancers will participate in this spectacle which is as explosive as it is inventive.
How to get there: Metro 3 Opéra, Metro 8 Madeleine
Prices : from 29.00 to 95.00 €
For even more entertainment, consult your No Worries Paris guidebook
The No Worries Paris guide, that is. The stock market is plummeting, the political candidate news is disturbing, cheap oil is affecting world markets, there’s trouble in the Middle East, and there are epic storms predicted for the East Coast, but there is still Paris.
A few random pages from the book (or ebook) to inspire your walks are below. There’s no shortage of maps, photos or street by street directions. Have a look:
In a nutshell, No Worries Paris takes readers on a visually luscious journey to the city’s striking monuments, as well as into the cobblestone crannies of its villages and along the glamorous fashion boulevards.
Virtually all of Paris is covered in 10 Walking Tours, each with its own map. Walks take from a half-day to a day to complete, starting at one Metro stop and ending at another. The tours are complemented by 10 Promenades, which are shorter in length, taking in the sights around a single attraction, mainly on the fringes of city’s arrondissiments. No Worries Paris is sure to meet expectations the famous sights s of Paris but it is also full of surprises at out-of-the way places.
The time is now. Gather up all the acorns you’ve saved over the years, raid the stash under your matrress or max out your credit card. Air fares have never been better.
“Getting around the City of Light should be a cinch. And it is on paper. Then reality gets in the way. There is so much to see, so much to eat. What to do? Jerry and Janine Sprout have made it trouble-free for visitors to Paris by dividing the city into walking tours that take a half to a full day, depending on your pace, and cover anywhere from a few miles to a maximum of six. The promenades in the book are shorter, taking about half a day. Each tour starts and ends at a Metro stop, and there is plenty of time set aside for detours, stops and just wandering. All the famous spots (Trocadero, Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame, Latin Quarter, Montmartre) and neighborhoods are here.” —-Chicago Tribune
1. Your apartment will pale in complexion to what you can get in the U.S. for the same price unless you want to spend an exorbitant rental rate (like $500 a night).
2. Kitchens are miniature, bathrooms are even more extreme (think knees touching walls) and apartment hallways and stairs date from the middle ages. To open your apartment with a key you have to rely on the time you’ve pressed the button for hall light. It can sometimes last less than a minute.
3. Landlords come in all sizes. Some speak English, some none at all, and there are a variety of payment methods (watch out for bank transfers). Don’t be forced into making a rush decision. Use your telephone, speak with the landlord and evaluate from there. Are you dealing with a management company or the owner? Some vacation rental management companies are super efficient and make transactions easier. Ask me for referrals.
4. Know the location you want to stay. The 6th is trendy/touristy, the 7th is conservative and the 8th can be pricey and unworthy of a high rental fee. Check out how far it is away from the metro stop or the grocery store.
5. Photos: examine the bedroom first (real bed? pullout? sofa bed? suspended from ceiling? Murphy? loft?). Does it look cozy, clean? Is it in a separate room? Kitchen: how many burners, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher? in-house clothes washer? Worth the extra dollars.
6. Which floor: are you in the maid’s quarters on the roof, 7th floor? Can you stand up straight in the apartment? Does the elevator take you there? Has the photograph been taken with a “fisheye” lens making it look a lot bigger. Look at the square footage.
7. High speed internet, tv? How loud is the sound coming from your neighbor (sometimes hard to get the truth)? Ask if it’s quiet or put 2 and 2 together: are you on the street? How thin are the walls? How old is the building? Cement buildings are some of the best if you are seeking quiet.
8. The landlord and the reviews: can you communicate easily and what do other travelers say about the property.
9. Gut feeling. If you are communicating easily with the landlord or manager, this is a plus. PayPal is a good way to pay for the deposit; bank transfer sometimes signals “hacker”. 100% refund if you decide not to go 60 days ahead of time?
Filtering out what you like and don’t like takes time. Though landlords will try to rush you, don’t buy into it. You’re spending a lot of money and if you start your hunt way in advance of your travels (say 6 months) you will be ahead of the game. Landlords are more likely to reduce the fee, especially if you’re staying longer than 2 weeks or during low season (dead of winter).
Remember expectations. Think tiny, think romantic, think historic, think location, think PARIS. Where you stay is a major decision and will definitely impact your vacation. Don’t rush it. Feel good about your choice. And mind your manners. When communicating the landlords or vacation management personnel, be on your best behavior. “Please” and “thank you” should pepper your sentences.
One of my favorite places to recharge and renew. It’s almost always quiet and the historic scenery and botanical beauty can’t be beat. Here are a few good places to hunt down in the vicinity once your stomach starts to growl.
10 Rue de Richelieu
7Sat-Sun :10h00 – 21h30
For few euros per hour they provide you unlimitedly with :
• coffee and tea
• snacks and fruits
• fast Wi-Fi
• access to their projector, printer, scanner and board games
• in addition, you are welcome to bring in your own food/soft drinks
AntiCafé is a shared space designed both for work and fun. It feels like home. Two locations: Louvre and Beaubourg
Try these too:
Au Caveau Montpensier
15 rue Montpensier
Great cocktail bar
Tea by thé
2 place du Palais Royal
Ten leaf teas kept freshly brewed in glass teapots behind the service counter. Fast service.
1 rue Villedo
Get your udon fix here.
For a handful of good walking ideas in the area, consult your No Worries Paris guide.