On my incredible first visit to Paris, France-home of amazing places like the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, I dined on rich french cuisine, enjoyed croissants and Expresso in the quiet, sweet early morn. I ventured out to Little Africa and took in the wares of many cultures. I hope you enjoy my blog on this amazing destination. Do visit Old Gay Paris' in the very near future! Happy Travels!
Where to Stay in Paris
When selecting hotel lodging in Paris, Francis, research the Arrondissements in the surrounding areas of your hotel. An arrondissement is the specific area or neighborhood where you hotel is located and will tell you if your hotel is located in an upscale or shabby chic community. You can also find out things like the crime rate? Are there businesses in the area or is it mostly residential? Answering these questions will help you choose the right place. As always, read at least 3 recent travel reviews (5 is better) on a reputable site (Trip Advisor, Hotels.com or Expedia). Remember, what is 4 or 5 Star in America, is not the same as 4 or 5 stars in another country.
During my visit to Paris, we stayed at two hotels. Our first night was at a good old fashioned Holiday Inn Express in Vélizy-Villacoublay, France located about 2o minutes from Charles De Gaulle Airport. Moderately priced at $120 Euros, the cost included a full breakfast that was truly something to write home about. Fresh fruit, gourmet coffee, boiled eggs, sparkling water (the good kind), fresh squeezed OJ, carved meats and of course those delicious croissants that Paris is so famous for were all on the buffet menu. The rooms were what I call "Paris small," but VERY clean and neat. The customer service was superb. The only downside is the distance from the airport and to the city but for a temporary stay, this place was perfect. If I had more time and was renting a car, I would've stayed here much longer just for the breakfast and the hospitality.
The longer part of our stay we were booked at the Hotel Ampere which was just minutes from the Lourve Museum. This is a great place for first time visitors and those who will soon return like myself! Hotel Ampere is in a safe neighborhood with tons of eateries and shops. It is elegant, clean and upscale. The rooms have robes, slippers, refrigerators, cable TV and complimentary tea and tea pots. Hotel Ampere is central to all the places you want to visit in Paris. The hotel rooms are spacious and well appointed. There is a daily buffet style breakfast. They have an open seating bar and a lovely sitting room just off a quaint garden. The staff are polite and knowledgeable and speak fluent english. I highly recommend this property.
I typically book my hotel lodging through discount web sites like Hotels.com, Expedia.com and others. A super cool tip I want to share on this blog is a relatively new airline called, "Wow Air," which has great prices for trips to Europe and abroad. I got 3 round trip tickets in premium seating for under $2k on Wow Airlines!!!! I had a long layover in Iceland which was awesome. Next time, I'll book extra time in Iceland. Watch my blog for an incredible update on this best kept international destination....
Getting Around in Paris
The trains are the cheapest way to get around. They also have buses, just like the U.S. But for a more personal experience, I highly recommend using either Uber or let the hotel concierge book you a car. The cars driven by Uber drivers are mostly new, some are even luxurious and the drivers know the city. Do note that some Uber drivers do not speak English but they do understand enough to get you where you need to go.
Making Your Money Work in France
I was shocked by the exchange rate for U.S. dollars into Euros. I went to the bank prior to going to Europe and was offered $175 in Euros for $400 U.S. dollars. Needless to say, I put my money back in my pocket. I found out that the exchange rate was much better in France. I also saved a considerate amount by using my debit card to pay for purchases instead of cash. When I needed cash, I took it off my debit card from the ATM. They also had currency exchange places in the city which offered a decent rate for American dollars to Euros as well.
Dining in Paris
Food is very good in Paris! Surprisingly, small corner markets and little eateries offer inexpensive, fresh pre-packaged meals, food to order and daily made sandwiches that are typically delicious. If you're eating on a budget in Paris, these places are your best friend.
Mealtime is an important time in France. You frequently see families out walking together looking for a good place to eat during dinner hours. Parisians often dress up a little for dinner and some places require a suit jacket or collared shirt for entry. It won't hurt to call the restaurant and find out if they have a dress code or if you need reservations.
I found a fabulous little diner in Paris called Breakfast in America that serves a hearty American breakfast at a wonderful price. A full breakfast with juice and coffee was $10-$12 plus gratuity. The place was clean and neat, had good customer service and had a juke box with rock and roll hits for your listening pleasure while you get your grub on.
Places to Go in Paris
Do your research before visiting the major Tourist Destinations in Paris. Even popular places like the Lourve Museum have unexpected closures on non-traditional holidays. Do check before you book your your flight to make sure you'll be able to visit your fav spots. Ground transportation was covered earlier in this blog. Getting to key tourists spots is fairly easy because everybody is going. Touropia.com and Parispass.com offer package deals for multiple destinations. Be sure to read the fine print on these web sites. Also keep in mind that their offices may not have people you can call and ask questions after you purchase your tickets. I can't emphasize reading the fine print enough.
Be sure to bring clothes you can layer and bring comfortable walking shoes. Paris is a walking town and biking and walking is the Paris way. But for Americans or other out of town visitors, ground transportation with a group may be the best bet until you learn your way around.
Watch my Travel Blog for more tips about international and U.S. travel. I spend a lot of time researching the best hotel properties and airlines so that my followers can have the most wonderful experience possible! Bonjour!
Ifalade TaShia Asanti, Creator/Producer-Where I Go @ officialtashiaasanti.com
where i go, TaShia's travel Blog
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