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going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: space-time
Date: March 01, 2009 08:22PM
we'll be stopping on Paris on early June on the way back to the US. Some questions:

-what's a good place to stay, I am not looking for luxury, just a clean hotel in a safe and convenient location.

-I need to pick up a SIM card (yes, I have a quad-band cell phone, unlocked). Do I do that there or better look for some on eBay? I need it only for incoming calls for about a week, and in Europe you don't get charged for incoming calls (but the caller pays a little more). So a SIM card with very low balance will do.

-finally, besides the cliche touristic attractions, what else would you recommend?
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: MGS_forgot_password
Date: March 01, 2009 08:31PM
Pick up a prepaid SIM at the airport in France.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: March 01, 2009 08:33PM
. . .I would get it there. . .Viva la France. . .!



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: March 01, 2009 08:40PM
OK... Doesn't Lux Interior live near Paris now?
Or am I thinking of the wrong MRF'er? (and for the record, that's Mac Resource Forum'er.. not sump'in else :-)



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

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Eureka, CA
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: March 01, 2009 10:43PM
Quote
Paul F.
OK... Doesn't Lux Interior live near Paris now?

yes. lucky bastard.




__________________________________
There’s a guy wearing overalls with no shirt.
Which I think we all know is the International uniform for the last guy you’ll ever see.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: davester
Date: March 01, 2009 11:03PM
Quote
space-time
-finally, besides the cliche touristic attractions, what else would you recommend?

I'd say pick a couple of the older neighborhoods and just walk through them. Start off with the neighborhoods in the vicinity of Ile de la Cite since they're not too far off the beaten track.

Spend time sitting in sidewalk cafes sipping cafe au lait and watching Paris go by.

A somewhat cliche but very cool thing to do (especially if you're with your SO and can dump the kids for the evening) is to take an evening dinner cruise on the Seine. Very romantic. If you do this there is a dress code...make sure to bring a sports coat (and I think a tie...can't remember for sure) or they will rent you a somewhat unattractive one.

I enjoy walking around the Jardin de Luxembourg, especially when they're having free concerts.

If you want to get into the Louvre without waiting in long lines, go to the Metro Station that is virtually under the Louvre and then go to the underground shopping center. There's an entrance to the l
Louvre in the shopping center that virtually nobody knows about. Zero waiting!



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/01/2009 11:06PM by davester.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: Silencio
Date: March 01, 2009 11:32PM
Don't get all museum'ed out at the Louvre. Save some art enthusiasm for the Orsay Museum and the Pompidou Center.

When going to Notre Dame, don't forget to also check out St. Chappelle just down the street. Gorgeous stained glass.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: davester
Date: March 02, 2009 12:16AM
Quote
Silencio
Don't get all museum'ed out at the Louvre.

That's for sure. In fact, I would advise making it a point to not see the Mona Lisa unless the place is deserted. You'll waste all of your valuable Louvre time in line.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: space-time
Date: March 02, 2009 05:58AM
Thanks guys!
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: mikebw
Date: March 02, 2009 07:52AM
Also, don't dress like an American tourist.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: Dakota
Date: March 02, 2009 08:44AM
Quote
mikebw
Also, don't dress like an American tourist.

Last time there I wore a t-shirt, blue jeans and a baseball cap.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: March 02, 2009 08:46AM
. .. I love Paris. . .in the Springtime. . .



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: zeppo2
Date: March 02, 2009 09:10AM
The D'Orsay is great, but if you love Monet and Impressionists, go out to the Marmottan. If you're there for only a few days, consider the Paris Museum Pass. Not only does it give you entrance to most of the major sites, but it lets you skip the lines. Visit the old churches (St. Chappele, Notre Dame, Sulpice, etc.) every chance you get--try to make it for a service. Go in the evening to one of the classical concerts in those churches. For really not touristy, go out to the Marche Aligre in the morning (Tuesday through Sunday iirc) on line 8 at stop Ledru Rollin. It's a covered food market with a street market/flea market. As soon as that's over, go to Le Baron Rouge across from Aligre. It's a local wine bar that sells by the glass; you can also fill up your jug/empty wine barrel from the keg there. Absolutely not a touristy thing--in fact, you may not hear any English there at all.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: abevilac
Date: March 02, 2009 09:29AM
About a place to stay, have you ever rented an apartment? Here's a website I have used in the past:
[www.vrbo.com]
The lower the arrondissement number the closer to the center of town, so stick to the number under 10. You can get some great digs for less than a hotel.
Bonne chance!
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: March 02, 2009 09:42AM
. . there was an article back in the Times about 6 months ago. . .or longer. . .about renting apts in France. . .turned out to be cheaper and closer to desirable places to visit. . .



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: abevilac
Date: March 02, 2009 09:46AM
It can be overwhelming to look at vrbo [vaction rental by owner] so if you have any questions about locations you can PM me. I visit Paris often. Here's an interesting place:
[www.vrbo.com]
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: 3d
Date: March 02, 2009 10:03AM
If you are in relatively good health I recommend walking up the spiral staircase to the Notre Dame gargoyles. It's a one-way claustrophobic trip up that narrow staircase, so do some soul-searching before deciding on going up or not. Hah.

When you're standing at the front, facing the church, the entrance is right around the corner on the left. The entrance fee is covered by the Museum Pass.

Going to Paris and SKIPPING the Mona Lisa? That's absurd. Suck it up and stand in line like everyone else. If you've seen the painting before that's different. No need to see it again.. But never? Just go see it. At most it's 30 mins out of your day if you don't go during super peak times. It's the freakin Mona Lisa.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: Dakota
Date: March 02, 2009 10:22AM
What I have found out is that it is next to impossible to find rooms for more than 2 people. It makes it very expensive if you are traveling with kids. Here you can get a room with two double beds and nobody cares how many are sleeping there.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: March 02, 2009 10:43AM
Do you know about Berthillion ice cream, on the Île de la Cité? Best on the planet. The chocolate is like eating good chocolate, squared.

I enjoyed wandering the streets of Montmartre, north of Sacre Coeur. I didn't see Gene Kelly teaching English to les enfants, but I did see a charming Paris neighborhood, old men playing bocce, kids skating in the little plaza next to the métro.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: davester
Date: March 02, 2009 11:07AM
Quote
3d
Going to Paris and SKIPPING the Mona Lisa? That's absurd. Suck it up and stand in line like everyone else. If you've seen the painting before that's different. No need to see it again.. But never? Just go see it. At most it's 30 mins out of your day if you don't go during super peak times. It's the freakin Mona Lisa.

OK, OK, that is an iconic piece of art, but there are many equally iconic pieces in The Louvre and I'd disagree with the 30 mins estimate. The last three times I've been to The Louvre the wait has been more like 2 hours. Not worth it in my opinion. Given the madding crowd and push through the room I don't think it is a very good experience and not worth that much time. Better to return during an off period.

Oh, and I definitely agree with the "don't dress like an american" recommendation. Also, at least make an attempt to use the language. People will treat you with more respect if you dress up just a tiny bit and have a shot at their language even if you're not very good at it. T-shirts, shorts, baseball caps and the like, along with talking at everybody as though english is the native language will make you stand out like a sore thumb (except in the tourist traps).

Also, I presume you already know that by far the best way to get around is by Metro. Don't rush too hard to catch a train...there'll be another along in a minute.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: Racer X
Date: March 02, 2009 12:50PM
Quote
Silencio
When going to Notre Dame, don't forget to also check out St. Chappelle just down the street. Gorgeous stained glass.

They made him a SAINT?
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: dk62
Date: March 02, 2009 12:54PM
I will be going in April for the third time. For short visits anywhere, I cannot recommend enough the DK Publishing's Top 10 guides. If you have more time and like to do a lot of background reading, other guides may be better. But for nice visits to essential places, as well as recommendations for some off-the-beaten-path gastronomic places, it is great.

Definitely use the Metro if you do not have time to walk. Otherwise, most of Paris is walkable.

Mona Lisa and Eiffel Tower is something I did the first time and have no intention of doing again. Mona LIsa is definitely not worth waiting in line for a couple of hours to see. There are so many other wonderful things in Louvre that it is really a waste of time. I spent a couple of days there already and am planning to do it again, together with d'Orsay.

I am staying in the Napoleon hotel, as it has an option of a suite so we can stay with kids. I am sure there are less expensive places. As a rule, I would not stay in any accomodation in Europe with fewer than 3 stars.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: March 02, 2009 02:16PM
I had a good time just walking around - in town, in neighborhoods. I don't know if I would choose to do that, but I had time to kill. I enjoyed talking to people away from the tourist action.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/2009 02:32PM by Dennis S.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: March 02, 2009 03:25PM
Three language/culture tips:

Begin any inquiry with "excusez-moi" or "pardonnez-moi." If you don't, Parisians think you're being rude, and things get off to a bad start.

Nod or say bonjour to the shopkeeper of any small shop you enter. Again, a cultural thing that they expect but we don't think about.

Learn to say "je regrette; je ne parle-pas français." Saying it like you mean that you're sorry is another subtle acknowledgment that you're in their country, not vice versa.

I speak no more than 50 words of French, yet I've always been treated very kindly by Parisians, even to the extent of them complimenting me on my French (!) and making animal noises to inform me of the different cuts of meat in a butcher shop.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: abevilac
Date: March 02, 2009 04:10PM
Mr D, those are very good points -- especially the bonjour [and au revoir] to shopkeepers, metro ticket sellers, et al [even people who take the tolls on the highways expect a hello and good-bye!]
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: DharmaDog
Date: March 02, 2009 04:14PM
Les Puces de Saint-Ouen

Its a great flea market. And I don't do flea markets. It's very busy, but once you squeeze past the crap on the outer perimeter there are some real amazing things to see inside. Unbelievable antique furniture and books. It you're looking for a unique souvenir, this is the place to find it. I bought a 200 year old french chemistry book for my wife. She's a chemist. Actually, I found it and she haggled for it because she likes doing that. We also bought some very old colorful newspaper illustrations of that we have yet to get framed.

The closer you get to the quality items, the less crowded it becomes. You could spend a lot of time there just browsing. But there seem to be thousands of people that want to buy t-shirts and plastic crap on the perimeter.
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Re: going to Paris, a few questions
Posted by: space-time
Date: March 02, 2009 09:55PM
Quote
Mr Downtown

Learn to say "je regrette; je ne parle-pas français." Saying it like you mean that you're sorry is another subtle acknowledgment that you're in their country, not vice versa.


wife speaks perfect French, and I understand some French, but I cannot speak much.
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