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Destination of the Month

P A R I S

Dasa and her family spent a week in Paris this year and came back exhausted but full of unforgettable experiences.

Paris indeed is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Everywhere you turn (or get lost), there is a treasure- beautiful building, hundreds of years old church, breathtaking avenue. And do not forget the baguette- true symbol of  France. For 1 EUR you will get one, casually wrapped in paper, still hot. My 11-year-old son became quite addicted to hot baguette and fresh goat cheese from the market and insisted on the same thing every morning for breakfast.

The River Seine divides Paris into two parts, with 2 islands in the middle (one of them is housing Notre Dame). The Left Bank has more bohemian flavor (think Harvard Square, Cambridge or Greenwich Village in NYC), the Right Bank is more upscale.

We stayed in 5th Arrondissement – Latin Quarter (Sorbonne- one of the oldest European universities is  here), student area full of great inexpensive ethnic restaurants and funkyclothes shops and galleries. Most of the European hotels donot allow 4 people in the room (even though Eiffel Tower Paris 2 are kids), so you have to either get 2 adjoining rooms, or better yet, you can rent your own apartment with the kitchen. Either way, do not expect big rooms, this is a very old area and the apartments are miniscule and hotel rooms also.
But you are not in Paris to sit in your room. You are to explore all the riches this city has to offer.

My personal favorites:

1.EIFFEL TOWER- gorgeous any time, especially at night when lit. In the evening lines are also much faster (we came at 6pm, it took us about 30 minutes to get in). The line in the morning was over 2 hours long. You can walk to level 2, but if you want to get all the way up, you need to take an elevator. Prices differ for walking, walking/elevator or elevator only.
When you are arriving by subway, do not go to the Eiffel tower station but get of at Trocadero station- it will give you the most stunning view of the tower and it is an easy 5-6 minutes walk down the hill.


2.LOUVRE- I know you saw Mona Lisa hundreds of times, in magazines, TV, still it was a thrill to see it in person. If you are an art buff, you can spend a week in Louvre.
Beside Mona Lisa, there is Venus Of Milo and Winged Victory, but also the biggest Egyptian collection outside of Cairo.
Lines are better during the lunch time- we came at 1pm and we did not have to wait and did not feel crowded.

Louvre

 

Notre Dame Paris3.NOTRE DAME- this is a magnificent Gothic cathedral, made famous by Victor Hugo’s Quassimodo. You can climb 387 steps of the tower to see great views of Paris and gargoyles. If you are too tired to walk, you can just sit on the bench in front of it and take in all the beauty from all sides. The cathedral is less crowded early in the morning or later in the evening.

 

Among other things to see I would strongly recommend Sacre-Coer (Montmarte), George Pompidou Center (modern art) and Opera Garnier (the most opulent theater in the world).

 

USEFUL TID-BITS

Walking and metro will get you anywhere- you can buy 3, 5 days metro card or carnet (10 tickets). You always need to know the name of the final subway station to determine your direction.
Great way to see Paris is from the boat on River Seine.
Stay away from eating in places right next to monuments, not only they are grossly overpriced, but you pay a higher price for eating in than taking the food or drink with you.
Try open-air markets for fresh fruits, vegetables, and cheese. On of the best one is on Rue Mouffetard in 5th arr.
Tip in the restaurants is included, but it is always good to leave a small change if you are happy.
June and September might be the best times to go, weather is great, crowds are not as bad as midsummer.
If you are light on the luggage you can take RER (train to the city) for about 10.40EUR (that includes the metro ticket to your final destination).
Taxi to and from the airport is about 50-70EUR. 10% tipping is customary.
Take comfortable shoes, extra batteries and memory for you digital camera and get ready for some serious walking!



To see more pictures please visit our Paris Photo Gallery

We invite you totake a journeywith us.

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