Some of you know I was over in Paris last week. Usually whenever I travel to I try to do some research in advance as to where to eat, drink, what to see and how to get around. In Paris this is vitally important. Paris is known for its big and famous tourist sites, but they are extensively covered in other blogs. Instead I’d like to share some of my tips as it might come handy for some of you 🙂
First of all, getting around in Paris, the Metro in my eyes is the only way to go. The network is extensive, you have several handy ticket options and you hardly ever wait for Metro more than four mins. If you fly to Charles De Gaul or Orly airports you can get a train to town. From Charles De Gaul airport the RER train takes about 30mins and costs just short of €10. Also this ticket will allow you to change to Metro in the city centre area, to get to the closest Metro station to your accommodation.
There is plenty of accommodation in Paris. I have stayed in apartments and hotels over the years. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Hotel rooms in Paris city are generally small, unless you are willing to spend crazy money, but just figure out are you there to spend time in your hotel room, or exploring this wonderful city. With apartments you will get more space, but no one will make your beds, change your towels or clean your room. Also figure out what area you want to spend the most time in. Paris is quite spread out city, so you might end up spending more time traveling from A to B than you thought. A Little bit of time looking at the map and searching on Booking.com will be well spent.
Paris is a city that makes lots of money out of tourism. Unfortunately due to this if you don’t know where to eat, you might be bitterly disappointed and end up spending more money than you thought. Also the prices might seem high, but keep in mind that being a waiter in Paris is a well respected profession and they are paid a full wage, they do not rely on tips. Still it is polite to tip, but nothing compared to the 10-15% most of us are used to.
I have a few recommendations for you here:
One of my favourites is Polidor on 41 Rue Monsieur le Prince.
This is well over 100 years old and used to be Hemingway’s favourite. Food is very reasonable priced for Paris, traditional rustic French and the place have a bit of a homey feel to it.
Le Pave is on a Rue Des Lombards, which is a good strip if you want to do some bar hopping. They have a great value set menu, you can sit outside and people watching while you eat and the food is great. And if you are planning to do some bar hopping afterwards, I recommend you start a bit earlier than you would at home. Beer is expensive in Paris! But if you catch the happy hours, which most bars in Paris have (and many of the last lot more than an hour… my favourite was 16-24!) you might save yourself a lot of money.
A word of warning, I know for many people this goes without saying but always check the prices before you order. I had a very expensive coffee just outside Notre Dame. I knew the price and I was willing to pay it just to sit outside in the shadow of this magnificent church, but for many people €6 for a coffee is just too much. Needless to say I just had one 😉
Now for my musician friends, we love to check out the music shops. And to do that in Paris is a very nice experience. Bit like the Denmark street in London, head over to Rue De Dougai. On this street and few connecting streets there are many music shops and some of them have some very nice vintage and rare guitars 🙂 Just take a Metro to Pigalle and you can see the guitar signs once you get up to the street. But in my experience the price of new instruments is not very competitive. Closer to the manufacturers recommended retail price…
So there you go, a few of my tips on this beautiful city. Overall, food, bread wine, croissants and coffee are excellent here. Live music is plenty, If you want cover bands look for the Irish pubs, if you want Jazz, check out the bars around Latin Quarter. And as big cities go, Paris is safe and has a quite relaxing feel to it. But still, especially around the big tourist sites, it is good to keep an eye on your personal belongings. I’m sure you will love your time in Paris.
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get two of his free songs go HERE and click Download