Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thoughts on Paris - Where to Stay, What to See, Where/What to Eat

This trip was the second time I've been to Paris and there were several things I noted that I hope will be of use to other people.

Firstly, if anyone tries to tell you that you can't stay cheaply in Paris, they are lying. I've stayed at two different places there and both were cheap and conveniently located. One was Hotel du Monde (located in the 11ème arrondissement), which seems to be virtually unknown to people outside of France, and the other was Hotel Daval (located in the Bastille area), which was recommended by Rick Steves(an American travel guru).

At Hotel du Monde every room has a kitchenette, so you can cook your own food and keep costs way down that way. It's a small, sort of hidden place (right near a metro station) with kind owners. A two person room with kitchenette and private bathroom cost 70 euro a night. Not bad at all, if you ask me! There is a grocery store across the street so you can easily get all the supplies you need to cook yourself a nice meal for about a quarter of what you would pay to eat in a decent restaurant.

Hotel Daval has a fantastic location near tons of restaurants, the metro, and lively night spots. It has no kitchenette, but it does have air conditioning, which is a must for the summer in Paris. It cost 84 euro a night for a triple room with private bathroom. All in all, both were good, clean (albeit sparsely furnished) places to stay. Check out Hotel Daval reviews on Trip Advisor:

Secondly, in spite of what all the guide books say about finding small local restaurants to eat at, my best experiences by far were at chain restaurants. And no, I'm not talking McDonald's. There is a lovely chain of restaurants in Paris called "Chez Clément" that serves delicious prix fixe dinner menus for about 15-20 euro. The service at Chez Clément was wonderful (rare in Paris) - the servers were very attentive and we never had to wait very long for our food or our bill. The portions were just right and the food was fresh and full of flavour. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a decently priced meal in Paris.

A favourite of mine for lunch is another chain called "Brioche Dorée". For about 8 euro you can get your choice of baguette sandwich and dessert (usually some kind of fruit tart), along with a soft drink and either tea, coffee, or hot chocolate to finish off your meal. Not a bad price for all that food, and it all tastes delicious! There are locations all over the country, so you don't have to be in Paris to enjoy this great little lunch spot. For those Canadians out there, it reminds me of a French version of Tim Hortons. Similar idea, but better tasting and better for you.

Lastly, one week is not enough time to see everything in Paris. In fact, I think a person could probably live there for a year and not get enough of it. There is so much to see and do and half the fun is just wandering around the city, taking in Parisian life. So, that said, if you plan to go try to focus on a few main things that you want to do and save the other sights for another trip. My first trip to Paris was ruined by trying to see too many things in too little time. My suggestions for must-see highlights include the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur & Montmartre, and the Musée d'Orsay. Take some time to relax and enjoy strolling through the city, people watching. And be sure to stop at a patisserie for a delicious french pastry while you're at it. Ah, la vie en rose!

P.S. If you plan to head to the Louvre, it's free on Fridays after 6 p.m. for everyone under 26 and admission is reduced at that time for everyone else.

Check out Hotel Daval reviews on
Trip Advisor


Peter said...
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Peter said...

Hey, I stayed at Hotel Daval too. They have nice staff and good value!