Your Guide, A Ten Day Itinéraire — Suivez-Moi
Paris is a most fascinating city — maybe the ultimate mystery.
Preface: Paris is as much about you — the visitor, as it is about the city itself. Paris is simply Paris — there is no other city like it — none, with its charm and more than anything else Paris can seduce with such intensity that you can never satisfy whatever it is that you are searching for. Perhaps the only words that can describe the romance of Paris is “far beyond intoxicating”.
I was so fortunate to have collected memories of three wonderful years (2002,03,04) living and working there — to discover its soul, to ingest its history and beauty. After considering a few of countless possibilities, this Itinerary is an attempt to condense the best of my three years living in Paris down to 10 days. And if your time permits and would like to venture out into France there is an outline for discovering Provence and thé Côte D’Azur. So pour yourself a glass of wine (French of course) and follow me (suivez moi).
Goal/Objective: I am sure if you asked 100 persons to craft an itinerary for 10 days, you would have 100 different versions of activities during your visit. Without question, each list would also include many of the same essentials. Therefore, the Itinerary has four components. Firstly, the essentials — the must see and/or do sightseeing, secondly, a day-by-day activity guide, that suggests the best way to come to know this captivating city is on foot — taking endless walks along the Seine and through the thousands of cobblestone streets to discover the soul of Paris, its exquisite gardens, its stunning architecture and experience its lively bistros and cafes, thirdly to assist you discovery and enjoy the wonderful aromas and tastes of the French Cuisine — a translation guide dedicated for your taste buds, and Fourthly to assist you to stay connected as you journey throughout the city a list of “free” Paris Wi-Fi hotspots.
What to Bring: the “least” of everything. Plan for the worst. “Luggage”; Your luggage could be lost and not found — it happens, so be sure to take your essentials in your carry on bag. Don’t pack your camera in your checked baggage and be sure to leave any valuable jewelry at home! “Passport”; If you lose or have your Passport stolen you will need to go to the American Embassy for assistance. Therefore, make three (3) color copies of your Passport and place them in separate places, as having a copy of your original Passport will expedite the process at the Embassy to get you back on your way. “Medications”; If you take medications be sure to bring a prescription form with you. See your doctor, tell him you will be on holiday in Europe and need a back up written prescription in case you lose or have your medication(s) stolen.
First and foremost pack at least one comfortable pair of walking shoes that have already been broken in! A day or two before you leave, check the Paris weather forecast on the Internet to get the five day and extended forecast and pack clothing accordingly. If you plan to have dinner at a top Parisian restaurant — (man) pack a suit or sports coat — (lady) pack a suitable dress. Eating in a café or in one of the many Brasseries only requires clothing similar to what you would be expected to wear in most restaurants in the US.
The Electricity in Europe is 220 not 110 as it is in the US. Therefore, if your electrical gadgets do not support both 220/110 you will need to bring a power converter. Also, the power receptacles are NOT compatible and you will need to bring adapters that are compatible with the French standard, as not all European power receptacles are the same. Most of this stuff can be purchased at a Brookstone type of store or most luggage/travel stores.
Lastly, if you are taking along your cell phone, etc., be sure you contact your phone provider to have them enable “cost saving” roaming and data options while visiting Europe or you will return to the States and discover your next phone bill will cost you more than your trip to France.
Flight to Paris. Jet Lag. Do not take this lightly. You must try to sleep on the plane. Traveling West to East really messes up your internal body clock. Drink lots of fluids on the trip over to France. The dry plane air causes dehydration, therefore you must drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids. Water is better than coffee, tea and fruit juices. Alcohol not only is useless in combating dehydration, but has a markedly greater intoxicating effect when drunk in the rarefied atmosphere of the airplane than it does at ground level. So, try your best not to drink alcohol! Therefore, I have found the best way to cope with Jet Lag is to begin by eating a normal meal 3 to 4 hours before getting on the plane. It will be much better if you can forego the meal served on the plane and use this time to “sleep”.
Be sure to bring a blindfold and ear plugs and a neck rest or a blow-up pillow as this will definitely help you get some sleep while flying the 7–10+ hours (from USA) to Paris. Kick your shoes off to ease pressure on the feet (some airlines provide soft sock-like slippers, and many experienced travelers carry their own). You may also want to consider going to your doctor and asking for a mild sedative to help you to relax (take two — do not worry about it). Keep in mind that when you begin your flight to Paris it will be late in the afternoon or early evening, and in Paris it will be somewhere close to midnight (time zone change). So, if you do not eat on the plane, drink plenty of water and bring some chocolate to eat. For some reason, this has helped me to rest and catch even a few hours of sleep. If you do not try to catch some sleep, your first couple of days will be exhausting. Be sure you do this — no exception!
Getting Around & the $ Exchange: The only way to really see and get to know Paris is by foot — walking and a lot of it. But, when you cannot walk any further, the best form of transportation and the simplest way of moving around is the Metro (underground). It is very easy to use and can get you to most anywhere in the City in less than 20 minutes — even if you have to change trains. Be sure to purchase Metro tickets in lots of 10 (better price bargain). First lesson, is to ask someone at your hotel how it works, and it is so easy!! Trains run from 5.30am to 12.15am, and the trains are both color coded and numbered, and have the names of the last station for each line. Taxis are fairly inexpensive, but depending on the time of day, the Metro is still the best bet. And, do not forget that you will need a valid US Passport and a couple of credit cards! Be sure one of your cards is an American Express. If you lose this card there is an American Express office in Paris (located close to the Opera House) and you can get a new card issued on the spot — great service — I know!!
Regarding the currency, the US $ will not be accepted so you will have to exchange $ for Euros. The best way to do this is to use your Visa or Master card (be sure you have your “pin number”) at one of the thousands of ATM machines located outside of the Banks just like in the States. Important — when you arrive at Roissy Charles DeGalle Airport, there is an ATM near the “exchange counter” close to where you exit from the luggage area. If the ATM machine there is not functioning, you will have to exchange $100 at the “exchange counter” for the Taxi ride fare to your hotel or if you are really adventurous take the train into the City — you can do it really!
Accommodations: Regarding accommodations, there are many fine hotels in Paris (close to 900) and it really comes down to what one is willing to spend for a night’s sleep, since 70% of the time you will not be in your hotel room. One of my favorites in the Left Bank is the Madison Hotel, located in the heart of the 6th Arrondissement (District) on the Boulevard St-Germain near Rue de Rennes and is reasonably priced. I might add that the Madison Hotel was just steps away from where I had lived for the 3 years. After 3 years living in the “left Bank” of Paris, I would not consider staying anywhere else. It bursts with cafes, restaurants, antiques shops, art galleries and fashion boutiques, and you still feel the bohemian lifestyle. On the other end of the price spectrum is the Hotel Costes — hip and fashionable, that is located on the Right Bank. There are many other wonderful luxury hotels in Paris such as the Four Seasons and Ritz and in May 2011 eight French Luxury Hotels were awarded the Prestigious “Palace” Status that included four Paris hotels — the Bristol, the Meurice, the Park Hyatt and the Plaza Athenee.. Other French hotels receiving the honor were the Palais in Biarritz, the Airelles and Cheval Blanc in Alpine resort Courchevel and the Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat, located near Nice.
Regardless of choice, I highly recommend that you have tea or a glass of Champaign late in the afternoons, after each of your daily escapades — at each one of these luxury hotels as you will feel most certainly like a princess or prince.
The Duck Itinerary assumes that you will stay at the Madison Hotel or at another hotel in the immediate vicinity.
• Madison Hotel 143, Bld Saint Germain, 75006 Paris
o Tel. 01 40 51 60 00 to call the hotel from the US 033140516000
o Fax. 01 40 51 60 01
o Email. www.hotel-madison.com
o Prices (175 euros to 400 — stay in a room that ends with a 5)
• Hotel Costes 239, rue Saint-Honore, 75001 Paris
o Tel. 01 42 44 50 25
o Fax. 01 42 44 50 01
o Email. www.hotelcostes.co,
o Located 50 meters from the Ritz Hotel
o Other Hotels to consider that are located in the 6th Arrondissement:
o Hotel Bel-Ami
Tel. 01 42 61 53 53
o Prices (300 euros to 700) — 1 block to the Café Les Deux Magots
— This is a very modern style hotel
— L’Hôtel 13 rue des Beaux Arts, 75006
— Tel. 01 44 41 99 00
o Email. www.l-hotel.com L’Hôtel (L’Hôtel)
o Prices (345 euros to 700) — 4 blocks to the Café Les Deux Magots
o Relais Christine 3 rue Christine, 75006
o Tel. 01 40 51 60 80
o Email. www.relais-christine.com
o Hôtel Des Marronniers 21 rue Jacob, 75006
Tel. 01 43 25 30 60
Prices (175 euros to 260)
2 blocks to the Café Les Deux Magots
o Hôtel d’Angleterre — 44 rue Jacob — 75006
Tel. 01 42 6 34 72
A handsome hotel that in 1783 was the English Embassy and in 1921 Ernest Hemingway would begin to stay in Room 14
Prices (130 euros to 400)
3 blocks to the Café Les Deux Magots
Note: If you want to stay a bit away from the tourists, and in a larger (127 rooms) Parisian Hotel, the Lutetia would be worth considering as it is loaded with history. The downstairs bar with live music is a bonus after a long days walk or before turning in. The concierge service is excellent and some of the rooms on the top floors have a view of the Tour Eiffel.
o Lutetia 45, boulevard Raspail, 75006
Tel. 01 49 54 46 46
Email. www.lutetia-paris.com Lutetia (Hotel Lutétia)
Prices (300 euros to 960)
5 blocks to the Café Les Deux Magots
• For other Paris Hotels check out www.parisianhoteldirectory.com
Personal favorite outside the 6th is the Hotel de Sevigne. 6, rue de Belloy 75116. www.hoteldesevigne.com , +33 147208890 firstname.lastname@example.org
Restaurants: Recommendation of Restaurants becomes difficult as there are so many excellent ones. Please keep in mind that in addition to restaurants there are Brasseries and Cafés. Brasseries are a lively and more informal type of restaurant that serve food any time of the day and often late into the evenings. Cafés are to mostly enjoy a beverage (coffee — wine — other) and where you can also have a light meal, and many Cafés (perhaps most all) have tables outside on the sidewalks. A few of my favorite places follow, but ALWAYS keep in mind that you should make an advanced reservation (reservation required — RR) at any of the top restaurants before you leave for Paris via Internet (email) or through your hotel the day you arrive — as most of the top restaurants are booked days, weeks — perhaps months in advance!
• Café Les Deux Magots — this was my kitchen as it was only steps from my flat — great for people watching
• *Taillevent — RR, very very expensive, but my all time favorite — do lunch and save $$
• (Brasserie) Bofinger — RR, one of Paris’s oldest Brasserie — good choucroute
• (Brasserie) Lipp — RR, right around the corner from where I lived — can also enjoy a choucroute here too, and located close to the Madison hotel
• (Brasserie) Julien — RR, always enjoyable to have dinner here
• (Brasserie) La Coupole — not too bad and an interesting place to look at mostly locals
• (Brasserie) Chez Francoise — RR, a hidden jewel — another favorite of mine
• (Brasserie) Café de la Paix — a great spot to go after a visit to the old Opera House as it right around from it and designed by the architect.
• *Stresa — RR, the hot spot for the famous — most likely always an actor or model there that you will recognize — really — when Mick is in town he is always there — really!
• Le Buddha Bar — RR, A bit noisy, but an interesting place
• (Brasserie)Le Grand Colbert — RR, Filmed in the movie (Something’s Got to Give, with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton — worth the trip. See the movie again before you leave. In fact, there are many good movies that have been set in Paris. Rent a few in order to better enjoy the City — take notes.
• Vagenende — not too bad, not too expensive and very close to the Madison Hotel
• Le Chalet des Iles — Go to Boulogne on a nice day and sit by the small lake (about a 12 minute taxi ride from the Hotel — do not forget a blanket and bottle of wine for later).
• Maison de L’Amerique Latine — RR, you won’t find this one in the travel guides — make a reservation for lunch on a bright sunny day and sit outside in the garden
• A La Petite Chaise — I probably ate dinner here more than anywhere else as it was closely located to my flat — say hi to the owner Laurent for me (perhaps he will still remember me) and this one was founded in 1680
• Maria Luisa — Paris is stuffed with hundreds of pizza places, this is a tiny hidden kitchen on a side street one block from the Canal St-Martin — full of young, old, hipsters and rockers, amazing pizza with a variety of Italian wines at good prices, get there early as this is most likely the best pizza in Paris!
• *Le Voltaire — High end but the spot for a really great meal and in my opinion the best pomme Frites in Paris, plus a good steak
• Le Bistrot de Paris — another excellent place for diner
• Le Pavillon Montsouris — a very good one that parallels a garden and if the weather permits plan to take diner outside and a walk afterwards
• 1728 — if you want to experience dining in a Maison built in 1728, make a reservation and don’t miss this one — real old world charm.
• *Auberge Du Bonheur — perhaps tied as my favorite, located in the forest of Boulogne — A “great” place to have your lunch (sunny day) or dinner outside in a forest setting and not that bad on the pocket book.
• *Café De L’Homme — for one of the best views of the Tour Eiffel — not to be missed and the food is okay too.
• Joe Allen — An American Bistro and if you need that American fix, that is, simple stuff served like in their New York place — and perhaps the best “burger” served in Paris. So, it is no wonder that on Thanksgiving Day this is the place to satify your turkey craving with all the trimming! Call mid October for reservations.
• *Le Grand Bleu Paris — A place for lunch on sunny Paris days to sit outside and experience a bit of the South of France, located on one of the Canals and very close to the Bastille.
• Le Fouquet’s — A place to feel the “life” of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and a short walk to or from the Arc de Triomphe. Semi high-end restaurant serving traditional French cuisine. During the day, sit outside and people watch.
• Boeuf Sure Le Toit — A wonderful example of a 1930 art deco Parisian restaurant and the food is excellent too. A short walk off of the Champs-Elysées.
• Publicis Drug Store — EZ on the budget and a great place to have a cocktail at the end of day or to have a fast lunch. Just steps away from the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile.
• Le Bois Le Vent — If you are somewhere close to the Tour Eiffel, and you have an urge for some Lebanese this little neighborhood restaurant is just the place.
*- I have enjoyed all of the above, but if you had to choose just a few on your first visit to Paris, these would be my not to be missed choices — be sure to bring some (lots) of cash!
One could go on and on, but the above are just a few of the gems that yours truly suggests and further on in this document are the addresses and phone numbers for the restaurants listed above. In addition, the following are a few very fine restaurants that have been recommended to me that I have yet to try that you may want to consider:
• Ave Maria, 1 rue Jacquard
Super cool interior and the cuisine leans toward exotic dishes combining lentils, spices and meats.
• Kong, 1 rue du Pont Neuf
This is the spot where Carrie met her beau’s ex in the final double episode of Sex and the City and has a kind of unique Paris-meets-Tokyo décor, but the attraction is the views, so be sure to book a table on the second floor to take in the scene below through the glass rooftop.
• Gaya, 44 rue du bac
If you love fish this is one of the places to head for, with a large and varied menu including oysters with foie gras and the sole can be prepared four ways. The stylish interior is a magnet for the chic young set that makes getting a dinner table difficult so at least go for a wine at the bar.
• L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon 5–7, rue de Montalembert, Hotel Pont-Royal, Paris 75007, Phone: 01 42 22 56 56
Master Chef Joel Robuchon restaurant is romantic and intimate, with dishes in small or large portions that rival any in Paris. And, year after year makes the top 10 list of restaurants.
• Stella Maris, 4, rue Arsène Houssaye
The beautiful décor adds a certain je ne sais quoi with its Art Deco style venue. Chef Tateru Yoshino’s dishes include scallops with caramel sauce, cabbage-truffle terrine, and langoustines in a ‘cappuccino’ of green lentils.
• Le Restaurant at L’Hotel, 13 rue des Beaux-Arts
Chef Philippe Bélisse makes Le Restaurant a not-to-be-missed venue, with choices from a short seasonal menu with dishes of pan-fried tuna to suckling pig to a four-course set menu — bring your wallet.
• A La Biche au Bois, 45 av Ledru-Rollin
Serves generous portions of quality food and a friendly reasonable priced menu, with a focus on traditional dishes that range from wild duck in blackcurrant sauce to wild venison stew.
• Le Grand Vefour 17, rue Beaujolais, Paris 75001; Phone: 01 42 96 56 27; Fax: 01 42 86 80 71
One of the oldest restaurants in Paris, with its grand setting of opulent gold gilted paneling, mirrors, beautiful chandeliers and fresco paintings that is a favorite of the French elite and has been designated an official Historical Monument that will wow your better half — bring both of your wallets.
• Apollo, 3 place Denfert-Rochereau
The backdrop is an original setting of the old RER station building built in 1846 that provides a unique style of a very cool 1970s retro styled café (think white leatherette and colored plastic) with a reasonable à la Carte menu.
Outside of Paris:
• If your time permits and If you have a car or you are with someone that has one, I would highly recommend going to Le Coq au Vin for lunch or dinner especially if the weather is a bright sunny day. Why, to experience France away from the City of Lights — you are in a woods like setting and the restaurant is located steps from the river Seine where there are ducks and swans sharing the river with the commerce and house boats, and the food is above average too. But the charm is to be laid back in a quite setting with this wonderful view to enjoy. On Sundays you can call ahead and reserve one of the terrace tables on the river front. Depending on traffic, plan around 50–60 minutes to get there starting from Arc de Triomphe de l’E’toile.
French Restaurants that made the “2012 World Top 100 List”:
12 L’Atelier Saint-Germain de Joel Robuchon, Paris, France.
15 Le Chateaubriand, Paris, France.
16 L’Arpege, Paris, France.
17 Pierre Gagnaire, Paris, France.
18 L’Astrance, Paris, France.
24 Mirazur, Menton, France.
47 Bras, Laguiole, France.
64 Maison Troisgros, Roanne, France.
73 Maison Pic, Valence, France.
78 Guy Savoy, Paris, France
81 La Grenouillere, Montreuil-sur-Mer, France.
87 Septime, Paris, France
I. Paris Essentials: Not to be missed activities, but in no particular order.
1. Boat trip on the Seine — another great way to see Paris — either by the day or at night. Boats are available in front of the Tour Eiffel. Be sure to plan doing this early upon your arrival in Paris.
2. Eiffel Tower — the most distinctive symbol of Paris is 300 meters high and weighing 7,000 tons, it was the world’s tallest building until 1930. Think about sunset on the top of the Tower. TIP — get your tickets at your hotel so you DO NOT have to stand in line once you get to the Tour Eiffel!!
3. Notre-Dame de Paris — The Gothic loftiness of Notre-Dame dominates the Seine and the Ile-de-la-Cité as well as the history of Paris. On the spot where this majestic cathedral now stands, the Romans had built a temple to Jupiter, which was followed by a Christian basilica and then a Romanesque church (the Cathedral of St. Etienne, founded by Childebert in 528).
4. Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile — the world’s largest triumphal arch, 49.5 m (162 ft) in height, was conceived in 1806 (built between 1806–1838) by Napoleon I as a tribute to his Grande Armée and its 128 victorious battles. Surmounting the hill of Chaillot at the center of a star-shaped configuration of 12 radiating avenues, it is the climax of a vista seen the length of the Champs Elysées.
5. Opéra National de Paris (Garnier) — probably one of the top 5 images of Paris is this famous and ornate neo-baroque landmark, designed by architect Charles Garnier and built between 1862–1875.Opera national de Paris Garnier
6. Basilique du Sacré Coeur — built in the Romano-Byzantine style as an act of penance following France’s defeat by the Prussians in 1870, this basilica on the butte of Montmartre offers a panoramic view of Paris from the top of its dome. Construction started in 1875, but was not completed until 1914. The Sacre Coeur is the highest natural point and around the corner you will find the hopeful artist stands — exit front of the church turn to the right). Breathtaking view of Paris!
7. Hôtel National des Invalides — Napoleon’s Tomb (not really a Hotel), Founded in 1670 by Louis XIV as an old soldiers home and hospital.
8. Place de la Bastille — The Bastille (little bastion), originally called the Chastel Saint-Antoine, was built between 1370 and 1383 (under kings Charles V and Charles VI) to serve as a fortress for the protection of the city against Anglo-Burgundian forces during the “Hundred Year’s War”.
9. Place de la Concorde — the largest public square in Paris, separating the Tuileries Gardens from the beginning of the Champs-Elysées also the place where Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette lost their heads.
10. Avenue des Champs-Élysées — a most prestigious avenue in Paris, France. With its cinemas, cafes, luxury specialty shops and clipped chestnut trees, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world, and with rents as high as €1.1 million (USD1.5 million) per 1,000 square feet (92.9 square metres) of space, it remains the most expensive strip of real estate in Europe. Its name is French for Elysian Fields, which is the place of the blessed dead in Greek mythology.
11. Eglise de Saint Eustache — very ornate and beautiful, with a gothic architecture similar to that of Notre Dame, replete with numerous gargoyles, and an interior decor done in Renaissance style.
12. Obélisque de Luxor — situated in the Place de la Concorde, this obelisk — 75 feet (22.83m) high and weighing 230 tons — formerly marked the entrance to the Amon temple at Luxor in Egypt.
13. Observatoire de Paris — the first observatory built in the world, designed by architect Claude Perrault (1667–1672).
14. Panthéon — its imposing dome and a portico of corinthian columns, this massive temple to the great men of France houses the bodies of Voltaire, Rousseau, Mirabeau, Marat, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, Soufflot (its architect).
15. Visit the Bridges and Fountains — Pont Alexandre III (stunning), Fontaine des innocents (1547) — Four Seasons Fountain (1739)
16. Visit Museums — General hours listed
a. Le Louvre (9am — 9pm — closed Tuesday — Sunday free but crowded)
b. Orsay, Musée (10am — 6pm Tuesday thru Sunday)
c. Roin, Musée (10am -5.45pm Tuesday thru Sunday)
17. Visit Churches and Cemeteries
a. Notre-Dame is situated on the Ile de la Cité, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Notre Dame is a celebration of Early and High Gothic architecture, begun in 1163. (Mass on Sunday a Must!)
b. Saint-Germain Des Pres (the oldest church in Paris)
c. St-Sulpice, Eglise (this is the one in the DiVinci Code — minutes from the hotel).
d. Sainte-Chapelle (considered by many as the most beautiful church in Paris)
e. Cemetery — Pere-Lachaise — get a guild (program) when entering the cemetery and visit the graves of Molière, Balzac, Bizet, Proust, Wilde, Chopin, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison and other much more famous people
18. Visit Paris Gardens — so many but a few of my favorites
a. Jardin du Luxembourg, 15 rue Vaugirard 6eme, was designed by architect Salomon de Brosse as a Florentine palace for Marie de Medicis, built in the years 1615–1627 and surrounded by sumptuous gardens. (I would spend Sundays at this lovely park) located not far from the Hotel to read and people watch — or to catch a few rays.
b. Jardin Des Tuileries located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde).
c. Bois de Boulogne (a vast park on the western edge of Paris and a great place for jogging or just sitting by the lake).
d. Jardin Catherine-Laboure, 29 Rue Babylone, 7eme, kind of a well kept secret as it hides a paradise waiting inside thar was a former monastery garden. It is a great place for a nap or a picnic and is located nearby the Le Bon Marche.
e. Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand Veneur, Rue de Hess, 3eme, you must visit in the summer when all the variety of roses are in full bloom as the smell is most intoxicating.
f. Jardin du Palais-Royal, 6 Rue de Montpensier, 1eme, the garden is the inner courtyard of the 17th century Palais-Royal that once housed Louis XIV mistresses. Today it has arcades and boutiques for the rich and famous.
g. Parc Montsouris, 2 Rue Gazan, 14eme, the 18th Century Parcel Montsouris was inspired by the rolling hills of England where there is a small lake and is a perfect place for a picnic or eat outside at Le Pavillion Montsouris and enjoy the beauty of the parc.
h. Jardin des Plantes, 57 Rue Cuvier, 5eme, visit its natural history museum and a small zoo that has orangutans, snakes and spiders. Founded in 1795 to care for the animals left in the Versailles Palace after the French Revolution that had been an expensive hobby for the aristocracy.
i. Promenade Plantee, Promenada Plantee, 12eme, an kidden railway viaduct turned into a 4.5 km long hanging garden and it’s promenade stretches from L’Opera Bastlle to Jardin de Reuilly.
j. Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Rue Botzaris, 19eme, opened in 1867 for the world fair you can find a place in the shade among the temples, grottoes and waterfalls or rent a small a small rowboat and go fishing on the lake. The parc is also home to 3 restaurants.
k. Parc de Sceaux, Rue du Docteur Berger, RER line B, this certainly is one of the many mysteries of Paris but one must take a 20 minute train trip to get there — easily done from Saint-Michel followed by a 5 minute walk through a well to do residential neighborhood. The payoff is a magnificent palace park with fountains, avenues, lakes, pavilions and gazebos plus a Chateau. No restaurants — great for that picnic.
19. Walks — Paris was made for walking and walking and is the only way to get to know Paris
a. Left bank — Latin Quarter Districts and St. Germain (my old neighborhood)
b. Ile St-Louis — a small island, but you will discover art galleries and trendy boutiques — also noted for the ice cream (not too bad)
c. Along the left bank of the Seine — (start anywhere from the Tour Eiffel to well past the Notre-Dame Church)
d. Montmarte — Steep and winding streets of this famous Artist quarter. This was the area where Picasso, Dali, Van Gogh, Manet, and Lautrec once lived — very close to Pigalle.
20. Chateau Versailles
a. Castle and Gardens — not to be missed!!
a. Moulin Rouge — the original home of the Can-Can and has dazzled audiences since 1889, so be sure to take in a show (the movie starring Nicole Kidman was filmed here)
b. Sacre-Coeur — be sure to walk to the artist square that can be found walking to the right when exiting the Church.
a. Le Bon Marche — very near to my where I lived
i. Opened in 1852 and today is a very hip place to shop with avant garde fashions
b. Galleries Lafayette — close to the Opera House
i. Opened in 1894 and is a monument to Parisian style with a dazzling steel and colored glass dome — a must see.
c. Boutiques — there are so so many (note the book on shopping)
Limited Time in Paris — perhaps only a stop-over or only one or two days — a must is to be sure to see numbers 1 though 6!
II. Day Planner: Ten Days — Arrival to Departure
Day 1 — Arrival Day; take it kind of easy this day — a quiet one.
More than likely you will arrive in Paris between 8AM — 10AM at the Charles DeGalle Airport. After fetching your luggage (don’t forget to get some euros), proceed to the outside of the terminal and look for the “taxi” stand line. Although you could take the RER with a transfer at the Les Halles stop to the Metro 4-line (direction porte d’Orleans) and you will arrive directly (fifty steps) in front of the Hotel Madison or spend the approximate 55 euros (note current exchange rate to the US $) and make life simple this first day — use the taxis. The trip will — give or take a couple of minutes and dependent on traffic — take around 25 minutes. You more than likely will arrive at your hotel (the Madison) before noon and most likely your room will not be ready. Upon arrival at the Hotel, ask the clerk to show you to your room before accepting it and if you are not pleased look at other rooms and if possible get one that ends in a 5. Check to be sure that the tub also has a shower-head mounted on the wall — not a hand held type, which the French refer to as a shower.
Needless to say, you will be filled with anticipation and excitement. Sooo, check in and place your luggage in storage. Next, ask the hotel clerk for a “Map” of Paris (the Map also has a diagram of the Metro — get a Metro-Map when you purchase your tickets (inside the metro stop) too and proceed directly across the street and to the left you will find the Café Les Deux Magots, which I might add was my kitchen when I lived in Paris, as I did little cooking while living there. The menu is an easy one and has English translation so you can order your breakfast without difficulty. Remember that breakfast is “included” in your Hotel room rate, but terminates around 10AM. In any event, on this first day take your Breakfast at the Deux Magots and take a table on the outside that faces the church — St. Germain Des Pres. Begin by ordering a cappuccino, latte or whatever and begin to study the Map (from the hotel) to get your bearings and begin to watch the people — great fun! You will immediately note that the Louis Vuitton store is located next door to the Deux Magots and if you look closely you will see Cartier’s is kitty corner to the Café and Armani’s is across the Boulevard St. Germain — life is good!
After your breakfast, venture out walking around the 6th Arrondissement, perhaps walk the short distance to the church St-Sulpice, Eglise — not more than a 6 minute stroll from the Deux Magots; this was the church that was portrayed in the Movie The Da Vinci Code starting Tom Hanks, until it is time to move into your room. Or, if your room is not ready until later in the afternoon, I would strongly suggest taking a boat tour on the Seine! This is a great way to experience many of the history sites of Paris and to get a better understanding of their locations. This is outlined as a Day 5 activity but consider doing it today. After returning to you hotel take a shower and do not nap or sleep — keep going!
After you have unpacked, it is again time again to venture out — do not forget to take with you the Paris map (always keep this close to you and should you get thoroughly lost just stop at the nearest café to celebrate your new found freedom). Exit the hotel and head back toward the Deux Magots and turn right in front of the church and take rue Bonaparte and walk in nearly a straight line until you come to the Seine. Turn to your right and walk along the river (you will note many antique shops along this route (right side of the street) or stay on the left side and enjoy the river until you reach the bridge, “Pont Neuf” (Paris’ oldest bridge), where you will find the statue of Henri IV (the King who commissioned the bridge) stately upon his mighty steed. Before crossing the river and proceeding to the cathedral of Notre-Dame, you may want to go down the steps behind his statue to the quais and the square du Vert-Galant, a small tree-lined triangular at the end of the island. In the summer and under the weeping willows you will find both lovers and sunbathers. Proceed to Notre-Dame and spend time enjoying this magnificent Cathedral, and be sure to climb the stairs to the top for the view. Also, do not miss the tour of the catacombs located under the church. Enough for one day, refer to your map and take a different route back to the hotel. Before you turn in for the night, return to the Deux Magots for class of wine — or two.
Day 2 — Visit the Tour Eiffel, Musée Rodin and afterwards — the Hotel des Invalides
This is the day you have been waiting for — to wake up in Paris and set out to discover more of its wonder and charm. Plan to take your breakfast at the Hotel and again study your Map. Also, decide during breakfast if you are game for the 40 minute walk to the Tour Eiffel — if not — take a Taxi. Keep in mind that an early morning walk along the Seine is always a pleasant experience. After breakfast, set out to visit the Tour Eiffel and from the “top” observation platform, enjoy a breathtaking view of Paris. Keep in mind that later in the day you will have an opportunity to view the Tour Eiffel from a much different perspective. Upon reaching the Tour Eiffel, buy your ticket to the top viewing platform and more than likely you will find yourself standing in line with several dozen other folks embarking on this same venture. Be sure to take your camera (never ever leave the hotel without it — morning, noon and night).
After enjoying this spectacular view of the City, set out for the Musée Rodin (on foot of course) and after your Museum tour proceed to the Hotel des Invalides where you can have a look inside and eventually proceed to the church where under the Gold Dome you will find the mortal remains of Napoleon resting eternally in his crypt. Check out Musée de l’Armee, within the Invalides and spend time exploring this vast structure that was originally constructed by Louis XIV as a hospital for his wounded soldiers. This has been a long morning, and it is time for a very late lunch.
I am sure you will be a little tired so jump in a taxi or just walk across the bridge that is in front of the Tour Eiffel and go to the Place of Trocadero (17, place du Trocadero). There you will discover two museums in which you can take your lunch. The “Café De L’Homme” restaurant that is located within the Marine Museum, or you can go on the other side of the Trocadéro and find the “café restaurant Carlu” that can be accessed from the Hall of the Main Pavillion of the Museum — Cité de l’architecture et du Patrimoine. At either place, be sure to ask for a table outside and it is here that you will have another truly exceptional view of the Tour Eiffel.
Day 3 — A visit to the Louvré, Arc de Triomphe and Ile St. Louis
One could spend an entire week just at the Louvré. On one’s first trip to Paris plan an early start at the Louvré, arriving there when it opens and spend a half day there — probably just the right amount of time. Remember you can also return another day. Take a late lunch at the café Marly located directly in front of the glass Pyramid entrance. After lunch plan to stroll and enjoy the Jardin des Tuileries, walking toward the far end of the Garden that will eventually bring you to the Place de la Concorde and the beginning of the Champs Elyses. Begin walking the Champs Elyses toward the arc de Triomphe and on the way to the Arc be sure to stop for a drink at Fouquet’s located on the left side of the street — about two thirds of the way to the Arc de Triomphe. When you reach the Arc walk up the stairs to the top and take in another view of the Champs Elyses and Paris. To end this day, jump in a taxi to head for the Ile St. Louis — an oasis of tranquility at the heart of the city. The smaller of Paris’s two island, it has peaceful streets of elegant stone mansions, built in the 17th century. Walk the rue St. Louis-en-Ille and when you are tired and cannot go on, but before returning to the Hotel be sure to stop and have an ice cream famous for this area.
Day 4 — Day Trip to Versailles
Get an early start — plan to leave the Hotel by 8am. Take the Metro to either the train station Quai d’Orsay or Saint Michel and take the RER C (for C line) train. There are several trains you can take — board a train called Vic or Vera to Versailles. When you leave the Versailles station you will walk approximately 2 blocks to the Castle. When you arrive at the front of the Castle, you are required to purchase an entrance ticket. Take care NOT to purchase a general admission ticket — on your right, but find the door on the left where you can purchase a ticket that allows for visits to the Castle’s private rooms. Be sure to take a private tour in English — so you can understand the guide explain the way of life during this period. After the private tour, you can also use the same ticket to take the general tour without having to stand back in line. After touring the Castle, be sure to visit the Gardens! When walking in the gardens plan to stop near the great canal and have your lunch at the restaurant la Flotille. After lunch ask for directions to the “Grand Trianon” (no time on this trip to visit the little Trianon) and purchase a ticket — do not miss this. When you exit the Grand Trianon — take care — be sure to go to the exit where the gardens are not in front. When going out this exit, turn to the left and you will find a door in a stone wall and when you walk through this door take the way to the right and as you continue through the gardens you will pass by little Trianon. After walking for about 15 minutes, you will reach the Hameau de la Reine. Take your time and walk around these lovely houses. When you leave Hameau de la Reine, you will see on your left an iron gate, but do not exit there. Go to the right until you reach the exit called the “grille de la Reine. If possible, ask directions before you leave the gardens for the Trianon Palace. In any event, go to the left until you reach the Trianon Palace and go inside for coupe de Champagne before returning to Paris. Afterwards, walk on the left until you reach the second very big cross road and look for or ask for the “RER” entrance, which should be approximately half a block on the left of the cross road to catch the RER train back to Paris — this is not the same train you took from Paris. You will arrive back in Paris at the Gare Saint Lazare. Take a Taxi back to your hotel.
Day 5 — Visit the Musée d’Orsay and take a Seine Boat Trip
Again, begin this visit early in the day. Do not sleep late; you can always sleep late when you return to the States — never, never in Paris. I would suggest this would also be the day for the boat trip (note Practical information) — weather permitting.
After your tour of the Musée d’Orsay, it will be time for lunch around 1.15PM. Again, during lunch refer to your Map and plan your walking route to return you to the Hotel after your boat trip. After lunch cross the street and you are at the Seine and you will note many Boat Tours. I have taken several boat tours but do not recall which boat — sorry. Be sure to take a boat that allows you to stand (walk) on the deck of the boat. This excursion will allow you to experience Paris history from another perspective, as the river flows though its center and defines this capital geographically and presents a riverscape of the city’s many outstanding buildings.
Day 6 — Visit to the Pompidou Center, the Opera and complete the day with some shopping at the Galeries Lafayettes. (If you plan this day’s activity for a Thursday the Galeries Lafayettes remains open later in the evening).
Check your Map and decide if you want to walk or to take a taxi to the Pompidou Center. I would not take the time to go inside unless there is an interesting exposition, but you must see this funny building where the internal workings of a large building normally are contained within the structure, here they are constructed on the outside. Go around to the back side of the Center and you will see a very funny looking fountain. It is worth the time to find this fountain and you can have a coffee at Georges Terrace. Return to the front of the Center and turn to the right, which should take you to rue des Archives and then walk to rue des Francs Bourgeois (double check on your Map when you take your coffee at Georges Terrance). Return to the rue des Francs Bourgeois and walk admiring the 16th and 17th century buildings, until you reach Place de la Bastille, and have a short look. Keep in mind, that on July 14, 1789 this was the spot where angry citizens of Paris began the French Revolution. You can take your lunch at the Bofinger, which is very near. After lunch, take a taxi to the Opera Garnier and visit the inside of this marvelous Opera House. Afterward, cross to the right from the front of the Opera House and on the corner is the Café de la Paix. Stop at the de la Paix (keep in mind that the same architect, Garnier, designed the Opera House and this building) for a coupe de Champagne and rest before embarking on your shopping adventure. When you have finished your Champagne, walk to the back side of the Opera House and your will see the Galeries Lafayettes. After your spending spree and depending on the time of day or on how tired you are you can either walk back to the Hotel or take a Taxi.
Day 7 — Two choices — (1) Free day — no specific sightseeing — A carefree day to walk and explore Paris or (2) perhaps a day trip to Lyon (experience the train).
During Breakfast refer to your Map and go over the one or two walk routes that sparked your interest when you flipped through the reference book, Paris Walks, which describes 23 walks around the French Capital. In the event you forget to pack this book, I suggest you consider the walks noted above in the Essential Section. My preference would be to plan a walk that would include the 5th, 6th and 7th Arrondissements.
Should you decide to go to Lyon, get an early start for this trip. Reserve a taxi the previous evening to fetch you at the Hotel at 7.20am. Proceed to the gare de Lyon to purchase your ticket for the TGV (train) to Lyon, it leaves at 8am. You will arrive in Lyon at 10am and take a taxi to the Amphitheatre. Look for any Hotel and ask for a map of Lyon (similar to the one of Paris). From the Amphitheatre, which is 2000 years old, refer to your map and start your walking journey to the basilique de Fourvieres. Take a tour of the inside and then walk to the back side and look for the Funiculaire that will take you down to the old city. Plan to visit and go inside the cathedral Saint Jean, where you will find a very unique clock of either the 13th or 14th century. Be sure to wait for the hour or half hour strike and watch the movements of this clock. When you exit the church, turn to the right and continue walking to the Musée Gadagne. After your tour, cross the river and visit the opera and the Musee des beaux arts. Afterwards, continue to the place Bellecourt to visit the museum des Tissus. In this museum you will come to understand why Lyon is known as the silk capital and you will see incredible fabrics and wonderful dresses from the 18 century. Be sure to watch the time as you need to go back to TGV station by taxi in time to catch the 8pm train back to Paris.
Day 8 — Pere-Lachaise Cemetery and Sacré-coeur
Take your time today — relax, and plan to leave the Hotel around 9am. To understand a bit more of Parisian history it is necessary to take in the cimitiere Pere-Lachaise. Upon your arrival, it is fascinating to see that this cemetery is like a miniature city that has found itself in a state of ruins — with so many dead, and crypts and temples of every size and shape. Perhaps from an American perspective, the most famous occupant of Pere Lachaise’s Division Six (get a map of the cemetery) is Jim Morrison (1943–1971) the lead singer of the Doors. Get this; Morrison had visited this cemetery only a couple of weeks before his death. Besides Morrison, you can pay your respects to the many great villains and heroes that are also buried there. The Cemetery is open form 7.30am — 6pm each day and the metro 3-line stop is Gambetta.
When you finish your tour of the cemetery, take a taxi to the Sacré coeur, and you find yourself walking up perhaps 100 steps that leads to this highest natural point in Paris — enjoy the view and then take a tour of the church. When you exit, turn to the right and locate the many painters that aspire to be the next Monet, Manet or Ronoir. Take your lunch at anyone of the many restaurants located around the Place du Tertre, but hold off taking your coffee. You may want to spent a bit more time here and walk the winding roads. When you are ready, take a taxi to the Ritz Hotel, located on the Place Vendome. Before entering the hotel, take a few minutes to admire the 2 wonderful fountains then go inside the Ritz and on your left (30ft.) enter and go to the terrace to enjoy a wonderful coffée. Ernest Hemingway, who took up residence in the Ritz in the 1920s, had said “I only hope that heaven will be as good as the Ritz”. When exiting the Ritz, turn right and walk until you reach the Rue Saint Honoré, then turn again and walk until you reach the Rue Royal. When you turn to the right, you will discover one of the most famous pastisseries in Paris called La Durée. Be sure you buy an assortment of Macaroons to bring back for your friends in the US. When you exit the pastisserie, turn right and walk to the church of La Madeleine. When you enter, you will actually see 3 churches of 3 completely different periods. Afterward, return again to the street, rue Royale and turn right until you reach the rue du faubourg saint Honoré. Here you will find the Hermes store noted for its famous silk squares — you may wish to purchase a couple for you relatives or friends. When you leave Hermes, head back over to the Place de la Concorde, go to the Cours Albert and turn to the right until you reach the striking bridge Pont Alexandre III (everyone’s favorite), and cross the Seine. Turn left and proceed to the Blvd. Saint- Germain and have a leisurely walk back to the Hotel.
Day 9 — A special day — Personalize this last day in Paris
Time has a tendency to pass quickly, especially when you want the opposite. This is when you realize that there is so much more that you had wanted to see and do and that there is not enough time left to squeeze it all into one last day. So, plan this day around those essentials that you did not see or do, or perhaps just an easy walk or to spend part of your day at one of the beautiful gardens, or just some last minute shopping — you decide.
As an FYI, when returning to the hotel this evening, be sure to order a taxi to take you to the airport (the Hotel clerk will manage this for you). Be sure to allow 1 hour for the trip (generally the time to the airport is about 25 minutes), but you must assume the traffic will not be good in the morning. With this in mind, also allow another 2 hours before your flight time — so leave the hotel 3 hours before your scheduled plane’s departure.
Also, keep in mind that there is a size and weight restriction on your luggage and if you exceed the limit you will be forced to repack your luggage and use/purchase another suitcase or other type of bag — take this seriously as it did happened to me.
For this last day, we have not planned your activities. There are so many very interesting historical places to visit in Paris that time did not permit to include them in our 10 day itinerary and have left this day to you. Perhaps you may want to consider the following:
• Visit the Jardin du Luxembourg — my favorite place that Napoleon designated the “garden of Children”
• Saint-Chapelle — the most beautiful church in Paris
• Palais Royal — visit this 17th century palace and gardens
• The Pantheon — resting place for the city’s great citizens
• Musee Claude Monet
• Musee Picasso
• Bois de Boulogne — the great escape for the locals on the weekends
• Shop along the Champs-Elysees or at the Le Bon Marche
• A day trip to the Chateau Chantilly — very interesting and not to far, and be sure to have lunch at L’Ermitage
• A day trip to Giverny — Monet’s chateau and gardens (wonderful too)
• Or other excursions to; Fontainebleau or Chartres
Day — 10 A sad sad day — your departure back to the States or whereever.
During your breakfast on this last day, you must make a promise to yourself as to when you will return to Paris. Etch this month/year into your brain and never-never forget and begin to make plans immediately upon your return to the States, regardless if it is next month, next year or in several years! By doing so, you will not be so sad when you leave, or if you were totally captivated with Paris as I was, and may want to consider extending your stay in France for a few more days, and wonder outside of Paris and head to the Sud de La France (south of France).
Extended Days in France — the magic of Provence and thé Côte D’Azur.
If you are still reading, perhaps you have not left yet for the airport (good for you — you only live once, unless you happen to be James Bond) and my assumption is that you too have been smitten by the beauty of Paris. So why not now take another leap of adventure and let your heart fall in love with all of France — my suggestion then is to consider a trip to South of France — il est magnifique!
For centuries, the splendor of Provence and the Côte D’Azur has captured the souls of both lovers and artists — so why not let it happen to you too. Many say it is the brilliant light of the regions that has inspired so many artists with its mystique quality. It was toward the late 1800s when a small fishing village in the Côte D’Azur — Saint Tropez became a favored spot for painters. One of these artists was Jules Signac, a neo-impressionist painter, who around 1890 begin to spend his summers traveling aboard his yacht — L’Olympia, named after Manet’s infamous nude, and stopped all along the French Riviera to paint. During a sudden storm in 1893, Signac was forced to make port in Saint Tropez. After the storm subsided, it didn’t take Signac long to be captured by the spell of its marvelous light. Thereafter, Signac continued to go back time and time again eventually building his house in St-Tropez in 1897. His house called la Hune can be found on Rue Paul-Signac 200 meters to the right as you exit the rear of the hotel Byblos.
The legend of St tropez continued to grow as Signac became well known for his glorious and lavish house parties for the rich and famous. Thereafter, it didn’t take long for fellow artists Bonnard, Matisse, Marquet, Dufy, Derain, Vlaminck, and Van Dongen to make the trek to St-Tropez to apply their talents too. It’s true — there’s something about the light in Saint Tropez that must be experience firsthand. Then to the north of Côte D’Azur the bright, sunny skies also shine all across Provence’s landscape. Other painters such as Paul Cézanne and Vincent Van Gogh found the light there so splendid that they sweep their brushes across many a canvas in Provence.
Then there are those that say it is the sweet, fresh air perfumed by the countless fields of lavender that is the region’s inspiration. Supporting this supposition is Grasse, the perfume capital of the world perched in the hills 15 km to the north of Cannes. To the east of Cannes is Nice — a bustling city, with an international airport and pebble coated beaches. Beyond and inland from Grasse, you can enjoy Provence’s enchanting hills, forests, canyons and rivers.
There are still others that insist it is the distinctive Provencal cuisine that sets this region apart. Regardless of one’s perspective, the sheer splendor of the mountains as the background for the magical blue waters of the sea surely places Provence and the Côte D’Azur as your next quintessential stop on your itinerary. Looking beyond the pure sensory delights, Provence’s historical past includes Romanesque churches, Roman ruins, and not to be missed museums that will surely captivate your imagination and leave you smitten with the beauty and history of France.
Let’s start then by listing a few of the must do activities that will provide you with several more unforgettable memories and at the same time assist you create an extraordinary itinerary:
• Driving one of the narrow, twisting cornices from one scenic Ville to the next, as immortalized by Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in to “catch a thief”. And, why not be a bit audacious and rent a convertible or sports car — you may only pass this way once!
• Casually strolling along Cannes’ La Crosette, with its yachts, fine sand beaches and luxury shopping, as just another one of the well known celebrities — live the life if only for a day!
• Stopping in Monte Carlo to try your hand at the roulette table or another game of chance in the famed Monte Carlo Casino
• Visiting Maeght’s world famous modern-art collection in St-Paul-de-Vence, or perhaps stopping in Nice to visit the Musée Chagall and/or Matisse
• Stopping in St-Tropez long enough to enjoy visiting Pampelonne Beach to bare it all or to take in the scene of all the bikini clad stars and/or a not to be missed stroll along the Ville’s dock at sunset to nonchalantly gaze at the many mega-million dollar yachts returning from just another sun filled day of fun
• Visit Eze or anyone of the countless ancient hilltop villages for a panoramic and breathtaking view of the Mediterranean or just saunter through their narrow cobblestone passageways and enjoy the many little hidden gardens.
Your Côte D’Azur exploration must include a drive along the French Riviera that is famous for its beaches, sunny climate, shops, casinos, historical sites, and jet-set celebrities parading behind their “lunettes de soleil”. Scattered along this famous 140 mile stretch of road alongside the Mediterranean and traveling east to west you will experience such legendary towns as St-Tropez, Cannes, Cap d’Antibes, Nice, and Cap-Ferrat. But, don’t stop until you have reached legendary Monte Carlo and have tried your luck at the world famous Monte Carlo Casino. Spend a night at the Hotel Paris (footsteps away from the Casino) and check out the clam shell inspired indoor swimming pool.
After exploring the Côte D’Azur, next venture out in the awe-inspiring country-side of Provence and depending on your allotted time consider visiting towns such as Avignon, St Remy, Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Orange, Vence, Eze, Grasse — just a few of the oh so many, and consider visiting one or more of the following places:
Provence Actvities: [This Section is under construction — sorry for the inconvenience] For our excursions, we assume the base of activities will be centered around Avignon and/or St Remy.
In the heart of Provence is Avignon (home to “his bridge” and the “Palace of the Popes”) and is just a short 20 minute drive to St Reme. Either one of these cities should be considered as your base of operations. From these two Villes you can easily visit the following places that are all within a 20 to 60 minute drive:
Aigues Mortes et ses remparts
Arles et L’Abbaye de Montmajour
Fontvieille et son Moulin de Daudet
Fontaine de Vaucluse
Gordes et L’Abbaye de Sénanque
Les Baux de Provence and Cathedrale d’Images
Le pont d’Avignon
Le Pont du Gard
Saintes Maries de la Mer
In addition to the above, there are several other sites you may want to consider in the surrounding region:
L’Atelier of Santonnier in Graveson (5mn)
L’Abbaye de Saint Michel de Frigolet (10mn)
The Castle of Barbentane (5mn)
The Glass-blower in Saint Remy de Provence (20mn)
Museum of the Haribo Candy à Uzés (45mn)
The Zoo and the Castle of Barben (50mn)
The Strong Saint Andree and the Chartreuse of the Val de Bénédiction in Villeneuve les Avignon (20mn)
The Museum of Lavender in Coustellet (35mn)
Other interesting destinations in Provence that are more than a 1 hour drive time are the following:
The Roman Theatre, Orange — Théâtre Antique
The Roman Theatre of Orange, known locally as the Theatre Antique is one of the best preserved Roman sites in the world. Dating back to the rule of Augustus (31 BC to 13AD), the Roman Theatre of Orange is an incredible site and one of the largest existing theatres of its kind, able to hold up to 10,000 spectators.
The façade wall of the Roman Theatre is an impressive 338 feet long and 121 feet high and the structure still retains its original stage. This is despite the fact that the Prince of Orange, Maurice of Nassau damaged it in the seventeen century, using it as a quarry for building material. It is still used as a theatre today, meaning that visitors can enjoy a play in its incredible and historically evocative surroundings.
L’abbaye de Montmajour. Arles — from Arles take route de Fontvielle
Above the plain to the northeast of Arles, the Saint-Peter abbey was founded on the “Mount Majour” (the big mountain) in 948. Until 1790, Benedictine monks lived there according to the rules of Saint Benedict of Nurcie.
They built two series of monastic buildings. From the first series (St. Peter monastery, built between the 10th and 15th centuries), St. Peter hermitage is still to be seen (10th and 11th centuries).(this part of the monument is closed). It was partly built in the southern rock and the capitals were built during the first Romanesque Age. On top of the hill, the rupestral necropolis was built around the Sainte Croix feretory (12th century).
Le Chateau d’If, Marseille
The Château d’If (open daily: Jan–March & Oct–Dec 9.30am–5.30pm; April–Sept 9.30am–6.30pm), on the tiny island of If, is best known as the penal setting for Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. Having made his watery escape after five years of incarceration as the innocent victim of treachery, the hero of the piece, Edmond Dantès, describes the island thus: “Blacker than the sea, blacker than the sky, rose like a phantom the giant of granite, whose projecting crags seemed like arms extended to seize their prey”. The reality, for most prisoners, was worse: they went insane or died (and sometimes both) before reaching the end of their sentences.
Only the nobles living in the less fetid upper-storey cells had much chance of survival, like de Niozelles, who was given six years for failing to take his hat off in the presence of Louis XIV, and Mirabeau, who was doing time for debt. The sixteenth-century castle and its cells are well preserved, and the views back towards Marseille are fantastic. Boats for If leave regularly from the quai des Belges on the Vieux Port (hourly 9am–5pm, last return at 6.50pm; journey time 15–20min).
Les ramparts d’Aigues, Mortes — located Aigues-Mortes
The Kingdom of France’s top Mediterranean port, the town of Aigues-Mortes was built by King Louis IX (St. Louis) in the 13 century. The tower of Constance is one of the most majestic keep in mediaeval architecture. Served as a prison for the Knights Templar. Then for protestants in the Cevennes from the 18th century. Today, it a fortified town and is in an exceptional state of preservation (open year round except January 1, May 1 & 11, November 1 &11 and December 25).
La Basilique de Saint-Maximin, Saint-Maximim la Sainte-Baume
Le fort royal de Sainte, Marguerite, Cannes
L’abbaye du Thoronet, From Aix-en-Provence or from Cannes
Nice France — Summary
Nice is a picturesque coastal town situated to the east of the Cote d’Azur and is the fifth largest city in France. Within the centre of this elegant and simple city is the old town with its narrow, winding streets that lead past beautiful old churches hidden amongst the century old houses. Old Nice is steeped in history and is regarded as the city’s centre for culture with its art galleries, frequent markets of artists displaying their creations, along with the fruit and vegetable and the flower markets. Nearby can also be found the antique market, with its many shops where one can spent hours looking for that one very special bargain.
Situated within the old city are a host of cafes, ice cream parlors and restaurants, with a variety of cuisines to be enjoyed with the endless Mediterranean sunshine. Parallel to the old town is the 19th century Promenade des Anglais that traces the shoreline and is lined with exclusive hotels that look out over the glittering blue sea. Here the atmosphere is matchless — like a small village that has been separated from the rest of the city. The charm of Nice is its exceptional climate and beauty and even in the winter months the café terraces are filled with people enjoying a drink and simply watching boats of every size and description bobbing in the harbor or catching passing glance of a luxurious yacht, while catching an hour or two of rays.
Located in the centre of modern Nice is the Place Massena that offers the usual range of high end fashion shops as well as a number of galleries, boutique and other shops. Surrounding the city centre, hills rise up into the skyline, offering breathtaking panorama vistas of the city, the surrounding countryside, and the Mediterranean Sea. There you will find the hills of Cimiez that is considered the most fashionable area of Nice, with its Roman amphitheatre that hosts the annual jazz festival (reference follows). The remarkably well-preserved ancient Roman baths remain and their history is detailed in a nearby archaeological museum. Matisse too lived his last years in Nice and there is a museum dedicated to his life and works.
Nice is an exceptionally well-planned city, with residential areas tucked away from the bustle of the city centre offering almost village-like atmospheres. The hills of Mont-Boron and Mont-Alban are situated a pleasant walk away from the city centre with beautiful old houses, Mediterranean landscapes and stunning panorama views of the city. Situated close to Nice is the suburb of Saint-Laurent du Var with peaceful parks that are havens for relaxation. Even with its apartments, villas and houses, its atmosphere is reminiscent of smaller villages that lie forgotten in the hills of Provence.
There is always plenty to do in Nice with its markets, theatres, cinemas, museums, galleries, restaurants and beaches. Besides taking advantage of the sun, there are water sport activities of every description to be enjoyed. Traveling to the nearby countryside there are possibilities to walk, cycle, ride, or even try one of the more adventurous sports such as hang gliding. If you are a golfer, there are five golf courses in the immediate area and considering that the Alps are just an hour away — one can enjoy skiing and other winter sports.
Nice Jazz Festival
The Nice Jazz Festival has been an annual event since 1948 and was the first jazz festival in the French Riviera of international significance. At the inaugural festival, Louis Armstrong and his All Stars were the headliners! Over the years, many artists, such as Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Helen Humes and Miles Davis have regularly performed.
Since 1995 its revue has changed with an emphasis toward world music and pop, but it continues to be one of the Riviera’s biggest annual events. Set within the vast Jardins de Cimiez, which contains a Roman Amphitheatre, the event features several separate stages where groups perform simultaneously each evening for eight days beginning in July.
Recommended Reference Materials:
• Guides to Paris — these books or similar ones are a must to become familiar with this fascinating City and be sure to pack these books so you have them with you to Paris!
1. Born to Shop Paris — Suzy Gershman, the Ultimate Guide for People who love to shop.
2. Paris’s Best — Fordor’s City Pack — easy to understand reference guide
3. Eating and drinking in Paris — Andy Herback and Michael Dillon — used mainly as a translation reference as to what is on the menus.
4. Paris Walks — a time out book, 23 walks around the French Capital
5. Paris — an Insight Guide by the Discovery Channel — an overview of the history, culture, institutions and people with lots of great pictures.
• French Language Helper — you MUST know some small words in French for survival (take this very seriously). Please remember you are traveling to a Country that the national language is French — not English. Do NOT expect the French to converse with you in English. Keep in mind that when a French person comes to the States there are very few Americans that will be able to converse with him/her in French. So the reverse is also true. You will find out that if you attempt to speak a few words in French that the French people will also attempt to say a few words to you in English too. But, you must first make the attempt and you will find out quickly that the French are delightful in the French way! Therefore, be sure to at least purchase the following two books and start learning your French a couple of weeks before leaving on your trip.
• Lonely Planet French Phrasebook — a 2000-word two way dictionary. Get this book and never leave the hotel without it!
• French Phrase Book (eyewitness Travel Guides) — A dorling Kindersley Book. Again, get this book too and never leave the hotel without it!
• French Language for the more serious — if you’re game and want to jump in with one leg and want a French program that is easy, fast and fun, then grab a copy of 30 days to great French, for beginners (CD included), by “living Language, a Random House Company” and have a reasonable grasp of the language in four or five weeks. Another thought for even the more adventurous, think about attending a French School for a couple of weeks while you are over here, such as Ecole Internationale De Langue & De Civilisation Francaises. Introductory classes generally start on Monday and are 4 hours each day beginning at 9AM. Go for a week or complete the course in 4 weeks — depends on how long you are going to be in Paris, but it would be worth your time if you want to learn the language!
Recommended Web-sites to visit for additional information:
• www.travelsignposts.com (france)
• www.parisfrance.com (map section)
• www.parisnotes.com ( /restaurant/parisrestaurant.html)
Restaurant Information: — Addresses and Phone Numbers
• Café Les Deux Magots — 6, place Saint-Germain — 75006 Paris, tel. 01 45 48 55 25
• Taillevent — 15, rue Lamennais — 75008 Paris, tel. 01 44 95 15 01, web www.tailevent.com
• 1728–8, rue d’Anjou 75008 Paris, tel. 01 40 17 04 77, web www.restaurant-1728.com, email restaurant1728.wanadoo.fr
• Bofinger — 5, rue de la Bastille, — 75004 Paris, tel. 01 42 72 87 82
• Lipp — 151, Blvd Saint-Germain — 75006, tel. 01 45 48 53 91
• Julien — 16, rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis — 75010 Paris, tel. 01 47 70 12 06
• La Coupole — 102, rue du Montparnasse — 75014 Paris, tel. 01 43 20 14 20, web www.flobrasseries.com
• Chez Francoise — Aerogare des Invalides — 75007 Paris, tel. 01 47 05 49 03, web www.chezfrancoise.com, email email@example.com
• Café de la Paix — 12, Boulevard des Capucines — 75009 Paris, tel. 01 40 07 36 36
• Stresa — 7, rue Chambiges — 75008 Paris, tel. 01 47 23 51 62
• Le Buddha Bar — 8, rue Bojssy D’Anglas — 75008 Paris, tel. 01 53 05 90 00
• Le Grand Colbert — 4, blvd des Capucines — 75009 Paris, tel. 01 43 12 19 00, web www.lesfreresblanc.com
• Vagenende — 142, blvd Saint-Germain — 75006 Paris, tel. 01 43 26 68 18, web www.vagenende.fr
• Le Chalet des Iles — Porte de la Muette, lac du Bois de Boulogne — 75016 Paris, tel 01 42 88 86 74, web www.lechaletdesiles.net
• Maison de L’Amerique Latine — 217 Blvd. Saint-Germain — 75007 Paris, tel. 01 49 54 75 10
• La Petite Chaise — 36, rue de Genelle — 75007 Paris, tel. 01 42 22 13 35
• Maria Luisa 2 Rue Marie et Louise, 75010 Paris, tel. 01 44 84 04 01
• La Table du Perigord — 13, rue de Meziere, 75005 Paris, tel. 01 45 48 30 38
• Le Voltaire — 27 Quai Voltaire — 75007 Paris, tel. 01 42 61 17 49
• Le Bistrot de Paris — 33, rue de lille — 75007 Paris, tel. 01 42 61 16 83
• Le Pavillon Montsouris — 20, rue Gazan — 75014 Paris, tel. 01 43 13 29 20, web www.pavillon-montsouris.fr
• Le Fouquets — 99, ave des Champs-Élysées — 75008, tel. 01 47 23 50 00
• Auberge Du Bonheur — Allee De Longchamp (near Derriere la Grand Cascade) — 75016 Paris, tel 01 42 24 10 17
• Café De L’Homme — 17, place du Trocadero — 75016 Paris, tel. 01 44 05 30 15
• Le Grand Bleu Paris — Port de Plaisance de L’Arsenal, 67, Blvd de la Bastile — 75012 Paris, tel. 01 43 45 19 99
• Joe Allen- 30, rue Pierre Lescot — 75001 Paris, tel. 01 42 36 70 13, web www.joeallenparis.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Le Fouquet’s — 99, Avenue des Champs-Elysées — 75008 Paris, tel 01 40 69 60 50 Traditional French cuisine. E-Mail : email@example.com
• Bœuf Sur Le Toit — 34, rue du Colisee — 75008 Paris, tel. 01 53 93 65 55 www.boeufsurletoit.com
• Café Restaurant CARLU — 1, place du Trocadéro — 75016
• Publicis Drug Store — 133 avenue des Champs-Elysees — 75008 Paris, tel 01 44 43 77 64 www.publicisdrugstore.com
• Le Bois Le Vent — 59 rue de Boulainvillers — 75016 Paris, tel 01 45 27 62 23
• Le Coq au Vin — Rive Gauche — 61 Quai Aristide Briand — 78510 Triel Sur Seine, tel 01 39 65 65 00 www.le-coq-au-vin.fr (about 15 minutes from Poissy)
Paris Nightlife: — The Party begins at midnight
Paris begins to awaken around midnight and for those that want to experience the city of light’s nightlife, I would suggest the Castel if you have only one night set aside for partying.
• Castel — 15, Rue Princesse — 75008 — +33(0) 1 40 51 52 80
o Restaurant & Club. Castel has been going strong since the ‘60s and should not be a disappointment. Like most in-places — there is no name on the door, just show up early and hope that you will be invited inside. Located the 6th Arrondissement and is a 3 minute walk from St-Sulpice, Eglise — look for a pinkish red door.
• L’Arc — 15, Rue De Presbourg — 75116 — +33(0) 1 45 00 78 70
o Restaurant & Club. Sometimes (often) it is hard to get inside on Friday & Saturday. Solution — reserve a table for dinner around 9PM. The Club opens at 11.30 but starts to jump around 1AM. I did not place the restaurant as a recommended dining spot, but the food is really okay.
• Barrio Latino — 46 Rue Du Faubourg — 75011
o Restaurant & Club. Located near the Bastille in Paris, it is a great place to have a few drinks and dance. The bar closes at 2 am, meaning you can come and have dinner your next adventure or go home at a reasonably hour — if you are not young at heart.
• Le Queen — 102, av des Champs-Élysées — 75008
o This Champs Elysees nightclub is mainly known as a gay club, but the club is still popular with heterosexuals and especially popular on Monday nights and Wednesday night is known as femme nights. The party begins at midnight.
Practical Information: — Tidbits
Paris — Seine Boat Trip
This is a most do activity and is always enjoyable especially on a bright sunny Paris day. I have taken this trip many times and highly recommend Vedettes de Paris. As there are many different boat operators providing sightseeing on the Seine you will find this operator located in front of the Tour Eiffel. When you are on the bridge facing the Tour Eiffel use the steps just off to the right of the bridge to descend to the river and the Vedettes to just a bit to your left.
Chocolate Shop: Just in case on an emergency
For Chocolate, a la Reine Astrid my favorite Chocolatier; very close to the Hotel Lutetia, (another fine Hotel) at the corner of Boulevard Raspail — short walk from the Madison. The address for the Chocolatier is 24, rue du Cherche-Midi. Take a left out of the Madison to rue de Rennes, left on de Rennes, turn right of rue de Four until you reach Blvd Raspail. Turn Left on Raspail, go one block and you will find rue du Cherche-Midi, turn left and go a few steps and you are there (on Left).
For a laundry/cleaners — a bit pricy, but Blanco Pressing is just steps away from the Hotel — 1 bis, rue Gozlin (turn left as you exit the Hotel). Tell the Madams that Monsieur Canard says bonjour.
Free WIFI Spots in Paris
The good news is that Paris has hundreds of free Wi-Fi hotspots, thanks to cafes, restaurants and bars increasingly offering the service and the Paris municipal government has completed setting up many free Wi-Fi zones in many of the city’s parks, squares, public libraries and other spots. And all the Mcdonalds offer free Wi-Fi too. HOWEVER, before you leave the comfort of your living room or wherever you are as you are reading this — BE SURE to download onto your iPhone or other mobile device “jwire” a free WI-FI location finder application. Never leave home without this useful tool!
Refer to section IV — Free Wi-Fi Hotspots in Paris
Version XXVI, May 1, 2012.
If you have found this work in process itinerary interesting or have any comments in general, I would appreciate hearing from you!
M. Vaughn Duck
(started during my working days in Paris, 2002–2004/n)
June 21, 2004,,,,,2017 ©, all rights Reserved