Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

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Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Nikachelle » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:07 am

After doing way too many Google searches and always coming up with the same results... I thought I'd actually ask this forum instead since I'm sure some of you may live there, or will have visited there at one point or another.

We're going to Paris in May for a week. While I've already been (although I was only in my mid-teens), Invis hasn't - so we'll likely cover the typical tourist things such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the underground crypts, etc. But I'm also looking for more atypical stuff to do that most people skip over because they're so stuck in the "I'm a tourist and must see all the places where everyone always takes pictures!".

I speak fluent French, so getting around won't be difficult. I also believe we'll be staying in Le Marais, in an apartment.

Do you guys have suggestions for places/areas/restaurants/bars/sights in Paris? We'll also likely go up to the Northern coast for a day or so, so suggestions for stuff up there is good too! Any and all suggestions would be appreciated!
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Andurin » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:15 am

What range are you looking at? Cause if you got a couple 100 of kilometers I might have smoe nice places in Holland for you to visit =P (Think its about 2 hours by international train aswell) N.v.m. Its 2 Hours to Brussel.. Some more till you actually get Paris
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Nikachelle » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:19 am

A *lot* of people have suggested we leave France and go to the surrounding countries (Belgium, Holland, even Spain) and if we were actually there for longer, I'd probably say it's a good idea. But since we're only there for 7 days, I'd actually rather spend the time actually in France rather than travelling to another country, after having already flown over from Canada.

I'd like to visit the surrounding countries at some point... but I'd rather dedicate actual time to those countries rather than rushing to get there, and then get back.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby tanksorz » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:02 am

Versailles is a good day trip.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Nikachelle » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:17 am

tanksorz wrote:Versailles is a good day trip.

Oooo good suggestion.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Cogglamp » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:02 am

Sacre-Coeur has some of the best views in town. It's definitely a hike up the hill but you'll earn yourself a pain au chocolat. There is a neat little square too, Plaza des Artistes where you can walk around and watch people paint, look at their wares, etc and grab a bite in one of the brasseries that surround the square.

Head over to the Left Bank/Saint-Germain Boulevard and find Gerard Mulot. One of the best patiserries in my opinion.

If you like ice cream, try to hit up Berthillon. You'll thank me later.

Some day trips out to Fontainebleu are nice if you like seeing a more rural setting of France.

Grabbing a baguette and cheese while sitting in Jardin des Tuilieres is a nice way to take a break from walking.

Musee d'Orsay is my favorite museum but that's because I love impressionist art.

Les Invalides is neat if you like military history.

There are some rooftop bars at some of the hotels off Champs Alysees. One of the ones we stayed at Hotel Raphael has a great one that has views of Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower.

What's the timing on your trip? If you like tennis you can catch the French Open starting May 27th. It's a lovely affair to attend.

Find a place to drink with the locals. Since you can speak French, there really is no better way to break down barriers, make friends, and get an inside scoop on where to go.

I tend to just eat/drink my way around new places though.
Last edited by Cogglamp on Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Nikachelle » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:09 am

I've done Fontainebleau and wasn't overly taken with it. That being said, I think I only really remember a castle there... so my memory might be a tad skewed. Your other suggestions are fantastic though, thank you!

We're there from the 17th until the 24th.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Cogglamp » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:34 am

No worries. Some others depending on what you're in the mood for.

Shopping along Rue Saint Honore is fantastic even if you're just window shopping.

Gare du Nord is almost like stepping back into history when trains rule the world. The history and architecture is great.

If you're going to see the crypts, I also recommend Montparnasse Cemetery just given the massive amount of famous/influential people that are now laid to rest there.

If you want to catch a play, a neat theatre is Théâtre de Ménilmontant.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby culhag » Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:49 pm

I've been living in Paris for five years and there's so many things I still haven't seen. I guess it's hard to take the time to be a tourist in your own city !

Cogg are you a tourist guide ? ;) you may be overselling some things. The Gare du Nord is really nothing to write home about. Big train station, but not very pretty.

+1 for Musee d'Orsay, though !


As for the northern coast, I guess it depends on where exactly you're planning to go, and how.
Le Touquet is a lovely town with a nice sand beach, typical of the Côte d'Opale.
Further north there's the Nausicaa aquarium in Boulogne. One of the biggest in Europe, with plenty to see.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Cogglamp » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:08 am

No, not a tourist guide. Admittedly, one of my favorite buildings is Grand Central in New York as I'm fascinated by rail/trains. So take that with a grain of salt.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby KysenMurrin » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:10 am

I've thought about visiting Paris myself. Only been there once, for a day, and it was so brief and so long ago I can't really offer anything to this thread.

Maybe next year.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby crazyharry » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:19 am

Join la la Légion étrangère, that will make for a novel tourist experience. There is one not far from RER Fontenay-sous-Bois.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Nikachelle » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:37 am

Join the French foreign army? :/
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Fivelives » Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:57 pm

The French Foreign Legion.

They're ... kinda famous, actually. Maybe only to a military history buff, but still, they've had enough play in various movies and media sources that I'm surprised you haven't heard of them?
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Nikachelle » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:02 pm

I've heard the name but know nothing about them. I'm not a history buff and never took any courses in high school or university about history (other than the history of the bible - that stuff is FASCINATING). So while I may have heard of the name, the idea of it means nothing to me other than = army.
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