Monday, September 7, 2009


I know this is out of the blue, but a friend of mine pointed out that I had neglected to give some basic information about traveling around Paris. And since friends of mine just returned from France, Paris is on my mind again. And it's always fun for me to review a trip--so here is some basic information.

We flew into Charles de Gaulle airport and on the advice of travel guru, Rick Steves, we took a taxi (50 Euros) to our hotel. Given the fact that there are about two escalators in the entire city of Paris, I was happy to pay for a taxi and not schlep luggage up and down a myriad of stairs in and out of metro stations. On our return, also on the advice of Steves, we took Blue Van back to the airport--less expensive (35 Euros with tip) and very reliable.

Use the ATM at the airport for getting Euro's. It is the least expensive way to buy currency. No need to arrive with Euro's at the airport. There is an ATM near the exit doors leading to the taxi stands. You will get the best exchange rate by using ATMs. And I always notify my bank when I am leaving the country so that I don't have any problems using my debit card.

We stayed at the Hotel Relais Bosquet in the darling Rue Cler neighborhood. Loved this hotel and loved this location. It was as if we were returning to our little home in a cozy little neighborhood every night. Of course there are a plethora of great little hotels in perfect little neighborhoods but this was just right for us.

For traveling around Paris we purchased a 7-day Metro card (22 Euros) and got our money's worth out of it. You just need to do the math to make sure it's worth the money (one ticket is 1.60 Euro). If you do this, be sure to bring a copy of a passport-size photo of yourself because you will need it for the card. You can just make a black and white copy of the photo, cut it out and tape it onto the card. I'm not kidding, it is that easy. You can also buy 1, 3, and 5 day Metro cards.

We either walked everywhere or took the Metro (probably why I didn't gain an ounce even though pain au chocolat was eaten daily). Taxis are not easy to get, only found at specific taxi stands and they are expensive.

It is always helpful to have a cheat sheet when you are dealing with a different currency. I print off one from here and then laminate it on a small card that fits in my wallet. It comes in handy when you are trying to figure out purchase prices. Unless you want to pretend (as I sometimes do) that foreign currency isn't real money.

Rick Steves is the travel guide I use most--I like his traveling philosophy (but not his politics which we won't go into here). So I always take one of his books and usually one other book such as Eye Witness, Frommers, or Fodors.

To avoid jet lag going to Europe, I sleep on the flight (after removing my make-up, slathering moisturizer on my face, and brushing my teeth--pretty much mimicking my bedtime routine to fool myself into thinking I'm going to sleep) and then once I arrive I get as much time outdoors as possible and don't go to bed until around 10:00 pm when I take two Tylenol PM, sleep, and wake-up ready to explore.

Still haven't figured out how to beat jet lag on the return home.

Happy traveling!


  1. I"m going to remember theses great tips if I ever get to Paris. You make it sound so easy and fun.

  2. It is easy and fun. You would love it!

  3. So glad to have these tips as reference for our (possible) upcoming trip!