Top 5 Things to Do

1. Eiffel Tower – For the best view, take the subway to Trocodero.  There are many metro stops you can take to the Eiffel Tower, but this one is great for taking pictures.  Give yourself some time because the lines are usually long.  Check opening times and try to get there as early as possible.  There are different prices depending on how high you want to go.  Picture:  View from Trocodero at night.

2. Sacre Coeur (Montmarte) –  It’s a long way up to Sacre Coeur but the view over Paris is excellent.  I have never been in the basilica, but I imagine it’s impressive.  When you are at the top facing the view of Paris, head toward your right to find yourself in a cute little artist area of town. Picture: Måns and Heather at Sacre-Coeur

3. Louvre – The Louvre is huge.  You will not see it all in one day.  Pick a section and don’t get worn out.  Picture: Louvre

4. Notre-Dame – If I remember correctly, you can go inside to look around for free if you are not interested in taking a guided tour.  While the front of the building is the famous view, don’t forget to check out the back.  It’s very pretty.  Check it out while you are on your way over to the next island to eat your ice cream at Berthillon.  Picture: Back of Notre Dame

5. Disneyland Paris – There is a train you can take to get here.  It doesn’t take long at all.  Disneyland Paris is the EXACT same park as in Florida.  You will get very confused except that they keep calling Mickey Mouse “Mické.”  The park is less crowded and a bit cheaper!  We really enjoyed it.    Picture:  Me at Disneyland Paris.


Restaurants

My 2 top recommendations in Paris are Fondue and Ice cream.  Fondue is served many places, but the ice cream…….  there is only one place and it’s worth the airfare for that ice cream alone, even if you have to live under a bridge.  This is Berthillon.  Now you may see signs for this ice cream in other shops, but you must visit the one at 29-31 rue saint Louis en I’ile.  If I am not mistaken, the ice cream is freshly made with natural ingredients so there are different flavors every day.  And it actually tastes exactly like whatever the flavor is.  Best ice cream I’ve ever had.  A great time to go would be after visiting Notre-Dame.  It is located on the next small island.

http://www.berthillon.fr/mag/fr/page-112620.htm

If you are missing the states, you can try “Breakfast in America” located near metro station Cardinal Lemoine.  It’s made to look like an American style diner and you can get some food that you’ve been missing.  I also read they serve lunch but I’ve only been here for breakfast.

http://www.breakfast-in-america.com/main/

 

Where to Stay

First of all, I would recommend using Priceline.com’s “Name Your Own Price” option for Paris. We have never gone wrong with this.  I have checked the map and I feel that everything in the city is probably a fine choice.  Don’t pick the area a little further out from the city.  You will take too much time travelling that way.  With Paris, I would start at 70 dollars per night in the hopes that you might get lucky and slowly work your way up to 100.  If you are there in a low season, you might be surprised at what you can get.  The catch with Priceline is that your card is automatically charged and you can’t change your reservation.  We have used Priceline 3 or 4 times and have never had any problems.  Also, when you are trying “Name Your Price,” you only get one try per credit card every 24 hours.  Our trick was to use more than one credit card.

If you are looking at areas to stay in Paris, I would suggest the Latin Quarter or Montmarte.  There are many nice areas, but I happen to enjoy these two.

Again, I really recommend Priceline, but if you insist on staying somewhere extremely cheap (I still think you can get a similar price for something nice on Priceline) then the Hotel de Nevers is quite charming.  It’s located near Republique which seems to be a fine area.  It’s about 2 blocks from a Metro station.  The staff is incredibly helpful and there are a number of cats living in the hotel.  The hotel is not fancy at all and you really should try to request a room WITH a bathroom.  The walls are paper thin, just a warning.

 

Paris

Paris is huge.  Don’t expect to see everything the first time.  It’s a great place with plenty to do.  Be sure to learn a few simple French phrases to start off your conversations with before switching to English.  It is much appreciated.  Also, in my opinion, Paris is one of the most friendly cities we have been.  People are often happy to help with directions.  If you are polite, you will probably be treated the same.