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Paris tips?

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    #16
    @moriond - We'll arrive in Paris via TGV (connecting from Rome) at Gare de Lyon. The apt. is walking distance from there. About Les Cars - our plan was to take that to CDG for our early flight home. Perhaps RER-B is better early in the morning? I'll check on that.

    @ Badger. That's why you bring a son --to carry a day bag, right? ;-) I'll think of you as I journal in Place des Vosges.

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      #17
      Originally posted by TavaPeak View Post
      @moriond - We'll arrive in Paris via TGV (connecting from Rome) at Gare de Lyon. The apt. is walking distance from there. About Les Cars - our plan was to take that to CDG for our early flight home. Perhaps RER-B is better early in the morning? I'll check on that.
      @TavaPeak Sounds as though you've planned well. If you're traveling with luggage, it may be more comfortable to take Les Cars to CDG. I've done both, but I typically try not to carry much when I travel. In your location you may find taking the bus more comfortable. I haven't found problems with morning delays. Wow, TGV from Rome!

      Have a great trip!

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        #18
        I found the 11th had a real buzz to it when I was there last year. Lots of interesting restaurants and bars that break away from the traditional French forms. Le Chateaubriand, which was very hot (on the San Pellegrino top 50 list, whatever that means) takes walk-ins in the late evening. If you want to try it, be prepared to queue (I noticed the queue forming from about 9.15pm).

        At the other end of the spectrum, I think no "first" visit to Paris is complete without a visit to Saint Germain and St Sulpice on the Left Bank. Lots of interesting little streets, street markets, galleries, booksellers etc, and of course such beautiful, ancient churches. And very classic places like the Brasserie Lipp are worth considering. Some may see them as cliched but I still think they are a part of the fabric of the city (but maybe I just have a soft spot - fond memories of early romantic experiences!) Just don't show up for dinner at 5.30.

        I totally second the value of taking some time to understand French social customs. Even smilingly clumsy attempts at French will make a huge difference.

        For anyone planning to take the TGV anywhere, not even the Western Flyer will fit on the tiny overhead racks. I checked.

        To all those travelling, have a wonderful time!

        Comment


          #19
          Originally posted by bransom View Post
          Oh, and if you haven't read this already: Always, ALWAYS say, "Bonjour," to every shopkeeper, wait person, etc. that you see. And "Au revoir" when you exit. Seriously, when you walk in a shop, YOU make it a point to say, "Bonjour," to each employee you see. If you're an American, it seems weird but it's one of the French social cues that we often miss – leading to many, "Oh, the French are so rude!" stories. No, they're not any more rude than Americans (and possibly quite a bit less); just that there are differences between what we consider polite and what they consider polite.
          This. Absolutely this. Even if you do not speak french well, or at all, take this advice to heart. If you do not speak french, it will be outside of your comfort zone to engage with strangers in this way, but you really will get off on the wrong foot with employees, servers, shopkeepers, if you do not greet them when entering their business. And when leaving, make sure you say goodbye or thank them. I just did a quick google, but this seemed to capture some of the cultural difference in more detail: French Etiquette: (How not to Act Like Such a Tourist).

          Also, spend some time on David Lebovitz's blog David Lebovitz

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            #20
            There is some great advice in this thread already.
            I can only repeat what has been said above multiple times: walk.
            But if you get tired of walking, take a bus. While they can be crowded at peak times, with luck you will be able to find a seat, and unlike the Métro, you can look out the windows and see Paris go by. Note that buses can eat up tickets faster than the metro--so if you are going to be wandering around for a while, you can get a metro/bus/etc ticket which is good for an entire day or several days. (see: ParisVisite ---if the site is in French, click at the top on the British flag and it will switch to English.) Note that I am speaking about the "passe illimité", not the "Paris visite", which also gives you reduced entry to a couple of tourist attractions--I have never had one, and don't think it is worth the extra money, but others might differ.
            In all the public transport, you have to validate your ticket each time you use it and at each transfer. And young people and older men will very often give up their seats for older people, pregnant women, women with children, etc.

            One more tip: sales tax is lower if you get food "to go" (á emporter), and in cafes, the price of a cup of coffee/beverage is lowest standing in the back at the counter, higher sitting inside, and highest sitting outside.

            enjoy!

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              #21
              So, to jump ahead a few years, I am going to be in Paris at the end of a trip to a conference in Toulouse. My dear husband told some of our companion travelers about the catacomb tours, but he just realized that they are booked for months ahead, and we will be there July 6-7. Does anyone know if there are ways to get tickets to things that are booked on their regular websites? Thanks in advance!

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                #22
                Originally posted by lotsobooks View Post
                So, to jump ahead a few years, I am going to be in Paris at the end of a trip to a conference in Toulouse. My dear husband told some of our companion travelers about the catacomb tours, but he just realized that they are booked for months ahead, and we will be there July 6-7. Does anyone know if there are ways to get tickets to things that are booked on their regular websites? Thanks in advance!
                Visit the French and the Paris Office du Tourisme, I expect they have an English version and more tips to get to the most popular attractions.
                Consider a sightseeing bus, boat or walking tour that includes the area where the catacombs are, those tours might have tickets reserved for them, as well.

                Rick Steve website and his European travel, forum members, might have better tips.

                If you already know the hotel you will be in, contact their website with your question. This works especially well, if it is an international chain, where you have status.

                When you arrive, your hotel front desk might have a way to get some tickets, reserved just for them.
                Last edited by backpack; 06-27-2018, 11:40 AM.

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                  #23
                  Originally posted by lotsobooks View Post
                  My dear husband told some of our companion travelers about the catacomb tours, but he just realized that they are booked for months ahead, and we will be there July 6-7. Does anyone know if there are ways to get tickets to things that are booked on their regular websites? Thanks in advance!
                  My family visited the catacombs last May (Homepage The Catacombs: Official website | Catacombes de Paris - Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de la ville de Paris | Paris.fr) without prior tickets; we waited almost two hours in line and were sorely disappointed (even though it was still an experience that I wouldn't miss.) Of course, the visit was also at the end of our week in Paris, so we were more footsore and irritable than normal.

                  Comment


                    #24
                    I'm surprised that you said the Catacomb tours were all sold out on the dates of July 6-7, since I just went to the web site and there were time slots on both these dates. Are you trying to take a large party, like 6 people, all through at the same time? Because, I can find slots for up to 9 people on July 6 starting at 13:00. The earlier times, like 11:00, have only 2 tickets. And generally the late afternoon/early evening slots seem to have lots of openings both on the 6th and 7th.

                    Are you going to a separate web site of a private tour company instead of the web site for Paris museums?
                    I just went to the main Paris Musées site, clicked on the image for the Catacombes, then clicked on the "Réserver" button, then selected the calendar date and used the drop down menu for open times and the second drop down for number of people.
                    Billetterie en ligne - Paris Musées - Les musées de la Ville de Paris

                    I'm on my iPhone (small screen) so I didn't try to change language or links at the top, but there were definitely tickets available for both dates.

                    (I didn't try the site in the post above). BTW, the Denfert-Rochereau Métro stop discussed earlier is close to the Catacombes.

                    HTH

                    moriond

                    Comment


                      #25
                      @moriond, @backpack, @ThomGault So dear husband contacted our hotel. They responded that the English site doesn’t state it, but on the French side, it says that the catacombs are on strike. Although from what @moriond says, maybe that has been resolved. (We did have a chuckle over the entombed people being on strike

                      Thank you all for the tips - some things that I can figure out at home are much more difficult in a language that I, unfortunately, do not speak well.
                      Last edited by lotsobooks; 06-27-2018, 09:39 PM.

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Originally posted by lotsobooks View Post
                        @moriond, @backpack, @ThomGault So dear husband contacted our hotel. They responded that the English site doesn’t state it, but on the French side, it says that the catacombs are on strike. Although from what @moriond says, maybe that has been resolved. (We did have a check left over the entombed people being on strike

                        Thank you all for the tips - some things that I can figure out at home are much more difficult in a language that I, unfortunately, do not speak well.
                        Ah, that explains why there was a note that the people who could not use the tickets for reasons of social difficulties could trade them against other dates up through August 30. (It wasn't clear to me which days were affected -- because generally you can find out when this is happening close to the time of the event.)

                        And, by the way, one of the reasons I mentioned that using "Le Bus Direct" would probably work even when the Métro and rail were on strike, was because it was one of the possibilities of getting to the Airport after attending a conference where a strike began just as the conference ended. (Some hotels have affiliations with individual shuttle services, too.)

                        Do you know whether other museums you're interested in are also affected by the strike?

                        Here's an (older) Trip Advisor web pages with some tips for visiting museums:

                        Paris: Ten Insider Museum Tips

                        (It's from November 2016, so not all of the info may be current)

                        HTH

                        moriond

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Originally posted by lotsobooks View Post
                          @moriond, @backpack, @ThomGault So dear husband contacted our hotel. They responded that the English site doesn’t state it, but on the French side, it says that the catacombs are on strike. Although from what @moriond says, maybe that has been resolved. (We did have a check left over the entombed people being on strike

                          Thank you all for the tips - some things that I can figure out at home are much more difficult in a language that I, unfortunately, do not speak well.
                          Ah, that explains why there was a note that the people who could not use the tickets for reasons of social difficulties could trade them against other dates up through August 30. (It wasn't clear to me which days were affected -- because generally you can find out when this is happening close to the time of the event.)

                          And, by the way, one of the reasons I mentioned that using "Le Bus Direct" would probably work even when the Métro and rail were on strike, was because it was one of the possibilities of getting to the Airport after attending a conference where a strike began just as the conference ended. (Some hotels have affiliations with individual shuttle services, too.)

                          Do you know whether other museums you're interested in are also affected by the strike?

                          Here's an (older) Trip Advisor web pages with some tips for visiting museums:

                          Paris: Ten Insider Museum Tips

                          (It's from November 2016, so not all of the info may be current)

                          HTH

                          moriond

                          Comment


                            #28
                            You have all been so helpful! Another wrinkle has cropped up - we waited too long to get tickets for the TGV, so we are now taking the Inner Cities from Gare d’Austerlitz to Toulouse. Any suggestions on how best to get from CDG to Gare Austerlitz? We arrive CDG at 7:30 am and leave Gare d’Austerlitz at 14:00, if that helps.

                            I see on Google maps that the RER B goes to RER C which will get us close. Is that the best way to go?
                            Last edited by lotsobooks; 06-28-2018, 03:49 PM. Reason: Fixed spelling errors

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Originally posted by lotsobooks View Post
                              You have all been so helpful! Another wrinkle has cropped up - we waited too long to get tickets for the TGV, so we are now taking the Inner Cities from Gare d’Austerlitz to Toulouse. Any suggestions on how best to get from CDG to Gare Austerlitz? We arrive CDG at 7:30 am and leave Gare d’Austerlitz at 14:00, if that helps.

                              I see on Google maps that the RER B goes to RER C which will get us close. Is that the best way to go?
                              This is out of my experience (I've either taken trains from CDG, or pre-planned rail, or else flown between CDG to Toulouse on internal airlines), but I'll point you to what comes up immediately on Google:

                              First, to answer your specific question:

                              Paris CDG Airport (CDG) to Gare d'Austerlitz - 6 ways to travel via train, bus

                              Note that the web page has a specific link to a page with advice for alternative transport options due to the strikes.

                              They also link to a France: Strikes disrupt travel web page

                              There's also a CDG to Toulouse web page:
                              https://www.trainline.eu/train-times...louse-matabiau

                              but I don't think these pages take into account strike schedules.

                              HTH

                              moriond

                              Comment


                                #30
                                We made it to Paris and on to Toulouse. Under Paris tips, we took RER B but could not find RER C, so emerged at the surface right in front of the cathedral de Notre-Dame de Paris, which was a pretty cool way to first see Paris! Then, we faced either a search for RER C or a 2 km walk with luggage - everyone in our group of 7 had 1or 2 rolling bags. We chose the walk in the beautiful atmosphere and weather.

                                We had prepared everyone by saying that all valuables should be in a neck or waist pouch under their clothes. One of our students had a typical US fanny pack instead, which she wore in the front. When the pickpockets descended, she was missing her wallet out of the fanny pack. Soon a couple of teenagers. Came running up saying they had found her wallet in the sidewalk and asking for a reward. They had taken about 50 euros and 20 USD from her wallet. Fortunately, her ATM card was still in there along with a $100 bill hidden in another spot in the wallet. A French couple intervened with the teens but they wouldn’t go away. The couple finally said to give them 1 Euro to make them go away.

                                Lesson #1 - keep valuables hidden under clothes, especially when pulling luggage.
                                Lesson #2 - stick to original plan and find RER C.
                                Lesson #3 - buy tickets to TGV earlier so you can take the bus that goes directly from CDG to the TGV station.
                                Lesson #4 - enjoy the experiences of Paris, like the crepes and Orgina we had while waiting for the Intercities train.

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