Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:45 pm Post subject: Paris in January
My sweetheart and I will be visiting Paris for the first time in January (in fact this will be my first trip to Europe!) We will be staying in the 17e arondissement and will be taking in as much of the city as we possibly can in 8 days. I have 2 questions: What should I pack? (I'm coming from Canada so winter for me is -30 so when someone says dress warm I dress like the abomidable snow woman!) The other question is that we wil be celebrating 3 years together and I want a traditional parisian experience (not nessesarily a posh restaurant but something truely Paris) any suggestions? Thanks all....love this forum!
I'm also a Canadian originally, currently living and studying in Brittany. There will probably be other people who'll give you better, more detailed information on Paris, but I'll do my best.
Weather-wise, Paris doesn't get nearly as cold as most parts of Canada do, but it's not exactly tropical either. Also, it's pretty windy. So dress warm-ish. And bring an umbrella because it'll probably rain.
You're fortunate to be going in January. There will still be lots of tourists (I don't think there's any season that's not tourist season in Paris), but there will be considerably less than in the summer.
As for your second question, I really liked the Quartier Latin (5e arrondissement). On the north end, by to the Seine, there are a lot of restaurants that cater to tourists, so those would be good choices particularly if you don't speak French. Some of them can be pretty good, actually, with prix-fixe menus at 10 or 15 -- you'll get a starter, main, and dessert with that. But I liked the southern bit of the Quartier Latin better. Get off at the métro station Place Monge and walk west, there are tons of small streets with lovely restaurants and boutiques.
A lot of North Americans have been brainwashed by the media to believe that all Parisians dine in restaurants while being serenaded by accordion music and served by friendly waiters wearing black berets. This isn't actually what most of Paris is really like. If this is the experience you're looking for, I'd recommend checking out the really posh, touristy restaurants. Posh restaurants are mostly in the 1st and 2nd arrondissements, near the Place de la Concorde and the Place Vendôme.
If you like crêpes, I'd recommend the Cluny area. You should also try some Parisian specialties, like steak frites and croques. Those you can get at most bistros.
I'd also take some walks in the area you're staying. You're pretty close to Montmartre, which has a pretty funky nightlife with cozy cafés and bars.
That's pretty much all I can recommend. . .I'm sure there's lots more. You can find fabulous restaurants in every arrondissement, I'm sure, but these are the areas I've spent a lot of time in. Really, the best thing to do when you have some free time is to just put on some really comfy shoes and get lost, and have fun and be open-minded.
PS - if you have any questions about specific places to visit or anything like that, feel free to PM me! _________________ I have nothing to declare except my genius.
Even in January, Paris may be a fabulous experience!
Just one idea for a perfect Sunday morning.
Wake up not too late (let'say around and check if the sky is blue and sunny.
If it is a beautiful romantic day, go to Champs Elysees and get a breakfast in Laduree.
Then, walk to Place de la Concorde, jardin des Tuileries, Louvres...
Believe me, after that, you will never forget Paris!
Remember that inside all the stores it will be unbearably hot (they are all overheated) so you will need to have a coat that you can be warm in outside, but take off to have a light layer on for the heat inside.
I try not to use an umbrella as there is never enough room in Paris. A coat with a hood is better. Umbrellas are good for when you are walking in the parks in the rain.
Laduree is expensive. Beautiful, but not in most people's budget.
I would go for one of the small cafes, bistros or even a tabac and have breakfast there. It will be more authentic.
The best creperie in Paris is on rue Lepic in Montmartre. It is called Lepic Assiette. Fabulous food and the staff are friendly and welcoming.
The Marais is the best place for falafels. go to rue de Rosiers and you will eat the best falafels ever.
There is a fabulous restaurant in the 17th near Place de Clichy. Bookings are essential, but they do speak english so you can phone ahead without fear of not being understood. It is Le Bouclard. phone 01 45 22 60 01. The menu is traditional french and is absolutely superb.
Enjoy! _________________ If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
Joined: 22 Oct 2006 Posts: 296 Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 4:18 pm Post subject:
Definitely agree with Debbie about Laduree. The pastries are gorgeous, but they are pricey and the service in the salon de the can be very snotty! I prefer just buying the macarons to take away... Bakeries are also great places for breakfast - a lot of them will make you coffee and even have places to sit (even if it's just stools at a counter). If it's tea and cakes you're looking for, my top tip is a place in the Marais (3 rue des Rosiers) called Le Loir dans le Theiere ('the dormouse in the teapot'!). Great teas, generous portions of delicious tarts and cakes, and very friendly and relaxed service. And the Marais is a great place to just wander around...
If you're after a traditional bistro meal, you can't do better than Chez Michel. You do need to reserve (it's popular, and for good reason) and it's a little out of the way (near the Gare du Nord) but I highly, highly recommend it.
And other things... since this is your first trip to Paris, I'd recommend a boat trip on the Seine. There are several bateau-mouche companies, some better than others, and the one I've tried and liked is called Les Vedettes du Pont Neuf (the boats go from the western tip of the Ile de la Cite, just below the Pont Neuf). And try to go at night - Paris during the day is rather grey, but at night it's pure enchantment. If you're planning to hit the museums, it's worth knowing that several of the big ones are open late (Louvre: Monday and Wednesday to 9.45, Orsay: Thursday to 9.45, Orangerie: Friday to 9 and Centre Pompidou: every day but Tuesday to 9) and if you go in the evening, they are MUCH less crowded!
Oh, and... January is the month of the big sales! Happy shopping!
Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:19 pm Post subject: Thanks for all the info
Thank you to everyone who has responded, I am going to make myself a little notebook with all your suggestions for the perfect Paris day. We both speak French fluently and I am very much looking forward to speaking "français comme il faut". When we return I will be certain to update you all on all of our favourite Paris moments! Now I'm off to find a pair of comfortable AND stylish walking boots (which is no small feat here in the land of snow and ice!)
A safe and happy holiday to all! (and keep the suggestions coming!)
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