“What? A guided tour??? Really, Cassie? I don’t want to follow someone around Paris for three hours. Plus, we have already visited these places.” These were the words I heard from my husband as we shared breakfast at Paul on our second day in Paris. To be honest, I knew I was taking a risk. My husband is super smart. He has also been to Paris double the number of times I have and thinks he IS a tour guide. Yes, it is true, my husband has done a pretty good job showing me around my favorite city. But I was eager to learn more. I threw the question into Twitterland and many of my Paris experts suggested Oui Paris Tours. I checked them out on TripAdvisor and found that they had stellar reviews. I had found my tour guides!
From the moment that I received my first communication with Tyler, I knew I made the right decision. He was eager to find out what my husband and I wanted to see. They offer group tours in specific areas of Paris and the private guided tours that I wanted. I told Tyler that we had been to Paris several times and I really wanted to explore it a little deeper. I booked our date and time and confirmed the address where they would pick us up. Tyler let me know that Linda, his partner, would be our guide.
Linda arrived at our apartment as planned. We hit it off with her immediately! She went over where and what we were going to see and asked if there was anything special we really wanted to do. As we started off, she told us a little bit about herself and how a young American girl ends up giving tours in Paris. She led the way to Notre Dame telling us stories along the way about Paris history. Her knowledge of not only Paris but of European history was tested by my husband early in the tour. We had started this trip to France in Versailles and had seen a painting of an obscure Polish royal. He mentioned it to Linda and not only did she know exactly who she was…she went told us an in-depth story of how she even became royalty to begin with. The “hubs” was impressed. It was these detailed facts that made sights we had already seen in Paris incredibly interesting and exactly what I had hoped the tour would teach me.
We proceeded along the Seine and we got onto the subject of pastries. That wasn’t that hard, right? We decided to take a coffee break at Café Marly and made our way through the Tuileries towards Place de la Concorde. Our three hours went by so fast. We were fascinated by all of Linda’s knowledge and before we knew it, we were standing in front of the patisserie that I had mentioned to her earlier. She remembered and decided that this was the perfect end to our time together. She made sure we knew how to find our way back to the apartment and we snapped a picture together for the photo album.
We have been back almost two weeks and I have heard my husband repeating many of Linda’s facts about Paris. He loved it! I learned more in those three hours than I would have in three months of a European history class. I’m so glad I took the risk!
Full Disclosure: I paid for this tour!read more
September and October are definitely the MOST fashionable months to be in Paris. The Parisiennes are back from summer holidays and still have their sunny glow. Paris is warm with cool evenings so you don’t need to bundle up quite yet. The city gets all gussied up as the world’s most fashionable people descend into Paris for Fashion Week. The shops are stocked with the latest fashions. Parties are going on just about every night. It is an electric time to be in Paris.
Besides the fashion shows that run early in October, there are many ways to take part in . Here are our choices to get you fashion fix this fall:
Vogue’s Fashion Night Out Book your airplane tonight because this event happens September 6th. Okay, you can’t make it to Paris that fast…check the website for events happening all over the US and feel very en vogue.
Chloe. Attitudes Chloe. Attitudes is the first exhibition dedicated to the 60 year old fashion house. It takes place at Palais de Tokyo and runs September 29 – November 18.
La Nuit Blanche The White Night happens on October 6th. And, although it is centered around art, it is right at the end of Fashion Week. It is guaranteed to be filled with the glamaratti. What is it? A night where numerous museums, galleries, city halls and swimming pools will stay open all night. There will be special exhibits, concerts and parties.
Centre Commercial My fashion sources tell me that this store is the newest, hippest and not to be missed. I have added it to my list.
Garance Dore Speaking of fashion sources…I am 99% sure that Ms. Dore will be in Paris capturing the fashionistas during fashion week. If you cannot make it to Paris in early October, check in with her site daily to see all of the amazing pictures. Totally inspiring.
Jennifer Lopez She isn’t French but she sure is a fashion powerhouse and she will be in concert on October 16th at the Paris Bercy. Break out the sequin dress and high heels.
Mademoiselle Fashionista We love Paris fashion and have a board dedicated to it on Pinterest. At the very least, you can sample what we think Paris fashion embodies.
All of this sounds exciting, oui? Grab an extra suitcase (you’ll need it for the shopping) and book your Paris vacation rental today. We still have a few properties available through September and October. Have you ever attended Fashion Week in Paris? We’d love to hear about it. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org more
If your heaven is a warehouse full of chocolate, look no further than the Paris Salon Du Chocolat. From the moment you walk through the door, every turn you take you are surrounded by every imaginable variety of chocolate treat. Shoes, dresses, and sculptures of chocolate in every color abound, and Bolivian dancers bring the cocoa-harvesting culture to life. Take in a chocolate cooking class, or simply wander through hundreds of booths and collect free samples.
The festival, hosted in Porte de Versailles convention center on Metro Line 12 is open from October 31st-November 4th 2012. The enormous convention space transforms in to aisles and aisles of chocolate vendors and craftsmen displaying their creativity and talent. Tickets are available online or at the door of the exhibit, and are 13 Euros for adults (6 Euros for children under 12)
Lisa Gabrielson is a current undergraduate student at American University in Washington, DC. Before attending college, she spent a gap year abroad as an Au Pair and fell in love with Paris. When she’s not in the classroom or daydreaming about the city of light, she can be found sailing for the university sailing team or working as President of her sorority, Sigma Delta Tau. You can find Lisa on Twitter @Lisa79read more
As summer comes to an end, we are reminded that fall in Paris is filled with excitement. Cooler weather, the Parisians are rested, Fashion Week and art…a lot of art! Here are our top choices of art exhibits for the rest of 2012. One a month, from September to December. Plan your trip now!
Travel to Paris and learn about China!
The Seductions of the Palace, Eating and Cooking in China
This exhibit will showcase Chinese cooking and dining traditions in Chinese history through 100 works from the National Museum of China, presented for the first time outside of China. www.quaibranly.fr
If you are a fashionista, you are crazy to come to Paris and not see the Louis Vuitton/Marc Jacobs exhibit. Take note: It ends on October 4th (just as Fashion Week closes). You are bound to see Paris’ finest ladies and gentleman in it’s closing days.
Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs
Presenting the history of fashion icons Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs, this exhibit will showcase both of their creations in terms of chronology, analyzing fashion trends during industrialization and leading up globalization, while showcasing how fashion techniques and the industry have changed over the years. www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr
Often times you spend hours looking at framed paintings in Paris. We love this exhibit that features everything else.
Trompe-l’oeil: Imitations, Pastiches and Other Illusions
Four hundred rarely displayed objects are on display, depicting different forms of optical illusions, from furniture to mirrors to clothing, etc. www.new-paris-ile-de-france.co.uk
In September we took you to China, now go to Rome…
Paris may be the city of light, but it is also arguably the cuisine capital of the world. Of course, with the incredible edibles also comes the unbelievable price tag. While restaurants like Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower, Guy Savoy near the Champs Élysées, or Restaurant Lasserre may serve up some of the best food, the prices put them far out of reach of mere mortals.
Years ago, my mother came across a gem of Parisian cuisine that at first sounds too good to be true, but after a taste of their lobster mac n’ cheese a few years ago I can tell you that it does indeed exist. Bistrot D’Acote Flaubert is one of Paris’ best-kept culinary secrets.
Right around the corner from Michele Rostang, one of Paris’ priciest spots, the Bistrot sits in quiet obscurity. Those who choose to forgo the golden doors of Michele Rostang and instead venture into Bistrot D’Acote, owned by the same family, are in for an experience like no other. The charmingly small bistro, with its collection of beer steins and Michelin Tire Co. artifacts (a nod to the coveted restaurant grading system), is the last place you would expect to have a mind-blowing dinner. Yet, the fact that the Bistrot shares its kitchen with Michele Rostang is a good indicator of what is to come.
Between their Gratin de Penne et Crème de Homard (my favorite) and their rotisserie veal for two, you’ll be lucky if you have room for their out-of-this-world Petits Pots De Crème. Perhaps the most satisfying part of the meal, however, is the after-dinner stroll down the block to see the posted menu of Michele Rostang, and noticing your 30 Eur. Entrée et Plat would barely get you a glass of wine there.
The Bistrot was recently featured as a set in the movie “Sarah’s Key”, but on our last visit still seemed blissfully undiscovered. Even so, reservations here are a must on the weekends, and the Bistrot is only open certain days during the week for lunch or dinner, so be sure to check before you go! Reservations can be made through opentable.com or by visiting the restaurant’s website: http://www.bistrotflaubert.com/
Bistrot D’Acote Flaubert
10 Rue Gustave Flaubert
75017 Paris, France
Lisa Gabrielson is a current undergraduate student at American University in Washington, DC. Before attending college, she spent a gap year abroad as an Au Pair and fell in love with Paris. When she’s not in the classroom or daydreaming about the city of light, she can be found sailing for the university sailing team or working as President of her sorority, Sigma Delta Tau. You can find Lisa on Twitter @Lisa790
My passion for Paris is only overshadowed by one thing…fitness. Many people go on vacation to give their brains a rest and often times to give their bodies a rest. For me, I use a vacation to break out of a fitness rut. I am excited to not only live, eat and sleep like a local, I want to exercise like one, too. I love to choose a running path along the Seine and head out early in the morning before the cars, scooters and taxis create all of the noise. I see a side to Paris that is unique. I also feel that engaging in some extra exercise is a great way to acclimate to the time change and help the body loosen up after the long flights to the France. Here are my top three “traveler friendly” resources for exercising in Paris.
Taking a yoga class after arriving in Paris can be so therapeutic. Not only will you stretch the muscles that ache after the flight but the right class can relax the jet lag right out of you. I stumbled upon Yogateau on Twitter. Martine does a fabulous job of listing the yoga studios, special workshops and events in Paris. She also has an informative section on her website called “Know Before You Go” that will help you feel a little more comfortable about heading into your first Parisian yoga experience.
Obviously, you can just open the door to your apartment and head out for a run. Yet, we found a running club that will make it FUN! Paris Hash House Harriers, The Drinking Club with a Running Problem (sounds fun, right?) has several runs in Paris. Check the calender on their website to see when and where to meet. They usually run off the beaten path and the runs are pretty lengthy (i.e. not for beginners). There is also a 5Euro charge per run.
Many of my fitness friends love to swim. A swimmer is usually fanatical about their workouts. Paris is filled with public swimming pools and for a small entrance fee, you can swim like a local. Our favorite pool is located in the 6th arrondissement and is called Piscine Saint-Germain. You can find the listing of all of the public pools on the Paris.Fr website.
Some of the best memories of Paris are the ones where I put myself in “non-tourist” situations and many of them involved exercise. By the way, if you can pack a tiny camera in your running gear, you will capture some amazing early morning pictures.read more
We stumbled across this video on YouTube and remembered that it was one of the most fun things to watch while we were in Paris. Pari Roller is the association in Paris that organizes the group skates. Every Friday night (unless it is raining) a large group gathers at a predetermined location and they start skating. There are a few things that you see in this video that stand out…
1. They have the support of the Paris police! They police block off the course so that they skaters are somewhat safe. Amazing!
2. This video was shot at 10:05 pm and it is still light (it was shot in June). They skate until 1:00 am.
3. There are many families skating.
4. Some people are in costumes!
Pari Roller provides some pretty detailed guidelines on their website. If you decide to join in on the fun, make sure to follow them. It is definitely a great way to people watch and take in some of the local Paris flavor! If you Rollerblade on your next trip to Paris, send us a picture or video so that we can share it with the CobbleStay Community. Have fun and be safe!read more
Guest Post by Daniella Carrese
La Ville-Lumière. The City of Light, Paris got its nickname from all the lights that illuminate the night sky. During the evening in Paris, the streets light up with the lamp posts and lights from around. All the lights make the city seem as if it is always awake. Along the Seine, there are beautiful lights that seem as though they have been there forever. Due to the lights, you can take a nice stroll along the river at night. Looking down from the Eiffel Tower in the evening is magical. The streets are light up beautifully. Along the Champs Elyseès the trees are strung with lights that make the night seem as if it day. Although you cannot see the stars in Paris, due to all the light pollution, the sky is normally covered with a navy blue blanket. The city dies down a bit, but there are still a number of things to do during the evening.
You can take a tour of the Seine and explore all of its canals at night. You can visit the Moulin Rouge. The Moulin Rouge is a cabaret and music hall, built in 1889 by Joseph Oller this building has seen many stars including Edith Piaf and Frank Sinatra. Today it is still used, there is a nighttime cabaret show. You can see shows at this historic concert hall at most times of the day. Le Procope is Paris’ oldest cafe that was established in 1686. Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Hemingway and Picasso were some of the few who regularly ate at this establishment. Closing at 11:30, this cafe is a great place to hangout for the night. Walking around the streets near your Paris vacation rental is a great way to get a feel of the city and what it is actually like all the time.
To read more from Daniella, click “here“
For even more tips and tricks to make Paris travel easier, ask for our “Insider’s Guide to Paris”!
We are thrilled to announce that we have a five part “Insider’s Guide to Paris” that we would like to share with you.
It will give you loads of advice on where to stay in Paris, how to get around the city,
our tips on where to find the best food and of course, our insider secrets onthe most romantic things to do in Paris.
Are you ready to become a Paris Insider?
A guest post by Matt Davids
As a city, Paris is notorious in terms of traffic and holds a reputation as one of the toughest cities to drive around in Europe. This is often typical of such historic cities and it more than makes up for this by providing a decent underground train network (Metro), as well as wide pavements for walking, cycling and roller-skating, and plenty of excuses to want to take your time and explore on foot.
There are several approaches to walking around Paris that are dependent on the type of traveller you are. For experienced visitors to the city, you can use your prior knowledge, French skills and the handy help of the many metro stations nearby to figure out where you are. Ambling along in this way, without a specific map helps facilitate the discovery of new side streets and shortcuts and travelling on a whim, guided by a loose sense of knowing where you’re going, and the many distractive sights, sounds and smells along the way.
For those less experienced, there are plenty of maps both print and online to help you get around and perhaps plan your route before you leave. Furthermore, booking an escorted tour is an excellent option if you’re a newbie to Paris or want to supplement previous trips with a little extra knowledge. These can be themed as well, so if you’re interested in a certain period of French history such as the French Revolution or WWll then go for one of these options.
Great locations around Paris for ambling around:
Due to its layout, with the Seine winding its way from East to West, a standard walking route can take in all the most famous parts of Paris, either as an action packed morning, or stretched out leisurely throughout the day, with walking time between 3 and 4 hours a good guide. For a few suggestions, or a less demanding stroll, the following areas are great places to focus:
The Marais is a district in Paris very much a part of the city’s history. Full of buildings that were built by Parisian aristocrats as well as many dating back to the 16th century, it has an amazing historic feel as well as fashionable restaurants and a strong art scene. These buildings, as well as immaculately kept outdoor areas make this one of the most expensive places in Paris to live, and it is conveniently close to many museums, including the Carnavalet Museum which reveals the history of Paris.
The Montmartre District is another area that is well represented by the art scene. Spending a few hours strolling around the Place du Tertre which is a square where artists paint and sell their works is delightful, and there is also the Montmartre Cemetery which is a popular tourist attraction and the resting place of famous artists. There’s also the Moulin Rouge, a cabaret that needs no introduction.
For an authentic cultural experience, the Bouquinistes along the river Seine are stands that sell books, photos and various other unique souvenirs for tourists, that having been around since the 16th century consequently offer an authentic location for purchasing a little something to take home. Hours can be whiled away strolling amongst these with the River Seine as your backdrop, conveniently located in the Latin District which is home to Notre Dame, has a strong student presence and many winding, charming streets.
To orientate yourself generally with Paris, then make your way to the square in front of the Notre Dame, which has a bronze plaque which represents the point to which all distances in France are measured. From here, the Eiffel Tower is to the West and the Place de la Bastille, a square where the July Column stands lies to the East. Zigzagging between these two points will take you across Paris, allowing you to see the Louvre, Notre Dame, Champs Elysees, Parc du Champ de Mars, Parc Luxembourg and many other tourist sites, whilst discovering the little hidden delights along the way that you would miss on the Metro or tour bus.
About our guest blogger:
Matt is a frequent traveller who has just returned from travelling round the world. He plans this summer to explore much of Europe, starting in Paris and finishing with his Greece holidays.
We love to have posts written by our CobbleStay guests and other travel experts. Feel free to share your insights about Paris and travel with us. You can send your ideas to Cassie at Community@CobbleStay.com