Good Spots In Paris

To content | To menu | To search

Thursday, July 30 2009

A piece of Brittany

Gwen ha du As I told you recently : I'm going to Brittany in august ! And as I love this place I'm making a blog post out of it (sorry dudes, one more post not directly related to Paris but France...and a little bit to Ireland to as you'll see ;) )

So, first of all : where the hell is Brittanny ? It's in France, west coast (and even if it's "west coast" it's not exactly like LA :) !). On the map below it's the brown/red part surrounded with water ("La manche" on the North shore, which keeps GB apart from the rest of Europe, and the Atlantic Ocean on the South, which separates Europe from...America). There is a red part and brown parts because I wanted to be a little more precise about where I'm going : I'm going in the red part (I know : you had already guessed). This red part is called "Cote d'Armor" and even if the whole Brittany is historically a Celtic nation I like to think that this part is even more Celtic than the rest :)

Cote d'armor (as usual, Paris is more or less in the center of the green dot)

If you don't know anything about the Celtic nation I can give you some keywords to google : Ireland, St Patrick, and Celts ;) (here's the link with Ireland I was talking about at the beginning of this blog post ;) ). Every year in Brittany there is a big meeting where Celts from all over the world gather (Ireland, Brittany, North coast of Spain, ...) and it's definitely worth it...but I'm not going to see it in august ;) (Gotcha here, right ;) ?! You really thought I was going to say something like "and I'm going to see it :p" ?!). In fact in august I'll sail (Brittany is a great great great place to sail, even if it's considered like not an easy place to sail), and I'll rest (a lot !).

I could go on for hundreds of line about Brittany (for example : where in Paris are living people who immigrated from Brittany, or what they drink in Brittany, and so on and so forth), but I'll keep my others ideas for subsequent blog post :) ! So I'll conclude and hope that reading this blog post made you wish to learn a bit more about this cool place (or maybe about the relationships between Ireland and this part of France ? Or maybe about their great greasy cooking and where you can find some in Paris ;) ?)

PS : oh, by the way, the little black&white flag at the very top of this blog post is called "Gwen ha du" and it's the flag of Brittany.

Sunday, July 26 2009

Little trips to come

I think I've never talked to you about anywhere else in France then Paris, right ? I did talked to you about the main train stations in the town, but not quite about where you can go from there, and I think it's the right time to do so :) For this first "out of Paris" post I won't go very far as I'll stick to France (no Europe overview yet ;) ), so don't be too afraid to get lost ;)

Vendee - Region of France The first place I'll introduce : Vendée. "Vendée" is a costal region of the West of France you can see in red on the map beside (Paris being in the middle of the green dot, if you've forgotten). The two main reasons you would want to go there (in my opinion) are : historical monuments and beaches.

In fact, those are two of the reasons I'm going to spend a weekend there next week :) !!! Me and 3 friends of mine are leaving Paris (by car) at around 6pm, and should arrive there before midnight to be ready to enjoy the "puy du fou" and the beaches for the whole weekend ! I know, you're wondering what the "puy du fou" is, don't worry I'll explain : it's kind of a park which theme is the history of this region of France, so if you like middle-age, kings, knights, vikings, and peons, you'd like to go there (sometimes it's cool to live in an old country ;) ! ). After a whole day at the "puy du fou", we'll spend the second one at the beach I think, and we'll then drive back to Paris before the end of the weekend :)

Vendee - What I'll see there

It will definitely be a busy weekend, and I'll have to really get motivated to wake up on the following monday and go to work but it'll be cool to have a "beach break" with friends :) ...and after all it's not going to be my "real" holidays : I'm going to a special place of Brittany in august for 5 days, and to a town in the south of France for 3 days...but that's other stories (soon to come on this blog ;) )

Saturday, July 18 2009

14th of July

French Flag Yeap, you read it correctly : it's the fourteenth of July I'm going to talk about, not the fourth of july, and even if we're the 18th. Why ? Because the 14th of July is an important day in France. In fact it's the French national holiday (funny it's so close to the US one right ;) ?)

So, what happens in France in the 14th of July (which was last week) ? First of all : we do not work :D As this year the 14th was a Tuesday I let you guess how many French people decided to go on vacations "only Monday" ;) ... : this Monday we were only two at work (in a team of twelve). Second thing that happens every 14th of July : a Firework :) !

I know all this may sound a little bit like "it's a national holiday, end of story"...but hey, I can't do anything about it lol ! One more thing that happens every 14th of July : military parades ! That's something you can't miss if you ever end up being in France a 14th of July. By the way if you're in Paris and you planed to go on the "Champs Elysées" (most famous avenue in Paris[1]) try not to plan it for a 14th of July : that's were the parade takes place so no shopping's possible ;)

Last big event taking place the 14th of July : "Le bal des pompiers" (i don't know any translation for that). It's basically a ball that's organized by firemen (usually one ball per firemen station) for "everyday people" (nothing formal :) ). If I translate it word by word it's "firemen's ball" :) Usually young ladies like to go and have a dance or two there because firemen have quite a lot of muscles (true story), and young men like to go there two because...ladies are there :) !! So in the end a lot of different people go and have a dance or two there, it's quite a friendly atmosphere :) !

Well...that's it. We've seen the biggest events happening the 14th of July in France :) ....Oh no ! I almost forgot one : there's usually a big concert around the Eiffel Tower in Paris, just a couple of hours before the beginning of the firework. This year it was a concert by "Johny Hallyday", whom you can't have heard about if you're not French, or at least European, but it's a big big big star here in France (even if I must confess he's a little old fashioned and I'm really not a big fan...).

And to conclude : If you want to know what we celebrate the 14th of July go check wikipedia, I'm not in the mood for telling you that ! Just kidding lolllll : long story short we celebrate a storming battle around a fortress-prison (called "La Bastille") during revolution (18th century), which in the end allowed France to switch from monarchy to republic[2].

Notes

[1] It's in the middle of the green area of this map

[2] As you can see, I'm not always in the mood for History lol. Sorry about that.

Sunday, June 14 2009

Guinness Tavern

Tavern My favorite beers are definitely Guinness, and I don't know for others country but, sadly, here in France not every bar serves Guinness. Anyway don't worry anymore (if you ever started to ;) ) I'll give you the address of one of my favorite places to drink Guinness in Paris, and it's called : the Guinness Tavern !

It's a nice pub in the center of Paris where you can drink Guinness (as well as 14 other beers) and listen to music (usually played by a live band !!!). The musical style is definitely "rock" from the 60's to nowadays so you may end up singing out loud with the bands because you know all the songs ;)

Well, I know their website looks a "little" messy but make no mistake : the pub itself is spick and span, and this website is useful as you'll find there which bands are planned when, the dates of their next "special theme nights" and, of course, their address :

31, rue des Lombards
Metro Chatelet RER Les Halles
75001 PARIS

Monday, June 8 2009

The bar you may be looking for

Black Dog I've already talked about a bar I like, but I realized only this morning that one bar is very few (especially as my blog's entitled "Good Spots in Paris" ;) ). So here goes a new little article to introduce you to a special bar I've spent some months to find : a bar where you can listen to metal music !

This bar is the "Black Dog" (I did not translate its name from French, it's really called the "Black Dog" ). In fact the "Black Dog" is a bar AND a restaurant. The "Black Dog" is quite well known in Paris (at least from people who listen to such bands as "Dimmu-borgir", "Children of bodom", or even "Mettalica") so if you get lost searching for it there are quite good odds that asking to people passing by gets you back on track ;)

The bar has a decent amount of beers, but that's not the most important as they serve beverages I used to find only in my world favorite bar which is not in Paris (if you wanna know everything it's the "Troll Farceur" in the city of Rennes, West of France) :

  • Moretum/Hypocras
  • Hydromel
  • Chouchen (even if they write it "Souchen" on their menu)

If you have never drunk any of those, you should definitely try them out ! Of course they also have more common drinks ( "White Russian", "Mojito", "Irish Coffee", Vodka, Tequilla, and so forth and so on ;) )

Regarding the restaurant they have at least one VERY well known dish : "Tant Pis Si j'en Crève" (which I'll have difficulties to translate but should sound a bit like "Hell if I die from it!"), it's basically a ONE KILO piece of meat (35.27 oz). In the same spirit they also serve the "Levrette" (this one is easy to translate : "Doggy style") which is a "light" version of the "Tant Pis Si j'en Crève" as it's only 400g (14oz). As you should have guessed now : their specialties are based on meet (their cuisine is inspired both from Argentina and France).

With this article I hope I saved the trouble I had finding this kind of places in Paris to some of you...and to make the odds a bit higher here's the addres :

26, Rue des Lombards
75004 Paris
Subway station : Châtelet / Les Halles

Friday, June 5 2009

Hotels in Paris

Hotel As I promised : here's a little post about how much a hotel may cost you if you plan a trip to Paris :) You'll see the cheapest ones (and were you should avoid going anyway), the average ones (which are usually good spots, where you'll have a good quality for the price you pay), and of course a quick tour of the "upper class" hotels without which Paris would not be Paris ;) !

The cheapest

Before I really starts lets make it clear : by "the cheapest" I mean "the cheapest hotels", you can find places where to sleep for fewer bucks, but those are no more hotels but hostels ("backpackers" for our Australian friends ;) ).

In France the most famous brand in the "cheapest hostel" industry is "Formule 1". As it is a famous brand you're sure it's cheap but clean. Only problem : they are "cheap" oriented, and because of the real-estate average price in Paris they have no hotels within the city so you'll have to be around Paris, not in it (no big deal, there are still public transports and others easy ways of reaching the center of the town). So, the price for this : it starts between 38€ ($53) and 48€ ($68) for a night. I checked other cheap hotels, they are in the same range of price (but some are in the inner-city)

To sum it up : A cheap night is worse a little more than 42€ (around $60)

The average

If you plan to go to Paris with your beloved one you might want a bit more than "the cheapest decent hotel in Paris", so let's have a look at what's more average :) I know two major brands for "average" hotels : Ibis, and Mercure (in fact those used to be two different brands but now that's the same big firm...well we don't care, the brands are still here!).

What you need to know is that "Mercure" is upper class then "Ibis". Knowing this you won't be to much surprised when I tell you that you can find Mercure hotels in the very center of Paris, but no Ibis ones (make no mistake : you can find Ibis hotels in Paris, not like Formule1, but they are not located in the very center of it, that's all). As I told you those are average hotels (meaning two and three stars) so they're more expensive than the "cheapest hotels" we just saw earlier (which are barely one star) : count between 60€ ($89) and 90€ ($127) for Ibis, and between 110€ ($155) and 200€ ($283) for Mercure. As a matter of localisation : Mercure can be found everywhere (even in the very center as I told you), and Ibis are everywhere but in the center. Both are usually in cool spots you'd like to hang out :)

To sum it up : An average hotel night is worse 75€ ($106) for a two stars hotel or 150€ ($212) for a three stars one.

The upper class

And now : the upper class ! But let me warn you already. I'll be very brief (and incomplete) on this topic for two reasons :

  • I don't know a lot about those hotels (I'm not that rich :p )
  • It may be a good idea for a future complete post ;)

So, let's just talk about a couple of "upper class" hotels

First the Crillon. Very nice hotel, 770€ ($1090) for a night. To give you an idea of the spirit of this hotel let me tell you that for events such as the return in France of the national soccer team (world champion in 98 :p ) the private party takes place there :)

Then the Georges V, near the Champs Elysés, starting at 730€ for a night.

One I can't skip : "Le Bristol" starting at 750€ for a night

The famous Plaza Athénée, even if they did not dare putting the price on their website (and I did not dare calling to ask ;) )

And now, even if there are many more of them (after all : Paris needs room to supply shelter to the celebrity herd that rush into the town from time to time) I'll stop here. Maybe there'll be more in a coming post ^_^ !

Tuesday, June 2 2009

The price for living in Paris

Key Looking for a flat took quite a lot of my time lately (and it will surely keep taking some in the coming months) and as it really took a LOT of time I posted fewer articles on this blog. Today, as I was still searching for a flat, I realized I could make blog post out of my search :) ! After all, when I look for a flat I definitely go for a walk in the neighborhood (even if I've been living for more than 20 years in Paris there are still some area I barely know) and that would make quite a good post topic, don't you think ?

For this first article about buying a flat in Paris I won't do a specific neighborhood review but I'll just start drawing the big picture. First figure : the average price for a meter square in Paris is 6360€ (which is $833 per sqf). As a comparison :

  • in New-York City it's $1193/sqf
  • in Miami it's...$132/sqf !!! Damn, I've always believed it was a super expensive city O_O
  • Los Angeles is $251/sqf
  • San Francisco is $510/sqf

(all figures for the USA are from here )

Of course this average price includes areas in Paris where I will never ever accept to live (North East of Paris mainly). If we now take a more targeted look the average price in the areas I'd like to live are between 7000€ and 8000€ per meter square (which are $917/sqf and $1048/sqf)...and believe me : it's not the most expensive areas :( (just for fun let me tell you the average price for the center of Paris : 11830€/m² in the area of "Odéon" ...it's $1549/sqf ...more than 10 times the Miam price :( )

So, what's the conclusion of all this :

  • Living in Paris is very expensive, but don't worry : I know that only very few of you may consider buying a flat in Paris someday, so I'll make a blog post about the price of hostels soon, and the next posts of this serie are definitely going to talk about the spirit of neighborhoods more than about their precise prices ;)
  • I'm not rich enough to buy a decent flat, and as any penny is good to take I added a new ad spot in the left sidebar of my site using this ad network. Who knows, I may earn enough bucks to buy me a coffe some day (if it ever happens I'll let you know ^_^ !)

- page 1 of 2