Good Spots In Paris

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Wednesday, May 13 2009

An original meal idea

Cruise + Lunch While I was just hanging around in the city this afternoon I stumbled upon a guy, dressed as a sailor, standing on a bridge over the Seine, handing flyers away to people passing by (just like me). I read the flyer, found it quite interesting, and therefore decided I would make a blog post out of it :) ! So here goes a blog post for the sailor dressed up guy ;) !

25€

Yeap...25€ :) (something like 33,5us$)

25€ was the reason I found the whole thing interesting :) I guess you must now be wondering "what the hell is he talking about ?", so here's the simple answer : this guy was advertising for a brand new service in Paris which cost 25€. It's a new fly boat called "Paris en Scene" (I won't even try to translate that ^_^) on which you can have a cruise+meal for 25€ !!! It's damn cheap ! Usually if you want to eat on a boat cruising the Seine it will cost you at least something like 75€ (100us$)

Well, of course for 25€ you won't have any expensive French Cuisine (which you have on the usual 75€ boats), here it's more like a fast food thing, but hey it's cool anyway ! Here's how you should see it : cruising on the river Seine is at leat 15€ (20us$), a fast food lunch (drinks included) is a bit under 10€ (13,4us$), you make the addition : quick meal+cruising = 25€ :) ! As simple as that. I think it's crazy no one had thought about starting such a business before :) !!

Moreover the setting of the boat is special. Usually, when you're on your seat, you face the ahead direction of the boat but on this boat the seats are directed toward the sides. With such a setting when you seat and watch straight ahead you see the city whereas on usual boats you would have to turn your head right and/or left to see anything else than the river. I'm sure this is very comfortable when you're eating not to have to turn you head all the time. So cruising on this boat sounds to me like a cool way to see some of the must see spots in Paris : just seat in a comfortable cruising boat and have lunch with your girlfriend :) !!!

Unfortunately the website of this boat is currently offline :( If it had been up I think I would definitely have bought a ticket (and, of course, I would have put a link here, so that you could have made a reservation by yourself if you're interested and plan a trip to Paris). Anyway I'll certainly try this thing out in the coming weeks and keep you informed (maybe it'll make a blog post with photos for once ;) ) so keep tuned to learn more about it :) !

Monday, September 15 2008

Wanna ride a rollercoaster ?

Roller Coaster The main interest of Paris is, of course, nice monuments and a romantic atmosphere but I you feel like riding a roller coaster you can two. There are some big parks around Paris, very easy to reach (even without a car) and I bet you know only one of them ;) Don't worry I'll tell you about the others !

Disneyland

Disneyland

This is the one you may already known (at least you should know its name). Disneyland is one of the two most well known parks in the area of Paris. It's very easy to reach as it basically has it's own subway station (take the underground "RER A", 35mn from the very center of Paris you're at the gates of Disneyland !!). As far as I know they even used to sell tickets including the park entrance and the RER ticket :) Let's talk money by the way : it's about 50euros a day per person (of course it's "around" this, I'm not going to sum up here all their offers, if you want a complete sheet, check the official site ). The main characteristics you should remember are : it's easy to reach without a car, it's Disney (so kids will love it), and the only drawback is that some may find it a bit too much kid-oriented.

Parc Asterix

Asterix Park

I bet you do not know this one yet :) ! It's the other one of the two most known parks around Paris (it's a draw with Disneyland). Maybe you already know who Asterix is ? If not : Asterix is a cartoon character, a French cartoon character, known worldwide. He lives at the time when the Roman empire had vanquished almost all Europe (but not his little village :) ) and he is damn funny ^^ ! What are the differences between Asterix park and Disneyland will you ask ? The first one is how you'll go there. To go to the Asterix park you have to have your own car, or to take the special bus that takes you from the center of Paris directly to the park. It's still very easy, but a bit less than going to Disneyland. Second major difference : insane roller coasters :) There are many things for kids, but they did not forget the adults (what Disneyland seems to have done sometimes). I highly recommend you the "Tonnerre de Zeus" which is supposed to be the highest/fastest/scariest roller coaster of the park :) ! And finally the best difference : it's cheaper than Disneyland (around 40 euros). To be honest with you, although in my heart it's a draw between the two parks (Disney and Asterix), if Asterix park had a subway station two, it would be my favorite one ;) ! Check their website for yourself to find pieces of information I would not have given you here :)

The "Foire du Trone"

Foire du trone

And finally the "Foire du Trone". Watch out : this one is not a park (i.e. : you'll pay for every attraction you'll do and not just one big fee at the entrance). It's quite known in Paris, as far as I know it's very very easy to go there (even more thant to Disneyland, I guess it's closer to the center of Paris). The only little problem is that I've never been there, so I can not really talk to you about it...so go and try it (only advice I can give you : be careful, some say that there are many pickpockets around there). Check the official site for yourself if you want to know more :)

As a conclusion I'd say that you really should go to one of the two big parks if you are around for more than a week, but do not forget that in parks food is always very expensive, so it may be a good idea to bring your own sandwiches (and if you want to warm up your sandwich making skills before you go, why not go to some good pick nick spots in paris some day before ?)

Sunday, September 7 2008

Train Stations !

TrainSure enough if you decide to visit Paris you'll have a lot of monuments to visit. Touristic monuments of course :) But what about non-touristic monuments ? I mean pieces of architecture that are really worth taking a good glance at but which are not (yet) supposed to be only for sightseeing. Great candidates for this are train stations :) ! I will introduce you to some of them (the biggest) which have very nice architectures :)

Let's do them alphabetically :

Austerlitz

This one is quit small actually (I know, i said I'll introduce you the biggest, but don't be so impatient !). Trains arriving here are mainly coming from the South West (Spain,... :) ). The funny thing to notice about this station is that the tube enters the station...in the second floor ^^ (I have no picture of it yet, but I'll take one next time I'll pass by). A great advantage of this train station, if you decide to go there, is that it's close to a charming garden ("Jardin des Plantes") and to the river Seine two. Gare d'Austerlitz

Gare de l'Est

Literally "Train Station for the East" you now guessed that trains ending here are from ...the East :D (East of France but also Germany, Switzerland, ...) Not yet one of my favorite ^^ Gare de l'Est

Gare de Lyon

One of the three biggest. If you know the town "Lyon" you know where trains coming from this station are going...Well I guess you don't actually : Lyon is the second biggest town in France (after Paris) and it's located in the South West of France :) Therefore in the "Gare de Lyon" (literaly "Lyon's train station") you have train going to Lyon, then to Italy...It's pretty nice one and as it's a big train station you will have no problem going there : take the tube ^^ Last good point for this train station if you intend to sightsee it's architecture : when you're done just cross the river Seine (which is hardly 100m away) and you're in front of the Gare d'Austerlitz we talked about earlier :)

Gare Montparnasse

My favorite one !! BUT you may not like it ;) We've been talking about nice architecture all the way until then but there's a "problem" with this station (which I believe is the biggest of all) : it's the only one which have been reconstructed in the XXth century. No luck with the architecture then : it's all modern. Anyway I wanted to talk about it because there are funny anecdotes : firstly now there is nice little park over the station (yes, on the roof ^^) which you can visit (it's called "Jardin Atlantiques" ); and secondly in 1895 a train could not stop arriving at the station (brakes broken) and therefore did not stopped where it was supposed to and continued his way...all the way thought the facade of the station (yeah...trains arrived at the second floor ... )

Train wreck at Montparnasse

Gare du Nord

A nice one, (tip : "Nord" = "North" ) deserving North of France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands. To be honest I've never taken any train at this station, and I don't lurk so much in this area...so except that when I pass by I say to myself "hey, nice facade", I've nothing to add (yet :p ) Gare de Nord

Gare Saint Lazare

Quite nice station but I don't like the neighborhood that much (not the same architectural style, so it's a bit weird ^^). This station is mainly for trains going in the far suburb of Paris...I guess you won't go there (whereas for every other stations I told you about you might be interested to jump in a train there and start the tour of Europe :) !) Gare Saint Lazare

Conclusion

No, "conclusion" is no name for a train station ;) I'd just add that those are ones of the biggest and are therefore all connected to the tube and many different bus, so it will be easy as a pie to check them all in no time :) By the way if you ever heard about the "Orsay" train station : go and see it !! I have not talked about it here because it is not a train station anymore but a museum, thought it's really a nice piece of architecture (and I may talk about it soon when I'll talk to you about some museums :) ...subscribe to the feed not to miss this one)

Friday, September 5 2008

Wanna see some sport ?

SportWhen you visit some town you may want to go and see a match of the local sport team. It's sometime a good way to discover nice pieces of architecture (stadiums) while having some fun and feeling the atmosphere of the true local fans...but do you know the local sport teams in Paris ?

If you're american I bet you'd have said "No, but there must be a basketball team, a baseball team, and maybe a footbal team". Although there are (maybe...) these are not the most popular teams at all !! The most popular sport team is the soccer team, the "Paris Saint Germain" (check for "PSG" :) ). They had quite hard times during the past three years but it's still the team with the more fans in Paris. I must warn you thought : there's also a lot of people who hate the team, and not every match are good to go and see with kids (especially match against the team from Marseille because some supporters from both teams love to fight against each others...never understood why but that's a fact) Parc des Princes PSG logo

Therefore if you plan to go see some sport without the risk of being lost in the middle of a bersek crowd I highly recommand you the rugby team. The "stade français" is very popular, fans are usually very friendly, and the chances you attend a victory are quite high ;) If you have no idea what rugby is about let's say it's a bit like footbal :)

Stade Francais disclaimer : this picture's not been taken in their home stadium but in the bigger Stade de France. As you guessed : their color's pink !

If you don't like soccer nor rugby you may want to try the handball team or the basketball team, but to be honnest I have no idea what's their name (I barely know that the handball team's supposed to be quite good). So do not expect to see a crowded stadium attending matches of those teams :)

By the way I did not tell you where you may attend the matches :) You might have eard about the "Stade de France" which is a big stadium in the North of Paris, but there are almost no matches there. The soccer team plays in the "Parc des Princes" in the West of Paris. The rugby team plays nearby I think, but I don't know exactly where. The basketball team and handball team play...somewhere :)

Last advices : some matches are quite different from the usual ones and if you are in Paris at the time of one and you love sport you really should try to see it. Which match for example ? European range matches ! For soccer there's the UEFA Cup, and the very prestigious Champion's League. Honestly I think that the Champion's League is the highest level of soccer in the world, so don't hesitate if you want to see nice games :) For rugby there are also European range cups, but (shame on me) I have no idea of their name.

But maybe you intend to actually do some sport while in Paris rather than just watch some ? I'll think about it and maybe post something about places where you can do sports (such as jogging, roller, etc.). So keep an eye on the blog ;)

Tuesday, September 2 2008

Fancy a picknick ?

Pick Nick BasketSo you've grabbed a cheap trip to Paris on a "last minute" website and want to take the best out of your days in Paris while the weather's still sunny and warm? What about a little pick nick? Many places in Paris are great spots to eat a little something under the sky; the whole thing is just to know them ;)

Parks and Garden.

The best park I know to have a little pick nick is the "Buttes Chaumont". It's a large park with some big old trees, a nice little lake (with a cascade), and you can lay down on the grass as you wish. Is it perfect then? Not exactly. There are two main drawbacks: Firstly it's a bit "in the middle of nowhere" in terms on sightseeing, and secondly it's not a flat park AT ALL (you'd better be in good shape to reach the top of the hills where you have the nicest view for your little pick nick) Buttes Chaumonts

The second "park" any Parisian would talk to you about for a pick nick is the "Champs de Mars". It's not really a park by the way, rather a big lawn besides the Eiffel Tower (so it's not "in the middle of nowhere" ;) ). It's a bit more urban than the "Buttes Chaumont" but as I said it's just in front of the Eiffel Tower (so you can admire it while eating ;)). Moreover you're sure you won't feel lonely there (it's usually crowded from 6pm to 1am when the weather's hot). Champs de Mars



Third park: the Luxembourg garden. Let's put it straight: it's not the best place to have a pick nick in. It's really nice to visit but there's almost no place where you are allowed to lay down on the grass, so you'll have to sit down on chairs to eat and the chairs are on the alley so you'll be disturbed by tourists...anyhow it's still a nice place to visit :) Luxembourg Garden

Other spots



The very end of the Cité island's, west side :) Wonderful view on the Seine river, the Louvre museum, and the "Pont des Arts" bridge. Just magic :) (but usually crowded :() West end of the Cite island

Along the "Canal Saint Martin" (a place you know if you've seen movies such as "Amélie Poulain"), very romantic and old fashion. Canal St Martin

And finally : Almost anywhere on the border of the river Seine :) (no pics for this one ;))

Well I'm quite out of ideas now...anyhow you won't pick nick all the time and it's time to go and visit some "must see" in Paris

Friday, August 29 2008

Must See

CameraLet's assume you decided to go and visit Paris (good idea :) ), what must you see ? Lucky you, I'm going to answer this question ;) But make no mistake, I'm going on this post only to show you the "must see", all the less known places won't be here (I keep them for later posts ;) )

Eiffel Tower First of all the Eiffel Tower. You really have to see it, and you have to visit it (go on the last floor, the view's really worth it !), but I warn you : you'll have to face a usually very long queue before being able to visit :( By the way you'll notice a lot of guys selling little Eiffel Towers around this place : do not hesitate to negotiate the price, they're selling those illegally about 100 times the price they bought it (well, there's just "tourist hunting", you know the deal :D )

Arc de Triomphe Second one (not that far from the Eiffel Tower) the "Arc de Triomphe" (for the little story during the age of kings when the army came back from war if they had won the walked under the arch, if they had lost the battle they had to bypass it.) It's a must see for two reasons : firstly because it's pretty, secondly because it's a one of the extremity of the "Champs Elysées" (which is supposed to be the most beautifull avenue in the world ;) ). By the way the "Champs Elysées" is a must-see two ! Every luxury brand have to own a shop on this avenue (if not, they're not a luxury brand anymore :D ), it' really worth seeing it.

Notre Dame Fourth must-see "Notre Dame Cathedral". It's a really nice piece of architecture and it's so attached to Paris. There's even a great book called "Notre Dame de Paris" (which became a movie which became a musical :) ). Moreover it's the legal center of Paris :D You can actually see in front of the cathedral a little round piece of metal on the floor (about 40cm wide) with "Point Zéro des routes de France" on it which means "Point zero for every road in France". Don't hesitate to visit this one again, it's just beautiful :)

Latin Quarter Fifth must-see the "Latin Quarter" (lucky you, it's just beside Notre Dame). It's the quarter where students get together, a lot of prestigious universities are here and it kept the atmosphere of the "old Paris". You can't miss this quarter it's always crowded with tourist during day time and double crowded with tourists and Parisian at night ;) (and of courses there are hundreds of café :) )

Well, having seen those you may come back to your home country without being ashamed of missing "something huge", but if I were you I wouldn't just visit those ones, I'll go to the Luxembourg Garden, the area around Chatelet, the Conciergerie, the Opera, the Marais, etc. Don't worry, I'll cover those places in forthcoming posts (such as this one where I talk a bit about the luxembourg garden) !

Monday, August 25 2008

Geography : Where's Paris ?

I guess you all know the cliché :" the American people only worry about themselves, and they barely know where Canada is so let's not ask them where Europe is, and moreover where a specific town in Europe is". Before you get too furious know that I personally do not agree with this cliché. I don't know that many American guys (yet :D ) but for the one I know they're not fitting within that cliché (anyhow, if you want to have fun with clichés, have a look at this funny video )
But even though I don't think everyone out of Europe ignore where it is I think that a little post just to remind everyone where's the town I'm going to talk about in the entire blog (Paris) won't be useless (and it'll be a good warm up for me...my very first post on this blog :D )

So, let’s start with a wide view of mother earth, you’ll notice some part of it is redish it’s Europe :

World Map

That’s okay ? Try to keep focused as until now it was only the easy part (because I guess you all knew what a world map look like before I showed you this one ;) ). Well, let’s zoom a bit on Europe and spot my country : France.

Europe Map

Okay ? Not lost yet ;) ? If you are, just look at the two last maps at the same time : the second map is showing you the part in red within the first one. Well, I’m sure you’ve followed very well so far. Now let’s enter France (such a beautiful country :) ) and try to locate the capital (and the town I live in) : Paris !

France Map

Easy stuff right ? It’s more or less where “France” was written on the previous map ;) By the way you may notice the scale on the bottom left of the picture, it might help you figuring out the size of France (even if I know that most of you, my beloved readers ;) , are not comfortable with kilometers :D ).

So, now we all know where’s the town I live in, and much more important : where’s the town I’m willing to make you discover through my eyes and everyday life :D ! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as i do ^^ !…Well, I should stop this post here as I’ve finished localizing Paris, but as you’ve been courageous enough to read all this geographic lesson let’s just add a little teaser of the town itself :) …Let’s have a look at a map of the town and while you look at it count how many items displayed on this map you know (let me give you a tip : if you’re afraid of knowing none, search for a tower a bit on the left, there’s one you must know about ;) ) :

Paris Map

So, how many did you knew about (post a comment to tell :D ) ? The tip was, of course, the Eiffel tower which is, i guess, the most famous monument in Paris (and in France). The Eiffel Tower is labeled “Tour Eiffel” on the map, you can’t miss it (I bet you all understood that “Tour Eiffel” means “Eiffel Tower” in French, you’re already becoming bilingual, I’m impressed ;) ! ). And if you knew sites in Paris that weren’t on the map don’t worry : I agree with you on the fact that this map lacks a lot of places, but hey it’s impossible to spot every good places in Paris on such a small map :)

Well that’s all for now, it's already a too long post ! I hope you enjoyed the quick trip, see you soon for a real dive in Paris ;) ! And for now you may want to continue with learning what you must see if you ever visit Paris :)

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