Go on the rails
The train network in Paris will get you anywhere you want to go, and the Metro is fantastic, not to mention reasonably priced. We always get the train into the city from Charles de Gaulle, but make sure to bring change with you as the automatic ticket machines don’t accept notes. We bought a carnet of 10 Metro tickets and shared them between us, as we didn’t use the Metro every day.
Choose a hotel that is close to a Metro station
Paris hotels are expensive, especially in the tourist hotspots around the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, but when you’re on the metro nothing is too far away.
Tripadvisor is a life saver
It’s simple, they list all the hotels in a city in rank order according to real visitor feedback. Simply put in the dates you want to book, specify what you can spend and they will give you the highest-ranking hotel within your budget. There are also user photos of the hotels, and very honest feedback so you can get a good idea of what you are booking before you go.
If you’re going to Disney, keep an eye out for vouchers
Having worked in admissions in a major theme park in the past, I would never go to one and pay at the gate. The best offers are available with coupons which you can pick up from displays in the lobbies of most hotels.
Take the free walking tour
New Europe Tours run free tours in English and Spanish every day, starting at St. Michel at 11am. The tour lasts about three hours and it will give you much more insight than wandering around the place on your own. Our Aussie guide, Jen was full of interesting and irreverent stories about French historical figures, buildings and statues. They work on a tips-only basis so at the end you just give them what you feel the tour was worth to you. This inspired me to go on the Dublin tour when I got home, bringing along a friend and her Aussie friend (well we needed a valid excuse).
Buy a little map book
We picked ours up from Publicis Drugstore, 133 Avenue de Champs-Elyses. It divides up the city according to Arrondisement and also had a handy list of all the streets alphabetically, so you can look them up and find the nearest Metro stop.
If you’re a veggie, don’t panic
When we were in Paris, we dined in three different vegetarian restaurants which Rohan researched online before we left Dublin. A confirmed meat-eater himself, he wanted to treat his veggie fiancee to a culinary adventure in another city. Paris isn’t the most vegetarian-friendly city in the world, but we uncovered these little gems:
Le Potager du Marais
22, Rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris
Le Grenier de Notre-Dame
18 Rue de la Bucherie, 75005 Paris
Au Grain de Folie
24 Rue la Vieuville, 75018 Paris
Free in for under-26 Europeans to major attractions
They said nothing would ever come between us but the small age difference (a few months) separated us at the Pompidieu when sprightly young Rohan (25) got in for free and his haggard, older bride (26) had to pay! As it was the city of romance though we did what any romantic couple would do and split it!
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