Two Weeks In Paris

Two Weeks In Paris

A friend and her daughter are planning for two weeks in Paris later this summer, the daughter’s first time in the City of Light. What do I suggest, her mom wonders. Best way to get from Charles de Gaulle to downtown…reasonably priced hotels and restaurants…sights, markets, etc….

As my friend’s daughter is the same age as my daughter, I put the questions to 20-year-old Kaitlin, who recommends:

“Getting from the airport to the city is easiest by cab. Depending on where you’re going and the time of day, the fare is 40 to 60 euro. It’s not cheap but convenient and quick. The option is the RER, which is tricky. It’s only about 15 euro, but I would not suggest trying it unless you know the system well. You have to switch at least once and usually two or more times to get to where you want to be.

“The biggest market is the Marche aux Puces at Clignancourt (take Metro line 4, the pink line, all the way to the end). Lots of antiques, jewelry, leather…everything, really. Very fun place to walk around.

“Rue de la Huchette in the 6th arrondissement, across from Notre Dame at Metro Place St. Michel (Metro line 4), is my favorite area in central Paris. It’s awake around the clock. Good food, from creperies to street stands selling gyros and full-service restaurants with lots of atmosphere. Also lots of clubs and bars. The best jazz club in the city is here, the Caveau de la Huchette, at the end of the street. Try to go on a night when there is live music.

“The summer carnival is taking place now in the Jardin des Tuilleries. Take Metro line 1 to the Tuilleries stop, then walk out into the park. You’ll see the games and rides along the rue de Rivoli edge.

“The Musee d’Orsay is the best small museum in the city in my opinion. It’s on RER C (the stop is called Musee d’Orsay). Very manageable. Also good is the Musee Rodin, which has a great park with a lot of his statues in it. It’s bigger and a nice place to walk around and relax.

“For more contemporary art, go to the Musee du Luxembourg, which is very, very small but has great exhibits. Check to see what is showing before you visit; some expos are much better than others. The Musee Pompidou is fun, though huge and daunting. Again, contemporary art but almost mainstream now as far as modern art goes (think Picasso and Kandinsky). The area of the city around the Pompidou is fun, too, with lots of street performers. The Picasso museum in the Marais is great.”

Kaitlin deferred to me for the hotel recommendations. Here are my top two Paris budget hotel picks:

  • The Hotel de Champagne on rue Jean Lantier in the 1st arrondissement; tel. 33-1-42-36-60-00. Small boutique hotel, every room decorated differently but all traditional French. Pleasant dining room for breakfast. Charming hotel in a charming location on a tiny side street. Rooms start at 140 euro per night, including breakfast.
  • Delhy’s Hotel on rue de l’Hirondelle in the 6th; tel. 33-1-43-26-58-25. This is the find of a friend and could be the best budget hotel in the entire city. It’s right off the Place St. Michel and the rue de la Huchette (Kaitlin’s favorite part of the city) but hidden on a quiet and ancient cobbelstoned street. Single rooms start at 52 euro per night, including breakfast, if you don’t mind sharing a shower. A single with a private shower starts at 72 euro per night.

Kathleen Peddicord