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Advice From Women Who Love Paris...


I gave someone a birthday party...

Reach out! That's my cure for loneliness. Travelling to Paris by train I struck up a conversation with a young American woman twenty years my junior. She told me it was her birthday -- the first one she wasn't celebrating with family and friends. I invited her out to dinner and then to a French dubbed Woody Allen movie with English subtitles (hilarious!). We had a great time. It didn't make a huge dent in my travel budget and I'll bet that she remembers that Paris celebration as vividly as I do. I hope that one day someone does the same for me.
Eve, Toronto, Canada


My tips for enjoying Paris...

I'm a Journeywoman reader who has travelled to Paris and would like to offer my tips for enjoying this wonderful city:

  1. Get a good map of Paris that includes the Metro. My favorite is Street-wise Paris - a laminated map that folds nicely and won't get ruined if it gets wet. Browse through library books on walking tours of Paris. Even if you don't take them with you, they can give you a pretty good idea of how much you can accomplish in one day.
  2. Substitute a good pair of walking shoes for those sneakers. Cobblestone and uneven streets can be killers on thin soled shoes and sneakers are a no-no.
  3. Buy a 3 or 5-day Museum Pass (Carte Musee). It not only allows free entrance into many museums. In several museums (including the Louvre and Versaille) there are special entrances that help you avoid lines. I bought mine at the Louvre the evening after we arrived. The clock starts when you first use it. But make sure you understand what the admission days and hours are. Different museums are closed on different days.
  4. Don't be intimidated by the Metro, bus or train (RER). I'd suggest walking early in the day and using public transportation when you start to get tired. You can buy tickets singly or in packs (which can be shared). The same tickets are used by all.
  5. If you arrive in the morning (after a long night flight) and find that your room is not ready, store your bags and head for the Seine. A boat tour is a good way to orient yourself and relax.
  6. I love Paris. I've never felt uncomfortable being by myself (although I don't usually go out past early evening). My preference is a small 3 star hotel - the people are usually friendly and helpful. But expect a tiny room. When I traveled with my 6' tall son, he said the only place to get dressed was in the shower.
Liz, USA


Hotel in the Latin Quarter...

Twice when in Paris for several weeks, I stayed at the three-star Hotel Minerve located at 13 Rue des Ecoles (Maubert-Mutualite metro). I stayed there alone for three weeks one time, and with a partner for two weeks ten years later (that was ten years ago but there had been little change during that first ten years). The elevator is tiny but reliable, breakfast is downstairs, with good quality petit pain, tea, and coffee. There are several bistros, one on the corner, another across the up hill intersection and one directly across the street. There is also a "Chinese take-away" at the Metro station, where the market is held Tuesdays and Thursdays. I had a room "sur le cour" (actually the lightwell) so there were some interesting night sounds, but it was away from traffic.
Ginny, Placerville, California

Ed. note: I did some research on this hotel and they have done renovations, have internet access and they are air conditioned.


Apartment living in Paris...

I'm just back from a trip to Paris and want to tell you about Paris Louvre Apartments where I've stayed several times. The apartment building is located one block from the Louvre and two Metro stops are a very short two block walk away. Rates are reasonable (around 90 euros a night) and the area feels very safe. We were on the 4th floor our first trip and the 2nd this time. It is a walk up but the charming winding stairs make the trip worth while. The apartment is an efficiency, but very large by 3-star Paris hotel standards and is well equipped with a stove, microwave, fridge , washer and dryer, coffee maker, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, and a full size bath. The Apartment is very clean with beautiful large windows that open onto rue Saint-Honore where you can actually see the Louvre from the window. The building has been in the family for 60 years and this "pied a terre" was the idea of the young owner, Stelois (who helped us in any way he could). This second trip we felt as if we were visiting dear friends. I would stay nowhere else in Paris.
Joan, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, USA





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