If you have problems with walking and mobility, avoid the big Metro interchanges as the distances between lignes can be vast - ie Chatelet, Republic etc. You can often change at a stop a bit further down. For wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs, the Metro remains almost completely inaccessible.
Paris taxi drivers seem to have a problem with carrying more than three people. We were surcharged for a family of three adults and one child with various excuses given, including an additional charge for luggage! Use the Metro whenever possible, and buy a carnet of 10 tickets for both adults and children (1/2 price).
If you are taking a short break to Paris and need to use the car to get to London (sadly we had to), Eurostar use NCP for the St Pancras station car park and this means a minimum £25.00 per day which can dampen the holiday spirit.
We used Lomax car park in Camden Town (15 minutes' walk) - very helpful staff, they will drive you to the station and pick you up on your return and, best of all, it's about £50 for four days.
'Nuit Blanche' is an annual event in Paris, whereby (so rumour would have it) everything stays open all night for revelry and awe. Imagine touring the Louvre at 2am, followed by a quiet 4am brunch in a streetside cafe watching the crowds walk past, and the carnival-like atmosphere.
It would be great - if it were true!
Last year's was a shambles. The authorities didn't (wouldn't) release guides until the night itself (and then didn't explain how to get them) and most Parisians had no idea what was open, or where.
We joined the crowds milling outside the Louvre (closed), tried the Musee d'Orsay (closed) and settled for a Bateau Mouche - which turned out to provide the long awaited guidebook once you'd bought your ticket.
The boat trip itself was pleasant, during which we could read the guide - to discover few places indeed were open at all, and the promised 'all night opening' of the Metro only applied to certain lines in certain directions.
The only bar we could find open and not crammed with similarly baffled tourists was Australian (not very Parisian). When we finally gave up, we joined the thousands of others equally trying to desperately get a taxi home in the sub-zero temperatures, and ended up huddled in a Metro entrance (closed) for warmth until the hordes had thinned enough for us to try and get back.
It can't be blamed on our being tourists - as we have French friends who live in Paris and who we'd joined to spend the 'event' with!
Hopefully this year's will be better, but I'd definitely check every detail out in advance, just in case!
If planning on multiple journeys or using the Metro over several days, purchase a Paris Visite pass (valid 1, 2, 3 or 5 days) which gives unlimited travel in either 1-3 or 1-6 zones, discounts to attractions and can be purchased in advance.
When you've finished at the Louvre, shopping for haut couture or antique jewellery, drop into the bar at the Hotel de Vendome and let the charming and knowledgeable staff make arrangements for the rest of your day, whatever your budget - and desires.
They know every nook and cranny of the city and will send you off feeling like you have had the five-star experience without any of the cost - it worked for me.
Failing that, hop on the metro to Pte de Clignancourt for the fabulous street market. Saturday to Monday 7am to 7.30pm.
If you are staying for several days buy a Carte Orange, zone 1 & 2, to use metro/buses etc rather than the Paris Visite tourist pass which is more expensive.
Tickets can be bought at most metro stations, you will need to ask for the wallet and card from the ticket desk, then attach a passport-sized photo and you have free travel from Monday to Sunday. As this is a weekly pass, aimed at Parisian commuters, be careful with the dates, it runs from Monday to Sunday.
Try a cycle tour of the city with Paris a velo - c'est sympa!
Tried and tested with initially reluctant friends who later admitted it was the best part of the holiday.
You see so much more and it's better for the environment so what's to lose?
Tours can be arranged in your own language and the tour guides are excellent.
Le Lys is a unique B&B in a 17th century house in the atmospheric Marais district, a stone’s throw from Notre Dame and the Centre Pompidou.
Stéphane and Jean’s elegant home is stuffed with antiques and paintings, and the generous breakfast is a delight, but it is the warmth of their welcome that impresses the most.
By the time you leave, you will be firm friends, and your experience of Paris will be all the richer for it.
Le Lys is on Rue Quincampoix, w, and the telephone number is +33 (0)6 7741 2913/(0)1 4704 2880
Rue Quincampoix, 75004 Paris. +33 1 4704 2880
No trip to Paris is complete without some celluloid experience. Studio 28 (10 Rue de Tholoze) is undoubtedly one of the best places to watch film in Paris.
Opened in the twenties, its history is closely entwined with the avant garde. It has been upgraded, but keeps its original atmosphere thanks to the impressive light fittings by Cocteau.
The charming garden bar is well worth a visit on it own. If your French isn’t up to it, look out for VO (version originale) which means the film will be shown in its original language with French subtitles.
When travelling with small children you are entitled to a free porter service at both eurostar stations.
Just ask. This service normally costs £10. I didn't know until someone pointed it out to me as I had so much luggage I had to ask for help.
If you want to enjoy the life and history of the Latin Quarter, but want to stay somewhere quiet and comfortable, the Hotel Parc Saint Severin (22 rue de la Parcheminerie in the 5th arrondissment: tel. + 33 (0) 1 77 15 95 08 ) is perfect.
It's also only five minutes walk from Notre Dame. Good buffet breakfast (12 Euros) and friendly staff.
Rates 150 to 165 Euros for a standard twin/double room, reasonable for ther centre of Paris.
Au Dernier Metro (70 bd de Grenelle) is a very chaotic and working class cafe.
Inside is the most delicious, and keenly priced, homemade Basque inspired menu (try the robust Saucisse Basque or the delightful Confit de Canard) that is complimented with some inconspicuous yet beautiful wines and very flavoursome draught beers.
Arm yourself with some basic French and get caught up in the friendly and down-to-earth Parisian atmosphere. As long as you can make yourself heard over the football playing on the TV behind the bar!
The Paris Pass is the ultimate addition to your Paris sightseeing trip.
It offers tourists in Paris free entry to over 60 of the major tourist attractions, lots of special offers and discounts and unlimited use of Paris public transport within zones 1-3, all for one price.
Although Paris is not the most toddler-friendly city, there are a few tricks that make life a lot easier when travelling with a young child.
One tip is if you're travelling to Paris via Eurostar - if you have a small child you can jump the taxi queue at Gard du Nord. People with infants can go straight to the front of the line.
When time is short don't join the long queues at the front of the Louvre,by the Pyramid, and loose precious minutes, even hours.
It is easier to enter by the side door towards the rear.You can then walk round more quickly to see all the prime exhibits and be out in about an hour. Perfect for a day trip!
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