Tag Archives: Paris

What to do in Paris and the best places to visit in Paris.

Discovering Roman Sites in Paris

Unlike many southern French cities, Paris tends not to be associated with a Roman past. Some guidebooks barely mention their presence at all, or they do so only in passing. Not surprisingly then, of all the things to see and do in Paris the Roman sites rarely get a look in. Of course the Roman archaeology that does survive in Paris today is nowhere near as visually spectacular as say the amphitheatre in Nîmes or the theatre in Orange. But, for those interested in a deeper past of European cities there are some interesting Roman sites to visit.

roman-port-paris-640Multimedia display in remains of Roman port in Notre Dame’s crypt

Soon after Julius Caesar defeated the Celts in 52 BC, the Romans established a settlement on the left bank of the Seine River. Although it would never become an administrative centre, its location on the navigable river meant the settlement would always be strategic for shipping and maritime commerce. Visitors to the crypt of the Notre Dame Cathedral can see the remains of the Roman port. A wonderful but simple multimedia display that adds life to the stone foundations, and children today excitedly watch the arrival in port of a Roman ship (below).

The main centre of the Roman town, Lutetia as it was called then, lay to the south of the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Ile de Cit̩. Rue St. Jacques is generally thought to have been the main axis road, or the cardo maximus, of the town on the left bank, while the modern day equivalent on the right bank is the Rue Saint-Martin Рthe road that runs alongside the Pompidou Centre. So while tourists explore the very trendy Latin Quarter and students study at the Sorbonne, beneath them are the foundations of the Roman town.


Remains of Roman bath house in Paris

An exception can be found on Boulevard Saint-Michel, where the substantial remains of what was one of a number of public bath houses can be seen from the street (above). This bath house still stands today because it was not destroyed by the Franks when they sacked the city in the mid fifth century AD, and it has been in continuous use since. Part of the building now houses the National Middle Ages Museum.


Reconstruction of Roman amphitheatre in Paris

As with all sizeable Roman towns, Lutetia also had an amphitheatre. Do not expect anything like the Colosseum in Rome Рthat was after all the biggest and most elaborate amphitheatre in the entire Roman world. Today the Ar̬nes de Lut̬ce is a reconstruction of the amphitheatre that was located just beyond the edge of the Roman town. That there is anything there at all today is thanks in part to Victor Hugo who spearheaded a campaign to have the remains preserved when they were discovered in the 1860s.

The Romans were by no means the first to settle in Paris. The earliest evidence of human habitation along the Seine River goes back some 10,000 years. One of the earliest dugout canoes to have been excavated in Europe can be seen on display in the Carnavalet Museum; along with many other archaeological objects from the earliest times in Paris.

More Paris Tips

If you’re in Paris to attend a football or rugby match or a gig at the Stade de France, we’ve ideas for day trips by car from the Stade de France area in our guest post on the carhiremarket.com site. Having a hire car will enable you to visit places such as the Montmorency Forest and the Isle d’Adam, giving you a contrast to the hustle and bustle of the Paris.

A view from the central path of the Tuileries Garden towards the Arc de Triomphe.

Paris’s Axe Historique – From the Louvre to La Défense

If you’re looking for something different to do in Paris and would like to gain insight into the history of Paris, then exploring the Axe Historique, fits the bill perfectly. The Champs Elysées, which runs between the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe, is the oldest part of the Axe Historique, also known as the Voie Triomphale (triumphal way)  an axis of roads and monuments that runs from the centre of Paris out beyond the city to the west.

With so much to see and do in the French capital of Paris. I’d start planning my Paris trip by thinking about my sightseeing itinerary. Having some ideas about what I’d like to see in Paris would allow me to decide in which area I wished to stay e.g. close to the route of the Axe Historique. While the Paris Metro is usually very efficient and reasonably priced, I’d prefer to stay in a hotel that’s not too far from the attractions that I wished to visit. Once I’d checked out hotel prices and availability, I’d book my flights to Paris. The city’s Charles de Gaulle Airport is served by a wide selection of airlines including Emirates, easyJet and Air France, which means that there are daily flights from most destinations to Paris. Once my flight was arranged, I’d book my hotel in Paris and then firm up my daily schedules.

Looking from the Place de la Concorde towards the Arc de Triomphe.
Looking up the Champs Elysées towards the Arc de Triomphe, with the tip of the Luxor Obelisk pointing the way. © Palagret

Exploring the Axe Historique

Walking along the Champs Elysées it is very difficult not to notice this alignment of monuments, which was first conceptualised in the 17th century, and has been repeatedly added to and extended ever since.. When going up the Champs Elysées towards the Arc de Triomphe, and looking back at the Louvre, the glass pyramids of the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, the central path of the Tuileries Gardens, the Luxor obelisk on Place de la Concorde are all but perfectly aligned with the Arc de Triomphe. Standing on the high point on which the Arc de Triomphe is situated and looking in the opposite direction of the Louvre, one can see that that Axe Historique continues on beyond the boundary of the city of Paris out to the business district known as La Défense with its modern Grande Arche.

A view from the central path of the Tuileries Garden towards the Arc de Triomphe.
A few of the monuments along the ‘axe historique’ from the Tuileries Gardens. © Ximeg

The Champs Elysées was created in the 1600s as an extension of the central pathway in the gardens of the royal Palace of the Tuileries. Although the palace is no longer standing (it was destroyed in 1871), the Tuileries Gardens and its pathway have been retained. On the place de la Concorde, that crazy looking round-about between at the Tuileries Gardens and the Champs Elysées, is the red granite obelisk from Luxor. Erected on the axe historique on Place de la Concorde in October of 1833, this ancient Egyptian artefact was a gift from Egypt to France.

The Louvre behind the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.
Looking through the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel towards the Louvre, and the one end of the axe historique’. © Thomas Dowson

Constructed between the Louvre and Tuileries Palaces between 1806 and 1808, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel commemorates Napoleon’s military victories of 1807. Today the arch has a statue that was installed in 1828, which represents Peace riding a triumphal chariot that was created to celebrate the restoration of the Bourbons after the downfall of Napoleon. This Quadriga replaced a much more the famous quadriga from Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Venice – looted by Napoleon when he captured the Italian city in 1798. Following Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and the return of the Bourbons to the French Monarchy, France immediately gave the Venetian quadriga back.

Looking to the east, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is aligned with the statue of Louis XIV on a horse placed in the Napoleon courtyard of the Louvre. And on a clear day, visitors to Paris get a clear view from this arch up the axis to the Luxor Obelisk and the larger Arc de Triomphe at the other end of the Champs Elysées.

The axe historique through the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.
The Luxor Obelisk and Arc de Triomphe viewed through the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. © Simdaperce

Looking towards the Grande Arche in La Defense.
The Avenue de la Grande Armée from the Arc de Triomphe looking out beyond the city boundary to the Grande Arche in La Défense. © Hadouin

From beyond the Arc de Triomphe the axis is made up of the Avenue de la Grande Armée, so named in 1864 to honour French military who fought the Napoleonic Wars, and the Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle. Here the axis extends from the centre of Paris out towards the business district of La Défense, and the most recent monument to be added to the axe historiquela Grande Arche. The brainchild President Mitterrand, and designed by the Danish architect Johann Otto von Spreckelsen, this modern interpretation of the Arc de Triomphe was inaugurated in 1989 during the bicentennial celebrations of the French Revolution. Today the Grande Arche houses various government offices, unfortunately the viewing gallery and restaurant has been closed to the public.

Looking towards the Arc de Triomphe from the Grande Arche in La Defense.
A view east from the Grande Arche in La Défense towards the Arc de Triomphe. © ZacharyS

So what might at first seem to be nothing more than random accumulation of monuments along a straight road (they do exist!) through Paris, is in fact a very significant focus for the commemoration of cultural and historical events in the story of the capital city. Over the years, successive French leaders have added monuments to the axis, at various political junctures in France’s history. And this shows no sign of having ended. There are now plans to extend the axis further west through the city of Nanterre.

I’m sure that you could spend weeks exploring Paris;here are our tips for things to do in Paris.



10 Wonderful Paris Museums

It hurts to admit it, but my only visit to France has been an accident. A flight delay gave me a night (and a very early morning in Paris), and sneaking a visit to the Eiffel Tower on my way to the airport was all I could squeeze in.Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see Paris the way it is meant to be seen, while discovering all its corners and streets, visiting the museums, and trying (yet failing to) manage French. For now, I made a list of museums that I shouldn’t miss the next time I go there, including tips from fellow writers on some of the best museums in Europe. You’ll find plenty more tips on what to do in Paris on Europe a al Carte.

Paris museum

Louvre Pyramids

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A New Holocaust Memorial For Paris

Tomorrow, 27 January, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day – the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet troops in 1945. This anniversary had been variously observed by different groups and nationalities for some time, but it was only in November 2005 that the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 60/7 designated 27 January an international day of remembrance.

The abandoned railway station at Bobigny, Paris. Photograph by Jérémy Saint-Peyre on Flickr.

This week the national French railway company, SNCF, handed over to local officials the former railway station in the Paris suburb of Bobigny for the creation of a new memorial to the French victims of the Nazi concentration camps. Not only was the state-owned SNCF’s equipment and staff used to transport some 76,000 French and other European Jews to Germany, and on to various concentration camps, it was from the station in Bobigny that these final journeys began. Fewer than 3000 people are thought to have returned to France.

For the first time, SNCF last year expressed its “sorrow and regret” for the role the company played in the deportation of Jews during World War II.

There is no timetable for the construction of this new memorial. But when it is complete it will join the Mémorial de la Déportation on the ÃŽle de la Cité behind the Notre Dame Cathedral – looking out onto the waters of the Seine River.

Photograph by paspog on Flickr

The Île de la Cité is generally perceived to be the sacred center of France, and built on the site of a former mortuary, this is an appropriate place to remember the 200,000 people who were deported by the Nazis to their death in the concentration camps. This memorial is one of the most poignant memorials I have ever visited.

Photograph by beccabrian on Flickr

Standing behind the Notre Dame Cathedral you are abundantly aware of the hustle and bustle of a busy city all around you. You then descend a set of steps down on the very tip of the Île de la Cité, where you become surrounded by walls and the city all but disappears. You can still hear the sounds of the city, but you can only see the sky above and the river through the bars of window.

Photograph by Airships on Flickr

Another evocative part of the monument is a narrow chamber on which the walls have been covered by 200,000 crystals – each with light shining through them. Each one intended to represent the life of a French citizen who died in the concentration camps.

And, as with many other Holocaust memorial monuments, the exit of the chamber bears the words; Forgive but never forget.

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

Snap Up Some Bargains at the Paris January Sales

There are always many reasons to visit Paris, at any time of the year. Besides being well known for all that great food and culture Paris is also a shopper’s paradise, and even more so during January.

Photograph by Jack from Paris

January 2011 is the fifth year that the city hosts “Soldes by Paris“. Or, ‘Sales by Paris’ – the city’s sale event of the year, which lasts throughout the month, and in some areas even into February. As an indication of how seriously the planning and marketing of this event has been, the city has produced ‘shopping itineraries’ – five of them in fact. As the Shopping By Paris strap-line goes: 5 different itineraries for 5 different styles – and they are Select, Trendy, Creative, Bobo-Chic and Ethic-Ethnic. The organisers have even thought of the ‘Savvy itinerary’ for those people who favour stock clearance stores and cut-price designer labels. Voilà! There truly is something for everyone!

For the ultimate shopping experience in Paris, you want to be heading for the Faubourg Saint-Honor̩ district, located in the vicinity of the found in the Louvre-Tuileries area. But, if it is the grand magasins, or the Department stores, you are looking for then it is Boulevard Haussmann you want. Perhaps the most famous of these department stores is Galeries Lafayette Рwhich occupies four different buildings. The Marais district is where you will find the more trendy shops.

But, no shopping tips for Paris would be complete without mentioning the Saint-Ouen flea market; the city’s largest, dating back to the nineteenth century. Here you will find everything from antique furniture to vintage clothes. Urban legend has it that one lucky shopper found a a grand master’s painting. That may not happen again, but you will find something quirky and interesting. Given the weekend crowds, its advisable to avoid this area during the weekend. Unless, of course it is crowds you are after. Certain shops in Paris still close on Sundays, for religious reasons. Increasingly, however, many shops open on Sundays – particularly for the tourist trade.

Photograph by David Salas

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

Review of Seven Hotel Paris

I stayed at the Seven Hotel Paris for one night in November 2010, on a complimentary basis, during my easyJet 15 Hour Blogger Challenge. The hotel is located in the 5th arrondissement, close to the Latin Quarter. It’s a design boutique hotel. I must say my first impression was that it felt like an upmarket massage parlour with the strong scents and velvety chairs and curtains.

Review Seven Hotel Paris

Seven Hotel Paris lobby

I loved my Levitation Room. The bed seemed to be suspended from the wall with no visible means of support anywhere else.  It was one of the most comfortable beds in which I’ve ever slept.  Combined with double glazing which shut out all exterior noise and a thermostatic control which took effect quickly to reach a pleasant overnight temperature, I had a wonderful sleep.

Review Seven Hotel Paris

My room at Seven Hotel Paris

The sink and shower are in a transparent compartment with the toilet in a separate walled cubicle. The double sized shower had a central rain shower head and another two shower jets which could either be hand held or attached to the wall. The aromatherapy toiletries were lovely. There was a coffee machine in the room but no instructions on how to use it. The room was on the small side with no chairs or working space, so it seemed better suited to a leisure break.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t get a decent wifi signal in my room in the evening and had to go down to the lobby to get connected, as I’d have preferred to stay in my room. However, early the following morning I was able to get a good wifi signal, perhaps because no-one else was online at that time?

Review Seven Hotel Paris

My room at Seven Hotel Paris

My room had fibre optics variable lighting. You get various effects such as stars at night in the sky painted ceiling.

Overall I really enjoyed my short stay, sleeping much better than I normally do in hotels.  All the staff were really helpful and accommodating. If you’re looking for somewhere zany and funky to stay in the French capital, the Seven Hotel Paris is a great option. The main negatives for me were the poor wifi signal in my room and a 17 Euro per person charge for continental breakfast (which  as far as I could see consisted of croissant, pain au chocolat, fruit and coffee). With room starting at 161 Euro a night, I think that breakfast should be included in the rate.

Keep It Real Travel Review - No FluffKeep It Real Travel Review – No Fluff

You can see all my photos and videos of the Seven Hotel Paris on Flickr.

You can look for the best rates at the Seven Hotel Paris on the HotelsCombined price comparison site.

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city. Find out about must-see Paris museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

Coming Face-to-Face with the Stone Age in Paris

There really is so much to see and do in Paris, something to suit everyone’s tastes and interests. So well featured is this European city on the Europe a la Carte blog that Karen recently produced a post summarizing the Best of Paris Travel Tips as recommended in a number of posts on this blog over the last four years. But it really does not end there. There are still so many more attraction in Paris that make this city one of the best places to visit in Europe.

Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, now the Musée des Antiquités Nationales

The suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Laye is about 12 miles (20 km) to the west of the centre of Paris. The Saint-Germain station can be reached on Line A of the RER, and also on the Paris – Saint-Lazare suburban rail line. For anyone who is particularly interested in prehistory and history of France, this Paris museum is well worth a visit.

One of the main attractions in Saint-Germain-en-Laye is the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye (above), now the Musée des Antiquités Nationales (National Museum of Archaeology). The castle was built in the mid fourteenth century, but there had been a castle fort there for at least a hundred years previously. For a few centuries the castle was the Royal residence and a number of French kings were born there, including Louis XIV. It was Napoleon III who in 1862 had the castle designated a national museum for prehistory. The museum has some amazing exhibits that ranges from the Old Stone Age to the Iron Age (Celtic times).

Napoleon III set up the Musée des Antiquités Nationales in the estwhile royal château. This museum has exhibits ranging from Paleolithic to Celtic times.  One of the most famous pieces in the museum’s collection is the small carving of a woman’s head, sculptured from a mammoth’s tusk about 25 000 years ago. At this age this little carving, the size of a man’s thumb, is currently the oldest dated representation of a human face. This piece is one of a number of Stone Age carvings in the museum’s collection, and on display.

la Dame de Brassempouy – thought to be the oldest representation of a human face

The museum is open every day, except on Tuesdays and public holidays, from ten in the morning to five in the afternoon; with an entrance fee of 6 Euros.

Besides the National Archaeology Museum there is the Saint-Germain forest and a few concrete bunkers built by the Germans during the Second World War.

More on European Museums

Find out about more museums in Europe on Europe a la Carte.

Napoleon Apartments at the Louvre, Paris

If you are in the French capital for a short time and can’t make it to the Palace of Versailles, one of the best things to do in Paris to get your opulence fix is a visit to the Napoleon apartments at the Louvre.

Located in the museum’s Richelieu wing, these rooms continue to hold the luxury enjoyed (and probably expected) by the Emperor and his council.

It’s impossible to imagine a life lived in the gold and velvet splendor of these quarters. It holds an aura of formality. Even when a comfortable arm chair pops up, it’s accented by ornate lamps and vases.

The furnishings are works of art, carefully carved, polished and upholstered. And then there are the works of art – murals, paintings, vases, sculptures, mirrors, chandeliers and clocks, each more exquisite than the other.

Along with the very lavish public rooms, private rooms are also open to the public. They are smaller, and a little cozier, but look closer and you’ll notice the intricate and impressive antiquities and accents.

Even if you don’t enjoy museum visits, the apartments can be pretty interesting, besides it’s an opportunity for taking some great photos!

More Paris Tips

You can find lots of tips for best things to do in Paris on Europe a la Carte. Find out about must-see Paris museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

I’m Top Traveller in easyJet 15 Hour Blogger Challenge

On 22 December 2010, easyJet announced that I was voted Top Traveller in the easyJet 15 hour Blogger Challenge. A big thank you to everyone who voted for the video of my challenge in Paris in the Facebook poll.


As part of easyjet’s 15th birthday celebrations, four travel bloggers took part in the “easyJet 15 hour Blogger Challenge“.  I was one of the four bloggers flying to a secret destination in Europe, where we’d have 15 hours to explore that city with £100 to spend.  We didn’t know our destination until we arrived at the airport to check in.  We were accompanied by Kane, easyJet’s social media planner, who took photos and videos of our challenge.

My easyJet 15 Hour Blogger Challenge

My Challenge kicked off on Tuesday 23 November at 6am at Luton Airport. where my secret destination was revealed as Paris.

My £100 spending budget only equated to 100 Euro at a Luton Airport bureau de change. I never change my money at a UK airport, as the rates of exchange are low and the commission high.  I’ve researched this topic in my post “Best Debit Cards for Use Abroad” where I recommend a FairFX Anywhere card with a flat fee of 1.5% for purchases and cash machine withdrawals.  I go to a cash machine at my arrival airport and get out some cash in the local currency there. Using the FairFX card can increase your holiday spending money by up to 10% compared to using an UK airport bureau de change.

After paying 18 Euro for a return train/metro ticket from Charles de Gaulle Airport to my accommodation, the Seven Hotel Paris, I realised that 100 Euro wasn’t going to go very far in the French capital, as I’d to spend some more money on transport and buy food.  However, as my time was limited I thought I’d rather explore Paris than linger over lunch and dinner.

My room at Hotel Seven Paris

After checking into the hotel I thought I should spend some time online checking up on the Paris tips I’d received in Facebook and Twitter. However, that plan was rather thwarted by the poor wifi signal in my room. After I’d managed to arrange to meet Michael and Marlys tweeting as @Paris Buff for a guided Paris Movie Walk in Montmartre that afternoon, I decided I’d better get out and about. Fortunately I’d recently compiled a Best of Paris Travel Tips post on the Europe a la Carte Blog, so I had some ideas on what I could do in Paris.

There was a great baker and patisserie close to the hotel, so the 4.5 Euro Formule consisting of a ham baguette, a slice of flan and a drink was a fast, delicious and cheap lunch option.

Patisserie near Hotel Seven

We arrived in Montmartre early for our appointment with ParisBuff so walked up the steps towards Sacre Coeur which offered views over a rather cloudy Paris.


Dusk was falling by the time we began our walk with Michael and Marlys, I just caught the illuminations firing up on Sacre Coeur.

Sacre Coeur at dusk

Montmartre was looking very magical with the fairy lights in the trees.

Montmartre by night

We had a tasty potato topped salad at Relais Gascoine, as recommended by Michael and Marlys before heading for the Arc de Triomphe and a walk down to the Champs Elysees to the Place de la Concorde.

Ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde

Then it was back to the hotel for an early night to prepare for any early start the next morning.

Next morning after a visit to the bakers close to the hotel for breakfast, we took the Metro to Notre Dame with a quick stop at the Fontaine St Michel.

Fontaine St Michel

I’d planned to climb the tower at Notre Dame as suggested by Kimberly in her post “Paris from Quasimodo’s Perspective” but there was a long queue so I had to make do with a quick look around the interior.


The rear of Notre Dame

It was such a lovely day that we decided to walk along the Seine to the Louvre.

The Louvre Pyramid

Then we continued along the banks of Seine toward the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower from the banks of the River Seine

We made the big mistake of going for lunch at a restaurant close to the Eiffel Tower, mainly as I needed a rest after all that walking. The food was not very good and the portions small. I said goodbye to Kane after a coffee, as his return flight was earlier than mine. I decided to do a bit more sightseeing before returning to the hotel to pick up my luggage.

I found a branch of A La Mere de Famille confectionary shop, as recommended by Sian.

A La Mere de Famille confectioners

The Musee de l’Armee was looking beautiful in the afternoon sun.

Musee de l’Armee in Paris

I’d hoped to go up the Montparnasse Tower as Neha thinks that it offers the best views of Paris. However, it was longer to walk there than I’d anticipated, so I didn’t have time to go up.

Montparnasse Tower, Paris


Then it was time to pick up my case and head to the airport, little did I know that my biggest challenge was still to come, getting back home.

My flight back to Newcastle from Charles de Gaulle Airport was delayed for more than 2 hours as Newcastle Airport was closed due to snow. We were sitting in the plane not knowing what would happen for almost 2 hours, at one stage the pilot thought we might have to be diverted to Edinburgh, not good for me as a taxi had been booked to take me home from Newcastle to Berwick upon Tweed. However, we did finally land at Newcastle around 22.45.  There was no sign of the taxi or contact from them.  There was a long queue at the taxi rank, no taxis there and it started to snow again. It seemed that the best course of action was to hang around the airport until early morning and then make my way to Berwick by public transport. When I phoned my husband to tell him I wouldn’t be home that night, he said he’d come and pick me up.  I finally arrived home at 3.30am after a horrendous drive north on the snowy A1.

Podcast about my easyJet 15 Hour Blogger Challenge in Paris

Article in Local Paper About My Challenge

On 5 January 2011 our local paper, the Berwick Observer, reported on my Blogger Challenge.

Thank You for Your Tips

I hope that I managed to take a note of everyone who offered me Paris tips. Due to my limited time in Paris and not getting a decent wifi signal on arrival at my hotel, I wasn’t able to follow many of the tips. I haven’t been able to retrieve all the tips made on Twitter so I’m just linking to the Twitter streams. I managed to retrieve the tips on Facebook more easily.



Paul Kilduff – Take a lift to the top of the Grande Arche in La Defense – great views

Gotz A Primke – Visit the flee market marché des Puces at Porte de Clignancourt. And the famous cimetery Père Lachaise. Also Les Égouts, Paris’ Underground, is a cool Place to visit.

Simon Falvo – a Paris Movies Walk with @Paris Buff (great minds think alike as I did arrange this).

Terry Sullivan – A walk in Jardin de Luxembourg (left bank) on a sunny Sunday morning! Bliss

James Benedict Brown – I suggest you head to my favourite arrondissement, the 11th. It’s a Tuesday, so you wil…l find the beautiful and lively food market on Boulevard Richard-Lenoir, just near Oberkampf metro. It’s always been the first stop when we take self-catering breaks in this densely populated and diverse neighbourhood of the city. Then turn east and walk uphill towards Belleville and Menilmontant, two of the prettiest, most diverse and most interesting neighbourhoods of the city. Reward yourself with a drink at La Mer à Boire, which has a stunning view over Parc de Belleville towards the skyline of Paris.

Easyjet Top Traveller

Now that all the bloggers have done their challenge, our endeavours will be judged  in terms of entertainment value, utility and originality, by easyjet Facebook fans, so that  a “Top Traveller” can be crowned.  If you vote for the “Top Traveller” you then have the chance to win a two night holiday in the winning featured city.

10 of the best hotels near Gare du Nord Paris

There are a lot of hotels within a short walk from Gare du Nord station, the Paris Eurostar terminal.  However few of the Paris Gard du Nord hotels rate very highly amongst previous guests. Being central Paris, there is nothing really fitting a “budget” category, and curiously there are no highly-rated luxury hotels in the area either. Here are ten of the best hotels (with guest ratings of over 75%) within half a mile of Gare du Nord, with prices shown for a double room for Tuesday November 16 2010.

Garde du Nord Paris by Vincent Teeuwen

Paris Gare du Nord lower-priced hotels

The Soft Hotel Paris (£76) markets itself as being an “affordable design hotel” with fancy furnishings but reasonable rates. It has modern, clean rooms and a central location.  It receives an average of 78% from 112 verified guest reviews.

Hotel Campanile Paris X (10) Gare Du Nord (£83) is directly opposite the metro, has small, clean rooms and a well-priced breakfast.  It receives an average of 80% from 330 verified guest reviews.

Each room at the Eurostars Panorama Hotel Paris (£88) features pictures or words from a different star, for example there’s an Edith Piaf room amongst others. It is fully renovated and located in a quiet side street, and offers 24-hour bar service.  It receives an average of 78% from 556 verified guest reviews.

Hotel Peyris Opera Paris (£86) is quiet with just 50 rooms, includes free WiFi  in the lobby and has been recently renovated. It’s close to the Paris Opera as well as the train station but some say the rooms are a little cramped. The hotel scores 80% in unverified reviews.

Paris Gare du Nord mid-range hotels

Holiday Inn Paris Gare De L’Est (£102) is also close to Gare du Nord and the location directly opposite Gare De L’est and next to the metro station is ideal. The rooms are small but clean. the hotel receives an average of 80% from 682 verified guest reviews.

The Hotel La Tour D’Auvergne Paris (£101) is beautifully decorated and also in a handy location near the stations.With only 24 rooms it is particularly quiet. It receives an average of 82% from 23 verified reviews.

At the Hotel Windsor Opera Paris (£103) the rooms are more spacious than average for a central Paris hotel and the staff have a reputation for being friendly and helpful.  It scores an average of 86% from 83 verified guest reviews.

The 58-room Best Western Aida Opera Hotel Paris (£96) offers free WiFi and larger than average rooms for the price range.  It scores an average of 78% from 87 verified guest reviews.

The Hotel Francais Paris (£106), not to be confused with the Grand Hotel Francais, (a much pricier place) is set amongst lively shops and still close to the major train stations, and its business centre offers free WiFi.  It receives an average of 78% from 301 verified guest reviews.

The stylish 9 Hotel Paris (£107) has been recommended by Wallpaper magazine, although again many guests say the rooms are a little on the small side for the price. With only 35 rooms spread over six floors,it is a quiet boutique hotel with friendly staff.  It receives an average of 80% from 518 verified guest reviews.

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city. Find out about must-see Paris museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels