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One day in Paris - recommendations?


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So work is taking me to Romania in October, and the only way to get the air schedule to work out right was to spend one day in Europe (shucks), so I chose Paris.

I've been a lot of places, but never France, so I'm excited. I have exactly 24 hours (7am - 7am), and haven't booked a hotel as of yet. I'll try to book near the airport so I can crash late at night and walk or catch a cab in the morning.

I know there's 1,001 great things to see in this amazing city, but what are one or two of the must see locations? And of course, the food! I'm not looking for high end cuisine, I'd be happy to spend the day eating vendor and cafe food in a nice neighborhood.

If you could help me set my sights on one area (one cab in, one out at night) that could consume a whole day I'd be eternally grateful!

Thanks in advance.


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One day? Paris is a relationship for life....

But for one day, one district is a good decision, Le Marais. Central, old, rambling, a mix of culture, shopping, food. Can walk to the Louvre, Ile de Saint Louis, Notre Dame, or the Pompidou. You're also on the same subway line that can whisk you to the Eiffel Tower.

Street food? L'as du felafel on Rue des Rosiers. The famous horseshoe shaped bar at Au Petit Fer a Cheval, a busy café around the corner, there's a good ice cream place across the road from that on a corner, can't recall the name... Have fun.

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When I go to Paris I love to spend time in Saint Germain des Pres in the 6th. It's a great neighborhood with a village feel and plenty of interesting shops, famous cafes (Deux Magots et le Flore which are excellent for people watching), art galleries, etc. Start with a cappucino and croissant at a cafe. Walk around the neighborhood and go to Le Comptoir de l'Odeon for lunch, a casual unpretentious little gem that serves elevated bistro food (bistrot gastronomique). There are no reservations for lunch and if you get there before noon you are usually able to get a table relatively quickly. One block away you have Gerard Mulot who has fantastic macarons. Continuing west for a couple of blocks you will find Pierre Herme's shop that does not need an introduction - wonderful pastries and more macarons. But if you like chocolate, you need to finish with a chocolate eclair at La Maison du Chocolat and a box of ganaches to go. After that, you can spend time doing more food shopping at La Grande Epicerie in Le Bon Marche. They have a ton of French specialties and it's very easy to get completely overwhelmed. They sell a lot of prepared foods so that is also a good option if you want to sample a varieties of items. The Bon Marche is also a great department store for non-food items... lots of French and European designers that you don't find in the States. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon is a 10 min walk away and would be a fun place to eat especially if you are travelling alone - you just sit at the counter and savor your food while you can observe the open kitchen. I find it fascinating.

Another area that I like a lot is rue Mouffetard in the 5th. Mouffetard is one of the oldest streets in Paris. It has a lively market that runs most days. Le Papillon is a small bistro located rue Mouffetard that has a simple menu with usually a couple of interesting offal dishes and fantastic oyster platters that they get from the fish shop next door. Androuet is a very nice cheese store located at the bottom of the street across from the church. If you like coffee you need to continue past Androuet to avenue des Gobelins and just follow your nose - there is a great coffee roaster there (Brulerie des Gobelins). Walk another 5 minutes on Boulevard de Port Royal and there is Sadahoru Aoki, a wonderful little pastry shop that merges French pastry art with Japanese flavors (green tea, bean paste, etc - they have the most amazing green tea mille feuille).

The Marais that tomweir suggested is a great area as well. I agree that it's a good idea to pick one neighborhood and explore instead of trying to see everything in one day, which is impossible anyway.

These are just a few ideas. Obviously there is a ton to see in Paris and you will barely be able to scratch the surface in 24 hours. Hopefully you will have a chance to go back soon!

Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)
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airport is a good hour outside of downtown, keep that in mind. We just spent 10 days in Paris, ate where ever our feet brought us, all great. Pick a busy place, you can't really go wrong IMO. Just don't eat right next to some major tourist attraction. I'd probably select a hotel close to the main attractions, we stayed in an apartment very close to Les Halles, a main subway station. Nightlife until 4am or so, lots of great places to eat. Watch out of pick pockets, especially kids from Romania are very active there, from 4 year olds to groups of pretty teenage girls. Don't get talked into signing some petitions, help somebody with their map or talk about "found" gold rings or some such ruse, somebody will pick you from behind while you negotiate. They had to shut down the Louvre in April because of those jerks. Same on the Eiffel Tower. Also the #1 train from the airport to town and back is prime hunting ground for them. Cash and celphones are their main thing, our friend (who lives in paris for over a year) had her iphone stolen while we were there. Pain in the rear. But to them it looks like 400 Euro in cash...

A fun thing we did was have a reservation at the "cafe" on the first platform of the tower. includes food and one drink and - most important - lift ticket, so you don't have to stand in line with the other thousand tourists. Food was quite good too, simple and sold as "pick nick", served from a basket. Great view. Everybody we encountered was very friendly and most spoke at least some English (my French is very very poor).

I'd stay downtown, go out until late and get an early taxi/shuttle back to the airport. There's nothing where the airport is.

Edit to add: or book right at the airport and go out late, then cab it back to catch a nap.

Edited by OliverB (log)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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  • 4 weeks later...

Have a look at at website called Paris By Mouth (www.parisbymouth.com).

Lots & lots of good information. Its run by foodie for foodies. They do give tours, but I suspect that given your limited time you'll want to see a lot more than just the culinary delights.

I agree about taking the metro in. Cheaper & faster.

As to a tour I might be inclined to start at the Arc de Triumph (take the metro) then walk down the Champs Elysée to the Place Concord, cross the river to Invalides & the Eiffel Tower; Then down the Blvd St Germain to Blvd St Michel. Once on the island turn right for Notre Dame. After that finish crossing the river and have a quick look at the Louvre. This is very walkable if a bit long, but you take in some major sights & pass some very interesting areas.

Airport hotel a good idea. They're used to late arrivials & most have mini-bus service to the terminals.

Have a great day!

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