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Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations appreciated

Phoenix

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So I'm taking my adult niece to Paris when I visit my family in the UK in a few weeks' time. She had a big b'day in December but did not have a huge celebration (various reasons). I want to take her there to celebrate it belatedly and also because she's never been.

I'd like for us to stay somewhere nice and CLEAN and SAFE (both very very important) and central, but not hugely expensive. I'll prob take her shopping and to various places for lunch and dinner. We might take in a show or check out a club if we have time. But primarily we want to shop, take in some museums and galleries (which I've been to a few times, but she hasn't).

So what I'd like to ask are: which hotel would you recommend? The few I've looked at on the internet are soooo expensive and the rooms are tiny (I seem to remember that when I stayed there before, the hotel was also tiny and not very clean). Also, which restaurants would you recommend (nice authentic French food and not the usual touristy "cr**"!)? Any other things we should do whilst we're there? Anything we should avoid or not do? Again, SAFETY is a big issue for us - since we'll be two girls there. I speak intermediate French so communication should not be an issue, though I know most people there speak English.

Oh, and we're thinking either 3 or 4 days.

Thank you so much.
 

dragonfly411

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

I'd recommend you get a new niece. ME! :bigsmile:

I've never been so I don't have any legitimate recommendations other than have fun, and go to the Caron boutique for me.
 

VRBeauty

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

My best Paris meal experience was at Bar a Manger, which is near the BHV department store and Ille de la Cite. We stumbled upon the place, got there as the lunch crowd was leaving, and had an inventive and beautifully lunch. They used to post their weekly menus (I haven't checked for awhile) so you can check to see whether this is the type of fare that you and your niece might appreciate.

I have no recommendations for accomodations.
 

candy

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

I was in Paris a few weeks ago and stayed at the Sofitel near the Arc de Triomphe. I was happy with it and would gladly stay there again. The hotel is very close to the Avenue des Champs-Élysée, which would be convenient for your shopping excursions!

For authentic French cuisine try, La Closerie des Lilas, located right near Luxembourg Gardens: http://www.closeriedeslilas.fr/

So many great things to do in Paris! Have a great trip!
 

Phoenix

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

dragonfly411|1305047143|2917466 said:
I'd recommend you get a new niece. ME! :bigsmile:

I've never been so I don't have any legitimate recommendations other than have fun, and go to the Caron boutique for me.
Ha ha, cute! :bigsmile:
 

Phoenix

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

VRBeauty|1305055465|2917621 said:
My best Paris meal experience was at Bar a Manger, which is near the BHV department store and Ille de la Cite. We stumbled upon the place, got there as the lunch crowd was leaving, and had an inventive and beautifully lunch. They used to post their weekly menus (I haven't checked for awhile) so you can check to see whether this is the type of fare that you and your niece might appreciate.

I have no recommendations for accomodations.
VRBeauty, thank you. Sounds divine! :lickout: I'm getting hungry thinking about all the French food we're gonna have.
 

Phoenix

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

candy|1305068728|2917862 said:
I was in Paris a few weeks ago and stayed at the Sofitel near the Arc de Triomphe. I was happy with it and would gladly stay there again. The hotel is very close to the Avenue des Champs-Élysée, which would be convenient for your shopping excursions!

For authentic French cuisine try, La Closerie des Lilas, located right near Luxembourg Gardens: http://www.closeriedeslilas.fr/

So many great things to do in Paris! Have a great trip!
Wow!! Thank you so much, candy. Really appreciate yr recommendations. :twirl:
 

Circe

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

Oh, gorgeous! I was in Paris in fall/winter, so my recs are relatively recent ... though, sadly, I'm useless on food, since I never remember restaurants. I will say, the Tour d'Argent is famous and has a waiting list as long as your arm (which is why we never made it) - I'd call now and see if it's as good as almost 100 years of diners say it is!

Hotel-wise: we stayed at the Prince de Galles, on George V, just off the Champs-Élysée, which I absolutely adored. Great location, beautiful, traditionally decorated rooms, great food. They're a little pricey, but a worthwhile splurge, I think. We also tried the Le Meridian Montparnesse and the Le Meridian Etoile: these are a little more affordable, but I think the experience is a little more down-scale in both case. The Montparnesse location is great if you want to explore the Left Bank, but the hotel hasn't been redone in a while, and it sort of shows (though the food is wonderful): the Etoile location has just been remodeled, and is very up-to-the-minute, but the food is terrible (and there's not much I'd recommend in the immediate vicinity, either).

Sights: I'd highly recommend going to Montmarte and wandering around - this was one of my favorite parts of the city. Sacre Coeur is amazing, and the neighborhood has a very boho, authentic vibe. Would NOT, however, recommend Moulin Rouge - it was a huge disappointment, and a travesty of its former self. The Ile-de-Cite is wonderful for wandering, and right on the way to my favorite museum, the Musee d'Orsay. I'm enough of a Philistine that I don't really "get" the l'Orangerie, but since you're right there, it's a pity to miss it. The Marais is also wonderful for wandering and poking your nose into little boutiques and seeing all the myriad sights that are part of Parisian history and life - the Place des Vosges, the Galerie Vivien, etc., etc. Not to mention touring down the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré ...!

You guys are going to have such a ball. Paris in springtime! She'll remember this for the rest of her life - what a nice aunt you are!
 

minmin001

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

:love: my b-day is this sunday~ take me with you, I'd fit in the suitcase~~ :bigsmile:
 

nfowife

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

I would look at tripadvisor for the top recs in the arrondissement(s) you are interested in. And, I HIGHLY recommend Rick Steves guidebooks and recommendations. They are usually no frills, good values in excellent locations. I would recommend staying in the 6th near St. Germain. The Champs-Elysees area is a bit far out, depending on where you stay along it.
Sorry I don't have a hotel rec myself, but I was there with young children and we rented an apartment via vrbo on the Ille St. Louis, which was fabulous, but for just 2 adults you can do better than that :) .
 

Phoenix

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

Circe|1305126752|2918504 said:
Oh, gorgeous! I was in Paris in fall/winter, so my recs are relatively recent ... though, sadly, I'm useless on food, since I never remember restaurants. I will say, the Tour d'Argent is famous and has a waiting list as long as your arm (which is why we never made it) - I'd call now and see if it's as good as almost 100 years of diners say it is!

Hotel-wise: we stayed at the Prince de Galles, on George V, just off the Champs-Élysée, which I absolutely adored. Great location, beautiful, traditionally decorated rooms, great food. They're a little pricey, but a worthwhile splurge, I think. We also tried the Le Meridian Montparnesse and the Le Meridian Etoile: these are a little more affordable, but I think the experience is a little more down-scale in both case. The Montparnesse location is great if you want to explore the Left Bank, but the hotel hasn't been redone in a while, and it sort of shows (though the food is wonderful): the Etoile location has just been remodeled, and is very up-to-the-minute, but the food is terrible (and there's not much I'd recommend in the immediate vicinity, either).

Sights: I'd highly recommend going to Montmarte and wandering around - this was one of my favorite parts of the city. Sacre Coeur is amazing, and the neighborhood has a very boho, authentic vibe. Would NOT, however, recommend Moulin Rouge - it was a huge disappointment, and a travesty of its former self. The Ile-de-Cite is wonderful for wandering, and right on the way to my favorite museum, the Musee d'Orsay. I'm enough of a Philistine that I don't really "get" the l'Orangerie, but since you're right there, it's a pity to miss it. The Marais is also wonderful for wandering and poking your nose into little boutiques and seeing all the myriad sights that are part of Parisian history and life - the Place des Vosges, the Galerie Vivien, etc., etc. Not to mention touring down the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré ...!

You guys are going to have such a ball. Paris in springtime! She'll remember this for the rest of her life - what a nice aunt you are!
Circe, thank you soooooo much for all the wonderful and detailed suggestions. I'll call Tour d'Argent within the next day or so and see if I can get a booking. I'll check out all the hotels recommended and see which one I can book. The sights sound wonderful too; glad you mentioned Moulin Rouge 'cos that was on my list of shows to see.

So many things to do, so little time! ::) I hope my niece will enjoy herself as much as I know I will. I thank you again for all yr help. :))
 

Phoenix

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

minmin001|1305130842|2918588 said:
:love: my b-day is this sunday~ take me with you, I'd fit in the suitcase~~ :bigsmile:
He he, you're funny! :bigsmile:
 

AmeliaG

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

I don't know what your budget is but my ex and I stayed at the Hotel de Lutece a few years back. Its in a great location in the center of Paris on the Ile St. Louis (the other island in the Seine and a short walk from Notre Dame). Compared to the rest of Paris, the Ile St. Louis is comfortably quiet and has a small town feel. It also has incredible but affordable restaurants everywhere you turn (including a great place for ice cream at the western tip of the island where you can sit outside and get a great view of Notre Dame.)

Hotel rooms in Paris are never big so we had to reset our expectations a little. We prioritized convenience, cleanliness, non-ugliness and quiet. As I remember, it wasn't that expensive.

http://www.paris-hotel-lutece.com/
http://www.travelchannel.com/Video/hotel-de-lutece-11107

Tour d'Argent is a great restaurant if your niece likes fine dining. If she's not that interested, I think any of the restaurants on the Ile St. Louis would suit her fine. If both of you really enjoy fine dining and want to experience the best Paris has to offer (and don't mind paying for it) both Pierre Gagnaire and Alain Ducasse have restaurants that all the foodies are raving about. We wanted to go to one of them while we were there but either one of them would have been too pricey for us at this particular time. Both chefs are a bit experimental so both of you would really have to get into that and enjoy it to make the price worthwhile.

Good luck and have fun!
 

Phoenix

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

nfowife|1305132962|2918649 said:
I would look at tripadvisor for the top recs in the arrondissement(s) you are interested in. And, I HIGHLY recommend Rick Steves guidebooks and recommendations. They are usually no frills, good values in excellent locations. I would recommend staying in the 6th near St. Germain. The Champs-Elysees area is a bit far out, depending on where you stay along it.
Sorry I don't have a hotel rec myself, but I was there with young children and we rented an apartment via vrbo on the Ille St. Louis, which was fabulous, but for just 2 adults you can do better than that :) .
Thank you so much, nfowife. I'll look them up.
 

Phoenix

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

AmeliaG|1305218190|2919737 said:
I don't know what your budget is but my ex and I stayed at the Hotel de Lutece a few years back. Its in a great location in the center of Paris on the Ile St. Louis (the other island in the Seine and a short walk from Notre Dame). Compared to the rest of Paris, the Ile St. Louis is comfortably quiet and has a small town feel. It also has incredible but affordable restaurants everywhere you turn (including a great place for ice cream at the western tip of the island where you can sit outside and get a great view of Notre Dame.)

Hotel rooms in Paris are never big so we had to reset our expectations a little. We prioritized convenience, cleanliness, non-ugliness and quiet. As I remember, it wasn't that expensive.

http://www.paris-hotel-lutece.com/
http://www.travelchannel.com/Video/hotel-de-lutece-11107

Tour d'Argent is a great restaurant if your niece likes fine dining. If she's not that interested, I think any of the restaurants on the Ile St. Louis would suit her fine. If both of you really enjoy fine dining and want to experience the best Paris has to offer (and don't mind paying for it) both Pierre Gagnaire and Alain Ducasse have restaurants that all the foodies are raving about. We wanted to go to one of them while we were there but either one of them would have been too pricey for us at this particular time. Both chefs are a bit experimental so both of you would really have to get into that and enjoy it to make the price worthwhile.

Good luck and have fun!
Wow, thank you sooo much for all the wonderful and detailed recommendations, Amelia.

Well, I have expensive taste and so does my niece, but since I'm paying for everything and as much as I want her to enjoy herself and have a good time, I think we'll have to rein ourselves in a bit! ;)) :))
 

AmeliaG

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

Glad I could help. :) Hope you enjoy your stay.

We really loved being so central to everything. We were a short walk away from the best sites, the best shopping, the best food. And it was quiet which you never get in Paris.

If you like cooking and cooking gadgets, you must visit the shop Dehillerin. This is the shop that Julia Child found when she lived in Paris. They have some neat gadgets I have never seen before but also some of the best knives, and copper pots and pans around.

For ice cream, Berthillon is a must try. And although you can find a Sephora shop in the US anywhere you turn, the biggest and best one is in Paris.

I second Circe's recommendations re: the Musee d'Orsay. Maybe I just get a kick out of a train station converted to a museum but it was pretty cool and not as stuffy as other musuems. We also took in some unusual sites: Rodin's house and sculpture garden was a nice surprise and we visited the graveyard where Jim Morrison is buried. I don't think we ever found his grave, but we came across some really unusual but beautiful gravesites of people we never heard of. It wasn't morbid in the least.
 

Circe

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

I just realized ... two restaurants did stick in my head. Laduree, though it's best known for its sweets, has a lovely jewel-box of a restaurant on the Champs-Élysée that's well worth visiting. And, nearby, there's a place called the Maison de la Truffe that's, well, self-explanatory - I'm a truffle fiend, so I was in heaven.
 

Phoenix

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

AmeliaG|1305377729|2921639 said:
Glad I could help. :) Hope you enjoy your stay.

We really loved being so central to everything. We were a short walk away from the best sites, the best shopping, the best food. And it was quiet which you never get in Paris.

If you like cooking and cooking gadgets, you must visit the shop Dehillerin. This is the shop that Julia Child found when she lived in Paris. They have some neat gadgets I have never seen before but also some of the best knives, and copper pots and pans around.

For ice cream, Berthillon is a must try. And although you can find a Sephora shop in the US anywhere you turn, the biggest and best one is in Paris.

I second Circe's recommendations re: the Musee d'Orsay. Maybe I just get a kick out of a train station converted to a museum but it was pretty cool and not as stuffy as other musuems. We also took in some unusual sites: Rodin's house and sculpture garden was a nice surprise and we visited the graveyard where Jim Morrison is buried. I don't think we ever found his grave, but we came across some really unusual but beautiful gravesites of people we never heard of. It wasn't morbid in the least.
Thank you soooo much, once again, Amelia.

Some really lovely and unsual recommendations there. Actually, my ex-house in London was backing onto a very old graveyard with beautiful and unusual headstones. I really dug that! :)), though not literally, ha ha!! :wink2:
 

Phoenix

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

Circe|1305384584|2921686 said:
I just realized ... two restaurants did stick in my head. Laduree, though it's best known for its sweets, has a lovely jewel-box of a restaurant on the Champs-Élysée that's well worth visiting. And, nearby, there's a place called the Maison de la Truffe that's, well, self-explanatory - I'm a truffle fiend, so I was in heaven.
Wow!! You're making me hungry!! They sound wonderful! I'm a truffle FIEND myself, so for sure I'll check it out!! :))
 

Strawdermangrl

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Re: Taking niece to Paris for b'day-recommendations apprecia

You could take me. I am a moderately strong person (in my own mind, I mean, I do bootcamp....badly) that has limited French and enjoys fries.

So, with my ability to kick someone in the shins and run quickly away you would not be in danger and with my extensitve vocab, I could probably find out someones name for you and eat lots of french fries.

Sound like a plan? All for the low, low price of a flight!!! :)

Seriously, though, what an amazing trip and what a kick butt Aunt you are! :) Have a blast.
 
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