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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

Posts in ‘Things to do in Paris’

How to avoid being cheated in Paris cafés

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This is the other side of the medal, as they say in France, of those little old style Parisian cafés.
Nothing really illegal, but sometimes they bend the rules to the point that unsaavy tourists end up paying fat bills.
 
More light on this:
- Most cafés have a clear menu on each table, with all items and prices clearly displayed.
But others will only bring you a printed menu upon request. In some cases they assume that you
don’t need the menu for simple orders (coffee, drinks) and that’s precisely where they
get you. Your bill will show fantasy prices based upon the look of your clothes.
- The “riskier” areas are the famous Paris hop on hop off bus tourist spots: Ile de la Cité (around Notre Dame), Saint Michel, Saint Germain, the restaurants area around Les Halles/Chatelet.
-“Would you like some X with that?” is a typical strategy to sell you more without telling you
it’s more expensive, sometimes by a lot. Adding milk to coffee can add 1-2 euros.
Adding a side salad to a steak can add 4-6 euros to the bill.
- Serving a larger size than requested is quite typical, especially when hiding behind
linguistic incomprehension (sometimes faked). For example draught beers: the standard serving
is called “Démi” and it’s about 20cl. The larger option is called “Serieux” and is around 40cl, roughly the same as a British “pint”. Well, if you just ask for “a beer” without being specific, chances are you’ll get a pint, or even sometimes one full litre. For coffee: the default size for
coffee is a small cup, but don’t be surprised if you get a large bowl. A generic “café creme” order
will get you a large bowl unless you specify “petit” or “noisette”.

continue reading

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The best things to do in Paris

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Things to do in Paris - Eiffel Tower

Things to do in Paris - Eiffel Tower

Based on our customer bookings and customer reviews of the past few months, here is the updated list of the best things to do in Paris, France.

Here you can find all things do to in Paris.

We welcome suggestions for new experiences to add!

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Bastille Day Celebrations

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Bastille Day at the Eiffel Tower (Flickr attributed by y.caradec)

Bastille Day at the Eiffel Tower (Flickr by y.caradec)

On July 14th the French will be celebrating Bastille Day. For those of who you do not know, Bastille Day celebrates the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison and is viewed as the first move towards democracy. Throughout France, Bastille Day is celebrated with fireworks, flag flying, parades, and parties. If you are American (like me) it can be compared to the spirit felt on the fourth of July. Just like in the United States the most grand of the celebrations are held in the largest of cities. So, Paris is the ideal place to be for Bastille Day! Although Paris holds the grandest celebrations, all of France holds celebrations on Bastille Day.

Bastille Day Celebrations in Paris

Bastille Day Celebrations on the Arc de Triomphe (Flickr by Ammar Abd Rabbo)

Bastille Day Celebrations on the Arc de Triomphe (Flickr by Ammar Abd Rabbo)

Some of the experiences that Paris offers on Bastille Day are a grand parade on the famous Champs Elysees and fireworks blasting off the Eiffel Tower. The sights of Paris are stunning without the flamboyancy; imagine how they will look with fireworks, parades, and flags in the streets! One way to see the key sights in Paris like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Champs Elysees is by using a hop-on-hop-off bus. This bus system has 19 stops that highlight all of Paris. In my travels I have found this to be a wonderful way to travel around a city. The double decker bus is a fun way to see all the sights. Also, using the hop-on-hop-off method allows you to spend as much time as you would like at a spot instead of being ushered around by a tour guide. Having experienced both forms, I have found the hop-on-hop-off bus system to be more relaxing. continue reading

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Summer Fun on the Tour de France Racetrack

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The most famous three weeks in cycling are back for the summertime! As the 96th Tour de France kicks off this July, hundreds of thousands of people will flock to this year’s twenty-one race route cities. The race departs Saturday, July 4th in Monaco, and after three weeks of winding around the French countryside (and even a little bit of Switzerland, Italy, and Spain) will finish at the Champs-Élysées on July 26th.

Tour de France 2008 - Lüfkens

Tour de France 2008 - Lüfkens

The New York Times has called the race like “running a marathon several days a week for nearly three weeks,” comparing the climbs of the race to “climbing three [Mount] Everests,” and yet, every year twenty teams line up for the gruelling race. continue reading

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Walking Cities Part 6: Paris

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If you’ve missed the introduction to this series, click here. For part 2, click here. For part 3, click here. For part 4, click here. For part 5, here!
City of Lights, indeed - Serge Melki

City of Lights, indeed - Serge Melki

You know a city is great when it’s hard to write an article about. Paris is packed with such a variety of museums, historical sites, restaurants, clubs, bars, activities and parks that it’s hard (near impossible!) to contain them all within a single article. Sometimes guided tours can be the only way to actually absorb all of the history and information going on around you and sometimes even those can be overwhelming.

No proper French film (er…American film set in France) ends without a scene of its main character strolling through the Champs-Élysées. And this, I suggest, is what you do too. Of course, when I go (which is quite soon, yay!) I’ll be spending plenty of my time in museums, shops, and cafés, but a trip to Paris would hardly be complete without this well-captured stroll along the promenade. How often do you get the chance to wander through a 17th century garden-turned-walkway in the “city of light”? I am still a tourist after all. continue reading

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Visit ancient Egypt at the Louvre

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People planning Paris tours over the next couple of months will be able to visit the city’s iconic Musee du Louvre to explore an exhibition dedicated to ancient Egypt.

The expansive display was launched in the museum’s Napoleon Hall on March 6th and will be open until June 29th.

Entitled The Gates of Heaven: Visions of the World in Ancient Egypt, the exhibition takes its name from a phrase that the people of the ancient culture used to describe a passageway that led to the afterlife.

The Louvre has amassed a collection of some 350 artefacts from various collections across France and Europe for the showcase, offering a representation of ancient Egypt from the culture’s earliest times right up to the Roman period.

As well as displaying a variety of objects that had various uses and meanings in the culture, the exhibition places the items in their social, religious and artistic context to provide an additional insight into life in ancient times.

The Louvre is the world’s most visited museum, boasting a collection that encompasses artworks including the Mona Lisa.

Paris – Enjoy the view from the Eiffel Tower or see the Mona Lisa in the "city of light".ADNFCR-1652-ID-19134042-ADNFCR

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A Walk on the “Wilde” Side Indeed: Hotspots of Literary History

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Oscar Wilde - janetmck and mukund76

Oscar Wilde - janetmck and mukund76

All of this travelling has given us all a little wanderlust (aka the desire to travel our already small savings away). Europe is packed with history than we’ll ever be able to see in just three short months, but with some great tour guides and a little organization, we’re hoping to cram as much of it in as possible! Since we’re here to study literature and culture, and Dublin was just the first stop on the journey, I can’t wait to check out these other top writing-geek destinations soon:

London: Well, this one’s a bit obvious I suppose, I am living in Kensington and heading to the theatre every week to see a play for class, but for those of you not already enrolled in a literary adventure, London’s blue circle plaques make it easy. Placed outside the doors of London sites, the plaques serve as a guide to the more famous happenings within many an ordinary-looking building). London has been home to many of the most famous authors of all time: Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Keats, J.M. Barrie, and of course Shakespeare are just a few of the city’s most recognizable names. I can’t wait to search out the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens, check out Oscar Wilde’s house in Chelsea, and see Romeo and Juliet at the Globe Theatre…luckily the blue-badge guided Literary London Tour will make it even easier! continue reading

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See the collages of Max Ernst in Paris

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People visiting Paris this summer will be able to visit the Musee d’Orsay to see an exhibition of collages by the great modern artist Max Ernst.

The display will be open for people on Paris tours to visit from June 30th to September 13th.

Ernst was born in 1891 and was greatly influenced by the proliferation of unusual and striking images that appeared in books, magazines, newspapers, advertisements and other media from the second half of the 19th century onwards.

Between 1933 and 1936, the artist used a broad selection of illustrations, graphics, book covers and other pieces to create his own book, which had no text and consisted of a section for every day of the week.

The collection of collages will arrive at Paris’ Musee d’Orsay following a tour that has already taken it to Bruhl, Hamburg and Madrid.

Until July 19th this year, visitors to the famous museum will also be able to see a series of exhibitions inspired by the art and architecture of Italy, exploring subjects including Ernest Hebert’s artistic interest in Italian peasants.

Paris – Enjoy the view from the Eiffel Tower or see the Mona Lisa in the "city of light".ADNFCR-1652-ID-19119443-ADNFCR

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They Aren’t Called French Fries? Trying Out the Local Cuisines

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I was more than a little nervous about giving up the fantastic variety of Californian cuisine for my move to London. Sure I’d be living in a fantastic neighbourhood (Kensington, ever heard of it?), taking fun classes (hi, field trips to Oxford, Parliament, the Globe), working a fun company, meeting tons of new people, and travelling like mad (read my Dublin post anyone?), but all I could think about as I jumped on that United jet was, what about burritos? Cheeseburgers? Pluto’s salads? As delightful as afternoon tea sounds, anyone who’s hopped on the “English cuisine” Wikipedia page can probably understand my hesitation. I’m sorry guys, but chip sandwiches? How does somebody even come up with that?

Chip Butty - Annie Mole

Chip Butty - Annie Mole

Which isn’t to say a chip butty isn’t one of the first things I tried when I got here (add a little ketchup and it’s not bad!), but I certainly wasn’t prepared for the richness of the culinary culture here. continue reading

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Paris presents Pocket Film Festival

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Paris tours could offer the opportunity to discover some new and unusual cultural creations later this year at the Pocket Film Festival.

This event, which is dedicated to showing films created using mobile phones, will come to the French capital’s Forum des Images from June 12th to 14th.

Visitors will be able to attend a number of free screenings and events during the course of the festival and will be given the opportunity to download any films they want to see again to their own phone.

Artists participating in the 2009 Pocket Film Festival include the French underground filmmaker Joseph Morder, theatre director Pippo Delbono and painter Richard Texier.

A series of concerts and debates will feature on the festival programme this year, as well as workshops exploring how mobile phones can be used to create high-quality and convincing films.

Another Paris institution dedicated to contemporary culture is the Centre Pompidou, which is currently hosting exhibitions of work by the artists Wassily Kandinsky, Asger Jorn and Alexander Calder.

Paris – Enjoy the view from the Eiffel Tower or see the Mona Lisa in the "city of light".ADNFCR-1652-ID-19115123-ADNFCR

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