Tag: travel tips


Paris arrondissements 17-20

17
November

In this post, I’ll give you a bit of information on arrondissements 17 through 20. If you missed the previous posts, you can find information on arrondissements 1-16 below.

Arrondissement 17 – Batignolles-Monceau

The 17th Arrondissement is directly north of the Arc de Triomphe and is slightly off the beaten path. In this arrondissement, you will find The Palais des Congrès, a large convention center located in the western part of the arrondissement.

The north-eastern end, known as Batignolles has a bit more grungy bohemian feel and lots of bars and bistros which are popular with “BoBos” (short for bohemian-bourgeois aka “hipsters”). If you head up the Avenue de Clichy, you will find an area where artists such as Pissarro, Renoir, and Degas (known today as the Impressionists) used to live and socialize.

Arrondissement 18 – Butte-Montmartre

The 18th arrondissement has a village-like feel but is often inundated with tourists. Popular sites to visit in this arrondissement are the Sacré-Coeur basilica http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/us/index.html and the Moulin Rouge, which is near the border of the 9th arrondissement. http://www.moulinrouge.fr/ Just a short walk from the Sacré-Coeur you will find Place du Tertre, this plaza was the centre of the flourishing artist community of the early 1900’s. Today you will still find many artists sketching portraits of tourists.

Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

Sacré-Coeur Basilica

The closest Metro stop to the Sacre Coeur is “Abbesses” off of the 12 line.

The closest Metro stop to the Moulin Rouge is “Blanche” off of the #2 line.

Arrondissement 19 – Buttes-Chaumont

In the 19th arrondissement you will find the Buttes-Chaumont, a lush green oasis away from the crowds. The park features several cliffs and bridges, a grotto that includes a man made waterfall, a lake, and several Chinese & English gardens. You will also find the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, the largest science museum in Europe, the museum draws millions of visitors annually. http://www.cite-sciences.fr/en/cite-des-sciences

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Arrondissement 20 – Ménilmontant

In the 20th arrondissement, you will find a variety of nightclubs and cafes, from punk rock to world music. You will find lots of little cafés to have a beer priced far less than nightclubs in the area. The Bagnolet is the area south of the Père Lachaise Cemetery and the Ménilmontant is the area north of the cemetery. The Père Lachaise Cemetery is the final resting place of several famous people, including Jim Morrison of the Doors, Édith Piaf, artist Camille Pissarro, composers Frédéric Chopin and Gioacchino Rossini and Oscar Wilde to name a few. The cemetery has a virtual tour you can take if you want more info http://www.pere-lachaise.com/perelachaise.php?lang=en

Pere Lachaise cemetery

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

The closest Metro stop to the Père Lachaise Cemetery is the Père Lachaise stop off of the 2 or 3 train, or the Philippe Auguste off of line #2.

Each of the twenty arrondissements have their own special places. For more information on all the arrondissements of Paris please read the other blog posts below. Also be sure to check back for more on Paris and Rome after our next trip in late December.

A great site to book rooms in Paris or around the world is Airbnb.com http://www.airbnb.com/tell-a-friend?airef=xvvoz18e89zz5

I hope you have been inspired to plan a trip! Thanks for reading.


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Arrondissements of Paris 13-16

18
October

As promised here is part four of our series on the arrondissements of Paris. I’ll give you a bit of information on arrondissements 13-16 in this post. If you missed the previous post you can find information on arrondissements 1-12 below.

13th Arrondissement- Gobelins

The 13th arrondissement is home to Paris’ Chinatown, which is located in the southeast area of the arrondissement. This area is locally called la petite Asie. Here you will find “Les frères Tang” on avenue de Choisy. The Tang brothers have the biggest Chinese grocery in Paris, occupying several multi-story barrack-like buildings tucked into the Olympic housing project. This arrondissement is also home to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. This National Library holds collections of historic documents of French and International origin including 5,000 Greek manuscripts. Visitors can buy a day pass to explore the library.

Tang Freres

Tang Frères

14th Arrondissement- Observatoire

The 14th arrondissement is where you will find most of the Montparnasse district. Montparnasse became famous at the beginning of the 20th century as Paris’ artistic circles migrated to this district. A few of the artists who gathered in Montparnasse were Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Ernest Miller Hemingway, Diego Rivera, and Salvador Dalí. Today, it is best known for its skyscraper, the Tour Montparnasse. You will find a shopping area and observation deck on the 56th floor with some of the best views of Paris. In this arrondissement you will also find The Catacombs of Paris, an underground ossuary that holds the remains of about 6 million people and fills a renovated section of caverns and tunnels. http://www.carrieres.explographies.com/indexus.htm

The Catacombs of Paris or Catacombes de Paris

The Catacombs of Paris

15th Arrondissement- Vaugirard

The 15th arrondissement is the largest arrondissement of central Paris. The area remains heavily residential. This area isn’t home to a great deal of tourist attractions. A couple areas of interest are Tapovan Paris . This ayurvedic centre offers both treatment and professional training in various ayurvedic-healing arts such as, yoga, reiki, ayurvedic massage, and reflexology. Or if you are looking for family fun you can check out Europe’s largest water park “Aqua Boulevard” http://www.aquaboulevard.fr/aquaboulevard.html#/parcAquatique

Aquaboulevard Paris

Aquaboulevard

16th Arrondissement- Passy

The 16th arrondissement includes several museums between the Place du Trocadero and the Place d’Iéna. The Palais de Chaillot, also named Trocadero, houses many interesting museums, and a walk from here to the Eiffel tower across the Seine river is one of the best sightseeing walking tours in Paris. This arrondissement is home to a large number of diplomatic embassies and is also the location of the famous Avenue Foch, the widest street in Paris and home to many of the City’s wealthy foreign residents. This arrondissement has long been known as one of French high society’s favorite places of residence, comparable to New York’s Upper East Side or London’s Kensington. This arrondissement along with the 8th, 7th, and 6th arrondissements are collectively referred to as Paris Ouest.

The Trocadéro, site of the Palais de Chaillot

The Trocadéro, site of the Palais de Chaillot

I will have the final part of the series on arrondissements 17-20 posted soon. Thanks again for reading the blog! IF you have specific questions please feel free to comment and I will do my best to answer them. You can also share this post or any on our site by using the share buttons below.


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Arrondissements of Paris 1-4

27
September

Wow, who knew there were so many different areas to choose from in Paris? When I started to plan our trip, I had no idea that finding the right neighborhood would be such a project. Paris is divided into 20 administrative districts, more commonly referred to as “arrondissements”. Each of these areas has it’s own unique feel.

Since there are so many arrondissements, I will write a series of 5 separate posts describing each arrondissement. I’ll try to give you a bit of information on each arrondissement, which I hope will make choosing an area easier for you. The arrondissements are arranged in a clockwise spiral with 1 being the center of Paris.

Paris arrondissements maps

Paris arrondissements

1st Arrondissement – Louvre

Once the stomping grounds of France’s kings and emperors, the 1st arrondissement is the “royal heart of Paris”. Today, you will find the Louvre Museum, Jardin des Tuileries, and the Palais Royal. Museums and monuments occupy much of this area, so you will not find many budget hotels to choose from. However if you prefer 5 star hotels, you are in luck. Some of the options here are the Hotel Ritz, Hotel de Vendôme, & Hotel du Louvre.

The Louvre

The Louvre Museum

2nd Arrondissement – Bourse

The 2nd arrondissement is one of the financial centers of Europe, being home to the Bourse (Stock exchange). Since sometime in the early renaissance this area has also been home to Paris’ red-light district and “Les Galeries”- covered upscale shopping centers that date back to the 19th Century. One in particular that is nice to see is Galerie Vivienne, which has a glass cover above. The 2nd is the smallest arrondissement in Paris with about 0.383 sq. miles.

les galeries Paris

Galerie Vivienne

3rd Arrondissement – Temple

This area includes the Northern quieter part of le Marais. Many artists and celebrities stay here to enjoy both the residential quietness but also the chic shopping aspect of the 3rd arrondissement. As a result of this, the number of luxury brands and fashion boutiques opened in this district has increased over the past few years. The 3rd arrondissement is also home to the oldest surviving private house in Paris, built in 1407 along the rue de Montmorency.
51 rue Montmorency in the 3rd district of Paris

4th Arrondissement – Hôtel-de-Ville

Situated on the Right Bank of the River Seine, the 4th arrondissement is a large piece of what used to be medieval Paris. At night, the area has the most active bar scene most travelers will have ever seen. This includes the lower Marais district which is sometimes known as gay Paris; although, there are no shortage of bars catering to straight crowds. The 4th arrondissement is known for its little streets, cafés, and shops but is sometimes regarded as expensive and congested. This area is desirable for those insisting on old buildings and multi-cultural exposure. Here you will find Notre Dame de Paris & Hôtel de Ville, Paris’ city hall. Many feel that this is one of the loveliest buildings in Paris.

Notre dame

Notre Dame de Paris

A couple sites that I have used to book rooms in Paris are venere.com www.venere.com” (thanks to Brenda B for this suggestions) and www.hotelscombined.com” which has a similar feel to kayak.com.

As always, if you have any specific questions about any area, please feel free to post a comment, and I will do my best to answer it.

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Los Cabos – Cabo San Lucas & San José del Cabo, Mexico

14
September

If you’re looking for a quick getaway from Los Angeles, Los Cabos just might be the place for you at just about 2.5 hours away from LA. Flights from Los Angeles in October range from $389 to $600 depending on the day of the week you fly. Remember that mid-week flights are usually cheaper than flights that originate on Friday or Sunday. Flights from New York during the same period range from $498 to over $700. These rates were found using www.kayak.com. One of the cool features on kayak.com is the price alert option, which allows you to set up alerts for any destination. The site will email you daily or weekly when the price changes and also allows you to set a max price.

Los Cabos Mexico International Airport (SJD) is located about 7 miles from San Jose and 29 miles from San Lucas. I would suggest taking a shuttle or renting a car for your stay since cabs tend to be fairly expensive. One thing to remember though is that the roads can be dangerous, so drive cautiously. I would suggest fully inspecting your rental car and purchase insurance just to be on the safe side. There are several car rental agencies at or near the airport: Thrifty, Budget, and Hertz, just to name a few. You can reserve online, and a representative from the rental company will meet you at the terminal.

We chose to stay in San José del Cabo, which was closer to the airport, and I felt a little more my speed than Cabo San Lucas. If you do prefer bar crawls and clubbing till the early morning hours, I would suggest Cabo San Lucas. There are several beautiful beachfront hotels to choose from in Cabo. There is something to fit just about any budget. We chose Royal Solaris, an all-inclusive resort with 5 restaurants, 4 bars and about 400 guest rooms. http://www.clubsolaris.com/v4/ The rate for the hotel was about $150 per night for all-inclusive double occupancy. If you like to do a lot of exploring and eating and drinking at different locations then the all-inclusive option may not be best for you. However, it is easy to spend over $100 a day on food and alcohol while on vacation, so that’s something you should factor in when making your decision.

There are a few things that I suggest you check out in Los Cabos. First would be the tequila tasting. I’m not a huge tequila fan myself, but it was a lot of fun…especially after the 4th free sample! There are several shops that will offer you free tequila samples; they have the next sample filled by the time you are putting down the one in your hand. Needless to say, I took a bottle home with me. The following site has maps available of the entire Cabo area http://www.loscabosguide.com/maps/maps.htm

Another fun thing to do is snorkel. There are several places that you can rent gear from on the beach and snorkel, or you can take a snorkel tour from most hotels. We rented equipment on the beach for about $10 each. We chose to take the hour and a half drive to “Todos Santos,” an artist community North of Cabo and home to the Hotel California. Todos Santos has lots of local art you can purchase much cheaper than you would in Cabo San Lucas. There are also several little authentic Mexican dining options here: http://www.todossantos.cc/

Todos Santos

The streets of Todos Santos

Lastly, The Buccaneer Queen pirate ship in San Lucas is definitely a unique experience. http://buccaneerloscabos.com/ We were lucky enough to meet the owner at a whole in the wall bar in Cabo. They offer 3 tours to chose from: snorkeling, whale watching, or Sunset cruises on a 96-foot pirate ship. Price range from $49.50 – $78 for adults and $28.50 – $44 for kids ages 5-11. Lunch and open bar included. Discounts available at http://www.cabosanlucastours.net/

*SALE this week (1/18/12) on Royal Solaris through Livingsocial.com Four-($769) or Five-Night ($949) All-Inclusive Stay for Two Adults and Two Children Under 12 in a Deluxe Room, April 15 through June 30 or August 15 through December 22, 2012*http://www.livingsocial.com/escapes/225962-all-inclusive-baja-resort?msdc_id=4-los-angeles

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or anything to add, please feel free to comment below.

 

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About our travel blog

6
August

Starting a travel blog has been something I have been thinking about working on for quite some time. As some of you may know I love to travel! I tend to put a lot of time and thought into what I see and do when I am traveling. I would consider Misael and I fairly adventurous travelers. On our trips we tend to explore, find out how to get from one place to another on the public transportation or Misael’s favorite…ask the locals “what is the one place we have to see while visiting your town or the one authentic dish to the area?”

 

During the past couple years I have compiled some useful tips that I wish I had known prior to going to a particular city. I hope this blog becomes a spot where we can share our travel tips and also hear some of yours. I’m looking forward to the adventure one city at a time!

 

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