Hello loyal fol…

Hello loyal followers of Weekend In Paris!

I have made a decision to transfer to a new web host for my blog which will allow me more flexibility with my site.  I will have access to new features that hopefully will make my blog better.  There may be a few changes and perhaps even a disruption to the site, but hopefully not.

Wish me good luck with this transition and please don’t give up on me if there are delays.  Rest assured that I will be working hard to make sure things go well.

My new website address will be:  www.theweekendinparis.com beginning Wednesday.  I hope that you don’t have any trouble finding me.  I would appreciate it if you would contact me to let me know you are still “with me” so I know that I haven’t lost you.

Thank you for your patience!

Cheers,

Priscilla

How much does a trip to Paris cost?

Updated post Dec. 2011

Good question right?  Here are items to consider when planning your budget:

Plane Tickets

Play with days of the week to take advantage of cheaper flights.  Coach flights from the US can range between $500-$1200 depending upon your city of departure.  Mid January to March tends to be the cheapest time to fly to Paris.  Summer and Fall are the most expensive!

Hotels

Consider picking a hotel w/breakfast included – you can’t imagine how expensive a cup of coffee and croissant is a-la-carte.  Also, if you load up on breakfast you can save money on lunch which gives you more money to splurge on dinner and wine!  Reasonable rates are found at small boutique hotels in some fabulous locations if you price shop.  The gal pals typically split a room with two single beds for $180-$225 per night per person.  If we book at the last-minute we can get the same rooms for $150 per night per person and if we have three to a room with three single beds it’s only $100 per person per night.  I love the 6th arrondissement, but you can stay for slightly less within a short walk in the 7th.

Excursions 

You can see so much of what is great about Paris for free if you take advantage of free museum days – The Louvre is free the first Sunday of each month and July 14th.  Other excursions can be pricey, but well worth it.  I loved taking the Paris Vision day trip to the Champagne region and feel it was worth the $150 price tag because we saw so many places in one day.  January 2011 the gal pals attended a wine and cheese tasting lunch at O Chateau in Paris at $100 per person.  There was more than enough food and although we went out to dinner that night, we could have very easily skipped it.  I feel if you are doing something new in place that cannot be duplicated at home then it’s usually worth the splurge.  Price shop for the Seine River Cruises.  They vary quite a bit depending upon what you want out of the trip down the most famous river in the world. Bateaux Parisiens have day tours for as little as 12 Euros and evening tours with wine from 32-188 Euros per person.  If you are a museum junkie, purchase a Paris Pass which has one set fee (around $125) for entry to almost every museum in Paris.  It may also include bus and boat rides as well.   Read the disclaimers well and make sure that you will indeed have time to visit enough places to make it worth you while before purchase.

Food and Beverage 

Breakfast – If you stay at a hotel with free breakfast you are all set, but if not, there are many places to pick up a croissant and cup of coffee without breaking the bank (they are typically small hole in the wall places your concierge can point out to you) – just don’t count on them being open very early in the morning! Plan on at least 8-10 Euros each morning.

Lunch – For a lovely quick meal with great people watching there are of course the famous cafés like Café de Flore and Café des Deux Magots which will cost you around $22-$25 per person without wine.  For a less expensive option, visit the local sandwich shop to get one to go and have a picnic at your favorite park nearby.  If you have a mini refrigerator in your room you can pop into a grocery store for bread, cheese and sausage to make your own sandwiches which proves to be a perfectly satisfying alternative for most.

Dinner – Bistros and Brasseries will run you anywhere from $25-100 per person.  It’s great to go early when most have Prix Fixe specials with three courses and some include wine.  The gal pals usually take advantage of this option the first night in town since we are tired early and want to hit the hay early.  Le Procope usually has a great option for this!  More expensive places that should be on everyone’s bucket list include Laurent and La Tour D’Argent.  These two options are not for the faint of heart – the price cost of luxury dining will run you $150-$350 or more per person including a decent bottle of wine.  See #7 of the Gal Pal Rules to find out the most clever way to avoid paying the large bill at these two fab restaurants!

Transportation 

When you arrive at CDG – head to the train and purchase a Metro card once you hit Paris proper.  You can buy a card for the week or a book of 10 called a carnet.  See my info here on the best ways to travel in Paris.  Taxis are the least favored option at $80+ one way to/from the airport plus tip.  The Metro and busses are more efficient and are the most inexpensive way to get around the city.

Shopping

The soldes (clothing sales) are amazing in Paris.  I try to travel either mid to late January or mid to late September to take advantage of the incredible prices.  Everything is 20-80% off, but items go fast so don’t hesitate.  He who hesitates, loses!  See my list of favorite shops which will let you know small boutiques where you will find the latest fashions for less.  If you want to shop at all the high-end places like Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton those are around too, but given the exchange rate don’t expect to save any money compared to buying them in the U.S.  You will also, in all likelihood, be over your allowed duty-free amount and have to pay up upon your return.  If you are going to splurge on a purse or article of clothing I think it’s more fun to find a label that you can not purchase at the mall in America.

All photos property of Weekend In Paris unless otherwise noted.

Book Review: Stuff Parisians Like

Irreverently funny, author Olivier Magny takes on the psyche of the “local” Parisians, dissects it and delivers a hilarious read.   I received a recommendation for Magny when performing research for my last trip to Paris (2011) on places to taste wine by fellow blogger Julie Gilley.  Olivier Magny is the brains and tastebuds behind Ô Chateau Wine Bar and Wine Tasting.  The website for Ô Chateau Wine Bar contained an excerpt from one of Magny’s blog posts which compelled me to read one of his entries.  I barely made it through the first page, laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes.  I figured if reading one page was that funny, then I should order his book Stuff Parisians Like:  Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi.

Years of wondering why the French seem to hate the United States one minute, then covet everything from fashion to films the next suddenly made sense after reading this book.  The French feel the need to win the conversation, “Winning conversations is a matter of dignity in Paris.  If you merely partake in a conversation, you are a loser.  If you lose a conversation, you are humiliated.  You need to win.”  Furthermore, according to Magny, Parisians will argue one point of view one day and just the opposite another day when conversing with a different audience.  He says, “Some may consider this duplicity.  In Paris, it’s called brilliance.”  Hilarious!

The tendency of certain people in our families to complain is not their fault.  It’s part of their French DNA and after reading this book I can say it’s pretty amusing that the art of complaining “in Paris is foolproof:  You’re not happy but you’re smart.  You’re not happy because you are smart.”  Of course, that explains everything!

I am One Quarter French and love to sail, my husband is 3/5 French and loves to sail so I believe that what is written about the relationship between Parisians and sailors is quite true.  Magny writes, “Sailing is something a Parisian cannot not like.  Sailing is elegant and poetic.  It is therefore Parisian.”  My husband subscribes to this idea, “Nothing impresses a Parisian more than someone who left everything to go sail around the world: this is every Parisian’s vision of happiness.”  Mr. Weekend In Paris would sell everything, if I agreed, and live aboard our Hallberg Rassy sailboat and travel the world home-schooling our children.  I love the boat for a couple of days at a time but I am claustrophobic and dislike being wet for prolonged periods of time.  So, no… we won’t be sailing the seven seas anytime soon.  Of course it’s okay with my husband maybe because, as like Magny says, Parisian women like me who can’t handle to be uncomfortable and wet just comforts Parisian men “in the belief of their intellectual and poetic superiority over their materialistic female counterpart.  This will make Parisian men love these Parisian women even more.”  He must love me a lot then, right?!

There will be a gathering of local Parisians, ex-pats and travelers like moi who plan to meet January 23, 2012 at Ô Chateau Wine Bar to network and share our love of Paris.  If you would like to join us, please RSVP here:  http://tweetvite.com/event/zc9g.

A votre Santé!