Archive for the ‘Day Trips from Paris’ Category

Day Trips from Paris – Épernay

Monday, April 30th, 2012

What a street name! Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Getting out of the city for the day is a great idea!  You can leave your Paris apartment rental early in the morning, travel for an hour or so and be back by dinner.  Many of our guests like to visit Épernay, the center of the Champagne region.

Getting There:

Épernay is 100 north-east of Paris.  Renting a car is not ideal since you will probably be doing a lot of tasting!  You can take a private car and driver but this proves to be very expensive.  Insiders know that taking the short train ride from Gare de L’est to Reims or Épernay is the best way to travel.  The ride is about 1-1 1/2 hours long.  You can book your tickets with www.sncf.com and pick them up at any station.


What To Do:

Taste and buy champagne, of course! Two popular houses to visit are Pol Roger and Moet & Chandon but you can see an extensive list here.  You can also opt for a more structured day and book a Champagne Tour with Viator.  The minivan tour includes transportation from Paris to the region and an English speaking tour guide.

Where To Eat:

There are some great restaurants in Épernay and the Pol Roger website has a wonderful listing.  There is one restaurant that seems to be on everyone’s list and that is La Cave a Champagne (16 rue Gambetta, 51200 Épernay, 08 73 20 05 31).

What to Buy:

Champagne!  Buying bottles of champagne at the major houses can be pricey but they may also offer easy shipping and handling (peace of mind).  Many blogs and books on the region recommend that you listen carefully to the tour guides and then go into one of the wine shops in the town and purchase your bottles there, perhaps from a lesser known company.  Using all of the information that you learned on your tours will help you purchase good bottles.

What to Know:

Check with the champagne houses that you want to visit before you go.  Some have no entrance fees and some charge a nominal fee.  Also, depending on the time of year, they may be closed to tours because they are harvesting (September and October).  Some houses require appointments.  You can also visit our Épernay board on Pinterest to see some lovely pictures.

After spending the day in Épernay, it will be nice to be able to return to your Paris vacation rental, put your feet up and celebrate a fun day with a bottle of really good champagne.  Cheers!

 

Villa Savoye

Friday, October 28th, 2011

The Villa Savoye is a modernist villa in Poissy, France. Poissy is on the outskirts of Paris and easily accessible for visitors who are staying in a Paris vacation rental. Poissy can be reached by taking a Regional Express Network (RER) train from Paris. The RER trains connect to the Paris Metro. This is convenient for tourists whose vacation rentals Paris are close to RER stations or Metro stations. A bus goes from the RER station in Poissy to Villa Savoye.

Swiss architect Le Corbusier designed the Villa Savoye during the 1920s as a weekend home for the Savoye family. It was completed in 1931 and the Savoyes used the house until 1940. Villa Savoye was damaged during World War II and the city of Poissy eventually took control of the house. It was restored between 1985 and 1997.

The ground floor of Villa Savoye is supported by columns. The driveway goes into a garage underneath the house. Villa Savoye’s exterior is white concrete. The first floor has horizontal windows and there is a garden on the flat roof.

Visitors to Villa Savoye will enter the house by taking a spiral staircase or an entrance ramp from the garage to the first floor. The spiral staircase winds through the house to the top floor. The ramp goes to the first floor terrace and along the outside of the house to the solarium on the roof.

Every exterior wall on the first floor has windows running along its entire length. The living room has a glass wall and adjoins a courtyard. The other rooms on the first floor are three bedrooms, the kitchen, the pantry and bathrooms. There is a terrace off the master bedroom.

The open-air solarium on the roof is surrounded by high walls to protect it from the wind. The solarium is next to the rooftop garden. The first floor of the house can be reached from the roof by the ramp or the staircase.

Visitors can wander around the house without a guide. Most of the rooms have no furniture. A leaflet with information about the house is available to visitors.

Visitors who are staying in a Paris luxury apartment rental in a historic building will find the Villa Savoye quite different from the areas surrounding their Paris vacation rental and can be a welcome retreat.

On the outskirts of Paris..

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

The hustle and bustle of the city of lights. Nothing beats it. The excitement, the sites, the monuments, the people, the food, just about everything seems magical. If you want to see a different side of Paris, drive west of the city. Fresh air with ” down to earth fun” can be found at the Fermes de Gally on the outskirts of Paris.

When you arrive  to the farm a billboard greets you, much like  a menu. Everything ready to be harvested is listed and priced.  Once you are settled, and have a game plan, you can begin to farm. You are given a green wheelbarrow, some biodegradable bags and plastic containers at the entrance to the fields. If you’d like to snag some wild flowers or dahlias, clippers are available as well.  Down the dirt path, you are immersed in the aromatic herbs that line the farm. Flower boxes, laid out neatly, contain thyme, rosemary, parsley and mint. You can head out to the fields to harvest things such as radishes, lettuce, rhubarb and various berries. If you’ve never harvested your own food, no worries. Each patch has a sign staked at the entrance. It gives the name of the crop and directions on how to harvest.

If you’ve got something popular in mind to harvest, such as berries or lettuce, keep in mind that they do close down the patches when the the crops get worked over. This being said, it’s best to arrive on the earlier end to have your ideal pick of goods.  When you’re done “shopping” the produce and vegetables are weighed on scales near the exit and flowers are normally counted by the stem. If you’ve got a few more items on your list, you can head to the fabulous market down the road to collect your wine, cheese and other necessities for dinner.

When looking for a countryside adventure, give the Fermes de Gally a try. At the end of the day you can return to your Paris vacation rental and whip up a fresh meal or cocktail. After all that hard work, you’ll definitely need it.

Summer in Paris!

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Paris Plage

By: Daniella Carrese

L’ete, c’est bon! The summer is a great time to visit Paris. Paris has many wonderful events that happen all over the city. During the summer the sun sets later, so you will have more time to adventure about the city, and experience what it has to offer during this season. Some activities to do in Paris include picnicking under the Eiffel Tower (or anywhere for that matter), Fete de la Musique, and going to the Paris Plage.

Pique-nique a Paris
Imagine, sitting on green grass, surrounded by other happy and friendly people enjoying a beautiful local picnic. You are able to enjoy such a fun experience in Paris, at anytime and almost anywhere. The best place to have a memorable picnic would be under the Eiffel Tower. To make it even better, you are can savor dinner under the tower, when it is illuminated for the city to see. For five minutes every hour, the lights make the whole city light up for an experience that will make you have the best meal you have ever had! Planning your picnic is not very hard, stop by the closest boulangerie to your Paris apartment rental and pick up a baguette. Then stop at the fromagerie to feast on wonderful French cheeses. You will never forget the experience of eating a meal under the Eiffel Tower.

Fete de la Musique
Translated to “Day of the Music”, where a music festival makes the streets of Paris very lively. On the 21st of June each year, tourists and locals are entertained by musicians’ performances. All concerts are free, and in all of Paris’ neighborhoods. The best way to hear the music, is by staying in your very own Paris vacation rental because you will be in the middle of all the action and the music. It is a great event that will take you around the whole city and relish in what the locals take part in every year.

Paris Plage
This artificial beach was created in 2002. It runs from the Louvre to Pont de Sully, along the Seine River. The Paris Plage is the ultimate summer time activity in the city. Complete with beach volleyball, deck chairs, and most importantly, sand, which makes it a wonderful summer day outing. There are other alternative activities such as kayaks, row boats, and a pool. All the beaches are open from July 21st to August 21st, 8 a.m. to midnight. After a long day at the beach you can relax in your Paris apartment rental, to regenerate for your next exciting day in Paris.

During your summer holiday you can enjoy yourself with all these fun activities and many others you may find about the city. Have a great pique-nique sous la tour Eiffel, ecoute de la musique, or aller a la plage.

Parisian Castles – Chateau Versailles

Friday, June 10th, 2011

A holiday in Paris would not be complete without an excursion to the Chateau de Versailles, located in the Ile-de-France region approximately 20 kilometers southwest of central Paris. Versailles became the home of French nobility and the center of political power in France beginning in 1682 when King Louis XIV occupied the palace until the royal family was forced to return to Paris at the beginning of the French Revolution. As one of the most spectacular achievements of 18th Century art and design, Versailles symbolizes the opulence and prolific extravagance unique to royal absolutism before and following the French Revolution.

A tour of Versailles begins with the breathtaking Hall of Mirrors, initially designed as a reception area for visiting dignitaries and citizens. It is in the Hall of Mirrors in which Louis XIV displayed his most ostentatious display of royal persuasion as a means to impress visitors. Tours of the apartments of the king and queen and various salons display astounding French and Italian-inspired works of art. The beautiful gardens, originally commissioned by Louis XIV, contain vastly colorful flowers interspersed with sculptures, fountains and a private lake. During the summer months, the impressive fountains are illuminated, creating a impressive light display.
To experience the cultural, historical and artistic ambiance of the area, a Paris luxury vacation rental may be more beneficial than a traditional hotel. Choosing a Paris rentals vacation offers convenient access to the city attractions. The rates for a one-week stay varies according to number of guests and location. Luxury apartments in Paris in the most popular locations, such as St. Germain des Pres, the Latin Quarter, Ile Saint Louis and Ile de la Cite, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, les Jardins des Tuileries, and the Champs d’Elysees are more expensive than apartments in outlying areas. A three bedroom apartment in the Champs d’Elysees area with the capacity for eight guests can range from $3,500 to $4,500 per night. Studio apartments in the same area can range from $200 to $300 per night. Short and long term luxury apartments in Paris range in size from small studios to luxurious apartments. Paris vacation rentals in outlying areas such as the Sorbonne district, Marais, and Sevres may be less expensive. Apartments in Sevres, the closest residential area to Versailles, range in price from $150 to $400 per night.
A visit to Paris is not complete without a tour of the historical significant Chateau de Versailles.

Secrets of Paris: The Thalys Train System

Monday, September 13th, 2010

If you’re coming to Paris for an extended stay and hoping to visit Germany, Amsterdam, or the French Alps, you’ll need to know about the Thalys. The Thalys is a high-speed network of trains with a few major connections and are a highly desirable method of transport.  Specifically, the Thalys trains connect Paris to Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne, Bruges and Northern France.

The best part is that these high-speed trains reach up to 186mph, so travel times are short.  It’s less than 90min to Brussels and just over three hours to Amsterdam and Cologne. These trips can be made in a day, so you can keep your home base at your luxury Paris apartment rental and make any number of wonderful day trips in the process.  Note that the train to the French Alps is usually only active on weekends and during the winter months.   Booking your ticket can easily be done online; but keep in mind your Paris vacation apartment booking agent can assist you throughout the process as well.  You can also travel on the Thalys with a railpass from Eurail or InterRail providing your pass is valid at your final destination.
Each train has three first-class cars and four second-class cars, with a bar between the two.  The first-class luxuries include a lounge area with free meals, drinks, Wi-Fi and electrical sockets.  The second-class is still comfortable, but there are fees for food and Wi-Fi.  Both classes have a handful of forward and backward facing seats with tables for traveling families/groups, as well as “Kid’s Square” compartments for families with children. You are limited to 3 pieces of luggage, which should be easy since you’ll probably just be making a day trip anyway.
The Thalys station is the Paris Nord Train Station (Gare du Nord), located at 112 Rue de Maubeuge, 75010, Paris, and is open from 5am-1am.  Getting there is easy from all of CobbleStay’s Paris rental apartments and hotels via the RER (lines D, E & B) or Metro (lines 2, 4 & 5).  It’s in the northern section of Paris, and will take about 20min if you’re traveling from the heart of city.

Quick Guide: French Wine Part 2 (The Regions)

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Champagne

French wines are typically named by region, with each having a unique climate dictating which grapes are produced.  All of these wines (except Corsica) are typically available in most of the restaurants found nearby your Paris apartment rental or hotel.

Alsace:  Found in Eastern France on the Rhine River; producing Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat & the occasional Pinot Noir.
Bordeaux: A prestigious West Coast region of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Cabernet Franc.  Also known for both dry and sweet whites such as Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc & Muscadelle.
Burgundy (Bourgogne): Eastern France near the Saone River.  Known for most blends, and one of the most famous ($$) wines. Most reds are made with Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay dominates whites.
Champagne: Northeastern France. Known for (you guessed it) Champagne!  In fact, by law the name “champagne” is exclusively for wine from this region. A sparkling white wine from elsewhere is likely a Brut or Moscato.  *Note Champagne is only 160km from Paris, so a day trip from your Paris vacation rental would be a great idea and a real treat!
Corsica: A Mediterranean island Southeast of France. Its wine is rarely exported and kept for locals as its production methods are still developing.
Jura: East of Burgundy, bordering Switzerland.  Makes a unique wine called Vin Jaune from the Savagnin grape, which is made in a similar fashion to Sherry.
Languedoc-Rousillon: aka “Wine lake” is in southern France and is the largest region producing France’s red & white bulk wines.
Loire: Central/Western France along the Loire River. Primarily Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc & Muscadet with the occasional Cabernet Franc.
Provence: Southeastern France by the Mediterranean. It’s the warmest region, producing rosé & Red wine similar to the Rhone Wines.
Rhone: Southeastern France along the Rhone River, using primarily Syrah, Grenache & Mourvedre. Famous for Chateauneuf-du-Pape & Cotes-du-Rhone (personal favorites) and for its white Viognier blends.
Savoy: In the Alps by Switzerland and primarily a white region producing unique blends.
South West France: a collection south of Bordeaux producing Bordeaux-like reds & dry/sweet whites.
Now that you know which wines come from which regions, you’re ready to taste & pair them with some gourmet food cooked in your very own Paris apartment rental, or back at home in your own kitchen.

Quick Guide: Paris Metro

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Whether this is your first or fifteenth time visiting Paris, traveling around the City of Love can be a little intimidating. Luckily, Paris has one of the most advanced underground systems in the world, known as Le Métro. This great subway system will take you within walking distance of literally any Paris destination and is the preferred method of transportation for Parisians and tourists alike.  With stations throughout Paris, accessing one is simple from any of CobbleStay’s conveniently located Paris Apartment Rentals.

Note: Be careful not to confuse the Métro with the RER subway, so look for the big “M” stations to make sure you get on the right one!
There are 15 Métro lines, 368 stations, and 3500 cars that travel all day in 5-10 min intervals.  Sunday through Friday, the Metro runs from 5:00am to 12:30am, and Saturday you’ll get an extra hour to party with the last train leaving at 1:30am.  All lines on the metro run from end-to-end, however some trains on each line may terminate at certain stations.  No need to worry too much though as the times & destinations for each train are visible on electronic boards above each platform, so you’re never out of the loop.
The cost of tickets all depend on distance traveled, so plan accordingly. For extended stays, you can buy Métro tickets in packs of 10 (a Carnet) or you can buy the “Carte Orange” a sort of multi-pass that is usable 7 days a week.
Traveling by Métro is virtually stress free, and easily the most convenient way to travel around Paris. Generally, except for the early/late trains, you won’t have to stress about making a specific time either, so feel free to enjoy an espresso and a croissant in your luxury Paris vacation rental before making your way to a nearby station!  To make your traveling even easier, make sure to pick up a Métro Map, which can be provided by your CobbleStay.com arrival manager at any of our Paris vacation rentals or at any Metro Station.