Posts Tagged ‘Budget Travel’

Using Apps on Your Trip to Paris

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

I am an old fashioned girl.  I like nothing more than a well used travel guide and a map from AAA to help me navigate while traveling.  Yet, over the last few years, I have become quite the gadget lover, too!  I’ve been planning and plotting for my next trip to Paris and have discovered a whole load of apps that are going to help me travel smarter and more efficiently.  The apps are going to take me places that are so new they haven’t even been printed in the travel guides.  I’ll (hopefully) never end up in an average brasserie on a Sunday night because that was the only one that I thought was open.  And, I will probably look even more like a local because I won’t be standing on the corner trying to refold a map!

Here is a list of a few apps that I already have installed on my phone:

Meet Me at Pere Lachaise

Learn about the cemetery, how to get there, must see statues and a map to customize your tour.

Museums of Paris

Everything you need to know about the Paris museums.  Hours, maps, exhibits, information on the artists…EVERYTHING!

RATP Premium

This app explains the whole metro system.  Trains, buses and subways. Super helpful and free.

YELP

I have never been steered wrong by the reviews of restaurants on Yelp.  I can’t wait to use it in Paris.

Paris Pastry

300 of the best pastry and chocolate shops Paris has to offer?  The list was curated by David Lebovitz and is a must have.

Paris Toilets

When you gotta go, you gotta go!

There a hundreds of other apps available.  Have you used one that you think enhanced your stay in Paris?  Please share!  I know that I can’t wait to leave my apartment and see where they take me.

You don’t have to break the bank in Paris

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

We’ve talked about some of the ways to save money when you’re headed over to Paris, but what about when you get there? Things are expensive and if you aren’t careful you could end up blowing your budget. Fast. A few smart things to think about could save you some much needed money.

Think outside the box when it comes to activities. Not everything has to cost a fortune. There are quite a few museums that are free on the first Sunday of the month. If you happen to be in the city, this is something to take advantage of. If you are under 26, every Friday night the Louvre is free from 6- 9:45 PM. It’s always free to visit Notre Dame. They will charge for you to climb the tower, but a look around won’t cost you anything. In addition to strolling the Champs Elysees, the Paris flea markets are worth a gander. Walking the banks of the Seine or lounging in Luxembourg gardens are a great free way to spend a day in Paris.

When you get a hankering for a meal, keep a few things in mind. Try to eat your largest meal of the day at lunch. A lot of restaurants have more affordable menus and it’s always nice to sit outside in the afternoon lingering over a baguette. When ordering a drink, remember that soda and beer is very expensive in Paris. Try a coffee, espresso or a bottle of the house wine. The wine if often cheaper than water. Speaking of water, its very safe to drink. No need for bottled, order a carafe of tap water and save a few euros. When you want to fuel up before a long day of sightseeing, think twice about breakfast at the hotel. Stop into a local Monoprix and purchase a few breakfast staples, bread, cheese, jam etc. If your Paris vacation apartment rental has a small kitchen, take advantage of this money saving opportunity.

Finally, use the public transportation. Taxi’s can be very expensive depending on route and traffic. Get to know the bus lines and the metro. The buses will have routes all over the city and will serve a few purposes. They will get you from A to B and you’ll get to enjoy the city sights on the way. It’s so easy to hop on and off. You can purchase weekly transportation passes in Paris that allow you to ride the RER, Metro and buses an unlimited amount of times. If you are staying for a longer period of time, getting one of these passes will make transportation seamless and more cost effective.

When you vacation in Paris, remembering a few little tricks might add up to more savings than you think.

Metro

Saving you money on your vacation

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

From our Marais Magic apartment, #024

When an article comes out that highlights ways to save money while traveling, it’s always worth taking a look. With rising cost of transportation and a million hotel choices, it can be overwhelming and expensive. If you can’t wait to take that long awaited European vacation, there are definitely a few things worth remembering.

You can save hundreds by hitting the pavement in the off season. The prices will be lowest in the fall and winter months. Also, who wouldn’t love springtime in Paris? The prices are also lower at the beginning of Spring. If you can schedule a trip during a less popular travel season, you will save money and save stress fighting smaller crowds. In addition to traveling during a slower month, you might reconsider your non-stop flight. Even one additional stop can save you a substantial amount of money. If I wanted to head to Paris August 1st, changing to a one stop flight could save me $564. That extra $564 could get me a very nice Parisian meal.

The best advice you can get: Rent an apartment.
For the cost of an average hotel, you can get a comfortable, private, spacious short term rental in Paris. You can save money with the ability to prepare food in house. The knowledgeable arrival managers can provide just as much information as the hotel front desk. You can really get the experience of what it would be like to live in Paris. With last minute discounts and overall lower prices, you can really get your moneys worth. For under $150 a night you can have your own private studio in the Marais for a week in the fall. Enjoy a glass of wine on your private terrace. For under $175 a night, you could also enjoy the view of the Eiffel Tower at night from your Bastille River view property. If you’d like to stroll the Champs de Mars, you could also stay across from the park for under $175.

When looking for the best Paris vacation rentals, keep these tips in mind to maximize your budget. Travel during a less popular time of year. Consider a stop on your flight over. Rent an apartment. Enjoy Paris!

Parisian Parks – Parc de Villette

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Photo Credit: OT Paris / Catherine Balet

Parc de la Villette has been a popular tourist destination since its opening in 1987. The park was designed by Bernard Tschumi, intended to be a refreshing break from the ordinary park. His vision was that the area could be a place for people to interact and enjoy various activities. Parisians have worked hard to maintain his unique vision, keeping the park an extraordinary place to visit. One little-known fact about this park is that it was built on the site of an old slaughterhouse complex, which was built in 1867 under orders of Napoleon III. After it closed down, Tschumi envisioned the area as a beautiful place to celebrate life, rather than to destroy it.

Designed to educate people about enjoying life, the park features several exhibits dedicated to music, science and architecture. Since Swiss-born Tschumi was a celebrated French architect, one of the exhibits is dedicated to 35 different intriguing architectural follies. There are also multiple playground and recreation areas that children find enjoyable. A fun activity for visitors of all ages is to visit La Géode, which is an Omnimax theater. This building has something that no other theater has, which is the world’s only 12.1 Cabasse sound system. It is also currently the only spherical building in the Île-de-France region.
There is an open-air film festival hosted by the Parc de la Villette each year. Thousands of people enjoy attending this. The park has long been an attraction that draws people from all cultural backgrounds. Art conventions, shows and various festivals are also held in the park. Visitors can be certain that there is always something interesting happening at Parc de la Villette. Musical performances are held by both local and mainstream musicians. Many of the gatherings in the park are free, contributing to the feeling of a cultural utopia where everyone is welcome.
It isn’t difficult to find a good vacation rental in Paris near the park. The city’s accommodation offerings are as diverse as the population they serve. Budget-friendly choices can be found with a little invested time and research and Paris luxury vacation rentals are perfect for travelers who want to visit the city in style. On our booking site, there are many other Paris apartment rentals to choose from, varying in pricing and amenities. The best part is that there are many located in close proximity to Parc de la Villette and other beautiful Parisian parks.

Booking a Flight to Paris

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Paris remains one of the world’s most enchanting destinations. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the many charming Paris rental apartments available are just a few of the things that can make a trip to the “City of Lights” special. While finding the best flight from the U.S. to Paris can be a bit of a challenge, however, there are a few things you can do to make your search easier.

The first thing to do when booking a flight from the U.S. to Paris is probably just to check a flight aggregator website. These websites provide listings for flights for almost all major airlines and can be searched by a specific date or even a range of dates.  By using these websites, you can get a sense of what a flight to Paris from the United States is likely to cost on average. By comparing fares on these websites, you can find out if there are cities nearby to your location that might have better deals (i.e. whether taking a $50 bus from Washington, D.C. to New York can save you hundreds of dollars on a flight) or if you can find a great flight by putting up with itineraries that other travelers may avoid (such as an eight-hour layover in Atlanta or another of the U.S.’s major “hub” airports).
Once you have a flight picked out, the easiest thing to do is book it directly from the flight aggregator where you found it. You may, however, feel more comfortable buying your chosen flight directly through the airline’s website, which is another perfectly good option. If you’re not comfortable using the Internet to book a flight, conventional travel agents will still be happy to help you.
Finally, when booking a flight, you will likely be asked to indicate your seat preferences. If you’re taking a red-eye or overnight flight to Paris, you may want to consider requesting a window seat so that your sleep on the plane will not be disturbed by row-mates getting up to use the bathroom, and so you can rest your head on the window while you sleep.
Following a great flying experience, your chic Paris vacation rental will be that much more comfortable and you’ll be well rested to enjoy all that Paris has to offer!

We’re Back!

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Living area of our Property 034C

After a few months off, we’re back to blogging again.  Stay tuned for some more frequent updates here on The CobbleStay Blog including insider tips on traveling to Paris and why staying in a Paris vacation rental is an incredible alternative to staying in a traditional hotel.  For starters, here are some great reasons to find a short term Paris rental rather than booking a hotel:

Many tourists visiting Paris prefer to stay in apartments.  Although many of the hotels in Paris are truly world class, vacation rentals are many times available at much better rates and can be more comfortable and homey. Many Paris apartment rentals are located in more desirable locations around the city and travelers get all the comforts of a luxurious hotel, at much more competitive rates. It’s not difficult to figure out why thousands of business executives, families and individual travelers prefer a Paris vacation rental when they are visiting “The City of Lights.”

For those of who who like lists, below are some benefits to travelers who opt for apartments instead of hotels during their stay in Paris:

1. Price – Paris is expensive and the amount of money you can save during your visit to Paris by opting for a Paris apartment rental is considerable.  If you have plans for a longer say in a Paris vacation rental, then you can even stay on a weekly or monthly basis and see the value get even better!  Because these apartments come with well furnished and fully equipped kitchens, you will also undoubtedly save money on your food and drink.

2. Modern amenities – Vacation rentals in Paris offer many exciting options that are not offered in even the most luxurious hotels. You can find good space, fully stocked kitchens, washing machines, telephones with free long distance, spacious bedrooms, internet and more. In reality, it is a true mixture of luxury and happiness.   Best of all, you can spend the money you’ll save enjoying all that the Paris has to offer.

3. Locations – Many of CobbleStay’s Paris vacation rentals can be found in the choicest locations while remaining affordable for couples, singles or families.   Locations range from the Marais to Montmartre amongst numerous other great areas across Paris.

4. Variety – Paris apartment rentals are suitable for all kinds of travelers including business executives, families, singles on vacation, people interested in temporary place to stay or ever people who are moving to this city for the first time.

Now one question remains to be asked – why stay in an expensive hotel when you can easily manage in a grand apartment with all the amenities for less money?

Tickets for Everything “Paris” @ en.parisinfo.com

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

For tickets to literally every tourist related activity in Paris, the official website of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau is an excellent resource.  If you’ve ever heard the concept of ” tourist traps,” the most common of these pitfalls occurs when tourists buy tickets at the point of sale instead of in advance.  Not only are tickets sometimes more expensive “at the door”, but during peak tourist season, the lines to buy tickets can be incredibly long and discouraging.

This scenario exits in almost every major tourist city worldwide and Paris is no exception.  If you don’t find the time to book activities before arriving in Paris, hop on the free Wi-Fi internet provided by all CobbleStay.com Paris vacation apartments and go to www.en.parisinfo.com/expressbooking for a full list of discounted tickets on various forms of transportation and admission to a wide range of tourist attractions.

Although all of our hand picked Paris apartment rentals are conveniently located, there are many fun and scenic ways to travel around Paris that are well worth the money.  The famous Cars Rouges stop at the eight most well known attractions in the City and have both indoor and outdoor seating.  Or, if water travel is more your thing, take Paris’ famous Bateaux Mouches and experience the magic of the River Seine on a very affordable hour and ten minute cruise.  Boats leave about every 30 minutes during the summer months, so just ask your CobbleStay Paris vacation rental booking agent for the nearest Bateaux Mouche stop.

Although there are advance passes available for many different attractions, the most popular is the Paris Museum Pass.  The pass allows immediate and unlimited entry to over 60 Paris museums and monuments and is an absolute MUST HAVE for any visitor to the City of Love.

As always, for any questions not covered on the Paris Info website, don’t hesitate to contact us at CobbleStay and enjoy your stay in your very own short term Paris apartment.

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.