Posts Tagged ‘museums’

Timing Your Trip to Paris

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

“How far in advance should I book my trip to Paris?”  This is one of the most asked questions we receive and it is a great one!  The answer varies depending upon your situation.  The more “musts” you have, the farther in advance you should book.  These “musts” include staying in a particular area of Paris, during a particular show at a museum, during Fashion Week, on Bastille Day, when the flowers start to bloom, during the department store sales……  If you want to be in Paris on a specific date like your birthday or your anniversary you should plan your visit as soon as you get your dates set in stone.  Of course, if you are more flexible with your “musts”, last minute deals can be found but you may have to compromise on a few details.  For the average traveler coming to Paris, these are our suggestions for timing everything just right.

1.  You should start shopping airfares about 90 days before you plan to travel.  Depending on the season, you can get a gauge for what the fare will be and we suggest consulting with a travel agent for their take on  whether the fares will go on sale anytime soon.  If you are using airline “points” start inquiring about those flights the moment you decide on a date.   Reward travel is very limited, especially to Europe, and the flights sell out fast.  We have often booked airfare with points almost a year ahead of time just to make sure we got what we wanted!

Our Marais Magic Property

2.  Booking your airfare and finding an apartment can be done at the same time.  Especially if you are falling in love with a particular property, you should check that it is available around the dates that you are shopping for your airfare.  Our easy to use calendar that is on the same page of each property makes that very simple.  We find that people who start booking about 90 days prior to their arrival have the best selection to choose from.   For those last minute travelers, the online calendar makes it very easy to see what is still available.

3.  Check your passports!!  You should give yourself a 90 day cushion to make sure that passport is in your hands and up to date!  Really look at the date and make sure that is doesn’t expire during your trip.   It has happened but we won’t name names!

4.  As your trip gets closer, you will want to make any “must see” reservations or event ticket purchases.  Our experience is that most restaurants in Paris won’t book a table more than 30 days in advance.  There can be exceptions but this is the general rule.   It is also a great time to secure some Euros.  At the time we are writing this, the Euro is dropping!!!  This means it is the perfect time to go to Paris!

5.  Your trip is about a week away!  It is time to start pulling things to pack, buy a couple of things you might need and don’t forget to make arrangements for your pets!  We have written about packing for Paris before and we love to get creative packing tips from Pinterest.

We hope you have a fabulous trip to Paris!  Bon Voyage!

What the Ladies are Wearing in Paris This Summer

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Summer in Paris!!!  Yes, it can be very crowded but at least you have your Paris apartment rental to escape from it all.  From a fashion point of view, summer is the time when the Parisian girls, who normally stick with black and white, show off their colors.  Visitors to the fashion mecca should follow suit.  Here are CobbleStay’s top picks for what to pack this summer when traveling to Paris.

The temps in July peak at about 70 degrees, so wearing a long sleeved top can be a smart idea.  We also love this long skirt for the days that you might visit a church.  Keeping your limbs covered is a sign of respect.  The model’s platform sandals peeking out from the skirt are great for walking the cobblestone streets.

This outfit is perfect for visiting the museums and lunch at a cafe.   She can easily take off the cardigan when it is warming up outside and the bag…the perfect size for your cell, your camera, a journal and a bag of snacks.

We love this look because it is classic Paris style with a kick!  The Breton stripes thrown around her shoulders are perfect.  Her red pants are VERY à la mode and her shoes will keep her moving in comfort all day.

We can’t leave out the men!  We know it takes a special guy to get all fancy like these Paris locals.  But we can’t help but love them for their hats, touches of red and their argyle socks.

So…what are you packing this summer?

Become a Paris Insider!

Sunday, May 13th, 2012


We are thrilled to announce that we have a five part “Insider’s Guide to Paris” that we would like to share with you.
It will give you loads of advice on where to stay in Paris, how to get around the city,
our tips on where to find the best food and of course, our insider secrets onthe most romantic things to do in Paris.

Are you ready to become a Paris Insider?

The Walkability of Paris

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

July Column, Place de la Bastille

A guest post by Matt Davids

As a city, Paris is notorious in terms of traffic and holds a reputation as one of the toughest cities to drive around in Europe. This is often typical of such historic cities and it more than makes up for this by providing a decent underground train network (Metro), as well as wide pavements for walking, cycling and roller-skating, and plenty of excuses to want to take your time and explore on foot.

There are several approaches to walking around Paris that are dependent on the type of traveller you are. For experienced visitors to the city, you can use your prior knowledge, French skills and the handy help of the many metro stations nearby to figure out where you are. Ambling along in this way, without a specific map helps facilitate the discovery of new side streets and shortcuts and travelling on a whim, guided by a loose sense of knowing where you’re going, and the many distractive sights, sounds and smells along the way.

For those less experienced, there are plenty of maps both print and online to help you get around and perhaps plan your route before you leave. Furthermore, booking an escorted tour is an excellent option if you’re a newbie to Paris or want to supplement previous trips with a little extra knowledge. These can be themed as well, so if you’re interested in a certain period of French history such as the French Revolution or WWll then go for one of these options.

Great locations around Paris for ambling around:

Due to its layout, with the Seine winding its way from East to West, a standard walking route can take in all the most famous parts of Paris, either as an action packed morning, or stretched out leisurely throughout the day, with walking time between 3 and 4 hours a good guide. For a few suggestions, or a less demanding stroll, the following areas are great places to focus:

The Marais

The Marais is a district in Paris very much a part of the city’s history. Full of buildings that were built by Parisian aristocrats as well as many dating back to the 16th century, it has an amazing historic feel as well as fashionable restaurants and a strong art scene. These buildings, as well as immaculately kept outdoor areas make this one of the most expensive places in Paris to live, and it is conveniently close to many museums, including the Carnavalet Museum which reveals the history of Paris.

Montmartre District

The Montmartre District is another area that is well represented by the art scene. Spending a few hours strolling around the Place du Tertre which is a square where artists paint and sell their works is delightful, and there is also the Montmartre Cemetery which is a popular tourist attraction and the resting place of famous artists. There’s also the Moulin Rouge, a cabaret that needs no introduction.

Les Bouquinistes, Paris 

Les Bouquinistes

For an authentic cultural experience, the Bouquinistes along the river Seine are stands that sell books, photos and various other unique souvenirs for tourists, that having been around since the 16th century consequently offer an authentic location for purchasing a little something to take home. Hours can be whiled away strolling amongst these with the River Seine as your backdrop, conveniently located in the Latin District which is home to Notre Dame, has a strong student presence and many winding, charming streets.

General

To orientate yourself generally with Paris, then make your way to the square in front of the Notre Dame, which has a bronze plaque which represents the point to which all distances in France are measured. From here, the Eiffel Tower is to the West and the Place de la Bastille, a square where the July Column stands lies to the East. Zigzagging between these two points will take you across Paris, allowing you to see the Louvre, Notre Dame, Champs Elysees, Parc du Champ de Mars, Parc Luxembourg and many other tourist sites, whilst discovering the little hidden delights along the way that you would miss on the Metro or tour bus.

About our guest blogger:

Matt is a frequent traveller who has just returned from travelling round the world. He plans this summer to explore much of Europe, starting in Paris and finishing with his Greece holidays.

We love to have posts written by our CobbleStay guests and other travel experts.  Feel free to share your insights about Paris and travel with us.  You can send your ideas to Cassie at Community@CobbleStay.com

Not The Usual Things to do With Kids in Paris

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Paris bird market

It is so easy to get wrapped up into what WE want to see when we travel to visit.  When you are traveling with the kids, explaining to them that they are going to be walking through museums and churches all day followed up with dinner in a restaurant where they have to be on their best behavior, well…they aren’t going to like that too much!

Here are three things off the beaten path for you to do with your kids in Paris:

*This sounds crazy but instead of heading to the popular Marais on Sunday, go to the Ile de la Cite and visit the bird markets.  It is a fun, crazy and magical place.  The kids just light up at when they see all of the different species and their colorful personalities.  Notre Dame is right there and you can finish up with a glace at Berthillon on the Ile Saint Louis.

Musee de la Poupee

*Boys will enjoy visiting the Maison de la Chasse and de la Nature, Paris’ hunting museum and girls just go crazy for La Musee de la Poupee, the doll museum.

*If the weather allows and the kids need to blow off some energy, leave your apartment, head to a hidden park and let them run on the grass (one of the only parks where this is allowed!).  Jardin Catherine Laboure (29 Rue de Babylone, 7e) is from our “secret” address book.  Bring a picnic lunch and let them be kids.

We learned quickly that if we let the kids do one or two things that they like during the day, they are much more tolerant of the grown up stuff.  Or, just too tired to complain!

My Best Day in Paris – Jack

Friday, April 20th, 2012

La Rotisserie d’en Face

My best day in Paris starts with breakfast on the patio of the apartment.  I eat a slab of pate and a crusty baguette with a few shots of espresso.  I set out for a museum.  My wife and I have a deal.  We start with 30 minutes of art and then she can shop for the rest of the day.  I really enjoy the musee de Cluny (6 place Paul Painlevé, 75005) and it is small enough that I feel like I see most of what I want to see.  She likes it, too.  I can usually sway her to stay at least an hour!   Once we start shopping, I inevitably find a shop or two that I must visit.  I enjoy antique books and Guillaumot (16 Rue de Valois, near the Palais Royal) has a wonderful selection.   I prefer to eat a simple lunch at the boulangerie my wife chooses.  I can find a jambon sandwich just about anywhere and of course, another espresso.  Before heading back to the apartment to rest, we stop at Mariage Feres for a late afternoon tea.  We use this time to peruse guide books and decide where we will visit the next day.  One of my most favorite restaurants is La Rotisserie d’en Face (2 Rue Christine, 75006).  It is pretty small and we always make friends with a couple sitting next to us.  After dinner, we usually stroll around Saint-Germain-des-Pres and then make our way back to the apartment to sleep and start over again the next day.

Another Look at Paris from Bill L’Herault

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Another Look at Paris from Bill L'Herault on Vimeo.

French Art Through the Ages

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Monet’s Lilies

By Daniella Carrese

            From Eugene Delacroix to Claude Monet, the world has seen a countless number of French artists. Throughout the ages, art has gone from Classicism to Modern.

The Renaissance (15th to 16th century) pushed forward a new age of expression. Artwork from this period sought after a subject that told a story, most popular was the story about how the world was created. Realism, shading, and symmetry were seen in the paintings for the first time. Oil paints were first introduced during this period.  During the 17th century French Baroque and Classicism were seen during the time of Louis XIV and the Scientific Revolution.  The paintings from this period were associated with the religious tensions between the Catholics and the Protestants.  Many portrayed biblical scenes with rich colors and sharp details. Rococo was introduced in the 18th century.  Compared to Baroque, Rococo was lighter and more decorative art. The French Revolution was going on toward the end of this period, and a portrayal of liberated subjects and hardships were popular.  The Romanticism period expressed a connection to nature. The “realists” wanted to get away from the industrial innovations and get back to all that is not man-made in the world. The focuses were emotion, imagination, and passion. This was a revolt against Classicism of the Enlightenment. Between WWI and WWII there were a various assortment of styles from Impressionism to Surrealism. The artists expressed the uncertainty and disillusions of the time through disoriented figures and mysterious backgrounds.

All of these types of art are displayed throughout the city of Paris in various museums. The Louvre houses many types of artwork from the periods. Some other museums include the Musée d’Orsay, the Pompidou Center and the Musée du Montmartre. These museums are within walking distance from your Paris vacation rental or just a short metro ride away.

Daniella is a frequent guest blogger for CobbleStay.  She recently wrote about street art in Paris and Coco Chanel.

Street Art in Paris

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Photo Credit: MaiLaifu

Written by Daniella Carrese

Street art is a part of any major city. Although street art is associated with graffiti and is not commonly seen as art but more as vandalism, in Paris the art is enjoyed by many spectators from all around. Street art gives a city character beyond it’s history. Today’s generation sees beyond the tagging and sees the originality and creativity that is put into the art form. All around Paris, as in any major city, there are many streets which have such art. The graffiti is embraced by many Parisians and seen as a way for many artists to express their emotions, and a way to liven up the city. Parisian street art is very different than most city art. Street art in Paris generates a picture with imagination and creativity. The color brought among the grey and brown walls in the city create a brilliant image to show the vibrant colors and scenes expressed by artists.  There are some tours around the city, of the art. To find certain areas that have these art forms visit this website. Even though some of these this may not be near your Parisian apartment rental, you can take a walking tour around the city and finds some of these locations.

To read more by Daniella, click here:  Coco Chanel

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.