Monday, June 6, 2011

Paris & Prague

First off - your comments last Friday were very helpful! Thank you. I'm so impressed by my well-traveled and international readers. So, I am hoping you can help me again! After much debate, the compromise for Eurotrip 2011 is three nights in Paris and three nights in Prague. I know - a bit of a departure from our previous idea of venturing east to Athens and Istanbul.

But I've actually spent a couple of days in both of these cities already and am eager to go back and explore more. Especially considering I was on a shoestring budget as a college student, staying in hostels and eating cheap Italian food in Paris. (I know, I know... not good.) I am ready to do it up right.

So, I am asking again for any recommendations! 
- affordable hotels
- best neighborhoods to stay in
- the best restaurants for all three meals
- things to do and see (the less touristy the better!)
- how to spend a morning/afternoon/night
- daytrips outside the cities

Any help is appreciated! I've been wanting to go back for five years now, so I really want to make these few days worthwhile.

Paris photos source
Prague photos source 1, 2, 3


  1. ive never been... but anxiously waiting to see everyones suggestions!!

  2. i went to paris in april and wrote a post all about what we ate! hope it helps! :) what to eat in paris

  3. Oh that trip sounds so gorgeous- love Paris and would kill to go to Prague. I was in Paris for my honeymoon and we stayed near the Ritz...loved the area. I don't remember the exact area we were in but I know that the lower number arrondissements are more expensive. Have a fabulous time!!

  4. yah! v exciting. i might have to bookmark this page once ppl leave their recommendations. we're planning on paris and amsterdam for our honeymoon :) xo jillian:: enter to win a $100 shopping spree!

  5. Well, this is touristy... but, a day trip to Versailles is an absolute MUST do while you are in Paris! When we went, we took one of the first trains out (its about an hour or so to get there) and packed a picnic lunch for after touring the palace, so we could eat our lunch in the beautiful garden. Enjoy!


  6. we took a really interesting WWII walking tour of Paris - I highly recommend it for some out-of-the-way sights and really impressive memorials. In Prague, you have to walk through the castle and hunt for some great independent photography exhibitions - there's a great art scene!

  7. for Paris, if I only gave one food suggestion it would be to eat (falafel) at L'As du Falafel in the Marais District (4th arr.) because it is the most amazing thing ever (make sure to get it with all the toppings) and then walk around that neighborhood because it's adorable and probably one of my favorites in Paris. you'll step into cute little bakeries and shops. lots of fun.

    also, Rick Steves' Paris guidebook is a very good one, and i recommend doing the walking tour of Ile Saint-Louis - another FAVORITE area. and although it's touristy, make sure you grab some ice cream at Berthillon because it's kind of a Parisian staple.

    Lastly, the Rue Cler neighborhood is a great one. We stayed there at the Hotel Muguet, which was a convenient location, clean and nice, and affordable. It's right next to the Invalides. Also, very easy walking distance to the market at Rue Cler, which is nice to see in the morning with all the vendors. The Cafe du Marche is really popular with locals, and tourists alike. When we went there (3 times on our trip) we only heard french 99% of the time, but we also met some traveling Germans seated beside us. and the food and cafe au lait is great. it's buzzing at night too.

    have fun!! if i think of any more suggestions, i will comment again. and i've never been to Prague so looking forward to your photos when you get back!

  8. This is my standard Paris suggestion for anybody must eat a meal at the restaurant atop the Musee Pompidou. I enjoyed the most wonderful omelet up there, but even better was the panoramic view. The museum is great too, but the view is what I still remember back in the real world when things get a bit stressful. I can close my eyes and be there again!

    I heart your blog btw...I found you in a search for dark table + light chairs

  9. I agree with @LindseyChandler. If you haven't been to Versailles, it has plenty to make it a full day trip. Plus, as a designer, you'll probably have at least three heart attacks/fainting spells while you're there. Don't forget to walk to the back right/northwest corner of the grounds to see Petit Trianon, where Marie Antoinette had recreated an entire village (mini-palace) to play at being a shepherdess.

  10. I just spent 3 days in Paris a week and a half ago! Versailles is a good place for a day trip.

  11. I spent a week and a half in Paris last summer. We stayed at the Hotel Castille on the Rue Cambon (right next door to Chanel). Reasonably priced, GREAT location as far as Metro stops and accessibility to other areas of town. However, if I were going tomorrow, I might stay in the Marais. The neighborhood had such a great vibe and amazing shopping. Also, you can't miss L'As du Falafel on the Rue de Rossiers in the Marais. BEST. FALAFEL. EVER.

    Like Tae said, I also recommend checking out Rick Steves' Paris book. The walking tour ideas in it are fantastic and not touristy if you don't want them to be!

  12. Wonderful trip! Prague is spectacular. We stayed at Domus Balthazar - Their location is OUTSTANDING - next to the Charles Bridge and everything is quite walkable to get to the Old Town area. There is no elevator, but they are very friendly and helpful with the bags. The rooms on the 2nd floor are HUGE with windows surrounding 2 walls. Pricing is very reasonable too.

    While you're in Prague - do check out Kampa Park and Restaurant David for dinner. Both are fantastic.

    Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

  13. Welcome to the Hotel California...

  14. I have no advice to give you other than I've dreamed of going to Prague for awhile. Paris is amazing - I've been twice, once in high school and once in college. So I've still not had the proper Parisian experience but I still enjoyed it nonetheless! Have so much fun!

  15. I have spent time in Paris but not Prague. Pictures are beautiful and I must say I'm jealous! Please take lots of photos so I can live vicariously through you.

    On the subject of photos, your "offical" photos" look great

  16. You must, must, must stay at Hotel Leveque on Rue Cler in Paris. It is quaint, reasonably priced, clean, and situated on THE most adorable pedestrian-only cobblestone street lined with florists and patisseries and everything you could ever want in a trip to Paris. TRUST me! I have stayed here on two trips and have yet to find a reason to try somewhere new.

    This is a little touristy but brunch at La Durée on the Champs Elysées has to be done. My boyfriend and I splurged while we studied abroad and it was a very fun indulgence. The interior is fabulous and you'll be able to say you ate at the restaurant that catered for Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette! And of course you already know to buy a box of macarons before you leave — aim for variety as some are delicious and others disgusting!

  17. The best recommendation for a meal in Paris that I can give you is to wander through one of the street markets and buy bread, rotisserie chicken, cheesy potatoes, cheese and some other interesting finds and have a picnic in one of the gorgeous parks. My favourite gallery in Paris is the Musee de Rodin but only because we ran into Keanu Reeves there (true story, but I am not sure he is on permanent display.....). I have always found just walking the streets a great thing to do in Paris, you find so many beautiful parks and gardens and stumble across fantastic shops that way. I'm so jealous, I want to go back (shame it is such a long way from New Zealand)!

  18. Hi there,
    As a bonefide Parisienne myself, here is what i usually suggest my visiting friends:
    hotels: the one on rue Cler suggested by Tae earlier is actually great for location, and very decently priced. Another one my inlaws love going to is Hotel Le Clement (on rue Clement right off Saint Germain des pres - hard to think of a better location!). it's a 2* "only" but very well kept,comfortable and very clean. Breakfast is blah, but I'd expect you to go out to Gerard Mulot's amazing bakery or nearby cafés!!

    For shopping/day dreaming: forget the super busy, super packed Galerie Lafayettes and Printemps, and rather focus on Le Bon Marché (metro Sevre babylone - you can have a great walk there is you are coming from le Clément hotel. Don't forget to check out the latest Hermes shop rue de Sevres, right next to the Hotel Lutetia. The design is insane). Le Bon Marché was the first shopping center in paris, an architectural beauty and the whole place is to die for. If I may, (and considering your blog!), let me suggest you start with the second floor, the interior design section. Paradise! I actually go there when i feel like looking at beautiful things, not even for shopping! Don't forget to go to the attending food hall (the shop next door) "La Grande epicerie" which is also incredibly beautiful.
    If you're hungry after this (food is ALWAYS on our mind!!): you'll see that they have food-to-go stands in the Grande epicerie (towards the back of the shop), so you can get something there and if it's a sunny day walk 5 minutes to a charming garden on 29 rue de Babylone (not many people know about this!!! it's a real hidden gem) where you can have your food. if it's rainy, keep walking a bit further on rue de Babylone to Café Coutume. It opened a few months ago, they all speak English (rare enough to be mentioned! and their food is nice and light, while their coffee -and service- is just perfect). the place looks really great too

    Waoh, this post might become very long there is sooooo much to do in paris. I'll keep going in the next comment;) Ali

  19. sooo...where was I?! I'll try and be more concise!:
    - L'Epi Dupin, 11 rue Dupin (same 'hood as Bon Marché. Go there for dinner or lunch, fantastic food, speak English. you'll want to book well ahead of time +33 (0)1 42 22 64 56) You can get a table at 22h30, it's actually really roamntic to go there late at night!

    - for a delightful lunch of quiche with great veggies, (and cake!)go to the lovely place Mami Gateau 66 rue du cherche Midi (same 'hood as bon marché). you'll love the design and the owner has a little "brocante" next door.
    - La MAison Mere (where the Red light District used to be- now very cool!
    Best burgers in town, but also great salad and fish tartar if you feel like NO burger!

    - right next door is Hotel l'Amour, also a great place for food:

    - for some great tapas in a cheap and fun place (in LE Marais, aka The Village), Les Pietons is the place

    - if you feel like a romantic midnight sorbet while walking by Notre Dame, head for ile Saint Louis (right in the middle of the river, and get a Berthillon sorbet from one of the booths open untill 1am and eat it while walking by the river. that's waht parisiens do during the hot summer evenings!)

    PLaces of interest:
    Besides hermes and Le Bon Marché, you must go to (keeping in mind that paris is a city where you must walk!!! most places are within walking distance, and if not rent a Velib for 30 mins or take the metro):
    - Musée Rodin, even if just for a walk in the gardens. Have you watched the latest Woody Allen? then you'll know the place exactly. It's nearby Les Invalides.

    - Walk past Petit Palais and Grand Palais and look at the roofs- amazing, right?

    - Walk in le MArais (get out at Hotel de Ville station get lost in the little streets in the general direction of Place des Vosges)

    - go for a stroll in Jardins du Luxembourg, behind Odeon

    - do NOT wait for hours to go inside the Eiffel Tower. Nonono. If you want a great view over paris without all the damn tourists ;), rather go to Institut du Monde Arabe (great museum too!) at metro Jussieu, and take the lift to the viewing deck (if the security guards start mumbling something, just say you are going to the librairy). Now , that's a view! If you wonder about the great empty venue by the roof, that's a place often rented for Fashion Week.

    - in terms of flea market, the place to go to is Saint Ouen (also featured in the latest Woody Allen!!) but honestly, it's a bit of a mission

    If it rains: no worries! Spend you day in small museum (check the list on and . I saw the Madame Gres exhibition, and highly recommend it). spend time in a café flipping through a mag. And finish the day with a movie (in English!) at the lovely arthouse Cinéma La Pagode (on rue de Babylone, again!). May i suggest the lastest Woody Allen ;) ?!

    Check the offical Paris website to see what's on:

    Last but not least: Parisiens are not rude (with some exceptions). We (they?) are just slightly uncomfortable with people asking us things, especially if not in French! We also hate looking like we're trying hard, and (a key secret!) we never look or admit to be impressed (hence the "it doesn't suck" for a great film, or "it's not bad" for great food) even when we are.
    Hopefully this will help for your stay- enjoy it and write about it, pleaaaase!!

  20. Hi- I would recommend going to see Monet's house- outside of paris- as a day trip- i think the train station is vernon. then you can also go to Epernay to visit some of the champagne houses. Definitely make a trip to Laudree for macaroons and Hediard for a gorgeous display of all things edible. Also stop by Princess Tam-Tam for some of the most adorable lingerie I have ever seen! Have fun- I am so jealous that you are going!!

  21. I've never been to Prague, but I've desperately wanted to go ever since I found pictures of Strahov Monastery. They have two gorgeous libraries (1, 2) - please go and take lots of pictures to show us!

  22. My husband just moved back from living in Prague for a bit- I visited for a week and April, and think it may be one of my favorite cities now! 2 must-eats for you: the first is a little place on the other side of the Charles Bridge called cukrkávalimonáda; head there for brunch or lunch. I had a lox sandwich of some sort, and requested a side of pesto- best I have had in memory. I still think about it at least twice a week. If you're looking for a splurge meal, you must go to Kampa Park. Must, must, must. Can't wait to see what else you get up to, you'll have a blast!



Blog Widget by LinkWithin