Shermans Travel » Blog » Paris
Whoever told you that dining in Paris is expensive…pretty much told you the truth. It’s exceedingly difficult as a traveler to find affordable dinner spots in Paris. Fortunately, I can let you in on a little secret: Lunch is where it’s at.
If you want to gorge yourself on all of Paris’s prizes (bread, amazing meats, cheese, and wine) for a fraction of the price, do so during the lunch hour. Most Parisian restaurants serve a prix fixe menu during the day, so diners can sop up the same quality of food for far less. Here are two recommendations that will give you both a taste of quality French food and a glimpse into how the locals live: Read more
As a vibrant port town on the Mediterranean, Marseille has always been gritty and full of soul. But forget images of a dirty and dangerous metropolis. I’m here to tell you that Marseille cleans up real nice. Elected the European Capital of Culture in 2013, Marseille has undergone a major metamorphosis with new landmark buildings like MuCem, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, designed by bad-boy French architect Rudy Ricciotti. The Old Port, where fish-mongers still sell their catch, has a polished new look by Sir Norman Foster, who erected a giant sun-shade called Ombrière that reflects port life like a mirror.
With the largest community of contemporary artists outside Paris, Marseille is embracing its role as one of the hottest destinations of 2013. Europe’s capital of cool is throwing a year-long party with art exhibits, dance performances, and music festivals celebrating Marseille’s melting-pot diversity. No matter when you arrive this year, there is guaranteed to be something going on in Marseille. Check out their website for the full calendar of unforgettable events. To get you started, I’ve picked out a few of the best places and things to do! Read more
It’s no secret that there are countless unknown holidays that are celebrated around the world (Talk Like a Pirate Day, Margarita Day…you get the idea), but International Dance Day should be one that is on your radar every year. Founded over 30 years ago, the day’s message is one that transcends all barriers, “The intention of International Dance Day is to celebrate dance, to revel in the universality of this art form, to cross all political, cultural, and ethnic barriers and bring people together with a common language – Dance.” To celebrate in our own way we’re bringing you four cities to visit to experience this international language. Read more
Happy National Fragrance Day! Since many perfumes draw inspiration from places around the world, we thought there was no better way to celebrate than finding fragrances that best evoked their respective locations. Want to smell like a spring day? Maybe you’re more interested in evoking the romance of Paris at night? Either way, we’ve put together a list of fragrances that pay tribute to some of our favorite places in the world.
Rather than trying to escape the chilly weather this season, why not embrace it? Even in high season, many ski resorts offer lodging deals now, especially for travel on weekdays or toward the end of the season (late March and early April). Winter is also the cheapest time to travel to many cooler-weather metropolitan cities, both in the U.S. and abroad, so, if you can brave the lower temperatures, you’ll also enjoy reduced airfare and hotel rates.
Ski on fresh powder out West at major Colorado ski resorts like Breckenridge and Keystone, where individual condos through ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals start from just $119 per night. Most of Fairmont Hotels‘ 4-star properties throughout Canada offer rooms for 20 percent off this season, including the Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta, which sits at the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Not only can you ski at the nearby Marmot Basin, you can also enjoy ice skating, tobogganing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding. Read more
Public transit is a cesspool of bad behavior. A cacophony of headphone music, overheard conversations, and bodily odors that invade our senses. Recently, RATP, Paris’ public transportation company, launched a courtesy campaign to end everyday rudeness in their metro. Images of cartoon donkeys, warthogs, chicken, frogs and even a sloth – each with their own quirky message highlighting mass transit nuisances like loud-talkers, line stallers, litterers, and door holders.
“It’s a cute campaign,” says Karen Fawcett, a 24-year Paris transplant and president of Bonjour Paris, an online guide to the French capital. “Do I think it will change people’s behavior? No.” The RATP conducted a poll to illustrate the need for such a campaign. According to the RATP survey results here are the habits that bothered Parisian commuters the most: Read more
The cream color conjured up memories of the 1980s. It looked like the brassieres that my grandmother wore when I was a kid (unfortunately, I remember seeing them hanging in the bathroom). It fit very snuggly around my torso. When I finally unhooked the clasp, I noticed that I had indentations in my skin from the elastic band and sweat had collected where the belt made the most intimate contact with my body. I’d spent a day in Quito, Ecuador wearing a money belt and felt like I should have complemented it with a pair of control top pantyhose.
Money belts have been around for decades, and travelers have relied on them to thwart pickpockets all around the world. Are these people – and in Quito, I was one of them – being smart or paranoid? Petty crime happens almost everywhere. Certain cities, such as Rome, Paris, and Buenos Aires, have developed reputations for being rife with pickpockets. These thieves prey on tourists, especially those who announce to the world that they’re visitors by carrying large bags, donning souvenir shirts, and taking pictures of famous landmarks. Stop paying attention for just a moment and you could find that your wallet is no longer in your pocket.
We’d all love to visit Paris on a 5-star budget, stay in a luxury hotel, and have an expert staff on hand to coordinate everything from restaurant reservations to private tours of the Louvre. While that may be a bit of a rêve for most of us, you can get tips on the latest happenings (luxe and not-so-luxe) from the city’s concierges-bloggeurs.
Le Discret by Hotel Lutetia
Hotel Lutetia, in Saint-Germain-des-Pres, is a relative newcomer to the blogosphere, starting its online tip sheet last February. Le Discret (the Discreet Person) posts helpful tidbits on what to see and do during your Paris stay, as well as where to eat and shop. Top tip: the Fromagerie Barthélémy in the 7th Arrondissement, a cheese shop with over 250 types of cheese that is frequented by notable Parisians like Charlotte Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve.
While Paris doesn’t have the upcoming Olympics to hurry hotel openings along (though we’re expecting many Olympics-attendees to tack on a few nights in the City of Lights to their London trip), the city is welcoming a handful of exciting newcomers at a respectable clip. And, boy, are they swanky.
Mandarin Oriental The luxury brand opened its much-anticipated Parisian outpost in the First Arrondissement (a stone’s throw from the Louvre and the Garnier Opera) in June 2011. Two restaurants are helmed by Michelin-starred chef Theirry Marx. Rooms range in style and color schemes, but are all tres chic and come with humungous bathrooms. Rates from €795/night. www.mandarinoriental.com Read more
As more resorts and hotels up the ante in luxury travel, guests of Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere now have the option to travel like a VIP jetsetter by hopping in a chopper in Paris and landing in Deauville, a beachside town in northwest France.
Rather than renting a car, guests of the ultra-luxe hotel can escape the hustle and bustle of the city by boarding a private helicopter for the a 45-minute ride to Deauville. The town offers visitors boutique shopping, gambling at Casino Barriere, and sunny beachside strolls. After a day at the beach, jet back to Paris for a luxurious night at the five-star hotel.
The offer – valid until December 26, 2012, and priced at about $6,432 for an Executive Room – includes one night in a room or suite at Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere, transfer via car from the hotel to the Paris Heliport, round-trip helicopter transport to Deauville, and a beach picnic prepared by an award-winning chef. A VIP welcome and breakfast at the Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere is also included.
The City of Lights just turned a pinker hue. Joining the ranks of Berlin, Barcelona, and Buenos Aires (Axel Hotels), Miami (Lords South Beach), and Fort Lauderdale (Royal Palms), Paris unveiled its first “straight-friendly” hotel this past Monday after nearly 19 months of construction. Located in where else? The Marais.
Christened Jules et Jim after François Truffaut’s iconic New Wave ode to bohemian polyamory, the hotel is open to all, but specifically marketed our way. Sexy and seductive, it offers up subdued luxury with partners from Moët Hennessy Diageo, Kusmi tea, Supra, and various photo galleries – the entire entrance hall is one big art show – to craft an environment that feels both high-tech contemporary, yet comfortably classic. Its 23 rooms are divided between an 18th-century house turned duplex (“Jim”) and a more modern eight-story tower (“Jules”) with views out over the rooftops of the Marais and Sacré-Cœur. The two buildings surround two quiet cobblestone courtyards and bar: It’s sure to become a new hub for Parisian trendsetters.
Highlights include: Read more
2011 has been a big year for hotels—we’ve scooped dozens of exciting hotel openings across the globe. On the flip side, we must bid farewell to a few monumental hotels that have closed. Here are a few of the goners we’ll miss most. A moment of silence, if you will.
Sahara Las Vegas (closed May 16)
One of Sin City’s last Rat Pack-era hotels has closed for good. The landmark casino-hotel held court on the northern Strip for 59 years. Scads of musical legends had graced its ballroom stage (Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Darin, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, and Liza Minnelli, to name a few).
Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya (closed June 6)
We know Mexico tourism has taken a beating these last few years, but is the Mandarin’s closing an upshot? The luxury beach resort had been enduring increasingly low occupancy rates. Perhaps there’s hope—the property’s website indicates that the hotel will re-open in due course. We shall see.
The Chelsea Hotel (closed in August)
The historic artist enclave was sold to developer Joseph Chetrit and closed in August, save for its 100 permanent residences. Future plans are vague but Chetrit intends to keep the Chelsea a hotel. Phew! We can only hope that the history-packed rooms retain their legendary rocker grit post renovations.
The Plaza’s Oak Room (closed in May)
The celebrity-loved Oak Room will no longer host its famously outrageous afternoon parties, thanks to a rent dispute between restaurant operators and hotel owners. No word yet of what will become of the historic space.
Ritz Paris (temporarily closing in summer for renovations)
The oh-so-fancy Parisian landmark is, in truth, not so ritzy at the moment. The old gal is looking a little tired and will close for two years this summer for an extensive refresh.
These six sexy properties have played home away from home to everyone from the Obamas to Madonna, providing the perfect respite for royalty, rock stars, and heads of state. So, whether you are looking to globe trot, celebrity spot, or simply live in the lap of luxury, you may want to hunker down in one of these world class properties for otherworldly accommodations and simply the best spa treatments on the planet. Enjoy…
Those planning to visit London or Paris in the near future can extend their vacation plans to the other iconic destination or Brussels with a new autumn sale from RailEurope Inc. Travelers purchasing a Eurostar standard premier ticket will save 20 percent on their purchase, bringing tickets from London to just $131 and prices from Paris to just $139! Additionally, travelers will also receive a complimentary $20 gift card from Amazon.com. In standard premier class travelers will enjoy spacious reclining seats, extended legroom, complimentary newspapers, a light meal, and refreshments, all while traveling at 186 miles per hour. Tickets must be purchased by November 16, 2011 and travel is valid for six months after the purchase date.
THE VALUE: Save 20% on standard premier class and get a $20 Amazon gift card.
THE CATCH: The sale is only valid between London, Paris, and Brussels.
THE DETAILS: To book your ticket, visit www.raileurope.com.
When booking hotels in popular European cities, it’s easy to spend far too many euros. While some destinations (oh how we love thee, Florence!) are famous for their cheap pensions in centuries-old buildings and former monasteries, many cities are quite expensive (Zurich anyone?). It can be really difficult to find a cheapo night’s sleep.
But never fear, there are a few practical steps that budget travelers can take to lower their costs. Here are four things you can do now to find a hotel deal even in Europe’s priciest cities: Read more
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