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Paris - City of Light. Paris - City of Culture. Paris - Arguably, the most beautiful Capital City in the World.

Naturally a "francophile" like me just has to be impressed by this great City.  However, saying that, how on earth could anyone with only a modicum of sense of style or beauty not be impressed at the sheer grandeur of "Paree".
Paris Hotel de Ville image The list of unmissable attractions goes on for ever - and how ever long you spend there, you just never have the time to see all the gems and all the surprises which seem to pop up around every other corner. It just means you have to make plans for another visit!

OK, we all know the top sights (and the associated crowds, trinket sellers & pick-pockets) - Eiffel Tower, Nôtre Dame, Sacré Coeur, Champs Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Concorde, Tuileries, etc., etc. But there are others and they are often much easier to explore with less pushing and shoving!

Try a remarkable subterranean walk in the Catacombes - recently re-opened after a face-lift (or should that be a skull-lift!!). Visit the impressive Cité des Sciences et de l'industrie and follow it with a boat trip on the Canal Saint Martin to the Bastille. If you've the time then take a tour of L'Opéra Bastille. All that will account for a whole day, believe me. Paris image

Whatever you do, I implore you not to miss an exploration of the Île Saint Louis (the small island behind Nôtre Dame). There are numerous lovely little restaurants here.

On a more "21st Century" level, jump on the metro line 1 and ride out to La Défence. The fantastic Grande Arche and other ultra-modern buildings act as an excellent counter-balance to the more classical facades of central Paris. The view from the parvis back to the "other" Arche is superb. Paris Louvre image

Eating out is a major joy. Whether it's the little bistro in Saint Louis (Auberge de la Reine Blanche, 30 rue Saint-Louis en L'Île) or the major attraction Au Pied de Cochon (6 rue Coquillière) in Les Halles, you can be guaranteed a fine meal.

A lesser known favourite area of mine is "Le Parc de Bercy" just a stones throw from the modern Sports arena "Palais Omnisports de Bercy" (where the tennis in November is a joy!). Paris Sacre Coeur image

Paris offers the visitor so much. It's up to you to plan what you really want to see. You won't be able to do it all in a few days though. Mix the famous with the original - that way you will have the best of all worlds.

So, that's just a flavour of the place - so why don't you make that easy and not-too-expensive trip by Eurostar to the City of Light and amongst other things see all those skulls (and other bits and pieces). You will definitely enjoy it all.


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Claret Exterior

Decent hotels in Paris aren't cheap, so I apologise if these recommendations are just a little outside of your budget (70/80), but here is one unpretentious establishment out of the centre but only 10 minutes by the new metro line 14 from Madeleine.

Hotel Claret has recently been redecorated and has all you require from a city hotel. It's 5 minutes from the Palais Omnisports. It's 10 seconds from one of the Bercy metro station entrances. It's soundproofed and very quiet at night. It's friendly and English is spoken (if that's really necessary). There's a restaurant, but restaurants are plentiful in the area. And that lovely Parc is just around the corner.



Claret Dining Room

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In one of the best areas in the whole of Paris, Hotel Alison is wonderfully situated for visitors to Paris who want to stay in the middle of the action, but not in a very expensive top-named hotel. Within a few minutes you can walk to Place de la Madeleine, Place de la Concorde and the Champs Elysées, Place Vendôme (Le Ritz hotel!), Jardin des Tuileries, Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré (top shops and all the main Embassies), Place de l'Opéra and all the "Les Grands Magasins" in the heart of Paris.

In other words, you really are in Paris when you stay at the Hotel Alison. It's a pleasant place with all the mod cons associated with 3-star hotels. The best rooms are at the rear of the building, overlooking a small courtyard. These rooms are farther away from the lift which can be a nuisance at night if you are not a very late bird! There is a famous theatre (Théatre Madeleine) next door if you fancy a dose of culture too.

I can thoroughly recommend the Alison and I am sure that you won't be disappointed with what it offers.

Alison Exterior

Click on above image for more information on Hotel Alison (on-line web page)






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