Clued In Paris – The Concise and Opinionated Guide to the City
Grab the 2023 ebook soon!
Urgent Update – March 2023
Some of the transport info in our Clued In Paris book is suddenly “old news” as Paris incurs new price hikes and ways to buy train tickets! Because of this we are currently republishing the ebook to reflect the changes. (For instance on the Métro, those famous little white carnet tickets are being phased out right now at most stations in favor of a new, reusable pass card called NavigoEasy.) If you purchased our book before March 18, 2023, please note the new information below… this is exactly how our new publications will read:
Getting from CDG airport to central Paris:
Grab a taxi from the queue waiting out front of the terminal. (A sign that says TAXI denotes the start of the line.) Depending on traffic, it will take 40 to 50 minutes between the CDG airport and Paris. The price is now a fixed flat rate: Around €53 between CDG and Paris’ right bank/ Around €58 between CDG and Paris’ left bank.
Take the RER regional train– B Line which is the least expensive way into the city. It takes less than thirty minutes to get to Paris’ Gare du Nord train station and continues making many other city-center stops after that. Departs from the Roissypole station near CDG’s Terminal 3 about every fifteen minutes but is accessible from all terminals. Cost is around €12.
Ride a Roissy Bus. It takes fifty-five minutes to get from the CDG airport to the Paris-Opéra, at 13 Rue Scribe. The service is available outside all three of the airport terminals. Buy a ticket with cash or credit card at any of the departure point machines/booths, or pay in cash on board. Departs from the airport every twenty minutes or so. Cost is around €14 to €17 depending on if you have a NavigoEasy card to load.
With its three-hundred stations, Paris has one of the most extensive subway systems in the world. These underground trains run every few minutes from around 5:30am to 12:20am and can get crowded during rush hours. The T+ single tickets and carnet packets of ten are being phased out right now. Instead, you’ll need to purchase a single ride from a ticketing machine (or pay a one-time fee of €2 per person for a reusable pass card called NavigoEasy. You must acquire these passes from a human inside a Métro ticket service booth.
- These new reusable cards [NavigoEasy] and can be “loaded” with different rides by that human in the ticket service booth. Once you have it in-hand, you could also load it at the city’s regular ticketing machines, or with an app. The popular 10-ride option gives you a discount of sorts.
- Tap your NavigoEasy métro card at the turnstile and enter. Keep it somewhere safe but handy in case you need to show it to officials within the underground system.
- Métro doors do not necessarily open for you automatically. You may need to push the button on the door to board or to disembark. Locals riding on the Métro like to push the button to open the doors before the train has even stopped which is very exciting indeed.
- On station escalators, Parisians stand to the right and walk on the left so be aware of this. Métro maps are free so just ask a ticket agent for one.
The Perk Report – March 2023
Our readers know that we include a concise but helpful segment in most of our travel books called The Perk Report. Here is an excerpt from our Clued In Paris book…
Paris has hundreds of pâtisserie (pastry shops) and all of them have pretty good coffee. Order a café crème if want something richer than their standard milk-based version, café au lait. The Café Americain is espresso that’s been watered down but will still taste too strong for most Americans. The Italian cappuccino has been wholly embraced here and can now be found everywhere. There aren’t many places where coffee is the main attraction, except that green mermaid chain.
The Seattle-based coffee place you frequent at home is suddenly everywhere in Paris so you can definitely seek out your normal coffee faves. In a way, visiting this familiar chain is a cool experience because the pastry and food offerings are completely different from those in the US and are très European, such as Nutella chip cookies. Check out the incredibly beautiful one located near the Paris Opera at 3 Boulevard des Capucines. Hours vary by location.
Important update – February 2023
One of our recommendations for viewing contemporary art in Paris was of course, the Centre Pompidou. As of February 19, 2023, purchases of our Clued In Paris book will no longer include it. The reason is because the Centre Pompidou is now closed in preparation of a major three-year renovation. Sorry for any inconvenience.
In focus: Marie-Antoinette and La Conciergerie – February 2023
When other websites are touting where to eat on Valentine’s Day, we’ve opted to send our readers in another direction. We love Paris’ super-famous sights as much as the next guy but have discovered that most visitors don’t go inside La Conciergerie. If you’re a fan or admirer of Queen Marie-Antoinette then it is a must-see!
See that huge Medieval castle over there, the one on the right bank of the Seine in the middle of town? That’s it and yes you can go inside. Once there you’ll be transported into a world that looks more like something out of Game of Thrones, and almost as scary. When the early French Monarchs abandoned this castle for the more comfortable rooms in the newly-built Louvre Palace, La Conciergerie served many different purposes. During the French Revolution it became headquarters of the movement and prison to those being held. You get to visit a few of the actual jail cells, and hear stories about what really went on there. More importantly, you get to visit the special quarters where Queen M-A was forced to live (without her husband or children) while awaiting her fate at the guillotine. Her small prayer altar is still there as if she never left. (This amazing sight is usually offered on the same ticket with the breathtaking Saint-Chapelle next door.) The entrances to both are on Boulevard du Palais on Île de la Cité -aka city island.
Pastry obsession solved – Paris – January 2023
There’s nothing that can fill a cold, empty feeling in the tummy like pastry… really good pastry. It’s true that our local obsession with it switches around depending on the season, but right now it lies firmly at patisserie Le Comptoir inside the ultra famous and historic Hotel Ritz. Ohhh that marbled bourbon entremet; ohhh that glorious Melting Heart madeleine. It’s almost too much to bear! Luckily there’s a street level entrance in the rear of the hotel at 38 Rue Cambon -perfect for grabbing a bag of goodness without skulking through the Ritz’s posh lobby where our high number of weekly visits tends to border on embarrassing. Award-winning pastry chef, Francois Perret is in charge here and definitely knows how to please his clientele. Closed Sundays.
Where to dine in style on Christmas Eve – December 2022
This year, we’re craving that old-school vibe with elegant culinary dishes and an ambiance that will knock your socks off. That can only be one place: Le Train Bleu. Those of you who can’t picture themselves dining inside a train station on Christmas Eve, let’s just say you’ll be super surprised by it! Check out their prix fixe menu below and book ASAP if you decide to indulge.
Christmas Eve Dinner:
Glass of Champagne
Oyster and langoustine appetizer with rosé gellé
Pressed duck foie gras with leeks, and puff pastry brioche with black truffle
Roasted scallops with spinach, and curried pear
Apple sorbet and artisanal cider
Roasted free-range turkey supreme with chestnut-stuffed leg
Cannon potatoes gratin
Spiced Pear Log Pastry
Wow wow wow! Paris is back – November 2022
If you are even thinking of a December visit to the City of Lights, book your airline tickets now. Paris has come alive this fall and has so much planned for December that it’s mind-boggling. There are no less than nine major Christmas Markets (Marchés de Noël) being installed, some opening as early as November 26th. There are many small but charming ones too, along with some pop-up markets. These dazzling venues enliven their neighborhoods and literally decorate the city. The grandest and most famous one is La Magie de Noël (the Magic of Christmas) which takes over the Tuileries Garden along the Seine on the right bank. Here’s a handy list of the larger ones.
In addition to the holiday markets, there are dozens of performances and concerts planned. The ballet The Snow Maiden will be presented at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées by the Ukraine National Ballet, Swan Lake will be performed by the Paris Opéra Ballet at the Theatre Bastille, and the operas Carmen, Tosca, and The Magic Flute will be performed by the Opéra de Paris at that same venue.
Two of the many amazing concerts to note (and get tickets for asap!) are the Christmas Choral Concert at the magical La Madeleine Church in late-December and the huge Christmas Concert at the Eiffel Tower with optional Champagne and tapas! Yes… all we can say is WOW!
Where to have a true American-style breakfast – October 2022
When you start to hate the very sight of that crusty croissant and ramekin of jam, or think the coffee is just too strong and the pastries too sweet, and you begin desperately craving eggs and American bacon from a diner, head over to Breakfast in America. Don’t judge us for mentioning it; we know it’s nearly sacrilege. Yet their two locations, (in the Marias and in the Latin Quarter) have stayed happily in business for years. Even we have had a moment of weakness and enjoyed scrambled eggs and home fries or a cheeseburger there, almost teary-eyed from the bottle of Heinz ketchup seemingly waiting for us on the table. Sometimes you don’t appreciate something until you’re away from it. Yes, that is a breakfast burrito below.
Attend a fun workshop while you’re on vacation – September 2022
You might not have considered booking a workshop while you’re away from your daily grind but it’s the best way to learn about the culture you’ll be surrounded by. They are always taught in English and will undoubtedly become a cherished memory. In Paris, that means learning how to bake your own croissants or baguettes. Our friends at Le Foodist will teach you everything you need to know. Details are in our new Bored in Paris book but here’s a handy link to recommended workshop classes that are held in the lovely fifth arrondissement. Just click on their baking calendar and then choose croissants, baguettes, etc. to see the list of times available. So fun!
Ride creepy carnival attractions from a century ago – August 2022
Inside a row of deserted wines cellars east of the city center lies a strange and wonderful museum unlike any other. The Musée des Arts Forains (Museum of Fairgrounds) in the 12th arrondissement boasts an enormous antique collection of one man –and can only house part of it, at that. A guided tour of this mind-bending museum must be booked ahead online because it is completely interactive. Jean-Paul Favand is delighted to have you ride his rides and play the carnival games which are all salvaged from old fairs, circuses, and sideshows.
The dimly lit cellars reverberate with music from some of the few calliope and hooghuys barrel organs still in existence. It’s thrilling in a way that can’t be put into words. Delighted visitors will get to experience actual antique rides of many kinds, play competitive games like the “Race of the Waiters,” see mechanical fortune tellers, ride a carousel from 1900, and experience a very rare, self-pedaled bicycle ride just to name a few. This museum is beautiful yet creepy and is sure to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Even though this is not in our kids’ section, children are welcome to join this unusual ninety-minute tour. For more incredible experiences be sure to grab a copy of our new Bored in Paris guide.
Where to grab a delicious lunch on the cheap – July 2022
When you simply must have something very French but you don’t want to spend a lot of time and money to get it, head over to Caractère de Cochon for the best (and most classic) “jambon-beurre” sandwich ever! Yes, that’s a ham and butter sandwich. But this little spot knows how to make it right, with a freshly-baked baguette ficelle, some demi-sel butter from the countryside, and real Jambon de Paris. This combination will send your taste buds into a spin. Oui oui mon petits, fat of cow and flesh of pig make for a very memorable experience that can only be had here. Fortunately they are fairly centrally located at 42 Rue Charlot. Open daily except Mondays.
France and the USA have removed all Covid restrictions for travelers – June 12, 2022
It’s time to plan that trip to Paris! France now has no Health Pass (aka Vaccination Certificate) requirement for entering restaurants and museums. In addition, all incoming travelers can enter France without having to follow additional entry rules. As of today, the same is true with the USA.
Visit something special that’s probably off your radar – June 2022
This month, all of our City-Extras will highlight an awesome local sight that you’ve probably never heard of. (If you have, kudos to you!) In Paris, that has to be the fabulous Musée Jacquemart-André. This lovely mansion (turned art museum) was named for the married couple who owned it and who filled it with with their incredible collection from all over the globe. And even though that’s what most people go there to see, we visit it for the mansion itself. Exquisite! You’ll find it at 158 Boulevard Haussmann in the eighth arrondissement. (And have lunch at its lovely cafe.)
What’s inside that building over there? – May 2022
If you’ve stood in Paris’ Place de la Concorde before you may very well have asked that question yourself, like just we have. Along the north side of the infamous plaza is a columned palace of gargantuan dimensions but little explanation as to its history or purpose. Until now that is. This architectural beauty has elegant interiors to match but has spent its years as the Hôtel de la Marine, the French naval offices. Now, after a thorough steam-cleaning and a restoration of its sumptuous décor, it is now open for the enjoyment of the visiting public. We love it when we can visit a palace without even leaving the center of town! (For novices, a hôtel is not a hotel.) This glorious new sight is currently open everyday and is definitely worth your time. Find all the pertinent details at the website above.
Sharing our new spring advertising campaign.
Yes, you really do deserve one. Grab a copy of our Clued In Paris interactive ebook today. It’s easy when you download the free Amazon Kindle app first so that your ebook “knows” where to go. This app enables you to actually read the book, turn the pages, connect to the live links, and even adjust font sizes to your preferences. It’s so fun! Note: If you already have this app on your smart phone (or have a Kindle device) then you’re all set.
A visit to Versailles just got even better – April 2022
As if the Great Stables across from the palace gates weren’t opulent enough, they now house the newly opened Gallery of Coaches. Majestic coaches both large and small, grand sedan chairs, and even petit carriages for Marie-Antoinette’s children make up this strange and wonderful collection. And it’s free to visit, even without a ticket to the Chateau de Versailles itself. Built between 1679 and 1682, the twin buildings were the best ever designed for the comfort and care of the royal steeds who lived there. The coaches on display are works of art unto themselves, lovingly carved, upholstered, and gilded by the best artisans of the day.
The new Coach Gallery (Galerie des Carrosses) is currently open on Saturdays and Sundays only from 12:30pm to 6:30pm through October 30th. It is set to reopen for the Christmas Holiday as well, and then in the spring again as a seasonal treat.
In addition, the Dauphin apartments (in the main palace) are now open to visitors for the first time. Win win!
France removes Covid restrictions for American visitors – March 2022
It’s time to plan that trip to Paris! We are happy to report that France has finally removed its “health pass” requirement and lifted nearly all of its mask mandates; the only place where masks are still required is on public transportation. The inconvenient health pass was formerly required to enter all restaurants, museums, theatres, and trains.
France has suddenly eased its border restrictions as well. The US has now been re-classified as a “green” country so that fully vaccinated travelers can enter simply by showing their proof of vaccination. (Unvaccinated travelers are also welcome if they show proof of a negative Covid test taken within 48-hours of their departure.) Alternatively, travelers may show proof that they contracted Covid-19 and recovered within six months of their trip! Children under age twelve are exempt from all the entry requirements.
Grab our newest [fun] guide to Paris! March 2022
Our new “companion book” to Clued In Paris is finally here. Get your copy of Bored in Paris –Awesome Experiences for the Repeat Visitor before you wrap up your plans and itinerary for that trip to France. It’ll change the way you think about how you’re going to use your time while you’re here. We think it’s a must-have, even for first-time visitors. We offer it in both paperback or eBook and you can grab it here.
Fondue in Paris is beyond your expectations – February 2022
The coldest months just beg for warm, comforting food and nothing fits the bill like a pot of savory cheese fondue. While there are many restaurants here that specialize in it, only a handful are centrally located. Our favorite is Le Chalet Savoyard at 58 Rue de Charonne in the 11th arrondissement. This friendly restaurant will spiritually transport you and your taste buds to the French Alps and leave you sated and satisfied. They also feature raclette, the gooey, melty cheese that’s dripped over just about anything you want. If you love cheese or just want to try something fun and different, this is your place.
Plan ahead for the trip of a lifetime – January 2022
You might not think so right now, but travel will be returning in a big way and those who plan now will reap the benefits. As the pandemic fades, try to be one of the first to make a trip to Paris and enjoy it in a blissfully uncrowded way. Try making a detailed yet fluid itinerary without precise dates. Pencil in the days of the week only, noting which of your preferred sights are closed on Sundays or Mondays, etc. This will give you a basic framework on which to build your dream journey.
The more you can plan beforehand, the better it will be. At Clued In Travel Books we are big believers in having reservations at the restaurants we most desire rather than settling for our second or third choices. Dinner reservations are especially likely to fill up if not made in advance. As for the best sights, well, these must be booked ahead (due to the requirements of contactless service.) And with absolutely everyone now booking ahead, these too are more likely to sell out.
Travelers visiting our particular website probably understand this so we won’t beat a dead horse. If you are the type of traveler who likes to go somewhere with no plans or reservations in order to just see where fate takes you, we say, “Good luck and bless your heart.”
So, grab one of our travel books and peruse through it to the end. You’ll be shocked at how a city you knew nothing about is suddenly as familiar as can be. It’s almost magical.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
The folks here at Clued In Travel Books wish you and yours a wonderful and safe holiday season filled with lots of love and lots of food. If you avoid conversations about religion, politics, and mask mandates you’ll be just fine! Let’s hope we get back to some normalcy in 2022, especially in regard to travel. It’s what we live for.
All the best to all of you, Dean & Andie
Our brand new edition for 2022 is on Amazon now! – December 2021
Some things have changed in France, but much has stayed the same. We think it’s actually better than ever and are very happy to announce our brand new version of Clued In Paris for 2022. Use the link above to see its dedicated product page because it’s super-fun and has some new surprises. Let’s just call it the best one we’ve ever written!
Where to get a Covid test in Paris – December 2021
To take a rapid antigen test (within 48 hours of your flight back to USA for example) head over to Pharmacie Bader on Boulevard St. Michel. They happily accept non-French visitors for testing. The cost is around 25 euro.)
A delicious new restaurant will be featured in our upcoming 2022 Edition of Clued In Paris – November 2021
There will be a tasty refresh to our French Feasting chapter in our 2022 edition (which is already published and available now on Amazon.com.) During our October visit to the City of Lights, we were enthralled by several dining spots one of which must be revealed to our readers right now. On the left bank, not far form the Seine, is a happening little spot called Hugo & Co. It’s the creation of Chef Tomy Gousset who already has a Michelin star for his other restaurant Tomy & Co. The creative and thoughtful menu features interesting twists on European favorites such as octopus, salmon, veal, and duck all prepared in an open kitchen. Though Hugo & Co. was the winner of Best Bistro of the Year, this culinary spot could almost be described as fine dining; the attentive service and dim lighting nearly demand it. But no need to dress up if you don’t want to because everyone will feel welcome regardless. Hugo & Co. offers two seatings a night which must be confirmed ahead in order to secure a table. (Currently closed on Saturdays and Sundays.) Don’t miss it!
In Focus: Where to have breakfast if you don’t love what your hotel is offering – June 2021
For something smaller than a big breakfast, you can’t beat Au Petit Versailles du Marais, an exquisite bakery on Rue Tiron -just steps from the busy Rue de Rivoli. They have indoor and outdoor seating, and one of the best apricot croissants you ever sank your teeth into. The coffee is top notch too, making this the perfect spot to start your day, especially if you are staying in the Marais district on the Right Bank. For a similar treat on the Left Bank, we like Bertrand’s at 10 Rue Lagrange, 75005. They have a fantastic selection and make one of the best cappuccinos we’ve had in Paris. Both of these patisseries are too busy to bother with having a website and both are closed on Sundays.
Taxi Clues for Paris – March 2020
- There are fixed taxi rates between Paris and its airports… to and from the Right Bank is €53; to and from the Left Bank is €58. An extra cost for luggage handling is normal.
- Official taxis come in many colors but all of them will have a sign on top of the vehicle displaying “Taxi Parisien” that can light up, and a working meter inside showing the cost as you go. If the vehicle’s sign is lit up then it is available for hire. For your own safety DO NOT take unlicensed taxis. Pretending to be an official driver of some type is the easiest way for criminals to prey on unsuspecting tourists.
- If you call a taxi (or if your hotel or restaurant calls one for you) its meter will have started running from the moment the car started to come get you. Don’t be alarmed if you get in and already see a cost on the meter! Because it will already have the initial hire fee totaled in there, it might seem like a large sum. This is normal so don’t panic.
- Be sure to have cash on you as not all Paris taxis accept credit cards. Even when they do, the fare must be €15 or more to be allowed on a credit card.
- The general fee is €7.10 and the cost increments that follow will vary depending if it’s after 5pm or on a Sunday. They are between €1.07 per km. and €1,58 per km. In addition, there will be extra fees for groups larger than three people, and large items at the rate of €1 per piece.
- No tip is expected.
- Paris taxis will stop if you hail them, providing they are available of course. If no taxis seem to want to stop for you, it might be because you’re hailing them within a close distance of an official taxi queue. If you believe you might be near one of these then you had best go and look for it. Here is a list to help you find one:
Locations – Paris Taxi Queues: