Maison Zen

If you are looking for a reasonable, clean and unique place to stay in Paris this is it.  It is a Zen center that also rents out small apartments to tourists.  English is the language spoken there.  The folks who live there are friendly and do their best to make your stay enjoyable.  It is three blocks from the Bastille metro stop and is in a cool neighborhood.

Montmartre Hostels and a warning

NOTE: This article was submitted by an unidentified reader. The opinions and viewpoint in this story are not necessarily those of the publisher’s.

Le Village Hostel, Heroin, and Street Crime
March 2002

We booked a room in a hostel at 20 rue d’Orsel, near rue d’Abbesses, with a view of the Sacre Coeur from the window. It was cheap, with peeling wallpaper and mixed-sex rooms, which I find annoying but well it was 17 euros a night, so we dealt with the minor stuff without complaint.

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Walk to Montmartre

Walk up the hill to Montmartre for a journey back in time.

One of the nicest little walks I took recently in Paris began on the tacky Rue de Clichy. If you want to ignore that scene, go up Rue Lepic towards Montmartre and you’ll find yourself in Parisian paradise just a block away from the madness of Pigalle and the Moulin Rouge.

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The Louvre

No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to one of the most magnificent museums in the world. It’s timeless elegance encases some real jewels, including the Mona Lisa, several Michaelangelos, the Venus di Milo, and so many more.

Once the palace to kings and emperors, the Louvre shelters some of the great art works of the world. The collections focus on sculptures and paintings from the European masters, as well as ancient Egyptian, Greek and Islamic art. They’ve also restored some of Napoleon III’s apartments complete with original furnishings which convey what it was like to live in the Louvre when it was a royal palace.

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Thalys/TGV Rail Service

The sleek, high speed Thalys trains offer a quick way to reach other European cities from Paris. It’s only 1½ hours to Brussels and 4 hours to Amsterdam, which make it competitive with a plane trip, since you must also spend more time going through airport security and travel from the outlying airports to the city center.

A round trip to/from Amsterdam is about €107 in second class. Other cities served include Rotterdam, Antwerp, Köln, Aachen and Geneva. The service is so fast and reliable that you’ll get a partial to full refund if your train arrives at least 31 minutes late.

There’s no meal service with Comfort 2 (second class), but there is a bar car with overpriced and barely edible food. Comfort 1, (first class) offers snacks and a light meal on longer journeys depending upon the time of day. First class is more comfortable, and probably worth the extra money on a long haul.

For more info check out the Thalys website.

For rail journeys to other parts of France like Lyon and Marseille check out the TGV network. You can travel from Paris to Marseille in just 3 hours!