Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sorta Food Related...It's Paris After All!

So, I'm off to Paris again!

Effiel Tower

I found out yesterday that a project I'm working on is going to "require" (he-he) me to be in Paris from June 9 - 12; meaning I'll be spending my 41st birthday in Paris this year. To celebrate, I've decided I'm flying over on Friday June 7th and spending the weekend on my own. You ask, what could be wrong with any of this? Well, I started booking my travel this morning and found that my hotel where I always stay when I'm in Paris has no rooms.

Here is my dilemma: Do I book another hotel in the area like my second choice, where I've had pleasant stays before or do I explore a new neighborhood? (An apartment is out of the question as part of my stay will be a business expense picked up by my client.)

The cons to exploring a new neighborhood are:

  • The 15th is "my" neighbourhood when I am in Paris. It is where I know the green grocers, the bakeries, where to buy my cheese and wine and where to go get a late night bowl of onion soup. I love this part of Paris and the thought of being in Paris and not staying in the area pains me.

  • Hotels in Paris can be a nightmare. Luckily, I have only had one or two bad experiences in Paris before I found my little gem of a hotel on the border of the 15th and 6th arrondisments. But, I really don't want to spend my special birthday weekend hassling with an awful hotel.

  • See #1

The pros to exploring a new neighbourhood are

  • Paris is a city of hidden gems. I am always afraid that because I am so comfortable on the Left Bank (I'm a Rive Gauche Girl) that I am missing all the special places the Right has to offer. Yes, I've explored the neighborhoods of the other side but you really don't get to know a neighborhood in Paris until you spend your nights and early mornings there. Once the sun goes down and the shops close or before the shops open, a neighborhood has such a different feel. I love walking down to a small store at 8pm to pick up one last bottle of wine to go with the half a baguette and hunk of cheese I bought earlier in the evening. I like to explore local shops and sit in the local bistro for a late supper. Perhaps I'd find that I like the 4th just as well as I like the 6th if I booked a hotel there. Maybe the 16th is every bit as friendly as the 15th. I don't know because I've never been in either of those neighborhoods except to sight see and maybe have dinner with friends.

  • A few people in my life know I am working to retire to Paris for at least part of the year. Not that I'm retiring any time soon but if it all goes according to plan, I will be retiring in about ten years. Everything I've read about retiring to Paris says to try a long term stay in as many of the neighborhoods as possible to find the one that fits you best. I could consider the week I'm going to be there trying on a new neighborhood to see if I like it any better than the 15th (which is where I was planning on living).

So, what do you think: book a hotel in my usual neighborhood or strike out and test the waters in a different part of Paris?

Where do you stay when you are in Paris? Tell me why I should try your neighborhood!