February 28, 2012 | By Donna Evans
A long weekend trip to Paris seemed like a great way to see the highlights of a city I had seemed to miss all these years. Winter is usually a good time to get a great price on air and hotels in Europe, since the weather is less than desirable and the crowds are at a minimum. All of these facts seemed to be true in my case.
The flights were not full, allowing for extra space to stretch out and arrive more relaxed. Departing on a Thursday means a better price on the ticket, too.
Finding the perfect hotel turned out to be a bit of luck. We stayed at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand, just opposite the Opera Garnier. The beauty of this choice was the fact that there is a bus that operates for 10 Euros from Charles de Gaulle airport to the Opera, nonstop. So convenient!The location near the Opera meant several things: easy to walk to just about any tourist site; easy to find your way home when asking directions (“I need to go to the Opera.”); and loads of great little cafes and restaurants that are not quite as expensive as those that are located near the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower.
With just three full days, we set out on our own self-guided (with a map) walking tour and visited the Petit Palace Museum, among other spots.
The remaining two days, we had pre-booked tours to save us time and decisions since our visit was so limited. We managed a walking tour of the Louvre, a gastronomy tour in Montmartre (home of the Moulin Rouge and the artist area), a city sights tour, an Eiffel tower visit with lunch, and a cruise on the Seine. All of these, plus our own visit to Notre Dame and other landmarks made this trip special and enjoyable, as well as the amazing French food and wine you would expect in Paris.
Drizzle? Yes. Chilly? Yes. Crowds? No. Enjoyment? At least a 10!