Easy navigation tip to know Right Bank from Left Bank in Paris

RIght-and-Left-Bank-of-Paris

You have probably heard people reference the Right Bank and Left Bank sides of Paris when talking about locations of certain arrondissements (districts), areas like the Marais or St. Germain des Pres, shops and cafes but how can you tell which side is the Right Bank and which side is the Left Bank?

Paris is divided by the Seine River with the Right Bank, also known as Rive Droite, being the north side and the Left Bank, Rive Gauche, being the south side.

But no worries if directions aren’t your thing or you get turned around while touring the city, a major tourist site can help you navigate. Continue reading

Finding FREE (and mostly clean) restrooms in Paris

Finding-a-restroom-in-Paris

Finding a restroom in Paris when you need to go can be tricky. Unlike in the United States, you can’t just walk into any place in Paris and use the restrooms. Restrooms are reserved for patrons and are sometimes hidden in the back of the establishment or down in a basement.

Luckily, there are a few places where you can use the restrooms for free.
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Where to eat in Paris when sightseeing

Paris-restaurants-near-tourist-sites

Paris is known for being a culinary mecca but finding a place to eat lunch at a budget price can be tricky and frustrating. Below are some suggestions of Paris restaurants near major tourist sites.

Near Notre Dame: About a 7-10 minute walk away, Café Med is located on the Ile Saint Louis behind Notre Dame. Food is good and very affordable and the atmosphere is comfortable. Traditional bistro type food like savory crepes and soups. They also offer a “formule” which are preset courses to choose from usually ranging from a entrée (appetizer) and main course, main course and dessert or all three for a set price.  Staff is friendly and for the most part understood my broken French. The place is very small and being popular, may mean you have to wait to get in. If you don’t have time to wait, across the street is a second good option of Lys D’argent. Same type of food and pricing. At Lys D’argent, they may try to up-sell you on ordering wine, dessert, coffee, etc but a polite (and sometimes persistent) “non” seems to take care of the issue.

Café Med: 77 Rue Ile de St. Louis | Ile de St Louis
Lys D’argent: 90 Rue St Louis en l’ile | 75004

Near the Eiffel Tower: About a 15-18 minute walk, Ducale Café is definitely worth the effort. Delicious food at a good price also offering formule options. I would describe this place as slightly more elevated both in terms of food and price but still a comfortable atmosphere. The formule options were more than crepes and soups.  The staff is cordial and also managed to understand my limited French.

Ducale Café : 110 rue Lauriston | 75116

Near the Louvre: About a 7-10 minute walk (if that), Café Blanc is a fun place to eat. By French standards, the service is quick but you don’t feel rushed. Food is simple but very good and reasonably priced. Many around us were ordering hamburger and fries so this might be a good option if traveling with kids. Surprisingly noisy compared to most restaurants. The staff was very friendly and spoke English. Despite using French when we entered, they still handed us an English menu. Ha!

Café Blanc: 10, rue Croix des Petits Champs | 75001

Marais: Located minutes from Hotel de Ville and about 12 minutes from Notre Dame, this Italian restaurant is fabulous food at a fairly decent price. I have eaten here for dinner and it is so good! Staff was very friendly. I’m sure lunch here would be great too.

Don Giovanni: 19 rue Francois Miron | 75004

If you are looking for more options, one of the best resources is TripAdvisor. Another great resource is Paris By Mouth.

If you don’t have time to research before you leave, take advantage of wi-fi in your hotel or apartment and search a bit the night before – will save you time, money and frustration later.

 

Bon appetite and bises (kisses),

Kimberly

 

This post is part of the weekly #MondayEscapes hosted by My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase.

Packing my Suitcase

This post is also part of the monthly #AllAboutFrance hosted by Phoebe of Lou Messugo.

Lou Messugo

Exploring Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame may not be one of the wonders of the world but it should be! Every inch is covered with something amazing to see. Like most of Paris, it is dripping with history and the cathedral is a great example of Gothic architecture.

The-Paris-Itinerary-Notre-Dame-from-the-side

Side view of Notre Dame

Here are some highlights to check out on your visit: Continue reading

Notre Dame Cathedral as seen from a Seine River cruise

A great way to really appreciate Notre Dame’s Gothic glory is from below.

This video shows the beautiful, brooding architecture of the cathedral from a night cruise on the Seine River.

 

Bises (kisses),

Kimberly