I am planning on traveling to France in February. I have never been, but I did study French in college for a bit. I'm flexible on dates a little bit, and I'd like to spend about two weeks. I'd like to stay in Paris for at least a week, staying in a Marriott on points to help keep the trip in the budget-friendly range. I am a platinum member, too, so it's always nice to take advantage of the perks.
I'm looking to see historic sites and art but also experience more of the local life. I'd also like to take it easy on the itinerary, so I'm not necessarily rushing from one museum to the next but spreading them out over a couple of days.
Here are my questions:
1) Which hotel should I stay at in Paris? I have plenty of points, so that won't matter, but I would like to be away from the touristy areas while still within walking/public transportation distance of the major sites and hotels.
2) Any recommendations on other cities/towns to see in France in February? I'm pretty open. I was thinking the south of France, maybe Marseille, but obviously wouldn't be at a Marriott for that one.
3) What are the must sees/eats/dos in Paris and any other parts of France that you would recommend?
Thank you in advance for any help!
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First of all, congratulations on your upcoming trip. You will have a wonderful time! I know lots of people will weigh in here and give you all kinds of great recommendations (so stay tuned), but I'll go ahead and start by answering your questions regarding the hotels. Others can weigh in on dining and other places in France to visit.
If you are wanting to stay away from the touristy areas, and points will not be a problem, I can personally recommend the Renaissance La Defense as well as the Rive Gauche Conference Center.
The Ren. La Def was a wonderful hotel property in almost every way. It's located in the high rise business district of Paris, about 3 miles from the l'Arc de Triomphe. It's an interesting area and the hotel is really nice. Good CL and helpful concierge. Even though it's 3 miles out, you can catch the RER A line to Charles de Gaulle Etoile in lightning fast time, as there are no stops on the RER A (not the yellow metro line 1) between La Def. and CdG Etoile.
The Rive Gauche has had some mixed reviews here on Insiders, but for me personally, other than having an issue with the a/c not working in my room - and that shouldn't be a problem for you in February anyway, I enjoyed the hotel and the surrounding area (left bank) just fine. Metro is about a 1/4 mile walk and then probably 10-20 minutes on the metro to anywhere in central Paris with possibly one metro line change.
Two other hotels that you may really like, but I have not personally stayed at either one, are the Renaissance l'Arc de Triomphe and the Courtyard Boulogne. Even though the Ren. AdT is just down the street from the AdT itself, I don't think it's a touristy street. jerrycoin can give you all of the G2 on that property. mikiegfla if I remember correctly, is the one who can speak to the CY Boulogne.
Anyway, these are the properties I would consider if I wanted to be "out of the fray." Whichever you decide, don't linger too long, as rooms on points can fill up fairly fast (though I would think that you'd be okay with a February stay).
Most Parisiens speak English, but your high school French will come in handy. Do try to use it, and though they will probably answer in English, your efforts will earn you points with them. I've found Parisiens to be quite nice.
Welcome to the forum.