My husband & I have a stopover in Paris at CDG airport while on our way to begin a 14 day river cruise in Budapest on 5/30/09 ending in Amsterdam on 6/14/09. We have never been to Paris and would love to do some quick sightseeing - take a city tour or whatever. I would love to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night and eat in a French cafe.
My question is would it be better for us to stay at an airport hotel and some how get ourselves back & forth from Paris city center or stay in Paris and travel back to the airport? There are lots of Marriott/Renaissance brand hotels in the city & a couple near the airport; has anyone stayed at any of these? My husband is a little concerned about the language issue also. So far we are arriving at CDG on 5/29 at 845am and departing for Budapest on 5/30 at 650pm, giving us 1 1/2 days in Paris. Any thoughts about staying an additional day? Also has anyone stayed at either of the Marriotts in Budapest? We are arriving a day before our river cruise begins. In the end I guess it all boils down to location & price. We prefer to use our points for travel packages & hopefully will find some sort of Marriott discount. Thanks for any and all input.
Definitely add a day if you can.
The commuter train into and out of Paris is faster than a taxi and takes you right to a point just across the Seine from the eiffel tower (Tour Eiffel). We stayed out at the airport and used it to get back and forth...it gets busy in rush hour but even then is ok since you are leaving your bags at the hotel...one reason to stay by the airport of course!! The staff at the hotel can show you all the details of the train (and maybe even sell you your tickets) and there is a station IN the airport.
Language is not a big deal. As long as you know to be very polite by greeting everyone you talk to with "Bonjour Monsieur' or 'Bonjour Madame' and saying Merci Madame/Monsieur all the time you will do great. Your terrible accent with the above is to your benefit as the Parisians will quickly switch to English when they hear you!! Still say thanks at the end in French so they are nice to the next traveler...it might be me!
Have fun, the trip sounds great!
KevinS - Thanks so much for your input. I have been reading both Frommers and Rick Steves' Paris books from the library and they each mention the RER, which I'm assuming is the commuter train you speak of. Rick even mentions cruising the Seine River or taking the illuminated Paris by Night bus tour (which would get me the Eiffel Tower at night!) I think staying near the airport will be much more convenient.
All of the posts here are correct. I've been around the world and Paris still tops my list of favorite cities. It's one of the few places that truly lives up to its expectations.
You will be disappointed if you don't stay inside the city itself. Just like NancyJ said, you will be out and about all day and will need some downtime in the late afternoon. You can't do that if you stay out by the airport.
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