I’ve just returned from a one-week vacation in Paris. I stayed outside of central Paris, on the Right Bank, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, which is a beautiful residential area just north of Porte Maillot and south of La Defense. To get there from Charles de Gaulle airport, I caught the Air France bus to Porte Maillot, which runs every 15 minutes and takes about 30 to 35 minutes to get to town. It was a 10 minute walk from Porte Maillot to my hotel. Getting to the sights in Paris from Neuilly-sur-Seine is very easy. For reference, I could walk from my hotel to l’Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysées, and the Eiffel Tower in about 30 minutes.
Just east of Neuilly-sur-Seine is Levallois-Perret. Levallois has a more urban feel and is packed with restaurants. I went to a casual Italian restaurant one night for dinner and took an espresso one morning at a crêperie in Levallois. I liked Levallois because it “felt” more authentically French than other parts of Paris I’ve been in. No one at the two restaurants I went to spoke English, which was great because it forced me to understand menus and to attempt to use French. Also, since Levallois is off the tourist path, eating there was less expensive.
Speaking of cost, Americans will feel the impact of a weakened dollar. The buying power of the dollar is puny compared to other times I’ve been to Europe. Honestly, this is the first time that I’ve felt that Europe was exceptionally expensive.
That being said, Paris is a wonderful place for holiday, and staying outside of central Paris is convenient because of the Metro which connects everything. The Paris Metro is easy to use and takes only minutes to figure out. However, it’s important to keep alert for pickpockets.
Even though it rained in Paris every day on this trip, I didn’t feel inconvenienced or bothered by the weather. I had thought to bring an umbrella with me and I kept it with me everywhere I went. I think that part of the satisfaction I felt is that Paris is Paris.
Take this as a hearty recommendation to visit Paris and to discover neighborhoods outside of the city center.