Last month, I wrote about Planning to go to Paris again. I looked at my calendar and considered the weather. It was just a start to the whole exciting process and anticipation of Paris.
Now that the month is decided and any weekend looks good, I start trying to pin down the exact dates. Five nights and over a weekend provides a good reference to plug in dates to search for a Paris hotel and Paris flights. On websites, I check for special offers at hotels and then search a variety of dates for the Paris flights. Also, I begin looking at what will be happening in Paris to see if something is a must see or must do.
None of this is scientific. And, I do not know whether it is the best way to secure the least expensive or best deal on flights and hotels. This is just the way I start looking. No matter what time of year, Paris is a popular destination. Once when I was trying to use miles for a ticket, an airline representative told me that when Paris flights open for booking, mileage reward flights are exhausted on the first day. Insane!
This part is a lot of work. However, these will be the two major expenses and major decisions for the trip, so take a few days to figure it out. My eyes go blurry after a while looking at airline schedules and checking back and forth between websites. And, I want to telephone a travel agent and see what kind of price she or he can get for me.
Looking for A Paris Hotel for January
I am stuck in a rut when choosing a Paris hotel. I like being in the middle of the 6th Arrondissement. It is lively, easy to walk to boulangeries, wine stores, restaurants, the Seine. But, the Ile St. Louis is also fun and easy. Not as close to a Metro, but at night the tourists are gone and it is a little neighborhood. Both have narrow streets and, although a lot of tourists, they each still feel like a neighborhood.
So I check the Paris hotels I know first. It doesn’t look like any of the dates in January are better than others. And, the prices seem kind of high for January. I don’t know what is up with that. January is definitely off-season! Maybe I am too early? Doubt that. Then, I telephoned a few traveling friends and they all said January was one of their favorite times in Paris, too! Crazy. But, few tourists, romantic weather…..
Have never stayed at Hotel Brighton, but the views look terrific. It is close to a Metro stop and would have easy access to taxis or ride hailing services. Not very neighborhoody in the sense of small streets… But, the rooms on the rue de Rivoli side would have a lot of light at that time of year and could have amazing views over the Tuileries and off to the Eiffel Tower. The view, the price and maybe breakfast thrown in would be the biggest draw for this hotel. Plus, Place Vendôme is around the corner – window shopping. Hmmm?
Looking for Paris Flights
For the airlines, I take into consideration the weather – here in the United States. Departing for Europe from cities in the north in January can be a disaster. I do not want to be one of those poor souls stuck in an airport during a blizzard. Meanwhile, the south doesn’t necessarily escape winter weather either. Ice storms and a dusting of snow can shut down Atlanta or Dallas/Ft. Worth. I have had good luck taking my chances with Atlanta, because AirFrance leaves out of there with direct Paris flights.
Airfares for Paris flights through Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Atlanta seem okay. No discounted fares are popping up.
And, right now, one U.S. Dollar is equal to 1.14 Euros. So, that part is not bad. Of course, parity would be better!
AirFrance planes immediately put you in the French spirit. The flight attendants are French, the first language on the signs and in the videos is French, and the food is French! Bonjour! And, Monsieur, let me help you to your seat!
One app that could be helpful if you are checking out prices is Hopper. It predicts demand and rates.
Looking for Paris Events
When looking for events and exhibitions, I kind of run through a list of places in my head and search their internet sites for what will be happening. Most of the time, it is pretty easy to tell whether or not something really catches my eye and is a definite must see event.
The Louvre is presenting a Hittite exhibit – that could be really interesting. But the exhibit doesn’t start until April of 2019, so will miss that. Nothing really grabbing my attention at Musee d’Orsay, Grand Palais doesn’t have a calendar up that far in advance. Petit Palais, no. Pompidou, no.
Hey, that is all OKAY! Nothing that is pulling me, so I can go back to some favorites, or take a look at something I have never seen!
Opéra Bastille is presenting Les Troyens toward the end of the month. That was the first opera I saw in Paris back in 1990! And, that is when the lead tenor was booed off the stage! I had no idea what was happening. French audiences do not say “boo,” they say, “huée” (kind of like, “who-ay” or something close to that). Supposedly, many performers refuse to take a gig in Paris because the audiences are so discerning! But, if the performer is great, the claps and love will go on and on. Shirley Verrett experienced that love on that same night as the tenor was sent packing.
Each time the ticket is booked, I pull out a French textbook and go through the same basics that I go through each time. Can’t these lessons stick in my head? Maybe I will try sleeping with it under my pillow – won’t that work?
Okay, haven’t pulled the trigger on any Paris hotel or Paris flights – yet. Still mulling over everything.
UPDATE: Here are my observations from the January trip to Paris.