How to Get from Newark Airport to Manhattan

How to Avoid Jet Lag

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, London, Miami, New Orleans, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC.

Many of our tour guests who travel from afar or from overseas have trouble to adjust to the new time difference in their destination city. Here are some tips on how to avoid jet lag.

When you travel to another time zone, your internal clock is off – that’s what you call jet lag. Usually getting over jet lag should take 3-4 days depending on how far you have traveled from. Flying eastwards will make it a bit harder to adjust to the new time zone, then when you are flying westwards. That is because our body accepts it better if you are staying up a little later, then having to go to bed much earlier than usual. In addition, if you are used to getting up rather early, flying eastwards is a little bit easier than for people who generally stay up late. And vice versa, if you are a night owl, you will have less trouble adjusting, if you were traveling westwards.

How can I avoid  jet lag or at least minimize it?

  • Start to adjust your internal clock several days before you fly, by staying up later (if traveling westwards) or getting to bed earlier (if travelling eastwards).
  • Once you are in the plane, act like you are in your destination time zone already e.g. change your clock, take a nap, eat moderately or skip a meal and avoid alcohol.
  • Be healthy and well rested. The more you rest before your big travel, the easier it will be to adjust to your new time zone.
  • If you are travelling overseas, on the day of your flight, try to sleep in or sleep as long as you can. This goes for either direction, as you will likely skip a night travelling eastwards, or you will have to stay up much longer when you arrive travelling westwards.
  • Bring a neck pillow and nap on the plane. Even if you don’t fall asleep into a deep slumber, your body will thank you later for each little 20 minute nap you do on the plane.
  • Stay hydrated. It’s best to purchase a bottle of water at the airport (after you are through security), so you don’t have to get the stewardess attention every time.
  • Once you arrive, don’t nap more than 30 minutes or go to bed immediately if it’s not bedtime yet. Stay up till at least 9 pm. This discipline on your first day of arrival, will get you over jetlag much faster.

Other things to consider when travelling to different time zones and jet lag:

When flying westwards, e.g. from Europe to New York, or from Washington DC to San Francisco: Don’t make any late evening plans the first couple of nights.  You might think you are up to it, but your body will tell you otherwise. If you are booking our walking tours, stick to the morning and daytime tours, and avoid the evening tours.

When flying eastwards, e.g. from California to New York, or from Boston to London: Don’t make any morning plans the first couple of days.  Instead plan more things to do in the afternoon and evenings. If you are booking our walking tours, avoid the early 10 am tours, and go for the afternoon or evening tours.

+++We hope you have safe and enjoyable travels without much jet lag and we look forward to having you on our famous pay-what-you-like walking tours soon.+++

Paris On A Budget: Place Des Vosges/ Victor Hugo Museum

Posted by & filed under Paris.

Bonjour. I am Lindy I have lived in the beautiful city of Paris since 2009, and I would like to share my personal top 10 things to do if you are visiting Paris on a budget, or just if you want to get away from the madding crowd at the Eiffel tower!

PLACE DES VOSGES/VICTOR HUGO MUSEUM

Brief History

Situated at the crossroads of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements in the heart of the ancient Marais district lies the historic ‘Place des Vosges’. Often described as one of the most beautiful squares in the world, this is certainly the oldest and most distinctive in the city of Paris.

SAM_0381Formally named ’Place Royale’ (and various other less inspiring names after the revolution such as ‘Place des Federes’, ‘Place de la Fabrication-des-armes’, and ‘Place de l’invisibilite’!) It became ‘Place des Vosges’ in 1800 and was classed as an historic monument in 1954

Construction began in 1605 during the reign of Henri IV and was completed in 1612, two years after the much beloved king’s death at the hands of the Catholic fanatic Francois Ravaillac. The square was finally inaugurated in 1612 at the engagement of his son and successor, Louis XIII to Anne of Austria (parents of Louis XIIII – ‘The sun King’) and it is Louis XIII’s mounted statue that occupies the centre of the square, which is known as ‘Place Louis XIII’.

The Square

The vast garden square is flanked by distinctive, red bricked, many windowed buildings which reside beneath imposing blue slate roofs, giving an appearance of harmony, when in fact each is architecturally unique. Surrounding the statue, are grassy picnic areas, enclosed children’s playgrounds and sandpits, and elegant fountains. An abundance of duel sided benches offer shade beneath the many trees, the ideal place to relax with a book or simply sit and people watch.

Shady colonnades surround the square on all sides, dotted with private art and photographic galleries, exclusive shops and a variety of restaurants. Ranging from the ‘popular’ ‘Café Hugo’ situated on the corner of Rue du pas de la Mule, to the up market ‘La Carret’ where a cup of tea will set you back 8 euro – giving you an indication of the rest of the prices, My personal favourites are ‘La Nectarine’ salon du the, just a bit further on than Café Hugo, serving reasonably priced snacks, salads, omelettes and ‘plats’ as ‘ Coq au vin’ and ‘pave du saumon’ for around 13 euro, with a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

SAM_0377And the slightly more up-market ‘La Place Royal’ for a ‘tete-a-tete’ in a more romantic ambiance.

Shops worth visiting are ‘Parfums et Senteurs de la pays Basque‘ a gorgeous little boutique selling a collection of candles and perfumes for the home situated in between ‘Café Hugo; and ‘La Nectarine’ – you will be drawn in by the aromas alone. Another wonderful aroma exudes from Dammann Freres’ tea merchants since 1692, situated directly opposite. And I can never resist a visit to the quirky little hat stall on the corner closest to the ‘Marais’ entrance to the square, with an wide array of hats ranging from around 5 to around 25 euro – try some on for fun!

Victor Hugo Museum

The Victor Hugo Museum is on an internal corner of the square at ‘6 Place des Vosges’ and was where the writer, Paris conservationist and welfare rights publicist lived from 1832 – 1845. The museum exhibits memorabilia from his life from the periods pre, post and during his exile to Belgium and finally Guernsey due to his opposition to Napoleon.

Here wandering around what were his private apartments, one can see a collection of family paintings, personal letters and original manuscripts, elaborate room reconstructions and a poignant selection of furniture made by Hugo himself and carved with the initials ‘V.H. and J.D.’ his own and those of ‘Juliette Drouet’ the actress who was his lover for more than 50 years until her death in 1883, preceding him by just two years.

All permanent exhibitions are entirely free and there is a modest little gift shop at the entrance of the museum selling notably his most famous works, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, along with lesser known works and biographies. There are also toilets situated at the museum.

Practical Information

Place des Vosges is easily reached from metro station Bastille – lines 1, 5 and 8. Take exit 7on to Rue de Beaumarchais and continue along this road for about 200 meters then take a left turn onto Rue du pas de la Mule. Place des Vosges is at 100 meters on the left.Alternatively it can be reached from metro station St Paul on line 1 with a leisurely (signposted) stroll through the colourful boutiques in the winding streets of the Marais (I like to arrive via Bastille, then saunter through the Marais after visiting the square)

The museum is open every day except Mondays and all public holidays.

Opening times are (correct at time of publication)- 10am – 6pm.

 

 

 

Paris on A Budget: The Rodin Museum

Posted by & filed under Paris.

Bonjour. I am Lindy I have lived in the beautiful city of Paris since 2009, and I would like to share with you my personal top 10 things to do if you are visiting Paris on a budget, or just if you want to get away from the madding crowd at the Eiffel tower!

1 – THE RODIN MUSEUMRodin Museum

Brief History

Tucked away in the nondescript ‘Rue de Varenne’ in the shadow of the imposing ‘Hotel des Invalides’ lies my personal favourite, the ‘Hotel Biron’, (named after a former owner, The Marechal de Biron, as war hero from the battle of Fontenoy) a veritable little gem of an 18th chateau standing in its own grounds and home since 1919 to ‘The Rodin museum’.

Constructed in the Rococo style between 1729-1730 by ‘Jean Aubert’, the architect who went on to build the magnificent chateau of ‘Chantilly’ to the north west of Paris, the chateau is worth a visit in its own right. It is elegant and understated, the south facing ‘salons’ being luminous and airy, with large French windows that overlook the lovely gardens.

The Hotel Biron has played host to a number of famous residents – notably the writer, cartoonist and film maker Jean Cocteau, the painter Matisse, and of course Rodin himself, who occupied the exquisite south facing rooms on the ground floor and with the light streaming in through the large French windows it is easy to imagine the artist himself at work on a new masterpiece, but in fact he continued to live and work at ‘Meudon’ and used this Paris apartment for soirees with his many friends from the world of art and literature.

In 1911 the state took possession of the property and the idea of transforming it into ‘The Rodin museum’ arose. Rodin donated all of his sculptures and drawings, along with their rights, to the state in 1916, but he sadly died in 1917, before seeing the realisation of his wonderful and generous gift to the nation.

The Collection

The museum now houses not only a large collection of sculptures and sketches by Francois-Auguste Rodin himself, ranging from the sheer simplistic beauty of ‘The Danaide’, ‘The Cathedral’, ‘The Secret’ and the famous ‘Kiss’ to the eroticism of ‘The messenger of the Gods’, and the tortured suffering and despondence of ‘The gates of Hell’ But is also home to works by Camille Claudel, his former student, muse and lover, who tragically spent the last 30 years of her life in an asylum and produced my personal favourite sculpture above even those of Rodin – ‘The Waltz’, a tiny masterpiece in bronze, standing less than a meter high, portraying the power, tenderness and beauty of the human form, and is a marvel to view from each and every 360 degree angle.

TheThinkerThe Gardens
The best news for those travelling on a budget, is that entrance fee just for the gardens is only 2 euro during high season, and 1 euro during low season, and it is here that the major grand works, such as the famous ‘Thinker’ and ‘The Gates of Hell’ are found.

The gardens are a delight in themselves and a wonderful place to find sanctuary away from the hot sun and crowds during the high season in July and August. There are shaded copses furnished with wooden loungers on which to relax with a book or enjoy a picnic. There is a wooded area eerily populated by a variety of grim Biblical figures, a lovely fountain, and a great photo opportunity of the golden dome of ‘Les Invalides’ and the Eiffel Tower, both seen from the courtyard at the front of the chateau. And, of course, ‘The Thinker’ tantalisingly peeking from a behind a maze of giant topiary bushes.

Services

All this and a nice little cafeteria with both indoor and outdoor seating, serving reasonably priced sandwiches, pasta salads, quiches and a very tempting selection of patisseries. Teas coffee and you can even enjoy a chilled glass of wine! There is also ice cream and soft drinks on sale from a kiosk.

The museum has ample well maintained toilet facilities both in the garden and near to the main entrance, plus an interesting gift shop where you can buy books, post cards etc, and replicas of some of the sculptures.

Practical Information

The museum is a few of 100 meters metro station ‘Varenne’ on line 13. (on leaving the metro turn in direction of the dome of Les Invalides keeping on the opposite side of the road, cross at the pedestrian crossing near the cafe, and the museum entrance is almost opposite at 79 Rue Varenne)

The museum is open every day except Mondays*.

Opening times are (correct at time of publication):-

10am – 5.45pm (last ticket sold at 5.15pm)

Late night opening Wednesday until 8.45pm

Early closing 17-24 December at 5pm. (last tickets sold at 4.15pm)

The museum is closed 25 December, 1st January and 1st May.

Prices (correct at time of publication):-

9 euro – House and gardens

1 euro October- 11 March, 2 euro 12 March-September – Gardens only

7 euro – reduced rate for visitors from non EU countries aged 18-25

4.50 – Persons accompanying a disabled visitor

Disabled visitors, young people under 18 from non EU countries and young people under 25 from EU countries are admitted free.

Audio guides in English are available for 6 euro with various concessions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris Tours

What is the weather like in Paris in October?

Posted by & filed under Paris.

The weather in Paris in October starts out partly sunny and mild but temperatures fall steadily during this month and will tend to be a bit chilly with mostly cloudy conditions by the month’s end.

Afternoon temperatures early in October tend to be around 18-19C (in the mid-60s F) falling to around 12-13C (into the mid-50s) by month’s end.  Some days, early in the month, can see afternoon high temperatures reaching 23-24C (into the mid-70s F).   Early morning low temperatures, on the other hand, tend to be near about 10C (50 F) early in the month falling to 6-7C (into the low to mid 40s F) near the end of this month.  On one or two of the colder mornings you could see temperatures down at 1-2C (into the mid-30s F).

On average, about half the days this month will be either clear or partly sunny while the other half tend to be mostly cloudy.  More often than not, the sunniest days occur early in the month and the cloudier days occur during the latter half.  Rain falls on about 16-17 days this month, however, snow is rare but has been reported in the past once every few years.

What to wear in Paris during October

It is always a good idea to pack at least 2 pairs of comfortable walking shoes and given the tendency for wet weather, an umbrella and/or raincoat are a must. In addition, a light sweater and a light to medium weight coast will be a welcomed addition for those chiller days and colder nights.

While in Paris, please join us for the Île de la Cité and Latin Quarter Tour or our Banks of the Seine Tour (The Last Rulers of France Tour).

Airport departures arrivals

How to avoid Jet Lag

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, London, Miami, New Orleans, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC.

What is jet lag? Many of our tour guests who travel from afar or from overseas have trouble to adjust to the new time difference in their destination city. Here are some tips on how to avoid jet lag. When you travel to another time zone, your internal clock is off – that’s what you call jet lag. Usually getting over jet lag should take 3-4 days depending on how far you have traveled from. Flying eastwards will make it a bit harder to adjust to the new time zone, then when you are flying westwards. That is because our body accepts it better if you are staying up a little later, then having to go to bed much earlier than usual. In addition, if you are used to getting up rather early, flying eastwards is a little bit easier than for people who generally stay up late. And vice versa, if you are a night owl, you will have less trouble adjusting, if you were traveling westwards. How can I avoid or minimize the jet lag?

  • Start to adjust your internal clock several days before you fly, by staying up later (if traveling westwards) or getting to bed earlier (if travelling eastwards).
  • Once you are in the plane, act like you are in your destination time zone already e.g. change your clock, take a nap, eat moderately or skip a meal and avoid alcohol.
  • Be healthy and well rested. The more you rest before your big travel, the easier it will be to adjust to your new time zone.
  • If you are travelling overseas, on the day of your flight, try to sleep in or sleep as long as you can. This goes for either direction, as you will likely skip a night travelling eastwards, or you will have to stay up much longer when you arrive travelling westwards.
  • Bring a neck pillow and nap on the plane. Even if you don’t fall asleep into a deep slumber, your body will thank you later for each little 20 minute nap you do on the plane.
  • Stay hydrated. It’s best to purchase a bottle of water at the airport (after you are through security), so you don’t have to get the stewardess attention every time.
  • Once you arrive, don’t nap more than 30 minutes or go to bed immediately if it’s not bedtime yet. Stay up till at least 9 pm. This discipline on your first day of arrival, will get you over jetlag much faster.

Other things to consider when travelling to different time zones and jet lag: When flying westwards, e.g. from Europe to New York, or from Washington DC to San Francisco: Don’t make any late evening plans the first couple of nights.  You might think you are up to it, but your body will tell you otherwise. If you are booking our walking tours, stick to the morning and daytime tours, and avoid the evening tours. When flying eastwards, e.g. from California to New York, or from Boston to London: Don’t make any morning plans the first couple of days.  Instead plan more things to do in the afternoon and evenings. If you are booking our walking tours, avoid the early 10 am tours, and go for the afternoon or evening tours. +++We hope you have safe and enjoyable travels without much jet lag and we look forward to having you on our famous pay-what-you-like walking tours soon.+++

Paris Tours

How to tip like a local in Paris

Posted by & filed under Paris.

Figuring out how to tip in a foreign country can easily be the most stressful part of your vacation.
Of course everyone wants to tip fairly or even generously, but over-tipping looks flashy and
sometimes culturally insensitive. Luckily, in Paris the tipping etiquette is pretty straightforward.

Unlike in other countries, e.g. U.S., service workers in France are paid a living wage, complete with benefits and
vacation time. In addition, there is a 15% service charge attached to all food and drinks, although
this does not go straight to the worker, it generally helps fund the benefits. All of this means that
in Paris a tip is used purely as a thanks for good service.

How to Tip in a Restaurant
Tipping is not required by etiquette in restaurants, but if you enjoyed your meal, it’s a nice to
leave 5-­10%. If you really enjoyed the meal, or plan on returning to the restaurant and want the
wait staff to like you, 15% is a generous tip. Also keep in mind that if you put the tip on your card,
the server will probably never see it. It’s always best to tip in cash.

How to Tip in a Café/Bar
For coffee or drinks, it’s usual to just round up the price, somewhere between 20 centimes and
€1 per drink. If the place is particularly busy, or you want the bartender to remember you, bump it
up to a few euros. And bartenders really do remember good tippers!

How to Tip in a Taxi 
For normal rides in Paris, a €1­-2 tip is appropriate. If it was a long ride (like from the airport), or
you had heavy bags. If you weren’t satisfied with the trip, or had your suspicions that you were
taken the long way round, feel free not to tip at all.

How to Tip in a Hotel
For a bellhop who brought up luggage, €1 per bag is the right amount to tip. It’s also polite to
leave €1­-2 per person, per day for the housekeeping at the end of your stay.

How to Tip a Tour Guide
All of the Paris by Foot tours are pay­-what-­you­-want tours, but most other tour guides earn a fee
for their tour. If you enjoyed the tour, it’s appropriate to leave about €5 per person.

Where to Stay: Best Budget Hotels in Paris

Posted by & filed under Paris.

If you’re planning a trip to Paris, you’ve probably already figured this out, but the city can get expensive. Really expensive. You’re just not going to get the same value for money as you will in other European cities. Luckily, Paris is worth the extra cost. If you adjust your expectations, there are some good deals to be found. Here are some of the best hotels around the city for under €100 euros a night.

Hotel Henri IV

This hotel has a dream location for a price that can’t be beat. Located on the historic Île de la Cité, facing the beautiful Place Dauphine, it’s about as central as you can get providing a true Paris experience. Keep in mind that the rooms will be very small and basic, with no television or wifi. As long as you plan to spend your days exploring Paris, it won’t be a problem. Unfortunately, they are closing August 2014, so if you’re visiting after that, this won’t be an option.

To get to know the neighborhood better, be sure to sign up for our Île de la Cité and latin Quarter Tour!

Rates: €72-€93 a night (+€8 in high season)

Location: 25 Place Dauphine,Paris 75001. Metro: Pont Neuf (line 7) or Cité (line 4)

Contact: +33 (0)1 43 54 44 53, website (http://henri4hotel.fr/) Note: you must book over the phone.

 

Hotel Jeanne d’Arc

The Hotel Jeanne d’Arc won’t be featured in any design magazines, but it’s location in the trendy and beautiful Marais will make you forget that. It’s just two blocks from a wonderful, free museum, a gorgeous park, and the metro. Expect the rooms to be small and clean, with a television and en suite shower and toilet. The management does frown upon eating in the rooms, which is slightly strange, but nothing that the wonderful cafes, bars, and restaurants in the area can’t solve.

Rates: €72-€98 a night

Location: 3 Rue de Jarente, Paris 75004. Metro: Saint Paul (line 1)

Contact: +33 (0)1 48 87 62 11, website (http://hoteljeannedarc.com/)

 

Hotel du Nord

In a nice combination of centrally located, but off the beaten tourist track, this hotel definitely feels like real Paris. Just a 10 minute walk away from the huge Place de la Republique, it’s also very close to the charming Canal Saint Martin, perfect for an evening stroll. The sparse but quirky decorations come mostly from antique and flea markets. The rooms are very small, and dimly lit, but comfortable and not too noisy. Best of all, the hotel offers bicycles for its guests to borrow, a fantastic way to see the city of Paris.

Rates: €73-€96 a night

Location: 47 Rue Albert Thomas, Paris 75010. Metro: Jacques Bonsergent (line 5) or Republique (lines 3, 5, 8, 9,  and 11)

Contact: +33 (0)1 42 01 66 00, contact@hoteldunord-leparivelo.com, website (http://www.hoteldunord-leparivelo.com/)

 

Eldorado Hotel

What this hotel lacks in location, it makes up in charm. Eclectically decorated, these rooms will show you the bohemian side of Paris which can be difficult to find. It also has to convenience of being attached to a charming, reasonably priced bistrot. The downside to this place is that, again, amenities will be lacking (although they do have wifi), the rooms will be small, and that it’s definitely not centrally located. There is a metro station close by, which will get you pretty much anywhere in Paris in a half hour or less, and it’s only a 15 minute walk for the charming Montmartre neighborhood, very convenient for our Montmartre and the Belle Epoque tour. Also keep in mind that the neighborhood is not the best at night if you’re travelling alone.

Rates: €43-€102 a night (cheaper rooms will have a shared toilet, be sure to ask for an en suite if that bothers you)

Location: 18 Rue des Dames, Paris 75017. Metro: Place de Clichy (line 2 and 13)

Contact: +33 (0)1 45 22 35 21, eldoradohotel@wanadoo.fr, website (http://www.eldoradohotel.fr/)

 

Hotel Chopin

For old Paris charm on a budget price, the Hotel Chopin is your best bet. The hotel was opened in 1846, it’s located at the end of the arcade of the 19th century Passage Jouffroy, near Opéra. It does have modern amenities like television (the wifi is unreliable), but keep in mind most of the decor is classical, and may be a bit old. There are lots of bars and restaurants nearby, including Le Bouillon Chartier, one of the oldest brasseries in Paris.

Rates: €83-€102 a night

Location: 10 Boulevard Montmartre (46 Passage Jouffroy), Paris 75009. Metro: Grands Boulevards (lines 8 and 9)

Contact: +33 (0)1 47 70 58 10, info@hotelchopin.fr, website (http://www.hotelchopin.fr/about.php?lang=en)

Guide to the Musee d’Orsay

Posted by & filed under Paris.

Because Paris is home to one of the most famous museums in the world, the Louvre, it’s easy to forget the other museums in the city. But it would be a big mistake to overlook the Louvre’s little sister, the Musee d’Orsay. Located just across the river from the Louvre, the Orsay houses artworks created between 1848 and 1915. That’s a relatively short amount of time, but it’s also a very special one, it includes a brilliant collective of artists: the Impressionists.

Like most of the museums in Paris, the d’Orsay was not originally built to house art. It was constructed as a train station for the 1900 World Fair. The building itself could qualify as a work of art, the classical stone exterior masking a strikingly modern interior made of metal and glass. Opened as a museum in 1986, it has been attracting millions of visitors ever since.

The main draw of the museum is its stunning collection of Impressionist paintings, probably the best in the world. It includes work from Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, and Vincent Van Gogh.

Hours and Ticket Prices

The Musee d’Orsay is open 6 days a week, from Tuesday to Sunday. Its normal hours are from 9:30am-6:00pm, except on Thursdays when it is open until 9:45pm. Full price tickets are €11, a reduced rate of €8.50 is available for 18-25 year olds, and the museum is free to anyone under the age of 18, or any EU citizen between 18-25. For a few euros more, you can buy your ticket online which allows you to enter through the reserved entrance, skipping the line. If you’re going during the summer, this can easily be worth two extra euros.

As with many museums, the Orsay can be fairly overwhelming. There are tours and audio guides offered by the museum for €6 and €5 respectively. The guided tours are for adults, and children under the age of 13 are not allowed on them. For more information on the guided tours, visit their website.

Getting to the Musee d’Orsay

The museum’s address is: 1 rue de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris 75007. The easiest way to get there is by Metro, either station Solferino on Line 12 or the station Musee d’Orsay on the RER C. It is also very central, just across from the Louvre if you would like to walk.Screenshot 2015-03-02 02.24.45

Self-Guided Tour of the Musee d’Orsay

Your visit to the museum will start on the ground floor, which displays works of art from the mid-19th century. As you go through these rooms, you’ll notice that the paintings mostly depict classical idealized scenes or landscapes. Slowly, there is a movement towards representing more everyday scenes, such as peasants working in a field, or even a high class prostitute. This is the state of affairs the Impressionists rebelled against.

Paintings not to miss on the ground level:

After covering the ground level, head straight up to the 5th floor. This is the home of the Impressionists. You’ll also notice that there are two great overlooks: one immediately to the left of the escalators, looking over the floor of the museum, and one straight on, giving an amazing view of the city of Paris towards Montmartre and the Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur.

These next few rooms display one of the best collections of art in the world. Impressionism was a reaction to the stifling state of affairs in the French art world at the time. Instead of the painstakingly perfect portraits that would take weeks to produce in a studio, the Impressionists preferred to immerse themselves in their subjects, and paint quickly, leaving just an impression rather than a complete picture.

The biggest name you’ll see here is Claude Monet, the father of impressionism. There are 86 of his paintings in the museum, including the very famous Poppies. Monet’s specialty was depicting the way light reflected off water, so be sure to stay on the look-out for those works. Another superb painting is the Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir depicting a party on the hill of Montmartre. Its incredible detail, and the beautiful sun-dappled light make it a true masterpiece.

In many ways, the Impressionists were an odd group, they were drawn together more by their distaste for the old system than a shared passion. There is a lot of variation in their paintings, but one thing you’ll notice is that they are all very intentional with their treatment of light. It has famously been said that their subjects were not the objects in the paintings, but the way the light acted around the objects.

Paintings not to miss on the 5th floor:

At the end of the impressionist gallery, take a left and take the escalators down to the second floor. This is where the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh are displayed. Van Gogh, a thoroughly troubled but brilliant painter, came after the Impressionists and did not really belong to any movement in particular. His work only became popular after his death, but today he is one of the most well-known and cherished painters of all time.

Paintings not to miss on the 2nd floor:

Although that is by no means all the Musee d’Orsay has to offer, it is a pretty good introduction to one of the world’s most extraordinary museums. For more history on the Orsay and its surrounding, take our Last Rulers of France Tour.

Directions Charles de Gaulle-Paris

Posted by & filed under Paris.

After a long day of traveling, the final trek from the airport to your hotel can seem interminable, especially when you’re expected to navigate it in a foreign language like French. Luckily, if you’re arriving in Paris’ main airport, Charles de Gaulle, you have quite a few options for getting from the airport to the city.

Taxi

This is both the easiest and the most expensive option. There are taxi stands at each terminal, and they are well marked. Another bonus is that a lot of the taxi drivers speak some English, which can take the pressure off of you. The drive should take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour and cost between €50-70, depending on where in the city you go, and the time of day. Expect to pay extra fees if you’re travelling late at night, or have big bags.

Bus

There are a few options when it comes to traveling by bus, which one you pick should depend on where in the city your are staying.

If you are staying in central Paris, the RoissyBus leaves from all terminals to Opéra, every 15-20 minutes, from 6:00am-12:30am. The trip takes around an hour, and costs €10. This handy guide (link: http://www.ratp.fr/en/upload/docs/application/pdf/2010-11/depliant_roissybus.pdf) includes a map showing where exactly the bus stops and other info.

For other locations in Paris, a company called Les Cars has several lines. Line 2 stops at Porte Maillot and Place de l’Etoile (the location of the Arc de Triomphe), both in the west of the city. It runs every 30 minutes from 5:45am-11:00pm, and costs €17 one way or €29 round trip. Line 4 services two of the major train stations of Paris, Gare Montparnasse in the south of the city, and Gare de Lyon in the east. It goes every 30 minutes from 6:00am-10:30pm, and costs €17.50 one way or €31 round trip. For both of these options, there are some discounts for people younger than 25, or traveling in groups. For a map and other information, check out this link (http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/ADP/Resources/22dbde83-96c8-4c8a-acab-c66a97436492-Take_one_janvier_2014_BD.pdf)

Train

In terms of cost, flexibility and time, taking the train into Paris is probably the best option. The station Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 1 serves terminals 1 and 3, while Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 – TGV serves terminal 2. In the terminals, look for signs that point you to the RER B, or “Paris By Train”. The big green ticket machines sell one way tickets for €9.75, but keep in mind that they won’t accept American credit cards, and it’s a good idea to have some cash. The trains comes every 10-15 minutes, from 5:00am to 11:50pm and will get you to the heart of Paris in about 45 minutes, or less if you catch a direct train. The line stops at some of the major Paris Metro stations like Gare du Nord, Châtelet – Les Halles, and Saint-Michel Notre Dame, so your accommodation usually is only a change away (your ticket does include this change). Keep in mind that there may be a bit of walking between trains, and so this is not great if you have big, heavy bags.

In case that was too many words for you, here’s the summation: if you have heavy bags, and a little extra money, a taxi will be the best way to get from Charles de Gaulle to Paris. For a few very specific locations around the city, there are some bus options that will get you there fairly directly. The least expensive and most flexible option is to take the train, called the RER B, which stops at major metro stations throughout Paris.