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Welcome 2 France Newsletter April 2008
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Introducing the Welcome2France Newsletter!



You are receiving this first Welcome 2 France Newsletter because you have either subscribed on our website or been in prior contact with us. If you do not wish to receive further correspondance from us, the very quickest and reliable way is to just click the link to be removed at the bottom of this page and we will never send anything to you again, unless you decide to join later on, as you are welcome to do of course !

Our goal in creating this Newsletter is to provide advice and tips to enhance your Parisian experience - from choosing where to stay and dine to what to see and do. Articles will be written by people who have a deep affection for Paris, as well as vast experience in staying in the City of Light.

We are excited to announce that each month we will provide tips on what to see in a particular district (arrondissement) in Paris, while featuring one of the lovely luxury rental apartments from welcome2france.com

We will also alert our readers to events and activities in Paris for that month. Check out the Calendar below.

We have also provided a section called Practical Paris to help make your visit as easy as possible.

All of Paris is easily accessible from your choice of luxury Paris rental apartments in the very heart of Paris.

Visit welcome2france.com to choose your perfect address ! For instance, if you're looking for an accommodation to suit a prince, here's a new 170sq meter luxury apartment for a maximum of 3 persons and a minimum stay of one week at a price that just can't be beat :

Luxury Longchamp

Our newsletter will be evolving along the months, and we will want to add suggestions from our guests as well. To contribute ideas for future editions, please feel free to do so through the 'comments and suggestions' link, again, at the bottom of this page.


We look forward to hearing from you.



APRIL in PARIS - A Perfect Spring-Time Trip!


It is a wonderful thing to have access to welcome2france.com in order to choose the perfect rental apartment in Paris. It takes all the guesswork and stress out of `living like a Parisian' during your stay in the beautiful City of Light.

To approach the entire city all you need is a weekly, or monthly, Carte Orange transit pass, a good map, a well-thought out plan along with a sense of adventure. Living near a main Metro line makes it easy to get all over Paris in a short time-frame.

The Louvre-Palais Royal 2 apartment is just about the most perfect Parisian address one could hope to rent. It is located in the geographical center of Paris on rue Croix des Petits-Champs. This charming, very well-equipped, apartment is about four blocks west of Forum des Halles shopping mall and four blocks north of the Musee du Louvre. It is available online at welcome2france.com

Very importantly, the nearest Metros are Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre and the Louvre-Rivoli, both on Line 1. This Line divides Paris from east to west on the Right Bank. It intersects with every Metro line, except for two (but even those are well connected by a short transfer ride).

Additionally, all but one of the RER train lines can be directly accessed by Line 1. This apartment is very well-connected to all of Paris via Metro, RER or the bus system in a very direct manner. To get from CDG-Airport to the Louvre-Palais Royal 2 apartment, you simply take the RER-B train to the Chatelet-les-Halles Metro station, then a very easy walk to your new home in Paris.

Just outside your apartment, Paris awaits! Much of it is very easily accessible by walking.

One long block west of the Louvre-Palais Royal 2 apartment is the `Palais Royal', built in 1624 as a palace for Cardinal Richelieu, was later the home of Anne d'Authriche and her son, Louis XIV. Now home to the controversial black and white pillar art installation in the courtyard, a truly lovely fountain, and a qui 1786 cannon in the garden that fires by virtue of the sun's rays at high noon passing through a lens to light the cannon's fuse (which still happens daily).

The gardens are a perfect picnic spot right in the middle of Paris. Inside Palais Royal at #19-24, `Galerie Monpensier', find the "Didier Ludot Vintage and second-Hand" shop featuring elegant displays of vintage and retro clothing, including Chanel and other top designers.

Just outside the south entrance of Palais Royal, and opposite the `Comedie Francaise' theater (which has an excellent gift shop), at #93, rue de Rivoli, you will discover the whimsical Metro station entry in `Place Colette'. Note the colorful, glass-beaded cupolas, called the "Kiosque de Noctambules" (Kiosk of the Night-Walkers). This is a very modern surprise in a very traditional setting. Paris does not spare ornamentation, even for a mere Metro station!

The famous `Jardin des Tuileries' is about 900 yards from the Louvre-Palais Royal 2 apartment. This was once the quarry from which the clay for the famous Parisian roofing tiles (tuileries) was mined. During the time Catherine de Medici lived in the Louvre Palace, she decided she needed a large garden in which to drive her own carriage (unheard of for a woman to drive herself in that day!). She had the old quarry back-filled and hired the landscape architect, Le Notre, to design the beautiful gardens we enjoy today.

The `Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume' is located at 1, place de la Concorde, at the northwest corner of the gardens. This gallery houses some national photography archives and wonderful temporary shows which change every few months. The building was a royal court for the Palm Game, a forerunner of Tennis. The website is jeudepaume.org

Towards the Seine, in the southwest corner, is the newly opened `Musee de l'Orangerie', named for the palace orange trees that were once wintered-over inside. The museum houses Monet's enormous "Water Lilies" paintings, along with oils by Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse and others. The website is musee-orangerie.fr

As you walk up the `Grand Allee' in the garden center, you will pass dozens of statues, play areas, crepe stands and the `Café Renard', an open greenhouse-style eatery located about halfway through the Jardin. It serves simple meals and drinks in the open air. What a lovely Spring-time rest stop - just perfect for watching children play and listening to the birds sing. You'd never believe, while sitting in such a quiet area, that you are in the exact center of one of Europe's largest, busiest and most famous cities.

At 107, rue de Rivoli, and actually attached to the Louvre itself, is the entrance to three museums in one: the `Musee des Arts Decoratifs', the `Musee de la Mode' and the `Musee de l'Affiche'. Each houses enormous collections of the evolution of female fashion through the ages (mode), the best of French objects d'art (decoratif) and posters and signs dating from the 18th-century (affiche). All three museums can be viewed with the same ticket. Website is lesartsdecoratifs.fr

The fabulous `Musee du Louvre', considered by many to be the world's most famous and greatest of all art collections, is about 200 yards from Louvre-Palais Royal 2 apartment. Talk about living in the center of Paris!

The Louvre was begun in the 12th-century by King Philippe-Auguste as a massive fortress. Through eight centuries, subsequent monarchs added wings, courtyards and flourishes of their own to create the largest royal palace ever built. As you walk through the glorious building you can see each king's personal stamp in the forms of crests and embellishments - look for them in the stones and carved in wooden doorways. Its collected works are a full house of Western Civilization from the ancient world to 1850.

The nearest Metro stop is Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre (again, a short walk from Louvre-Palais Royal 2 apartment). We avoid the long lines at the glass pyramid main entrance, created not by ticket buyers but by the security checks, and prefer to enter the Louvre via the group entrance in the pedestrian passageway between the pyramid and rue de Rivoli (find it under the arches, just a few steps north of the pyramid where you'll see a uniformed guard and a down-escalator).

Note that you must have a Museum Pass to use this group entrance. Without it, you might consider entering through the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall (entrance at 99, rue de Rivoli - look for a small, red awning over the door).

We always pick up the free "Louvre Plan / Information" brochure in English at the Info Desk under the glass pyramid and then head for `Le Café du Louvre', also under the pyramid, for a coffee and time to plan our trek through the 12 miles of this enormous structure. Plan on a minimum of two hours, but allow more time, if you can. Do not even imagine that you can see it all in one visit.

Considering the enormity of the Louvre (once the largest building in the world), it is a good idea to explore their website and create your game-plan even before arriving in Paris. Go to louvre.fr

The building is overwhelming - each of the long wings alone is over one-quarter of a mile and four stories high. I once read that it would take a person one full month, visiting daily during all open hours, to see it completely, if done at a rather rapid pace.

You can choose to see it with the Museum Pass, but there are also reduced prices after 6:00 p.m., on certain days, and free entry on the first Sunday of every month (terrifically long lines, however). We have found that for the least-crowded visits to the Louvre, it is best to go on weekday afternoons or Monday and Wednesday evenings during its extended evening hours.

The downside of using the Pass is that you feel considerable pressure to rush through the sights in order to get the most for your money. Try to subdue that natural urge and really take the time to fully view your choices.

The beauty of Paris is right outside the door of the Louvre-Palais Royal 2 apartment and is so very easily accessible whether you choose to walk, or ride the public transit system. Sometimes, in our quest to see and do it all in Paris, it is hard to remember to look for the details, not only in what the fashionable Parisians are wearing, in the attention to the fine points of how to arrange food on a bistro plate, but especially in their ancient, and even modern, architecture. The details and fine minutiae of Paris are what make it so unique and interesting to explore.

But, clearly, to me, the greatest and most pleasant surprise in Paris is how easy it is to rent an apartment (especially from the friendly, knowledegable team at welcome2france.com and live like a local. The Louvre-Palais Royal 2 apartment is spectacular, accessible and will create a memory you will carry the rest of your life.

Jean E. Arnevick. Olympia, Washington. United States.



PRACTICAL ADVICE


PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:
Renting a car to drive in Paris is absolutely unnecessary. Driving and parking a car in the city is a true challenge. The public transportation system is a dream come true for a tourist.

The RATP is the Parisian transportation system which includes the Metro, RER (fast suburban-to-city-center trains), Trams (serving sections of the outer circle of Paris), Buses, Noctambus (night buses), Montmartre Minibus and the Batobus (boat taxis on the Seine).
Website: ratp.fr

This is a most valuable source of info for your stay in Paris, and an excellent site for discovering the shortest, fastest routes from once place to another. Very user-friendly - you type in your address and where you want to go and it will give you the shortest, and/or, fastest route in complete detail.

CARTE ORANGE PASS:
If you are staying in Paris for more than a few days, consider buying a weekly transportation pass, called the Carte Orange - Hebdo. A monthly pass is called Carte Orange - Mensuel. You will need a passport-sized photo for either pass (take your own with a digital camera and printer).

Only buy for Zones 1-2, as this will cover all of Paris. Full info is at ratp.fr but do not view the English version of the website because it only describes the Paris Visite pass for tourists, which is not the best bargain. You want what the locals use.

The Carte Orange is a small plastic folder holding a card that you attach your photo onto and a special ticket that you use in the Metro turnstiles (always retrieving it after each use). To use it on a bus, you simply display it and say "Bon Jour" to the bus driver (do not run it through the validating machine).

This pass can be purchased at any staffed Metro station. Since I speak very little French, I write out my purchase request on an index card to show to the station clerk, using a translation website to get the proper French. It is, by far, the cheapest way to travel Paris.

NAVIGATING ON FOOT:
I use a small map book called "Paris Circulation" (€ 5,00) which is small enough for a pocket, but with print large enough to read easily. It has all the rues and transportation info I've ever needed with a great index. It is available at most news kiosks or Tabac stores.

This little book and a small, plastic compass are all you need to navigate Paris on foot or by public transit. We use the compass often to get our bearings when emerging from a Metro tunnel.. it saves a lot of time in preventing us from walking off in the wrong direction.

You will quickly discover that house numbers on one side of a street do not coincide with the numbers on the other side of the street. Do not assume that 50 - 52 are across from 49 and 51. All numbers begin at the Seine and get larger the further away from it you walk.

Look on the corners of buildings for street names. They are not posted on signs, as in the U.S. Parisian street signs also give you the number of the arrondissement, which is very helpful if your map is listed by them.

MUSEUM PASS:
Another money-saving item is the Musee Pass. Purchase at any museum in the system. It only becomes valid and the `clock' begins when you date it yourself. You can buy a 2, 4 or 6 day pass. It covers over 60 museums and monuments. It is wise to use it in lieu of the most expensive entries. The Pass pays for itself after you visit three museums. There is great info on each museum, and the Pass itself, at parismuseumpass.com

MUSEUM VISITS: :
Practical advice on visiting museums, and indeed Paris itself, would have to include the fact that you'll need the very best walking shoes you can afford to be able to endure the endless miles of walking. Try to carry into museums as little as possible and check your items at the free coat checks. There are washrooms and eateries scattered all through most museums, and taking periodic rest breaks is a must.

Jean E. Arnevick. Olympia, Washington. United States.



PARIS CALENDAR - APRIL, 2008


ART

April 2-6: "Pavillon des Arts et du Design" - Eclectic art
Jardin de Tuileries
Esplanade des Feuillants, facing 234, rue de Rivoli, across from rue Castiglione
Free
pad-paris.com

April 3-7: "Artparis" - Classic Modern Art and Contemporary Art
Grand Palais
Avenue Winston-Churchill
10-15 Euros
artparis.fr

April 15-July 13: "Camile Claudel - A Retrospective"
Musee Rodin
79, rue de Varenne
5-7 Euros
musee-rodin.fr

During all of April:
"African & Oceanian Art - Masterpieces of the Barbier-Muller Collection"
Musee Jacquemart-Andre
158, boulevard Haussmann
Free
musee-jacquemart-andre.com

"Un Instinct Fauve" - Maurice de Vlaminck, Artist
Musee du Luxembourg
19, rue de Vaugirard
€11,00
museeduluxembourg.fr

"Goya's Engravings"
Petit Palais - Musee des Beaux Arts de la Ville de Paris
Avenue Winston Churchill
€4,50 - 9,00
petitpalais.paris.fr

"Master of Mockery" - Honore Daumier, Artist
Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Site Richelieu - Galerie Mazarine
58, rue de Richelieu
€5,00 - 7,00
bnf.fr

"Residents" - A contemporary art fair and exhibition
Espace EDF Electra
6, rue Recamier
Free
fondation.edf.com

"Paris en Couleurs" - Photography exhibit
Hotel-de-Ville, Salle Saint-Jean
5, rue Lobau
Free
paris.fr

"Les Femmes du Monde" - Exhibition of Titouan Lamazou"
Musee de l'Homme in Palais de Chaillot
17, place du Trocadero
€6,60 - 8,60
mnhn.fr

"Unconcerned but not Indifferent" - Man Ray
Pinacotheque
28, place de la Madeleine
€5,00 - 7,00; Free - Under 12
pinacotheque.com

"Patti Smith - Land of 250" - Poet, Singer, Artist, Photographer
Fondation Cartier Pour l'Art Contemporain
261, bd Raspail
5,50 - 7,50 Euros
fondation.cartier.com

"Louise Bourgeois" - 95 year-old artist presents sculpture, paintings, drawings and engravings
Centre Pompidou
Place Georges Pompidou
10-12 Euros
centrepompidou.fr

EXHIBITIONS

April 3 - May 12: "Foire de Paris" - 15 showrooms of trendy creations and inventions
Paris Expo Porte de Versailles
1, place de la Porte de Versailles
14 Euros; 18 Euros - 2 day pass; 7 Euros - under 14; Free - under 7
foiredeparis.fr

Until April 21: "Roland Petit - A Dance Heritage"
Opera Garnier
1, place de l'Opera
€8,00
operadeparis.fr

During all of April:
"Marie Antoinette"
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
3, avenue du General Eisenhower
€8,00 - 10,00; Free - Under 13
grandpalais.fr

"Christian Lacroix - Fashion History"
Musee Les Arts Decoratifs, Mode et Textile
107, rue de Rivoli
€6,50-8,00. Under 18, free
lesartsdecoratifs.fr

"Zizi Sexuel, l'Expo"
Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie - La Villette
Parc de la Villette
30, avenue Corentin Cariou
€7,00-9,00
cite-sciences.fr

"L'Homme Expose"
Le Musee de l'Homme in Palais de Chaillot
17, place du Trocadero
€5,00 - 8,00; Free - Under 4, handicapped,journalists
mnhn.fr

"Baccarat and the 1920's"
Galerie-Musee Baccarat
11, place des Etats-Unis
3,50 - 5 Euros
baccarat.com

MUSIC

April 4 - 6 : "Musicora" - Classical Music Festival
Paris Expo Carrousel du Louvre
99, rue de Rivoli
5 - 10 Euros
musicora.net

April 9: "Mark Knopfler" - Guitarist
Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy
8, bd de Bercy
46 - 62,50 Euros
bercy.fr

April 12-16: "Academie de Musique" - Youth orchestra and chorus
Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione
110, rue Amelot
18- 45 Euros
academie-de-musique.com

April Weekends: "Classical Music" - Concerts
Musee d'Orsay
1, rue de la Legion d'Honneur
Free with museum ticket
For times and featured composers:
radiofrance.fr

FILM, THEATER and DANCE

Until April 6
"Le Soldat Rose" - Musical for children
Casino de Paris
16, rue de Clichy
17,50 - 4,50 Euros
casinodeparis.fr

During all of April:
"Fame - The Musical"
Theatra Comedia
4, bd de Strasbourg
15 - 49 Euros
theatrecomedia.com

"Lion King" - Broadway Musical
Theatre Mogador
25, rue de Mogador
25 - 99 Euros
leroilion.fr

OTHER

April 1: "April Fool's Day"
The French mark this day by attaching a paper fish on the back of unsuspecting victims and
shouting "Poisson d'avril!" upon discovery.

April 6: "Marathon de Paris"
parismarathon.com

April 6: Guided Tour of the Albert Kahn Gardens and Museum
14, rue du Port
Boulogne-Billancourt
12 Euros - 4 hour guided tour in English
monacelli@club-internet.fr

April 12: Rare Visit to the Institut de France
Institut de France
23, quai Conti
12 Euros - 2 hour guided visit in English
monacelli@club-internet.fr

April 19: "Stars on Ice" - Featuring Brian Joubert
Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy
8, bd de Bercy
15 - 60 Euros
bercy.fr

During All of April:
"Circus" - Diana Moreno Bormann (wonderful for kids)
Place Skanderbeg
112, rue de la Haie Coq - Porte d'Auberviliers
10 - 35 Euros; Free - under 3
cirque-diana-moreno.com

"Puppet Shows" - for the kids
Guignol Puppet Theater
Promenade des Champs-Elysees
Rond-Point des Champs-Elysees / angle des avenues Matignon et Gabriel
3,50 Euros
theatreguignol.fr

"Sports"
Basketball -
parisbasket.net
Handball -
handballfrance.com
Football -
leparcdesprinces.fr

"Foire du Trone" - a Fun Fair
Bois de Vincennes
foiredutrone.com

Every Month:
Rollerblading in Paris! Every Friday evening. Details at
pari-roller.com
Or, the afternoon circuit for beginners get info at
rollers-coquillages.org





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Thank you for your interest and best regards,

The Welcome 2 France team

www.welcome2france.com
Tel. 1 (650) 267-4328
(free local call number in U.S. or Canada)














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