Things to know when booking a place in Paris

Organizing a trip to Paris is not always easy. There is a lot to think about to plan the perfect city break. There are some useful things to know before booking a place in the French capital. Discover our little guide to plan the best Parisian trip.

When to go

It is not always easy to find affordable flights from Los Angeles to Paris (or from any other American city). Some periods are better than others to visit Paris at a good price. For example, during summer, prices are higher as it is the tourist season in the city. It is much more affordable in the winter even if the weather is less tempting to visit the City of Light. eiffel tower in paris As for renting a place during your trip, it is the same as getting cheap airline tickets to France, it is better to avoid summer. Spring and autumn are great alternatives as the weather can be quite nice and prices are lower.

Where to book an accommodation

As you probably know, Paris is a big city, composed of “arrondissements”. There are very different atmospheres in each neighborhood so you have to gather some information before choosing where to book your hotel according to the type of vacation you want and who you are going with. Here is a quick overview of some arrondissements, but know that there are a lot more:

 The Quartier Latin

The Quartier Latin is a very old Parisian area where numerous students, poets and artists live. There is a lot to do in this neighborhood like visiting the Pantheon or the Luxembourg Palace. You can also see the famous university of La Sorbonne and the old Gallo-Roman arenas.


The Montmartre area is situated on top of a little hill which makes it really typical. It is where you can find the famous Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Famous people used to live in this area like Picasso, Chaplin… You can find numerous restaurants and enjoy a romantic stay. sacre coeur basilica in paris

Around the Eiffel Tower

The neighborhood around the Eiffel Tower spreads over several arrondissements: the 7th, the 15th and 16th. There you can visit the Champs-Elysées Avenue, the Arc de Triomphe or the Tuileries garden. But keep in mind that these areas are quite expensive.

Better rent or buy an accommodation in a ski resort?

When going on holiday in a ski resort, whether it is in winter to ski or in summer to hike, you have to find a place to stay. Sometimes, you can wonder if it would be worth it to buy a place in a resort or if you should continue to rent. Let’s see some pros and cons for the two possibilities.

Pros and cons of buying

Buying an accommodation in Les Menuires, Les Arcs, Chamonix or any big ski resort is quite an investment. It is indeed just like buying a house but only to go on vacation. So it is something that needs to be carefully considered beforehand.   wooden chalet in a ski resort However, if you regularly go on holiday in a ski resort, you could save money in the long run. You would just have to go always in the same resort which can be both a disadvantage and an advantage because you can really enjoy a place you know well. Also, if you have a place of your own, you can go several times a year and not only for the winter holidays for example. If you don’t have to pay for the accommodation, the cost of the whole vacation is considerably reduced.

Pros and cons of renting

The main disadvantage of renting your place in a ski resort for your holidays is money. This is money forever lost whereas when buying a place, even if you have a loan to pay back, this is money invested in something that is yours. But the biggest advantage of renting is that you have the possibility to go wherever you want and change resort every year. Finally, when you rent a place in a ski resort, you can sometimes get some advantages with it like a promotion on ski passes or some groceries delivery service. To sum it up, you really have to think carefully before buying and make sure that it suits your needs but it does have a lot of advantages in the long run. If you choose to buy, you can look up properties for sale in St Martin de Belleville in the 3 Vallées resort for example. This is the largest ski area in the world!

Alpine ski resorts – the next big thing in business travel?

Businesses are always looking for new destinations for incentive travel experiences, conferences or team-building exercises. Over the past few years, France’s Alpine resorts have developed into real contenders in this segment of the market.

Catering to corporate clients at Les Arcs

One type of client not often associated with ski resorts is the businessman or woman. However, Alpine resorts such as Les arcs, in France, are actually very well placed to cater to this kind of customer. Les Arcs 1950, the newest village at Les Arcs ski resort, has anticipated this demand with the inclusion of dedicated function and meeting rooms in a number of residential apartment complexes. A large main function room (485m²) may be subdivided into 6 smaller rooms seating between 50 and 280 people, whilst other meeting rooms seat from 45 to 120 individuals. In the summertime, there’s also the option of putting up an outdoors marquee. Your guests will be put up in luxurious five star accommodation (hotels or apartments), with views of either the village, the ski slopes or Mont Blanc itself. Bed and breakfast, half-board and full-board options are all available, and of course, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from in the village itself, serving local dishes and more international cuisine.

A wide variety of activities tailored to business customers

There are lots of activities that are suitable for corporate clients, whether your event’s focus is on team-building, rewarding co-workers, networking with customers or something else. Naturally, winter sports form a big part of what Les Arcs 1950 has to offer. Your clients or colleagues will get the chance to enjoy snowshoeing, snow mobile rides, tobogganing, dog sledding and more. They’ll also be sure to love the ‘igloo village’, which boasts an igloo bar, an ice cave with ice carvings, a restaurant and space for dancing! After an intense seminar or a long day in the conference hall, who wouldn’t want to relax in a sauna or get a massage? Your guests will be able to do just that thanks to the Deep Nature Spa located at the heart of Les Arcs 1950. Open until 8pm, the spa extends over 1000m². One unique aspect of this facility are the panoramic views of Mont Blanc to be had from some of the treatment rooms.

What to do during your stay in Chamonix?

Whether you are staying in Chamonix for the weekend or for a whole week or two, there are many things to enjoy. Chamonix is a very well-known French ski resort but it offers many more activities besides skiing. Here’s a sample of what you can do there.

Discover famous spots

The Mont Blanc

Chamonix is located in the French Alps, at the foot of the famous Mont Blanc (reminder: it is the highest mountain in Europe). Thus, spending your holidays in Chamonix and seeing the Mont Blanc is quite incredible in itself. It is possible to hike on this moutain at a reasonable height or go to the top for those who can hike well, or hike on surrounding moutains, which guarantees an amazing view.

The famous Mont Blanc which you can see in Chamonix

Mont Blanc – Source: Wikipedia

The Aiguille du Midi

In chamonix you can also find another very famous moutain which is the Aiguille du Midi (3,842 meters high). Thanks to a cable car, you can go to the very top of this moutain and experience a unique sensation by “stepping into the void”! A room completely made of glass allows you to admire the Alps with the impression of floating in the air. If you are afraid of heights however, this might not be for you.

The Mer de Glace

If you like hiking, there is a beautiful path that leads to the Mer de Glace, which is a glacier situated in Chamonix. You can also go there by taking a small traditional train. Once up there (1,913 meters), you can admire the gacier and learn about its history and changes. You can even visit the glacier and go under the ice!

Experience new activities

If you want to try new sports or if you are a free-flight fan there are several activities that you can do in Chamonix.  For example, you can try para-gliding or hang-gliding to see Chamonix from the air and get a breathtaking view of the Alps. You can also fly over the valley with professionals. Para-gliding in the Alps If you’d rather stay on the ground, you can golf or go shopping in the numerous stores of the resort. You can also check the dates of famous festivals that take place in Chamonix and sports events like the World Rock-Climbing Cup or the UTMB for example. Finally, if you are staying in a MGM residence for instance, you can enjoy the fitness equipment or the spa to relax.

Provence – everyone’s dream holiday destination!

The French region of Provence draws visitors from all around the world thanks to its wonderful climate, amazing food, rich history, stunning natural landscapes and vibrant arts scene.

Take a tour of Provence and gain real insight into this fascinating place!

Provence is a name that’s familiar worldwide, but how well do we really know this region, once we get beyond the stereotypes of flamingos, fields of lavender and fish soup? For anyone wanting to do more than just scratch the surface of a tremendously diverse and complex place, booking one of the many Provence tours on offer has to be the way forward. They’re available in pretty much every shape and size, being tailored to all ages, budgets and centres of interest imaginable! Booking a tour does away with the hassles of itinerary planning and wrestling with car rental or public transport. It also places local guides with expert knowledge at your disposal, enabling you to understand Provence like never before! Many tours cater to the cruise ship market in the form of shore excursions, these tending to be of shorter duration. If you have a little more time to spare, you may be able to draw up a list of sights you’d like to take in, creating your very own ‘made-to-measure’ experience.

Aix-en-Provence – at the heart of the region

Aix-en-Provence may not be the biggest urban centre in the region, but its location makes it a good place to start your exploration of the area. Day trips from Aix en Provence offer easy access to many of the region’s outstanding sights. For instance, around an hour’s driving is enough to take you to the astonishing sound and light show at the Carrières de Lumières; the papal palace in Avignon; Arles, with its Roman amphitheatre; the natural paradise that is the Camargue or the charming fishing village of Cassis and the famous limestone inlets of the sea, known as the ‘calanques’, located nearby. Aix-en-Provence itself makes for a great day trip – which you’d expect for somewhere with two thousand years of history under its belt. It was the capital of Provence in the medieval period, and many of its finest monuments date from this time. It boasts a beautiful 13th century Gothic cathedral and is also particularly rich in museums and galleries. The Musée Granet, with works from the 15th to 19th centuries is very popular, as is Paul Cezanne’s studio. The famous Impressionist painter’s studio has been preserved much as it was when he died in 1906 – it’s an absolute must for fans.

The Ardèche – a Mecca for hikers!

Although the Ardèche area of southern France is perhaps best known for the gorge which makes the Ardèche River into a top canoeing destination, the dramatic scenery also makes for great hiking. The Ardèche département is home to nearly 6,000 km of marked walking trails which criss-cross the varied landscapes of this stunning region. Contained within this area are also two parks, the Parc Régional des Monts d’Ardèche, and the celebrated Parc National des Cévennes. Hikers are particularly drawn to the diversity of natural habitats, which range from mountains, high, wind-swept plateaux, a karst (limestone) area pockmarked with many caves and steep-sided valleys and more fertile farming country, characterized by orchards and vineyards. Naturally, this variety of landscapes results in a great diversity of flora and fauna too, including the extremely rare – and very majestic – Bonelli’s Eagle.



Cheap ski holidays start with great-value accommodation

French ski resort breaks needn’t cost the earth!

The French ski resort of Val Thorens is famous for its high-altitude slopes (it’s based at some 2300 metres above sea level) and enormous ski area (as part of the 3 vallées area). What may be less well-known about ski holidays in the French Alps is that they’re not necessarily the preserve of the well-to-do. There are many ways of reducing the cost of your next skiing vacations. Probably the most effective of these is to shop around when looking for accommodation. Sometimes it’s worth contacting a given ski resort directly to see if they have any special offers. The average French ski resort does have quite a wide range of accommodation categories which are designed to suit all budgets. At Val Thorens, for example, there are 3, 4 and 5 star hotels, ski-in apartments in larger ‘residences’, self-catered flats with room for 10 or more and even a youth hostel!   Ski holidays in the French Alps for family-friendly fun! No matter where you go in the French Alps, whether on ski holidays or summer vacations, you’ll find that French ski resorts are very much planned with families in mind. For those looking for cheap ski holidays for families, a great place to start is the official Val Thorens ski resort website which offers a range of special packages, including ones aimed at family groups. These will typically cover both accommodation and ski passes. (more…)

4 stars Chamonix hotels: your home-from-home for winter sports fun!

The French Alps are the place for winter sports of all kinds. There are many different resorts scattered throughout the region, but Chamonix, as one of the oldest of all, has a special place in many people’s hearts. This is reflected in the way in which the town caters to virtually every pocket and every kind of visitor. From 4 stars hotels in Chamonix to self-catering apartments and bed and breakfasts, there’s an embarrassment of quality accommodation out there. If you’re a real winter sports fanatic, finding a location that’s close to the relevant ski lifts and cable cars is crucial. Four star hotels and similar luxury establishments are often strategically placed. For example, the Hôtel Les Grands Montets is, as the name suggests, sited at the foot of the famous Grands Montets ski area, which has some superb off-piste skiing to enjoy.  


Getting off-piste in the Grands Montets ski area


has a total of four large ski areas and is also home to world-class competitions like the Freeride World Tour and Kandahar – the Men’s Alpine Skiing World Cup. If you’re not quite in this league, you can still enjoy a range of winter sports:

  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Ice climbing
  • Hiking

  If you’ve chosen a 4 stars Chamonix hotel for your stay, the chances are you’re looking to be pampered after a hard day on the slopes. Many 4 stars hotels in Chamonix offer all-inclusive packages with just that in mind – access to spa facilities, massages and more. hotel-chamonix Pamper yourself with in-hotel spa facilities Lastly, Chamonix is also known for its lively après-ski scene and fine dining.

Staying in Flats in the Center of St Peterbourg

Saint PeterbourgIf you are planning a trip to St Peterbourg but would like something more than a generic booked tour, you might want to consider renting a flat to stay in while you are there. There are many short-term apartment rental options available right in the center of St Peterbourg, that will allow you to be in a convenient location while experiencing a local feel to make your trip that much more special.

Reasons for Renting a Flat in St Peterbourg

Founded in 1703, the city of St. Peterbourg has retained its historic charm and splendour to this day. With its beautiful architecture and the numerous canals, the city has been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Hence, it would be a shame not to experience the magic of this stunning city firsthand. Staying in hotels is the most obvious option but hotels can be impersonal and soulless. Renting your own apartment during your trip lets you absorb the local atmosphere while making you feel at home at the same time. It leaves you the option of coming and going as you please and you do not have to plan your day around hotel check in times or cleaning schedules. Hotels require you book two or three rooms if you are travelling with your family, so renting a flat can prove to be more economical if you are on a budget. The apartments will generally have a kitchen, so there is the added advantage of cooking your meals in your own time and according to your own preferences, which is exceptionally useful for people who follow a specific diet.

Options in the Center of St Peterbourg

historic center of saints PetersbourgThere are many companies and agencies that help tourists find the perfect house for their stay in St Peterbourg. PiterStay has a selection of beautifully furnished one- to five-bedroom flats that you can rent for as less as two days. Petersburg-Lodging is another great site that has a huge selection of apartments, so whether you need a small two-bedroom house, a comfy studio apartment or a huge luxury flat, there is something for everyone. These agencies provide information about long-term flats as well, besides offering help with visa and transport. The center of St Peterbourg is a convenient location as the shops and restaurants are at a walking distance, and transport is easy because there is bound to be a metro station near your place. You can spend the day at the Peterhof Palace and Garden or plan an impromptu trip to St. Issac’s Cathedral. Eat at the Palkin restaurant and behold the grace of Russian ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre. At the end of the long day, you can come back and relax in your own apartment and feel at home in the glorious city of St. Peterbourg.  

Visit Berlin in 3 Days

Visit Berlin in 3 Days brandebourg door berlinIf you are in need of a short break to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Berlin is the perfect European destination. With fantastic transport links and a top class range of accommodation options, the German capital city has a wealth of attractions to suit every budget. Indeed, over 135 million people make a visit to Berlin every year, which makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. However, with such a vast range of sights to see and places to visit, it can be difficult to know how to best spend your 3 days in Berlin. Here are a few tips to help you on your way. Travel Passes and Discount Offers One of the first things you should do if you want to visit Berlin for 3 days is to buy one of the city’s 72 hour travel cards which allow you to use any public transport within zones A and B of the city. This is perfect for a whistle stop tour of the metropolises and also has the added benefit of offering significant discounts on certain major cultural attractions. With your transport sorted you can start to properly explore the city. Walking Tours For first time visitors it is a good idea to book onto a guided walking tour. A number of different operators work in the city, but there is a very reliable English language tour that sets off from the Zoo train station on a daily basis, or a free tour that meets outside Starbucks every day at 11am. This is a great way to witness some of the main landmarks, including the Brandenburg Gate. The Reichstag is couple of minutes walk from the Brandenburg Gate, and the old Parliament building is a must see attraction due to its breathtaking views and turbulent history. Arts and Culture berlin museumIf you enjoy arts and culture then you certainly won’t be disappointed when you visit Berlin. The aptly named Museum Island is home to five of the most internationally renowned museums in the world and can keep you occupied for hours. The Berlin Wall is another piece of cultural history that you simply cannot miss when you visit Berlin. The East Side Gallery serves as an international memorial for peace and freedom, and is one of the best preserved sections of the wall today. Tiergarten park is a great place to take a stroll and unwind later on in a day before you have your evening meal. Finally, if you enjoy a good night out make sure to visit some of the city’s electric nightclubs on at least one occasion during your 3 day stay.