7 Things I Loved About the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan in Paris, and 2 Things I Didn’t

View of the Eiffel Tower from our room at the Radisson Blu Metropolitan
View of the Eiffel Tower from our room at the Radisson Blu Metropolitan

If you are sitting on a free night worldwide, courtesy of the Club Carlson credit card devaluation, I can recommend the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan hotel in Paris.  

The hotel is not fancy, nor is it in a neighborhood popular with tourists.  But for me, it had a certain charm to make our stay in Paris comfortable and enjoyable.

We spent five nights of our summer vacation at the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan Hotel, Paris Eiffel.  Four nights were courtesy of Club Carlson points and the fifth night was partially paid by a Radisson gift card I won in a contest.

I loved the hotel.  Would I have loved it as much if if it were a paid stay, as opposed to practically free?  Probably not.  As a certified cheapskate, I get some bizarre pleasure about getting something for nothing.  I would not have paid 340 Euro a night to stay there.

But after agonizing about the various Radisson Blu hotels in Paris, I am very glad we selected Le Metropolitan.

Here are a few reasons why:

The Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan Has a Direct View of the Eiffel Tower

Bastille Day Fireworks viewed from Place de Mexico
Bastille Day Fireworks viewed from Place de Mexico

There is nothing more romantic than a room with a view.  Our trip to Paris was timed to coincide with Bastille Day.  It was a real thrill to witness the fireworks display over the Eiffel Tower from the Place de Mexico, directly in front of our hotel.

The police had barricaded the adjoining streets, so we were in a safe, traffic-free zone.  We were away from the crowds, but still had a direct, spot on view of the Eiffel Tower.

We could even catch a view of the Eiffel Tower from our room on the third floor.

The Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan Doesn’t Feel Like a Chain Hotel

viewed from Place de Mexico
Our small but functional room at the Radisson Blu le Metropolitan

I prefer to stay somewhere that feels local.  The Radisson Blu Metropolitan has its own modern Parisian sense of style.  It is not a cookie cutter chain hotel.  Rather, it is a small property with 38 rooms and 10 suites, designed by French interior designer François Champsaur.  The look is elegant, clean and minimalist, with features such as all white bedding, caramel-stained wood and black stone rainfall showers.

The Small Touches at the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan in Paris

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.  There was a Nespresso machine in the room, and the restaurant sent up a pitcher of freshly steamed milk.  There was a tiny refrigerator to keep some yogurt or a few drinks cold.  Also there was a free bottle of Evian water, and two free macarons were delivered to our room each afternoon.  If you are lucky, you will get a couple of bonbons with the turn down service — sweet, marzipan like confections.  Oh, and there is free wifi in all the rooms, and a safe in the closet.

The Entire Hotel is Nonsmoking

There is another Club Carlson hotel about two blocks away, the Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel Paris Trocadero.  It receives high marks on TripAdvisor, and looks charming.  We considered that hotel, but the only rooms that were available on points for our dates were smoking rooms.  That was unacceptable.  At the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan hotel, all the rooms are nonsmoking.

There’s a Swimming Pool and a Hamman!

There are more than 2,000 hotels in Paris and probably fewer than a few dozen have swimming pools.  Le Metropolitan has a small swimming pool in the basement, along with a steam room.  The swimming pool is petite, for sure, but there is nothing more refreshing than a dip in the pool after spending the day walking all over Paris.  The pool and spa area is quite relaxing, with vintage jazz music piped in.  The steam room, or hamman, is lined with bright green glass tiles.  I didn’t try it; maybe next time.

The Neighborhood — the Sixteenth Arrondissement

It's an easy walk from Le Trocadero Metro station
It’s an easy walk from the Trocadero Metro station

Paris is a city of small neighborhoods, and I am sure most people will say they liked their hotel because the location was great.  The Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan is in a quiet neighborhood of upscale apartments, professional offices, and embassies.

The nearest Metro station, Trocadero, is exactly one block away.

There are a handful of cafes and casual restaurants, but no nightlife to speak of.  The nice thing about being in a residential neighborhood is that there are convenient services nearby.

Laundromat right next door
Laundromat right next door

For instance, there is a laundromat next door.  Nothing makes me happier when traveling than a suitcase full of clean clothes.

A few doors down from the laundromat, you can find Androuet (17, rue des Belles Feuilles), which is reputed to be among the finest cheese shops in Paris.  If you are overwhelmed by the choices the shopkeeper can guide you.

Le Androuet, one of the best cheese stores in Paris
Le Androuet, one of the best cheese stores in Paris

In Paris, there are contests each year for various baked goods, such as the best lemon tart, or the best baguette.  In 2013, Boulangerie des Belles Feuilles (22 rue des Belles Feuilles) was among the top ten bakeries for butter croissants.  Yup, we were staying down the street from the best croissants in Paris.  The Paris Brest, a ring of choux pastry filled with hazelnut praline was to die for!

There is also a chain bakery, Paul (12 Rue De Belle Feuilles), where you can grab a quick breakfast. Chain bakery or not, they bake all their breads right there.  It is located in a modern shopping mall just steps from Le Metropolitan.  The mall houses a large Casino supermarket.

The Champs Elysee, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, and Trocadero Gardens are all within easy walking distance.

What I Didn’t Like About Le Metropolitan

I am sorry if this is sounding like a puff piece.  Perhaps the romance of Paris has contributed to my enthusiasm.

There are some things I didn’t like about the Radisson Blu le Metropolitan.   First of all the rooms were small.  You expect that in Paris.  On both our stays, we were kindly upgraded from “Classic” to “Deluxe” rooms.  Nevertheless, the rooms were still very small, with hardly enough room to sit and enjoy a drink or a bite to eat.  In the second room where we stayed, the toilet was in a separate room from the sink and the shower — an inconvenient layout.  Secondly, the service was adequate but not exceptional.  Small requests, such as for a second chair, had to be repeated several times.

This hotel is not for everybody.  If you want to be in the center of town, or in an area with more nightlife, this hotel is not for you.

There is a full service bar and restaurant at the Radisson Blu le Metropolitan which we did not try.  The restaurant was on the pricy side, but discounts are available.

Finally, the cost of a room here in Club Carlson points has effectively doubled (for holders of the Club Carlson credit card), from 70,000 points for two nights, to 70,000 points for one night.

By the way, this hotel has its own app, with tourist information.  You can find it on iTunes.

P.S.  Per the request in the comments, here is a picture from the cheese shop.

A few of the cheeses for sale at Androuet
A few of the cheeses for sale at Androuet

Flip Out at the Paris Pinball Museum

Paris Pinball Museum is rich in history.
Paris Pinball Museum is rich in history.

4.5 of 5 starsGiven that the Pinball Hall of Fame is now #13 of 692 things to do in Las Vegas on Trip Advisor, I wanted to put in a plug for another fabulous pinball gallery.  

The Paris Pinball Museum is an incredible historical collection of slot machines, jukeboxes and over one hundred pinball machines from every era, from the 1930’s to the present.
Every one of the games is top condition and in working order!

Play All You Want at the Paris Pinball Museum

You need an advance reservation to visit the Paris Pinball Museum, which is only open on weekends.

The Paris Pinball Museum also features one armed bandits.
The Paris Pinball Museum also features one armed bandits.
A $15 Euro admission ticket grants you access to play all the games as much as you want.
The owner, Raphael Lanker, was kind enough to arrange an opportunity for us to visit, even though he was away at the time.
Lanker has been in pinball since the 1950’s, and his love for the game is evident in the collection he maintains.
All the games at the Paris Pinball Museum are set to free play.
All the games at the Paris Pinball Museum are set to free play.

Each room in the museum is devoted to another decade.

There are an abundance of the wood-railed machines from the 1940’s, especially Gottlieb machines.
 The Paris Pinball Museum is a blast from the past!
If there is time in your schedule, you may wish to include a visit to the museum on your next trip to Paris!
The artwork on the back glasses is amazing.
The artwork on the backglasses is amazing.  Sky Line is a personal favorite!

Holiday Inn Paris: The Curious Incident of the Buzz in the Night Time

Sleuthing in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Paris - Notre Dame
Sleuthing in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Paris – Notre Dame

You don’t go to Paris to stay at a cookie-cutter chain hotel.

Crazy that I am, I booked five nights at the Holiday Inn Paris Notre Dame, for half of our summer vacation in Paris.

The reason, of course, was hotel points.

I had enough IHG points from a credit card bonus to get two free nights at a Holiday Inn hotel, and I was not going to let those points go to waste!

A Surprise Tropical Oasis at the Holiday Inn Paris – Notre Dame

The reason I chose the Holiday Inn- Paris Notre Dame was location.  The hotel is literally steps from the St. Michel Metro station and the RER train station.  It sits right on the border between the Latin Quarter and St. Germain de Pres.  It is within walking distance of just about everything.

View of the rooftops from our balcony at the Holiday Inn Paris -- Notre Dame
Romantic view of Paris rooftops from our balcony at the Holiday Inn Paris — Notre Dame

What really intrigued me about the Holiday Inn Paris – Notre Dame, however, was the rooftop bar that provides generous views of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower.

The rooftop bar did not disappoint.  It was spellbinding to watch the sun set over the rooftops of Paris.

Another bonus was the charming garden off the hotel lobby, complete with a koi pond and tropical vegetation.

Koi Pond at the Holiday Inn Paris - Notre Dame
Koi Pond in the garden at at the Holiday Inn Paris – Notre Dame

However, the decor of the hotel was quite garish, like a fuschia throwback to the 1970’s.  You can see pictures of the rooms on TripAdvisor.

It turns out our neighbors had stayed there a couple of years ago.  “It’s not very Parisian,” they said.

We were assigned to a tiny room on the first floor, with a bizarre large window between the bedroom and the bathroom.

Holiday Inn Paris Notre Dame:  Things That Go Buzz in the Night

Upon returning to the Holiday Inn after a full day walking around Paris, I fell fast asleep.

Around 10 p.m., I was awakened by a security guy searching our room.

There was a strange buzzing going on, that my husband reported to the front desk.

We couldn’t locate the source of the buzzing.  It sounded like it may be coming from the bathtub.  No.  Was it coming from the desk, or maybe from the closet?

The security man brought in a ladder and removed a ceiling tile.  Nothing up there.  Then he turned off the electricity to see if the buzzing would stop.  No luck there.  He left to search the adjoining rooms to see if he could identify the source of the persistent buzzing.

Lovely tropical garden at the Holiday Inn Paris- Notre Dame
Lovely tropical garden at the Holiday Inn Paris- Notre Dame

After an hour of this, it was getting ridiculous.  It would be impossible to get back to sleep under these conditions.

The security guy radioed the front desk and said we would have to be relocated to another room.  The desk clerk agreed.

Unfortunately, the hotel was fully booked for the night, and we would have to move to another hotel.

We packed our bags and headed down to the lobby.

I guessed that they would move us to another Holiday Inn.  “Do you mind waiting?” the desk clerk asked.  “There’s nothing available.   Paris is completely booked tonight.”

Hotel Danube Paris, a More Traditional Accommodation

Half an hour later, she had secured a room and breakfast for us at what she promised was a very nice hotel not too far away.

Lobby of the Hotel Danube Paris
Lobby of the Hotel Danube Paris

She called us a cab, and we were whisked off to the Hotel Danube Paris on Rue Jacob in the 6th arrondissement.

I was up for the adventure — this would give us the opportunity to see another hotel and another neighborhood!

The Hotel Danube Paris is a typical Parisian hotel.  It is a family-owned, solid three star hotel.  There was a small courtyard where you can take breakfast.  The lobby is decorated with ornate green wallpaper.

Courtyard at Hotel Danube Paris
Charming Courtyard at Hotel Danube Paris

We arrived very late at night, and were lucky to get a large, comfortable room with an enormous bathroom.  It was the Hotel Danube’s most expensive room, a “Prestige” room.

This is the kind of place I can imagine returning on a future visit to Paris.

The next morning, we reported back to the Holiday Inn Paris – Notre Dame.  The reception staff was most apologetic.  I don’t think they ever located the source of the buzzing.

In exchange for our trouble, we were upgraded to an “Executive” room on the sixth floor for the remainder of our stay.

View from our balcony at the Holiday Inn Paris - Notre Dame
View from our private balcony at the Holiday Inn Paris – Notre Dame

This “Executive” room was easily twice the size of our first room.  It had a windows stretching the length of the room.

There was a balcony large enough for two chairs and a table.  The balcony was shaded by vines and quite private. It had a magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower.

The reception staff said that we would find a welcome amenity in our room.  Yes, there was a Twix bar and a water bottle on the desk.  Was this the amenity?

When we returned from dinner, we spotted another gift:  a bottle of wine; and a beautiful book of water color paintings of Paris:  Une Aquarelliste à Paris.  

This was a touching gesture and will make a nice keepsake of our time in Paris.

Book of Watercolor Prints of Paris
Book of Watercolor Prints of Paris

Book the Room, Not the Hotel

The moral of the story is that in Paris, and many other places, there is a big difference between the standard room and a superior room at the same hotel.

Our perception of these two disparate hotels was greatly influenced by the room quality.

On a points stay, you are eligible for a standard room.

If you have status with the hotel, by virtue of holding a branded credit card, you may be upgraded to a larger room.  Or maybe not.

If you are a cheapskate like me you may be reluctant to choose anything but the standard room.  Based on this experience, I would advocate searching for a nicer room at a less expensive hotel before making a decision.  In Paris, the difference between a four star hotel and a three star hotel may be whether there is a restaurant and a bar in the hotel, or an elevator, or other features that you might not care deeply about.

This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks if you choose to use them!

How to Get 20-50 Percent Off Restaurant Meals in Paris

La Fourchette App
La Fourchette App

La Fourchette is the European equivalent of Open Table or Yelp.

You can search for nearby restaurants, read reviews, and make a reservation online.  The website is owned by TripAdvisor.

You can also find restaurants offering twenty to fifty percent off menu prices with a prior reservation via the La Fourchette app.

On our recent trip to Paris, I opened the app to search for nearby restaurants.

We were staying at the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan hotel in the 16th arrondissement — on points, of course.

20 Percent Off Radisson Blu Metropolitan Restaurant

20 percent off dinner at Le Metropolitan Restaurant in Paris
20 percent off dinner at Le Metropolitan Restaurant in Paris

The Radisson Blu Metropolitan hotel is in an upscale residential district near the Trocadero Gardens.  The hotel has modern decor, an indoor swimming pool and steam room, a mid-sized restaurant, and a head on view of the Eiffel Tower.

The first restaurant to pop up when I opened the La Fourchette app was the hotel restaurant at Le Metropolitan.

The offer was for a 20 percent discount off of menu prices if you made a reservation on the app.

Other restaurants had offers of 30 percent or 50  percent off, though many of these offers excluded the set price “menu du jour.”

The app lists tens of thousands of restaurants in France and elsewhere in Europe; not all restaurants offer discounts.

In Paris, I noticed that many of the places with special offers were ethnic restaurants serving sushi, couscous, kebobs, or other specialities.

Click here to get an idea of other restaurants that are offering discounted meals in Paris.

Earn Loyalty Points with La Fourchette

You can earn loyalty points for each reservation you make with La Fourchette.  They call the points “Yums.”  You can cash in your “Yums” in for discounts at participating restaurants.

The Secret Terrace Cafe at the Louvre

The Terrace Colbert
The Terrasse Colbert in the Louvre has a convenient outdoor snack bar.

There are at least 15 restaurants at the Louvre museum in Paris, and all 15 of them have a long line at lunch time.

Except one.

In the Richelieu wing, on the “first” floor (which is really the second floor), just past the entrance to the Cafe Richelieu, there is an open door which looks like a service entrance.

There is a banner on the door, but if you are coming from the opposite direction you will miss it.

The door leads past the Cafe Richelieu espresso machines to an exit onto an outdoor terrace overlooking the courtyard of the Louvre.

Welcome to the Terrasse Colbert!

Statuary of the Terrace Colbert
Statuary of the Terrace Colbert at the Louvre
Image via Wikimedia Commons

There, you will find some long tables set with chairs, and a small cafe.

This cafe is not mentioned in the official literature from the museum, so I suspect that it is seasonal.

You can rest your feet among the statuary and enjoy the view.

The snack bar at Terrace Colbert at the Louvre
The snack bar at Terrasse Colbert at the Louvre

The selection at the snack bar is quite limited — just a few types of sandwiches, soft drinks, and packaged ice cream.

But you will be able to rest your feet, enjoy the fresh air and the view of the famous pyramid, and avoid wasting precious time standing in line.

Enjoying the atmosphere at the Terrasse Colbert
Enjoying the atmosphere at the Terrasse Colbert

Here is a map to help you find this hidden gem!

Location of the Terrace Snack Bar at the Louvre
Location of the Terrace Snack Bar at the Louvre

Exclusive: First Look at Paris Orly OpenSkies Lounge

Pets are welcome in the new lounge at ORL
Pets are welcome in the new OpenSkies/British Airways lounge at Paris Orly

On our way home from Paris, we stopped in the spanking new British Airways/OpenSkies lounge at Orly Airport (ORL).

The new lounge, known as 212 Orly West, opened on July 4, 2015.

It is located airside in Hall 3 in the Orly West terminal.

After clearing security, the lounge is on the lower level.

The lounge is open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, with catering adapted to flight times.

The following passengers are eligible to visit the lounge:

  • OpenSkies Biz Bed customers traveling to New York
  • British Airways Club Europe customers traveling to London Heathrow
  • British Airways Executive Club Gold and Silver Members
  • oneworld Emerald and Sapphire card holders

Lounge Rats Will Enjoy the British Airways/OpenSkies Lounge at Orly West

The menu of food and drink offerings at the OpenSkies/British Airways Lounge at Orly Airport in Paris
The menu of food and drink offerings at the OpenSkies/British Airways Lounge at Orly Airport in Paris

I am not much of a lounge afficiaonado so I don’t have much basis for comparison.

But I can share some pictures of the food and beverage offerings and the accommodations.

There were a variety of snack items available including raw veggies, fresh fruit, yogurt, nuts, and potato chips, as well as a number of uniquely French foods.

There were freshly baked rolls, and three types of croissants to choose from, and small sandwiches.

Beverage choices included French wine and champagne, the usual juices and sodas, and espresso.

All in all, one could make a nice lunch from the spread at the lounge, but the food was nothing to write home about.

Fresh rolls and Viennoiserie
Fresh rolls and Viennoiserie

There was a nice selection of pastries available for dessert.

French pastries at the new OpenSkies lounge at Orly airport
French pastries at the new OpenSkies lounge at Orly airport

I would bet that the lounge caterer also provides the in-flight meals on OpenSkies, as several of the food offerings were the same.

Fruit tartare at 212 British Airways Lounge
Fruit tartare at 212 Orly West lounge

The pasta salad with salmon was delicious!

212 Orly West British Airways Lounge
French wine, cheese and salmon pasta salad

You can pour yourself a drink or a glass of champagne at the self-service bar.

You can pour yourself a drink at the self-service bar
The liquor selection at the new lounge at ORY

212 Orly West Lounge Has Modern Furnishings

The seating at the 212 Orly West lounge is comfortable.

Casual seating at 212 Orly West
Casual seating at 212 Orly West

There are electric outlets at each seat to charge your phone and laptop.

The windows are reminiscent of airplane windows
The windows are reminiscent of airplane windows

212 Orly West is a quiet lounge, so there are no announcements of flight boardings.

A Crested Chinese Powder Puff enjoying the amenities
A Crested Chinese Powder Puff enjoying the lounge amenities

As you would expect, there are free newspapers and magazines.

Modern furniture at the new lounge at Orly West
Modern furniture at the new lounge at Orly West

There’s a television in the reception area.

212 Orly West OpenSkies Lounge
Is that a money belt she’s wearing, or . . .

After relaxing for a while, it is time to board the plane.

We could see our airplane from the lounge
View of our airplane from the lounge

Orange is the New Sim Card for Paris

Orange Sim Card
The Orange Holiday Plan provides mobile coverage in Paris.

After dropping our bags off at the hotel, the first thing we did when we arrived in Paris was to head over to the Orange mobile phone store.

My husband and I both have the El Cheapo T-Mobile cell phone plan, which does not offer international coverage.

He has an android, and I have an unlocked iPhone.

For 40 Euros each, we purchased Orange Holiday Sim cards, to give us mobile coverage on our vacation.

Orange Holiday Mobile Phone Plans:  Two Weeks for 40 Euros

The Orange Holiday Sim cards give you access to a prepaid plan good for two weeks.

For 39.99 Euros, you get:

  • a French phone number
  • 120 minutes to call from Europe to the U.S. (and any other country in the world)
  • 1000 texts, from Europe to any country
  • 1GB of mobile internet in Europe
  • Free access to Orange wifi hotspots
  • An option to purchase a top-off card
There are a lot of Orange stores all over Paris.  The technician inserted the Orange sim in my iPhone and checked to make sure it was working properly.  I was good to go!
The feature I was most interested in was mobile internet access.  In most areas, 4G service was the norm on my iPhone.  This was especially convenient for looking up information on the fly, such as transit routes, and museum locations and hours.
For a one-time charge of 40 Euros, we were able to feed our internet addiction while in Paris, yet retain our cheap monthly plan of $30 per month at home.
What’s your mobile solution when traveling abroad?  Please share in the comments below!

Where to Buy Discounted Tickets for Paris Museums

Check Out the Paris Museum Pass
Check out the Paris Museum Pass

Yesterday, I wrote about where to find cheap transit tickets for Paris, France.

Today, I have another travel tip to share.

You may also be able to snag a discounted Paris Museum Pass on Ebay.

I was able to buy two 4-day Paris Museum Passes at about 25 percent off the retail price on Ebay.

Where Does the Paris Museum Pass Offer Free Admission?

These passes provide admission to 60 museums and monuments in Paris and the surrounding area.

With admission at Paris museums averaging about 10 Euros, I am sure we will get our money’s worth out of this baby.  The pass allows you to skip the lines for ticket purchases at the Louvre, and you can visit multiple times with a single pass.

The sites included in Paris are:

Twenty additional  sites around Paris are covered, including Château de Versailles et Trianon and Château de Fontainebleau.

Do not confuse the Paris Museum Pass with the Paris Pass, which is a different product.  If you do a google search for Paris Museum Pass, the Paris Pass is the first listing.  The Paris Pass includes the Paris Museum Pass, a Paris Visite transit pass, and a number of other admissions, and is much more expensive than the museum pass alone.

A purchase of transit or museum passes on Ebay presents some risk, so be sure to verify the seller’s track record before bidding.

Where to Buy Paris Metro Tickets at Half Price

Paris Metro Ticket
Paris Metro Ticket
Image via Wikimedia Commons

I just stumbled upon a way to save big bucks on local transportation costs for our upcoming trip to Paris, France.

Oddly enough, I found a bunch of Paris Metro tickets for sale on Ebay.  I snatched them up for half the going price.

The tickets are good for any Metro ride or bus trip within the city.  It will be reassuring to have a few of these tickets in my pocket when we arrive in Paris.  

This find piqued my curiosity.

Were Paris Metro tickets being sold on Craigslist?  Sure enough!

Even more curious are the number of used Metro tickets up for auction on Ebay.  And the used tickets cost more than the new tickets!

You can even find Paris Metro tickets for sale on Etsy, though only the used variety.

Check Ebay Before You Travel to Paris!

Check Ebay before you travel to Pari
Check Ebay before you travel to Paris

I was fortunate to also find a Paris Visite transit pass for sale on Ebay.  These transportation passes are marketed to tourists who don’t want to deal with buying individual transit tickets.  They are generally overpriced, relative to the Navigo transit passes sold to local residents, or even a standard carnet of ten Metro tickets.

On Ebay however, the Paris Visite passes were discounted by 65 percent!  I paid just $48.50 for two of these transit passes.

The set of passes that I purchased are good for five days, and include travel on buses, light rail, Metro, trams, the funicular, and the monorail from Orly Airport (ORY) to the RER train station or the bus to the city.  They can also be used to ride the train to Versailles!

Airport parking and ground transportation are two of the biggest hidden expenses of travel.  Many Paris guidebooks recommend a taking a taxi to your hotel directly from the airport, just to avoid the hassle of transfers upon arrival.  Public transit can get us to our destination just as fast, plus we are suckers for multi-modal mass transit.

There is an automated monorail — the Orlyval— that runs from the airport terminal at Orly Sud directly to the RER train station at Antony.  From there, we can catch the train to Denfort-Rochereau , where we can transfer to the Metro.  A monorail, light rail, and subway ride is a match made in heaven as far as my husband is concerned!

Airport parking and ground transportation are two of the hidden expenses of travel.  Luckily, I discovered that unused transit passes are available on Ebay at a great discount.

The Paris Visite transit pass also provides discounts to some attractions like the Salvador Dali museum and the boat rides on the Seine.

There is a good article comparing the various transit pass options in Paris on Points and Pixie Dust.

Which Hotel Chain Has the Most Hotels in Paris?

"Paris is Always a Good Idea'  Audrey HepburnNow that our plane tickets to Paris are booked, I need to make some hotel reservations.

To the extent possible, I’d like to leverage my hotel points to book as many free nights as possible.

To that end, I started by exploring availability in the the two programs where I have the most points:  Club Carlson and IHG.

Not surprisingly, award availability for our travel dates was hit or miss.

Which Hotel Chain has the Most Hotels in Paris?

There are quite a few Holiday Inns and other IHG hotels in Paris, but only 4 Club Carlson Radisson Blu hotels.

Are these the best loyalty programs if you are looking for free nights for your Paris holiday?

If you read a number of other travel blogs, you’ve probably heard about the Park Hyatt Vendome, and how you can stay there for free by opening a Chase Hyatt credit card.

There are 2,400 hotels in Paris.  Why do all the bloggers stay at the same place?

On the one hand, I’d really love to stay in a boutique hotel on the Left Bank or the Marais.  On the other hand, I need to economize.

I went to Award Mapper to get a rough count of which chains have hotels that you can book for points in Paris.  I was surprised by what I found.

Best Western Has 42 Hotels in Central Paris

Best Western Hotels in Paris
Best Western Hotels in Paris via Award Mapper

Here are the tallies I came up with for the major hotel chains:

Best Western:  42

Choice:  15

Club Carlson:  4

Hilton:  1

Hyatt:  4

Intercontinental (IHG):  14

Marriott:  9

Starwood (SPG):  4

Wyndham:  2

Best Western has the most properties — 42 hotels in many different neighborhoods in Paris.  Hilton has the fewest — just one hotel.  Hyatt, Starwood, and Club Carlson each have four hotels.

Are you surprised by these results?  Were you able to book award stays in Paris?