Monday, July 29, 2013

Back to Paris Basics - Navigating the Metro


With so many new 'Petite' friends and first timers heading to Paris we have to remember to re-cap the basic essentials and practicalities of Paris ... to help you plan, prepare and book for a smooth arrival and overall experience. better place to start or over than the Metro System!  

 The Paris Metro System - Becoming familiar with the Paris Metro and a Paris Metro map is essential to any Paris visitor. However the map of the Metro may as well be in Greek, if you don’t know basic facts about taking the Paris Metro.

To ride the Paris Metro is a fact of Parisian life. From 5:30 am to 12:30 am every day, the Metro serves 6 Million out of the 10.5 Million citizens of Paris - unless operations get disrupted by a strike of some sort. Barring that, the Metro is so efficiently thought out that you would be hard pressed to walk a quarter mile in any direction without finding a “bouche de métro” (mouth of the metro) and go anywhere your heart desires.

Each subway station has a counter with employees to help you. Subway and bus maps are available in the stations. They are free on request at the counter. Ask for the tourist map because it contains a large map of Paris with the main streets and monuments.

In each subway station a map of the area is always available. Do not hesitate to have a look at it before getting out of the subway, in order to find the direction to your guest room/apartment or sightseeing destination.

Subway maps are also displayed on the platforms and in the station. 

A brief tutorial:
On a Paris Metro map, you’ll see 14 metro lines crisscrossing all over Paris, and complemented by the ever-expanding (RER) suburb-bound Express lines. Metro lines used to be known only by the names of the final stop at each end. For better clarity, lines have been given numbers and colour codes on Paris Metro maps to help you recognise your target lines more easily. One example is Nation – Porte Dauphine (Line 2 - which is the blue line on the map). If you entered a Metro station somewhere in the middle of this line (for example 'Anvers' metro station) and your destination is a stop in the general direction of Porte Dauphine (for example 'Monceau' station), you would look for signs naming the final stop of the line - these signs would lead you to the platform where the blue line is heading in the direction of Porte Dauphine and not in the opposite direction which is Nation.

If your destination is not on your current line, your trip requires a change of lines. On the Paris Metro map, you’d want to identify the line your stop is located on, as well as the final stops at each end of that line. (The ones that give you the name of the line). Then, you’d want to find a station where your current line and the other line cross, so you can switch lines there. That line transfer is called“correspondance”. You’ll see orange correspondance signs inside the stations where these transfers are made. Once your correspondancecompleted, you’ll be on the correct platform and in the right direction. The key is to keep track of the end stations (the name of the line) in the direction where you’re headed. As you approach platforms, a blue sign on the wall will show that name and list your stop among all the stops left in that direction.

The lobby of each Metro station usually has a Paris Metro map electronic itinerary. On it, you locate your metro stop and push the matching button. Your chosen stop and itinerary will light up in a dotted string of all the stations in your trip, including line changes.

We recommend carrying a small paris guide that includes a metro map. Official metro foldout maps are freely handed out at metro stations.

For the purpose of preparing and planning your trip we recommend looking up your itinerary online prior to going out. The Paris transit authority (RATP) has a fancy page that gives you detailed routes for linking any two points you wish, in the Paris region. The itinerary includes the Metro, RER, city buses and even neighborhood maps for the short walk outside. Go to and click on International passengers, then Itinerary.

For online access to the official Paris Metro map, go to and click on International passengers, then Interactive map.

Ticket costs: It is cheaper to buy a booklet of 10 subway tickets (approximately 11 euros) rather than to buy individual tickets (1.60 euro each). Otherwise, there are also weekly, monthly or 3-5 day passes. If you stay at least 4 nights in Paris and do not like to walk, we advise you to take a weekly ticket (15.40 euros for the week from Monday to Sunday). In this case, take an identity photo with you when you buy your weekly ticket and ask for an orange card. Be careful, certain counter employees, certainly commissioned for each sale, will try to dissuade you and try to sell a 5-day tourist card to you. They can tell you that the orange card is only for Parisians or working people. This is incorrect.

One metro ticket costing €1.40 allows you to ride all day on that one ticket as long as you don’t exit the metro. Once you exit a metro station, even if you exit at the wrong stop by mistake, you need a new ticket.

Finally it should be noted that the subway is not dangerous and even if you take the last subway around midnight, you do not have to fear. However, as in all big cities, there are pick-pockets, so never carry too much money or your airplane tickets or passport with you. They will be safer left in your 'Petite Paris' guest house. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Merci Marcello - rustic elegance, a Paris home

If you're looking for a typically Parisian pad, yet with a rustic basic element to it, Marcello's studio in Montmartre is the one!! Only 132euro per night for 2 GUESTS, (BUT IF YOU BOOK THIS JULY - QUICK!! - IT IS ONLY 120euro per night!!! AND ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT) with queen bed, living/dining, kitchenette and bathrooms all in the confines of this traditional haussmann wooden beam, antique artful apartment. 

“We had a great time in Paris, and what a lovely studio! Our host, Marcello was great, available when we needed him, very kind and approachable and he provided us with good information about Paris. The location was great, it was spacious, comfortable and quiet. Marcello's studio is an unexpected quiet and relaxed place in a crowded city and lively neighbourhood. I want to thank too, you've been very kind, approachable and patient. I will recommend Petite PR to friends, and when we want to go to Paris again we know where to look for a place to stay!” Henk Ruiter, July 2013

View Marcellos Apartment HERE
Contact US for availabiltiies and Bookings.

See our other 99 Paris apartments on our website:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

the paris countdown

Dearest friends and followers,
I love Paris. You all know this. I love booking guests into our lovely and utterly unique B&B apartments too. I hope you all know this :) And I wish I could offer special discounts and freebie gifts all the time, year round with every booking, but i can't - sadly! So just a very quick reminder here, that I'm ready and waiting, posting facebook pictures of Paris every 2 seconds (help), answering and making B&B bookings and happily offering our JULY DISCOUNTED RATES special offer - an offer which is ENDING - only 4 days to get in and start saving on your Paris trip. If you are off to Paris, or if you have any friends and family coming to the city of lights, love and cafe culture, let them know about the below DEAL and PETITE GIFT and CONTACT US! Send through your dates in Paris, the offer applies for any dates you are travellin to Paris,  so long as you book this month. So make me happy, let me book book book away in my beautiful Paris, and offer you a special something. Happy Saturday to everyone :)
ps oh and below, a couple of other offers for Sept and Oct (applies to bookings throughout August too ) and a family friendly B&B apartment on Special for stays in Paris from now until November! :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

An Aussie in Paris

An Australian in Paris
My Parisian second life! How it began and 6 ‘Petite’ years on how things have changed in my adopted neighbourhood! 

 (BEWARE: it's LOOOONG! hehe)

Christophe the Crepe Man
There is an old crepe chef who lives above his rustic crepe café on the corner of my apartment block in Montmartre, Paris. He is quirky and peculiar with a small fluff of hair remaining on his crown. He is a typical example that life in Montmartre is as it was, and always will be - simple, slow, routine and tradition reigning supreme, yet with so much richness and depth that can only come from a steep sense of tradition, purpose, quality, hard work and character. He strolls into his shop at the same time every morning, performs the same tasks in the same way, at the same time, to serve the old regulars and return home at the same time to no-doubt perform the same nightly routine of dinner, rest and bed. The same path he takes, the same gestures he makes and the few words he speaks are gruff, abrupt and matter-of-fact. Speaking only when necessary, everything is a statement without explanations and he asks no questions. He prompts no one to order. But in truth he is secretly a sweet man, character-ful, paradoxically full of life.  

Christophe used to look at me with disinterest but over the years I’ve become a familiar face and I suppose I have been ‘accepted’. It takes a long time to be accepted or even recognized as part of the village face in any area of Paris since all are so diverse, populated and changing; but I love that when I walk past on any day now he (along with other locals) will give me a simple quick nod of familiar acquaintance, before turning to his next customer in annoyance. I smile knowing they are about to be taste the best crepes in Paris and wont care one bit about his demeanor – and like Christophe and his Montmartre life, the Crepes never change one bit!

J’arrive (I arrive):
One December afternoon in 2007 I arrived in Paris for the first time. A friend recommended I stay in Montmartre knowing how idealistic and romantic I am about the quaint and typically old world feel of small European villages. I made my way to a B&B apartment that I found by chance online on an unassuming, slightly ‘dodgy’ looking website that normally I would avoid but I followed my first deeper instinct and booked for 1 month.  That apartment has now become my regular little abode in Paris and the owner is my B&B Partner. Since that first year Montmartre village and I have become very close. Returning each Winter for 6 years, observing changes and non-changes in life in each other it’s a beautiful affair. I fell in love with Montmartre that first winter and I keep falling each year.

Meeting Montmartre:
My first impression was simply one of ‘awe’. Beyond my imaginings and expectations it was and still is the quintessential old-world charming, moody, quaint, inspiring and utterly picturesque Paris neighbourhood. What struck me most was that the neighbourhood seemed to offer a haven of peace within such a bustling city, even though still very touristic, the quiet corners and hidden streets offered solace and escape. It’s another world.

My ‘Artist’ Comes Out
There is bohemian spirit in the air. The neighbourhood was an artists inspiration back in the day with many of the French impressionists residing there (one of the Petite Paris apartments is actually the old home of French Impressionist Pissaro) it was when I first arrived and today still very much an artists abode with local painters, who for centuries, have been filling the centre of the ‘Place du Tertre’ offering landscape and self-portraits, as well as the odd rugged artist painting on various corners and laneways around the neighbourhood. Add multiple art galleries, the most famous cabaret venues in Paris and it’s an artistic and cultural feast. These are the images I loved and still love today. Locals exaggerate the artists scene at times but much to the delight of the visitors who only want to see Montmartre in its old artists glory and this is something that I don’t think will ever change, nor would I want it!

Traditional trumps Trendy
Parisians hold fast to their customs, traditions and ideals. This is one of the beauties that I have observed over the years of Montmartre and Paris itself and it only deepens the appreciation I have for the culture, the devotion to art and way of life.

I am continually impressed with the same reliable ambience, way of life and lifestyle  (the attitude of the French) that has not changed one bit, but mostly it’s the strength of the people, the resistance and resilience to remain and retain the same way of life; still going about their village life performing the old rituals and customs as though no time has passed. 

I love the fresh markets and the local epiceries (independent grocery shops) though sadly the number of these have significantly reduced as the chain supermarkets make it harder for the ‘little fish’ to survive.

But the characters of Montmartre are rowdy and tough and resistant to modern day changes. They are survivors and will stick out tradition to the death. And I doubt that traditional epiceries and other types will ever completely die out. The old brasseries and tabacs shops remain the same, as do traditional tea rooms and cafes with their dark wood red leather chair interiors; thankfully!

New discoveries
Each year I’m always surprised to discover more and new nooks and crannies I had not yet discovered in Montmartre. It’s mind-boggling to think but true after all these years I’m still getting to know my neighbourhood. I can easily spend entire days and weeks in this neck of the Parisian woods and admittedly, I often do. Everything you need is there – some of the best restaurants, cafes, bakeries, cinemas, live music venues, clubs, the quaintest and idyllic wine bars, theatres and shows, shopping, museums, parks, secret laneways, secret gardens, the beautiful Montmartre Cemetery, organic fresh markets and more. Im always intrigued to see what new shops, cafes and restaurants open up while I’m away and its fun to try them out, but secretly I am happy that the old traditional and best ‘oldies’ always remain. Such as (GO TO): Creperie Broceliande - go to crepe heaven at this well known creperie place, with it's very quirky owner!

A Food Affair
The best boulangeries/bakeries live in Montmartre. No one knows why, or maybe they do, but the award winners for best baguette, croissant etc each year is always given to the Bakers of Montmartre hill. There must be a village secret. Winning stickers are strung across windows displays and Parisians line up and out the door, down the road to the next corner. Patience is a virtue, it promises the best service when you finally get to the front where staff will treat you as though there is no one else waiting; (another inscribed characteristic of the French folk) and it will get you the best bread. GO TO: Gontran Cherrier, Au Levain D'Anton and Grenier!

Healthy Changes:
A healthy handful of Biologique Natural health food stores open up around Paris in General and again especially in Montmartre. There are a number of organic supermarkets, fresh fruit market and multiple organic bakeries and patisseries. The French have definitely caught on to the health food movement offering new-age’ made baked options as well as traditional. Coquelicot Cafe is an all time and favourite famous sunny cafe/boulangerie using organic wheat.

Coffee o’Clock
For a gastronomic capital, Paris surprisingly had a notorious reputation for serving coffee that was burnt bitter and basically uncared for. But you accepted it as part of the café experience. Interestingly it is Australia’s coffee influence that has lifted Paris out of its slump. Australian owned, operated or bean imported cafes are taking the city by storm. 3 of which are located in Montmartre. Coffee lovers GO TO Black Market, le Bal and Kooka Boora. Paris, meet good coffee, finally!

Iconic places/Landmarks
Le Vrais Paris is an iconic café on the main drag on rue Abbesses. Le ‘Vrais’ meaning ‘the true’ (i.e real) Paris. Always rowdy and full of trendy locals, it’s a typical Parisian brasserie, wooden interior, red leather banquets, and in the most centralized location of Montmartre. It’s a meeting point for Parisians and my regular morning or afternoon coffee.

Pepone - The Butcher on the corner of rue Lepic and rue Abbesses. In fact this corner itself is an iconic spot in Paris connecting everything from the Moulin Rouge district to the Place du Terte and Sacre Coeur. The butcher on the corner spills out onto the footpath and always has a huge swarm of Parisians surrounding, purchasing their meat products. It’s a festive, social and rowdy scene everyday, Parisians at their best. I am always curious to see what the days/weeks specialties are.

The Windmills of Montmartre - only 2 traditional Parisian windmills remain and they are both in Montmartre – one of which is located at the famous Le Moulin de la Galette restaurant - a beautiful corner of the neighbourhood that captures the essence of Montmartre perfectly. Clos Montmartre is the secret last remaining vineyard Paris.

Monday, July 22, 2013

one to come back to

Our lovely B&B guests from Melbourne Victoria, loved our B&B apartment in Montmarte so much they booked it for 6 weeks, and upon returning home, they booked it again in advance for the following year - another 6 weeks!!! B&B84 is their new home away from home! It's my home too, whenever Im in Paris, my 'Petite' favourite :) Scroll down for more images of this private, unique, artful apartment below.

"I have been meaning to get in touch since we got back, but work has taken over! William and I had the most fantastic time in Paris and Herve's apartment was just perfect, as was Herve himself. He was everything you said and we loved his sense of humour!  Montmartre is absolutely beautiful and we enjoyed just spending the odd day here and there walking all around (and up and down the many steps - I loved it!). We are in fact planning to go back for another 6 weeks and as we would like to stay in Herve's apartment again, I thought I'd get in touch to see if it will be available, and when would be the best time to organise a booking" 

Enquire for availabilities:
View this Paris apartment on our website for full details, images and rates HERE

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Paris Travel TIPS

PARIS TRAVEL TIPS Our monthly Paris advice...
This months Travel Tips: Authenticity on a Budget Part 2 -  
FREE Food in Paris (where to find it)!

+ a random selection of new favourite finds around town!



Authenticity on a Budget
You don't have to be spend big to enjoy Paris' local and international delicacies. You don't even have to spend! Here is a list of Paris' FREE Eats! Places that offer free food, if you're around on the right day and right time!
     1. Tribal Cafe:
This Eastern restaurant, with its worn leather benches, has free couscous Friday and Saturday evenings and mould-French fries on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. 2 cour des Petites Ecuries 75010 MAP

2. Le Grenier serves complimentary couscous Saturday nights, September to April starting at 7 p.m. in an inviting setting with live pop and jazz music.  152 rue Oberkampf MAP

 3. Watch for the annual week of FREE wine and food tasting parties (usually July and November) hosted by Le Fooding, a local group and Paris restaurant guide, who organizing various gastronomic events, dedicated to putting the "feeling" back into (French) "food". Website (in French)

4.  Held yearly the second weekend in October (9-13 October 2013) the free Harvest Festival of Montmartre celebrates being the only remaining wine-growing region of Paris with free food tastings, grape-stomping, fireworks, concerts, and a parade. The streets are closed off to cars and its one big foodie and festive heaven. View the website for event details HERE.



Putting on our Pariscope!
Our newest not-so-secret finds  about town!
Breakfast: L'Echappe
A spa/yoga cafe. After a morning at the lovely spa at L'Echappe, have brunch (only weekends) upstairs, for €25 per person for a huge buffet brunch.
64 rue de la Folie Méricourt MAP


Best Burgers in Paris
1. Coffee Parisien
Just steps from the Mabillon metro, this noisy, busy diner is never empty. Famous for it's burgers (and breakfast), it is a bit of a trendy local writers hang out. A typical American diner with a touch of French refinement.
4 rue Princesse, 75006 MAP 

2. L'Eclair - a Cocktail Cafe + Brunch & Burger Bar
 Great breakfasts, famous burgers, even better drinks. This Quintessential Paris Bar has amazing atmosphere, it's criminally comfy you could spend hours there with friends. A custom cocktail list as enticing as its cafe menu 32 rue Cler 75007 MAP

A beautiful place: Bercy Village
Located in the 12th arrondissement, Bercy Village and Park is one Paris destination that is often overlooked and rarely in any guides. Needless to say the crowds are blissfully thin, except for weekends when the P
arisians flock to the strip of cobble-stoned cafe and shopping heaven. The Bercy park is a stunning manicured playground next door and a resting place, full of tranquility and space. A wonderful alternative to the beautiful but crowded Luxembourg or Tuileries.
Metro: Cour St-Emillion MAP

French Comedy and Magic

Did you know?! Apparently Paris has the most number of magic shops in the world apart from Las Vegas?
Le Double Fond - A cosy café-bar with a little theatre underneath. Expect to find nightly shows with a variety of characters: a mentalist, a French cowboy, a mad scientist and a more normal magician, all performing somewhat eccentric but well executed and extremely entertaining magic. Find locals here,  though foreigners receive a warm welcome!
1, place du Marché St Catherine 75004 MAP