Where to stay in Paris and in which area to book my hotel?

stay in Paris and in which area to book my hotel

Paris, its lights, its great restaurants, and its magnificent monuments have always made you dream? If you do not yet know the little secrets of the city, and you plan to settle down soon, here is a small summary of the different neighborhoods and their characteristics that will help find the neighborhood that suits you best. 

Summary: 

The Latin Quarter: the historic charm of the student district

On the left bank, facing Notre Dame, is the Latin Quarter, which radiates with its beauty, history and culture. It is a student district where life is good, where the Parisian stress does not really affect because the streets and monuments are very many inspire calm and grace. Evidence of a rich past is present in the open, as evidenced by the arena of Lutetia, or the ancient walls of Lutetia still visible in the street Lacpede. The Sorbonne, emblematic university of France created in the Middle Ages and the grandes écoles of commerce, welcome students from all over the world and professors who contribute strongly to the warm atmosphere of the district. Libraries, small shops and restaurants are very cheap and will allow you to eat and go out easily without breaking the bank. Rue Mouffetard, pretty paved street that connects the Gobelins to the Pantheon, hosts a very nice market where it is good to stroll on Sunday morning before offering a visit to Notre Dame, the Luxembourg Garden, the Jardin des Plantes, or at the Institute of the Arab World. If you are looking for a little more frenzy, go for a walk on the side of Boulevard Saint Michel: there are books, movies, and vinyls of all kinds in the many cultural shops. If you are a fan of the art world, you will not be able to fall, because the Latin Quarter is home to a multitude of independent cinemas and projects many retrospectives that cities around the world envy us.

Finally, the Latin Quarter is the ideal base in Paris, whether with family, friends, or lovers, everyone will find his account and can enjoy a beautiful setting in everyday life.

Strong points:

A magical setting, monuments everywhere, a soft and warm atmosphere both quiet and festive. It is the dream district for a Parisian stay. The hotels are very numerous, and the restaurants and bars are not overpriced as is the case in the Marais for example.

Weak points:

Few weak points, if not the large number of tourists during the summer, and the rather noisy frenzy of Boulevard Saint Michel and Place Saint-Michel.

Meditation Retreat in India – The Inner Journey

Meditation Retreat in India - The Inner Journey

Today, the fourth day of the retreat, we have finally returned to the heart of the subject: Vipassana meditation. The first three days were just a preparation to strengthen and sharpen the mind. The Vipassana is to actually observe sensations throughout his body, by performing a sort of scanning from the top of the skull to the end of the feet. Sitting cross-legged and with eyes closed, you must review each part of the body, centimeter square per square centimeter, as a scanner could do, and observe all the sensations that emerge without reacting, whether pleasant or unpleasant. This neutrality, this detachment from the sensations observed, is what is called equanimity, a word very little used in French, but a very important concept in Buddhism. I will come back to it later. This is a notion that is best understood as the meditation retreat progresses.

From that moment, I have the impression to discover a new dimension of life. The meditation takes the form of a real inner journey, where as an explorer, I go to the discovery of sensations in every part of my body. It’s really different from what you can feel by playing sports, love or any other physical activity since you stay still and do nothing. In appearance at least, because even motionless, our body is actually very active and there is a lot going on, be it breathing, heartbeat, digestion, circulation of blood … A real factory to which we often pay so little attention. A force of work and training, it is a new universe that one discovers.

However, the eleven hours of daily meditation continue to seem endless. It’s hard to stay focused on observing your feelings all this time. The first three days my mind was bombarded with thoughts about my future. Now it is on my past that I reflect. To deceive the boredom, I remake in my head all the film of my life since my childhood until today. I go through all my memories: my school years, my family, my friends, my studies, my different jobs, my love life, my travels … I make a balance sheet on what I liked, not liked, succeeded , not successful, my qualities, my faults … I am conscious of not completely respecting the rules of retirement, since when I think I do not meditate, but I need too much to occupy my mind. Meditating almost 11 hours a day is above my abilities. Thinking is finally the only freedom, the only breach of the rules, that I can discreetly grant myself, since I have the right to speak, write, read or play sports, or nothing at all to tell the truth … Thinking becomes my only leisure.

A novelty in the planning: at certain times of the day you can choose to meditate alone in a cell, rather than stay in the common room. Cells of 2m2, with an opening at the top that lets in some light. At first, I take this as a liberation! Nobody to watch us if we follow the right position. I can sit cross-legged, leaning against the wall to relieve my back; I even use it to sleep, lying curled up on two cushions that I recovered in a shed. But over the days I have less and less desire to sleep. I was tired at first but not anymore. I begin to depress sitting alone in my cell. I imagine what prisoners or hostages held in such a small space might have felt. In fact, I realize I’m complaining for not much. My safety is not threatened, I am fed my fill, and I know that all this ends soon. I can not imagine what those who have lived through this for years have endured.

Finally I prefer to meditate in the common room. The presence of the group gives me more motivation. The instructions for meditation are always the same: observe his feelings from head to toe, while remaining as impassive as possible, that these sensations are pleasant or unpleasant. I must say that it is rather the “unpleasant” that dominates, with the pain that persist in the knees, legs, back, by dint of sitting all day. Especially since on the fifth day, a new rule adds to the exercise a little more. Now you have to be able to sit for an hour sitting cross-legged without moving and without opening your eyes. It’s an hour long without being able to move. It’s called “sitting with strong determination”: sit down with a strong determination. An exercise also intended to strengthen his spirit. At first it’s difficult. At the end of a quarter of an hour I have the circulation which cuts in the feet, I am obliged to extend the legs. Then I can hold half an hour, then three quarters of an hour. It’s an audio tape that tells us that an hour has passed and we can finally get up. We must meditate without opening our eyes, so impossible to look at the time. As I go along, I develop the awareness of passing time while keeping my eyes closed. A few minutes away, I know we’re at 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes … It’s an audio tape that tells us that an hour has passed and we can finally get up. We must meditate without opening our eyes, so impossible to look at the time. As I go along, I develop the awareness of passing time while keeping my eyes closed. A few minutes away, I know we’re at 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes … It’s an audio tape that tells us that an hour has passed and we can finally get up. We must meditate without opening our eyes, so impossible to look at the time. As I go along, I develop the awareness of passing time while keeping my eyes closed. A few minutes away, I know we’re at 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes

Where to stay in Kyoto 4 cheap and typical Japanese hotels

stay in Kyoto 4 cheap and typical Japanese hotels

Japan has a reputation as an expensive country, but nevertheless it is still possible to travel there without breaking the bank. To reduce the budget spent on accommodation, I propose a list of four cheap hotels in Kyoto (from 15 to 30 euros per night for low season rates). They are all equally typical, Japanese style, because it is a shame to travel to Japan by sleeping in impersonal hotels that could be found anywhere else in the world. I spent ten days in Kyoto and I will give you all my tips in a future article. Warning: if you go to Kyoto during cherry blossom, the hotels are full well in advance and the prices are much higher.

A capsule and spa hotel

The Centurion Capsule & Spa is one of my favorite hotels in Kyoto. A mix between a capsule design hotel and a spa with a jacuzzi and sauna area, modeled on Japanese onsen, the thermal baths. Very new (opened in 2016), this is a very clean property with English speaking staff at the front desk. There are several ranges of comfort for capsules and it is also possible to book family rooms for 4 or 6 people. There are mixed floors, and others reserved for men or women. Rates start from 2,500 yen per night and per person (about 21 euros)

Common room on the ground floor, wifi throughout the hotel and coin launderette. One can put his valuables in coded lockers and leave his suitcase in front of his capsule. Located in the basement with the spa area, the showers are separate men / women: you have to undress in the locker room and go naked, like the jaccuzi and sauna. This is the same principle as in the Japanese onsen, the thermal baths.

Most:

  • Very good situation on Shijo-dori, between Karasuma and Kawaramachi railway stations, and very close to Nishiki market, a district with lots of restaurants and bars to go out at night.
  • The spa area open until 1am. A real pleasure to swim in the evening in the jacuzzi with massage jets. As in the onsen, the water is enriched with radium, which gives it therapeutic virtues.
  • A yukata , a kind of light kimono, is provided free of charge for the duration of the stay. You can put it down to take a shower at the spa. Typical Japanese experience guaranteed!
  • Full of beauty products are provided, including shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, skincare oil, toothbrush, hair dryer, and even straightener …
  • Luggage storage free. I was able to leave my suitcase there for two days to go to Osaka.

The least:

  • The capsules are not very well soundproofed . They are closed with a thin sliding wall and you hear the sounds of passage and the neighbors snoring.
  • There is little room to store his belongings . You must leave your suitcase or backpack in the hallway.
  • The capsules are a bit ventilation . Better not to be claustrophobic, but that’s the lot of all capsule hotels.

⇒  Book a stay at the Centurion Cabin & Spa Kyoto

The Kyoto Ryokan Capsule is an interesting mix between two types of typical Japanese accommodations: the capsule hotel and the ryokan, the traditional Japanese inns. You can sleep in a capsule with a tatami floor. It is a rather upscale capsule hotel, with very comfortable capsules and a good mattress. There are bathrooms and individual showers. You can also book private rooms with futon for those who want more privacy. Rates start from 3,500 yen (approx. 30 euros) per person per night. The hotel is located next to JR Kyoto Station. It’s a plus if you arrive and leave by train, and it’s convenient to take public transport to visit Kyoto and the surrounding area, but it’s a bit sad as well

5 tips for choosing a good hotel in New York

5 tips for choosing a good hotel in New York

For the best stay in New York, the choice of hotel is far from trivial. Here are my tips for making the right choice!A room at the Cambria Hotel, a beautiful address in the heart of Midtown.

If I propose you this article it is not without reason: at the beginning of November 2017, a young couple going on holiday in New York launched a call for help on our Facebook group Destination New York … Sophie and her friend had reserved to Blue Moon Hotel, an establishment that turned out to be absolutely despicable: “It’s a disaster! Sophie says, “It’s a dormitory with cockroaches !!!! Fortunately, thanks to the mobilization of the group, they were able to find a much more suitable hotel and enjoy New York. To avoid such a mishap, here are my 5 tips!

1 / Follow the recommended hotels

  • To choose a good hotel with your eyes closed, you can first follow the list of  recommended hotels in New York . This list includes hotels that enjoy excellent feedback from the blog team and members of the forum. The list goes from 2 * to 5 * to cover all budgets.
  • This list is obviously updated regularly, as and when feedback from each.

2 / Consult the reviews!

  • Before you book a hotel, check the web to see what people are saying! In particular, you can find the opinions of New York Forum members in the hotel tests section .
  • And if you do not find an opinion on a hotel that interests you, do not hesitate to send a call on the forum, in the Questions section before leaving for New York .

3 / Beware of prices too low

  • In terms of hospitality, the rule is simple in New York: the higher the prices, the higher the quality is at-go, and vice versa. A hotel at 50 € per night will never offer you the same services as a hotel at 150 € per night. If the price is unduly too low, it is because there is an eel under rock!
  • It is therefore necessary to compare prices to have a general market trend when you book. This will allow you to locate the hotels in relation to each other.

4 / Privilege a good location

  • For a good stay in New York, I advise you to choose the location of your hotel with care. If this is your first time in New York, I highly recommend choosing a hotel in Manhattan, the heart of New York.
  • The advantage of having a hotel in Manhattan is two-fold: you will live in the heart of the action, with New York at the bottom of the building, and, given the dense subway system in Manhattan, you’ll be necessarily close to a metro station. The ideal to discover New York!

5 / Contact the hotel in case of question

  • If you have any doubt about the hotel you intend to choose, do not hesitate to contact reception, by e-mail or by phone. This will allow you to remove any doubt, for example on the bathroom, the view, the location. Prevention is better than cure ! If the hotel is unable to respond to your requests, beware.
  • By contacting the hotel in advance, you can also request a room that will best meet your expectations, be it high floor or with views or quiet.

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HOW TO CHOOSE A HOTEL WITHOUT A BAD SURPRISE WHEN TRAVELING?

CHOOSE A HOTEL WITHOUT A BAD SURPRISE WHEN TRAVELING

For many people, choosing a hotel is simply part of preparing for a trip, it’s a decision like any other, just like buying a plane or train ticket! After all, what matters is what you do in the city you visit, right?

In reality, not quite! Good accommodation can make your trip even more enjoyable … and a bad experience can ruin your stay. This is worth asking the question: how to choose a hotel?

The choice of the hotel, essential for a successful trip

You may not realize it but choosing a quality hotel allows you, for example, to feel welcome , to start the day with a hearty breakfast, to have a good night’s sleep that allows you to better enjoy your days, to ask you at night in a comforting cocoon, to receive lots of tips and tricks to enjoy your stay … Small things, in itself … but that do a lot of good when we think back to his trip as a whole !

Conversely, poor accommodation can ruin your vacation.

I remember staying with a friend in a youth hostel when I was a student, the staff treated the travelers as no-goers and I was treated to a great “Slutty thing, move your bag” then I was queuing down the hall outside the front desk for check-in. I still remember it and I remember how much it hurt me and ruined my holiday.

Choosing a mediocre hotel is sometimes a bad night’s sleep because the neighborhood or the neighbors are noisy, ending up in front of the door late at night because the reception is closed and the night watchman does not answer, having a smell of pipes in the room or a bed of dubious hygiene, dying of hot or cold for lack of being able to regulate the heating or the air conditioning …

I even had some funny anecdotes : for example, I stayed in a hotel where the toilet bowl had been installed too close to the door, it was literally twisting to enter the room ^^

It’s been a long time since I made a “bad choice” so I’m going to share with you some tips learned along the way to find the perfect hotel !