Friday, August 30, 2013

Where to stay in Paris: Paris hotels and accommodations

Because Paris is a popular tourist destination there are many hotels to choose from. Where you stay will depend on many factors such as: budget, preferences, length of stay and travel plans. I would recommend booking your accommodations in advance for the best deals.

Do your research:
Booking a hotel online is very simple; I use trusted sites like Expedia for my bookings. I also take the time to check out  sites like Trip Advisor to read reviews on the hotels. Many hotel photos and information may not always be up to date, on Trip Advisor and Expedia travelers often post photos of the hotels and review the rooms and amenities. This gives you a good idea of what to expect and will alert you of any major problems not disclosed by the hotel.

 Paris is separated into 5 zones or areas. If you want to stay in central Paris then look for hotels in zone 1-3. The closer you stay to zone 1 the closer you are to the heart of the city. Zone 5 is the suburb area and the location of the airport. Knowing this will help you narrow down your hotel preferences.

Some of the things I look at when booking a hotel are:
* Good location (close to stores, shopping, food, entertainment and in a good neighborhood)
*Reviews and recommendations
*Service Reputation
*Star rating
*Safety and security
*Close to public transportation (if I am not renting a car)
*Amenities (air conditioning, Wireless internet, pool etc...)
*Inclusion of breakfast
*Free calls
*Free Airport transportation

Things to consider:
Teeny tiny:
When booking a hotel in Paris expect smaller sized rooms and bathrooms, and take the exchange rate into consideration. I also noticed that quite a few hotels did not have elevators (not great on hot summer days); and the hotels that do have very tiny elevators. Not all hotels in Paris have air conditioning so if this is important to you on hot days then make sure you contact the hotel or property and find out if the Ac is in working order.

Go for comfort:
If it makes you more comfortable to stick to a hotel chain you are accustom to, then do so. There are Best Westerns, Hiltons, Sheraton and other well known chains in Paris. I found that many of the North American hotel chains had larger and more spacious rooms. If you are going to book with an unfamiliar chain or private residence then make sure to confirm all your preferences in writing, you don’t want to get there and find out it wasn't what you expected.

Location, location, location:
Usually the closer you get to major sites and attractions the higher the cost of accommodations. Before you depart research the modes of transportation and the ease of access from where you are staying.

The comforts of home:
If you are staying for more than 4 days or you are traveling with family or a group of friends consider renting an apartment and splitting the costs. You will get more for your money and have a few more of the comforts of home like a kitchen and household appliances.

Vacation in Paris: Apartment Review
Where I stayed in Paris:  Apt Paris Hilton on Avenue de Suffren
I decided to rent a fabulous apartment for my week long stay. Here are some photos and a review.

*Great location: 3 minute stroll to the Eiffel Tower! 
*Amazing building security, very safe
*Close to the metro, grocery store, restaurants, shops and entertainment
* Upscale furnishing and spacious (for Paris standards)
*Sleeps up to 4
*Air conditioning
*Elevators (large for Paris standards)
*Full kitchen (fridge, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, all cutlery and dishes, coffee maker)
*Dining room
*FREE local calls
*FREE calls to North America
*High speed internet
*Lots of information about the metro and sight seeing, they have a book where guests of the apartment write travel suggestions to future guests which is very helpful!
*Great bakery next door
*Manager (Tania) was very nice and extremely helpful
*Complimentary bottle of wine
*They sent us maps, a discount card and tourism info prior to our arrival
*There were small touches like fresh towels, coffee, a few spices for cooking, European adapters and cords for appliances, slippers, flat irons, blow dryer, dish soap etc

*No housekeeping during your stay
*There are a lot of rules to follow because the apartment is in a residential building. You can't make any loud noises at all, you can't even speak loudly or the neighbors may complain!
*The flooring in the apartment is woven bamboo like material and it hurts your feet so you have to wear slippers or socks. Also it smells a bit unpleasant. 
*The shower curtain lining during our stay was in need of replacing
*The toilet is in a separate small room and there is no sink in there
*The shower head was in the middle of the tub which made it awkward
*They need to provide better instructions for the AC (how to remove the water cartridge) and better instructions for the microwave/oven
*The windows did not have screens so when you open them bugs fly in

Would I recommend staying in this apartment? Yes! I had a fabulous stay and I liked the apartment. You can walk to the Eiffel Tower in a couple minutes which was a major selling point for me. For more info on this hotel visit: Vacation in Paris

Check out my other  posts on Paris HERE

Protecting your blog and website content from theft

If you read my previous post on Facebook theft then you know that my blog logo and name was used to create an unauthorized Facebook page which I am still in the process of getting shut down. In the meantime I thought I would do this post to inform my fellow bloggers and website owners on some of the tips I have learned to protect your content from copyright infringement. We all work hard to snap the perfect photographs and create interesting written content so when someone decides to take what belongs to you it is reason enough to throw a fit of rage and take action.

Disclaimer and copyright restrictions:
One of the first things you can to do to protect your content is to create a disclaimer and copyright notice for your website. Be sure to make it clear and detailed. Let people know exactly how they are allowed to use your content (including photos and videos). Add a copyright notice to your website name as well so people don't think it is up for grabs. Copyright formats can be found online but I used this format:

Copyright © Erica Davis Diary of a Trendaholic 2013
All rights reserved

I also have a copyright notice on the footer of my blog that is displayed on every page. This is also recommended.

To see my disclaimer and copyright information to give you an idea of what to include in your own please go to: Dairy of a Trendaholic Disclaimer and Copyright 

Watermarking your photos is also important and very simple. I will admit that I have been very lazy when it comes to doing this, especially when I am blogging out of the country. One reason I regret not watermarking all of my photos is because once your content is posted on the internet it is out there for good and there isn't very much you can do to control it. Even if you go back and watermark a photo the original could still be out there. Also if you are posting photos on social media sites like Twitter and Tumblr use the watermark image as photos can be taken from these sources as well.

For photos on your site you can also disable the right click option to make it harder for people to take them. Instructions for this is online.

Digital Millennium Copyright ACT:
If your content is involved in a copyright infringement then Blogger, Wordpress and some other social media sites like Facebook and Tumblr do have complaint forms you can submit pertaining to the infringement. These sites use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or the DMCA. If your content is found to be stolen then legal action can be pursued and steps can be taken to remove your content from the offending site. 

Register with the DMCA for free:
The DMCA also has a FREE protection badge that you can register for and place on your website by going to: DMCA free badge registration. This badge helps protect your content from theft and fight against copyright infringement online. If your content is stolen the free account allows you one take down per year. The paid protection plan allows you more options. Placing the badge on the footer of your site protects all of your pages and registering for the badge also allows you to scan the net to see if your content is being used.
My badge can be found at the bottom of this blog on the footer.

Free Copyright:
There are some sites that offer free copyright services but I haven’t found one with terms I like so my own will suffice for now.

I hope you found this helpful. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most well known and largest churches in the world. It is also associated with the hunchback of Notre Dame myth and has movies based upon it. The church also has a crypt located beneath it. My favorite thing about this church was not only the design but the colorful stained glass windows that looked beautiful in the sunlight.

This is the river that runs alongside the church, cruises pass along here daily and there are also restaurants along the banks.

The lock bridge
The lock bridge close to the church is where lovers go to lock their love away and bind their souls. This idea was created years ago and now couples and lovers from far and wide come to this bridge to attach a lock and commemorate their love. The bridge also has many engraved locks with the names of the couples, love notes and poems.

A special thanks to The Photography Daily for adding this post to their leisure section today.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The France Daily

I want to give a special thanks to The France Daily for including me in their Monday's issue under the leisure section. They included my post on Chateau de Versailles and I hope everyone enjoyed the photos. You can find the edition by clicking: The France Daily  and scrolling to the bottom to see my post.
I found out about it on the Twitter page My Blogworld, if anyone wants to check them out you can click HERE

Thanks again, I loved France!

Miley Cyrus twerking her way into backlash

Many of you saw the controversial performance Miley Cryrus gave at the MVA’s when she lizard tongued the audience and twerked her way into a whole slew of backlash. People were shocked, appalled and even furious at the young stars erratic and inappropriately lewd behavior.

Was I shocked by her performance? No, and the reason being is not because I agreed with it but because women behaving in that manner to illicit public attention isn't a new concept. Women are exploited in the media all the time; so much so that the public may be desensitized to all the skin. What I found disturbing was the fact that such a young woman felt the need to stoop to that level to gain attention and create an image for herself. Many people viewed the performance as an indecent failure and an atrocity, but Miley got the buzz she craved and even seems proud of all the press she has twerked up.

Robin Thicke used a similar tactic for his music video Blurred Lines when he used the women in the video to stir up controversy and attention, so he isn't an innocent twerking bystander.

 It is bad enough that women are being exploited by other people, organizations, men and even themselves. At some point women have to take responsibility for the choices they make. Women should care about how they are viewed and how their actions affect other women and girls because when you change the way the world perceives women, it changes the way the world treats women. As boundaries are pushed so is the behavior and attitudes of the people exposed to this culture. 

My dad said it very simply, “respect yourself and others will do the same.”

What did you think of Miley's performance?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chateau de Versailles

Chateau de Versailles, the former residence of the French royal family is another MUST SEE stop if you are visiting Paris. This chateau is beautiful and the grounds and gardens are spectacular and extremely large. From Paris Versailles is a 20 minute train ride from the Eiffel Tower area and the train ride back to the city is free.

This is the view leading up to the chateau's front gates

This is the front of the chateau but the photo doesn't quite capture how large it is.

The beautiful front gate

The chapel located in the chateau was also where weddings took place.

I love that there are paintings on the ceilings, every room has so much to look at.

This chateau has a lot of gold detailing.

This room is called the Hall of Mirrors, it was my favorite room in the chateau because of the beautiful ceiling and all of the crystal chandeliers.

Below is a photo of a painting I liked because it shows off the time period. As I strolled through the chateau I could imagine what life was like and in my case what fashion was like in that era. Most of the paintings I encountered in the chateau and other museums that we visited like the Musee d'orsay consisted of paintings that were a bit disturbing to me. Many of them depicted a clash of violence and eroticism. There were also many paintings of war, heaven, hell and the afterlife.

This hall was lined with photos of the time period. Mostly depictions of battle scenes and war.  

In this photo you can see a portion of the back of the chateau.

The gardens at Versailles are so extensive that you can opt to take a train, rent a golf cart and even a kayak to explore them. We decided to rent a golf cart because we did not have the energy to do any more walking.

This is a photo of the back lawn and garden.

This is another back view of the chateau

This was a room in separate house on the grounds of the chateau, there were a few other houses on the grounds belonging to the royal family of France.

Bed chamber

I hope you enjoyed the photos!
For more of my posts on traveling Paris and photos please visit my travel page HERE

Friday, August 23, 2013

Arc de Triomphe: Arc of Triumph Paris

The Arc de Triomphe is a famous symbol and attraction in Paris; it represents the fallen soldiers who passed away during The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars and stands in the center of Place Charles de Gaulle. It looms above the street and boasts an amazing view of the city below.

One thing that impressed me about Paris is the abundance of landmarks, monuments, museums and history. It seems that every corner you turn has something to look at and is filled with life and bustling with people. If I could capture every street in a photo I would.

I think the monument does have an elevator but able bodied people are required to take the stairs. It is a long way up the winding stairs but the view is worth the effort.

Under the arc

This is the view once you get to the top of the arc

Tomb of a fallen soldier

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Acadamie Nationale de Musique: Paris Opera House

If you ever plan to visit Paris and do some sightseeing then this is one building I would advise you not to miss. The Paris Opera house is by far one of the most beautifully detailed buildings I have ever seen. I was in constant awe at how grand the building was and it made me want to travel back to that time period just to experience what it would be like to attend an opera. This Opera house is still operational so the next time I visit I would love to get all dressed up and take in a show. I just had to share these photos with everyone because they are magnificent.

This is the ceiling 

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