Special Offer: August 28 to September 4 - only 100 euros/night!
There isn't an apartment in Paris more charming and cheerful...ask all who have had the pleasure of staying here. "Le Provençal" studio is located on the quiet courtyard of a very charming 18th-century building in the heart of Le Marais. It is completely equipped in spite of its size with a king size bed that converts to twin beds, a washer/dryer, espresso maker, microwave, toaster-oven, two-burner ceramic stove, refrigerator, high speed Internet with WiFi, flat screen TV, DVD player, stereo, free(!) long distance phone service and more! Ask about our special offer August 28 to September 4!
"Le Provençal is bright and welcoming each day that we returned from a sojourn through this beautiful city. The neighborhood is friendly and interesting. We had so much fun and will always remember this special trip. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to stay in such a lovely place." --Delta M & Christine G., Sacremento, CA
The ferry to Ile Rousse in Corsica left from Nice Port. It's really easy -- even if you can't find anyone who can give you the right information! SNCM is about as user-unfriendly as SNCF -- the online confirmations of our tickets gave no instructions whatsoever as to where the boat was leaving from or how far in advance one must board. And by phone to their offices, their personnel was no more better informed. Fortunately, the SCNM office in Nice was only one block away from "Le Matisse" and someone there provided a bit better information, but not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
So, should you ever ferry to Corsica, just know that unless you are taking a car on (the reason most people ferry rather than fly), you don't need to board much more than 30 minutes ahead. There was no inspection of luggage -- only an inspection of passports (unstamped). The port has several ferries, often leaving about the same time, but a reader board outside will tell you at what "terminal" yours is docked. (Yes, they call it a "terminal" and not a "wharf" or "pier.")
Boarding is effortless and it wasn't to difficult to find our lounge chairs. Along the way on the blue waters, a whale caused a stir for everyone to come see and a duo of gymnasts entertained the passengers on an upper deck. The ferry was a 5.5-hour smooth and uneventful excursion.
Upon arrival, the Hertz car rental office located in the Hotel Isula Rossa just near the port was closed for lunch...of "Corse." No worries -- our first lunch in Ile Rousse was overlooking the port with glasses of rosé all round. One car awaited us in the tiny lot behind the hotel and within minutes, we were installed and off on our Corsican adventure.
Like with the recent Costa Rica excursion, I booked a hotel online knowing little about it, but pleasantly surprised. While the Hotel de la Plage Santa Vittoria will not match up to a "Parler Paris or Parler Nice Apartment" for luxury or amenities, the location was as perfect as it gets -- right on the sea at Algajola a few kilometers from Ile Rousse. It's a small town founded in 1800, but evidenced to have been here during prehistoric times. Originally a Roman port, the castle and ruins sit high above the stunning stretch of beach of crystal clear shallow water and "Corse" white sand. East of Algajola is the "canton" of Calvi, the seat of the "arrondissement" which includes Ile Rousse, Belgodère and Calenzana and legend has it that Christopher Columbus came from Calvi, which at the time was part of the Genoese Empire.
There is a row of hotels and restaurants at Algajola providing a better than perfect place to spend a day at the beach without for want of anything.The water at Algajola is warm, calm, shallow, and ideal for rafting. At times, three of us would raft out into the sea and float for an hour or more, joking all the while about all the "heavy rafting" we were doing. We spent 1.5 days on this beach before venturing out to the others nearby for all the obvious reasons -- it was idyllic in every sense of the word.
In the towns of Ile Rousse and Calvi we dined in the warm evenings and did a bit "heavy shopping" on the cobblestoned streets -- buying parasols for the beach, big straw hats and the "accoutrements" that make a beach vacation excel. The towns are picture perfect, and not so touristy as to resemble Disneyland. In fact, one of the things of which we were acutely aware was the level of quality of everything. The tourists are primarily Italian and French -- you hear little English in any accent and the behavior is quiet, subtle and polite. They are upper middle class, dressed nicely, but not extravagantly or showy. They are quiet spoken, refined and not aggressive. Each visit to Corsica confirms my appreciation for the kind of tourists within which we are surrounded.
On the beaches, a few women are topless -- more the older women who have been baring their breasts since their youth and don't seem to care that they aren't very 'perky' anymore. For the young, it's "passé" and therefore there are fewer. The men are not in boxers, but in "Speedos" and there is virtually no obesity with only a few even overweight, which seems reserved for the over 60 year-olds.
A large older woman sitting next to us on the "transats" (beach chaise lounge chairs) -- whose 'itty bitty teeny weeny pink bikini' covered nothing of her large mammaries which hung in our faces from time to time as she leaned over to adjust her chair -- told me in perfect English (although she also spoke Italian and French as perfectly), that she had been coming to Algajola for 20 years every August and never left that beach. I'd venture to guess that she must have had those particular "chaises" from early on.
In Ile Rousse we dined at a seaside restaurant literally on the sand where we could take off our flip-flops and bury our feet in the white fine powder. In Calvi our restaurant choice was dead center in the town's little square with an old church looming overhead. The food at the tourists restaurants is 'nothing to write home about,' but the Corsican "charcuterie" and cheeses, not to mention the excellent rosé wines pale in color are delicacies on which you can depend to be exceptional. There are also "moules" (mussels) on almost every menu. On Sunday we had a seafood Paella at a beachside restaurant 'to write home about.' The beaches all have nice restaurants at which one can have a respectable lunch like a "mensch" (adult) before going back to the beach for the ultimate lazy experience...and that is what we were for four full days...OF CORSE.
Tomorrow we ferry back to Nice and then immediately head to the train to Paris -- it will be a long day of travel, but relaxing and a time for reflection. By Wednesday morning you'll be hearing from me from what I hope is NOT "Gray Paree."
P.S. Parler Paris Apartments Le Provençal -- Special Offer: August 28 to September 4 - only 100 euros/night! There isn't an apartment in Paris more charming and cheerful...ask all who have had the pleasure of staying here. "Le Provençal" studio is located on the quiet courtyard of a very charming 18th-century building in the heart of Le Marais. Contact us today to take advantage of this special offer: email email@example.com.
Parler Paris Après-Midi
At every Après-Midi, a guest speaker of note will come to talk about a topic of interest and then open the floor for questions and discussion.
Francisco Leiva, Tango Instructor and Master Performer
"It Takes Two to Tango"
Francisco Leiva is an actor, dancer, director, choreographer and playwright living in Paris who is an accomplished teacher of contemporary dance and physical theater. Francisco will talk about how he started to dance and why, and the aspects of dancing that he applies to his life. He will discuss the fundamentals of the dance and how anyone can learn to tango and love it -- and will demonstrate some steps. He will also share some special places to visit in Paris that promote the culture of tango. There will be time for questions and answers. Come to watch or participate!
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 and the second Tuesday of every month 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Upstairs at La Pierre du Marais, on the corner of rue des Archives and rue de Bretagne, 3rd. Métro Lines 9, 3 et 11, stations Temple, République or Arts et Métiers
From leading hundreds of tour visitors around the City of Light since 2004 (Nuit Blanche Tours), we know people are staying in many different areas of the city so our walks are sorted by arrondissement (district). We also know that visitors have certain budgets and have an idea in mind of the kinds of shopping experiences they wish to have so our walks also cover a variety of price ranges and fulfill different types of experiences. There is something to suit every taste and budget!
Learn about discount shopping, Les Grands Magasins, pedestrian streets filled with boutiques and shops, and much more!
Written by Karen Henrich, author of Practical Paris and founder of Nuit Blanche Tours, Paris Shopping will help you make the most of your shopping trip to the City of Light!
Practice speaking French and English. Make friends, discuss interesting topics, learn about other cultures, progress in understanding and speaking, naturally and easily. Meets three times a week -- come as often as you like!
Join us for the annual La Rentrée Party on September 15th after the session at Lutèce Langue.
Special offer that day: 12 sessions for the price of 10, and 24 sessions for the price of 20.
Light lunch and drinks will be provided for free if you register that day, otherwise the lunch is 10 euros.
Note: Parler Parlor will be reopening on September 4th.
Until that time, practice your French or English at free open house style meetings on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. at Coolin's pub, 15 rue Clément, in the Marché Saint Germain, 6th arrondissement.
Enhance Your Stay in the City of Light Customized Concierge Services from Parler Paris Plus
Make the most of your stay in the City of Light and leave the details to us! Guests of Parler Paris Apartments can take advantage of the many customized services we offer…from restaurant reservations to full-day touring itineraries, tickets to special events or planning that special occasion, the list is endless! And don’t hesitate to ask for something NOT on the list – almost anything is possible!