Eau de Paris

Tap water in Paris is not only safe, it's delicious!
In Paris water is a human right, intended to be appreciated by the masses for FREE!

Drink EAU DE PARIS with pride.

In fact Paris water is the most highly controlled product produced in the city.

It's a source of pride for the mayor, as well as the citizens.
Paris water has it's own marketing campaigns always featuring cutting edge designers and artists. Run your cursor over the EAU DE PARIS header and appreciate their magic on their website
dedicated to nothing other than Paris water.

Fresh Springs

Four underground springs are the source of the majority of Paris water.
It's clean, healthy and yummy.
Need I say more?

Wallace Fountains

Dehydration is the number one cause for illness when traveling. Hydrating with good clean water is the best way to fight jet lag.
Paris actually has 108 public fountains where city water runs continually. Simply hold out your willing water bottle under the stream to carry this life source
with you wherever you go.

"Une Carafe d'Eau S'il Vous Plait."

Don't be fooled, water is always FREE at restaurants. Now, it does happen now and again that tourists walk into a restaurant and get duped. Here's what you need to know ...
If it looks like you don't know French, then they'll assume that you don't know their customs, therefore, if you order, "Water, Please." They'll most likely bring out a bottle of water and add it to your tab. If you order like a Parisian you'll say, "Une carafe d'eau, s'il vous plait." and they'll bring you tap water in a pitcher without hesitation.
On the right, you'll see a restaurant that has decided to charge by the glass. They can do this legally but it must be printed on the menus and posted visibly inside and outside the restaurant.
I might add that fancy restaurants make an exception to this delightful rule. If you are paying more than 10 euros for your main dish, they will only serve you bottled water - on the grounds that it is more classy.

Souvenir Water

You may have probably heard of Evian bottled water, but did you know that Evian is a city in France with fresh spring water on tap? If you go to visit you will find that the water running through the pipes is the same quality as the water they market in bottles.
So, why haven't you heard of Paris brand water? Maybe because Evian has amazing marketing plan. Maybe Paris water will be the next big fashion. While you're in Paris you may want to take home a unique souvenir, this carafe conceived by the fashion designer Frédérique Daubal is intended to be sold to Parisians and refilled endlessly with EAU DE PARIS. You can pick one up at a shop near the Louvre called Machupichu 4, rue des Pyramides, and at a shop not far from Notre Dame called La Marchande de Couleurs 10, rue Lagrange.


Fly Liquid Free

I have just discovered the most amazing invention, and I'm totally addicted. You're going to laugh ... it's Solid Shampoo! It's actually not a new invention at all, it's just that recently it's become more fashionable and so we are seeing it more.
Not only is it practical, it's also ecological - one bar of soap is equivalent to three bottles of shampoo!
So this new little fascination of mine has got me thinking... Somewhere in history we switched from solid shampoo, to liquid because it was more marketable. As a frequent traveler I have become aware of the hassles of traveling with liquids (carry-on restrictions, and spills within checked-in bags, not to mention the overall weight of liquid products). So, as you see, I'm sold on this product, at home and away. And, while the shampoo discovery is the purpose for this post, I thought it would be fun and useful to remind my readers of the wide variety of the other liquid free cosmetics that exist - just in case you're thinking about starting a liquid-free fetish!

Solid Shampoo
Godiva Solid Shampoo $9.25

Good Old Fashioned Bar Soap
Demon in the Dark Soap $7.50

Solid Lipstick (no lip gloss please!)
Long Last Soft Shine Lipstick $14.oo

Cake Mascara
Paula Dorf's Cake Mascara $20.00

Foundation Pressed Powder
Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder $19.00

Loose Powder
Blended Face Powder and Brush $19.00

Deodorant Powder
Coconut Deodorant Powder $7.65

Cake Deodorant
T'EO Deodorant $8.15

Tooth Paste
Peppermint Tooth Powder $4.53


Buttes Chaumont Parc

Hills, cliffs, streams and waterfalls ... you won't believe you're in Paris!


This is our favorite park to picnic in. You'll never be bothered by park rangers asking you to stay of the grass, this park is designed to be enjoyed. Its winding paths and varied terrain offer lots of great nooks for a private picnic. When my husband saw this post his first comment was, "You don't have to tell everybody about our little secrets." I think he's jealous the park might get overrun if my readers flock there. So just visit one at a time, please. ;)

Island Cliffs

This park has the most fantastic scenery. They raise ducks on the lake, and there's a floating ferry service too. You can order a crêpe at the little café down by the lake.

The park is located at the metro stop Buttes Chaumont on the ligne 7 bis. It lets you off at the top of the hill, where you can stroll through the winding slopes and lawns. There's a bridge from the hill to this island cliff in the lake and it's cute litte gazebo.


Natural Beauty!
Even if the city of Paris has cemented all of the boulders in place, the waterfall is for real. They just want to preserve it so you can run through it and get a little dirty.

Bring shoes that aren't afraid of the dirt, in case you fancy leaving the paved paths in favor of the uncharted lawns and rocky terrain.
You'll find an abandoned railway line, and plenty of chestnut trees just waiting to be ushered home and rosted over an open fire.

Breathtaking Views!

With the peaks and cliffs come amazing views of the city, notably an unobstructed view of sunshine and skyline.

And it's all free! This park opens at dawn and closes at dusk all year round. Weather you bring your favorite Alexandre Dumas or a picnic basket full of goodies, this park has a calm and natural beauty that will make your visit a lifetime memory.


Hotel Star Ratings in France

What to Expect For Your Money

There's no way around the fact that hotels are expensive, but you deserve to know what your getting.

One Star Hotel 70-120 €
Simple clean hotels with at least running water, both hot and cold, in every room.
One star hotels must have at least six guest rooms.
All hotels will have ample heating systems.
The majority of the rooms do not have room for both the toilet and the shower in the room. One or both of these amenities will be found in public restrooms in the hall.
Public restrooms are gender neutral (just like home).
Paris Sparkle says : Bring your own soap, this is a hole-in-the-wall motel. The risk you take is that you may see the paint pealing, the carpet stained or perhaps the sheets tattered, but probably not all on the same day. ;)

Two Star Hotel 120-215€
A small hotel, of at least ten guest rooms, where someone speaks at least two languages.
Half of the rooms must offer private toilets and showers. (40% minimum)
Public restrooms are likely gender neutral.
An elevator is required if the building has more than five floors.
The furniture will be a bit more comfortable than a one-star room.
There may be a breakfast room and a simple coffee and toast breakfast offered at an extra cost.
Paris Sparkle says : Live like the neighbors. A lot of Europeans travel with these accommodations. The hotel will be more charming and authentique, not likely a modern building.

Three Star Hotel 215-550€
A medium sized hotel with a reception desk and multi-lingual staff. One of the languages spoken must be English.
Generally every room has a private shower and toilet (80% minimum). There will be courtesy soaps in every lavatory.
Ladies and Gentlemen public restrooms.
An elevator is required if the building has more than four floors
The hotel may or may not have air conditioning.
The rooms are more spacious and comfortable for lounging around. In addition each room has a TV and telephone. Internet acces is not required to be in this category, but it is highly likely.
The hotel has a breakfast room and offers a buffet breakfast.
Paris Sparkle says : This is the comfort most Americans are accustomed to receiving at the Holiday Inn.

Four Star Luxury Hotel 550€+
A large first-class hotel with a nice reception area and plenty of staff waiting on your every whim.
Generally every room has a private shower and toilet (90% minimum). There will be courtesy soaps in every lavatory.
An elevator is required if the building has more than three floors.
The hotel will offer more amenities and the buffet breakfast will be more hardy.
A private parking lot will be available.
Conference rooms will be available. You'll find high speed internet in each room.
Paris Sparkle says : In Paris the Hyatt is a four star hotel.

Five Star Superior Luxury Hotel
Porters greet you at the door, all aspects of the hotel are spacious and luxurious.
Every room must have a private shower and toilet.
Five percent of the rooms are sweets that can be transformed into apartments.
There must be a gourmet restaurant on the premises.
Amenities may include a spa, entertainment or other resort services.
Paris Sparkle says : You guessed it - the Ritz Carlton. Probably not within the budget for most of my online readers.

Doesn't sound like the criteria you're used to ?
As of today there is no international star rating standard. Each municipality rewards stars at its own discretion. The preceding criteria are based on expectations developed by the Paris office of tourisme and corresponding rates for fall 2009. Classification is based on 100 criteria categorised in three categories including amenities, cleanliness/quality and customer service. A hotel must 90% of the required criteria to be awarded the corresponding star.


Family Inn - One Star

This Inn is a great example of a classic family run business. Reservations are taken by hand on a good old paper calendar. The keys hang in a wooden key nook that is older than my grandfather.
This room is advertised at 85 euros a night, but we negotiated it down to 70 euros because we're sweet and cute!

The Website Picture
One double bed.
The chairs are impractical
but do add a cute touch to
the otherwise sparse decor.
Small but private shower.

My Virtual Tour
The picture turned out to be a great representation of the room: simple, tasteful, aged around the edges, sunny, very charming. This hotel has zero amenities, but it's location in a quaint pedestrian neighborhood surrounded by bakeries and restaurants is the best amenity a vacationer could want in Paris.

This little inn is not for the faint of heart. So if old world charm sounds too much like roughing it, tattered towels are not your idea of a romantic weekend, or the idea of living without air conditioning during the heatwave gives you hives, or maybe your back just isn't what it used to be climbing a winding staircase with your luggage ... never fear; Hotels like the Holiday Inn will offer all of the comforts of home.