Hi everyone it’s my first post. I’m a regular on ftc and they directed me to this board for some French recommendations.
We’ll be doing Paris for 3 days in July and biaritz and surroundings for 5 days. Have some questions and would love to get some advice.
1.What is the best neighborhood to stay in with a young family that has good food in Paris?
2. Any Paris restaurant recs? All levels and price ranges welcome. Are there any can’t miss places we must go to?
3. Any good Biarritz and surrounding area restaurant recommendations? We’ll be there during bastille day!
It’s been a few years since we’ve been in that region, but we went as a day trip from st. Sebastian to lunch in Sare at Olhabidea. A quick Google search shows that it still is excellent. It’s a farmhouse with a beautiful terrace and we had a lovely meal there. We also enjoyed St Jean de Luz for a stroll, souvenir shopping, and some ice cream.
Yeah it seems like parking is a pretty big nightmare during the summer seasons in the coastal areas. We have a parking spot for Biarritz but not for San Sebastián will be talking to our Airbnb guy to hopefully arrange something.
First time I went to SS, I had a car. My recollection is that the parking cost more than the Airbnb (back in dark ages of Airbnb, but still); and though we did use the car for a day trip to Bilbao, I’m not sure that was entirely necessary since there were other ways of getting there (e.g. bus). There was no reason I could see to have a car in SS (I know with little kids, it might be different), but something to consider. SS is accessible by train, plane and bus from various places. Train from Biarritz definitely doable…you switch to the local commuter train in Hendaye that takes you right into SS. There are taxis in SS, if you really need to get someplace you can’t walk to or find reasonable transportation. Just sayin’.
Lots of reasonable recs for SS and Paris on the boards, but maybe you are looking for something specific? If I were choosing a neighborhood to stay in with little kids (making this assumption based on “young family”), I think I might stay in Montparnasse. Nice parks, near train station for easy airport access, wonderful crèperies around. Just a thought, and not entirely sure why.
Yes we have a 2 year old and thanks I’ll check out montparnasse!
We are going to go from Bilbao, to ss, and Biarritz plus the surrounding small towns around Biarritz and between SS and Biarritz also driving back to Bilbao, so I think with a 2 year old it’ll probably be necessary to drive which gives us a lot more convenience a flexibility. But thanks for the heads up that parking is expensive.
In terms of recs for Paris I’ve been perusing the board but just wanted to see if there was a consensus on some really can’t miss restaurants/boulangeries/brasseries/cafes etc of really any price. Since we are with a 2 year old we can only really do a couple of those spots realistically and the rest of the time will probably be revolving around her schedule.
Not sure why that was…Always been able to get from France to SS in my experience. Here are the directions from Paris to SS, but trains definitely stop in Biarrits, from Seat61.com:
" * Step 1, take a TGV Duplex high-speed train from Paris Gare Montparnasse to Hendaye in just 4h36 - reduced from 5h45 by the opening of the new Tours-Bordeaux high-speed line in July 2017 - with fares from as little as €25.There are various departures every day, all with a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats and (on most trains) free WiFi. Most TGVs on this route are now TGV Duplex double-deckers with the new Océane interior, see the photos below. I recommend an upstairs seat for the best views.Book your ticket at either www.raileurope.com (in €, £ or $, seat options given, small booking fee, more about Raileurope) or www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, wide range of seating options, small booking fee, more about Trainline) or www.sncf-connect.com (French Railways own site, in €, a little more fiddly, but no booking fee). All sites give print-at-home, show-on-phone or collect-at-station tickets. Book ahead for the cheapest prices.
Step 2, walk out of Hendaye station exit and turn right for the little Euskotren metro station 100m away in the corner of the forecourt. Buy a ticket from the machines or staffed ticket office and go through the automatic gates onto the platform. The ticket machines have a touch screen with English language facility and they accept € coins and banknotes.Then hop on the next air-conditioned metro train from Hendaye to San Sebastian Amara, they leave every 30 minutes from early morning till late at night, journey time 37 minutes, fare just a couple of euros, no reservation necessary. There’s plenty of room for luggage and these excellent modern metro trains have a toilet & on-board information screens.There’s only one platform and all trains go to San Sebastian-Donostia. The station’s full name is San Sebastian-Donostia Amara, usually just shown as San Sebastian-Donostia but the station nameboards simply say Amara. And on ticket machines it could be listed under A, D or S! The final destination of the train is usually shown as Lasarte. You can check fares and times at www.euskotren.eus, though you hardly need to."
I took a rental car into the old city center of San Sebastian, in 2019. There is a good parking garage there which costs 25 euro a day. I loved having a car, for example to drive to Getaria. This was a 2 week trip from the Bordeaux area to SS, and back. But this was pre covid when renting a car in Europe was still affordable versus now.
Perhaps you were just looking at the regular Renfe train service that takes you from/to the main Donostia train station rather than the commuter light rail that takes you to/from the Amara train station? (The Amara station is on the other side of the river. and a little farther south.)
Anyway, it seems like renting a car will be a better choice for this OP’s trip!
Yeah there’s 0 percent chance I’m taking public transport for trips over 10-15 min with a two year old unless it’s like Japan levels of public transport, timing and accessibility. So basically nowhere except for Japan lol.