I realized last month I had not been outside of Paris since July and haven’t taken any time off since then. It was time for a getaway and I decided to go to Prague, since I had not been before. I found an offer I couldn’t refuse: Round trip airfare plus five nights in a three star hotel for 350€.
I arrived last Monday at 12:30PM and the public bus from the airport (a great bargain at only 1.5€) took me to the main train station in 20 minutes, where I took an easy metro ride to a station, which was a three-minute walk to my hotel.
Hotel U Svatého Jana was a great find. It’s located in the new part of the city, which is much less touristy and quieter than the than the old city but only a 10 minute tram ride from the hotel. The neo-Baroque style hotel was the former priests quarters of the St. John of Nepomuk church next door. Although I had a single room, it was spacious enough for me to spread out comfortably to do my morning Yoga routine plus there was an electrical outlet right next to the bed so I could plug in my electronics. (These are two crucial things I judge all hotel rooms by. I remember a few years ago I was staying at a newly built luxury hotel but was frustrated by the fact they forgot to put electrical outlets anywhere near the bed). The desk staff was helpful and friendly and breakfast included made to order omelets and eggs plus unlimited espresso.
Searching for a place for lunch, I discovered right across the street from the hotel a restaurant called Richard’s Kitchen and enjoyed a lovely meal of vegetable soup and a duck salad.
It was a crisp, clear sunny day and after lunch I strolled across the legendary Charles Bridge on the Vitava River. The bridge was constructed beginning in 1357 under the reign of Charles IV and completed in the beginning of the 15th century. Protected by two towers the bridge is 2, 037 feet long and 33 feet wide with 16 arches below. It was a perfect gateway to get in touch with the beauty of the city with sweeping views of the river, historic buildings and Linden tree-lined hills.
One of my favorite things in Prague was the exquisite architecture. From the 17th century palaces to the extraordinary Baroque churches to the Art Nouveau buildings, I was in awe. Interestingly the Art Nouveau buildings are not pure Art Nouveau, rather a mix of Nordic style with touches of Art Nouveau.
The other great deal besides my hotel and airfare package was the Prague Card. I bought a four day pass for only 65€, a terrific value. It provided free transport by tram, metro, and bus all over the city. Also included in the pass was free admission to many of the top attractions including The Jewish Museum (I took a Jewish tour and saved over 20€ on the entrance tickets to many of the attractions), Old Town Hall and Tower, Prague Castle, Astronomical Observatory, City of Prague Museum, Museum of Music and the medieval art collection at the convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia plus countless discounts for river cruises, museums, Segway tours and classical music concerts. I highly recommend purchasing a Prague Card if you visit.
One of the other things I appreciated about Prague was how inexpensive most things were, especially food and drink. I had some excellent two course meals with drinks, never paying more than 18€ for a meal. I enjoyed hearty goulash, crispy Wiener Schnitzel with potato salad (potato salad has pickles in it, extra yummy), Mediterranean food and fabulous Italian restaurant with fresh made pasta. My favorite experience was having mint tea and coconut macaroons at the Municipal House Café, a stunning Art Nouveau room with drop dead crystal chandeliers and elegant wood carved dining chairs.
Prague is known for its impressive classical music and opera and I totally lucked out and scored a last minute ticket to see Don Giovanni. The Estates Theater where it was performed was where Mozart had the world premiere of Don Giovanni in October of 1787, so imagine the elation I felt having the good fortune to see in its original locale. The theater was small and intimate and I sat in a box on the first mezzanine. I had never seen Don Giovanni before and the music and production with modern day minimalist sets was extraordinary.
For the next five days I painted the town, seeing so many incredible places and things. I will be writing other posts about my adventures in Prague in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
Hotel u Svateho Jana
Vyšehradská 28, 128 00 Praha 2
Restaurants and Cafes
The Municipal House Café - Kavárna Obecní Dům Municipal House (first floor, left wing) Náměstí Republiky 5 – Republic square 5
Oliva Restaurant- Excellent Mediterranean food
Plavecka 4, Praha 2
La Bottega- Homemade Italian
U Kroka – Casual100 year old bar with Czech/European cuisine
128 00 Praha 2
Phill’s Corner- fun, hip daytime cafe & restaurant, also offering vegan & vegetarian dishes
Komunardů 894/32, 170 00 Praha 7-Holešovice
Eye Prefer Paris Postcards
I am thrilled to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards, a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription service where the subscriber receives three physical postcards of my iconic Paris photos every month. Each month will have a specific theme, from architectural street scenes to romantic outdoor cafes to beautiful gardens to unique shots of iconic monuments. Each mailing will include two postcards in color and one in black & white or sepia, beautifully packaged in a special French Blue postcard holder with a custom designed seal.
Each 6” X 4.25” traditional size postcard is printed on thick matte coated card stock, similar to traditional vintage postcard stock that enhances the vibrancy of every image.
Only $30 for a 3-month subscription plus shipping or
Only $60 for a 6 month subscription (plus shipping)or
$110 for a 12-month subscription (plus shipping)
Click here to order a 3-month subscription from my Etsy store
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 195 euros per person (about $210)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.