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Trip Report 2 Weeks in Paris

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After months of anticipation and planning, my husband Bob and I headed off for the airport for our 2+ weeks in Paris. After losing 45 pounds over the past year, I hoped to have increased stamina this trip, but I'd started having hip pain a couple months ago. Things had improved somewhat with physical therapy and I had a cortisone shot 3 days before (would have had it sooner but had to postpone since I'd been bitten by a dog and my dr's office suggested I should get my tetanus shot updated. I didn't know that you can't have had any vaccines within 10 days of a cortisone shot). I hoped the shot would help, but worried that the hip pain would really slow me down.

Our flight went really well - with all the stories about people putting their seats back lately I was concerned about being more or less trapped in my seat by someone who insisted on putting their seat all the way back, as it would be awkward getting in and out of my seat with my hip problem. But that situation never materialized -- actually the seats seemed more roomy and comfortable than our international flight in 2010 -- and not just because I was a little trimmer.

Unlike previous trips where we each had a wheeled carryon bag, we decided to use one 25" checked bag and one wheeled carry-on bag. In addition, we purchased a small wheeled carryon bag that fit in our 25" bag (took up 1/2 the space), anticipating needed another bag for purchases along the way. We thought we'd probably take a cab into the city due to the bulkier luggage, but in the end decided to save the money and take the RER, which worked out smoothly for us -- particularly with the info I got on the forum recently about the escalator at St. Michel.

We had booked the Hotel des Grandes Ecoles for our first two nights as the apartment we booked wasn't available. It was adequate, but I think if we'd stayed there more than 2 nights we would have hated it. The website photos make the rooms look fairly spacious, but ours was quite small -- really only big enough for a bed and small nightstand. We didn't mind that there was no tv or coffee maker in the room, but the lack of space to sit anywhere but the bed (or the one hard chair) made the room uncomfortable for anyone who spends any time in their room. There seemed to be a lot of regulars, so maybe we just got a particularly small room, but we wouldn't book there again. We found we didn't particularly like the location either, although the hotel itself is set back from the street and has a lovely quiet garden in the midst of the hectic Latin Quarter.

Once we were settled into the hotel we decided to walk along the Seine a while and cross over to Notre Dame. In the Square Jean XXIII behind Notre Dame we sat and watched as several couples were having wedding photos taken. It was kind of a chilly, overcast day and I felt a little sorry for the brides, with their long white gowns dragging in the dirt/gravel paths, trying to make the best of the moment. Later on in our trip we came across a bride and groom on the metro; the bride's hem was just so dirty. As we walked along the river we noticed that the love lock trend seems to be spreading; we saw the locks en masse and also saw individual ones placed in inconspicuous places where they might not be noticed and removed. After our walk we made our way back to the hotel to rest a bit before going out to explore the immediate neighborhood and find somewhere to eat. We chose a little crepe shop where we had a savory crepe and a dessert crepe. By then we'd been awake for more than 24 hours, so it was time to get some sleep. On this first day I found I could walk just so far and then had to find a bench to rest a bit -- things went better than I expected, but not as well as I hoped. I was told that it takes time for the cortisone to take effect, so I just hoped things would slowly feel better.

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