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Trip Report 4 Cs-Champagne, Cartier, Chanel & Christmas in Paris 2013 were fantastic!

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I’ll start the trip report off with some general info and background on the trip. We have been to Paris several times and this was our second trip over Christmas. We really looked forward to the trip and we love Paris.

Flights – I put my miles to good use and we flew business class on Delta. Going over, we connected through Detroit as it required far fewer miles and it went off without a hitch. 767 business class is super nice as the seats really recline and are the more modular, compartment style. Maybe, the thing I like best is that the display screen is offset so that the person behind you isn’t constantly thumping the screen behind your head! Great service (but the most overdone piece of steak I have ever had), a short nap and we were there. Coming home, we had a direct Delta flight in business class. Amazingly, both flights we walked up and they were already boarding, so no waiting at the gate. We also got super lucky as there was a generator issue on the flight coming home and we took off only a bit late. For a few minutes, we were headed back to the gate after trying to restart the generator multiple times. Thank God for the maintenance crew in Atlanta solving the problem without de-planing.

Arrival – No immigration line and we didn’t check a bag, so no waiting. Our pre-arranged driver from Victor Cabs was waiting on us. Very little traffic and a quick drop off at the office of the apartment management. We stashed our bags and were sternly told not to be late to come back for our check in appointment at 1:30.

Departure – Despite two accidents on the peripherique, we got to CDG in good time. No line at check in (another reason to love biz class), no line at the tax refund desk and no line at security. We were lucky to have access to the Access One priority lines for passport control and security. The Air France lounge was nice but the food options were a bit limited and less than they have been in the past.

Weather – A bit warmer than last time over Christmas. No snow this time. A few rainy days and some wind. The rainy days were not too bad and it was never pouring down.

The plan – No big sites that we have not already been to in Paris. A day trip to Strasbourg was on the agenda to see the Christmas markets. I wanted to visit Musee Marmottan, as I love Monet and had never been previously. The other goal was, not just browse, but to purchase something at Chanel (costume jewelry, I found something I love!) on rue Cambon, the original Chanel salon. We were also looking forward to a Christmas Eve concert at Sainte Chappelle. It was mostly about being back in Paris at Christmas, drinking as much Champagne as possible (which we did-shocking to imagine how many glasses we drank) and eating well (which is easy to do in Paris). The Cartier exhibit was the unexpected “find” for the trip.

Apartment – We decided to stay closer to the 6th and our favorite area near the Odeon metro stop. The apartment was exactly as photographed and advertised. It was between the Pantheon and Notre Dame and around the corner from the Maubert Mutualite Metro stop and market.

The good….elevator, water closet not right in the bedroom, tons of storage space, all appliances you need including a big fridge, lots of room and a really great hairdryer (hey, I have very thick hair).

Only 2 negatives….most days a very “smoky” smell in the apartment from the fireplace and no coffee pods left for us for the Nespresso coffee maker (really?). We learned to close the hall and bedroom doors, to keep the smell out of the bedroom (it really bothered me the first night). We probably should have asked the office to come and put up some plastic around the fireplace to block the smell but didn’t think of it until about the last day. I would say there was a bit more noise from other apartments than we had in the Kir apartment two years ago, but it wasn’t too bad.

The apartment was rented through Paris Perfect but it is not managed by them. One complaint/point of confusion I have (although on our visit was not an issue but it could be)…the apartment is advertised as non-smoking, however, the check in agent said we could smoke but just to open a window. We didn’t ask, as we don’t smoke, so I would worry if the renter previous did smoke in the apartment as that is a deal breaker for me. This management agency does do things a little differently from Paris Perfect, but for the most part it was OK. You do not get a returning renter discount on this apartment.

The link to the apartment is below:

The food – More details to come. We had only one lunch reservation and two nights without dinner reservations. We wanted to visit a few new spots, re-visit a few favorites. Lunch most days was just popping in somewhere for something easy and simple. I have overloaded on too much foie gras, rillettes, pate and the like in the past, so this trip I skipped it to save my stomach (there was still plenty of cheese, beef, pain au chocolat and other good stuff). Below is a list of the more well-known restaurants we went to:
Bistro Belhara, Verjus, L ’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Les 110 Taillevent, Café Marly, Le Comptoir, and Marco Polo. Again, I will post more information once I get to the “meat” of the TR, but they were all good.

The Champagne- It was all good. One reason I love Paris because you can always get Champagne by the glass and it’s always good. Yep, we had a lot of it. We have come to really enjoy it and for those who don’t know, we have Sparkling Saturdays at our house every week. There were occasional other beverages (beer, red wine, white wine), but for the most part, it was all Champagne and most of that was Rose. We had our first Bruno Paillard Rose, which is a brand we came to know in Paris but never had the Rose before. Delicious…it all was and I am glad I didn’t count the glasses consumed.

What we didn’t get to – a Seine cruise. It’s never been a priority and we just have not gotten to it, although I thought we might this time. Montparnasse tower (and the view without the tower).

What we could have done better - the trip to Strasbourg

Major "panic" moment - my passport went "missing" as we were boarding our flight in Atlanta

Favorite things - sipping Champs at Le Bar at Georges V (and we actually got a table); the magnificent Cartier exhibit, the "added" Bonaparte family exhibit at Musee Marmottan

What I know for sure – My French is still so bad that I still have to show taxi drivers the address since they can’t understand me!

More to come, including links to pictures.

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