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Trip Report Kathie and Cheryl's Ten Days in Paris in May

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I want to begin by thanking all of the people here who offered information, ideas and suggestions.

Think of this as a first trip to Paris for both of us. While I had previously been to Paris – all too briefly – a couple of decades ago, I felt like this was my first real trip to Paris.

Getting there: We flew United Business Class SEA – IAD – CDG. The transatlantic flight had lay-flat seats. Even though we had gotten up at 4 am, I didn’t sleep a wink on the flights. Cheryl napped briefly on the first flight. We arrived at CDG before 7 am (flight was 20 minutes early). We found an ATM inside baggage claim, but it was owned by Travelex, and we had been forewarned here about high fees and poor exchange rate, so we avoided it. Outside baggage claim, we found HSBC cash machines and we each withdrew 140 E. We planned to put as much as possible on credit cards, and figured that would hold us for the whole trip. (It did, we even came home with over 100E for a next trip to Europe.)

While in theory, all taxis accept credit cards, we had to wait 10-15 minutes for a taxi that would accept credit cards. The drive into Paris was pretty smooth and easy considering it was rush hour. We arrived at the Marriott on the Champs Elysees about 9 am. We knew our room would not be ready but we dropped our luggage and went out to walk. I have to say I was uncertain about how good the location of the hotel was. This was a free stay and this is the Marriott in Paris with the largest rooms, so that is how we decided on the hotel. The location turned out better than I had anticipated. We were a block from the FDR Metro station on the 1 and 9 lines. There is a Monoprix half a block away, a nice little cafe a block away, a local boulangerie two blocks away and the very popular Laduree across the street.

We got into our hotel room before noon, which we much appreciated. We are accustomed to flying to Asia, where we arrive near midnight, get to our hotel and collapse, then awake in the morning in that time zone. Getting there in the early morning was harder for us. Even though we did the things one is supposed to do – get out and walk in the morning light, etc, we lost most of our first day to jetlag. We napped for a couple of hours, felt better, planned our next day and went to the nearby bistro (Baroche Café Brasserie) for dinner (reservations made on La Fourchette).

Transport within Paris: We planned to use the buses so we could see as much as possible and learn our way around the city. Posters here thought that was a crazy idea and predicted we’d end up using the Metro. You were right. Our plans were foiled by the weather. When it is raining, standing waiting for the bus loses some of its appeal. So we used the metro most of the time, plus, of course, lots of walking (6 -8 miles a day, our fitbits said). We had a couple of apps on our iphones that proved very helpful. City Mapper, the Fodor’s Paris App, and Google maps. Google turned out to be the best app for finding our way around.

We have T Mobile service on our phones, so we had free data the whole time we were in Paris. We were sent a “welcome” text saying all data would be free. Good thing because we used it a lot!

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