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Trip Report Paris around Thanksgiving 2013 - brief report

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Since Paris has been so well covered on the forums, I'll be brief.

We had a week long trip to Paris around Thanksgiving 2013. We are a couple plus six year old boy. We stayed in the Marais (4th Arrondissement). We found it to be very convenient and centrally located. The neighborhood was active and hip. We missed out on the nightlife due to our young child and fatigue from long days of touring. Nevertheless it was a good base of operations.

We saw the usual sights and museums and climbed pretty much anything you can climb. The only height we missed was the sky scraper in Montparnasse. The fee seemed excessive, and we had seen the view from a couple of other vantage points.

The amount of history, museums, sights, etc. in Paris is just staggering. So, of course, we didn't cover it all. I'ld like to go back and go more in depth. But I think that would be after touring some other areas in France.

The highlight of the trip was renting bicycles in the garden at Versailles. This allowed us to get out to the smaller palace and circumnavigate the lake. There was still a lot of Fall color. It was tremendous. The rental was in the garden itself, and we came across it a bit by accident. I had looked into bike rentals on-line, but only found day tours. I'm not sure if this is a well kept secret, but I highly recommend it. Otherwise the 2,000 acres are just a bit much for walking.

The weather was cold for us, coming from California. Fortunately we had no rain. We saw a glimpse of blue sky once in a week. But we dressed for it and it was fine. Somehow the gray suits Paris.

Crowds were pretty well under control, given the season.

I highly recommend the museum pass. It allows you to jump to the head of the line which is huge at some of the more popular places like the Orangerie or D'Orsay.

Food-wise, we had breakfast in, picking up croissants or other pastries. Lunches we generally had at cafes. Dinners we split between cafes or eating at the apartment. We came to enjoy our dinners in after long days out touring and getting bored with cafe fare. Somehow cold cuts, cheese and pasta were just excellent several nights in a row. Our food choices were partly driven by having a young, picky eater and also just convenience and spontaneity.

One minor negative about the trip: I was surprised that the espresso was generally not so great. I had found the similar quality issues in Rome in 2012. I mentioned it at the Peet's coffee I frequent and they thought it was due to the quality of beans and roast choices.

In closing, if you have not already been to Paris, you must go. We had a very nice time. A week was a good amount. We did not feel as though we had over-stayed. And, as mentioned above, there was so much more to see that we did not get to.

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