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Trip Report Paris July 2012 Trip Report (7 days)

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I returned a little over a week ago from my first trip to Paris with my mother. It was an amazing week! Thanks to all the posters who provided itinerary tips and were so patient with all of my questions!

We took the Eurostar from London. The train moves so fast that we weren't even sure if we had gone through the Chunnel until I started to see signs in French. A bit of an anticlimactic moment entering France for the first time, but the train was fast, on-time, and clean. No issues there. Arriving at Gare du Nord was a bit overwhelming, but my motto on this trip was often "follow the metro M!" which never failed us.

We rented this apartment from VRBO:

http://www.vrbo.com/206876

and it was wonderful. We loved staying in the Marais and much preferred being in a quieter area than in a bustling, more touristy one. We were never more than a 30 minute metro ride away from any of the sites and could walk to Ile de la Cite in 20 minutes. The apartment was perfect for our needs and we loved having a proper "home" for the week. The two gentleman (brothers) who rent this apartment also have several other listings and I would recommend their services. We were met at the apartment and were assisted with our luggage up the 3 story walk-up. All appliances were explained. When we ran out of things during the week someone would stop by to restock, and they were there to help us out at check-out and put us in a cab to the airport. This trip was my first time renting an apartment and they were so nice and helpful and responsive that it was a great experience.

The itinerary:

Day 1 - Vedettes du Pont Neuf, brasserie dinner

Day 2 - Notre Dame, Deportation Memorial, Sainte Chapelle, Jardin du Luxembourg, Le Bon Marche/La Grand Epicerie, Boulevard Saint-Germain des Pres, Rue des Roisiers, L'As du Falafel, Tour Montparnasse

Day 3 - breakfast at Pain & Chocolat, La Tour Eiffel, Trocadero, L'Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Angelina's, Jardin des Tuileries, Musee du Louvre (caroussel du louvre entrance - no lines), dinner at Olio Pane Vino

Day 4 - Versailles

Day 5 - Musee d'Orsay, Pont des Arts, Ile St-Louis, cafe dinner

Day 6 - Musee de l'Orangerie, Place de la Concorde, Laduree, Maille, Opera Garnier, Galleries Lafayette

Day 7 - Shopping in the Marais, Musee Rodin, Invalides, Pont Alexandre III, cafe dinner near la Tour Eiffel, sparkle time at la Tour Eiffel

Day 8 - Paris Walks Montmartre tour, Sacre Coeur, cafe lunch on Rue des Abbesses, Montmartre cemetary, Moulin Rouge, Promenade Plantee, Place des Vosges

Random tips:
- Be flexible! I had done so much research and planning that it actually made last minute changes that much easier to make. We originally planned to go to Montmartre on a Sunday but the forecast was not in our favor so we went to Musee d'Orsay that morning instead. It was a very good decision.
- Wear supportive shoes. Seems like an obvious one, but somehow I mistook "comfortable" with "supportive." I have never done so much walking in my life and my body was hurting so badly that I had to buy an ace bandage and wrap up an ankle. So please forgive being stylish and wear supportive shoes.
- Hold onto your metro ticket! I have not done much international traveling up until this trip and I didn't realize we needed to hold on to our metro tickets after swiping through. I held on to most of them, to the point where they were all over my bag, in my pockets, etc., and so on our last night (on our way to our final dinner) we tossed them. And then we hit the metro police and were fined. Not the ideal way to celebrate our week in Paris.
- Take to the culture. One of our favorite things to do, and what became part of our daily routine, was to stop for a 4pm coffee and dessert at a cafe. We loved a. resting our feet! b. people watching and c. a little afternoon pick me up.
- I used the Paris2Go and Metro apps on my iphone and never once got lost. The offline GPS worked amazingly well, and we liked being a bit more inconspicuous as tourists (though I'm sure the huge camera around my neck helped!)

And finally, here's a link to some of my pictures:
https://plus.google.com/photos/103072556914056982102/albums/5765409167748623265?authkey=CP7kyK6P7LmB5wE

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