It's a bit long, so I'll try to break up into 2 posts...
These are some belated notes on a brief trip that we put together on the spur of the moment this past June. Having made the trip together less than a year before, going again so soon seemed like the most remote of possibilities. But for several weeks, DD and I had jokingly commented “it’s a sign!“ every time we heard or saw a Paris reference---in stores, on TV, in songs…wherever. Talk soon took a “well, why not ?!“ tone and we were off and running. Plans fell into place, and before we even had time to look forward to it, we were in the air. Departure date was literally 6 days after booking our flights.
This was my 6th Paris trip, DD’s second. The timing was based partly on the fact that she was expecting her first baby in early September…looking ahead, it figured to be awhile before we would have this opportunity again. So, even though we had just been in Paris in August 2011, we ascribe to the notion that Paris is always a good idea. (Note: aforementioned grand-daughter arrived on time, healthy and gorgeous. She’ll be forever regaled with the story of her first “visit” to Paris.)
It’s not been my habit to write a TR, so rather than a more traditional report (I dread the thought of mine being compared to all the clever, well-written reports that others submit) I thought I would post a few bullets of things that particularly surprised, delighted and/or stupefied us.
FLIGHTS: Travel was on Air France 777. We chose Premium Voyageur going over, economy heading back. I can honestly say that I was more comfortable in the economy seat. For some reason, I found the PV capsule thing too rigid, in spite of its adjustment/faux-recline (slide) capability. Being in that smallish PV cabin, though, with only 3 rows front to back, was nice. As for the return flight, the key to comfort in economy on the AF 777, I believe, is choosing a row higher than 49. Row 50 is where the aisle widens, and the 10 seats across config ends. We both had aisle seats, and it was one of the more comfy trans-Atlantic flights I’ve had. Loved being able to watch so many excellent French films on these 2 flights.
A/P TRANSFER INTO PARIS: Pick-up at CDG was by Shuttle-Inter. Horrible traffic into Paris, the kind of traffic where one is grateful to be in a prix-fixe situation. This was almost a 90 minute ride.
LODGING: No one was more surprised than I that we had been able to score a great apartment on just a few days’ notice. I’m not sure whether the property is being advertised yet; we were the first to stay there after a complete reno. Location on rue de Richelieu (2ème) was quiet and convenient. Close to Métro and bus lines. We rented from Pascal Bourdier at ParisNiceHome (aka your-paris), after Thierry (Paris Best Lodge) forwarded my last-minute email inquiry to Pascal. While those 2 gentlemen may be rivals in a sense, their spirit of cooperation helped our crazy last-minute scheme take shape.
I’ve mentioned on another forum that this was my 4th Paris apartment rental, and by far my favorite. (Previous rentals were through French Home Rentals, vrbo, and Paris Perfect. This was a first-floor walk-up over a quiet courtyard. Everything from the layout to the furnishings suited us to a T. Particularly impressive were the storage options, abundance of mirrors (2 are full-length) and of electrical outlets. Washer/dryer worked fine, and there is a dishwasher which we did not use. I’ll eventually be posting a review on Pascal’s site under the apartment name “Richelieu,” with further details.
Above and beyond all the positives about the apartment itself was the opportunity to work with Pascal. He went out of his way to get things completed in time for our visit, and made himself available 24/7 in case we had any issues. We had no issues with this terrific apartment. Hot water was plentiful, pressure good. Every kitchen item we needed was present and new. Wifi was speedy and reliable. Now, 3 months later, we still talk about how lucky we were to score Pascal’s terrific apartment.
GETTING AROUND: Having “discovered” Paris buses on my 2010 trip with my husband, I continue to be a fan. With DD’s being in her last trimester of pregnancy, we paid careful attention to her energy level, BP, and any foot/ankle swelling. We did plenty of walking, lots of bus-riding, took the métro when it made sense to do so, likewise with taxis. This was an 8-night trip and we went through 3 carnets, I believe, plus leftover tickets from our trip last August. Where taxi rides were concerned, most all began from taxi ranks, with a couple of exceptions where we were able to “legally” hail them. (note re: checking DD’s blood pressure--we became a fixture at a pharmacie near our apartment, where the pharmacien was only too happy to do the BP check every day.)
SEEING SIGHTS: This trip was all about just being in Paris. It was about strolling and, while feeling “at home,” still experiencing that delightful surprise awaiting us around every corner. It was about the familiar and the unexpected. While we had a few places in mind to try to see (Déportation Mémorial, Père Lachaise, Sainte-Chapelle) there was no pressure to do anything in particular on any given day--we simply let each day unfold as it would. There were several sleep-in days, and no small amount of café-sitting. We enjoyed exploring our apartment neighborhood; often found ourselves simply strolling in Montorgeuil, the Marais, near the Seine, and over to the Left Bank. I feel blessed to have had more than one chance to be in Paris, in order to enjoy the city at leisure, with no stress about meeting schedules or crossing items off a list.
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It's a bit long, so I'll try to break up into 2 posts...