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Paris then and now....still earning its rep for charm and romance?

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Hi all,

Working on narrowing down choices of where to go abroad in April for 11 or 12 days (not counting travel days). I live on east coast U.S.A., have not yet traveled extensively out of the country (tho' I guess that's relative!); so far have been to Rome, London, Barcelona, west coast of Mexico (Melaque) and many parts of Canada. Possibilities am considering are Paris/Bruges; Paris/Amsterdam; Paris/somewhere France countryside or coast (not yet decided); Portugal/Morocco (not narrowed down to parts yet); Portugal/Southern Spain; Peru or Argentina (as said, have just entered the narrowing down stage!).

As part of my research am talking to people I know who've traveled to any/all of these places, and was a little surprised to hear one person whose impressions are often similar to my own, say that while she fell in love with Paris many years ago, on a more recent trip she was a bit disappointed, feeling like it had become a little more like "any big city" rather than being as uniquely beautiful and charming as she'd remembered.

Of course I know that such an opinion could be heavily impacted by personal circumstances surrounding the visits, so I'm curious to know how others feel.

If in addition to commenting on your Paris impressions you have anywhere/anything else you'd suggest I consider, please go at it! I love many, many aspects of travel but most of all, more than visiting tourist attractions (tho I do that too), just wandering around and soaking in ambience. Other than that, faves are gardens, open air markets, food, architecture, history, music, art. Walking, walking, walking. Enjoy some museum going but not a huge amount. My ideal will be to experience both urban and beautiful scenery, that could be in two separate parts of the trip, or be combined into one.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice, Fodorites have helped me tremendously and successfully figure out past trips!

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