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Trip Report Trip Report - Provence and Paris

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Just returned from a 13-day vacation -- 7 days in Provence and 5 days in Paris. I explored Provence on my own; my wife joined me for the stay in Paris. The advice and recommendations I've absorbed from this board over the past several months were invaluable in the planning and ultimate enjoyment of the trip. Thank you one and all!

DAY 1 - PARIS TO AVIGNON

Thursday, September 29. Arrived at CDG from IAD on United 914. The plane arrived almost an hour early, touching down at 6:35am (scheduled arrival was 7:20am). The plane was in the gate at 6:45, and I cleared customs by 7:00. No crowds, no hassles, just a relatively empty airport at this hour. So I spent some extra time exploring Terminal 1, as my wife would be arriving here the following week. Noted the well-marked pickup location for the ROISSYBUS at Porte (Door) 10 -- just outside and to the left of the exit from the customs/baggage claim area.

I followed the well-marked signs for the shuttle bus to Terminal 2 and Gare TGV -- walking around the Terminal 1 perimeter hallway to Lift 20 (not a "Porte" or door, but still numbered consecutively with the preceding door numbers). Here there are half a dozen elevators, but unfortunately I didn't read the directions before entering the elevator -- and there is no indication once on the elevator for which floor you need to select. Anyway, selecting any floors above the Arrival level leads to parking, and the only level below the Arrival level is Departures (the CDG website and posts in this forum identify this level as the "Shopping" level, but I saw no signs identifying it as such). Selecting the Departure level took me down one floor, and once outside the elevator, signs direct you to Porte 22, where all the shuttle busses stop. I took the Red #1 shuttle to Terminal 2, and the third or fourth stop is the Gare TGV (all stops are announced on a text message board on the bus).

Boarded TGV 5110 for Avignon on time at 10:10am, and arrived on time in Avignon at 1:21pm. Had a 25 Euro PREM ticket which I had purchased and printed out from the SNCF website exactly 60 days prior.

Caught a shuttle bus to Avignon "Centre Ville" at Avignon Gare TGV and walked about a half block to the Bristol Hotel, which I had booked through Expedia for US $96.38 (www.bristol-hotel-avignon.com). Basic two-star hotel with a very pleasant staff and well situated at 44 Cours Jean Jaures -- the main street through the old town to the Place de L'Horloge. The Michelin Green Guide for Provence has a great walking tour that circles around the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) to the Rocher Des Domes -- a beautiful park on a rocky hilltop overlooking the Rhone. Great walk -- highly recommended! Also purchased a 4 Euro ticket to walk out on the Pont St-Bénézet over the Rhone River.

I wanted to dine at La Fourchette (17, rue Racine), which gets good reviews and had a wonderful menu, but I didn't have a reservation, and the place was already packed at 7:30pm! So I dined in a nice cafe on the Place de L'Horage -- "entree" of omlette with tapenade, "plate" of salmon, bottle of Cotes du Rhone rouge, and dessert totaled about 40 Euro.

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