December in Paris
My wife, 20-year-old daughter, and I recently spent a week in Paris, from December 16-22. The trip was a Christmas present for our daughter, who is living in a French dorm at college, speaks excellent French, but spent the past summer on an internship counting birds and living in a trailer in southwestern Indiana. Not that there’s anything wrong with southwestern Indiana -- it’s just that our daughter had really earned a nice vacation.
This was my wife and my fourth trip to Paris (the previous three were in summer 2004, fall 2006, and fall 2007). Our daughter was with us in 2004, and she spent 14 days in Paris during summer 2005 on a program sponsored by Duke University. Her French is very good; my wife and my French is not.
For this trip, in addition to the invaluable feedback I always pick up in this forum, I consulted the brand new “Fodor’s Paris 2009” guide and read “Hungry for Paris: The Ultimate Guide to the City’s 102 Best Restaurants,” by Alexander Lobrano (See “Fodor’s Travel News: Alexander Lobrano’s Favorite Paris Restaurants,” http://www.fodors.com/news/story_2956.html). Lobrano’s reviews introduced a few new eateries I wasn’t familiar with, and included some old staples we’d previously visited.
For accommodation, we booked an apartment through Vacation in Paris, a New Jersey agency discussed in other posts on this forum. We’d booked an apartment in the Latin Quarter through them for our fall 2007 trip, and were pleased both with the apartment and the agency’s service. For this trip, we booked the “Square du Temple Loft,” a one-bedroom apartment on rue du Temple in the Marais near République (http://www.vacationinparis.com/apts/id_57.htm).
With five separate metro lines serving République, as well as several bus lines, we had no problem getting around Paris. I especially liked the proximity to both Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, which were important transportation hubs for our trip. Total cost of the apartment for six nights, including damage waiver, was $1,119, or $186.50 per night.
After considerable searches on airfares over several weeks in late summer and early fall, I finally settled on a British Airways flight from Washington-Dulles International to London Heathrow, and travel by Eurostar to Paris. I would have preferred a direct flight via Air France or United to Aéroport Charles de Gaulle, but the lowest fare I saw, which required a connection, was about $850. British Airways had a flight to London for $629, and I was able to purchase advance round-trip Eurostar tickets for about $105 each. The fact that I love train travel, and that my nephew and his family had just moved to Windsor, England in October 2008, sealed the deal. We’d spend our last night in Windsor, and my nephew could drive us to London Heathrow, just 25 minutes from his front door. Perfect!
For those who like to count their pennies, here’s our transportation costs, with the approximate exchange rate plus fees, per person:
British Airways round-trip airfare -- $628.92
London Underground from LHR Terminal 5 to Kings Cross St. Pancras -- $6.20 (£4)
Eurostar round-trip London-Paris -- $105.04 (£55.67)
London Underground from Kings Cross St. Pancras to Paddington -- $6.20 (£4)
Train from London Paddington (PAD) to Windsor & Eton Central (WNC) -- $7.75 (£5)
TOTAL per person: $754.11.
A link to the pictures from our trip will follow at the end of this trip report (e.g. I’m still working on them).
Next, we arrive in London and Paris.
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Trip Report: December in Paris, with a day trip to Strasbourg
December in Paris