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Trip Report Trip Report Paris & Rome, Naples, Amalfi Coast Sept 2011

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Paris: Hi everyone! This is a LONG overdue trip report from Sept 2011. I'll split this report into parts - start with Paris & Rome and then Naples, Amalfi Coast, (or something). I want to thank all of you ...your advice, thoughts and humor really added to making this a great trip. You helped us to decide about itineraries, hotels, car hires, restaurants....really - you guys are an amazing resource.

My sister, my friend and I covered Paris, Rome, Naples, the Amalfi Coast and Capri. The food! The wine! The art! The ruins! So much fun.  Before I dive in, I want to make sure you have the right expectations.  You all write great trip reports, but unfortunately, I am not funny. (My sisters tell me this all the time).  I wish that I could say this trip report would equal the wonderful things I read from you, but I’m not sure it will live up to that...  I just hope it helps someone and makes someone smile.

First - an intro. My sister & I are in our late 40s, our friend slightly younger. We're in DC, she's in NYC. We love to travel and we have all fallen head over heels in love with Italy. As I write this, I am planning a trip this summer to study italian in Rome.

I planned this trip for a year. I love the planning almost as much as the trip. I love slowly turning the pages of the travel books - the research on the internet, the discoveries. It was a great trip and if I could ever figure out how to use my Macbook Air to do pictures, I'd be a happy woman.

My sister (J) and I flew from DC to London and from London to Paris, for the first 3 days.  We flew British Airways.  I upgraded us to Business class and can I just say ….wow. It was so much better than my experience in coach.  First time I've ever flown BC to Europe and it made the trip much better.  I really enjoyed British Airways and will fly them again.  And the crew on BA was fantastic.  It was a great experience.  Biggest perk:The ability to lie down flat...priceless.

We arrived at CDG (so big and confusing) and took a cab into Paris. It was convenient and by far the best choice.   We stayed at the Hotel Britannique, Rue Victoria, because we wanted something that was really accessible to Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis and very walkable.  

The location: fabulous, very close to the Pont Neuf, so it made getting around the area simple.  The room was very clean, high ceilings, and there were lovely, large (almost floor to ceiling) doors/windows that one could swing open.  We looked over the rooftops across the street and it was a great view.

We booked a "classic" double room, but even still the room was TINY.  You had to turn sideways to pass each other.  I know small rooms are the norm, and that  didn’t matter.  What was a big deal was that for the two full days we were there, there were demonstrations somewhere fairly close to the hotel that we couldn’t see....but we could certainly hear...all day.  So, we couldn't really have those gorgeous windows wide open, because there were megaphones and yelling non stop.  It stopped in the evening both days, which was great.

We ate at two delicious restaurants.  The first was Le Relais D'isle. We had a wonderful dinner there.  It's a very small restaurant with just a few tables.  Cozy and really enjoyable. Dinner was excellent. I highly recommend the dessert we had which was a flaming creme brûlée.  Way to get the vacation started!

Next night we ate at L'auberge Cafe, right around the corner from the hotel.

Dinner was excellent and yes, I had dessert (setting the tone for the entire trip).  My dessert was Crepe Suzette and it was fabulous. Both restaurants are highly recommended.

We walked everywhere.  We spent one day walking on the Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis. We went to Sainte-Chapelle (which I love, although tres crowded....) and Notre Dame.  We walked the quieter streets of  the islands.  We ate croissants ( almond, pain au chocolat and plain) and walked for hours.  

We spent one morning visiting a museum we had never been to before -- Musee Jacquemart Andre
http://www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/fr/home
This is a house museum, sort of a la Isabelle Gardner museum in Boston, for those of you who have been there.  The house is beautiful and the artwork is magnificent. I highly recommend it if you like house museums.   

The one blip was that we received an email from my friend, E our first day.  She had planned to fly American while we were in Paris, arriving in Rome the day before we did.  Sadly, she got to the airport for her flight and American had overbooked by 9 people.  They were all was booted off the flight.  She was devastated, as you can imagine.  She did get out the following night. Ok - next up..Rome...this is where we get serious!

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