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29 Nights in the City of Light--The Highlights

29 Nights in the City of Light--The Highlights

Mar 23rd, 2009, 11:59 AM
  #1  
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29 Nights in the City of Light--The Highlights

The Travelers: A married 30-something couple (dangerously close to 40 something) with a 2 year old toddler in tow.

Previous Trips to Paris: 5 (all sans child)

The Dates: One month (February 9-March 11, 2009)

The Goal: Live like Parisians for a month. Wander, eat, drink, people watch and soak it all in.

With no set agenda and no ‘must sees’ or ‘must dos’ we simply wandered and explored. To our great benefit, our son surprised us by taking his nap in his stroller every day that we were there, which meant 2 to 2.5 hours of adult time for my husband and me. Occasionally we ventured into a museum, but more often than not we simply strolled or sat in a café for a glass of wine and leisurely lunch.

The Apartment: 39 Rue de Turenne. On the border of the 3rd/4th arrondisments, but technically in the 3rd; one block from Place des Vosges.
2 bedrooms
1 bathroom
750 square feet
Free Internet and Free phone calls to the U.S.
4th floor with lift
In the back of the courtyard, not facing Rue de Turenne.

After looking at approximately 150 apartments to rent all over the city, we settled on this one and could not have been more pleased with our decision. I eventually found it on vrbo. A very important factor in our decision was that the landlord has a 3 year old son and was willing to share their babysitter with us while we are there. Also, they had a portable crib that we used for our son’s bed, which eliminated an extra bag for us to bring.

I’ve always been a left bank girl, but am now a right bank convert. Honestly I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED our neighborhood. As I mentioned we were about one block from Place des Vosges and in the heart of all things Marais. Three parks for our little one were all within a block walk, we accessed the metro stops St. Paul and Bastille and Chenin Vert in 2 blocks each.

The Recommendations:

Restaurants

Café Baci-35 Rue de Turenne-Outstanding food and exceptionally elegant décor. Modern vibe, but subtle vintage details as well. Not cheap, but not over the top either. Crowd was trendy, lots of models and model types, but it was still a ‘comfortable’ vibe.

Le Tartine-A nice, friendly wine bar with decent food. Nice atmosphere and some of the most pleasant service in town.

Chez Janou 2, rue Roger Verlomme. Right down the street from Place des Vosges. A sunny 2 room bistro with good food and a quirky feel, somewhat loud, but I chalk it up to being lively. Service is a bit stiff and the latest reviews on trip advisor have not been great, but we had a lovely lunch there and enjoyed ourselves.

Bouillon Racine- 3, Rue Racine. The art noveau décor is beautiful and the food quite good. You fall back in time with the décor. The service was pleasant and the meal a good deal for 15 euro for a 3 course lunch. Close to Jardin du Luxembourg.

Market

Marche des Enfant Rouges-We got lunch from here at least 3 days per week and typically bought dinner provisions 2 times per week. A total gem and the oldest covered market in Paris. There is crepe and sandwich vendor that serves the most outstanding sandwich I’ve ever eaten. You’ll know the guy as there is only one such stand at this small market and he generally is wearing a hat and has Credence Clearwater Revival on his radio. To die for crepes and sandwiches. There was just something about the bread, meat and 20 or so spices that he seemed to put on the sandwich that just made them outstanding. There is also wonderful Moroccan food for a quick lunch a few other lunchtime vendors as well. I also bought several bottles of wine that I didn’t see anywhere else in Paris. Overall, a wonderfully non-tourist market experience.

Parks

Square du Temple -Grab your food from Marche des Enfant Rouge and head over to eat in this lovely park. We were frequent visitors and our son adored the climbing equipment and playground.

Square Leopold Achille-A quaint little park near the Picasso museum. Perfect for a little afternoon rest.

Des Blances Manteaux-Tucked away off busy shopping street Francs Bourgeois, this little park is popular with those who have just bought falafels on nearby Rue de Rosiers. Our son loved the church bells ringing and it became known as ‘the bell park’ for us.

Jardin Des Plantes-We found this park to be an exceptional spot for a sunny day. While not as ‘glamorous’ as the Jardin du Luxembourg, this park has a more quiet feel, but still equally impressive. My son loved the small zoo as well.

A big thank you to all the fodorites who offered advice, reviewed apartments and more, it was invaluable.

As we settle back in to our everyday life in Chicago, I can only hope to plan our next adventure soon. For now, reality calls.

I wrote a blog for family and friends while we were there that provides many more specifics; please feel free to let me know if you would like a link to it.

Happy Travels Everyone!
JenG is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:01 PM
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It sounds wonderful.

This post deserves to be read by some of the people who are convinced that Paris can be "done" very well in 2 days.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:23 PM
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Can you put a link to your blog on this thread. I spent a month in Paris in 2007 and did a lot of wandering too. It was great to be leisurely. I did a lot of things I hadn't done before and still have not experienced all Paris offers.
adrienne is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 02:18 PM
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Hi JenG... wow, I am shivering in anticipation of reading your blog for this trip. Can you post a link to it here?

Thanks!
Another Jen in Chicago
jenblase is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 02:33 PM
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Hi Everyone...

Here's a link to the blog....

www.piercetakesparis.blogspot.com

Just scroll at the left side of page to start at the beginning, I wrote a post nearly everyday, so lots of reading
JenG is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 04:46 PM
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Glad you enjoyed your trip. I'm jealous you had a while month there. I'm looking forward to reading your blog and comparing notes from our fall trip with a two year old!
Sally30 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 05:03 PM
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blh
 
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So enjoyed reading your blog - we stayed in apartment in the Marais for a week in May of 2007. Your posts reminded me of so many places - just love Paris! It's wonderful to revisit again through your posts! Only wish we could stay a month as well. Your little boy is so cute! We have a two year old grandson, so I enjoyed reading about all the fun things he enjoyed. Every time we're there, we have imagined how much the kids would enjoy all the parks and carrousels.

Thanks so much for your trip report and for sharing your blog.
blh is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 05:57 AM
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Thanks for the report!
Ella656 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 06:24 AM
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I have very much enjoyed your report and reading your blog. I dream of spending more than 7 days in Paris.
BeachGirl247 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 06:51 AM
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Hi JenG
We are in Paris for one week starting May 1st and are also staying in the same building as you except on the sixth floor. This is our first vrbo experience and our first time in the Marais as well as we have always stayed in the 6th. It's good to hear such positive things about the area. Thanks for the restaurant tips.

Colleen
Colleen is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 07:21 AM
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Colleen-You will love the neighborhood. On the blog I list a lot more specifics and some additional recommendations. Have a fabulous trip!
JenG is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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What a beautiful little family and what a great report and blog. The pictures are lovely and your month in Paris sounded like a chapter from a book. I so enjoyed reading it and seeing your photos. I'm taking my granddaughter to Paris next year, alas for only a week or so, but we might try the Marais after reading this.
Barb is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 01:10 PM
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Colleen-Forgot to mention that the bakery across the street from the apt. building is fantastic. Honestly I think one of the best in Paris, always a line out the door, but goes quickly and the people who run it are lovely. It is directly across the street, so you can't miss it.
JenG is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 02:36 PM
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Thanks for the report! And now I'm off to read your blog!
Samsaf is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 03:39 PM
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Very interesting--I've never stayed in the 3rd/4th; your description makes me want to try it. I've noted all your recommendations. I'm sure it's a month you'll always remember. I'll be asking to read your blog. Thanks so much.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 04:25 PM
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This trip report was wonderful. And I loved your blog. What a beautiful family. I'd love to hear more about your time as a student in France.
Mamaw is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 05:35 PM
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What a fabulous blog! So delightful! Thanks for sharing.
starrs is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 12:01 PM
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JenG, I just returned from a trip to France and stayed at an apartment on the same street as you did. Rue de Turenne. I loved the block and I agree about the fabulous bakery. I will probably be returning next year to Paris and am very interested in the apartment that you rented. I tried locating it on VRBO and could not fine it. Could you please give me info as to how to contact the owner or the listing # on VRBO. Thanks.
TINA
tdk320n is offline  
Jun 29th, 2009, 01:22 PM
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Hi Tina-
Sorry for the delay I just saw your question. Isn't that just the greatest block? Here's the link and information for the apartment. We hope to return next year for a couple of weeks.
http://www.vrbo.com/15502
JenG is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 06:22 PM
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Hi Jen, Thanks for your info. I found the vrbo listing and have sent an email to the owner for availability. Hope it is available.i loved your blog. TINA
tdk320n is offline  

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