3 Girls in France trip report

Old Jul 11th, 2007, 06:12 PM
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In the evening of day 9, I start to not feel so well. I am catching a cold, but hope it goes away.

Day 10

This is our last day day in Paris as our flight is tomorrow morning.

I wake up early and realize I have a full blown cold. But we have things to see, so it will have to wait.

When we were staying at the Muguet during the first part of the trip, for some reason we missed going to Invalides. So we hopped on a cab over there. We went in through the back and wandered up to the ticket area. Then went to see Napoleons Tomb. Everything in the dome was amazing. His coffin, others coffins...the dome itself...and the huge thing that looked like an altar. I am not sure what that was. Does anyone know what I am talking about? Anyway, it was all very interesting and full of beauty. By this time, my cold is really wearing me down, so we pass on the arms and armour.

We head out the front and enjoy the beautiful view. To the left of it are some beautiful gardens with flowers in full bloom, a fountain spouting out, and the Eiffel Tower right there. Gorgeous!!! Then we hear a guard start to blow his whistle. We look around to see what is going on, and everyone around us is too. Turns out some other tourist is standing on the lawn taking pictures. The lawn is specifically roped off. The guard continues to blow his whistle to get her attention, but she is oblivious. This went on for quite a while. Everyone was giggling, and mostly thankful that it wasn't us that made the goof.

We decide to catch a cab and head over to the Orsay. Hailing a cab at the designated spot took quite a while, but I was feeling really run down and wasn't in the mood to walk. We arrive at the Orsay, go through security, get our tickets and head in. I will probably get blasted for this, but parts were ok, but I just want not into it. I think a lot of it was how I was feeling. But we did see the Monet's as my mom was very excited for those. I think I liked the clock the best. We took the stairs all the way up, but opted for the escalator for the way down. We were not here for long. There was a pharmacie across the street, so that is my main goal at this point.

Next to the pharmacie is another tacky touristy gift store. Grandma heads in there and I tell her we will be next door. Once again my French class saved me! That and my phrase book that I kept tucked in my purse. The Berlitz book has a good section on health, so I use that to tell the pharmacist my symptoms. He knew very little English, but he did know the words "not sleepy" for the medicine, lol! I told him I wanted sleepy, because I was headed to the aiport tomorrow and knew I needed to sleep tonight and on the plane. He gives me a box of what I call magic pills, and it has both day and night. So I am set.

We head back over to the Orsay to grab a cab. We want to hit a few stores near Rue Saint Honore. As the cab heads up that way, we drive right past Longchamp. I can see grandma and DD's eyes get big, so I tell the driver that this is a good spot to let us out, lol! We get out just up the street from there, at the intersection. We realize we need some lunch, so stop in at Le Trois Corners, which I think is a brasserie. Anyway, it was full of businessmen. We each get lemonade, and grandma has a smoked salmon sandwich, DD has rotisserie chicken, and I don't even remember what I had. But the cold medicine had kicked in, so I had medicine head, but was not miserable.

When it comes time to pay (which came to 76 euro), I mention I am headed to the restroom and figure grandma could work the money. Nope. I come back and she is flustered with the cash. She never did figure out the euros on this trip. Hard to explain, but she just had a hard time and so whenever she bought something, she would open her wallet and tell them to take what they needed, lol! Yes, REALLY that is what happened, lol! Even she laughs about it So, I make sure we leave the right amount of euros and we are off.

Back down to Longchamp. Grandma finds another purse, I find DH another wallet, DD finds another wallet, and I get a keychain, lol! At least today the store is pleasant to shop in and not mobbed like the first day of the sale. BTW, the red bag for 4500 euro has sold. Wonder what lucky lady got that!

We head out and the rain begins to dump once again. We scoot into Laduree for cover, and of course have to buy 3 tiny macaroons. The pistachio are my favorites! I am still kicking myself for not buying any to bring home.

From here, grandma wants to hit the Faccannable store, as that is one of her favorites. We arrive soaked, but are disappointed. The mens is on the main floor with loads of selection. The womens is downstairs, and there is very little merchandise. The womens dept looks like it was an afterthought, and the selection is very picked over. So grandma leaves a bit disappointed.

We try to catch a cab, but it takes forever. We are persistant though, and finally grab one.

Back at the hotel, we pack up the mailing boxes and head over to La Poste and drop them off. In one of these last boxes goes the infamous turquoise bathrobe

The La Poste was only about 2 blocks from our hotel, so quite convenient.

After that we hit the boulangerie that is around the corner from our hotel and get croissants for the morning since we are leaving early.

After we relax at the hotel for a while, and dry off, we head back out. One strange souvenier that has become a family joke on foreign travels, is we must buy bug bite cream. It started in Portugal when DD had mosquito bites, so we needed something for the itching. Then for DS for the same thing in Venice. So it has become a joke, and we do purchase it anytime we are abroad, lol! So I could not leave Paris without a tube of it. We hit the pharmacie near the hotel for it.

That pharmacie is on a street that we had not ventured to yet, so we found more places to check out. We spot a store that has clothes that DD might like, so we head in. The name was Christa's...and it has very inexpensive clothing. Some things were so cheap that I was not sure how they would wash up. But DD found a shirt, a really cute short cotton flouncy beige skirt (above the knee), and black leggings all for 35 euro. Since we arrived home, she has worn the skirt and shirt and both have been washed and seem like they will hold up, so I am pleased.

Then we head to dinner. We need to eat early tonight as we leave early in the morning for CDG.

We head back over to Au Chien Qui Fume. We pass on the starters and kirs, but have the exact same dishes as before since we all really loved them. So it was duck, chicken, and rack of lamb. We each have the apple tart for dessert. One thing that we all commented on was the desserts are much less sweet than here in the states. Well, items like this anyway. You could taste so much of the apple, and it was much better. Total bill came to 101 euros.

Back to the hotel. Grandma and DD head up to the rooms, and I checkout at the desk so we don't have to do that in the morning. I joined www.bonjourparis.com as a premium member, which costs about $35 for the year. But with that, one of the perks is 10% off at the Hotel Britannique. So for two rooms, each for 5 nights, it really helped out. Grandmas room was 173 euro and ours was 199 euro before the 10% off.

The hotel calls a shuttle for us for the morning as well.

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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 06:34 PM
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Day 11

We head back to the states today. Before we went to bed last night, we packed everything. With all that we shipped (heavy stuff) we are still able to do carryon for the way home.

The shuttle arrives around 6 am for us. I *think* the name of the shuttle was YellowVan (but it wasn't a yellow van), and it was 53 euro for the 3 of us. The driver was prompt and very nice. We pick up one other person and head to CDG.

The nice thing with the shuttle was that the driver knew exactly which terminal we needed to be at. I was in cold medicine fog, so the less amount of thinking I had to do, the better.

We arrive, and head over to check in at AF. Once again, no record of us. I had a feeling this would happen. Anyway, two ladies took care of it and were very pleasant about it and quite quick too. They weighed our bags and we were good for carryon

We then head over to the detax area, with all our purchased goods in one suitcase so we didn't have to open 3. The man was very nice and I immediately showed him that my purse was one of the items and asked if he would like to see the rest. I must look honest because he smiled, said he trusted me, and stamped my papers. The other poor people in there were unloading huge suitcases hauling out their purchases. I was out of there in a jiffy. There is a mailbox nearby, so I get all the paperwork in the mail right there.

Then we head to passport control. That is very quick. Security is quick too, but they are thorough. We were each put in different lines, we each got the full pat down, and DD's bag was entirely gone through. Mine was just somewhat sifted through. Grandma got off easy, lol!

We head toward our gate, but grandma wants to shop the other direction. For some reason, she is finally comfortable venturing farther than 2 feet from us, so we just tell her she better be at the gate when the plane leaves because we are getting on it with or without her. We all laugh, and she heads off. DD and I go buy some water and relax. I am feeling really crummy by this point. When the magic pills work, they work, but once they wear off I am miserable.

We have about 30 minutes til our flight leaves, and the magic pill is starting to work, so we hit a couple stores. The only things we buy are champagne and cough drops, lol!

Back to the gate, and grandma arrives. When they announce it is time to board, there is no boarding by rows or any sort of order what so ever. Literally, everyone gets up and mobs the agents. We get on the plane, and I had not even looked to see where our seats are. The two ladies who took care of our ticketing issue were wonderful...they seated us all together, upstairs, in an exit row! The upstairs is small, so you don't feel quite like you are in coach. And the window seats have a ledge about a foot wide to set things...sort of like having an end table. We each have the personal video screen too, so that really helps to pass the time.

The seats were great, but we had the French family from hell behind us. Never in my life have I had such rude people near my on a plane. The mother and two kids, about 11 and 13, all kicked the seat constantly, were loud as could be, and then, this is the kicker...kept putting their bare nasty feet through the armrests onto us! EEEWWW!!! I was in the window seat, and kept getting nasty feet on that ledge and stretched out to me. I lost count of how many times I was touched by them. I was so miserable though, that all I could muster was to give the feet good hard shoves with my elbows. Not nice, but that really is icky.

Arrive at SFO, our driver is there, and we head to grandmas. By 4pm we are in bed for the night, lol! Slept in til 8am, lol! Those magic pills saved me. I was finally feeling so much better. And I was sure the flight would make the cold worse. I was glad I had my earplanes with me, as that did help. Anyway, we felt really good so DD and I packed up, visited with grandpa a bit, then headed out to drive back to OR ( a day earlier than planned). We did hit the In n Out joint in Vacaville for dinner. Stopped in Yreka for the night, then arrived at home near Portland before noon.

We didn't suffer any jet lag on this trip really. I have had worse just going from OR to FL.

So a great trip, lots of comical moments, but also lots of fantastic memories!
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 07:07 PM
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Fun report! Thanks so much for posting! Love that grandma opened her wallet and let the shopkeepers pick out the money. I hate to admit it, but I am sometimes mathematically challenged and have actually done the same thing a couple of times in Eastern Europe. On occasion, I've gotten confused with all those zeros. Thanks again for such a delightful report!
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 07:43 PM
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I loved reading your post. My husband and I are both older than your mom, but we have been traveling on our own to France etc. for twenty years. WE are going to Normandy and will be staying at the Ivy House you mentioned for lunch. Unfortunately for me, I won't get to shop as much as I would like because my husband tires of this very quickly. I hope we will not have as much rain in September as you did on your trip. Regards Martha
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 07:52 PM
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a brilliant trip report!! thank you so much for sharing.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 08:03 PM
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OK, mms, I read about the purses and clothes and wallets and tea towels. But I didn't see any mention of a gargoyle magnet!

I know what "altar thing" you're talking about in Les Invalides. It was magnificent. But I don't know what it is either! Hope someone who does know responds!

I can't believe the feet thing on the plane. How rude!

This was a great report, mms. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for posting it. I know some of us kinda bullied you into it!
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 08:18 PM
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lucy--Well my mom will be really glad to hear that she is not the only one, lol!

martha--My DH hates to shop, so when we went last time I didn't do near as much. He humors me though, and tries, but I know he hates it, so we sort of compromise. Have you been to the Ivy House before? The hosts were SO nice...and while we didn't see the rooms, everything else was very well kept and welcoming.

caph--LOL, no you didn't guilt me too much And I never did find a gargoyle magnet But I have some good pics of them!
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 08:20 PM
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Loved your report! I did have some questions:

Was Au Lys D'Argent on the Ile Saint Louis or Ile de Cite? We just stayed on the Ile Saint Louis in May, and the name seemed familar - was it really small? Is it more of a cafe than a restaurant?

I noticed you also went to Chez Clement - do you remember the address? I seem to remember someone on this board mentioning that they had really good rotisserie chicken!

I do share the same question as you do about the dancing on the seine - is this only on weekends? Do you remember what bridges it was on?
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 08:46 PM
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Anna--Yes, Ile Saint Louis, and yes that is probably the same place...more of a cafe. Chez Clement was near St Michael at 9 place St Andre des Arts in the 6th. Only a short block from the river. Cross the Pont St Michel bridge (Blvd Du Palais) and go straight a block and it is where the streets all veer off. You can't miss it. The dancers were not on one of the isles, but rather on the south of of the isles. Right along the water. I have a great pic of the older people dancing.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 10:13 PM
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The dancers are on the Quai Saint Bernard. All summer long there is an amazing group tango affair (including tango lessons) that hundreds of people attend. You can find all the info by Googling "tango Paris".
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 10:15 PM
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Tango sur les Quais de Seine.
Les RDV tango en plein air sur les Quais de la Seine ont lieu tous les soirs lorsque la météo le permet. Adresse: Square Tino Rossi Quai Saint Bernard 75005 Paris, Métro Jussieu ou Gare d'Austerlitz. Horaires: de 21H à 01H.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 10:27 PM
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Great trip report!

By the way, Zagat's is a restaurant rating guide.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 11:35 PM
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We will be there in October, and your great report makes me very impatient to be in that wonderful town.

One question, how big/heavy were the boxes you sent home, and how much did it cost? I may do that this time, rather than the "buy a cheap big bag and check it" method we usually use.

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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 12:03 AM
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La Poste international package boxes: http://www.laposte.fr/particulier_en...ional_243.html
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 12:17 AM
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This link is better if it works: http://www.coliposte.fr/gp/services/...36&popup=popup
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 05:05 AM
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mms - I have 2 boys and am not a shopper or particularly girlie by nature (actually shopping is a close second to root canal on my list of chosen activities Not only did I enjoy the "France trip" details of your trip report, but I also really enjoyed being able to "take part" of your 3 generation girlie shopping trip! (I guess there is a need to be girlie somewhere deep in my sporty, boy-world life!) It was a great read - thank you!
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 07:17 AM
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kerouac--Thanks for the info on the dancers. I looked at the map, and now it is obvious to me that is where it was. Really fun to see!

peg--I knew it was a rating guide, but I didn't know the details of it.

nukesafe--The boxes were the XL size, about 12 x 8 x 18 inches. It was 38 euro to send home, and so far everything has made it to OR in exactly one week from mailing. Much faster than the mail within the US, lol! After having stuff stolen from checked baggage before, I just don't like to entrust anything to the airlines. Plus, it gets us out of the airport faster.
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Old Jul 15th, 2007, 03:41 PM
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Hi mmms - great report! I especially enjoyed reading it since my husband and I are planning a trip to Paris, Normandy and Provence in October. I am a fellow Beaver and Portland area resident and am wondering where you took your French for Travelers class. Did you take French in high school or was this your first go at it? I took Spanish which will not help at all with this trip.

It looks like you were happy with the Battle Bus tour. We are trying to decide between a private tour guide or the Battle Bus, it looks like you have done both - what do you recommend?

I might have more questions for you if you don't mind. Thanks and Go Beavs!
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Old Jul 15th, 2007, 04:08 PM
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Loved your report, and it sounds like you brought and sent home enough stuff that you'll be reminded of your week in Paris every time you grab a purse to go out.
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Old Jul 15th, 2007, 04:25 PM
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Tracilee--I'd love to help a fellow Beav I had never taken French before (just Spanish in high school ages ago), but found this class through PCC. The instructor I had was Anne and she was REALLY good!!! I took it downtown at the Morrison Park location...basically a classroom in a building across from Nordstrom. I know she is teaching a few classes this summer, but she also does private tutoring. If the class schedule does not work for you, contact PCC and have them put you in contact with her. She is from France, and is moving back in the fall. She is really good, and really entertaining As far as the tours...yes, we have done both but I actually preferred the BattleBus because the guide had so much knowledge. He has been studying WWII for over 20 years, and I understand that all the guides at BattleBus are equally informed.
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