5 Days In Paris

Old May 16th, 2010, 06:54 AM
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Emily71

I live in NYC and I am active on that board. I used to argue with visitors about not going to specific reataurants or sights. Now, I mention it once and drop the subject.

If someone wants to go ro not go somewhere, let them. If they want to go a terrible reataurant let them, it opens a free table at a better spot. And if someone does not like Paris, do not encourage them to return, that too means there is one less person on line.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 08:16 AM
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Well said, Ira and bumper.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 09:10 AM
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>

The Parthenon comment was way stupider than that.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 09:22 AM
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This is our 6th visit to Paris,we just arrived today.Last May it was rainy and chilly,but it was Paris in the rain,Hopefully the sun gods will be out with us this week.We are ready to try new cafes and bistrots,and whatever else rolls our way.
Elaine
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Old May 16th, 2010, 09:46 AM
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I can understand the OP's disappointment with Paris if he did not expect rain and cold in May. We have always gone to Paris in the Fall, and have been delighted with the mild temperatures and almost unfailing sunshine.

Next year we plan to visit in May, so I looked up the climate, and found that May is the rainiest month, with 10.3 days of rain, and it averages 2.6 inches of rain in that month.

Bring an umbrella and a sweater, it will still be lovely.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 09:48 AM
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I think your first paragraph was a cheap shot, and set the tone for the rest of your report.

I read most if not all reports on Paris, and have no qualms with people who go, experience it, and decide it is not for them. Part of any trip is to temper pre-conceptions (positve and negative), and be open to changing your mind.

And sure, no city can ever claim that every restaurant serves beautiful meals. I, who like a good meal, research before going, here..guides...food blogs,etc. And when I get there, I add to the list via hotel staff, observations of where locals seem to go, etc..So far, I've been able any 'walk out' meals. Lucky? Maybe.

I sense a bit of "checklist" tourism. Need to see this, and this, and that. Paris is not just stuff, it is also just enjoying life in a beautiful environment. There is no magic in going to Place des Vosges, taking a picture and saying "what's next?". But sitting at an outdoor cafe there, having a nice lunch and a glass of wine, enjoying the company I'm with, and marvelling at the centuries old architecture, wondering about the famous people that have passed under these arcades...beats having a coffee a McDonald's back home.

There is seeing Paris and there is experiencing Paris.

But as to positives, yes Versailles is an amazing place. People think OK, summer chateau of the kings of France with a garden out back...somewhat more than that!

CLuny is also one of my favorites. Like the exhibits, but the building itself adds another dimension.

Cognac-Jay is on my list. Last time I visited the Jac

One thing that I always like about Paris are the little stylish flairs....I bought some flowers for my sister when I was staying at her place. The shopkeeper aksed if they were a gift, annd when I decided to say yes, a whole production of wrapping and ribbons that moved in from a nice bunch of flowers to something artistic.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 10:29 AM
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Very interesting take on things, Imhornet. Having read many of your posts in the past (and always smiling wryly at your screen name), I did approach this commentary with an understanding that criticism is sort of your schtick. I was surprised so see a moment or two of downright evenhandedness. Many of your comments were actually rather helpful.

BTW, has anyone else wondered whether Imhornet is perhaps a distant relation of Flanneruk? There is definitely an almost endearingly curmudgeon quality to both gentlemen, who find entertainment value in throwing out meat to watch the fur fly. Oddly, I'm growing rather fond of them as vivid characters in the Fodor's cast.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 11:24 AM
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Joan you are right. Chuckle, chuckle.

I am planning our first trip to Paris in late April 2011 and I like this post.

I learned a long time ago that my experience in a new location will be much different than anyone else's. Not necessarily better or worse...just different. For example, I live in Kansas City and I love it even though for two years we haven't had more than 12 days in a row without rain and we just came off our worst winter in a long, long time. The winters here can be brutal. But we dress right, get out of the house and love what the city has to offer. The potential bad weather in late April in Paris...even if it rains...won't ruin the vacation for me. But that is just me.

So Mr. Hornet...thanks for your post. I will file it with all the others and consider it as I continue to read and learn.

DaveMM
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Old May 16th, 2010, 02:30 PM
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DaveMM,

Your first trip to Paris in April 2011. You have lots of time to read and gather information. That is truly half the fun..the planning! Just don't try to over-do. Take time to stop and smell the flowers!

Yes, you will want to see some of the major sights on this first trip. This one should only whet the appetite for the next trip. That's the way it goes! No end to it. Just take the Louvre..You can be there for years and not do it all..and then all the special exhibitions.

I usually go a couple times a year for 4 weeks or more at a time and never accomplish what I think I might. I don't cram things into my days. Many are just wandering here and there in varous neighborhoods..never know what you might find, discover.

The bus is far superior to the metro, in so many ways. If you are there long enough, and/or plan to be returning, get a Navigo Decouverte card. Easy to get around. I know I can get to any place from where I stay, very easily. You will do a lot of walking.

Weather, who knows. Most of us..Paris too..had a horrible winter! A February I want to forget. I was in Paris last year from mid April to mid May. The weather was decent..no complaints. This year April may have been better than May. I have been there in May and found it to be cold. I do think that the fall weather may be more dependable than the Spring. Last November was unseasonably warm. I hope this November will be, too. Whatever it is..it is Paris, and I know that I will enjoy.

Happy planning to you!!

Joan
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Old May 16th, 2010, 02:59 PM
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Thanks for your observations Imhornet. My first trip is coming up in exactly 7 days and I'm super excited.

I did have to chuckle though, I always find it funny that we vacationeers (myslef included) always seem to want a place that is fantastic, popular, with perfect weather and no tourist crowds. LOL. does such a place exsists?

Weather can make or break a trip and unfortunately it's totally out of our control. So I plan to keep an eye on weather.com, pack a few extras "just in case" and let the chips fall where they may.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 04:03 PM
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"...we found that there was relatively little neighborhood ambience anywhere in Paris. I attribute this to the architecture. Paris doesn’t look or feel like an old city with a lot distinct areas."

Are you sure you went to Paris?

-Roberta
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Old May 16th, 2010, 05:18 PM
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Thanks hornet, from another who appreciates hearing the good, the bad, and the ugly, and not just about the BEST icecream, BEST hot chocolate, BEST pizza etc etc.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 06:19 PM
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Ira said:

>>>>Just one more example of how the French hate Americans. On days when you are not there, they all were clothes by Armani, Gucci, etc. - even at the beach.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 07:10 PM
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Thanks hornet, from another who appreciates hearing the good, the bad, and the ugly, and not just about the BEST icecream, BEST hot chocolate, BEST pizza etc etc.

I too appreciate an honest appraisal, but not necessaruly a pyschotic one.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 07:51 PM
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I'm happy to read your report, Hornet. Most of us really do want to hear about the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have read many reports like that on this site, including this report.

I am paying attention to your comments about Allard, which I have not visited. I have read recommendations for the dish you describe seeing at the next table, the duck with olives, and since duck and olives are two of my favorite things, I would have wanted to try it.

I would be very interested to hear about the two meals you say were good and where you had them.

The metro does have some stations that are extremely large and confusing, especially ones where several lines intersect. I have learned to try to avoid those stops.

Thanks for taking the time to write the report. It is refreshing to read something sincere and interesting from a poster whose previous posts would not have led me to expect it.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 10:38 AM
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Sorry folks for taking this thread a little off topic.

Joan,

Thank you for the insight.

We learned many years ago after our first visit to Kauai, Hawaii that we don't like to kill ourselves on vacation. Our first visit to Kauai was the let's do everything we possibly can vacation. On all our subsequent trips to paradise we have a very loose plan and we really enjoy whatever comes.

This is the approach we are taking with Paris. We will make the list of places/sites we want to visit but there will be plenty of time to soak it all in. I am really excited about using the Velib’ rental station right outside our apartment (assuming the weather cooperates). Getting around town on a bike is going to create some wonderful memories and images. The thought of leisurely riding to another area of town to simply walk around is very appealing. Some might say I am out of my mind...they may be right. Our approach to this vacation means we will not see everything. We are okay with that.

So that I get an idea for the distances between different locations I use the Google Pedometer site. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/ It is a simple point and click program. I don't want to think I am off for a 3 mile ride and find out it is much, much longer.

Back to work…lunch is over.

Thanks.

DaveMM
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Old May 17th, 2010, 02:09 PM
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DaveMM,

I do like your approach to travel. You will have fun with the Velib. They will be right outside my apartment both Nov. and next Spring, too.

Enjoy,

Joan
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Old May 18th, 2010, 03:27 AM
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Well, I too get tired of white stucco after a while, but I do wonder at many of your other disappointments.

We are not checklist tourists. We never go to more than one site a day, and when we go in a group with friends, we often have multiple parties heading in a lot of different directions so that the hard-core museum goers who read every label, the flaneurs, and the shoppers can be accomodated.

But you don't need official "sites" to feel the drama of Paris. You were not impressed by the Marais and saw only a bunch of felafel shops on the Rue des Rosiers. Did you see all the gay nightclubs more or less around the corner? Did you ask how these coexist with a neighborhood that is basically ultra-Orthodox Jewish? Mystery there. Did you see the memorial, just a bit past L'As du Felafel and just a bit above head level, to the Jewish schoolchildren rounded up and sent to a death camp? Not a generic memorial to all the school children, but a memorial to those children in the primary school that once existed on that spot. I am not Jewish, but it makes me cry and prompts the question of how a society so civilized and so cultured in so many ways could allow such things. And so you are lead into history and culture. Did you see Finkelstayn's restaurant across the corner from L'As de Felafel? Did you know that in the 1970's gunmen opened fire on innocent customers there, simpy because they were Jews and three of them died? Why? What happened? What happened to the murderers? Is this not more than felafel shops, is it not sufficient drama for a street?

Once you notice those memorials set into walls, you can walk all around Paris looking for memorials to resistance martyrs, to people who died in the last hours of the German occupation in order to hasten the freedom of the many? These were men and women from the same society as those who allowed the deportations. How do you reconcile their courage and their fellow citizens' cowardice? This leads you to history and to a whole new way of looking at the streets around you.

While we are thinking about the Resistance, look at the Place de la Concorde. It is just a big horrible traffic circus now, but what happened there in 1944? Who lived in the Hotel Meurice? And what happened there in the Revolution? Can you imagine the blood from the guillotine soaking your feet?

What we see in a city very much depends on what we bring to it. The same thing applies to food, though the subject is trivial. If you know that the French generally like duck still red if not actually saignant (duck a la Rouen is saignant) and if you like olives, you may be pleased with the duck at Allard. If you only order it because it is a signature dish, or if you go to Allard in the first place because it is a checklist restaurant, you may be disappointed.

What you bring home depends on what you take. Is Paris perfect? Of course not. Is Paris dull? Not if you approach it with something more than a tourist's dulled eyes.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 04:34 AM
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Ackislander

That is a wonderful post. What you bring home depends on what you take. Words to live by!
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Old May 18th, 2010, 06:31 AM
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I'm still amused by this post. Does anyone remember the Bob Newhart show (the one with Suzanne Pleshette) episode, "Jerry's Retirement"? Jerry the dentists gets some windfall, retires, and starts to whittle with old people? If I recall correctly, Bob suggests he might want to use this time to go to Europe, an idea that is dismissed with the words along the line of "Why? It needs a coat of paint!"

This post and the "End of Tourism" post both have that same tone, the "I can't appreciate this, I've had to wait in a line, so therefore it's worthless" thing.

Ackislander, Thank you for bringing back to all of us the memories of how we felt coming across all those memorials in the Marais around ten years ago. My daughter read your post this morning and reminded me that we came upon the school memorial in surprise, caught our breath, and just cried. And pointing out that strange juxtaposition of gay and Orthodox was great too--we remembered getting our coffee on our Marais street every morning to the soundtrack of "Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert"--almost impossible to get our caffeine without looking for a disco ball on the ceiling.

Again,Ackislander,thank you for bringing back a treasured trip for us with such a beautiful, thoughtful post.
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