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Annecy, Mont Blanc, and then some city lights

Annecy, Mont Blanc, and then some city lights

Old Oct 9th, 2011, 06:16 AM
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And now I'm finally here to write the end of the trip report! I hope this has been helpful and thank you to those who have been reading. As promised, at the very end I will post what I consider to be my "top 15 best photos" from this trip so if you cannot stand the thought of wading through 200+ photos above, I'll make it easier on you.

Saturday in Paris

I was so looking forward to Saturday. For those of you who have had the pleasure of meeting Michael Osman, tour guide extraordinaire, I had the whole day to myself with him. Like my April visit I had a number of random right bank things to see and do.

Around 8 AM I got an email from him. He had taken sick the evening before and had hoped to feel well enough to walk with me but it just wasn't happening. I knew very well what he was describing - chills and hot at the same time. Ugh, poor Michael! He said he had to walk his dog, anyway, so he could at least meet me for breakfast and help me sort out my day. We met at an Eric Kayser patisserie and talked for a little while, and then I set off for my stroll.

In April I had tried to visit the Opera Garnier but it was closed. This time it was open at 10 AM. My goal was to see the Marc Chagall ceiling. I strolled around the exterior and took a number of photos of the various statuary before it opened. Once inside, I headed straight to view the ceiling. The grand staircase hallway, in fact everything, was minimally lit so I suppose I'll just have to come back for an actual ballet.

The first time I saw an opera was in November, in the Vienna Staatsoper (Rigoletto, with Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky playing lead). That was an impressive opera house, but nothing can compare to the Marc Chagall ceiling in the Opera Garnier. It was unveiled on Sept 23, 1964 - almost 50 years ago. Very controversial when initially commissioned, I read that the "critics fell silent" upon viewing it.

I took a number of photos, but they are rather dark - handheld, no tripod. So opulent! The advantage of rushing to the top first was that I was the only person there and I just stood there and marveled for a while. Very colorful (it seems reds and blues predominate), it pays surreal tribute to various famous composers, actors and dancers. Had I gone on the guided tour I could have named some of them, no doubt.

After a few people started to filter in I decided to move along. I went to the Grand Foyer and then to the balcony and took photos from there - the view down the Avenue de l'Opera, and some surrounding buildings.

As an aside, I learned that Marc Chagall painted some murals for the NYC Metropolitan Opera a few years later, and a few years ago the opera used them as collateral with a loan with JPMorgan. Ouch! I hope they don't lose them.

Here are the photos from the Opera. They are out of order and in fact a handful of them were exterior photos taken in April. I even took a few in the gift shop - love the Repetto gowns.


After I left the Opera I wandered up to Galeries Lafayette and took a photo of the dome ceiling in there as well. I then strolled up Bd Haussman to the Chapelle Expiatoire but it was closed. Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI laid "in rest" here for 21 years before being formally interred in the Basilica St. Denis (St. Denis was another one who lost his head, though not in the same era). I ended up wandering past Fauchon and you HAVE to go inside Fauchon if you are there! I wasn't the only one taking photos of the food, by the way. I briefly thought about eating there but the outside tables were all taken (gorgeous day) so I kept going. I ended up near St. Eustache as my goal for lunch was Rue Montorgueil.

Here are a few photos from the above stroll.


After my late lunch I slowly strolled back towards my hotel. I stopped at Christian Louboutin on rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau and stood outside, in line, for 30 minutes so that I could go inside and get a glimpse at the shoes. I had my sight set on a pretty pair of black platform peep toes but quelle horreur, they were out of my size! Tant pis. I wanted Repettos anyway. So, I set off for Repetto and found yet another line outside. Very popular shoes, they are! Once inside I quickly identified three pairs to take home (ballet, lace up oxfords - probably dance shoes, and a pair of Mary Jane heeled pumps). Yes, with the three tins of stuffed prunes I bought the day before, I was definitely in line for another suitcase purchase. The Repettos, in case you were wondering, are like buttah. Just, buttah.

Finally back at the hotel. I was to meet Judy and her family at their apartment on the Ile St. Louis so I had to get ready and identify a suitcase beforehand, too. Luckily the Rue de Rivoli is full of souvenir shops and a few sell cheapie suitcases so I had a few strolls through the Place Vendome that evening.

When I got to their apartment it was still daylight but it was quickly fading. I managed to figure out how to get through two "coded doors" and was briefly thrilled to be inside one of those secret courtyards you always wonder about when strolling past huge closed doors on the streets of Paris. After seeing their apartment, I am going to 1. stay in Paris for more than 2-4 days at a time and 2. start renting apartments instead of hotels all the time. Wow, was their apartment nice. I hope Judy posts the link to the rental agency - really lovely.

Their daughters had just arrived that morning to spend two weeks with their parents in Paris. They were delightful too! I'm pretty jealous - they were starting their two weeks and even though I had just arrived the day before, United had ALREADY sent me their online "you can check in to go home now" email. We had a few glasses of wine, many stories and laughing. I'm still marveling at how big that apartment was, there in the middle of maybe the most prime location for real estate in Paris... the ceilings had to be 12 feet. Had to be.

Eventually I headed out to go home. I hadn't eaten dinner with all of the wandering I had done earlier, and luckily if you want a late dinner, being on the Ile St. Louis is a good place to be. After I ate, I wandered over to Notre Dame as I knew there was a taxi stand. Home I went. One more morning... my flight home was at 5 PM.

Next: Sunday, last morning in Paris.
flygirl is offline  
Old Oct 9th, 2011, 07:58 AM
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Hi flygirl, I love the stunning photos of the opera, my favorite building in Paris!

We rented from www.parisvacationapartments.com and it was the 2 bedroom Ile St Louis apartment. It looks a little smaller on their website than it actually is. We've always been happy with this rental agency.

We had such fun meeting you and getting together several times during your trip and especially love the photos!

We did some shopping as well but Jim & I managed to fit ours into the bags we brought with us. We, too, have a closet full of cheap duffels.
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Old Oct 9th, 2011, 09:00 AM
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Just returned from Paris. Loved your photos of the Opera Garnier----I'm still trying to get ours together.

Annecy is on my "bucket list" so I'm saving your report to read along with a gless of wine when I have more time.

Your apt. on Ile St. Louis looks lovely. We booked at the very last minute so had to scramble for an apt. Next time we'll also look into the service you used.
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Old Oct 9th, 2011, 06:39 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Great pictures of the Opera Garnier, that's been on my want to visit list for a while and I'm hoping to do the guided tour while in Paris in December. Also considering going to a performance, Cindrella will be performed while I'm there. I got to see a reproduction of the Chagall ceiling at the Chagall museum in Nice, can't wait to see it at the Opera!

One question...are the stairs inside the Opera very steep and/or narrow? My mom will be with me, and going up stairs isn't bad, but coming down is a bit of a challenge.
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Old Oct 10th, 2011, 12:45 AM
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Beth, great photos as always and the day sounded like lots of fun. Too bad about Michael as I know you were so looking forward to it.12 more days before we leave! and 20 before we get to Paris! Can you tell I'm ready?
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Old Oct 10th, 2011, 05:12 AM
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Judy, thank you for the link. I will look up their apartments for my next visit.

TPAYT, I hope my report is helpful. I'd highly recommend a car for your visit. There is much to see in the mountains. I am looking forward to seeing your photos. I saw you wrote about your visit but haven't posted them yet?

LowCountryIslander, any of the stairs I used were very wide and of normal steepness. The Grand Staircase is of course huge, but even the stairs beyond that were similar.

Avalon, thank you! 12 days, wow. What ports of call do you have? I'd like to fit into your suitcase. Have a great time, and say hello to Michael!

The last morning in Paris. September 11.

I may have mentioned this previously, or maybe not. On 9/11/01, I was in the south of France, vacationing with friends. We didn't even know of the attacks for several hours - our evening. The day Osama bin Laden was killed, I was in Paris. And now, the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I was yet again in France. Had I stayed an extra day I would have visited the memorial ceremonies they were having in Paris that day.

I had an early start this morning and considered going to the Marais but after I left the hotel I decided it was silly to have yet another cab ride when I had the Tuileries so close. I may as well take advantage of the hotel location. I wandered down to the Tuileries and snapped several photos. It was a grey morning with a threat of rain, and somewhat cooler. To me it was perfect though. I like walking in cool weather, and the grey skies can lend extra depth to the photos.

I walked through the Tuileries and then up to the Louvre itself. It was still fairly early, but the lines to go in had already started to form. I walked up towards the Palais Royal and settled upon a cafe in view of the whimsical Palais Royal metro stop - not Cafe Nemours, and I could not tell you its name unfortunately. I merely had a croissant and chocolat chaud.

After that, a stroll on the Rue de Rivoli and I found myself in front of the 7th century church Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois (the church of the Louvre, apparently). I went inside briefly and a mass was being performed. Back outside I took a number of photos when it started to rain. Luckily I had a raincoat with hood, but no umbrella (drat). The Rue de Rivoli has arcades, however, as does part of the walk up to the Place Vendome.

Here are the photos from the morning's stroll:


Back to the hotel to drop the camera and get an umbrella. My last stop was Laduree on Rue Royale. When I returned it was barely 1230, with a 5 PM flight. I still could have had an extra hour to do something but with the rain and the fact that it was 9-11 I figured it might be smarter to go to the airport to give myself some extra time. I had to get my detaxe sorted out, anyway.

So, off to the airport and home. The end!

As promised, here are what I consider to be the "Top 15" photos that I took on this vacation. If you don't want to sort through the 200+ posted above (almost 60 just from that very last morning!) have a look at the link below.

As always, the slideshow shows them out of order.

Top 15 photos, in my opinion.

flygirl is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2011, 10:51 AM
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Great report, flygirl!
We did try to attend the 9/11 event in Paris. Despite raincoats and umbrellas we were completely drenched walking from the bus stop (should have taxied!) and never made it. We could see the replicas of the towers but did not make it around to the other side to see the program. Wish I could tell you what you missed!
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Old Oct 10th, 2011, 04:25 PM
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Splendid photos flygirl. In your photo advertising martinis I also noticed they were offering suze, which is one of the drinks made from a flower I took a picture of (in my report) on the Semnoz Plateau. I love Saint-Germain l'Auxerois. Most people don't know that it, as well as several other Parisian churches, are built on top of older churches dating as far back as the 6th and 7th centuries. Thanks for sharing your stories and lovely photos. Next time you come back to Paris you'll have to try a little sightseeing on bike.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Old Oct 11th, 2011, 11:58 AM
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Wow what great photos! We look forward to trying the wine bar when we are there in November.

I feel your Louboutin pain...two years I went to all 3 stores in Paris and they never had anything lose to my size (which admittedly is 34.5 or 35 and hard to find anywhere). At least I didn't have to stand in line to go inside!!
denisea is offline  
Old Oct 11th, 2011, 04:47 PM
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Judy, thanks again for inviting me to spend dinners with you and Jim. It was so nice to meet you. I hope to see you in Paris during at least one of your trips in 2012!

FMT, I will do so - that sounds fun! I'm hoping for a 2012 visit, not sure of date. Do you ride year round?

Denise, definitely check out O Chateau. Not far away, if you are a foodie, is G. Detou. Worth a visit as well.

Check this out, I just came across this. I am DEFINITELY paragliding next time:

flygirl is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2011, 04:53 PM
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flygirl - I do indeed ride year round. The only caveat is that in winter I only ride if the temp is above freezing and/or there is no moisture or ice on the roads. If the roads are very dry then the temp isn't important. You have to remember that there is not much in the way of sanding and salting of roads here so if the temp is below freezing all it takes is a bit of moisture for black ice to accumulate. Let me know when you're coming back and I'll be happy to show you around, city or country.
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Old Oct 12th, 2011, 05:45 PM
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I'm so glad I found this report. DH and I are considering Annecy and Paris for next year except we will have 2 weeks. I've been to Paris several times but this report gave me some much needed info on Annecy. Thanks!!
P_M is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2011, 05:52 PM
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P_M - You may also find my trip report about my two week vacation in the area around Annecy helpful.

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Old Oct 12th, 2011, 06:03 PM
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Thank you FMT. I need to log off now but will check it out later.
P_M is offline  
Old Oct 13th, 2011, 04:32 PM
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FMT, your pics look like postcards!! Thanks for the link, I'm really enojoying these.
P_M is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2016, 08:19 AM
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Thanks for Sharing this Awesome Post. I will Share it on Social Media & https://www.ienglishstatus.com/
Anshuminesh19 is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2016, 04:34 PM
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Wow..... just wow! What a great trip, a fabulous trip report AND stunning pictures! Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to share your experiences. Merci!
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Old Dec 16th, 2018, 05:45 PM
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I'm only now reading this wonderful report, flygirl, and thank you for conveying information with a decidedly personal touch -- delightful! I especially appreciated your description of your walks in the French Alps.
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