Back from Paris and in Withdrawl

May 2nd, 2004, 04:53 AM
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Back from Paris and in Withdrawl

I just got back from a wonderful week in Paris, and with the exception of the shuttle (separate thread), it was perfect! Sunny, 60's,- the epitomy of Paris in the springtime. I had been before but my husband had not so I was the official tourguide. I did tons of research from this site and all the tips were really helpful. I do not have the discipline to do a day by day trip report so will probably throw out various ramblings!

We stayed at Relais Christine which was a total splurge but exactly what I had hoped it would be. Charming, (old stone abbey) with perfect service(champagne on ice for us when we arrived), and fabulous location. Our room was very good-sized with high beamed ceilings and two huge windows overlooking a charming stone courtyard, two closets plus armoire, great bathroom - if you want the feel of a quiet manor, but 1/2 block from all the action, this is the place.

The museum pass was well worth it for us although we did not see really bad lines anywhere. I always love Museum D'Orsay, but we also saw Invalides, Rodin, Arch de Triomphe, Delacroix, St.Chappelle, Conciergie, Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Deportation museum (not all in 1 day!) so we got good use out of it but still so many left to see---of course, that is always part of the justification to go back! We especially loved the Rodin and St. Chappelle is just not to be missed! The amazing thing is I made a list of approx. 30 things I wanted to do while we were there (all organized by neighborhood) and we actually did them all! But what is most amazing is that we still managed to visit practically every sidewalk cafe on the left bank and soak in Paris without ever feeling overwhelmed. Maybe it was energy from the wine. Speaking of which, can you get bad wine in Paris? I couldn't (and tried!) and loved trying all of them. How am I ever going to choke down some of the junk (at $8 a glass) that you get here?

We ate at several good spots, Le Petit Zinc, Polidor, Chez Maitre Paul, Fish, to name a few. Our big splurge was lunch at Jules Verne (a surprise for my husband for our anniversay) and it was great - the food was excellent and the view was outstanding. Plus, taking your own private elevator wasn't too shabby either. The waitors were very nice and not condenscending at all. We actually had such fabulous breakfasts at our hotel (get it delivered to your room!)that it became hard to eat big dinners. We actually kind of did a "dine-around" a couple of days---grab a crepe, split a fabulous salad and onion soup, oysters, etc. - just making sure I was leaving room for wine and french desserts. The ice cream at Berthillion is NOT to be missed.

We loved the wine shop in the 6th - La Dernier Goulette and went every day for a bottle for our room! One of the girls that worked there gave us a book on "Unexplored Paris" to use while we were there which was fun. The Cour de Rohan (3 courtyards) was very quaint and close to our hotel. Dr. Guillotine used to practice on sheep in one of them. The shop has been mentioned here in various threads and is worth the stop. They will pack wine for you to take back as well.

Lets see...other highlights...Samartine (go to the top for view and ignore the sign that says it's for diners), boat ride down the Seine at night, St. Sulpice, St. Germain des Pres church (especially the side garden facing Cafe Bonaparte), Luxemborg Gardens, Tuillerie Gardens, Place de la Concorde, Place de la Madeline, Ille St. Louis, walking everywhere and discovering quaint cobble-stoned streets like you know you will never see at home, and oh did I mention stopping for wine at the cafes?

We easily figured out the Metro (and were not pick-pocketed) and went to Montmarte which was quaint. Even bought an oil painting (ok, it was probably a paint-by-number) but it looked good anyway (especially after un pichet of vin rouge).
Another highlight - since I am a bit of an aging hippie, was to go to Pere Lachaise and of course visit Jim Morrison's grave. I still have very fond (albeit hazy) of rocking out to "roadhouse blues".....I actually thought the cemetary was quaint...think my husband thought it was a tad creepy. We walked through Marais - did the Degas walk - thanks ---loved the village of St.Paul and Place de Vosges.

I truly loved wandering through the 6th and definitely would stay in that area again. I even saw lots of Westies so got to pet them and fulfill my dog fix. Several (being well-behaved Parisian dogs) even posed for photos. My best dog memory was looking up while walking down Rue de Buci and seeing an Akita leaning out (with paws crossed) of his window just watching all the people walk by. Even the dogs in France have the right attitude.

Enough husband loved Paris and I had been trying to get him there for years. In fact, he liked it so much....he told me to start planning the next trip. Being an obedient sort, I am already back on Fodor's thread after 2 days in the states. Where is my cafe and cobblestone streets and Bonjour Madame? I doubt if detox or therapy will help so will finally sign off and start checking out those airfares. AuRevoir!
westiedogs is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 05:09 AM
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Chère westiedogs -- you certainly have my sympathy. And YES!! The antidote is to plan the next visit.

While you plan I'd I like to suggest that you visit GUYON's Paris page over at Virtual Tourist -- it is exceptional:
And no -- I'm not related

Re "bad wine in Paris": I was given a bad pichet at Cafe du Marche on rue Cler -- I made it clear "en français" that this was not acceptable and voilà -- the "correct" wine was served. I think they thought they could palm off some day old wine on us -- no way!
sfowler is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 05:46 AM
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Fantastic, westiedogs, liked very much your report! I have 4 months and 14 days to wait until I'm there.
Keren is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 06:05 AM
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Westiedogs, I don't know what's harder, the waiting or the withdrawal.

I guess you could compare it to the difference between smelling the Thanksgiving turkey roasting all day long and then only getting one slice of it before your plate's snatched away.

Enjoy the memories!

Croque_Madame is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 06:43 AM
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What a pleasure to read your enthusiastic report, westidogs. J.
jmw44 is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 07:38 AM
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Merci beaucoup for putting a big smile on my face! We leave for France next week for 4 days in Nice, then 10 days in Paris. Our first visit to France and I am very excited.

Yes, this website is an invaluable resource. Yesterday we actually figured out how to book our train online and even print our own tickets. Thanks to all for the great planning info.
ljagla is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 08:24 AM
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I agree totally that the cure for your withdrawal symptoms is to begin planning another visit to Paris.

In regards to your stay at the Relais Christine, what is the type of room you had? Because on there were a few negative comments concerning both the rooms and the concierge service.

But it looks like you experienced excellent service and had a very nice room. So maybe the comments were either exagerrated or things have improved at the hotel since that time.
francophile03 is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 08:34 AM
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We had a deluxe (they have standard, deluxe, and suites) - standards were supposed to be approx. 12x10 - our's was more like 12x16(but had a little hallway to the bath so it's hard to say exactly). The attitude of the staff was very pleasant and helpful. They even snagged a last-minute reservation for us at Jules Verne and made several other reservations. Everybody has different experiences and expectations (I am actually pretty picky) but we had nothing but a positive experience.
westiedogs is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 08:45 AM
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Oh, your great report makes me want to go back--right now! Glad you had a great trip.
SusanP is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 09:04 AM
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Thank you for the additional comments. I am glad you had a great visit and the weather currently looks like what you experienced-sunny, high 60's. May really is a great time to go although it can rain at anytime, right?

francophile03 is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 09:49 AM
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Westiedogs... Enjoyed your report. Short and sweet... Did you do any shopping?
Treesa is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 10:03 AM
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Didn't really do any major shopping. Brought back chocolates, Laurdee macaroons, mustard, cheese and of course, wine.
westiedogs is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 10:13 AM
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Loved your report and I totally agree with the title (and we have been back since March 25th).
My husband is still kicking himself that he didn't take a photo of the dog licking his chops as he sat on his owner's(Madame) lap in the window of Angelina's. He was obviously enjoying his tea.
AGM_Cape_Cod is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 10:42 AM
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Oh westiedogs, I love your report!

And it's nice to know that Paris is still as wonderful as I remember...

Byrd is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 11:33 AM
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Thank you for your wonderful report. I too agree about the wine in France (Spain too, for that matter).

I too am a big doglover (have a very sweet German shepherd) and needed my dogfix when I was in Paris last time and was at a cafe where one of the customers was holding a lab puppy.

I went up to him and in my very limited French asked if I could pet his dog, where upon the woman at his table answered in English, "Yes, and you can pet him too!" Leave it to the French!
artlover is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 11:38 AM
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Very cute!!! They all seem to speak English--when I would go up to someone with a Westie, they would invariably say "Oh, do you have a Westie?" Guess they get used to it...but for the next visit I would love to know how to ask someone if I could pet their dog - what is the French for that?
westiedogs is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 05:25 PM
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Madame Westiedogs, I can feel your pain. I'm pretty pathetic: Between my Paris trips, whenever someone shows me photos or tells me about their trip to Paris, I get all weepy.

Thank goodness your husband enjoyed it and asked you to plan the next one! What would you have done if he said he didn't like Paris?
MelissaHI is offline  
May 3rd, 2004, 11:31 AM
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I don't speak French, so don't really know how to ask "Can I pet your dog?" but had it written down, but don't remember how to say it now, but I bet some other Fodorite will be able to tell us...

artlover is offline  
May 3rd, 2004, 05:38 PM
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Westiedogs, loved the report. Printed for my husband who hadn't wanted to go either until I pointed out France has WINE. P.S., We have a Scottie dog.
hopingtotravel is offline  
May 3rd, 2004, 05:47 PM
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Bow WOW! westie dog, fun report. I take photos of cats and dogs I meet on my trips to France. My Lhaso was never as well behaved as any French dog We have met, BUT, his palette has been refined.
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