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Extended Stay in Paris: Dream Come True or Potential Nightmare?

Extended Stay in Paris: Dream Come True or Potential Nightmare?

Jan 14th, 2004, 07:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,995
Sounds like a dream come true to me; it's something I'd like to do after I retire.
What's the worst thing that could happen; getting tired of croissants?
grandmere is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 07:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,642
We did a month in Paris in 1997 and had an excellent time. We rented a 2 bed/2 bath apartment in the 16th, which means we had a steady stream of friends and relatives visiting "us". In fact, we only had the apartment to ourselves for about 4 days!
Don't rent an apartment on the ground floor, no matter how good a deal you get (like we did). It will mean a round of rolling down ALL the security shutters even if you're only going out for 5 minutes. Gets annoying after a while.
Pack light: leave at home all chips on shoulders about the superiority of American this and American that, as well as sarcastic comments about surrender monkeys and the like. Those will really weigh you down. (And ditch the beret idea or you'll look like a family member from Nat'l Lampoon's European Vacation.)
BTilke is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 07:58 AM
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Posts: 8,291
Degas, following up my previous comments....
I, too, started off with an agenda of sorts. However, after a couple days, I realized that it would be much more enjoyable to adapt that "hell-if-we-don't-do-it-today-we-can-doi-it-tomorrow" attitude. No, we didn't totally abandon or pre-planning, but just took things much more as they came. If we liked a site (like Luxembourg Gardens), we'd return several times. If we just felt like strolling, with no specific route in mind, we strolled. Period.
At the end of the first week, we found that we were perhaps overdoing it and getting tired! The clinching factor was a hectic day at Versailles, when we got caught in the rain while walking, halfway between the chateau and the Trianons. The next day we decided to splurge and signed up for a minivan trip with guide to Giverny. It was great just to sit back and let someone else do the work. That started off a second that was pure fun and relaxation!
HowardR is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Wonderful idea. After visiting many times, usually week at a time, I'm getting closer to trying your idea.

Last visit I stayed with family members living in Paris for a job posting. They lived in the 16th. A block from her appartment was: flower shop for daily purchase, cheese shop where lady there got to know here and make recommendations based on her past likes, Nicolas store for great or cheap (5E!!) wines, boulangerie for her morning baguette/pain au chocolat, the upscale take out food place, the chocolat shop mentioned as one of the best in Paris, a Monoprix for miscellaneous, and twice a week a local farmer's market with ALL sorts of veggies, fruits, meats, fish, etc... FRESH like you wouldn't believe. The family also found a little bistro that they liked in the neighbourhood and went very often (went thru the whole menu!)owner would give them little extras, welcome them warmly.To keep herself busy while husband worked, she did lots of walking tours, including some of her neighbourhood (Guimard of Métro design fame has some buildings here). She also took some wine tasting courses at the Ritz. Also did some day trips to Versailles, Auvers sur Oise, Reims,etc...

I'd also recommend the books by Thirza Vallois. She has written guide books on Paris by arrondisements, with lots of details and history ("turn left, and at #132 look above the door, it is the coats of arms of...".

Picnics in the local parks are a nice way to spend lunch. Jardins de Luxembourg is one of my favorites, or perhaps the pool in the Tuileries.

Going in September/October is good time of year since majority of tourists gone, students back in school, restaurants all open. It is also time when cultural season starts up again.

If you look in Pariscope and Officiel des Spectacles there will be english language events listed. Perhaps you will eventually want to try some french language tours?!

In the fall there are also a lot of wine/food festivals. If you've read Peter Mayle's great book on these, you might want to choose a couple of these as your day trips (tough on the tummy though!).

Hope my ramblings help....I sense you are already "the master" of info!

Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 09:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,157
<<Host family and friends on short visits. >>

Before you go, decide how much time you want to give to visitors and stick to it. When a friend announced a six-month visit to Paris, her guestroom was completely booked in a few days. All the coming and going became a bit much.
ellenem is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 262
Answer to your thesis is DREAM.

While you are away we will watch out for literary imposters and quietly sit by with envy.

BTW I volunteer to lose 65 of those 100 pounds foryou. Just one less thing for you to do while preparing.

Bon voyage!!!!!
mmr41 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 01:59 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 353
Degas, you should volunteer for one of those extreme make-over TV shows. Let them work some real fashion magic: haircut, shoes, pants, shirts and even your precious fake gold chains!

Make sure your new shoes are well broken in if you plan on doing all your Paris walks or it will be blister city for sure!
hansikday is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 03:35 PM
Posts: n/a
Wow, I leave for a few hours to clean out my catfish ponds, and a real wealth of good info and ideas flows in!

Extreme make-over? Believe me, if I lost even twenty pounds it would be extreme.

Still looking for recommendations on rental agencies or even actual apartments.

I also need to check on health care and see what coverage I have in Europe. After all our trips, I still have not done that!

Keep those recommendations coming. I'm starting a planning checklist tonight.
Jan 15th, 2004, 02:03 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 705
I gave you www.vrbo.com as a first priority of finding a spot. Many others, but this is a tops for a start!
gracejoan is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 02:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,642
Degas, if you have BC/BS, they are accepted at the American Hospital in Paris (which is in the leafy close in suburb of Neuilly). All (or almost all) staff at AHP speak very good English.
BTilke is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 02:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,247
Go for it, Degas.

I agree though , rent outside of the "tourist areas" if you ant a real feel of the city. Like a few of the others here, I have fallen hard for the 16th! Wonderful shops and markets, good transport, close to the little park by the Marmottan for picnics and you could go to the wine museum and learn to drink wine as you mentioned before!

We did a full 2 weeks in Paris this fall, and even though it was our 11th trip , everyday had someplace new to visit or an old favorite to revisit without haste .

Now that you can pay your bills online and check your mail, that is one worry gone. While our medicare doesn't cover us out of the country , our supplement does or you can buy temp. med insurance from several companies.

The only thing you might miss are your grits and greens!
jody is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 04:51 AM
Posts: n/a
gracejoan, thanks for the rental website. I checked it out and it had tons of listings.

Was a little surprised by how small some of the apartments are (200 sq ft!)and unsure if the ones I looked at where on a quiet street.

With my luck, I might end up trying to sleep over a wild bar or nightclub! Much more research required.
Jan 15th, 2004, 07:24 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,630
aaah, Degas... "Dream come true". VRBO is a terrific find...and if you find something you like, then try the parisjeunes page thingy..and "virtually* walk the neighborhood. Cooperflats look nice when I looked at them, but they are about $3,000 a month...but NIIIICE! i.e., real kitchens!
SuzieC is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 08:11 AM
Posts: n/a
Degas, the latest issue of Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine (Feb) has an article entitled "Nouveau Paris." It's about three different arrondissements, the Canal Saint-Martin (10th), Montorgueil (1st and 2nd), and Oberkampf (11th). All of these are undergoing gentrification, "...treading the line between edgy and not."

Hey Degas! You could be the first brave one to try out what could very well be the next, hip, hot, happening place on the Paris scene!
Jan 15th, 2004, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212

30 days in Paris is a dream come true...one that I share with you. My last trip to Paris (6th) was for 12 days and that wasn't enough time, even given I had been there before. You'll find the month will pass very quickly and you won't get bored.

My ideal during a month-long stay is to pick a theme and work with it throughout the month. I haven't yet chosen my theme for my sometime in the future month in Paris but I'm leaning toward seeing all those churches I haven't seen (and there are many of them in Paris). That would allow me to explore different neighborhoods and would segue into other areas of interest such as concerts, vespers, church architecture, etc.

Keep us updated with your plans.
adrienne is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 09:41 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,174
dln, interesting article. Maybe my budget ways will mean I'll be on the cutting edge of fashion if I make it to Paris this summer.
WillTravel is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 395
It will be wonderful. I've spent a lot of time in Paris, one time staying there for a month and a half. It was glorious.

In considering where to stay, I too love the more residential areas, like the 16th and so forth, but I wouldn't completely rule out what might be considered to be more "touristy." Remember that there are Parisians living in all quarters of Paris. I don't think one can really say what is the best locale to experience authentic daily life in Paris. The city is vast. Of the more central areas of Paris, I would consider the Marais. I think wherever you live, you'll want to make sure that it's relatively handy to a metro or bus line, which is not hard in Paris. Even though your trip goals are manyfold, as you indicate seeing the museums, churches and monuments is a part of it. So making sure you're handy to transportation is a good idea to make getting to see things less cumbersome. In reality I don't think you're going to feel like a real local in 4 weeks time, and I don't gather you expect to. I think it takes quite a lot longer to achieve that, so I personally would not get too wrapped up in that aspect of the trip.

I also second ellenem's remark about hosting visitors. A month will really zip right on by and hosting too many groups of family and friends may really prevent you from having the experience you're setting out to have. On the other hand, if your guests are new to Paris, there is really nothing like showing Paris to a rookie--for me it's like experiencing the place all over again for the first time.

I would also recommend taking trips out of the city, be they day-trips or a weekend away. Places like Versailles, Chartres, Giverny and Vaux-le-Vicomte are all great day-trips. Perhaps a weekend in the Loire Valley or up to Normandy or Brittany would be nice. Or if your brain is tired of thinking in French, head to London for a weekend.

I am green with envy and hope you have a splendid time!

samtraveler is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2004, 08:12 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5
I have read this thread with interest (in fact - it was cause to make me finally register a screen-name!), because my family is planning a trip (2 adults / 2 teens) to Paris this summer.

* a note regarding the good advice from Michel_Paris about Thirza Vallois' books: on amazon, the author herself has an interesting post that is worth reading!
Dragonfly is offline  

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