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Fine Wine, Good Chocolate, Cathedrals, and......Blisters! My Paris Trip Report

Fine Wine, Good Chocolate, Cathedrals, and......Blisters! My Paris Trip Report

Jul 21st, 2006, 07:33 AM
  #1  
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Fine Wine, Good Chocolate, Cathedrals, and......Blisters! My Paris Trip Report

Got back Wednesday evening from a 10 day trip to Paris. My DD (15) and I were invited by a coworker to share an apt. she'd rented. Her husband is French and she, hubby, and 2 kids were visiting Grandma in southern France for 3 weeks. Then her hubby was flying back to USA and kids were staying w/ Grandma while she went to Paris for a visit. She knows I enjoy traveling and had never been to Europe, so I got invited. Nice friend, huh?
Before I write my trip report and I wanted to mention some random thoughts and observations about Paris-
French people: they were just as nice as people anywhere. We didn't encounter any snobbery or rudeness. They are just like people anywhere else.
Safety: I never once felt unsafe in the city, whether in the metro or on the streets
Smoking: I severely dislike smoking and was concerned about what I had read regarding all the smokers. It was no worse than any other city I have visited, in fact, there were less smokers there than in Reno or Vegas!
Moneybelts: bought 2 and never used them. We left passport in apt. and I carried an across the shoulder, small messenger bag and never had a problem. I will return the moneybelts.
Clothes/Shoes: We saw it all, from nicely dressed to casual. Most people wore sandals due to the heat. You could spot the Americans who chose to go the shorts, white tennies, loud shirt route-LOL!
Odors: I am very sensitive to odors( got a sniffer like a dog!) and it really wasn't that bad. I'm sure it was even worse due to the high temps. but I learned quickly when to breathe out of my mouth or out of my nose. If it got really bad, I would use scented hand sanitizer to smell something nicer.
Language: don't speak French and we got along just fine.
Ok, now on to the good stuff...
laurenzo is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 08:23 AM
  #2  
 
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Thanks for sharing your impressions laurenzo. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.

Cheers,

Murphy
murphy89 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 08:41 AM
  #3  
tod
 
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YAY! A trip report from Paris!
tod is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 08:48 AM
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Somehow the first day of my trip report got deleted.. bummer.. so retyping.
We checked in to our apt.- cute 1 bdr w/ a sofabed and grabbed sandwiches from a patisserrie across the street. We were ready to see the city!
My DD and I had made plans to meet up w/ a former student and another girl from my DD's youth group who were on a high school European tour. We met them at our metro stop and went in search of our first cafe experience! It was very hot, so something cold sounded good. We walked a few blocks down the major cross street, Rue de Rennes, and found a cute cafe. We had cokes and lemonade and visited with them. We them window shopped for a while down the street and dropped them back off at the metro. They had to meet back up with their group.
My friend's coworker had actually made her flight and was taking a taxi into to town, so DD and I arranged to meet them at Luxembourg gardens at 5. My DD and I were looking at a map to find the best way to get there when an older, French gentleman approached us and asked if we need help. Wasn't that nice? Once he pointed us in the right direction, we were off.
On the way we spotted a gelato shop and just had to get one. Had I mentioned it was hot out? Whe knew we'd go in the middle of a rare heat wave! After the gelato, we entered Jardin du Luxembourg-what a beauty! The landscaping was incredible. We wandered around and sat for a while people watching. I could feel the blisters starting. I had on new but broken in sandals, but hadn't anticipated the heat and rubbing of leather on moist feet. At least I remembered BandAids.
Our friends arrived and needed a cold drink, so we found a nearby cafe. We sat there for while, and then walked to the closest church, St. Sulpice. The architecture was beautiful and it had some frescos painted by Delacroix. We took some pictures, and headed back to our apt.
We relaxed and then walked to find dinner. We walked around for an hour deciding where to go and ended up at a brasserrie around the corner and had an average meal. We collpased into bed at 10:30 in the apt. with no A/C.
More later, I am off to take the dog to the groomer and to physical therapy.
laurenzo is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 12:19 PM
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7/11-we slept in due to jet lag and headed out at noon after stopping for some pain du chocolat-yum! We took the metro to the Eiffel Tower. It was so amazing to see in person. There was an extrememly long line to go up, so we passed. Our plan was to meet another friend of my coworker's (lives in Paris) at Musee de l'Orangerie. We stopped at a vendor and bought our first crepe-delicious! The musuem is closed on Tuesdays, so we walked along the Seine to the Petit Palais instead. It is a beautiful museum full of fine art. We wandered around for several hours.
From there, we walked towards a place I picked- Angelina's for hot chocolate. I didn't care how hot it was outside, I was getting the infamous hot chocolate! I am a certified chocoholic and it was too rich to finish. I'm sure the choclate eclair I ate had something to do with it LOL! My daughter ordered a macaroon and our friends other pastries. On our way out, I picked up a package of hot chocolate mix so I can make it at home.
We needed to walk off that rich stuff, so continued walking down Rue de Rivoli shopping. My DD and I bought some perfume and a few souvenirs for friends. From there we walked to Rue St. Honore to window shop. By now, most shops had closed so we took the metro back to our apt. Again we bought sandwiches, wine, bread, and cheese for dinner.
laurenzo is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 12:33 PM
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Sorry this is so long... how do you condense it all? It is hard to even put into words because they can't describe even how beautiful the city is!
---7/12 We started our day with a visit to the d'Orsay. We got there at 9:30 and waited in line. The line wasn't too bad because they let people in before the 10 opening. I bought my museum pass there. OOh, how to describe this musuem? It was my favorite as I love the immpressionist period. The paintings were beautiful and the architecture was stunning. We spent hours there soaking it all in.
All that viewing of art made us hungry and the cafe in the musuem was closed, so ate nearby at Le Deux Musee. We had a very good meal there. After lunch, we split up, and DD and I went to the Louvre.
I know, I know, it was insane to go there in the afternoon but we did anyway! With the pass we zipped right in. It was hot and crowded! I think every tour group visiting Paris was in the Louvre that day. We began w/ the medieval art where it was nice and cool. We did see all the famous artwork the Louvre houses but it was overwhelming to see it all. We breezed through the rest of the art with the idea of coming back when it wasn't so hot or crowded. It was so stuffy and stinky in there, we needed some air.
We walked along the Jardin des Tuileries enjoying the fountains and the shade. From there, we took the metro in search of the famous macaroon place, Lauderee. We got off the Madeleine stop and visited the church first. It was another beautiful one. From there, we went down the street to Lauderee and bought a box of asst. flavors-so tasty!
We then headed to another place I had read about-Fauchon. Can you tell I like food? What a feast for the eyes. We bought mustards, biscuits, olives, pistachios, chocolate, and other candy as gifts. They wrap anything you want there. Who would think to wrap food items? We got our things wrapped and headed home before our chocolate melted. We were so tired from all the walking and the blisters weren't going away, so again we stayed in for dinner, eating bread, cheese, and fruit.
laurenzo is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 12:37 PM
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Hi laurenzo,
Great report so far! How lucky you are to have friends with a rented apartment in need of company... in Paris!
TexasAggie is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 12:39 PM
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---7/13 We began our day with croissants and took the RER to Versailles. It was crowded but with the museum pass, no problem! Wow! It is an amazing palace! We did the tour, ate in the cafe, and then explored the gardens. We walked down to the Grand Canal and rented a golf cart to better see all the grounds. It was well worth the 28 euro (can't remember the keys to make the euro sign). Did I mention it was hot there? The golf cart was fun and we covered much more ground than we would have walking. We really enjoyed out day there.
We got back to the city around 6 to shower and relax before dinner. We met some other friends of my coworkers who were also visitin Paris. We took the metro to the Latin qtr. and ate a fabulous restaurant "_____________
Grenouille. I can't remember the full name. Ooh, the food was soo good! It was one of our best meals of the whole trip w/ the bill to prove it. It was worth every euro.
laurenzo is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 01:39 PM
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7/14 Bastille Day! We took the jam-packed metro to Champs-Elysees for the parade. It was standing room only on the streets. I was expected to see a parade like we have here, but it was different. They did a bunch of fly overs with aircraft and tons of tanks rolled really fast down the street. It was very interesting. My DD had slept in so I had to go back after it was over to pick her up.

I got back to the apt around 1 and we went to the Latin qtr to explore. We happened upon an internet cafe and logged on to check email, etc. We then went over to another church- St. Severin to check it out. it was another nice one. I guess they all are! We picked up some paninis and walked over to the Ile Saint-Louis. There are some great little shops over there. We bought gifts for friends. The line was too long at Maison Berthillion so instead we went into Cacao et Chocolat for a large ganache square of milk chocolate. The chocolate there was very pricey, but delicious. Because it was so hot, we had to eat it fast. We crossed over to Ile de la Cite to see the Notre Dame. Wow! This was our favorite cathedral so far. It was nice and cool in there too. We then took the metro back to the apt. to rest the blistery feet. I ended up wearing DD's flip flops most of the time to let the blisters heal. Thankfully they were nicer ones made of leather with arch support.

I was exhausted so missed the fireworks but DD went with my coworker and her friends. She said the fireworks were great but no different than what we see at home. It was, of course, really crowded and some of the metro stops were closed, so they walked back.
---7/15 We slept in and went in search of authentic French onion soup. This was a "free day" for us with our only plans being to see St. Chappelle and St. Germain churches.

We walked down Rue de Rennes and found a cafe (Cafe du Metro) serving the soup. We ordered the soup and a salmon/citrus fruit salad and both were outstanding! We sat there for 2 hours enjoying our meal, my wine, and her coke. We just watched people walk by amd felt so relaxed.

Before the cafe we had found another chocolate shop (Latelier du Chocolat) and had bought some to take home to the family. Because of the heat, we decided to take it back to the apt to avoid chocolate glob. We took the metro over to see St. Chappelle. I wasn't as impressed w/ it as I thought I would be. It is a smaller church. Yes, the stained glass was beautiful and the stories it told, fascinating, but the building itself was, IMHO, small and unimpressive.

We left to find St-Germain-des-Pres. It is a beautiful, still used cathedral. There were many mini alcoves named after saints. From there, we wandered through the 6th and then to the Latin qtr. for ice cream. We walked back to the 6th to Jardin du Luxembourg for some shade and rest. The feet were still hurting and the bandAids weren't sticking! We happened upon a concert put on by a high school band performing under a gazebo. We enjoyed that . After feeling relaxed, we walked back to the apt. for another dinner of bread, cheese, wine, and fruit. We were so tired each night we didn't want to go out!
laurenzo is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 02:11 PM
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Your trip report is interesting, but I noticed your lukewarm attitude to Sainte Chappelle. Did you go to the upstairs? You take this little spiral staircase on the side. It is the upstairs that everyone raves about. Many people go in and do not realize there is an upstairs.

Upstairs has these floor to ceiling stained glass windows.
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Jul 21st, 2006, 02:48 PM
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yes, we wnt upstairs. The stained glass was pretty but it could've been because we saw sun shining through only one side due to the time of day that I wasn't that impressed. There was a lot of detail to the glass and of course, the stories they told, but I guess I expected more. Could have been too that we were hot and tired when we saw it. I will finish my trip report later
laurenzo is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 05:42 PM
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Well, I am glad you went upstairs. Yes, the heat can certainly diminish the enjoyment of a summer trip anywhere.
FauxSteMarie is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 05:59 PM
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Thank you for your trip report. Sometimes a "Wow" is an apt description.
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