First trip to Paris: Trip Report

May 2nd, 2006, 04:49 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 101
First trip to Paris: Trip Report

While I am not as eloquent of a writer as some of the other Fodorites...I thought I would post my trip report as a way to "pay back" for all the information I received from spending countless hours on this forum. Merci to everyone.

Background: My husband and I are in our early 30s from Philadelphia. This was our first visit to France (but not Europe). Neither one of us speaks any French

Sunday April 23: Arrived CDG. We only took carry-on bags so getting off the plane and through customs was a breeze. It was a long but easy walk through Terminal 2 to the RER station. The signage was good. We got our tickets for RER to St. Michel and off we went. Around 8 euro each I think. The train ride was easy and about 45 minutes. Our hotel was about a 10 minute walk from the station (and once we knew where we going, it was actually less than 10 minutes). The room was ready for us (around 2pm at this time) so we washed up, changed clothes and then went out to get a bite to eat. We went to the "Horse Tavern" near the Odeon metro stop. Unremarkable but close by and it was a pretty day and we sat outside and got to watch everyone stroll by. After two croques (madame and monsieur) we were ready for some exploring.

We weren't far from St. Sulpice and the scene in front of the church was just wonderful. The Place St Sulpice had the fountain on and people everyone. Some boys playing "football" and couples and families everywhere. We went into the church and were pleasantly surprised to be there during an organ recital. We took in the grand music and walked around the church. Just before we were going to leave the church, we saw that it had a reproduction of the Shroud of Turin displayed which was pretty remarkable. No mistaking the image of a man there.

The plan was to go to Jardin du Luxembourg and just as we were about to walk there from the church, the sky grew dark and down came the rain! Everyone scattered from the Place and many under the roof of the church. Even the rain on our first day in Paris couldn't dampen our spirits. We were in Paris! Who cares! So we went back into the church, listened to more organ music and by the time the concert was done (30 minutes) the rain had stopped.

We figured no one would be in the Garden anymore so back to the hotel for a nap (longer than I had planned for) and a shower. We walked over to Rue Mouffetard for some walking, people watching and easy food. With the jet lag, I just wasn't ready to tackle a full menu. We got crepes for dinner and ate them in some park on Rue Mouffetard. Dessert was some gelato and then back to the hotel around 11pm for a good night's sleep.

On Monday we were hitting the Louvre! (Thanks for reading this.)
lhs624 is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 05:09 AM
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And thanks for posting..will look forward to more
jody is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 05:37 AM
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Thanks, lhs624. Looking forward to the continuation.

AnselmAdorne is online now  
May 2nd, 2006, 06:03 AM
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Looking forward to reading more about your trip!
tod is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 06:06 AM
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Thanks for posting Ihs624. Looking forward to more!
katzen is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 06:10 AM
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lhs, I was at the Cluny in the 5e that afternoon when the thunder and lightening started. Stood for awhile in the covered portion of the courtyard, with little girls running through the rain water flowing from the roof gargoyle-spouts. Very atmospheric and, hopefully, some moody black and white photos.
BowenLinda is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 06:15 AM
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I love the Paris trip reports. And I love that area of Paris. Thanks for posting. Waiting for day 2.
laartista is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 09:35 AM
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I enjoyed your report and was glad to hear that you took the RER into Paris and had an easy time with it. I'm going to Paris (first time also) in a few days and I'm figuring out the fine details of getting from CDG to my hotel, finding that first meal, getting oriented-- all that first day stuff. Glad to hear that your first day went well and that the rain did not dampen your spirits. I'm packing my trusty Land's End rain slicker for just that reason. Keep filing your reports--I look forward to more!
luluredux is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 10:24 AM
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luluredux: i used yellowpages website ( and mapped my hotel address. You can see on the map where the RER stations are. I printed that out and had it with me in Paris so when I got out of the RER station I knew which streets to look for to get to my hotel. Oh and unless you have coins or a French credit card, you have to buy your RER ticket from a ticket counter not the machines. The line moves fast though.

Linda: i forgot about the lightening. that definitely added to the mood.

thanks for everyone's encouragement. it's a bit scary putting yourself out there.
lhs624 is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 08:28 AM
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Monday April 24:
Got to the Louvre around 10am and boy was it crowded. It didnt take too long to go through security but once we got down there it was a mob scene. Luckily the line to get the Museum Pass (we did 2 day pass) was short and we could skip the massive lines to get tickets. Later we learned that it was busier than normal b/c several European countries have a holiday week. We got the audioguide and followed the Rick Steve's Louvre walking tour. The audioguide was definitely worth the 5euro. At times the place was a mob scene which definitely took away from the experience. Note to self: don't go to the Louvre on a Monday. We left around 1:30 and started to walk toward the Arc de Triomph.

The sun was finally shining so the walk through the Tullieres was beautiful. We were on a mission to go to a restaurant that two friends had recommended for the best steak frittes (Le Relais de L'Entrecote) and we actually found it...but it was closed for a private party. By this time, my husband and I were both pretty hungry and grouchy. Thankfully found a little cafe on a side street and it was perfect. Had my first Onion Soup and loved it. It was a nice and relaxing lunch but not too slow.

Back to the Champs Elysses and finally to the Arc. Wow! It is much bigger than I expected. No line at all. The 248 steps are a bit difficult by the end. My thighs were burning! And I thought I was in decent shape. Great views from the top. The traffic pattern (or lack thereof) in the circle below was great to observe from the top of the Arc.

The metro back to our hotel for a well needed nap and then dinner close by. Polidor (41 rue Monsieur-le-Prince, 6e) Delish! There were mostly French speaking diners there which is a huge plus for us.

Tomorrow...Orsay, Rodin and Napoleon. Are we crazy?
lhs624 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 03:28 AM
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When you get a chance post some more, I'm enjoying your report!
grantop is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 05:26 AM
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I second what was said before, I love Paris trip reports. I think you are very eloquent! More...please! Thank you!
Where did you stay?
SuzieC is offline  
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