Fretful Floridian flying to France

Apr 26th, 2007, 06:08 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29
Yes, I think you're normal...From experience, if I am more relaxed, my family will be too. And if you forget anything, it gives you a great excuse to shop (France has convenience stores too)...One thing that I have done prior to travelling outside of the country is to email myself a list of important numbers and photocopies of my family's passports, etc. Just in case!
skriss is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 06:43 AM
  #22  
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I'm starting to calm down a little. Still stressing about leaving my dog but I suspect my sister won't let her die! lol! My shoes are a problem as I still don't know if I want to take the new ones that I think look good but my daughter thinks look like old lady shoes or my very comfy sneakers. My only other concern is worrying about my son making it to France safely since he's taking a different flight from a different city than mine. But, he is 22 yrs old and a big boy, right? And I have no idea what to pack in clothing since the temperatures are warm one day cool the next in France. I'll keep ckg the weather channel to see what to expect and then pack the night before we leave. I pack pretty light with only a duffel that I will check so I don't worry to much about that. We've traveled overseas before and I know that part of the fun is shopping for stuff in a different country. So if I forget something like makeup/toiletries I'll just hit the nearest monoprix! I will be printing up Michel Paris's list tho to do a double check! 6 days to go!
normal1983 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 07:19 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Looks like you got it all together...you're going at a nice time of year, I wish I was there to be your guide

Miscellaneous...locate hotel in relation to metro station. Print photocopy of this, address, along with metro map for everybody. That way if someone gets lost, they can find their way home.

There is a website (cool one) that allows you to put in an address (like hotel) and see photos of it, and then you can 'walk' around the neighbourhood seeing photos as you go (hey, there is our local patisserie,etc...)

www.pagesjaunes.fr

You've probably read quite a few restaurant reviews here, I wouldn't overly worry about having a list, in the central areas you will find a lot of places to eat. You could post your hotel name here if you wanted a few within walking distance. Although there are arguments both ways, I would eat breakfast at a local cafe instead of hotel, to maximize your "out in the city" time.

I would bring some euros with you on the plane, just in case. Enough to get you to your hotel by whatever means you are taking. In case ATM at airport is broken, there are long lines at exchange bureau,etc..I wouldn't carry over a large amount of money, either in cash or travellers cheques.

I assume you have an itinerary planned? Plenty of cafe time built in? Each family member had some input? If needed, time when group splits so members with different interests can go do their own thing?

List of events while you are there? At the airport there will be several "Relay" magazine and miscellaneous store, you can pick up a 'Pariscope' or 'Officiel des Spectacles' small weekly magazine that lists events, I believe both have an english section. You can also get phone cards here. FYI, there are also a couple of english language bookstores on Rue Rivoli, across and near Louvre, under arcades.

Any walking tours planned? Paris Walks for exmaple?

Map of airport so you know where to access transport into the city?

Happy travels, or I guess that should be...bon voyage!

Mike
Michel_Paris is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 07:51 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
Not to detract in any way from Michael's excellent advice, I would make the following minor addition: learn a little about the bus services around your hotel. You can often get where you're going faster by staying above ground. Here's my page on how to do that: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34987572

The Pages Jaunes photo site can be accessed without going through the front page here: http://photos.pagesjaunes.fr
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 08:15 AM
  #25  
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Things I've done in preparation:

I am in the process of calling the credit card and atm companies now. Itineraries which include all hotel and apartment addresses and phone numbers and flight infor have been given to each member of the family as well as family here in Florida.

As far as getting imput from family, well the kids are at university taking finals so for the most part they have left it all up to me. My daughter who is taking french at college had a couple of requests that I have fit in. My husband really doesn't care one way or the other. He stresses much less than I do about things.

I have looked up info on pages jeunes and printed out some maps of the area around our apartment in the marais.

Traveler's cks for the apartment and some euros each have been taken care of. ATM's and credit cards will cover the rest. Food hopefully won't be too difficult since we don't require gourmet food. Cafe's, sandwiches from patisserie's, bread and cheese, falafels and crepes along with food for breakfast and snacks purchased at the neighborhood monoprix will do fine for us. Filles du Calvaire is the closest metro to us so we will be taking this to get to the sites we want to get to.

I haven't planned any walking tours yet, actually hadn't thought of that. But I have been printing maps our for when we rent our car for the 3 day trip to Normandy. Husband drives, I navigate!

Cell phones rented (which I wouldn't have done but since our son is traveling separately from us, we felt better having phones).

Airport connection shuttle will take us to our apartment from Orly rental car dropoff as well as from apartment to CDG for departure. However, I still need to call and arrange that.

Well I'll be off to pick daughter up from university tonight. If I thought I was stressed before, just wait til she gets home and adds her two cents worth! Stress and hormones magnified!
normal1983 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 08:41 AM
  #26  
 
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Relax and enjoy your trip. We returned home from Paris last week and had a wonderful visit there. The weather was quite surprising -- it was sunny and warm the entire week. So much for my cute trench coat.

I didn't read through all your posts, so this may already have been covered. One thing that was incredibly helpful for us was carrying Euros with us. I got them through AAA, and you only pay the exchange rate (no commission or fees). We never had to use an ATM while we were there. Between the Euros, AmEx and Visa, we were covered. Unlike some of the folks who were on our flight, we weren't heading over to the nearest ATM at the airport, we were ready for our vacation as soon as we deplaned. Enjoy your trip!
family4travel is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 08:57 AM
  #27  
 
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I've actually never taken a bus in Paris, but info and recommendations from Robespierre are worth looking at.

Family4travel, out of curiosity, what was the exchange rate that AAA gave you?

When any company says no fee currency exchange, a bell starts going "ding ding" in my head. Exchange bureaus are known for that..free currency exchange, realizing most people are not aware of the current exchange rate so they jack that up and make their fee anyway.

I'd be interested in any outfit that can provide currency cheaper at home versus from an ATM in the destination country using bank exchange rate(ignoring typical 1% ATM fee).
Michel_Paris is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 09:06 AM
  #28  
 
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For maps to give your family members, you can put the apartment address in Google and hit "Maps" - just make sure it's a complete address, such as 5 ave duquesne paris 75007 - and print them out. Then the cab driver will know that you know where you're supposed to be going.
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 10:16 AM
  #29  
 
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I need to do some research here but...there are guides you can buy that provide menu translations. You will probably find that not all restaurants will have english menus. But most will post their menu outside the doors. So you could do a pre-screening. I'm bilingual, but some of the menu terms can still make me scratch my head.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 10:21 AM
  #30  
 
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Don't buy a menu translator. Here's a great (free) one:
http://www.patriciawells.com/glossary/atoz/atoz.htm
Marija is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 10:43 AM
  #31  
 
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Michel_Paris: The exchange rate was .74828 Euro to 1USD. I paid 540 USD for 400 EUR.

I ordered the Euros one week prior to our departure. It may not be necessary to order that early, but the banks here were closed on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, so I didn't want to encounter any last-minute glitches.

Perhaps I would have gotten a better deal at the bank, but AAA made it really convenient: ordered in advance, picked up, no lines, no hassles.

You mentioned a 1% ATM. That's a great rate. My bank charges $3 (non-bank ATM) + 3% on foreign withdrawals. Never used our debit cards. AmEx charges 2% for charges and our Visa charges 3%. If I had made the time, then I would have gotten a different Visa card with a lower rate for the trip.
family4travel is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 11:03 AM
  #32  
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Thank you Robespierre for the tip on the maps. I've printed them out so that we know more or less where we are going. As far as the credit card rates are concerned, I haven't had the time either,family4travel, to look into getting a different visa card but we will be taking our AMEX since they seem to have better rates. We did get our euros from the bank and I do know that their exchange rate wasn't the best but I used them for convenience sake.
I bought a cute trench coat too and my hopes of using it is slowing dropping. The weather, at least at the moment, seems to be cooling down just a tad. I live in my jeans down here in central Florida so I will be using them in France as well. I'll leave my bermuda shorts at home but I hope that it doesn't get too warm since I have no shoes other than flip flops or sneakers to wear in the summer. From what I've read Paris is not a flip flop or sneaker city! I don't think my daughter will let me take those anyway being the fashion plate that she is!
I ckd out the menu translator but I don't think I want to print out 40 pages. I speak some french so I'm hoping that that will be enough to decipher the menus.
Keep adding the tips! They are definitely helpful!
normal1983 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 11:08 AM
  #33  
 
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You may find AMEX less accepted in Paris than back home, so I'd have a VISA/MC also.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 11:14 AM
  #34  
 
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AMEX seems to be very much accepted in PAris now. I was there in February and used it exclusively. I was surprised! I always take MC and Visa cards too..

Be sure you call them prior to leaving with where and when dates...
gracejoan3 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 11:18 AM
  #35  
 
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Due to the weather, numerous Parisians are already in flip flops. You may see them mostly on tourists when you are in the main business areas, but if you go to residential neighborhoods, you will see that Parisians dress for maximum comfort the minute they can get out of their work clothes.
kerouac is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 11:20 AM
  #36  
 
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This is good news! I know hotels and Duty Free take it...FYI I compared exchange rates on purchase in Paris, AMEX and VISA were pretty well equivalent.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 12:33 PM
  #37  
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Great news! Flips flops are getting packed just in case!
normal1983 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 01:28 PM
  #38  
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After reading MichelParis's post about an itinerary I realized I had the first 3 days in France set but I had neglected to plan the Paris portion of our trip. So here is a tentative schedule. Keep in mind that we are getting to our apartment on Sunday evening and leaving the following Saturday. Please let me know if I am overdoing it.

Monday: Louvre, Jardin de Tuileries, Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe, Tour Eiffel. Lots of walking and a metro ride or two from the marais?

Tuesday: Sacre Coeur, Montmartre. Taking metro to get here.

Wednesday: Versailles. Taking RER C-buying the ticket that includes train and admission.

Thursday: Notre Dame, Napoleon's tomb, Seine River evening cruise. Metro ride here.

Friday: Pere-Lachais cemetery, Catacombs, possibly Jewish museum in the marais. Metro ride to Catacombs

I am willing to rearrange everything. I know I am probably missing sooooo much but these are the main sites that I want to see. Any advice as to what to add or take out? Is Monday too busy?Museum's are not a big deal for us though we definitely want to spend some time at the Louvre.
normal1983 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 02:49 PM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 31
This may seem a rather silly suggestion but make sure you confirm your seat assignment on both transatlantic legs. I recently returned from London and checked in to find that my seat assignment had been voided! On an earlier flight to London I was remiss and didn't get a seat assignment, got to airport, checked-in and then got bumped because the flight was grossly overbooked. Had to spend the night at Airport hotel and was put on first flight in the morning. And this brings me to the moral of the story: pack change of undies in your carry on!

Have a wonderful time: Paris is one of my favorite cities!
jaimeGL is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 04:57 AM
  #40  
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Good Advice. I will call to confirm my seats this morning.
normal1983 is offline  

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