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mms Jul 6th, 2009 02:06 PM

Graduation "trip" to Paris, Mom and DD
 
This trip was a graduation gift for our DD. I got to tag along, of course:) This was our 3rd trip to France, so figured it would be a bit different and a bit slower paced than before. This would be much needed as the weeks before were chaos. Graduation, with family coming from CA and WA, as well as other parts of OR, then a trip to Seattle, then back here to Portland for a day before we flew out.

Our trip started out early with a 7am flight from Portland to Seattle. Then almost a 6 hour layover there. Too short to go visit friends/family, so we just hung out in the airport. We used miles and booked on Continental. We flew on Horizon to Seattle, and then Air France to Paris. Checking in at the AF gate, the lady took a quick look at our bags and asked where the rest of them were. Nope, we each had a carryon that was not chuck full. We have the 21" Rick Steve's rollaboards that weigh 7 pounds each. Fully packed, both DD and I came in at 17.5 pounds! And we had plenty of clothes and didn't have to rewear anything unless we wanted to. Anyway, I fully expected our bags to be weighed like on our last trip on AF, but they didn't.

Arrival into CDG was uneventful. We had booked Shuttle-Inter for a r/t. They were not there when we arrived, so I checked at the information booth and they called them. They said they would be there in a few minutes, so we wait, noone comes....the lady in the info booth realizes that and calls them again. They arrive shortly after that. Drive to the apt was uneventful, and we arrive at our Vacation In Paris apt #125. I reconfirm with the driver for our return trip.

The apt was on Rue Saint Honore, directly across from the historic church L’Oratoire du Louvre. http://www.vacationinparis.com/apts/id_125.htm VIP mailed us the key a couple weeks beforehand, and the access code for the front door. Directions were very easy. Our apt was up one flight of stairs. The apt itself was nice. It had a separate bedroom with a computer for our use. There was a twin bed in a loft above the kitchen, and from the VIP pics it doesn't show just how high up this is. DD decided she would prefer to sleep on the pull out sofa. She said it was comfy and no had complaints. The only downside to this is we lost the use of a sofa for the week since she didn't feel the need to close it up each morning:D The kitchen was small, but had everything we needed. It was basically in the hallway between the front door/bedroom/bathroom and the living room. The living room was small but they made good use of the space (geez, I sound like someone from HGTV!) There was a dining table with plenty of room for us to spread our stuff out, and two big tall windows that looked out at the church. We had a small balcony that was great for people watching. The bathroom was the only real downside to the apt, but it wasn't a dealbreaker. It was tiny, which was fine, but it really could have used a bit of TLC/upkeep.

After we checked out our place for the week, we decided to head to Roland Garros as DD is a tennis player and wanted to purchase a few items from the shop there. Two years ago, we took a tour of the facility which was really good! This time, DD just wanted more t-shirts, etc. We decide to take a cab and so head towards the Louvre to the taxi area. As we were walking, a gypsy lady coming towards us bent down and brought up a ring. I looked at her, giggled and kept walking...and told DD that we just saw our first scam. I had to let her know about that and a few others so she wouldn't get caught off guard.

Anyway, we got a cab and arrived at RG. The man there tells us they are not open this day. UGH!!! Nevermind the website says they are. But who am I to argue. So we head over to the metro station and buy 2 carnets for the week. We weren't sure if we would need 1 or 2, so just opted for 2 for convenience. Took the metro to the Odeon stop and from there walked back to the apartment.

Decided it was time to make a grocery run, so headed one block from our apt and stocked up on a few items. Also stopped at the boulangerie on our street, Gosselin. This would become a daily stop, sometimes twice a day:) Bought a ham and cheese baguette to share and headed to the apt with our groceries.

Dellihren (sp?) kitchen store was only a few blocks from our place, so we headed up there. DD was bored, but I enjoyed it. Didn't stay too long as it was a bit of overload with just settling in.

Back to Gosselin for a couple croissants, then back to the apt and we hit the hay early.

seetheworld Jul 6th, 2009 03:13 PM

I'm so glad that you started your report, mms! I am feeling badly because I know there are going to be bits that are not so pleasant for you (almost like knowing how a movie will end).

Note to self: be on the lookout for a "boulangerie" because food can't be too far behind, lol. :)

The apartment looks lovely (love those windows!)

I can't wait to read more...

mms Jul 6th, 2009 03:26 PM

DAY 2

DD wanted to sleep in a bit, and I figured it was her trip so didn't push it. Once we got moving, we thought we would try for Roland Garros again. Walked to the taxi stand, arrived at RG, had the cab wait this time...and the same man from yesterday said they were not open. I was not happy. So I asked when they would be...he said "tomorrow...maybe 10, maybe 11". So we cabbed back to the Louvre. We entered on Rue de Rivoli at the Carousel entrance and found a spot to purchase museum passes. We bought the 4 day passes which were 48 euro each, cash only.

After that we wandered the mall on the lower level. The Perigot shop, just before you go down to the lower level, caught our eye. They had some fun totebags in the window. I asked the shopgirl if I could take a pic of it and she sort of whispered and said yes. So I made it quick! I bought a tote and DD bought a lightweight tote that collapses into a teddy bear shape.

We then headed towards the Opera. Checked out various shops on the street. One store was particularly fun. It had all sorts of unique umbrellas. Now we are from OR and don't even own an umbrella, but these were fun to look at. They also had some unique walking sticks/canes and metal winestoppers. I noticed a gargoyle winestopper, and I love gargoyles, so that was a must for me. I texted DH about it as I knew he would laugh, and he replied that everyone should have one:D

More wandering, window shopping, etc. Then found ourselves near lunchtime and hungry, so stumbled upon Cafe Dalayray (sp?). We sat outside and each had the chicken ceasar salad. Now this was nothing like what we think of as a ceasar salad, but it was very good! White asparagus, which I love (DD hates, so I got hers too), slices of parmessan, tomatos, beans...basically lots of veggies that I love. The two salads came to 26 euro, and we had a carafe of water.

Kept walking and DD spotted a store that looked interesting. Promod, which was pretty much like a Forever XX1 here at our malls, but a bit nicer. Anyway, she found lots of stuff there that she liked, and decided on several tops. They were each about 15-20 euro, so very reasonable.

Started to walk back towards our apt and spotted a Monoprix, so headed in there. In the book section, the Twilight series was big just as it is here. I told DD she should buy a book and then she would quickly learn French since she had read all the books in English. I didn't convince her though.

Back to the apt to drop stuff off, then headed about 2 blocks from the apt for a wine tasting that we had reserved. I had no idea if it would be good, but figured it was something different to do. We live about 5 minutes from the heart of our wine region, so thought this would be fun to hear about the French wines. Anyway, we reserved online, but paid when we arrived. It was 20 euro each. It was overpriced...10 would have been fair. But it was fun, as the rest of the people were nice/entertaining. There was a French winemaker who basically taught the basics of wine tasting. We tasted 3 different wines, and learned about the labels on French wines. One young couple was pretty entertaining. DD dubbed her "Slut Barbie". The BF looked like he had not showered in months, and she looked exactly like what a Slut Barbie would look like if they made that particular one. Not nice, I know...but so true. Ok, so the winemaker asks each of us to say a bit about ourselves and what we know about wine. When it is this couples turn, BF says he doesn't know anything but he is there to get SB drunk. Then SB says she is there because she likes to get drunk. SB sucks down as much wine as she can during our time there. Everyone else was rather entertained by it...but noone said a word. BTW, the tasting was down in a cave, which I thought was really interesting. DD and I both did the tastings, and they have water and baguette for you as well. After that we are feeling pretty good and giggling, so head out for more fun for the day.

DD wants to bring a few cheap souveniers back for friends, so we hit one store on the way to the Louvre. We wander the store and find a few things. My mom loves socks, so yes, we got her a pair with the Eiffel Tower on it and it says Paris...she loves them, lol!

Time for the Louvre. We head in the carousel entrance, down thru the mall, show our museum pass and head on in. This is Wednesday, and they are open late tonight and on Fridays. There is hardly anyone else around, so it was pretty nice. We head over to Mona Lisa in the Denon wing and check out the rest of the Italian paintings. We spend maybe a couple hours in that wing.

Back to Gosselin to get a ham and cheese baguette for dinner and couple of croissants for breakfast.

Then we headed over to take a night river cruise. We prepurchased via the Vedettes Pont Nuef online a couple months ago. Regular price for the cruise is 12 euro, but prepurchasing gave us a 5 euro reduction. We arrived with our printout, bypassed the ticket line and went to the window for prepurchases and they stamped our papers. They did not ask for ID. We lined up to board, and then headed straight up to the top of the boat. We did this boat ride on our last visit as well, which was good because this time we had the most obnoxious 3 people in the seats right behind us. Geez, I can still hear the one girls voice. Anyway, they were so obnoxious the entire time and it was like nails on a chalkboard. So we didn't hear the commentary, but did enjoy the sights.

After that we call it a day and head back to the apartment.

Scarlett Jul 6th, 2009 04:20 PM

I like your husbands remark .. "Everyone should have one" lol ..
When we get to Paris next, I will repeat it often to my husband.

I am really enjoying this and look forward to the rest, even though I know what happens next :( and I wish you had a photo of SB .. lol ... she might have been here too .. short shorts, uggs and too much make up and dirty hair? lol...

Canada_V Jul 6th, 2009 04:52 PM

Hi mms - I don't know what happens next, so I will wait (a little nervously...) for the rest of the report...

The apartment looks really nice!

And as I will never have a teenaged daughter, thanks for giving me the chance to "giggle with girlfriends" someone shorthanded as Slut Barbie!!

V

seetheworld Jul 6th, 2009 04:56 PM

uh, what's up with Roland Garros ??? Two days in a row, closed? I guess they don't need the money. I'm waiting to find out if your DD was ever able to buy something from that store!

SB and BF sound very classy, lol. (eye rolling here).

Canada_V Jul 6th, 2009 04:57 PM

oh wait a minute... I just remembered what happened! I just got the clue in your title :-(

mms Jul 6th, 2009 05:08 PM

Yeah, we gave up after 2 tries at Roland Garros. Sure glad it worked out on our previous trip. Very frustrating though as it was a waste of time and money. We figured it wasn't worth it to try again.

I will have to look, I might have a pic of SB, lol! Her hair was clean though, and she had sandles on. But yes, she was from San Diego and had bleach blonde hair, a pierced nose, about 10 pounds of makeup on, and short shorts. The guy she was with was just plain creepy. Not sure where the heck she picked him up at.

Yes, the windows in the apt were great. Let in lots of light, and at night the shutters kept it nice and dark. Perfect!

CAPH52 Jul 6th, 2009 06:16 PM

Great report, mms! Sounds like you were having so much fun!

swisshiker Jul 6th, 2009 06:25 PM

Good job, mms! ((y))

My mom loves socks, too. She has drawers and drawers of them, for each holiday imaginable, every bird known to mankind, etc. So it's a standard gift to her to buy socks. I'll have to look for the ones with the Eiffel Tower. She'd love those!

mms Jul 7th, 2009 09:50 AM

DAY 3

Today is Thursday and we get an early start. Today is Versaille. We head over towards the Orsay and make a pitstop. There is a pharmacy right by there that when I was sick 2 years ago there, I bought some great cold medicine. So I popped in there to buy more, as DH requested it. He used the rest of it when he was sick and said that was good stuff, lol!

After that we head down to the metro station. We buy 2 r/t tickets for Versaille, which came to 13 euro for the 2 of us. We arrive at the Versaille station around 8:30am and head towards the palace. Big dark clouds are already out, so we are not sure what we are in for. Anyway, we get in the line for people with passes/tickets already purchased. We wait maybe 5 minutes til they open, and then were inside in a flash. There was hardly anyone in front of us...maybe 10 or 20 people at the most. We did the palace first, and the others must have gone outside first. Anyway, we seemed to have the entire place to ourselves! Even in the Hall of Mirrors we only saw 4 other people. They left and we had it to ourselves! Most of the palace was the same way...sort of eerie actually since you hear about how crowded it gets.

When we decided it was time to head outside, we found some stairs. I need to look at my map and see where we were, but without having other people to follow we felt a bit lost. Anyway, the stairs we took to head down looked like it was a back hallway. Definitely nothing grand about these. But, as we started down I thought to myself that the stairs (they were wood, not marble) were really pretty and so worn, they had a nice patina to them. Anyway, that thought quickly vanished as I somehow managed to slip and fall down a number of those steps. I have no idea how many...maybe 8 or 10, and it happened so fast it was a blur. Anyway, I managed to bloody one ankle and really mess up my other knee. DD knew it was bad and had a real concerned look on her face. She helped me up, and we headed down. At the bottom of that flight, before the next flight down, was a big red sign that said to be careful as the steps are slippery. Gee, think they could have posted that at the top of the stairs???

So we get outside. At this point, every step I take with my one leg is just excruciating. But I suck it up as much as I can, and start walking with a pegleg. I am determined to see the gardens. So we very slowly head that way. We do manage to see quite a bit of them, and they are stunning!!! Even with huge black clouds overhead.

Finally, I am in too much pain to enjoy it anymore, so we figure we have seen most of it so we will head back to Paris. OMG, as we are leaving the amount of people coming in was mindboggling. If I would have seen that when we arrived there is no way I would have gone in. So many tour buses, lots of school groups, etc. We were so thankful we got there before they opened and we felt spoiled to have it to ourselves.

We arrive back in Paris, and decide to get off the train at the Orsay. My knee hurts so bad that there is no way I can walk back to the apt, so we grab a cab. Which, I could not bend my leg, so that was painful too. Yes, I was a mess, lol!

A block from our apt is a pharmacy so we head directly there. Thankfully a pharmacist there speaks excellent English. I told her what happened and she recommended a time released Voltarene patch. On past trips to Paris, we have purchased Voltarene cream to bring home, so I knew it was good stuff. Anyway, I buy a box of the patches and we head to the apt. Omg, these things felt sooooo good! I was still in pain, but at least it was manageable now. But I was worn out from the pain and attemtping to walk, so we hang out in the apt for a couple hours. I ended up napping, not on purpose. DD killed the time by making funny faces and taking pics of herself doing that, lol!

Time to head out once again. This time we head towards BHV along the Rue de Rivoli. My pegleg, or pirate walk as the knee doctor calls it, was getting perfected along the way. I could not navigate stairs at all, even little steps, so I really had to adjust. DD commented that she had never before been in a store that sold both duct tape and Chanel. It was fun to wander around the basement.

We then head into Etam, as DD likes the looks from the window. She spots two purses that she must have. One for herself and one for a friend that was petsitting for us. Nevermind the purse she brought with her was a beautiful leather one from Longchamp that was her splurge on our last trip. But the purse she now has her eye on is a whopping 35 euro, lol! Lime green lots of compartments/zippers on the outside as well as inside. Friends purse is a really pretty blueish/purple, and was about 30 euro. So we purchase those and then head to dinner.

Tonight we went to a place that we really enjoyed on our last trip, Au Chien Qui Fume. Both DD and I had the same dishes we had 2 years ago. She had the farm chicken in a tarragon sauce, that comes in the copper pot they cook it in. I had the duck with pears. Both were just as good as we remembered. We each had a kir royale to start with, and a tomato/motzarella starter to share, and a carafe of water. Total came to 70 euro.

After that we head back to the apt and open the big windows and enjoy the balcony before we hit the hay.

CAPH52 Jul 7th, 2009 10:34 AM

As soon as you mentioned Versailles, I knew what was coming and felt myself tense up! Oh, you poor thing! What a nasty fall! And you're right, that sign should have been at the top of the stairs!

But how wonderful to have had Versailles pretty much to yourselves! I'm sure jealous of that part of it! I actually meant to mention the same thing about your trip to the Louvre. When my daughter and I were there, it was jammed! And that was in late March or early April.

Glad the restaurant lived up to your memories!

Scarlett Jul 7th, 2009 10:50 AM

I remember clearly our visit to Versailles.. we were also almost alone, until the Hall of Mirrors which was packed. I so wanted to tell everyone to leave so I could be alone ! with my husband of course lol.... so very very beautiful..sigh.
I remember buying souvenirs, a little mirror, a deck of cards with French Kings and Queens on them .. we still have them :)

I knew the knee story but still felt twinges in my own knee at the thought ... I wonder if they have Voltarene cream/patches here.. I must remember to look.

Your meals sound lovely, the handbags lovelier lol

Did you arrive home, inspired to cook the way the French do ? :D

kerouac Jul 7th, 2009 11:34 AM

At least you fell down the stairs in Versailles. I went with a friend to Saigon and he fell down the stairs at the hotel. We went to a hospital that used an X-ray machine like something out of Jules Verne. But that's another story...

yk Jul 7th, 2009 11:40 AM

Hi mms, I'm enjoying this. Sorry about the fall...

BTW, isn't it great to arrive early at Versailles? DH & I did that last fall, and like you said, the palace was practically empty first thing in the morning!

seetheworld Jul 7th, 2009 11:53 AM

It was only Day Three?? Ouch! You poor thing!

mms, was there a railing to hold on to? Should I pack my honking New Balance sneakers for the visit to Versailles? Can you tell that I'm deathly afraid of falling?

Thanks for the tip on arriving early. What time would you say you left (when you noticed all the tours arriving)?

Scarlett Jul 7th, 2009 12:48 PM

stw, I think the staircase was more of an employee/back stairs sort of case..
I remember all the steps being marble ...

mms Jul 7th, 2009 01:17 PM

Caph--The palace was so empty it was really creepy! In the Hall of Mirrors there were only 4 other people, in all the other rooms were were the ONLY people. We kept feeling like something was wrong, lol!

Scarlett--Oh I wish I could cook like that! I do need to try the macarons though.

Kerouac--The entire time I was wondering if I should go to the American Hospital. I think I would have except I knew it would freak DD out if she knew how much pain I was in.

yk--I had heard so many stories of how crowded Versaille was, so I think that really threw me. But even in the gardens we were the only people. Somehow we avoided everyone, lol!

STW--There was a railing, and I was holding onto it thankfully. The stairs...I looked at my map and we exited to outside on the left side. With the palace being so empty we didn't have other people to follow. We got on the RER at the Orsay around 8:15 or so. So arrived at the Versaille station about 8:45 and then the short walk. I think we left the gardens around 11:30 or 12. It was early. Sneakers would be good shoes...I had on pretty sandals, lol! Ones I had worn on our last trip and love, but apparently aren't the best for traction, lol;)

kerouac Jul 7th, 2009 01:28 PM

I think more people need to realize that the American Hospital is a French hospital whose name is the American Hospital. Yes, it is a wonderful private hospital where kings, Aristotle Onassis, Rock Hudson and Yasser Arafat go to die, but there have been lots of reports here of people going to the normal hospitals of Paris and receiving spectacular treatment free of charge or for a very low fee.

mms Jul 7th, 2009 02:37 PM

Kerouac--That is nice to know. I was thinking it was one that would be more apt to not encounter a language difficulty. Would the other hospitals be just as easy in that regard?


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