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Hot Flashes and Cold Rain in Paris: Is it too late for a September trip report?

Hot Flashes and Cold Rain in Paris: Is it too late for a September trip report?

Old Jan 7th, 2008, 05:02 PM
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Hot Flashes and Cold Rain in Paris: Is it too late for a September trip report?

I'm a long-time lurker, very rare poster, but frequently enjoy and benefit from the everyone else's contributions. I always tell myself I'll write a trip report, but I never have.

Is it too late for a Paris trip report from the last week of September? I'll be happy to post if anyone cares to read it.

Happy New Year, Fodorites!
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Old Jan 7th, 2008, 05:09 PM
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It's never too late, especially if it's about Paris.


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Old Jan 7th, 2008, 05:09 PM
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There is no statute of limitations, so go for it.
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Old Jan 7th, 2008, 05:10 PM
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Hi, i would love to read your trip report. Please post it.
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Old Jan 7th, 2008, 05:20 PM
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Well, three responses is enough for me! Here goes my first effort at a trip report:

What to call this trip report…?

Hot Flashes and Cold Rain in Paris?

Be Careful What You Wish For?

The Serotonin-Deficiency Tour of Paris?

What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been?

The Dr. Scholl Moleskin Diaries?

Tired, Nauseous Middle-Aged Women Stumble Through Paris?

This is the story of a 7-day trip to Paris in September 2007 that didn’t turn out quite as planned.

I had been to Paris four times previously, and I was traveling this time with a friend/coworker, S, who had never been. The trip grew from the germ of an idea we had when we were at a conference together, talking about travel. S mentioned a lifelong desire to go to Paris, along with some trepidation about traveling in a country where she did not speak the language. I, being the travel slut that I am (meaning I’ll go anywhere, any time, with anyone), offhandedly suggested that we go to Paris together, where I could be her trip organizer and guide. Over a period of weeks and months, the idea developed into an actual plan. (If I were in a more poetic and positive mood, I might say the idea “blossomed” but given the experience we actually ended up having, I’m more tempted to say that the idea grew like a fungus…)

Let me say that there was no lack of planning and discussion related to this trip. Literally hundreds of emails were exchanged with links to flights, apartments, museums, markets, tours, and other activities. Many conversations were had and dozens more emails were exchanged outlining our individual travel styles, our concerns, our goals and expectations for the trip, our budgets and interests, and our ground rules for traveling together and communicating all along the way. At one point, Excel spreadsheets were created to organize information about the apartment options we were considering, and eventually, an apartment was rented – a large, bright Ikea-style apartment on the 6th floor (with elevator) in the 3rd arrondisement for €1000 for the week. Plane tickets were purchased on Zoom Airlines for just under $600 flying from Montreal, and the countdown began.

In the last couple of weeks leading up to our departure, our discussion turned to focus more on weather reports and packing and appropriate footwear. We were limited to 44 pounds in one check-through bag on Zoom, and they claimed that our carry-on limit was one piece weighing 5 kg (11 pounds!) in addition to one personal item. Because I was planning to bring my laptop, this was going to be a challenge. (I recently had the experience of spending time in Amsterdam with internet access and found it invaluable in planning activities while there.)

(Note to self: get a smaller laptop.)

The weather in Paris leading up to our departure was sunny and in the 70’s, and while we were aware of the seasonal normal range (55-75 degrees), it became very difficult to imagine we would need warm jackets or heavy sweaters. I threw in a turtleneck and light jacket, and at the last minute added my lightweight trenchcoat, which turned out to be a wise move.

We met up on a Saturday afternoon to make the two-hour drive to Montreal, and despite all our excitement of the preceding months, both of us found ourselves somewhat anxious and sad about leaving our families behind. This was a great surprise to me, as I have always thrived on the anticipation of travel, have always been happiest with a plane ticket in my pocket, and have traveled without my husband and kids before without looking back except to blow them another kiss goodbye. For S, this was less of a surprise, as she had never traveled so far and so long without her kids, though they are in high school and college. We tiptoed around the topic of our melancholy for the first thirty miles on the road, then both admitted our conflicted feelings and felt better realizing we were not alone.

More to come soon...
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Old Jan 7th, 2008, 05:23 PM
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Jessw PLEASE post your trip report, I'm waiting.
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Old Jan 7th, 2008, 06:53 PM
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We stopped in Montreal for sandwiches, and then easily found our way to the airport. We parked in long-term parking, took the shuttle to the terminal, checked in at Zoom and breathed a sigh of relief when both of our check-through bags came in under 44 pounds and our carry-ons weren’t even glanced at, let alone weighed. I experienced a sudden surge in trip excitement when we arrived at the airport and began to feel hopeful that my mood had lifted permanently.

Zoom Airlines was no better or worse than most any other airline I’ve ever flown. The flight was delayed about a half hour, but arrived on time. The food was edible if you were really hungry, the seats were no less comfortable than any other plane I’ve been on and we were lucky enough to have an empty seat between us. (The plane configuration was two rows of three seats with one middle aisle, and I had booked a window and an aisle seat for us. My hope had been that no one would book the seat between us, but if they did, one of us could just offer to trade so we would sit next to each other. It was S’s suggestions that we stay in the seats we chose even if someone sat between us, as then we would each be as comfortable as possible, rather then one of us being stuck in the middle. The strategy worked in the end, because although someone sat between us, they asked for and were granted permission to move to an available aisle seat elsewhere.) I skipped the in-flight entertainment (no seat-back screens) in favor of taking an Ambien shortly after take-off, and with the help of eye shades, ear plugs, and my inflatable neck pillow, I managed to get about four hours sleep.

We landed at 9:30 am at Terminal 3, which is a tiny terminal and much easier to navigate (and less worn-looking and grungy) than the rest of CDG. Unfortunately, for reasons that shall forever be unknown to us, it took an hour for our luggage to arrive on the carousel, and by that time, we had, of course, missed our scheduled shuttle. I was able to call the shuttle service (BluVan) and they returned for us some 20 minutes later.

Another hour later, after first dropping off a pair of Texan ladies in the Latin Quarter at Hotel des Grandes Ecoles, we were dropped off at our apartment on rue du Temple in the 3rd. Being Sunday, most of the businesses on the street were closed and shuttered, so the neighborhood had the flavor of a warehouse district. (It turned out that most of the shops near our apartment were cheap jewelry and accessory shops, many of which only sold wholesale.)

We were met at the apartment by a friend of the owner, who showed us how to operate the TV and washer/dryer, warned us several times about not forcing the faucets (“You don’t pull, you turn them like this. Please don’t pull them! Some people pull them and they break!!”) and reminded us to turn off the lights when we left, and she wished us a happy stay. She left and we turned to look at each other and at the apartment. Sunlight was streaming in through the large windows that lined one side of the apartment, and we peeked out to see that the view was of a paved courtyard where some cars were parked and garbage cans were lined up, but many of the windows surrounding the courtyard had window boxes of geraniums or laundry hanging outside, and the general effect was one of privacy and quiet. S sighed deeply (but not with satisfaction) and said, “The apartment looks exactly like the photos online, and yet, I’m disappointed.”


The choosing of the apartment had been quite a project. There was the issue of size (enough room for us each to have some modicum of privacy), price (the €1000 we paid was really our upper limit), location (in an area that made exploring and access to transportation options easy), amenities (we wanted Internet access and an elevator if was higher than second floor), and décor – which is where we struggled the most in choosing. I really liked the look of this almost-spartan Ikea style apartment: everything in neutral shades, clean lines, no clutter, white walls, large windows. S had struggled with whether this worked for her, preferring something with a “French” décor. Unfortunately, many of the places with décor she liked better were either too expensive, too dark, too cluttered, or unavailable, so she came around to the idea that this was our best option. We had joked that we would bring poster putty and go straight out and buy posters to put on the walls (there literally was NOTHING on the walls) and buy flowers to brighten it up. For various reasons, we did neither of these things, though I had in fact packed the poster putty!

After a few minutes of unpacking and hanging clothes – there was ample storage space for both of us – we decided to head out and explore. In that bleary-eyed, adrenaline-fueled, surreal state of sleep deprivation and jet lag and general disorientation, we wandered out into the streets to get our bearings. Having heard that the Marais was the liveliest area of the city on a Sunday, and having never been to Place des Vosges before, it made sense to me that we would wander in that general direction, so we did. I had a map, and a generally decent sense of direction, and we found our way without difficulty, stopping here and there along the way to peer in shop windows or into courtyards and generally gawk at everything we passed.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped into a tabac to buy a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. I long ago gave up smoking cigarettes at home, but always make an exception when I leave the country, and there’s really no better place to be a smoker than in Paris. This will be my last trip to Paris before the restaurant smoking ban takes place, and I was determined to enjoy the privilege while I still could, though I had no intention of inflicting it on S.

We reached Place des Vosges, and simultaneously discovered that we were quite hungry and that the cafes on the square were quite expensive, so we went off in search of something a bit more affordable to start our Paris eating adventures. Along the way, under the arcades of the Place, we came across a handful of musicians playing classical music and stopped to enjoy the free concert in such a fabulous setting. When the rumbling of our stomachs seemed more urgent, we moved on and found a café with sidewalk tables on a nearby street and sat down with great relief.

I was delighted to discover steak tartare on the menu, as this is a favorite of mine and such a rare treat at restaurants at home. I ordered the steak tartare, and a pichet of vin rouge to share. S ordered the onion soup and beef carpaccio. When the steak tartare arrived, I was taken aback by the enormous size of the portion, as well as its astonishing orange-ness. I am accustomed to very small portions served as an appetizer, usually eaten with bread or crackers. I can’t say I enjoyed it as much as I hoped, but it was an interesting experience. I also can’t say that I finished it…

I stepped away from the table to have a cigarette after our lunch, which I enjoyed more than the meal itself, though the sense of vigilance I had about whether the smoke was drifting in S’s direction and the fact that I was standing on the sidewalk rather than sitting and sipping my café crème did interfere a bit with the total experience. I made a mental note to myself to make sure to eat a meal alone at some point so I could actually smoke at the table.

After our €40 lunch, the sun was still shining and it was about 3:30 or so. We continued on our walk, making our way in the direction of the Seine, and eventually strolled along part of the Ile St Louis, and from there over the Pont to the Ile de la Cite. There were plenty of tourists and street musicians – we stopped to listen to a jazz band, a Brazilian guitar player and a boogie woogie band – and we also managed to find an overpriced little epicerie open on rue St Louis en l’Ile where we purchased some coffee, wine, milk and bread for the apartment. Across the street, we spotted a fromagerie that was open. S was feeling adventurous about wanting to try various cheeses, but spoke no French. I speak some rudimentary tourist French, but knew nothing about the huge case of cheeses we were looking at. Neither of us were sure how best to proceed. We watched the shopkeeper conduct a transaction in Italian with the customer ahead of us, and then it was our turn. “Parlez-vous Anglais?” I began hopefully, but the answer was cheerily and unfortunately “Non.” I took a deep a breath and sallied forth. If translated literally, my end of the conversation would probably look something like this:
“We would like to buy some cheese, maybe four cheeses, all different. You can choose for us?...We have 20 Euro for cheese…Yes, I want that please…Yes, we like that…..Yes, maybe we like that too…And a little sausage too?...Thank you very much!” I have the vocabulary of a French 3-year-old if I’m lucky (and who knows what to compare my pronunciation to!), but people never failed to be polite and patient with me throughout this trip as I butchered their language in my efforts to do business.

We enjoyed our stroll along the islands, including an artist’s market set up behind Notre Dame. I was as interested in people-watching as I was in looking at the art, and wished I could capture all the cute dogs, strolling couples, and animated tourists in photos without violating anyone’s privacy. I always struggle with when it’s OK to take a photo surreptitiously, and I sometimes wonder if I ever show up inadvertently in other people’s photo albums. One time I assume that I did show up in someone’s album was in 2004 when my family and I did a Segway tour of Paris, and while on the Segways near the Louvre, several Japanese tourists posed beside us and took photos of each other with their hands on the Segways. I hate having my picture taken at home, but I thought this was hilarious. I smiled and waved. (See reference later to wedding couple on Pont Alexandre with crazy shorts-wearing tourists.)

By this time it was early evening and the sleep deprivation was having its effect, so we headed back to our apartment. I discovered that the Hotel de Ville is straight at the bottom on rue du Temple, as is the BHV department store, which made it very easy to find our way home every day. (We either got off the metro at Hotel de Ville and walked straight up Temple, got off at Republique and walked straight down Temple, or got off at Arts & Metiers (a very cool station that looks like the inside of a submarine) and walked a couple blocks east and then south. Easy every which way.) The Rugby World Cup was happening while we were in Paris, and there was an enormous outdoor TV screen set up in front of the Hotel de Ville and a huge crowd watching a match. It was all very orderly and civilized, and rugby clearly has many fans in Paris!

We spent the evening trying our cheese, drinking some wine (I clearly out-perform S in the drinking category, which made me a bit self-conscious by the end of the week), emailing home, checking the weather online (uh-oh, not looking good…) and discussing whether to reserve a Segway tour. Ultimately, we never ended up doing a Segway tour due to the weather, though on our last day, I did an electric bike tour which I loved and will write more about later. We both settled into bed by 9:00 or so, with the hope that we would sleep long and soundly and wake up ready to tackle Paris on Monday morning.

I woke while it was still dark, but my eyes flew open as I realized where I was. Wow – ready to get up and see what the day has to offer, but since it was still dark, I decided I better check the time before getting up too early. It was 10:30 pm. I had been asleep for just over an hour. My heart sank as I imagined a sleepless night and then a miserable day, and I quickly took action: a dose of Ambien and back under the covers I went. Fortunately I was able to sleep reasonably well through the rest of the night, but sleep continued to be an issue in one way or another for the rest of week. (Insert ominous background music here.)
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Old Jan 7th, 2008, 10:20 PM
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Loving this report so far...keep it coming!
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Old Jan 7th, 2008, 10:54 PM
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A charming report jessw37, I can hardly wait for the next installment. A cigarette, to much wine, waking up to find out that a whole night was still ahead of you, I can so relate!
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Old Jan 7th, 2008, 11:20 PM
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Glad you decided to write a trip report, I am enjoying it so far. Please continue.
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 12:14 AM
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Keep going Jess - you have a nice easy writing style and I am thoroughly enjoying reading this.
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 04:42 AM
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I echo previous posters' comments.
cannot wait for more more!
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 05:01 AM
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(Glad to hear someone is enjoying this. On to Day Two...)

I woke up again at the more reasonable hour of 6:30 am and got up to make coffee and check email. S’s bedroom was separated from the rest of the apartment by a door, but her bedroom backed up right against the bathroom and I worried about the sound of the shower and blowdryer waking her prematurely. Eventually I decided to go ahead and shower, and I brought the blowdryer into the kitchen to lessen the noise, and by 7:45 I was dressed and ready to go. (When I travel with my family, we are typically early risers, even though I am much more of a night owl at home. I would consider going out to start the day at 9:00 am a very late start while on vacation.) I decided to go out for croissants for S and myself, so I left a note on the counter (always glad I travel with Post-It notes) and hit the streets. I found a boulangerie just a couple of blocks up the street and bought 2 croissants and 2 pains au chocolat. I continued up rue du Temple until I hit Place de la Republique, which was busy with traffic, including quite a few large tour busses parked at various corners of the Place. Along the sidewalks I saw parents walking their children to school and a couple of fathers in business attire pushing strollers or carrying young children in front carriers, a rather refreshing sight. I walked briskly around the entire area, circling the large statue in the center (later referred to as “the big lady” who always helped us know which way to walk when we got off the Metro at Republique – she faces straight down rue du Temple!)

I didn’t want S to miss the experience of enjoying a still-warm croissant, so I headed back to the apartment. Having been gone about 45 minutes, I assumed S would be up and maybe even showered by now, but I was surprised to find the apartment quiet. I poured another cup of coffee and settled on the couch to look at various lists, travel guides, and maps.

A bit later I wrote an email home:

S slept until 10:30 and now it's noon and she just got out of the shower. She just asked me if it seemed like she was being too slow getting ready. I said, "Well, I'm eager to get going...I have been up for 5 1/2 hours..."

Traveling with someone else is an interesting adventure. I just never expected this, since she gets up at 5:30 at home!

This was a great example of an assumption I made: Knowing that S got up early at home, I assumed she would do so on vacation. She may have assumed so as well, but how would she know that she would have had a bad night of sleep and develop a sore throat within 24 hours of arriving in Paris? I was frustrated to a certain degree, but not with S herself, just with the realization that the best-laid plans can so easily go awry. The other issue was that while I was theoretically eager to get out and hit the streets, my actual level of physical and emotional energy was somewhere around a 2 on a 1 to 10 scale. A large part of me wanted to crawl back in bed, but not actually in the bed in the apartment, but in my own bed at home. I was uncomfortably aware of a nagging level of homesickness, which shocked and frustrated me.

We did, of course, head out the door eventually. The following email to my husband was written at the end of the day:

After afore-mentioned very late start, we finally left the apartment around 12:30. We walked to Place de la Republique, where I had walked earlier in the morning, and bought our weekly Metro passes in the Metro station there. (Transaction successfully conducted in my very poor French!) On the way there, we stopped at a phone store where we bought a SIM card for one of the cell phones - again, transaction completely in French, cost: 30 Euro for French phone number and 4.50 Euro in credit (though we have no idea how many minutes that translates to!)

We took the Metro to the Arc de Triomphe, where we bought museum passes. S and I climbed the 284 steps to the top (despite her hesitation) and we enjoyed the view, which was unfortunately cloudy and sprinkling. It was fun to see S's face as we came up the escalator from the Metro to that full view of the Arc, and then to see her first glimpse of the Eiffel tower from the top of the Arc.

After coming back down, we strolled the Champs Elysees for a bit and the rain eventually stopped. We crossed the river and went looking for lunch - though by this time it was well past 3:00. At one point, we came to a corner and looked down the intersecting street to see if there were any restaurants, and at the end of the street was an almost full view of the Eiffel Tower, which is always so surprising and delightful.

We found a restaurant with a good street view and settled in for onion soup (both of us, to take the chill off), roast chicken (S), and duck confit (me.) A small pitcher of house red wine to accompany this and we were quite full and recharged. The sun came out, and we set off toward La Grande Epicerie de Paris, that huge and wonderful grocery store. Along the way, we came across many small shops on the Rue du Bac, and S's expertise as a tried-and-true shopper became apparent! We both enjoyed lots of window shopping and bought some nice tea towels/dish cloths. S wanted to be sure I would be able to find this street again later in the week, and I assured her that I could.

We bought some breakfast foods (eggs, yogurt, blood orange juice) and dinner/snacks (pate, green beans, smoked salmon, wine, spinach pastry) and chocolate for gifts at the grocery store, and then took the Metro back. Our total walking for today was just over 3 miles - nothing compared to a typical Paris day! I was still pretty restless and it was only about 8:15 when we got back to the apartment. We opened the wine, munched a bit, and S's friend L (who temporarily lives in Paris) came over for a quick visit and to bring S a cell phone to use while here. By the time she left I couldn't sit still any more. Around 11:00 I went out for a walk, walking straight down our street until I eventually crossed the river and hit Notre Dame, then crossed the river all the way to the Left Bank and took a quick stroll around the Latin Quarter near the river. I took a few night photos (which will end up blurry, I'm sure, despite my efforts to steady the camera) and smoked a few cigarettes and made it back to the apartment at midnight, logging another 2.6 miles. (I discovered www.mapmyrun.com is a great way to plot walking routes and get mileage totals!)

It's now 1:00 am Paris time, so time for bed. We plan to do a guided walk tomorrow morning at 10:30, and then S will be spending some time with L in the afternoon, so I'm on my own for a while. It will be fun to see what I end up doing, but you can bet it will include plenty of walking and making use of that museum pass!

Sorry if I sound like I'm complaining; it's not really what I mean to do. It's just not the same traveling with someone else. In other words, as always, you are by far my best traveling companion, and I miss you being here with me. I think some time alone tomorrow will be nice, and then S and I will see some museums and other neighborhoods on other days.

Random observation: I saw a guy riding a motorcycle this evening, wearing Birkenstocks, smoking a cigarette, and carrying a hockey stick. Quite a sight, but no chance to take a photo. Too bad.

Other things we did that were not mentioned in this email:

• S went into a pharmacy after practicing the phrase “mal a la gorge” from her phrasebook and was able to buy some throat lozenges called “Strepsils.” Luckily her sore throat never progressed to be much worse, though it hung on for a few days. My purchase at the same pharmacy was a seven-day pillbox with the days of the week marked by their first letter in French. For €2.50, this will probably be my best bang-for-the-buck souvenir of Paris as I will use it every day and be entertained every damn time I use it!

• At one point while walking in the seventh, we came across a long-haired tawny-colored dog with his front paws and head hanging out of a second-story window, solemnly watching the world go by. We found this very amusing.

• We bought some beautiful Garnier Thibault tea towels in a tiny shop on rue du Bac, paying the obscene sum of something like €15 each, but greatly enjoying the careful and deliberate advice and wrapping of our purchases by the elderly lady running the shop. Upon leaving this shop, we went halfway down the block and saw another linen shop across the street. I joked, “We could probably go in there and buy towels for half the price!” It turned out we could actually buy towels there for one third the price, but certainly not the same towels and not with the same delightful experience. This began a theme in my shopping that suggests that I might call this “The Textile Shopping Trip to Paris.”

• While crossing the Pont Alexandre, we came upon a Japanese couple in their wedding garb and their photographer, taking what I would imagine are lovely wedding photos with a background of the Eiffel Tower. As we were walking by, two husky men in matching athletic wear (track jackets and matching shorts!) came by and one posed with the wedding couple while his friend took his photo. The wedding couple were very good-natured about this, and in the photo of this scene that I shot, both the groom and the somewhat oddly-dressed tourist are giving the thumbs-up sign to the photographer!

• We really enjoyed looking at window displays, especially in chocolate shops and toy stores.

• In the evening, while in the apartment, I was able to IM with my 15-year-old at home. It was fun to chat online with her about her day at school and feel more connected to home. I think back to my first trip to Europe as an adult, in 1997, when we relied on calling cards and carefully planned phone calls to stay in touch with the kids and grandparents at home, and I love the ease of communication that the Internet offers.

The weather Monday included some light rain for a relatively brief period, and temperatures in the high 50’s. There was some sunshine at times, which greatly brightened our mood temporarily. But despite the sun and the interesting sights, and the Eiffel Tower popping up unexpectedly and the beautiful window displays, we felt oddly melancholy and disoriented. Had our expectations been too high? Were we still suffering jetlag and sleep deprivation? Had we made a mistake in planning to travel together? Were we coming down with something more serious than sore throats? Were we just plain nuts to be in Paris and not ecstatic about it??? We both hesitated to focus too much on the lack of ecstasy we were experiencing, but we did acknowledge that we were not feeling quite what we had expected. The email I pasted in above actually included more references to how much I was missing my husband and daughter, which I edited out for this report. S was missing her own bed and later in the week was able to identify that she really missed watching her daily afternoon Seinfeld rerun! (I tried to access familiar TV episodes on Netflix for her, but discovered that Netflix won’t allow you to access any of their “Watch Instantly” selections when they can see that you’re accessing their site from a foreign address!)
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 05:31 AM
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This is great. Loving everything about it, but particularly:
Travel slut--that's my husband to a T, and his continual invitations to remote acquaintances to travel with us have more than once proved disastrous.
Pill box with days of the week in French--perfect. I feel the same about my Nogent paring knife from the Ledru Rollins market
Communicating with home--our first trips were in the 70s when even calling cards were unheard of and the price of a call through the hotel switchboard could exceed the cost of the room, not to mention getting up in the middle of the night to make it.
Can't wait for more. Thanks so much.
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 07:30 AM
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Enjoying the report, many times I've thought it would be fun to do a "girls" road trip, but my husband and I have so much fun travelling together, I'm not sure if I'd want to leave him.

Anyway, keep it coming!
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 07:38 AM
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jessw, enjoying your trip report especially the reflections about traveling with someone other than a family member.

I am taking a first timer to Paris next month. I have visited Paris numerous times with my family so I have high hopes for my trip with Melissa

I hope your story has a "everyone came home happy" ending Deborah
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 08:20 AM
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Travel Slut nice to meet you! I'm known as the Pastry Slut.

I'm loving your post jess. And I can relate to much of the traveling with friend. To be honest, I'd rather travel alone or with my husband who will do anything I ask and then some. I do travel a lot with teenagers to Europe and Mexico but that's a whole other deal.

I too hope all ends well with you and s.
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 09:08 AM
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So that's what I am, a travel slut. Perfect.

Really enjoying your report and your reflections on traveling. It occurs to me that your friend who usually wakes up at 5:30 was actually up pretty close to that on the first morning, when you figure in the six hour time difference. She just hadn't adjusted. That happens to me too. The first couple of days in Europe, I plan to sleep late and stay up late and take advantage of the nightlife before I fall back into my normal pattern of early rising.
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 09:39 AM
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Loving this report and all the detail! Keep it up!!! However, I can't tell if things are going to go uphill or downhill by the end ............ don't make me wait too long, please!!!

I can relate to "waiting" for your travel companions when your motor is running and you can't keep still, but out of "duty," "friendship," "keeping the peace," (or whatever!) you just "eat" it!!!

Merci for sharing your trip!!
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 09:49 AM
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Give us more! I feel as though I'm reading a novel. I need another chapter now.......
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