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travellyn Sep 24th, 2001 10:41 AM

Just back from Paris and Provence. Any questions?
My husband and I left for Nice on 9/10, landed 9/11, and watched CNN for 10 days. We had a relatively good trip considering the horrific events in the US. We spent a week in Aix-en-Provence and 3 days in Paris. We just got back on 9/21. I'll be glad to answer (almost) any questions people may have. <BR> <BR>travellyn

remy Sep 24th, 2001 10:47 AM

did you use the metro? <BR> <BR>if yes, did you see any women selling roses? yellow ones?

travellyn Sep 24th, 2001 11:52 AM

Yes, we used the Metro and no, I didn't notice any women selling roses. <BR> <BR>travellyn

GoingSoon Sep 24th, 2001 12:59 PM

Dear travellyn: <BR> <BR>How was Aix? I can't believe my sister lived there for a whole year many years ago and I still regret NOT visiting!! I have heard and read it's really beautiful. Was it crowded? How was the weather? <BR> <BR>I was in Paris last year-it was, without a doubt, the BEST vacation I ever had. Ten days, by myself and on my own. The French were FANTASTIQUE!! I loved it and hope to return soon. <BR> <BR>I'm scheduled to leave for London next month-Oct 16. How was it beign in Europe with all this going on? I'm sort of "on the fence" about going. I'm hoping nothing MAJOR happens while I'm there and become stranded etc. <BR> <BR>Glad you had a great trip!

Greg Gallagher Sep 24th, 2001 01:44 PM

Was also in Paris from 9/11 - 9/18. Glad youi had a great time as well. <BR> <BR>Au Revoir

travellyn Sep 24th, 2001 01:49 PM

Dear Going Soon, <BR> <BR>Aix was very nice. The markets were crowded, as were the streets on the weekends, but overall, I wouldn't describe the city as crowded, just lively. Traffic was pretty bad and there is no law about cleaning up dog poop, so people in Aix have to look down when walking. <BR> <BR>That said, Aix is a beautiful town, stately with fountains, etc., but not stilted. The people we met were kind and helpful. <BR> <BR>The weather was excellent: clear skies, sweater-cool in the mornings, moving to short-sleeve temperatures in the afternoons. We had no rain in the week we were there; however, the mistral was blowing quite a bit. <BR> <BR>I would have loved 10 days in Paris. Three were just enough for us to visit the requisite "must-sees", and not enough to relax. <BR> <BR>It was probably easier being in France during the attacks than in the US. I felt safe the whole time, and people went out of their way, even in Paris, to be considerate. <BR> <BR>When we got to our hotel in Aix a couple of hours after the first attack, they had our TV on and tuned to CNN. In travelling around Provence, we saw that the flags at all the Hotels de Villes (sp?) were tied in black, and at each one, there was a condolence book in front of the building with people lined up to write notes. They had a special room in the Hotel de Ville in Aix for any Americans who wanted to check on the status of friends and family. All of France had 3 minutes of silence at noon on (I think) Friday, the 14th. Each church had hundreds of candles burning. It was a privilege to be there. <BR> <BR>There was a lot of security at the airports, especially Frankfurt. I found it reassuring, although invasive. The only time I felt vulnerable was on the flight back as we flew near Chicago. <BR> <BR>travellyn

first time to europe Sep 24th, 2001 07:42 PM

First time for Europe....Trying to make arrangements starting early Dec for 3 days Paris, on to Nice, then on to Assisi. Can it be done by trains? Car rental is blowing the budget (that's w/o gas and tolls) plus no pkg in Rome. Rooms in Pareeee seem outrageous too. Any suggestions? How are the hostels for us 40-somethings?

sylvie Sep 24th, 2001 08:33 PM

Travelyn, <BR>How about hotels or bistros in Aix? Did any stand out? Thanks for giving a recent perpective. I was feeling a little uneasy about planning a trip? <BR>Sylvie

GoingSoon Sep 25th, 2001 09:07 AM

Travellyn: <BR> <BR>Thanks for your detailed and interesting response. <BR> <BR>GoingSoon

travellyn Sep 25th, 2001 03:09 PM

Dear first time to europe and Sylvie, <BR> <BR>We stayed at the Grand Hotel Leveque in Paris because we're cheap. It was 400 francs per night for a room with one double bed, about $60 when we were there. Our room was somewhat small and quite dark in the daytime, but perfectly clean, comfortable, and safe-feeling. The desk staff let us check in 2 hours early and were always polite. We thought the value was good. <BR> <BR>We took the TGV train from Aix to Paris in only 3 hours. I get the idea that trains to Nice are still slow. We might have considered taking the TGV to Avignon, Aix, Toulon or Marseilles, then renting a car from there. We were told that tolls from Aix to Paris were about $100. That's how much two one-way TGV tickets cost with an advance purchase over the SNCF website. <BR> <BR>We ate at a couple of places in Aix, but since that part of our trip was a tour, they were probably chosen for their ability to handle 50 people at once. With that in mind, they were; Brasserie Leopold, Les Deux Garcons (old,famous and good for hanging out), and Just en Face (a new place where our tour coordinator likes to eat whenever possible). <BR> <BR>Our tour group stayed at the Hotel Roi Rene, which had 4 stars and was more comfortable than the cheap places my husband and I usually choose. If I were making the reservations, I probably would have stayed at a little hotel near the fountain of Les Quatre Dauphines (sp?). <BR> <BR>I probably would have chosen to make St Remy or Avignon my base instead of Aix, since they're more centrally located for the places we wanted to visit, and Aix is the second most expensive city in France after Paris. (I still really liked it.) <BR> <BR>There are some France experts on here who could give you a lot more information.

Rhonda Sep 29th, 2001 06:29 PM

Travellyn, <BR> <BR>I will be speninding two in Provence at Christmas, which towns did you enjoy visiting the most? We will be renting a car and touring the region. Where would you go?

PB Sep 30th, 2001 12:18 AM

Rhonda, <BR> <BR>Since I don't know where you're staying in Provence (it covers a large area), it's hard to give you specific ideas. But if you're around Christmas Eve, I definitely suggest going to Midnight Mass in either Les Baux (get there really early) or one of the neighboring villages like Maussane-les-Alpilles or Mouries. <BR> <BR>Before Christmas there is also a market in St Remy, called Marche du Gros Souper... chock full of foods that are traditional for Christmas meals as well as santons (the creche figures typical of the area). <BR> <BR>PB

Pat Oct 2nd, 2001 05:43 PM

Hi Travellyn, <BR> <BR>We are planning a trip to Provence and Paris in Nov. I was thinking 5 days to cover Avignon, Arles, Nimes, Aix area. Is that enough time? We thought we'd stay a few in Avignon and Aix.

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