Just got back from Paris - tips

Nov 27th, 2001, 05:07 PM
  #21  
mariacallas
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Oh a couple of notes on the Centre Pompidou. IT is a museum on one side and a library on the other side. So, you get a huge line of students standing with you to go through security. Once inside you need to proceed immediately to buy tickets. Do not bother trying to go through the silly and exhausting credit card line to get tickets from machines - you save no time at all.

Honestly, I thought the whole thing was a huge waste of time. I am a great art lover and I just do not see the draw of this museum. Most of the art there, I want to run away from - blechhh. I don't like Dubuffet - ish and there were very very few Matisse and the ones there were not my favorites. Thanks, but I'll pass on seeing rooms of weird materials/art. I'd rather go to the musee d'orsay twice, thank you very much. The only thing worth seeing there, in my opinion was the Atelier Brancusi - one of my favorite sculptors. That is outside the museum and it takes about 15 minutes to see.

I'd vote go to see the Tanquey water sculptures outside in the little pond. Go see the performers out on the big square next to the museum, and then go do something different. IT ain't worth it to try to get tiackets and find anything worth seeing there IMHO.

With all due respect about half of the museum's permanent collection was closed due to remodeling so maybe I missed something great - I don't think so.

Oh, and the Musee d'orsay - this must be one of the top ten museums in the world. I am so moved by the beautiful Van Goghs. He's the man. I don't know when I have enjoyed a museum any more.

And this time we spent a lot of time in the large format paintings - French - at the Louvre. They are soooooo amazing. My little girl opened my eyes to them. I really enjoyed the beautiful frames almost as much as I enjoyed the paintings in the Louvre. The frames are quite extraordinary.
 
Nov 28th, 2001, 02:57 AM
  #22  
lin
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Just got back myself and I wanted to strongly recommend the current show at the Grand Palais..."Paris Barcelona, from Gaudi to Miro". It will be there until Jan. 14th. Extraordinary! (Someone on here mentioned it, sorry I can't recall who, and I checked on it when I got there. Thanks, if you're reading this.
 
Nov 28th, 2001, 04:21 AM
  #23  
thepostman
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Great post, mariacallas! Thanks!

Note: you need TWO RED stamps or ONE BLUE stamp for a postcard. The red stamps are 3FF and the blue ones are about 5FF. Since everyone goes to the Louvre at some point, there is a post office near what I call the "postcard giftshop". They have pretty stamps there (Versailles) -- just write out your postcard AFTER you stamp it (those stamps are big).
 
Nov 28th, 2001, 05:31 AM
  #24  
mariacallas
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More on L'ami Louis. Do Go - it's fabulous. Don't order the pate - there is way too much of it and it isn't so great. Instead, try the scallops for an appetizer- you'll need one cause the chicken takes so long to cook. Order the Poulet Roti-roasted chicken - two people have to order it cause it's a whole chicken. Otherwise get the roasted veal those are supposedly the two best things they serve. Order the Pommes frites bien cuit- they are not usually cooked well enough. Supposedly the nougat icecream is good but you will probably not have enough room left. And I got a fabulous wine there- it's a white and has the name Bauregard in it- it is beyond superb and very reasonable. You have to book way in advance and I would ask for a table in the middle - not the very front or very back. It is not glamourous - you go for the food - you will never think of chicken the same way again.
 
Nov 28th, 2001, 06:50 AM
  #25  
mariacallas
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Ok - let me finish this thing. By this time we were getting tears in our eyes at the thought of going homes. So, I planned the perfect last day -and it truly was perfect.

To start- we went to a little cafe near the JArdin du Luxembourg. I can't find the name right now - but if you enter the park right where the Fontaine de Medicis is on your right - across the major street from there is a cafe with plastic covering the patio - like a tent- so you can see the gardens while you eat. They have fantastic Croque Madames there- gruyere and ham open faced sandwich with a poached egg on top. It might be on rue Medici.

It was a Sunday so all of paris was out jogging or guiding little kiddos on bikes. IT was a beautiful sunny day. We wandered around there awhile - then headed to the La Place de La Concorde to ride the carrousel. We rode twice - squealing with delight at the view - thrilled to have one more day of this beautiful city.

Then we walked down the rue de Rivoli to Angelinas for hot chocolate and a wonderful chicken curry salad. Then to the Louvre Antiquaires to see the amazing antique shops - way pricey but some of the most luscious stuff you have ever seen.

Then we went to the Jardin du Palais Royale - an amazingly beautiful courtyard surrounded by the former home of the king. Too bad the shops stringing the gardens were closed. This is the home of le Grand Vefour. Here we took off our shoes and propped up our tired feet and giggled at the little (french) birds all around.

Then we walked over to the Galerie Vivienne a beautiful little passage on the rue vivienne and had tea at La Priorite. Then we went to Les Bateaux mouches for a spectacular ride down the seine.

PS-- on the way to les bateaux mouches the cab driver showed us the tunnel where Princess Diana died and then he launched off into a huge diatribe about how she was actually killed by the Queen mother because diana was three months pregnant by Dodi Fayed. We just sat there with our mouths hanging open. He went on and on about how there was a bomb in the car and yada yada. I had never heard that before.

After the boat ride it was hard to find a cab but an amazingly nice Parisian offered to share his cab with us. We rested up a teeny bit nd then headed over to Benoit.

Ps - you need to ask the guy at Benoit how to get there cause the street is closed to traffic - you need to walk a little short way.

I had some amazing escargot and wonderful scallops. Some men sent over a crepe when they saw us eyeing the flambeau presentation. It was really fun - warning they only take american express cards.

It was a truly glorious day.

The next day we left at 1:00 pm. That's our travelogue complet. Hope it gives you some good ideas.
 
Nov 28th, 2001, 07:28 AM
  #26  
Kathleen
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What a great travelogue! First Elvira, then you--I'm really determined to get to Paris now--thanks for the great descriptions and inspirations.....
 
Nov 28th, 2001, 08:43 AM
  #27  
mariacallas
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I just remembered something we really enjoyed. After leaving the Centre Pompidou, we walked up the rue de francs-bourgeois to La Place des Vosges. We went to a really great little cheese shop on the opposite side of the street that had the best yogurt we have ever eaten. (it was vanilla yogurt from the and I am diligently searching for the label I saved here in these suitcases.) There are tons and tons of shops along this wonderful little street and it was the most animated street I think I have ever seen in Paris. We came into La Place des Vosges just at sunset when it is aglow with oranges and reds. The musicians were playing Mozart in the beautiful arched walkways - really nice. We went to a little cafe with lousy service and even worse food - something like Tangerine or Clementine- Blech! (NTS-Next time try to get to Coconnas or L'ambroisie - or downgrade to La Chope des Vosges or Ma Bourgogne). But we wandered around the many art galleries and admired the things we can't afford. We saw Hotel Sully, and then caught a cab home. We slept very well that night.

La Place Des Vosges (at sunset) is my favorite spot in Paris. Then comes:
Le Jardin du Luxembourg(early in the morning)
Le Champs de mars next to La Tour Eiffel(sunday afternoon)
Les Tuileries next to le Louvre(Sunday)
La Place du Pavre next to the Notre Dame
Le Jardin du Palais Royal
and Place St Sulpice when the bells are ringing. This arrangement is always the basis of my Paris itenerary.

 
Nov 28th, 2001, 10:06 AM
  #28  
Sue
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MC, what a lovely travelogue--I feel like I've just taken a trip (but not as tired). It was fun.
 
Nov 28th, 2001, 10:39 AM
  #29  
Sandra
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Great ideas. Will be traveling in Feb with my mother and my grandmother, both first timers (it will be my second) any web sites you recommend to help in the planning process?
 
Nov 28th, 2001, 11:53 AM
  #30  
mariacallas
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Sandra:
IF I were going with them I would definitely recommend that you get the book "overcoming jet lag" and practice it so they dont get jet lag- that can lose about two days of a trip for older people. I always use it on the way over there and never get jet lag. On the way back I usually don't care and just do what I want and suffer later at home.

I recommend that you stay near the place st sulpice or the bvd. St. Germaine - where it's easy to get a cab and metro.This is what your days might look like:
1. Breakfast at the Ritz- go to the Place de la concorde and ride the ferris wheel - stroll through the tuileries-go to the Louvre- to see the mona lisa-2 hours max-, maybe lunch somewhere luscious on the Palais Royale - or go to Priorite in the Passage Vivienne - try to work in angelinas for tea and hot chocolate(just mediocre lunch) on the rue de rivoli
2. The Galleries lafayette fashion show and shopping - then go to Laduree for lunch or tea--- rue poncelet market(where patricia wells shops each day) get some wine and cheese, bread, fruit - take napkins and plates and knives-- -then 4:30 Bateaux mouches -it leave from near the eiffel tower
3.Musee d'orsay - lunch in the fancy restaurant there-by the clock - and wind it up at sunset- 5ish at the place des vosges-sit in the square on a blanket if it's nice weather - maybe do l'ambroisie or coconnas for dinner
4. I might vote for something like eiffel tower and lunch at fontaine de mars or go to the notre dame cathedral-Jardin du luxembourg - lunch nearby - like at Chez Diane's - then shopping on Rue Bonaparte and that area - then dinner at Allard.

You wont have time to do things like go to the top of the arc de triomphe or the top of notre dame - no need to. Make sure to go to LEs Deux Maggots one evening to see the scene. Swing by the notre dame cathedral when you get a little snippet of a sunny day - just go in. If you go to the Eiffel tower - go early before the lines and not on a weekend. go to the top - definitely.

That way you get fashion, cathedral, view, market, shopping, the major art scene, cafe scene and the river beat. I recommend that you definitely go to an opera or ballet and you definitely go to a really to die for restaurant. It is necessary for the total experience. I have given this a lot of careful thought. This is manageable in four full days - not including travel days. You don't have time for Sacre Cour or Versailles. You need a cafe, bistro/brasserie, and fine dining experience. Oh for a totally peel your eyeballs out - we are very rich - experience - eat breakfast at the breakfast room at the Ritz vendome- where they have the angels painted on the ceiling. It is beyond luscious - no tennis shoes, please.

 
Nov 28th, 2001, 11:54 AM
  #31  
shelley
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I just returned from a whilrwind tour of Europe. This included 2 days only (sadly) of Paris. I fell in love with the city, the people and the sights. I too speak fluent french, and I could tell the Parisiens appreciated the effort, especially when helping my english friends. I found the people to be friendly as well, eventhough many people told me that parisiens were rude and snobby. At a great little cafe, when I asked the waiter about how to get back to my hotel, he had my map spread out on the table and gave me different routes and methods I could take. MC what a great travelogue, and I know I only saw the "touristy things" Eiffel tower, the Louvres, Tomb of Napoleon, Notre Dame (which actually brought tears to my eyes due to its splendor and beauty) and shopped the Champs D'Elysee, had a pain au chocolat, ate amazing escargots and Madames Croques, and had a chocolate Crepe. I even got to see a French Cabaret. My 2 days were jammed packed, but I swear I left my heart in paris, and I fully intend on returning to reclaim it!
Thanks for more ways to enjoy this fabulous city!
 
Nov 28th, 2001, 11:54 AM
  #32  
mariacallas
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More for Sandra -
I recommend that you do not do the bateaux mouches on a friday or sunday. And it is better if you don't try the musee d'orsay on a weekend. Once you decide on your days.

Then print a map of the area from this site - http://www.ismap.com/
look up the address and print maps of the places you want to go so it's easy to hand a map to a cab driver or look up the nearest metro stop. Start the day with a metro ride than if you're tired later- take a cab. Just try to be in your dinner area by 5ish - otherwise get your hotel to reserve a cab for twenty minutes before your dinner reservation time. Plot the places you want to go and draw arrows how to get there. Gather the pages for that day- with maps etc- and just fold that up un your purse. I always take an extra day in case a museum closing screws up my day.

We tried just doing big lunches only but we found that we still wanted someone to serve us dinner. IF you go to the ballet or opera one night - make sure you leave time to swing by a cafe first or have stuff in your room to eat first.
We really enjoyed having a refrigerator in our room and a table at hotel bonaparte. That way we could keep yogurt and fruit, wine and drinks to fill in the gaps between meals.

Be sure to try the Papillon blue cheese- you can get it a Beaumarchais - the little market by the rue de buci. Also try lychee nuts and clementines. Try some yogurt from a cheese chop - it's amazing. Oh, and get a flower arrangement for your room from Aquarelle on the rue de buci - you'll love it.


figure out prices using this site
http://www.xe.net/ucc/

make reservations in french and interpret french web pages using this site:
http://babelfish.altavista.com/

definitely buy Patricia Wells book - food lover's guide to paris if there are any foodies among you - it'll getcha in the mood for paris

And, practice french - it really enhances the french experience.
 
Nov 28th, 2001, 12:01 PM
  #33  
mariacallas
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Oh - one more thing. I got a little map at the Toursit office on the Champs elysee- I think it's #128? (not far from laduree)- but it's a little orange book - spiral - that has the sections of paris on little sheets- it's super handy- I just kept it with me constantly - I also kept the La Samaritaine map with me cause it shows the areas of the arrondisements - I also kept a little compass with me to help me figure out if I was turned around
 
Nov 28th, 2001, 01:01 PM
  #34  
Sandra
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Excellent tips! While my grandmother is quite spunky and adventerous we will have to slow down and plan carefully to accomadate her age if we want to get the quintessential Parisian experience. We'll have about 5 days and your recommendations should fit that pace. Thank you very much! Now onto London!
 
Nov 28th, 2001, 11:59 PM
  #35  
Ursula
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Lin hello!

Glad to hear you liked the "Paris-Barcelona" exhibition at the Grand Palais.
It's on top of my things-to-do-list for the end of December.
I might have been the one mentioning it here some weeks ago.
 
Nov 29th, 2001, 03:33 AM
  #36  
Karen
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Could someone give me a little more detail about the fashion shows? I am planning a March trip. Are they possible then? Any other tips for March?
 
Nov 29th, 2001, 01:37 PM
  #37  
Erlsegaard
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I know I ought to just let it go, but my God, this post is just the kind of thing that keeps drawing me back to this site with a fascinated and appalled horror. I swear to God, for the longest while I tried to tell myself this must be some kind of tongue in cheek satire, nobody could possibly be that insistently pretentious ("Don't talk on the Metro unless you speak perfect French." Who does this person think she is, The Comtesse de St Germain?) but then of course everybody agreed with her and started to chime in with their own self-congratulatory tidbits and directions about how to order one's potatoes and behave in shops and so forth. I love Paris as much as the next guy, believe me, but is there any place in the world that a) attracts more smug and self-satisfied people who need to be dropped on their bottoms a few times; or b) encourages the creating of more of these monsters? I wanted to avoided picking on Americans too, but Paris seems to bring out all of their worst, pettiest, most competitive little insecurities, and in a more unattractive light than anywhere else I can think of. I would like to be able to have fun and enjoy the company of these kinds of people (since they seem to be everywhere) but I really can't, and I imagine there have to be heaps of people out there who feel something of the nausea I feel merely contemplating their existence. If there aren't, well, then you really do win, I guess.
 
Nov 29th, 2001, 02:22 PM
  #38  
Miss Kitty
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MEOW Erlsegaard!!! And Elaine just commented on how nice everyone was behaving. People boasting about trips are called trip reports and some are a little more enthusiastic about their successes than others. It's all good information but if it turns your stomach, hit the little x in the right hand box at the top of your screen!
 
Nov 29th, 2001, 02:46 PM
  #39  
mariacallas
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Karen - here's the link on the fashion show. I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.galerieslafayette.com/hau...shionshow.html
 
Nov 29th, 2001, 02:56 PM
  #40  
Wendy
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I agree with Miss Kitty! I enjoyed MariaCallas' trip report therefore kept reading. If I found it unenjoyable I would have stopped. I do the same with books, tv programs and people! Therefor I have turned Erlsgaard OFF!
 

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