Just got in from Paris!

Apr 7th, 2002, 10:31 AM
  #1  
Daphne
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Just got in from Paris!

I just wanted to thank all who posted such wonderful suggestions and tips for our trip to Paris, Beaune and Dijon. We had an unforgetable experience that we hope to duplicate again soon. Paris was all that we hoped for. The Eiffel Tower, Louvre, D'Orsay (wow!!), Champs Elysees, Notre Dame, etc, etc....it was all great! Stayed at the Millemium Opera...small but very nice room...and quiet considering we were in the business district. The food and wine were the best anywhere we happened to stop. Despite what we had heard,the people were wonderful. It definitely helps to know some key phrases though! Even those who spoke no English at all were amused by our "charades" and appreciated our attempts at communication. Everyone was friendly. Used Paris Shuttle to and from Charles de Gaulle...no complaints except they do drive fast there! Used the TGV to get from Paris to Dijon where we rented a car and explored the countryside. Dropped in to lots of the local wine merchants (their homes) and everyone was more than pleased to let us sample their wines...the "caves" must be experienced! It's like stepping into another world,another time! We brought back two cases of wine with no problems. Dijon has a food market right in the middle of town that will leave you drooling. I've never seen beef so fresh. There's also a flea market in town with great buys. Thanks to everyone who recommended kir and pastis. I would never have tried them if I hadn't read about them here. Brought back some cassis to make my own kir at home. We spent one last day in Paris before coming back home. This was in the Latin Quarter which definitely has a different flavor...much like Greenwich Village in NY. We even ran into a stration in the middle of town. As soon as I get over my jet lag,I'll write down some more of our experiences.
 
Apr 7th, 2002, 11:43 AM
  #2  
x
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Glad you had such a wonderful vacation. You can tell that you are just bubbling over.
 
Apr 7th, 2002, 11:52 AM
  #3  
lisa
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Daphne -- thanks for posting your trip report. We are going to Paris next month and are interested in day trips from Paris. Did you go directly to Dijon? What towns did you visit from there? Any that would make a memorable day trip? We are especially interested in the Champagne region and/or wineries.

Thanks!
 
Apr 7th, 2002, 12:35 PM
  #4  
Daphne
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Ooops! You can tell I'm jet lagged...just read my post and the typo...at the end should read "demonstration" and not stration...sorry! Lisa, we flew to Paris(Air France) from NY. We spent 3 days in Paris and then took the train (TGV) to Dijon from the Gare de Lyon station...a short cab drive from our hotel. You should book ahead as the trains fill up,especially on weekends. This way you are assured a seat. Our hotel in Paris made our reservations for us. The train ride is just over one hour and you can see much of the countryside. In Dijon we rented a car (Avis is located just outside the station) and drove to Beaune...about 30 minutes or so. Beaune is a charming little town with lots of tiny side streets that invite you to walk down them. There are many shops with everything from food,to makeup, leather goods,and of course wine. Located right in the center of town in the office of tourism. They are very helpful and will suggest things for you to see and do. Across from the office of tourism is the Hotel Dieu which was our first stop. From there you can just wander around, stopping here and there to take photos (bring lots of film!) or just sit at a sidewalk cafe and enjoy the food, wine and people watching. The shops close from noon to 2:00 PM for lunch so this is a good time for you to take in a good meal. We stopped at 3 or 4 different places...and really, you can't get a bad meal. There are many wine stores in town and almost all offer tastings (look for the signs that say "degustation"...my spelling may be a bit off). We did better by getting into the rental car and just driving along the roads outside of town. There are many wineries to visit and these offer tastings as well. We stayed clear of the ones who wanted to charge us to taste. If you wander far enough off the main roads...no more than a mile or so though, you will encounter the small family run wineries. These were our favorites by far. My boyfriend and I got along with just high school French (high school is a long, long time ago for both of us!) and lots of charades on our part. If you get a map at the office of tourism, look for the town of Volnay which is where we found the loveliest people, incredible wine cellars...real ones! Sorry, but I had never seen one before...it was incredible! I can email anyone the names of the two that I remember most (right now I can't remember much...jet lag) One woman spoke excellent English and was happy to practice it with us even though we tried to speak our best French. These two are right across the road from each other...you will taste fantastic wine and if you buy, you will not find lower prices! We ended up with two cases of wine which we took home with us on the plane. We purchased boxes and packing material (styrofoam) from a wine merchant in Beaune. No problems going through customs...boxes were labeled with our names, address, and contents. We were waved on through customs...no one batted an eye. Although the wines are available in town, they are more expensive and you don't get the feel and flavor of the area. And you don't get to see the beautiful countryside. If you like to take photos, this is the way to go...and if you don't,then you will definitely acquire a taste for it. The sights are amazing! Enjoy your trip!
 
Apr 7th, 2002, 02:44 PM
  #5  
xxx
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Daphne, a great trip report. Oh please break the next one up into paragraphs--it would be SO much easier to read.
 
Apr 7th, 2002, 10:43 PM
  #6  
tg
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Daphne -- how much did you pay for the Paris Shuttle to and from Charles de Gaulle from central Paris? Did the price include gratuity for the driver?
 
Apr 8th, 2002, 03:11 AM
  #7  
Graziella
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Thank you Daphne for your great report.
Did you read M.F.K.Fisher 's book about her experiences in Dijon?
I think you will enjoy it tremendously!
My questions are:
which days of the week is the flea market in Dijon and the produce market? Thank you.


 
Apr 8th, 2002, 05:34 AM
  #8  
??
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Topping for Daphne
 
Apr 8th, 2002, 05:45 AM
  #9  
greg Gallagher
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Nice to hear someone has become a believer in the brotherhood of Paris, haha. See it is true Parisians are the nicest people. I have meet more grumpy people in one day on the Beltway than I have in 6 trips to Paris. Can't wait to go back again in September. Daphne I am glad you had a good time. Get some sleep and start planning for your next trip. Bon Chance!
 
Apr 8th, 2002, 05:55 AM
  #10  
funnin
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Daphne: You spent only 3 days in Paris!!??? How dare you. You have to spend at least a week there before you can post on Fodors! I am, of course, just kidding. Glad you had fun and thanks for the report.
 
Apr 8th, 2002, 06:09 AM
  #11  
Drew
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Daphne:

Don't feel bad, we'll be in Paris in two weeks, and only for 3 1/2 days!

Great to hear about your experience. We're taking my 60something year old parents, who are very nervous, especially the language thing.

We're doing versailles on one of our days (Sunday). We're hoping they have the fountains and music on.

Is there anything in Paris you WOULDN'T recommend?

Thanks!
 
Apr 8th, 2002, 06:15 AM
  #12  
Ron
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Your enthusiastic accounts remind us how much we appreciate the friendliness of the people all over France when we take our trips. Thank you.
 
Apr 8th, 2002, 03:19 PM
  #13  
Daphne
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I'm awake,but barely as I write this...jet lag sure is horrid! I neglected to mention that this was my first trip ever out of the US...and I'm over 40!

Regarding the ParisShuttle...I'll have to get back to you on the price. My boyfriend paid for this through his travel agent (all done online). As for the gratuity, we gave the driver a few Euros, as did the other passengers on our shuttle.

Graziella, thanks for the recommendation about the Dijon book. I'll be sure to pick it up this weekend. We arrived in Dijon on a friday afternoon and the produce market and flea market weren't open. The next morning when we stepped out of the hotel, we were immediately drawn a block away by the locals all carrying their baskets to make their purchases. This was such a pleasant surprise for us that we didn't want to leave without bringing everything back home with us. My boyfriend is a great cook and we started thinking how great it would be to rent an apartment in Dijon and just cook delicious meals with all the super fresh ingredients available at this market. I think the market might be open every day...not sure about the flea market though. Saturday for sure for both however. We didn't have time, but a great thing to do if you're driving around is to purchase some items for a picnic in the countryside outside of the city. There are areas in the hills that offer beautiful views and there are often benches or picnic tables to those who want to stop awhile and take in the view while they eat.

Greg, thanks for your post. I am a firm believer that you get out of life what you put into it. And if you treat people with respect and the good manners that your mom and dad taught you, then you will no doubt encounter much of the same in return. It has worked at least 90% of the time for me (there are always exceptions...like the ones you've encountered on the Beltway) and that's not too bad.

Drew, don't worry about the language. Just make an effort and you'll see that the French will do their best to understand. If all else fails, there's always charades! We stopped at a plant nursery outside of Dijon looking for some seeds to bring back home for our vegetable garden. No one spoke more than a word or two of English and darned if we couln't remember the word for seeds in French. We had the whole place rolling with our charade simulating planting a seed in the soil,watering it, having it grow. We finally found out the word is "grains"...pronounced "grens". All that and they didn't have them! But not to worry...just down the road was another plant nursery and this time we were armed with the proper word. We got what we wanted and also had a great time doing so.

As for something in Paris that I wouldn't recommend, there really isn't anything I regret. I think that the only bad time I had was in the Louvre. It's absolutely huge and very crowded and was also stuffy on the day we were there. This combination made me want to leave earlier than I had planned, but maybe it was just the day??? I would definitely plan to go there, but would map out the visit to include only the artwork you want to see (don't miss the Mona Lisa...at least you can say you saw it!) This would be especially appreciated by your parents I think...they won't be tired out by the visit and will have seen what they want to see. And please, please buy tickets ahead of time. This will save you perhaps an hour of waiting time in line to purchase tickets in the museum. We got ours from our travel agent who purchased them online. They arrived in the mail at our home about a week after purchase.

Got to get some more sleep now...
 
Apr 8th, 2002, 04:21 PM
  #14  
deb
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Lisa -- Chamgagne is a wonderful day trip! An absolute highlight of our trip to France was lunch at Gerard Boyer -- it's an inn with a fabulous restaurant. I have to warn you that it is extremely expensive but it is incredible! The best service I have ever had, and the food was awesome. It's dressy (our men wore coats and ties, we wore nice clothes); and be prepared to spend all afternoon there. I cannot say good enough things about our time there. I think the restaurant was called Les Creyers (sp?) Hope you decide to do it!
 
Apr 9th, 2002, 02:02 AM
  #15  
Daphne
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I had promised the names of the two wineries we visited during our trip to Beaune. They are both located in Volnay which is just south of Beaune (get a small map at tourism office in Beaune - it's called Les Grands Vignobles de la Cote D'Or) right off Rte. N74 which is the main road between Beaune and Dijon. The first winery is called Christophe Vaudoisey and looks like a storefront from the outside. Once inside, you will see the various wines they offer. A woman who spoke very few words of English attended to us and understood what we wanted as soon as we said "degustation" (tasting). She was very charming and spoke to us in French as we both understand a bit. She asked us where we were from and told us about the good food available in France. She then told us to follow her. We were ushered to the back room of the store where she headed towards a tiny staircase with stone blocks for steps. After telling us to "attendez la tete" (watch your head) we headed down the steps into her "cave" or cellar. Once there,we were amazed at the sight before us. There was wine everywhere along the stone walls, arranged beautifully in rows. To the side was a wine barrel on top of which were the wines we were about to taste. The woman poured the wines for us and told us a bit about each one including what was good to eat with them. We made a purchase and headed outside where I took some photos. The village is charming and peaceful. Almost directly across the road is the other winery. It is called Domaine Pascal Bouley,located at Place de L'eglise 21190 Volnay, Cote D'Or (There is a church across the road). The telephone number is 03 80 21 61 69. Although we did not call ahead, we were lucky to find someone to attend to us. Reyane Pascal was home and she speaks excellent English. She is vivacious and loves to talk about her wines! She even told us where else to go on our trip for more tastings,but alas, time being short we were not able to take her up on her suggestions (next trip!). This was a lovely town with equally lovely people. They made our trip so much more memorable. We will definitely go back there to visit!
 
Apr 9th, 2002, 04:43 AM
  #16  
lisa
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Thanks for the info!
 
Apr 9th, 2002, 02:47 PM
  #17  
Daphne
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For tg, who asked the price of Paris Shuttle from Charles de Gaulle Airport to central Paris (we stayed at the Millenium Opera - 9th Arrondissement). The price was $36.00 round trip per person. The service was excellent. We were instructed to call Paris Shuttle and given a phone number (no charge for the call) to call upon arrival. We were told to go outside to where the Shuttle was and there was our driver and the minivan. The driver loaded our luggage into the back and we made ourselves comfortable up front. There were four other passengers in the van. After a high speed drive on the highway we arrived in Paris and the driver began dropping off the passengers. Since we were the last to be dropped off, I did take notice that the driver received a tip from the other passengers. On our return trip from Paris to Charles de Gaulle Airport, we were asked to confirm pick-up at least 48 hours in advance,which we did. Paris Shuttle then called our hotel to make sure we were registered and would be ready at our pick-up time (5:30 AM!!!). We arrived in the hotel lobby at exactly 5:20 AM and were pleasantly surprised to find the driver already there. All in all, the service was excellent and the price was much less than if we had taken a taxi...they are very expensive in Paris and charge extra for the luggage and sometimes charge a per person fee as well.
 
Apr 9th, 2002, 04:00 PM
  #18  
pam
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Thanks for the great info for Beaune .
I will be there in July and will certainly hunt out those you mentioned. It is greatly appreciated Daphne.
 
Apr 12th, 2002, 04:20 PM
  #19  
Daphne
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I don't want this to get buried, everyone should have a chance to read it!!!!
 
Apr 12th, 2002, 04:34 PM
  #20  
huh
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Am I missing something are did you make a mistake? The shuttle was $36 per person or $72 total, stopping at a variety of hotels, but for about $45 you could have had a taxi take you straight to your own hotel? Am I crazy, or are you? To my knowledge the "per person" fare is only over 2 or 3 and the charge for luggage is very minimal, certainly it would not have been anywhere near $72!!!!
 

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