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Lilaki's Trip Report - 7 Days in Paris

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Oct 12th, 2008, 01:59 PM
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Lilaki's Trip Report - 7 Days in Paris

Hello Fodorites,

As promised, here is my trip report � thank you to EVERYONE who has helped me on this forum. I have spent hours upon hours planning this trip and this forum has been absolutely invaluable!

First, a bit about ourselves � DH and I are in our early 30�s from Toronto. We travel quite a bit for work and once or twice a year for fun. This is our second time to Europe; we went as kids � not sure if that counts! We move pretty quickly and aren�t big into lingering at cafés (I know, I know � no flaming!). We were in Paris at the end of September and then headed to Provence for a week after that. I will post my Provence report in a separate thread.

Second, here are some basic pieces of info �

- We rented an apartment through Parisbestlodge.com - right on Ile de la Cite - 1 bedroom, 30 square metres, 4th floor - no elevator - a total of 63 steps. Great spot - good location, comfortable apartment. We didn�t have a problem with the stairs - even with our clunky luggage! Pros: newly renovated, decent price, AWESOME location/neighbourhood. Cons: Right next door to Hotel Dieu and the police headquarters - lots of sirens all day/night (we�re so tired that we don�t care at night), numerous Bateaux Mouches floating by and blaring their speakers/lights at the apartment (again, tired @ night so we don�t care). The photos on the website are spot on. Although, the description states that 4 people can be accommodated - I�m not so sure about that one. With two of us, the place is definitely small. Not sure if I would stay here with two other people (even if they were kids).
- We purchased a cellphone from callineurope.com - would highly recommend. They were great to deal with.
- We received a 6-day museum pass as a gift from friends who knew we were coming to Paris.
- We purchased the Navigo Decouverte (brought pictures from home) - not sure if it was �worth it� financially but very convenient � since we just hopped on the metro whenever we were too lazy/tired! We�re not into �traditional� souvenirs for ourselves � but I always keep metro passes, museum passes, etc. as a momento of our travels. So the �fancy� plastic case and the electronic card can fall into that category!
- I speak conversational French and DH speaks so-so French � we can muddle our way through fairly well. It�s amazing how the skills come right back when you�re forced to use the language!
- For reference, we purchased the following items that helped in our trip planning: Fodors Paris 2008, Streetwise Paris map, Clotilde�s Edible Adventures in Paris, Eating and Drinking in Paris. I would recommend all of these items � especially the map - easy to carry, easy to reference, etc.

Okay, here goes �

Day 1 - Tuesday

We arrived in Paris CDG on Tuesday, September 23rd at 9:40 am on an Air Canada flight. We managed to sleep a couple of hours on the plane - not the greatest sleep but better than nothing. Our bags were tagged �priority� from Toronto and we were out of the airport and into a cab within 30 minutes from landing (amazing)! We hit some annoying traffic snags on the highway � it took us about 60 mins from CDG to our apartment. Our ride cost 52 euros.

We settled into our apartment and did a quick survey. The apartment was very well stocked - cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towel, etc. Not sure I would cook in here though (we never did) as the kitchen supplies are very limited (i.e. only one knife). Thierry came by about an hour after we arrived -- he showed us how to use the TV, laundry, internet, etc.

We were starving and decided to head out to find some food. We walked behind Notre Dame and over to the Marche Maubert at Place Maubert. There, we picked up baguette sandwiches and some pastries at R. Lohezic right on Bl. St. Germain. We wandered down Bl. St. Germain while eating our sandwiches stopping occasionally to check out the interesting shops etc. We hit the Monoprix at St. Michel and St. Germain but decided to hold off on buying any groceries as we still felt like wandering. So, back down Bl. St. Germain we went. We made it to Odeon where we decided to buy our Navigo Decouverte � not the most straightforward exercise but we managed. We used our RBC Visa chip card and had no problems with the purchase. Since we had just bought our pass, we decided to hop on the metro over to Sevres Babylone. We got ourselves pretty disoriented when we got out of this metro station (TIP: we brought a key-chain tiny compass with us - totally helpful). It also didn�t help that we had wandered right into a protest! Cool but definitely hard to get around the protesters and all the city workers cleaning up the mess. We went to the Mephisto store on Rue des Saint Peres. I was looking for a specific pair of Mephistos that I had seen online. No such luck at this location. I was disappointed with the lack of selection. Not to mention a fairly snotty store person! We wandered around here and then walked up to Bl. St. Germain where we found another Monoprix. Stocked up on some groceries and then caught the metro back to Cite station. Back to the apartment to drop off our purchases and have a bit of a lie-down � the jet lag was kicking in pretty quickly and we were feeling pretty wiped out. However, by 5 pm, we were absolutely starving! So, back out to find a place for dinner. I really didn�t want to get stuck in a tourist trap but hunger and jet lag won out. So we had a quick dinner at Le Quasimodo Notre Dame - café/brasserie. Not the greatest food -- but it was food and we were starving! I had a salad and dinde escaloppe with haricot verts; DH had soup and pave aux boeuf with sautéed potatoes (kinda like french fries). Our meal cost about 35 euros.

After dinner, we were feeling a bit more energetic and it was still light out � so even though I could�ve slept right away, we decided to wander over to Ile St. Louis. We walked all the way down Rue St. Louis en L�Ile and then came back along Quai D�Orleans. Of course, we got suckered into ice cream and hot chocolate at Le Flore en L�Ile � 17 euros later, we were happily full and it was starting to drizzle. So we walked back home and promptly hit the sack! I don�t even remember falling asleep.

Day 1 observations: It�s cold. I�m tired. And I�m hungry. But, we�re in Paris! Yay!! Also, noticed a LOT of tourists -- white running shoes, logo�d t-shirts/sweatshirts, fanny packs, back packs, etc. I hate to say it but the stereotypes came to life!!! To be honest, I was a bit freaked out about being pick pocketed but after seeing all these tourists milling about, I was feeling a little more confident! We had some locals come up and talk to us in French so I�m guessing we �blend in� � or at least blend in enough. Finally, yes, it�s pricey but nothing outrageous (even with the exchange) � although, I�ve traveled throughout Japan so everything is relative!!!
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Oct 12th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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Day 2 – Wednesday

We were supposed to go to the Eiffel Tower today but it was quite cloudy/foggy when we woke so we scrapped that plan. Good thing we’re here for a week! We headed over to Notre Dame and the tower instead. I had hoped to get there for 9:30 am but we arrived closer to 10 am. We waited in line for about 30 minutes and then proceeded to climb the tower. It wasn’t as bad a climb as we were expecting and the views were phenomenal. We were there until about 11:30 am.

Hungry again (the story of our trip!), we went off in the search of food. We decided to head back over to the Left Bank as I remembered seeing a Franprix somewhere the day before and we needed to buy some more provisions. We stopped off at a boulangerie…something Julien? Right on Bl. St. Germain. Picked up some quiche and some pastries and then headed towards the Franprix on Rue Lagrange. Back at the apartment, we had a quick lunch … DH also had a 20 minute nap (guess he was still jet-lagged).

We decided to see the Musee de L’Orangerie. So we hopped on the metro at Hotel de Ville (our first time on the Right Bank) and took the metro over to Concorde. Musee de L’Orangerie had the hugest Monets I have ever seen in my life. They were absolutely stunning. If you’re a Monet fan, definitely go. If not … well, then maybe save yourself a trip. As DH said … he wouldn’t have paid for this if it wasn’t included with the museum pass (I love Monet, DH is indifferent). After the museum, we hung out for a bit in Jardin des Tuileries. It was about 4 pm at this point and we were trying to figure out what to do next. We decided to head over to the Marais area … so back on the metro to Hotel de Ville and out to Rue de Rivoli. We visited BHV (good selection of Bourjois cosmetics at 30% off - some sort of sale going on) and then continued along Rue de Rivoli. I hit the Birkenstock store in the Marais (see my separate Birkenstock thread) and then we wandered around the neighbourhood. Hung out in the garden at Musee Carnavalet, popped in and out of shops along Rue des Francs Bourgeois, etc. We were hungry (and tired) around 5 pm again (agh - how do the French eat so late???) so we decided to sit down at L’As du Falafel. I had read so much about this place that it was a ‘must’ on my list of restaurants. We both had the falafel platter. It was good … although, not sure if it was the best I have ever had. Toronto has wonderful restaurants from all different cultures/backgrounds so I guess we’re pretty fortunate that way. However, the combination of the citron presse and the falafels was really good! Dinner cost us 34 euros.

From there, we kept on walking to the Pompidou. We didn’t actually see any of the art but riding the escalators was FUN … and afforded great views! Again, not something we’d do if we didn’t already have the pass. After the Pompidou, we walked back to our apartment for the evening. DH started feeling peckish around 9 pm so we went back out for crepes on Ile St. Louis! Yum!!

Day 2 observations: Do they speak French here??? I’ve heard so much English here that I was a bit disappointed! When I asked (in French) at the BHV if Le Crueset was also on sale, the salesperson answered me back in English! Also, seriously, how do the Parisiens eat so late?? I’m dying for food by 5 pm. Loving the Left Bank … moreso than the Right Bank. Not sure why yet…
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Oct 13th, 2008, 06:52 AM
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Day 3 - Thursday

Again, we woke up to a cloudy/damp morning. So our Eiffel Tower plans would have to wait. Instead, we headed out to Musee D’Orsay. We got there before it opened and breezed through the security check using Entrance C (museum pass). Musee D’Orsay was absolutely gorgeous. We spent about 90 minutes there in total. I have to admit that the impressionist paintings (specifically the Monets) weren’t AMAZING … but that’s probably because we went to Musee de L’Orangerie the day before. So if I had to do it again, perhaps I would have reversed these two museums.

After Musee D’Orsay, we walked over to the Louvre. We were a bit hungry so we stopped off for pastries at the Paul ‘truck’ sitting outside in the Jardin des Tuilieres. I’ve decided that Paul could be somewhat compared to Tim Hortons (Canadian Fodorites will know what I’m talking about) … Paul locations seem to be everywhere! Even in the metro stations … which is great when you’re hungry (which seemed to happen to us a lot). We made our way to the Richelieu entrance which ended up being was closed for repairs or something. We were directed to the Pyramid (ugh, really didn’t want to enter through there) but we made it through the line rather quickly. That was impressive given that it was about 11:30 in the morning and there were a lot of people there.

I’m not a die-hard museum fan - especially when it comes to art … I was happy already seeing L’Orangerie and D’Orsay. However, DH loved the Louvre. My overall impressions of the Louvre - overwhelming, crowded, and somewhat annoying. I felt like we couldn’t get from one area to another without having to zig-zag through certain areas, go up and down stairs, etc. It was a mildly frustrating exercise. By 2 pm, we were absolutely starving (and I was ‘done’ with the Louvre) … so we broke down and had lunch at the cafeteria. I really didn’t want touristy, cafeteria food, but it was surprisingly tasty! I had a roast chicken entrée and DH had a jambon plate. We ate for about 20 euros. We decided it was time to leave the Louvre … with our museum pass, we could easily go back if we need/want to another day.

From the Louvre, we walked out to Galleries Vivienne … very pretty. Not sure if I would go to all the covered passageways but it was a nice respite from the Louvre mayhem. We made a pit stop at a café on Rue Coquillere … can’t remember the name - good coffee, great desserts. DH had a chocolate éclair and I had a crème brulee (heaven). Then off to E. Dehillerin, Mora, A. Simon, etc. just north of Les Halles. They were REALLY cool kitchen stores … we love kitchen ‘stuff’. We cook a lot at home and so it was neat to see all the different ‘things’ you could buy for your kitchen. Given an unlimited budget and a private jet, we could’ve done some serious damage. But we walked away relatively unscathed … a few pastry tools, various spoons, and a pair of fish deboning pliers.

By 4:30 pm, we found ourselves at the Rue Montrogueil market … and were drawn to ‘assemble’ a dinner of roast chicken, baguette, and some vegetables. We picked up a few other items (macarons!) and headed back onto the metro to our apartment. We were planning to go on the Fat Tire Bike tour at 7 pm so needed a quick dinner.

We met up with the tour group at the Eiffel Tower. It was our first RER ride … how the heck do the trains works? We were very confused. Mental note: need to figure out how to get to Versailles BEFORE our trip on Sunday. There were a total of 15 riders … by the time we got on the road, it was about 7:45 pm. A much later start than I had anticipated. The ride was a LOT of fun. You don’t pay for the information/history lessons. You pay for the privilege of riding in a pack with reflective vests. We are both fairly avid cyclists and there is NO way I would ride on the streets of Paris at night by myself. Although, I’m not sure that I would do it during the day either! I just don’t have the nerve to do it with all the cars. So, the 28 Euro tour fee was very much worth it. The experience was great. Although, to be honest, I could have done without the boat ride … we caught the 10:30 pm Bateau Mouches and it was absolutely freezing by this point and I was starting to feel really tired.

We got home around 12:30 am … LATE night … and overall, a LONG day. But the bike tour was totally worth it. We would not have been able to cover that much ground on foot!

Day 3 observations: I think I want to do another boat tour (maybe Vedettes?) during the DAYTIME. The night ride was fun but none of my pictures turned out! An SLR camera would have been handy! I can get used to having ‘dessert’ three times a day!!! Thank God we’re walking a lot … Louvre - disappointing but a ’must do’… I can see how people devote a whole day (or more) to this.
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Oct 13th, 2008, 07:22 AM
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Enjoying your report, lilaki! Bookmarking.
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Oct 13th, 2008, 07:36 AM
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Thanks, Tdudette!

I don't mean to be so long-winded!

Hope someone finds it helpful ...

I'll continue posting...
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Oct 13th, 2008, 11:32 AM
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Thanks for posting thisd, You can never read too much aboi=out Paris , IMO> Why is it I'm always hungry in Paris too?
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Oct 13th, 2008, 03:17 PM
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I'm so glad that I found your trip report. My sisters and I are planning a week in Paris and a week in Provence in exactly one year!

Please be sure to reference your Provence trip report when you get to that point.

Very much enjoying your experiences and impressions of Paris.
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Oct 13th, 2008, 08:11 PM
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lilaki,

Thanks for posting your trip report. We also stumbled upon R.Lohezic - we tried alot of bakeries, but I honestly think they had the best pastries...there citron tart was superb!

It's good to know that you had a good experience with parisbestlodge - which apartment did you rent? All the apts seem to have reasonable prices, but I've never rented from them.

Just wondering - your screen name doesn't have any reference to Hawaii does it? Either that, or I'm hungry and your screen name reminds me of lilikoi(passion fruit).
Don't worry about being long-winded...all the best trip reports are those that include lots of details and show the writers personality!
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Oct 14th, 2008, 05:58 AM
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Day 4 ¡V Friday

After a long day the day before, we were really zonked this morning. It was rough getting up so early but we had another packed day planned! It was FINALLY sunny.

We headed out to Saint Chapelle. There were maybe 20 people in line before us. We got there about 15 minutes before it opened. Security was VERY thorough. I¡¦m glad we went early because it started to get crowded in the chapel by the time we left. We also purchased tickets for a concert on Sunday night. Tickets cost 25 euros. I had looked into buying these online before we arrived ¡K and I think they were 30 euros. And there didn¡¦t seem to be a shortage of availability. We were told to arrive 30 minutes before the show ¡K and seeing the thorough security check, I now know why!

Afterwards, we went to the Concierge ¡K cool architecture.

Then over to the right bank and to the metro to the Arc de Triomphe. We got there around 11 am. We saw a few gypsies/pickpockets and we were asked ¡§Do you speak English¡¨ but we just kept moving through them and they found other tourists to bother. There was no line to climb the stairs. The view from the top was great ¡K just a tad bit misty/foggy.

We wandered down the Champs Elysees ¡K and were quickly annoyed by the throngs of people. I had hoped to walk from Arc de Triomphe all the way to Place de la Concorde but it was just too crowded! We made a quick pit stop for lunch at Brioche Doree ¡K yummy lemon tart ¡K and quickly left the Champs.
So, we hopped on the metro and made our way up to the big department stores. We had reservations for the 3 pm fashion show at Lafayette. It was a neat experience. I don¡¦t know that I would do it again ¡K but it was a nice excuse to rest our weary feet for about 30 minutes. We¡¦re clearly NOT fashionistas since we were one of the few people NOT taking notes! DH observed that the models looked hungry! ƒº

Speaking of hungry, we went to the Lafayette food hall ¡K originally just to look but things were so tempting that we ended up buying items to throw together a quick dinner at the apartment. I love this about Paris ¡K it¡¦s so easy just to buy a little chicken, some cheese, some amazing bread, some vegetables, etc. We took it easy that evening ¡K we walked down to the end of Ile de la Cite, then along the left bank to the Pont Des Arts. We found a free bench on the bridge and just sat and watched the sunset. A lot of locals were hanging out on the bridge and we loved the scene. And of course, we managed to include a trip to Berthillon on Ile St. Louis!

Day 4 observations: Don¡¦t plan any ¡¥early¡¦ morning activities the day after a night bike tour! We¡¦ve been paying for it all day! I¡¦m not going to ever complain about how dirty Toronto¡¦s subway system is. Paris¡¦ metro makes Toronto¡¦s subway look (and SMELL) pristine! Food is not nearly as expensive as I was expecting. But I guess we haven¡¦t had any gourmet meals so far. However, we are eating VERY well ¡Kespecially if you count the number of pastries we have each day AND the Berthillon ice cream!

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Oct 14th, 2008, 05:58 AM
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woah ... not sure what happened with all the funky text in my last post!

sorry about that...

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Oct 14th, 2008, 06:05 AM
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Day 5 – Saturday

Another sunny morning … and it was finally time to go to the Eiffel Tower. Another early morning … we got to the Eiffel Tower for 9 am…and there were at least 400 people in line ahead of us. What the…?? What time did they get there?? The line started to move SLOWLY at 9:30 am. We were at the top of the tower just after 10 am. What a view! Although, I can’t imagine what that experience would be like with even MORE people (who were all in line behind us). It actually took quite a while to get down to the bottom. It was probably 11:30 am by the time we got to Champs de Mars.

We decided to go to Rue Cler and have lunch. We stopped off for crepes at little café (I think it was called Ulysses?) and then continued on our way. We walked past Invalides (included in our pass but we weren’t all that inclined to go inside - maybe next time). And then we went to the Rodin museum. It was beautiful. It was so nice to be able to sit in the gardens amongst the sculptures. They even had full body-length lounger chairs!

We were starting to get tired but we soldiered on. We went to Le Grand Epicierie - wow! What a great food hall! Then to some shops in the 6th. DH was getting quite cranky but he was trying to be a good sport. My feet were really starting to ache so I didn’t feel like wandering for much longer. We made it to Poilane where we were shoved aside by a guy who must have been 80 years old … and very clearly in a rush to buy bread! We picked up a Poilane loaf and some butter cookies (yum!). We went to Cite Pharmacie … DH sat outside while I TRIED to look around inside. But it was SO crowded that I just decided it wasn’t worth it. Old women were pushing me out of their way! Off to the Monoprix for dinner supplies and then home to rest and relax.

Day 5 observations: Eiffel Tower - definitely a must. Get there early. Actually, get there even earlier than 30 minutes before it opens! Can I somehow re-create the Rodin Museum in my backyard? What a wonderful garden! What is it with the crowds in the St. Germain area?? Le Grand Epicierie was just mobbed … as were the other shops we went to! It’s a bit of a turn-off.
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Oct 14th, 2008, 06:41 AM
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hi anna,

we rented the crazyview apt from parisbestlodge.

and no, my screen-name does not reference hawaii...but that would be pretty cool if it did!

hi LCBoniti - i'm jealous!!! i'll need to live vicariously through your planning. honestly, the trip was fantastic but the planning was equally as exciting. it's a bit of a downer being back at home now!
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Oct 14th, 2008, 07:28 AM
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Day 6 – Sunday

Today is Versailles day. We got up at 7 am (an ungodly time to get up while on vacation and on a Sunday!) and caught an early train to Versailles. There was a bit of a panic as the ticket machine at St. Michel didn’t seem to work but we ran down the station to find another one that did. We literally caught the train with 10 seconds to spare. And good thing we did as the next train wasn’t for another 30 minutes. We got to Versailles and there were a TON of runners milling about. Turns out, it was the Paris-Versailles marathon on the same day. So, it seemed that many of them drove to Versailles, parked their cars, and then hopped on the RER to Paris to start the race.

The palace was under some construction/restoration … so even though we had our museum passes, we could not use entrance B2 (as per the instructions on the passes). It didn’t matter anyway since we were the first in line at the regular entrance. I don’t know if it was due to construction or what but there also appeared to be a separate queue to actually buy tickets. So good thing we had our passes. We were the first ones to actually get into the palace. I had downloaded an audio tour onto my iPod so we were able to bypass those lines as well. Since everyone seemed to still be in some sort of line, we had the ENTIRE Hall of Mirrors to ourselves! It was amazing! We actually zoomed through the palace … we were done in about 45 minutes (no flaming – we move fast!!). And we saw only three other visitors the entire time we were inside!

After the interior, we walked out to the garden and purchased our tickets for the fountain/music show. It was only 10 am but we wandered around and just enjoyed the scene. It was nice to get here early as the gardens were very empty! The show started promptly at 11 am and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Originally, our plan was to rent bicycles and make our way around the Grand Canal and over to the Trianons. But DH was feeling very tired (and so was I) so we decided to head home. The entire place started to get MOBBED. And we didn’t even realize the extent of the crowds until we tried to use the bathrooms. The line ups were insane! The crowds started to turn us off Versailles. Definitely a sign that it was time to go. We walked back towards the RER station and decided to stop for lunch out on the terrace of a crepe restaurant. The marathoners were returning to town and it was starting to get very busy. Funnily enough, our train home was full of marathoners … so it was a very ‘scent-filled’ journey back!

Back in Paris, we stopped off at a boulangerie, wandered through the Latin Quarter and made our way past the bouquinistes. We had a nice lazy afternoon!

That evening, we went to Saint Chapelle for Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at 8:30 pm. I had originally wanted to go to a 7 pm show but it wasn’t the Four Seasons … and that was specifically the show I wanted to see. I’m glad we went to Saint Chapelle earlier in our trip as it’s QUITE different at night - the stained glass is almost ‘ugly’. The concert was absolutely spectacular. The acoustics in the church are amazing. It was a wonderful experience! Before we left for the concert, I shoved 20 euros into my pocket since we wanted to go out for ice cream afterwards. But we decided to buy the CD they were selling after the concert, so it was a rare night without ice cream! I suppose we could have just gone back up to the apartment but we were so tired by this point that we promised to go for ice cream the next night instead.

Day 6 observations: Versailles - nice but only if you get there early enough to enjoy it. The crowds could definitely put a damper on the experience. If I was a runner, the Paris-Versailles marathon would be a very cool thing to do! There seemed to be a lot of runners from England/UK who came over for the weekend. Definitely see a concert @ Saint Chapelle – a total highlight!
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Oct 14th, 2008, 10:34 AM
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Very interesting lilaki - Another day still to go?
I'm sorry you didn't perservere with your walk down the Champs Elysees because the further you go towards Place de la Concorde, the less people you encounter and it ends up extremely people free.
All the lovely gardens and magnificent buildings like the Grand Palais are down that end.
Hopefully like me, there's always 'a next time'!!
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Oct 14th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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Day 7 – Monday

Today was a very ‘unstructured’ day. The fatigue of the trip was really starting to get to us. It was nice to sleep in a bit (if you can call 8:30 am sleeping in) and lounge around a bit. We made our way over to the Cluny - very cool. From there, we walked down St. Michel and went to Luxembourg Gardens. Gorgeous. It was nice to sit and enjoy the scenery. We decided to splurge and go to Christian Constant in the 6th for lunch. I had heard great things about his hot chocolate! DH ordered the lamb tagine and couscous (15E). I had an assortment of composed salads (13E). Both our meals were absolutely DELCIOUS! Truly a flavour explosion. Then we ordered the Guanaja hot chocolate. I think DH shed a tear. It was the BEST liquid/beverage we had ever had. The hot chocolate came with two mini-chocolates. They were definitely the best chocolates we had ever had.

Feeling very slovenly and very satisfied, we walked back through Luxembourg Gardens (trying to justify the amount of food we had had) and back down St. Michel. We stopped off at the Monoprix to buy gifts for folks back home. They have a great selection of chocolates, mustards, salts, etc. Then we walked by the bouqinistes and purchased some paintings, prints, and postcards.

Back at the apartment, DH spent some time re-organizing all our purchases and suitcases while I did our last load of laundry before heading to Provence. We loved having an apartment. It was more space than a tiny Paris hotel room and we had so many amenities. We had originally planned to eat out at dinner every night but we kept getting lured by the markets and various Monoprix! While we probably saved some money doing this, we also got to eat a whole bunch of different foods that we likely would not have eaten if we had done the restaurant thing.

Around 5 pm, we decided to head out to C&A on the Right Bank. A friend of mine had recommended the store for some ‘cheap’ clothes … it was okay. I picked up two pairs of pants and DH bought a blazer. Not the greatest quality but definitely not bad for the price.

We thought that our little Right Bank excursion would work up an appetite. But we were SO full from our lunch … and we still had leftover baguette and a ton of different cheeses in the apartment. DH suggested making ‘gourmet’ grilled cheese back at the apartment! Yum! I’m never going to have grilled cheese with plain old cheddar or mozzarella again! I think we had a combination of emmenthal, comte, brie, saint paulin, and something else! Heaven!!!

Later that evening, we headed out for our last crepes and Berthillon ice cream on Ile St. Louis. Sigh. What a great way to cap off a wonderful week. We definitely didn’t NEED dessert. But heck, it was worth it!
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Oct 14th, 2008, 10:41 AM
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Some final observations/comments:
- Definitely stay in an apartment in Paris. We loved our little apartment … but what we loved even more was the ability to gather food from all the various markets/supermarkets. There are so many different food items available for purchase!
- We never felt unsafe in Paris. We wore a moneybelt that contained our passport, credit cards, debit card, and other important items. I never even noticed that I was wearing a moneybelt. We each also carried a small wallet with maybe 20 euros and one credit card. We were approached a few times by folks who wanted to know if we spoke English but otherwise, we were pretty much left alone. If I was alone, perhaps I may have been more of a target but DH is a fairly big guy so maybe he looks threatening?
- The seven days just flew by … and there were still things that we didn’t do! Oh well … just another excuse to go back!
- Speaking of going back … I definitely want to stay on the Left Bank next time. And I would definitely rent again from parisbestlodge.com (Thierry was great to deal with). I’ve submitted a review of the apartment on slowtrav … I’ll try to post back whenever I get notification that it’s been uploaded to the website.

Au revoir Paris! Je t’aime!!

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading (I didn’t think my report would be this long). It’s been fun typing up this report … kind of like reliving the trip!

Thanks again, Fodorites. This is a wonderful forum!
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Oct 14th, 2008, 07:57 PM
  #17
 
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lilaki,

Thanks for telling us the name of the apartment you rented - that looked like an amazing view from your apartment! Was the view from the apartment(as seen on the website) toward the 4th?

I always like keeping apartments in mind, so thanks for telling us the pro's and cons...I'm a light sleeper, so I'm not sure this is an apartment I could stay in - I'm guessing it was noiser due to not having any a/c.

Are there two bedrooms or one? I got confused with the pictures on the website.

Good to know you had an easy time with Thierry - almost everyone who rents from him says the same thing.

Enjoyed the rest of your report - isn't it amazing that you can spend a whole week in Paris, and only have got through half of what you wanted to do? Just to let you know, you can continue your trip to Provence here instead of starting a new thread.
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Oct 14th, 2008, 08:10 PM
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Well, ilaki, you have sold me on renting an apartment in Paris! Actually, I was planning to do so, but I really did not think we would want to have dinner in at all - too much work for vacation However, your descriptions of purchasing a little here and a little there make me realize this is exactly what we will probably do at last some of the time.

Also, we will for sure attend a concert in Ste. Chapelle and Christian Constant in the 6th for lunch.

Thanks for the wonderful ideas. I have a year of planning ahead of me, which I enjoy nearly as much as the actual trip. Plus, my three sisters do not have as much spare time as I have so they appreciate all the planning I do for our trips together.

I will watch for your Provence report.
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Oct 14th, 2008, 08:12 PM
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Sorry, I do know your screen name is "lilaki". It's just my fingers that do not always cooperate . . .
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Oct 15th, 2008, 05:29 AM
  #20
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hi anna - the view from the apartment is northwards towards the right bank ... the 'big' building is the hotel de ville (city hall).

we actually didn't have the windows open because it was too cool this time of year ... so a/c or no a/c wasn't an issue for us.

the noise would probably be the same from any apartment facing a major street/area ... if you're a light sleeper then perhaps an apartment facing a courtyard would be better? i'm a light sleeper as well but i'm fine once i pop in my ear plugs.

the apartment was a one bedroom - i believe on the website, there are two pictures of the bedroom with different linens ... hence some confusion.

thanks for the tip about combining my threads but i think i'd like to keep them separate since they were such different trips.

hi lcboniti - i'm so glad you'll think about renting an apartment. i was really quite torn about apt. vs hotel for the longest time. and while cost was a factor, it finally boiled down to the kinds of experiences we wanted to have while on vacation. the apartment really let us 'live like a local' ... moreso than a hotel would have allowed.

i had over 50 restaurants bookmarked from various sources etc. but we only went out to dinner twice in our entire week. the markets had so much available for us to buy and we LOVED monoprix ... we're food geeks so going to grocery stores in different countries is like an adventure for us.

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