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Maitaitom & Tracy's Romantic 20th Anniversary Paris 2014 Trip In September


Jan 23rd, 2014, 01:42 PM
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Maitaitom & Tracy's Romantic 20th Anniversary Paris 2014 Trip In September

Yes, champagne will be flowing and escargot will be savored at a snail's pace throughout the City Of Light this September as Tracy and I celebrate 20 years of wedded bliss (anniversary is actually in July). Tracy has finally ripped up the pre-nuptial agreement, so it looks like we're in it for the long haul (take that Captain and Tennille).

Although we have traveled to Paris many times, we have never been here during European Heritage Days...until this year. Since we have visited so many Paris sites over the years, we're pretty excited to be able to go to places that are not usually open to the public.

I have scoured through websites and have found a few venues that seem like no-brainers to visit on these days (Hôtel de Ville, Luxembourg Palace, Banque de France to name a few). A couple of questions:

For those who have been in Paris at this time of year (Kerouac comes immediately to mind, as long as he isn't too busy making one of those cool, Bombay movies) what places would you recommend we see? Also, with the lines, how many could we realistically visit? Lastly, when do they publish the places that will be open?

During our stay, we are also planning to spend some time off the so-called beaten path in arrondissements we have neglected over the years, so suggestions on these areas would also be much appreciated.

I'm scouting out restaurants for our "official" anniversary dinner, too. Cozy, noisy (we don't care) bistro fits the bill…Large fancy restaurants need not apply.


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Jan 23rd, 2014, 01:45 PM
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Nice idea, Tom. We've never been to Paris in September either so I'll be interested to see what you and our fellow fodorites come up with.

how long is the trip going to be?
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 03:07 PM
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"how long is the trip going to be?"

10 nights. A lot of time for us to cause trouble. We have an apartment in the Marais.

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Jan 23rd, 2014, 03:19 PM
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Hi, Tom. Congratulations on the anniversary! Paris os often just wonderful in September (though hot last ti,e we were there then). Take Tracy out to the Ile des Impressionistes and have lunch at La Maison Fournaise, where Renoir painted "Luncheon of the Boating Party." If the weather's nice and you get a seat on the terrace, you can literally sit in the exact spot depicted in the painting. The food is not fancy or expensive, but fresh and delicious, and the setting on a nice day is very memorable.

If you want to visit some new neighborhoods, I suggest Belleville and Ménilmontant. We stayed in the latter on our last visit and found it very vibrant and diverse.

Have you been to Bofinger? I suppose it's a bit of a cliché, but as one of the biggest noisy bistros in Paris (part of the Flo chain), it's always lively, not overpriced, and the food is great.
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 03:50 PM
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Happy Anniversary in advance, maitaitom! For a restaurant, I would like to recommend Les Papilles in the Latin Quarter. Someone here on Fodors recommended it and we have been twice. It is very small and there is a set menu that they serve - no menu to choose from - you get whatever they are cooking that night. Every course was amazing, in our experiences. I would not return to Paris without eating there. It is actually in a wine shop. Reservations are essential and you'll need to call them the day of to reconfirm.

Have you been to the Basilica of St. Denis? If not, I highly recommend a visit there. It is very beautiful.

Have a wonderful trip!
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 04:23 PM
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Darn! DH and I will miss the European Heritage Days by a week. I've always wanted to go into Palais du Luxembourg.

I had a lovely dinner with three of my Fodor friends and SOs in the small and cozy Le Petit Pontoise in September 2012. I plan to return this September with DH. http://www.bestrestaurantsparis.com/...-pontoise.html
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 04:32 PM
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PS- Tom, our anniversary (27th) is also in July. If you'd like to share a celebratory drink or a meal with us while in Paris, shoot me an email at my Fodor name at aol dot com.
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 04:40 PM
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Oh yes, St-Denis is very worthwhile. And make a trip to Au Lapin Agile in Montmartre.
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 05:27 PM
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Congrats on the anniversary! One sight that is often overlooked by tourists in Paris is the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation. Another spot on my bucket list (and would either be a very long day of driving or an overnight trip) is Oradour Sur Glane. Its been 70 years since WW2 and this site may well succumb to time and weather before too long. Another place I'm hoping to visit in the near future is Musee De La Resistance Nationale. With the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June, these places might be very interesting to see. Enjoy!
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 06:23 PM
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Hey Tom. I posted this on amwosu's thread but if you want off the beaten path neighborhood exploration you can decide if this interests you:

Here's a walk for the lower 20th arrondissement. Start with a visit to the art deco Eglise Saint-Jean Bosco on rue Alexandre Dumas. Head down rue Planchat and go left onto rue des Vignoles and note the old timey cobbled lanes off it (on your right). Across from them note the cool looking modern loft style buildings and then realize this is a recent social housing project designed by a famous architect. Some good restaurants here such as Café de l'Amitié, 20ème Art, La Petite Fabrique, Paris Polska, O-Di-Vin-Resto, A la Vierge de la Réunion. Les Mondes Bohèmes has a beautiful terrace and ambiance but the food is just average. Go there for the terrace. I really like the couple that owns this place though. They'll explain the background of the resto and the neighborhood if you ask. Next door check out the little lane with the anarchist headquarters and the flamenco dance studio.

Head to Place de la Réunion and continue down rue Vitruve to rue Saint-Blaise. Along the way see the salamander on the wall at the corner of rue Courat (look at the oddball "artists" home across the street) then at 50 rue Vitruve lived the French singer Barbara. On rue Saint-Blaise itself is the old village of Charonne with 18th century buildings and a village feeling. Lots of cafés and restos here, such as Café Noir. See the old church (if renovation is complete yet) and the art nouveau boulangerie across from it. Go down rue de Bagnolet and there's a great bistro/wine bar (Le Papillon) at the corner of rue des Balkans. Across is the Jardin Debrousse, the remains of the châteaux grounds of the Duchess of Orléans. One building remains, the Pavillon de l'Ermitage. You can go in and see the rococo murals on the walls.


Walk over the to Place Edith Piaf and see the ugly statue in homage to her. The bar here (Bar Edith Piaf) looks like it hasn't had a decor update since the 1950's and the walls are covered in old black and white photos (no idea if she ever sang here). The regulars seem to be just as old as she would be, and just as rough around the edges. Go around the corner to see La Campagne à Paris (rue Jules-Siegfried, rue Irénée-Blanc, rue Paul-Strauss) and the beautiful homes and small gardens. Hard to believe these were built for workers as part of a social housing project.

photos: https://www.google.com/search?q=la+c...w=1272&bih=629

Great old timey café nearby at Place Octave Chanute. Judging by the photos on the walls there must been a lot of old time French celebrities that came here.
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 07:07 PM
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Congratulations! I know you'll have a wonderful time.

My two cents on your inner....Bistro Belhara in the 7th is excellent. Nothing fancy but so good. I would also throw out Verjus in the First. Creative and delicious tasting menu for 60 euro/ pp. it's worth twice that and the atmosphere is fun. Great, cozy wine bar, upstairs. Loved both!
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 07:48 PM
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>>>European Heritage Days<<<

In Italy, European Heritage was a week in the spring (and much of Europe). In September, it was always just a culture weekend (usually the last weekend of the month). Last fall, Italy didn't participate (or at least Rome didn't, but I think it was all of Italy) because of the economy. I think some other countries opted out also. Is it different for France as I don't see anything listed on the COE website. Do you have a link?
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Jan 24th, 2014, 06:34 AM
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Tom and Tracy, congratulations in advance on 20 happy years. You get to go to Paris, and we get to read a trip report--a good deal for all.

The Journees de Patrimoine website is updated in August. It lists all the biggies, which I'm guessing includes every opening in Paris.

It's different in rural areas, where we've always been. The national website lists only about 1/4 of what's available. We have to resort to a local newspaper the day before to plan our weekend.

I believe it's the 3rd, not the last, weekend of September. The JduP has always been one of the highlights of our September trips.

This is the website I've bookmarked, but it hasn't been updated to 2014 yet.

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Jan 24th, 2014, 06:43 AM
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Jan 24th, 2014, 07:06 AM
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Lots of great suggestions everyone. Thanks. September 20 and 21 are the days this year. Should be fun.

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Jan 24th, 2014, 01:08 PM
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Hi Tom,

Good news – you folks are going to Paris again! Florida 1 and St. Cirq suggested St. Denis which was highly recommended in PARIS TO THE PAST: Traveling Through French History by Train by Francophile Ina Caro.

The book describes excellent day trips from the city with suggestions for lunch spots along the way. May be helpful if you folks decide to explore other areas.

Since you are staying in the Marais, you might enjoy visiting the romantic VICTOR HUGO MUSEUM in the nearby Place Des Vosges – elegant townhouse with a colorful history.

Really looking forward to your report…
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Jan 24th, 2014, 01:28 PM
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Yay! I love your trip reports!!!!
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Jan 24th, 2014, 01:50 PM
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I agree with denisea about Verjus. If you decide not to go to the restaurant, the wine bar has a great menu....not a sit-down dinner but perch on bar stools. This will seem really bizarre considering it's Paris but they have the best fried chicken I've ever tasted. They also have a limited menu lunch for very little (15 euros if I remember correctly for sandwich, dessert and beverage, 18 if your beverage is wine)

Agree that St Denis was very cool. We went with Michael Osman and had time for another stop after the cathedral.

Not sure of your dates but you may be there for Fashion Week....kind of fun to see the photo shoots all over the city
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Jan 24th, 2014, 01:58 PM
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Oh, I should say that I do not recommend the Verjus wine bar for an anniversary dinner....you would be the Captain if you did that. What I meant to say was, if you decide on somewhere else for the dinner, consider this another time.
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Jan 24th, 2014, 03:29 PM
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"I suggest Belleville and Ménilmontant.."

StCirq & FrenchMystique...I'm glad you both mentioned this part of Paris because one of the restaurants I was interested in trying is in the Belleville/Ménilmontant area. Of course, now I have even more to choose from It looks to be an interesting area to walk around and explore.

Thank you all for your St. Denis suggestion. I have been there, but it was many, many years ago, so it's back on my extensive list of things to see this trip
(so much for romance. I might end up with the Captain with the itinerary I'm compiling).

Coquelicot…thanks for the website for me to check during the summer.

And Judy and denisia, thanks for the Verjus suggestion. Although I'm not a big fish eater, I'm looking forward to trying that perch on the bar stool. I hope they clean the stools in between meals.

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