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More Paris questions - cooking classes, Catacombs

More Paris questions - cooking classes, Catacombs

Old Feb 16th, 2013, 09:01 AM
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More Paris questions - cooking classes, Catacombs

My DD (21) wants to do a day where she visits the Catacombs and a few other sites she is particularly interested in. Anyone been to the Catacombs? Will she be safe alone or does she do this on a tour?

While she is on her day, I would like to do a cooking class in Paris. I have done a little research and come up with the following, anyone care to comment? Personal experience would be very helpful, as there is a variety of price points.

Cookin with Class
Eye Prefer Paris
La Cuisine Paris
Promenades Gourmandes
World in a Pan
Well Arranged Travel

Thanks!
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Old Feb 16th, 2013, 09:27 AM
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Catacombs is not for everyone but I enjoyed it. Perfectly fine to go as an individual. Only thing is, it has been closed recently for some repair/renovation - maybe someone in Paris can provide current info (hello, kerouac!).

If it is open, there can be along line so get there early. Info in English on hours is at www.catacombes-de-paris.fr/english.htm
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Old Feb 16th, 2013, 09:47 AM
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No tour necessary for the Catacombs, you just get in line and follow the line down under. Plenty of people down there.

3 things though. It is dark in places, and to see the most in the caves you peer into, she should bring a small flashlight. Wear sneakers that are not brand new and don't mind getting a little wet/spattered. And, 3, bring a sweater, it does get cold in there, even if it's 100 degrees outside.

Oh, and I guess #4 -- she will start down into the Catacombs in an area DIFFERENT from where she will come back up. So having a map handy is crucial, because you come up on a side street, and are wondering where you are.

And they do check backpacks at the end to make sure you're not trying to take out any contraband.
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Old Feb 16th, 2013, 11:56 AM
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The Catacombes are a public venue, part of the French national monuments dept., I imagine, so of course it is safe. I'm not sure you are aware this is a public tourist venue, it isn't just some underground tunnels people walk through unofficially. I had a guide but in French, but you don't need one, of course. It was just like a guide in any place like that, talking about the history, etc. I would not recommend anyone go there because they think it is for fun or like a Disneyland haunted house attraction (I have seen so many posts on Fodors promoting this to teens for such reasons, that it will be "spooky", etc.). Also, a lot of tourists desecrate it and create damage, which is why it has been closed at some times. I wouldn't recommend anyone go there without knowing anything about it, without a guide, as there wouldn't be any point to going there in such situations. But if she is really interested in the history of Paris and urban renewal and the reasons for that site, sure, she should go. I wouldn't put it at the top of my list of interesting sites in Paris, even though I am interested in those things. It is underground and was damp when I was there, and you come out at a different point than where you enter, so be prepared for that.
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Old Feb 16th, 2013, 03:30 PM
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I've taken a class with La Cuisine Paris and can highly recommend them. I wrote about the class in my trip report http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rip-report.cfm
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Old Feb 16th, 2013, 03:51 PM
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The Catacombs were distressing and depressing to us. I insisted we go but regretted it almost immediately. Dark, damp, felt claustrophobic, and very sad at all the bones. I am sorry I went, but everyone is different so it may not affect others the same way.
And there's a nice little cafe close by with lots of wine.
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Old Feb 16th, 2013, 04:02 PM
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Any feedback on the cooking classes?
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Old Feb 16th, 2013, 04:11 PM
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When DD was 18, we took a half day cooking class (macaroons) with Cookin With Class. Loved it!!! We did it on our last full day and were kicking ourselves for not having time to do other classes they offered. They keep the groups very small and have lots of options for classes. I would absolutely recommend them
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Old Feb 16th, 2013, 07:43 PM
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At 21 yr daughter is very safe in all of central Paris, she can do what she wants all day long without you . At 18 and 19 many kids are visiting Europe on their own .

The catacombs are not sad to me, but fascinating, besides being a bone repository, the Catacombs were also used in WWII by both the Resistance and the Germans, ( thats how big they are !) , The section open to the public is a very small part compared to what is actually down there. There are attendents here and there , but they are there mostly to make sure the bones are safe from people who seem to think its a good idea to steal a souvenir! She absolutely cannot get lost , its a one way path, narrow in most places, and there will be people in front of her and behind her, she is not wandering around underground in some maze. .
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Old Feb 16th, 2013, 08:59 PM
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When you come out of the exit make a right to get back to where you were, not a left like we did!
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 09:21 AM
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A tip for the catacombs....take a penlight or other small flashlight with you!
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