Our trip - France, May 2007

Jun 25th, 2007, 08:50 PM
  #1  
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Our trip - France, May 2007

We returned a month ago from our vacation in France, but only now I found a
little time to share with you some impressions.

First of all, we love Paris. We visited it several times before, and we knew
that there are still so many sites to in and around Paris that are waiting
to be discovered by us! Then, we wanted to spend more time in Louvre.
So, we plan a trip that will allow us to visit all what we want to see,
having a hotel in the center of Paris, very close to Louvre, close to metro
stations. It is the first time in so many years of vacation when we spend
the whole time staying in only one hotel! This thing is a big plus, because
you have not to pack / unpack each two days or to spend too much time
traveling.

Our hotel was Prince Albert Louvre, at 200 m. from Tuilleries metro station.
In an old building, we had a small room, very clean, with A/C, minibar. The
breakfast was very good, the lobby and breakfast room nice decorated, the
reception staff very kind. As we stayed 16 nights, we had a discount, we
paid 92 Euro / night including breakfast.
Normally, for a long stay like this, we would choose an apartment, but an
apartment near Louvre, with A/C has the price almost double . We do not like
the high temperature, so, to be sure that we shall be OK, we wanted only a
room with A/C. We love the hotel.

As this was not our first trip to Paris, we did not included the sites that
we already knew, like museum Orsay, Rodin, Arc Triumph, Tour Eiffel, St.
Chapelle, Notre Dame, Monmartre, Opera, Versailles, etc.

We visited some places in Paris and around (maximum 1 1/2 hours far from
Paris):

- walks in Paris :
- in Marais - Place de Vosge, Bastilia, Rue St. Antoine
- St. Germain de Pres and Latin Quarter , including St. Sulpice
church
Saint-Sulpice is the second largest church in Paris. The
orgue is one of most famous in Europe.
- Champ Elissee
- place Vendome and Rue St. Honoree (near our hotel)
- Alex. III bridge
- Ille St. Louis - one of the oldest part of Paris

- Parks: Luxembourg, Monceau, Tuilleries, Quai Bernard - sculptures park

- Museums: Louvre ( four times), Maillol, Marmottan, Orangerie, Carnavalet,
Nissim Camondo, Cernuschi , Grand Palace with an exhibition about India

- visit of Pantheon

- Lalique - jewelries exhibition at Luxembourg museum. I did not believe
that I'll love this as I did!

- guided visit of Hotel de Ville

- the panoramic view of Paris from the terrace on the 9th floor of Printemps
mall; I am a big fan of the view from Tour Eiffel, however, we loved the
view from Printemps.

- Jardin du Plante (botanical garden)

- Basilica St. Denis. It is the burial place for the French kings since the
first dynasty

- Castles around Paris: Chantilly, Vaux le Vicomte, St. Germain en Laye
(national museum of antiquities), Vincennes
We used our Carte Orange to reach all these places.

At Chantilly we arrive in time to see the horses show, then we visited the
castle. There are rooms that can be visited only with guide, we did not know
this from the beginning, but during our visit there, we saw a person trying
to call people for a guided visit. I think that it is a must to visit these
rooms, so, when you buy tickets, ask when the guided tour will start.
After this, we took the small train for a visit of the forest and park.

- Barbizon village and Ganne museum (in the place of the old inn where the
painters stayed)

- Fontainebleau gardens (we visited other time the palace, now we just had a
long walk in the park, and saw parts of it that we did not visited before.
It was Sunday afternoon, a sunny day, so a lot of people walking and a lot
of children playing.

- the castle at Vaux le Vicomte was built for Fouquet and in this time it
was the most beautiful palace and garden in France. For this, he was
punished and died in the jail (at Vincennes). Versailles has been built
because the king wanted to have a palace more elegant and sumptuous than VV.

- Rambouillet - the summer residence of President of France. It is
remarkable the wooden work. It has a huge carpet (70 m2), manually
worked (of course), each m2 was worked in one year.

- Malmaison - the castle of Josephine Bonaparte

- Vincennes - its donjon tower was in its (1337) the highest fortificated
building in Europe. In 18 sec. it was transformed in porcelain manufacture
(that later was moved at Sevres). Then, it was transformed in prison. Duke
d'Enghien and Mata Hari have been executed here.


- Park Bagatelle & Expo Roses & Sevres & Tapestry
The rose gardens here have over 9,000 plants. The roses were in bloom.
In 1907 was organized the first
international competition for new roses, a practice which continues to this
day - occurring each year in June. We had a nice surprise, because we did
not know that there are also some nice buildings there. The expo displayed
Sevres porcelains and tapestry, all of them with floral motives.


- Neuilly - here is the place where we arrived by metro and had to take the
bus to Bois de Boulogne. It was a clear day, and the view was splendid: in
one part you see the Grand Arch and the modern, big buildings of Defense, in
another part, the Triumph Arch and Champs Elissee.

- Reims - only for this destination we had to buy train tickets. As we bought
them some weeks before our visit there, by internet, we save more than half
of the price.
Reims was the site of the coronations of the kings of France, from Louis
VIII
in 1223 to Charles X in 1825, including the crowning of Charles VII in 1429
in the presence of Joan of Arc. The cathedral is impressive, but we like
more this in Chartres . It was very interesting to visit Palace de Tau,
abbatial palace.

I shall continue...
valtor is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 09:21 PM
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Thank you so much for taking the time to report.

At the Pantheon - did it still have those bizarre "modern expression" things hanging from the ceilings?
djkbooks is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 10:59 PM
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lauriew1234 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 12:10 AM
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Like you, Valtor, we visited Paris this May. I am ashamed that I did not write my report about this visit.
Also we were not for the first time there. Paris is a place where you can return again and again and still will find nice and interesting things to see and to do.

We stayed also in 1st arr., near Palace Royale, at Montpensier hotel. This is in an old building, has a small elevator. The room was large for Paris, but there was not A/C, and it was not needed at all in May.The breakfast was typical French breakfast (croissant, coffee, juice, butter).

I am jealous for your visit at Hotel de Ville; thank you for the link. For sure I'll try to visit it next time when we shall be in Paris. Have you a phone number where I can call?

Paris in May is wonderful, there are so many flowers in parks! We also were at Rambouillet. We could not enter in the morning, they allow the visit of small groups only. So, we went to walk in the town, to have the lunch and then returned to be there when the next group was allowed, at 2 p.m. All the windows of the shops were decorated with the small flowers (I think that the name in English is 'lily of the valley") because there was a celebration of this flower in the same day in the city.

We could visit Senate (Palace Luxembourg), because we they have some visits - conferences. So, we called in advance and book a visit like this (we understood that in May it was only once, in a Saturday, and we were lucky enough to be able to be there in this time). We do not know French (we can only understand very few words), so the conference is not interesting for us, but this was the only way to visit the building, which is very beautiful.

Adrian45 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 07:22 AM
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Posts: 529
Thank you for your report.
My next time I want to go to Malmaisson. I have some sort of affinity for Josephine...
Did you enjoy it?
With 16 days did you find any off the beaten path restaurants you'd recommend?
SuzieCII is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 07:30 AM
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 461
hi valtor - thanks for posting- enjoyed reading about your trip! Did you do any Champagne tours in Reims?
Canada_V is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 07:51 AM
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Some more about our trip:

Sorry, I have no the talent to describe all what we eat and drink, and also I find this not interesting, because each of us has other preferences. But, believe me, we love the Parisian restaurants. I would like just to name some places where we entered because they are famous and they have a rich and long history: Procope, Deux Magots,Cafe de la Paix. Cafe de la Paix was designed by Garnier.
We loved to eat at l'Alsace and L'Antrecot on / near Champ Elissee.
As all the people recommend, we had hot chocolate at Angelina, and it was
really delicious. I am not a big fan of ice cream, but this of Berthillon is
wonderful. We loved to drink kir Royale, the best we drunk on Champ
Elissee, I don't remember the name of the place.

For the first week we had Carte Orange for 3 zones, and we used it for all
our trips, while in the second we had Carte Orange for zones 1-2. I do not
know, maybe in the second week this it was not a must, but we felt very well
knowing that we can take each moment any metro or bus and the ticket is
already paid.

We were in May, we did not buy any Museum pass, and there were not long
lines in any place. The longest line was at Louvre at security check, and
you can not skip this even you have a pass.
We visited Orangerie in an evening, no lines at all.

Some words about museums:

Marmottan has the largest Monet collection in the world. It is in a nice house, in a residential zone of Paris. There are also some paintings of
other painters, we love those of Berta Morisson (1841 - 1895) . He was the
niece of Fragonard, and her husband was the Eduard Manet's brother.

Even we saw a lot of Monet at Marmottan, we enjoyed so much at Orangerie.
And not only looking of Monet's water lilies, but to see all the other
impressionist paintings. We discovered there a painter we did not know, and
we loved her works: Marie Laurencin (1883 - 1956) ; he was the muse and
lover of Guillaume Apollinaire. He was the only woman that painted in
cubist style.

For the first time, we met Maillol's works at Orsay museum, some years ago,
and we liked them. So, now we wanted to visit his museum. Aristide Maillol
( 1861-1944) was a French Catalan sculptor and painter. His early paintings show the influence of Gauguin. He died at 83 years, in an automobile accident.. A large collection of Maillol's work is maintained at the Maillol Museum, which was established by Dina Vierny, Maillol's companion during the
last 10 years of his life.
The museum is large, and a lot of Maillol's statues and paintings are shown there.
In the museum was also a temporary exhibition, of Pascin. He is a very
interesting artist (1885, 1930), was a modernist painting, very known in
Paris. Born in Bulgaria, lived in Bucharest, studied in Austria and Germany,
lived then in US and Cuba. At the end he became alcoholic and committed
suicide.

We visited Louvre several times, each time for 3 - 4 hours. I strongly
recommend to visit Apollo Gallery , Napoleon's apartments, Greek and
Italian sculpture halls.

I knew about Camondo and Cernuschi museums from Fodor's forum and I have to thank for this to people who recommend them.
There are located in park Monceau, a beautiful park with a lot of statues, flowers, a wind mill, a Greek arch, etc.
These museums are in beautiful buildings looking to park.
Cernuschi museum is a big of art objects from Orient, including a huge Buddha from Japan.
Nissim Camondo museum is a superb collection of decorative art. At the last floor you will see a short movie about the tragic destine of this family.

We visited the Hotel de Ville (City hall) and this one of the highlights of
our holidays.
For visit, we had to phone some days before and they told us when to come
there. The visit was with a very good guide, more than two hours. She gave detailed explanations in French and made a short summary in English. If you are interested in a virtual tour , please enter
http://streaming.paris.fr/visite_vir...lash_b_en.html, where
you can see all the rooms and receive explanations from the same lady that
was our guide.

Unfortunately, we could not visit Palace Bourbon. As per their internet
site, we were there in a Saturday morning, with our passports. They did not receive us, telling that till September at least, the visit can be done only if a French depute will invite us. What to do if we do not know any French depute ???
valtor is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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Join Date: May 2004
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valtor, this is a great report. You've got lots of details, and it's great.
Samsaf is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 10:09 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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Sorry Valtor that I jumped in your thread, but it seems that your vacation was similar with ours. You bring me in mind all the nice memories. We visited many of the places that you listed, and enjoyed every moment. We loved to walk through Paris, and it was our first time that we went to Place de Vosges, that is an impressive place, with very nice buildings around.

We made also a day trip to Chartres, the cathedral is a wonder of the world !

We did not know how to reach Giverny easy, so we took a tour there, and we did not regret.

We travel by taxi from / to airport (CDG). As we had some luggage, I think that it was the best and easiest option.

In an evening we went to Crazy Horse (the hotel helped us to book tickets). The spectacle was really an art show ! You only could guess or imagine that the girls are nude, but not really to see this. We loved this show incomparable more than a 'normal' Parisian cabaret.
Adrian45 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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Hi Adrian, regarding Crazy Horse (we also was there), I saw in internet that one CH was open in Las Vegas, and another in Singapore. Do you know that the red sofa is designed by Salvator Dali, having as model May West's lips ? We loved the show. WE booked the tickets by phone, a day before the show, and the price was less than this shown in internet ( something like 76 euro, including 2 drinks).

We was at Charters some years ago, and overnighted there. The town is nice, and we had time to visit slowly.

Canada_V, no, we did not a Champagne Tour in Reims. Till we arrived at Reims it was almost 11, then we visited the cathedral and Tau palace. After dinner we just walked in the town, there are nice buildings (like hotel de ville) , some pedestrian streets with a lot of shops and some nice parks.

Suzie, yes, we enjoyed at Malmaison. it was very interesting. The visit is without guide, but we wanted to ask something a person in museum, and he was so kind to give us a lot of information, he was a very knowledgeable person and really want to give us as many info he can. So, I recommend you to ask them here if you want details or some explanations.

I am glad that some of you find some useful info in my report. On my turn, I received so many suggestions and help from this forum !







valtor is offline  

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