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TPAYT Sep 18th, 2008 01:13 PM

Paris again?? Beginning of our trip report.
That's what some of our friends said when we told them we were going to Paris for the 6th time. Now I"m sure there are some of you out there that would never question another trip to Paris. So, here goes!

Our flight over was long but uneventful, just what you would like. We were on a huge Continental jet--advantage 238 movies to choose from, now that will pass the time.

We rented an apartment from
From the very beginning information all was handled very efficiently and professionaly. We rented HIBICUS on Rue St.Louis en I'lle. It was billed as a large studio. We usually prefer a 1 bedroom, but as it turned out, we liked this better. The room was huge with 2 sofas, 2 chairs,large coffee table, and a dining table with 4 chairs. There was a decorated screen that separated a king sized bed(a real rarity inParis). There was also a separate kitchen and modern bath. The main room had about 14 ft. ceilings with huge beams--stunning!!
Take a look at their web site. We travel in France often, but our French is very limited, and this service was very easy for Americans to use.
They have an office right on St. Louis en I'lle, soit is very easy to use their concierge service to make dinner reservations, day trips, car pick ups, etc.

A driver picked us up at the airport and had the keys for the apartment and we were able to get in at 8am. Very nice after a long flight.

We unpacked, got settled, went to the grocery store(2 right in the area), took a walk, and went out for an early 7pm dinner. Italian, right down the street, SensO--not fantastic, but very good for 52 euros for 2 with wine.

Next day MDH went out for baguettes and pastry while I made coffee. That's about all the cooking I did. There were 3 bakeries within 2 blocks. No wonder I gained 5 lbs!
We also like a nice apt. to relax from about 5pm to 8-8:30 when we go out for dinner.

Then it was off to The Pantheon(never had been there). It was a fascinating place. Next stop. one of our favorites, Luxembourg Gardens. Dinner that night at Au Bougnat, 26 Rue Chanoinesse, just a few blocks from Notre Dame. It's small and very plain, but the food is great and inexpensive. I think it was around 55 euros for 2 with wine.

I'm getting a bit wordy, so I'll continue tomorrow if anyone is still interested.

mms Sep 18th, 2008 01:50 PM

Yes, I am still interested! :) Please, I love hearing about others trips. We have been to Paris twice and will be back next summer. Can't wait!

roamer Sep 18th, 2008 02:09 PM

Our friends say the same thing! We'll be in Paris next month for - I think - the 10th time. We've stayed on Ile St. Louis several times, but most recently in the Batignolles area, which we have come to love. I tried to go to the website you mentioned, but was not able to. Suggestions? Please continue your report!

grandmere Sep 18th, 2008 03:01 PM

Looks like the website is

All the apts. look lovely; please continue with your report!

grandmere Sep 18th, 2008 03:05 PM

Now I've made a mistake:

Leely2 Sep 18th, 2008 03:31 PM

I'm enjoying the report and hope you continue! You're not getting wordy.

We rented from Guest Apartment Services a few years ago, stayed in the Gardenia apartment and loved it--very quiet. I agree they (we dealt mainly with Philippe) are highly professional, helpful and gracious.

nukesafe Sep 18th, 2008 03:53 PM


MelJ Sep 18th, 2008 04:23 PM

Even my husband says, "Paris,again?" because I can't get enough! Yes, our friends think we're nuts, too, but that's only because they've never been!

More, please!

Samsaf Sep 18th, 2008 05:24 PM

Thanks for your report. I looked up your apartment and it looks very large!

I'm looking forward to more!

Travelnut Sep 18th, 2008 05:31 PM

There are never too many words on the subject of Paris! Continuée, s'il vous plais.

lilaki Sep 18th, 2008 06:23 PM

hi tpayt,

PLEASE continue! we're leaving for paris this coming monday and staying from ile de la cite! i can't wait to read more!! :)

Nikki Sep 19th, 2008 09:23 AM

TPAYT has posted the next installment on this thread:;tid=35157485

It makes it easier to follow if you post all the installments as replies to the first one.

Looking forward to reading more!

TPAYT Sep 19th, 2008 09:40 AM

O.K. now what do I do, post to this first report to continue or the 2nd report? Help me out please. I didn't mean to confuse.

Travelnut Sep 19th, 2008 09:43 AM

TPAYT, please disregard your 2nd thread, and add subsequent notes to the foot of this current thread. All of your trip will then be found in one thread. Here is the text for 'Part 2'...

Author: TPAYT ([email protected])
Date: 09/19/2008, 01:08 pm

I,m back again with more on our 6th trip to Paris.
Going back to day 1 & 2(I was sort of jet lagged yesterday). When we went to Luxembourg Gardens we made our usual stop on Rue Vavin, just outside the park, to shop for our granddaughters(ages 3 &7). There's several childrens shops and we purchased some very cute outfits. There's also a more expensive kids shop on Montparnasse at the corner of Raspail. More expensive, but very different outfits.

The weather was very good. Cool until about noon, then in the 80's during the afternoon, and 70's up until about midnight.

On night 2 on our way home from dinner we watched them making a French movie outside of Notre Dame. Interesting, but very slow.

Also on nights 1 & 2 we made our dessert stop after dinner at Amarino. It's a gelato(sp?) shop on Rue St. Louis en I'lle right across from our apt. that stays open until 11pm. They make the gelato in small pieces in the shape of a flower in the cone--very cool. My favorite flavor is coconut, and I always have that on the outside with different flavors in the middle. There also are 3 or 4 Berthillion ice cream shops on the island, but we prefer Amarino.

Day 3-Thursday. Same old breakfast, croisants, etc. I could get used to this!
Today we took the Metro to Park Monceau. Watched them making another movie, or maybe it was the same one. Again slow.
Next stop, Nissim de Camondo Museum. Beautiful, we were impressed. Then on to the Jacquemart-Andre Museum. Again, impressive. It also has a nice cafe for lunch or coffee. We enjoyed the break.

We did the 2 in one day because they were close together. The right bank is not our favorite place, too commercial with huge, busy streets. But we were glad we saw the museums. Metro home about 5pm.

That night it was raining, so we took a short walk up the street to Le Fleur en I'lle, on the corner near the bridge, for dinner. A little more expensive, but we had more to eat. Starter salad, me cod & potatoes in a creamy dill sauce,MDH roast chicken & FF's, dessert, wine , & coffee about 95 euros.

What a leisurely vacation. My husband says Paris is like a Faberge Egg. The first time you rush around, but all you see is the outside of the egg. Then every time you return, you unfold another layer inside. You go a bit slower and find something new round every corner.

Day 3-Friday. Late breakfast and then walked to shop on Rue Bonaparte and Rue de Rennes. Stopped at Marco Polo restaurant at 8 Rue de Conde, near the Odeon, to make a dinner reservation for that night. A must on weekends after 8pm, can probably walk in on week nights and at earlier times. This is our all around favorite in Paris. I know, it's Italian, but we just love it.

Continued down St.Germain, and another surprise. Police and barricades everywhere. The Pope is coming! We watched his motorcade drive down the street. Couldn't really see him in the car, but the people-watching was great. Everyone loves "Papa".

On to the Buci to a few shops and home to relax. A little wine, cheese, put your feet up and open the windows and listen to the street noise of Paris. I'm loving every moment.

That night, back to Marco Polo for dinner. Outstanding starters, melon with ham and a little balsamic, grilled vegetable antipasto. Then veal and pasta, wine, coffee, and great desserts. About 115 euro.

Sitting next to us was a very famous French newsman that everyone knew, except us. The staff is very gracious, and the 2 older waiters always seem to remember us from year to year. Either that, or they are very good actors.

A slow walk down St. Germain home to another big surprise. Where are all these people going? When we got to Notre Dame area, it was crazy!!

We found a good spot in the square in front of N.D.---they handed us candles lit in paper cones and the festivities began. Tens of thousands of people, all with candles, waiting. Out came a huge silver Virgin Mary on the shoulders of priests, with Cardinals and beautifully dressed Knights of Columbus.The procession started behind them with all the people singing. Everyone was calm and orderly. It was quite thrilling.

You can't beat Notre Dame at night, especially on Fri. & Sat., for street entertainment, but this was over the top.

I'm getting wordy again. If you're still interested,I'll continue tomorrow.

Thanks for all the comments on my first report.

TPAYT Sep 19th, 2008 10:23 AM

Travelnut---Thanks for the help.

I will continue tomorrow with tales of my big "Birthday Dinner".

TPAYT Sep 20th, 2008 10:34 AM

Paris--Part 3

Day5(Fri. was day 4)-Saturday. Caught the 10:30 train grom Gare Lyon to Melun (1/2 hr.) and then the Chateau Shuttle in front of the pharmacy for another 20 min. to Vaux-le-Vicomte.

Thanks goes out to all the Fodorites for the details to do this.

It was kind of a gray day, so the gardens didn't "pop", but it was beautiful to tour the chateau and dome. We chose to go there on Sat. because the fountains would be on at 3pm, but we didn't stay for that because of the gray day. Good reason to go back next time.

They have a cafe where we had lunch outside, but it's overpriced and not very good, so I would stick to soda and coffee.

8:30 reservation for dinner at L'Ilot Vache, a mere 30 steps from our front door at 35 Rue St. Louis en I'lle.

I have to admit, we chose it after looking in the window. I loved the the room with unusual table settings and superb flower arrangements. Now would the food be good?

They have a price fixe menu with 4-5 choices in each category at 36 euros.

This definitely goes on our "favorites list". It was delicious. I had escargot, lamb chops, and creme brulee. My husband had salad, chicken, and apple tart. Add wine and coffee it was about 111 euros total. The room is small, so probably reserve.

After dinner, we turned the corner for a walk. Again police barricades, lights everywhere, big boats stopped, and little boats racing around the river.

We never did get it straight, but it seems there was a boat accident. Either the tour boat hit the bridge or a small boat and 2 people were killed. How sad.

Day 6-Sunday. Another late breakfast on a magnificent day.

When we arrived at our apt. there was a huge vase of fresh flowers on the table. It was getting a bit droopy. There was a flower store on our street, but we decided to go to the flower mkt. on Ile de Cite as it was also a bird market on Sun. and might be amusing.

After that, Lux. Gardens again. Due to the good weather, it was packed. We watched a band concert, petanque(sp?) players, kids trying to catch the rings on the carousal and push their boats in the pond, looked at sculpture on display, and leisurely strolled the lovely gardens.

This may sound boring to some, but we love it.

Returning to ISL, the streets were filled with people shopping and standing in line for ice cream. Sunday is the "big day" on ISL.

We stopped in a shop called "78" and bought our daughter a purple coat and co-ordinating scarf. Won't she be stunning going to her office!

Next stop, the scarf store "Diwali" for easy to transport gifts. The French really do know how to wear a scarf, and this shop has all price ranges.

Now that I think of it, we may look like the Clampetts on the Beverly Hillbillies when we return on the plane with all these pakages.

Wanted a casual dinner, so it was back to Au Bougnat near Notre Dame. Had scallops in a puff pastry for a starter, and then we both had the thin rib eyes with FF--yum. Wine and coffee, about 60 euros.

You guessed it, time for a walk along the river. The weather is so mild at night. We stopped on Pont St. Louis bridge to listen to music.

Most nights there is a sax player, "Tim from London" on the bridge. His enchanting music wafts over the water like a memory and follows you as you walk away. We always request "I wish you love". If you happen to stop there, tell him "Tim from Chicago" says Hi.

Day7-Monday. Typical late breakfast. Our apt. is so comfortable, we really enjoy our time there. We have our ipod, but one of the cd's in the apt. is classical with different versions of Adagio(also sung beautifully by Lara Fabian). It sets the pace for our whole vacation--slowly.

Another sunny day in Paris and it's my birthday.

Walked through the Louvre plaza and Tuilleries taking more photos. MDH loves taking photos, and if I can figure out how to show you a few, I will.

Stopped at Catherine's shop at #7 Rue Castiglione. MDH said to pick out a purse for my birthday present. Quite frankly, the trip to Paris was enough! But I managed to pick out a charming red number.

Great bag shop. Not name brands, but good leather at good prices. About 100 to 400 euros.

On the walk back, we checked out a few pet shops---we're cat people and have 2 Siamese at home. Siamese kitten in the store-1500 euros, Persian kitten-3800 euros. Yikes!

Stopped at pastry shop and home to relax. Big night tonight. I can't believe how much bread and pastry we consumed. But since we walked miles and miles every day, I could justify it.

Birthday dinner at Le Train Bleu. All of you who helped us with comments---Merci!

It was sensational. A step back in time to another era. I felt like I was at Versailles. The room is amazing. A little noisy because of its size, but magnificent in decor.

We had salad with walnut oil, filet with bernaisse sauce(one of my favorite things in life), great wine from the Sancerre region and coffee. MDH surprised me with a pre-arranged bday cake and singing. Actually, it wasn't a cake, but a dazzling chocalate torte and exceptionally good. I guess I'll renew his contract for another year!

Almost forgot--this was our most expensive dinner, but not too bad. About 160 euros. You have to splurge once in a while.

Took a cab home(the only cab of our visit), and again, guess what? A walk by the Seine and "I wish you love" on the bridge.

Day 8-Tues. Our last day. Walked the Marais. Revisited the Carnavalat Museum and found rooms we missed a few years ago. This museum is truly a hidden jewel, quite managable, unlike the Louvre which can be overwhelming. We were so glad we went back.

On to Victor Hugo's apt. at Place Vosges.Dark and morose, just like the author. Next stop the Cognac-Jay museum. So-so, not great, didn't stay long. Back to pack.

Last dinner---had to go back to Marco Polo. Arrived at 7:15, not much action that early, but again great food. Stopped to watch a few street performers on Boule Mich on the way back.

Day9-Wed. Up early to enjoy our last breakfast in our beautiful apt. 10:30 pick up for the airport and our long journey home.

Goodbye Paris, we will return!

This was one of our best vacations, primarily for the easy pace to enjoy and just "be" in Paris.

Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors.

bozama Sep 20th, 2008 10:54 AM

Great report, sounds wonderful.. I could almost taste some of your meals!

nukesafe Sep 20th, 2008 11:20 AM

Superb report! Enjoyed every moment along with you. You exactly catch the feelings we have for Paris, as well as enjoying a leisurely vacation as we do.

Makes us want to return sooner than the Euro will allow.


avalon Sep 20th, 2008 11:32 AM

Enjoying your laidback repport. I find that so much more fun than rushing everywhere and not stopping to enjoy it.

I've copied your Marco Polo info and wll give it a try next month. After a few weeks I need an Italian fix!

crefloors Sep 20th, 2008 01:25 PM

Lovely report. I can't believe it's been almost two years already since I was there. I was there for nine days also and I thought I would have so much time and the days just flew by. Thanks for sharing.

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