Paris December 2018

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Dec 12th, 2018, 04:09 PM
  #1
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Paris December 2018

Returned this week from long weekend in Paris. Long story short: it is still magical. Flew Icelandair for the 1st time via KEF. Equipment was NEW and CLEAN. Screens, power, decent menu, flight attendants fresh/well dressed/pro and an extremely efficient transfer at KEF into CDG. Would 100% fly Icelandair again. No hesitation.

Stayed Marriott (formerly Starwood) Le Dokhan's in 16th. 100% would stay again. Friendly staff, amazing room (ask for #204 with balconies overlooking Place). Public areas tres "francais". Staff at champagne bar well informed and again, friendly! Yes, they have an LV elevator. Take pics in it -- then WALK up stairs to your room.

100% transport on RER and Metro. I still think Paris has the most efficient Metro. Close 2nd: London.

Arrived Thursday afternoon:
- hotel easily walkable to Trocadero and then Tour Eiffel.
- boat tour at dusk into darkness with finale at Tour Eiffel with top of the hour lights. 100%.
- dinner at neighborhood bistro Au Bon Acceuil. friendly staff (merci), very little lighting, amazing food 100% will return
- within ~blocks of Tour Eiffel. Caught another light show after dinner walking back to Le Dokhan.

Friday:
- Easy train to Versailles (not my 1st trip, but daughters' 1st trip)
- Audioguides for Palace
- (Rain, cold) Golfcarts for (dormant) gardens + Trianons and Hamau. LOVED
- late lunch in Versailles village at healthy/health food place picked by daughter ... RECOMMEND! Positive Cafe Bienvenue - Positive Cafe
- Back to Paris for champs elysee quick stop at gucci
- st martin canal for the evening -- don't miss: Vache dans les Vignes (Cheese and Wine spot) on the canal, friendly owners, 5-6 tables total -- personalized cheese and wine choices -- a favorite of the trip! Followed by DINNER at Hotel du Nord a few blocks up the canal. Loved the vibe here, too. Candles, hip enviro, excellent service, food 100%, well priced wine menu. My daughters and I all LOVED both apps and wine/cheese spot and this dinner. Bravo!

Saturday:
- this is the "roll with the punches" day as the gilets jaunes were in action and Metro, city streets and shops/sites were closed. SO, we improvised.
- walked to arc de triomphe where police had tanks poised and yellow jackets were chanting. figured we needed to get there early and depart if we wanted to see arc. walked thru cars still in place from last weekend with windows smashed out, pavement melted and caved in from burnt vehicles, bank ATMs smashed, shops boarded up, etc. streets empty and quiet ... high military presence, bags checked. after arc and walk down champs elysee, started to feel not completely safe and angled off towards seine ... all stores boarded/gated. holiday decorations covered and removed. walked to seine and headed to ile de la cite on foot. all metro in area closed. streets closed. had to move on foot.
- long story short arrived ile de la cite. sainte chapelle closed. notre dame open but tower closed. beautiful.
- walked until we found an open metro, then montmartre!
- walked montmartre crowds. christmas market not great. crowded. queue to enter sacre couer moved quickly. beautiful manger scene inside and outside church. picturesque hot mulled wine stand outside church. cafe facing place des tertres. locals > friendly (again, I know, bu they were friendly!) DINNER at moulin de la galette. ambiance = 100%. service = 100%. food = 75%. again, wine prices reasonable (we live in Chicago).

Sunday:
- 11am English tour @ Louvre - amazing tour guide (they do a great job!) Please ask if you want more specific directions on how to locate tour. USE THE COAT CHECK. IT'S SECURE AND FREE. And the musee is HOT and STUFFY. Guards w/machine guns were prevalent. Guide told us they "never" close and Saturday's closure "scared" everyone.
- walked to galerie vivienne ... beautiful old shopping gallery.
- then walked to palais royal gardens etc. for photo ops (silver balls, black/white striped pillars, etc.)
- metro to galeries lafayette TREE IN DOME (amazing and horribly crowded ... shoulder to shoulder BUT it's gorgeous and worth it for the view!)
- metro to ecole militaire and very short walk to RUE CLER -- recommend! pedestrian street with food mongers. sat in petit rue cler cafe for cheese board/wine (excellent staff/service) then took food to go for dinner from poulet vendor and boulangerie (petit buche de noel!)
- picnic dinner in hotel with goodies from rue cler ... then
- evening walk champs elysee w/lights to rue montaigne (gucci, versace, chanel, plaza athenee, etc....combo of holiday decor, smashed windows, boards) metro to trocadero for top of the hour tour eiffel light show....!

Lights out, and a Bientot Paris!
*I do speak French (my daughters honestly don't) so perhaps the "friendly!" could be less so....? But honestly everyone can tell I'm American, so .... I appreciate everyone's courtesy.
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Dec 13th, 2018, 06:19 AM
  #2
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Moved to Europe and tagged for France
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Dec 13th, 2018, 07:40 AM
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Very interesting report since you saw both faces of Paris -- peaceful and angry.
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Dec 13th, 2018, 11:30 AM
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very helpful info-thanks

how would we find the 11am louvre tour en anglais
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Dec 14th, 2018, 10:13 AM
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Nice report. You certainly managed to do a lot in not a lot of time!
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Dec 15th, 2018, 05:07 AM
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If you arrive via the "Carousel" entrance, I suggest making an immediate left into the coat check area and dropping off any extra baggage/coats/umbrellas.

Then walk under the pyramid across the rotunda space to the "Group Reception" area. Walk back into the area -- don't wait under the "Group Reception" signs. There are washrooms back in the group reception area (well hidden and no line if you're lucky), then obtain your audio headsets (you'll need to leave a passport for security on the headset) and they'll send you upstairs to one of the numbered waiting rooms to wait for your guide and the tour introduction.

​​​​​​Guided tours can be booked:
- With the online booking service at www.ticketlouvre.fr (We booked ours on-ine in advance.)
- At the ticket area under the Pyramid

Prices:
Full price €12, reduced price €7
Visitors paying a full-price ticket will also need to buy an admission ticket to the Musée du Louvre: €15 at the museum ticket area / €17 online at www.tickelouvre.fr
More information

Meeting point:
All tours depart from the Group Reception Area under the Pyramid (between the Denon and Sully entrances).
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Dec 15th, 2018, 09:01 AM
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Sacré-Coeur. Maybe we walked past each other on Saturday? Thin
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Dec 15th, 2018, 02:09 PM
  #8
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Very good possibility!
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