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Paris, I'm going to give it a 2nd chance.

Paris, I'm going to give it a 2nd chance.

Old Jul 15th, 2002, 08:54 AM
  #1  
ukexpat
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Paris, I'm going to give it a 2nd chance.

I celebrated my 10 year wedding anniversary in Paris last year. I had a great time overall, but I left Paris wondering what all the fuss was about. I think that maybe the first time we spent too much time seeing "The must see sites", and not enough time just walking around, seeing the neighborhoods, markets, etc. It probably didn't help that I witnessed a mugging on the subway, and that my family and I were yelled and cursed at during a 10 minute subway ride. That all being said, I'm giving Paris another try. I've spent about the last two days on this board just researching hotels, and I think I would like to stay in the 6th. I have a lot of emails currently sent, requesting availability, but any additional suggestions are welcomed. I need two rooms, or an apartment (Me, hubby, mother-in-law, 2 year old son). So far the Muguet has availability, awaiting other replies. Also any comments on other things to do besides the usual are welcomed. Going in August, Wish me luck.
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 09:57 AM
  #2  
Gretchen
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Grab the Muguet and then relax and plan a loose itinerary to enjoy the great city.
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 10:33 AM
  #3  
Leslie
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I'm glad you are giving Paris another try (though must admit, having a 2 year old and a mother-in-law along could also shade your experience since I find it, otherwise, the most romantic city I've been in).. I do hope you'll have better luck on the crime and courtesy front (do use a money belt).

I've only been to Paris 3 times, but always had positive experiences with the people. While this is no guarantee, we were advised that certain basic courtesies are very important to one's interactions and I recommend them to you. For example, when you entire a shop, make eye contact with the proprietor and say (as applicable) "Bon jour or Bon soir, madame/monsieur,m'selle." When you leave to the same and say "Merci, au revoir." Although in the US, it might be OK to sort of ignore the shopkeeper when browsing, it think the French would consider this discourteous, no?

Same is true when entering a restaurant and meeting the host/hostess or when approaching a hotel clerk, etc. Also, try to learn and use a little French. It's fun and I think much appreciated.

I can't help you with your lack of enthusiasm over the must see sights as I don't know your interests. For me, refreshing my memory of the history accompanying those sights was enough to make it thrilling. Apart from those sights, I just loved strolling, lingering over cafe au laix and people watching in sidewalk cafes.... appreciating the gardens. Maybe you'll have a more relaxed pace this time.
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 10:34 AM
  #4  
kc
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You know,ukexpat-I live in NYC and I also witnessed a crime not long ago.
I won't be moving because of it
So I think it is a good idea for you to try again,this time with no expectations except for a nice time..and see where that will get you!
My husband and I always plan something "big" to do each day,and spend the rest of it just walking wherever we want, and stopping whenever we want,it works for us.
We have friends who never plan anything,they just arrive, and start walking!
Maybe you could try that a day or two and see if it is more comfortable.
Paris invites a good walk and when you are tired,there is always somewhere charming to sit and rest.
Enjoy and do let us know how it was when you get back
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 11:25 AM
  #5  
elvira
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Paris in August is not at its best: the Parisians are on vacation, and the city is full of tourists.

Find an apartment if you can; you'll be able to sort of feel Parisian by going to the markets and boulangerie to get the makings for a meal; you'll have more room to spread out.

A great source for exploring Paris is
www.parisbalades.com It's walks done by arrondissement, incorporating architecture, history, "soandso slept here". The walks will take you into unusual neighborhoods for the average tourist. My favourites for off the beaten path are: Bercy (12eme), the area around the university (14eme) and the area east of Georges Brassens Park (15eme).

For a couple of not-so-touristy sites, try la Tour Jean sans Peur (rue Etienne Marcel), the Edith Piaf museum (20eme), Bois de Vincennes (it's got a castle, beautiful gardens, exhibition areas - went into an enclosed butterfly garden one year), and the art galleries in the 11eme.

When you go out to eat, try a few neighborhoods where the menus aren't in English (11eme/12eme away from the Bastille and the 13eme, for a couple of examples). There's a tram line the runs along the western edge of the city. Attend a cooking class or demonstration. Take an art class at the Louvre. If the Batobus is running, use it to traverse the Seine instead of buses or metro. Devise your own tour - look at your own interests and start searching guidebooks and the web for sights/locations that reflect your interest: railroads? stamp collecting? Ernest Hemingway? Three Musketeers? You'll explore parts of the city unseen by tourists, and also have a focus.
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 12:14 PM
  #6  
ukexpat
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Thanks to all who have replied so far, keep them coming. Yes, the toddler and mother-in-law may sound daunting, but as we have lived in the UK for the last year, and she only sees him periodically, we will be in babysitting heaven. LOL. So this is actually our chance to have a romantic time together. Leslie, thanks for your tips. We usually try to practice those pleasantries wherever we travel, and I agree we are usually treated very well. This is our second trip to Paris, but 3rd to France (Nice, Lyon) Since we are based in the UK, we have had the good fortune to travel alot in the past year (try to go to at least one country every other month). The cheap European flights are a bonanza, that why we can afford to go back so soon.
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 12:16 PM
  #7  
curious
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Why were people yelling at you on the Metro?
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 12:43 PM
  #8  
ukexpat
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I can't be sure, because my French is limited, but the guy was a lunatic. We were all sitting down, not talking loudly, or dressed wildly. All of a sudden I think he asked us a question in French??? Who knows. Then he started looking at my husband waving his hands and yelling. After a few minutes he turned to me and started shouting. My husband is not the confrontational type, but I think that the guy shouting at me got to him, because he just said, "look pal, why don't you say that in English and I'll respond". So after pretty much ignoring him for about 10 minutes, he turned to a guy a few seats down and started yelling at him. This guy did respond, in french, and a fight almost broke out. Soon after, we got off the metro. Believe me it was even more bizzare in person. Were Black, so maybe it was racial, but we didn't have any other racial incidents in Paris. Plus the second guy he started yelling at was White. Maybe it was because we were American (yes I can always spot an American, even if we are conservatively dressed I think he was just plain crazy. I think the same thing could happen anywhere, we were just unlucky in Paris. Thus the title of my post.
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 01:32 PM
  #9  
Gretchen
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I think you just were unlucky enough to be in the neighborhood of a deranged person. I don't think it had ANYthing to do with anything. Going in August is not a bad thing--the old saw about everyone being gone is just that. Many of the "tourists" will be French also. And I LOVE the idea of MIL being there so you all can go out later at night. Have a great time.
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 01:35 PM
  #10  
Betsy
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Ditto Gretchen. Grab the Muguet (it's in the 7th). I can't believe they have availability in August. You hit the jackpot!
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 01:45 PM
  #11  
Sant
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Good luck dining out with a 2 year old son. We went to Paris with a 2 year old and eating out was never a good experience over the 8 days that we were there. I hope your mom-in-law is willing to look after junior while you and the hubby go out to eat once or twice. Unlike in the US, French restuarants and kids do not mix.

But everything else was superb.
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 01:46 PM
  #12  
Beth
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We also experienced someone mentally ill on the metro; he didn't focus on our group, but just ran up and down the aisle babbling away. Everyone ignored him. Have a wonderful time; I am wishing cool days for you in August; we were dripping last year.
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 01:53 PM
  #13  
How
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"Unlike in the US, French restuarants and kids do not mix."

How about dogs? Is it true they let dogs into good restaurants to sit at your feet while you eat?

Not flaming here, I want to know.
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 02:00 PM
  #14  
ukexpat
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Yes, "About the dog". I did see dogs in restaurants in Paris, but I saw more in Amsterdam and Brussels. I think it is normal in Europe.
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 02:51 PM
  #15  
JB
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ukexpat,

Not sure what you saw but some of the places I love are Pere Lechaise - a French cemetary filled with famous people like Chopin and Jim Morrison. Sounds morbid but it is truly a beautiful and peaceful place to explore. There are tombstones from the 1300's. Worth checking out. Also, just wandering around the neighborhoods in Mon Marte - there is the only vineyard in Paris in that area as well as lots of little shops and places to eat. Also, from what I've heard there are lots of parks geared to children. You might want to research that info. I was in Paris the first time at 10 yrs old and loved the zoo. You might want to check that out also.

Hope this helps.

JB
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 06:15 PM
  #16  
Nancy
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I'm sure you ran into a "nut" on the metro who just attacked the person closest. Never saw anything like that myself during a month's stay last year. Isn't the Muguet in the 7th? Regardless, on rue Cler there is cafe du Marche which definitely had kids at dinner. There is a crepe stand right next to it so you could get crepes for the kids instead of spending money on a dinner they may not eat or just share dinner with them. It's very reasonable. I spoke to lots of parents with kids there. The street is interesting and it's an outdoor cafe. Having your mother-in-law along will be a great bonus. I have often told my kids that we should go, I'll babysit at night so they can romance. Go to the Trocadero Gardens (across from the Eiffel Tower). Lots of kids, splashing in the wading pool, rollerbladers to watch, fountains going off - great fun.
 
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 06:26 PM
  #17  
Jill
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We had a man on a Metro come up to me really really close and just stare,as if there were some large bug on my nose!Lol, I tried to move back but it was crowded,my husband sort of shifted himself in front of me so that the crazy man was staring in my husbands face instead.It lasted a minute or so,then I got the giggles, itwas so damn scarey and stupid! Then my poor husband started to chuckle and the crazed one looked startled and moved away shaking his head.
Must have thought we were crazy and he had better get away!
 
Old Jul 16th, 2002, 02:03 AM
  #18  
ukexpat
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Thanks for the suggestions, I can't wait for the crepe guy. One last question. I think I did hit the hotel jackpot, because the Danube is also available. So with two good choices, which would you choose, The Danube is 25 Euro per night more than Muguet. Its for their apartment 225 sq ft., which I'll gladly pay if its worth it. I noticed it was 3 star and Muguet I think is 2 star. THe Muguet is two separate rooms. Which is better for decor, location (interesting street life like markets, bakeries, independent shops), close to attractions (will be seeing a just a few sites with the mother-in-law). Any help in choosing would be appreciated.
 
Old Jul 16th, 2002, 02:13 AM
  #19  
Cathy
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I'd go for the Danube, for sure. Easier to get around from Rue Jacob (by walking and by metro/bus).
You will be closer to a lot of sites and then, the lively atmosphere in Saint-Germain cannot be compared to the somewhat dead 7th. Although, the 7th arr. is a very nice area, too. Just a lot more quiet, especially at night.
Rue Jacob is perfect. Go for it.
 
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