Paris in May

Feb 13th, 2013, 07:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Paris in May

This will be our 2nd trip to Paris. Last time, we went around the Xmas/NY holiday and while Paris was lovely, we didn't get to see the flowers bloom or much in the way of outdoor activities. We will be there for 9 days. We have planned a trip to Versailles, Giverny and boat ride on the Seine. Any suggestions on public transportation to Versailles or Giverny? Any specific boat ride? Any other day trips you can recommend?

We visited all the major musuems and sights on our last trip. Any unusual or "off the beaten path" things for a mother and college daughter to do? Perhaps a special tea or lunch? Spa treatments (not too $$)?

We will be renting an apartment at the border of the 6th and 7th from Paris Vacation Apartments (51 rue de Grenelle). Any suggestions for markets, grocdery stores, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, boulangeries, things to do near there would be terrific.

Thanks in advance for your help!
LBloom is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 07:46 AM
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You can take a train to Vernon, the town near Giverny and a bus, taxi or even a bike from Vernon to Giverny. To Versailles, you can take the RER. Another good day trip is to Chartres. The cathedral is wonderful and the town enjoyable.

As for a Seine cruise, take the Vedettes du Pont Neuf. It is about an hour trip and is most enjoyable at dusk when you can see the lights of Paris come on.

Some of the restaurants we have enjoyed in the area of your apartment are Fish, L'Epi Dupin, Semilla, and, for breakfast, Cafe Bonaparte.

Enjoy planning and have a lovely trip.
mamcalice is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 07:47 AM
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Hi LB,

>Any suggestions on public transportation to Versailles or Giverny?

Got to and input your address and "chateau de Versailles". You can use either bus or Metro.

For Giverny, go to

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 09:26 AM
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We were in Paris last May and will be again this year. The Rodin museum is not far from your apartment and offers an intimate view of a great artist and sculptor. Go when the weather is nice to enjoy the beautiful gardens.

If you want to see a different side of Paris, take the Canal Saint-Martin cruise. Boats leave from Quai d'Orsay. It's a barebones cruise - bring snacks and drinks - but you'll get an education as well as some intriguing views, including a km underground:

Rue Cler and Saint-Dominique get all the press, but you will find some very good small restaurants on Rue de l'Exposition.
Alan_CT is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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YOu can always find cafes and bakeries and stores around where you stay just by looking around it the first few days, you'll find something, there are bakeries in all neighborhoods. Of course Bon Marche is near there and they have a big food store that is very nice.

I'm not a spa person and normally wouldn't recommend anyone spend their time that way, but if you really want, you might as well make it an occasion and do something special to Paris rather than a hotel spa or something like that. GO to one of the North African hammams which are steambaths, such as the one in the Mosquee de Paris. Here is good info on the experience and venues:
Christina is offline  
Feb 14th, 2013, 08:29 PM
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We have stayed in this apartment several times. You will be right near the corner of rue du Bac..
which is a street "filled" with all that you need for shopping for food-cafes for eating-fun boutiques-and a route that will take you towards blvd.Ste Germain and all that awaits you there!
This is a GREAT location for exploring the Left Bank.....walking-riding the bus-or metro
and same goes for getting over to the Right Bank ! PVA will give you printed information
regarding all the "local" suggestions for the area.....Le Grand Epicerie at Bon Marche for
everything you need to eat ! FISH & Cosi on the rue de easy walk to more great eats !
Nottingham is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 02:15 AM
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Rue du Bac is certainly one of the great shopping streets in Paris. You will not be disappointed if you walk all the way down one side of the street and all the way back on the other.
In fact the whole area of Sevres-Babylone near you is fantastic shopping.

Things to do: there is an organic market in the middle of the Blvd Raspail every Sunday.

Go to parks since everything will be in bloom: obviously Luxembourg and Tuileries and the Palais Royal but also Parc Monceau and Parc Montsouris and, further out, Parc Andre Citroen, a fantastic modern garden, and the Jardin Villemin, a small and busy park just off the Canal St Martin, which is also a terrific place to walk.

We are going to be there at the same time but staying in the 14th. We hope to go to the Cite Universitaire and La Villette (opposite sides of the city) where we have not been and will no doubt hit all the other outdoor favorites because this is the perfect time to be in Paris.

When you walk to the Musee Rodin down the Rue de Varenne, you will pass the Hotel Matignon, the official home of the Prime Minister. There is massive security in this area, relatively little of it visible, though there are a couple of guards on duty outside. But check out the side streets and passages, and you will often see buses of Republican Guards and other security forces. Just another "off the beaten path" item to add to your Paris memories.

The only downside to going at this time of year is pop-up thundershowers. We have never had an all day rain in May, though I think we might have had them if we had been there last May, but late afternoon and early morning showers have not been uncommon. Once we rented a place with a view of the top 2/3 of the Eiffel Tower and saw a fantastic display of lightning striking as the lights twinkled!

Have fun!
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 05:46 AM
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Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!

Nottingham, I am very thrilled to hear you know this apartment and location. This is our first time renting in Paris and picked PVA because of the apartment. One always worries a little in selecting an apartment because reviews of hotels are easy to find, no so much with a vacation rental. Can you recommend a bakery or boulangerie? Our plane arrives at the crack of dawn and I don't think we will be able to get in early, probably just drop off the luggage and go eat breakfast. We have a Cosi around the corner from us here in Ohio, so I would like something much more Parisian.

DD is very interested in moules et frites and steak/frites. Last time we satisfied her at Leon de Bruxelles and Le Relais de L'Entrecote. Any other suggestions?

Also interested in doing a cooking class in Paris while we are there - any suggestions? Thanks much!
LBloom is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 06:43 AM
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Will send along more info later today......but, COSI-on the rue de Seine, is NOT a is
"owned" by the FISH rest. is a take-out/take home/or eat-in YUMMY sandwich etc.establishment...they bake the best bread in their wood-fired ovens....and supply FISH patrons with same ! PLANE arrival & into Paris...we arrive by 6:30...and by the time we get thru the "drill"....we get a cab ( have also gone by AirFrance bus) into Paris--morning traffic is heavy so by 9:00 we are usually at the apartment. We have been able to get right in each time as there have been no renters the night before....we were lucky. BUT....right on the corner of rue de Grenelle & rue du Bac is a "local" cafe..Le Flores....they serve all day....and we went often for omelets (my craving)....we stayed in apartment for a month ( May/June-2011 great weather).
PVA people are very helpful with all info you would need...especially since you are new to this area. Will check my notes & send the info along to you. INVEST in a Paris street map.. !
Nottingham is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 06:45 AM
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You'll find mussels at a lot of cafes. Our favorite places to go for that fix is across from the Gare du Nord. There are probably 5 restaurants/cafes there that serve mussels in all manner of ways. Fun to sit on the terrace and look at the Gare.
Gretchen is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 06:49 AM
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PS: getting to VERSAILLES...get the RER C at the Orsay Museum station...also for other trips they have NICE helpful SCNF ticket booths/agents that can give you good information.
We walked everywhere...never took a we took the easy-short walk to the Orsay for
our trip to Versailles.
Nottingham is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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Bread/boulangerie: the original Poilane is on Cherche Midi, not far from your apartment. See why this is a great area?
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 09:16 AM
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As mentioned repeatedly, you are in one of the best (THE best?) locations for restaurants, cafes, bakeries, shops, etc.

Too many great places within blocks to begin to list... including a dozen of the best chocolate shops anywhere, block away from your apartment is one of my favorite restaurants -

Your are so close to Boulangerie Poilâne it would be a crime not get your breads there (but get your croissants at one of the excellent area pâtisseries: Pierre Hermé & Ladurée just to name just two)...
bardo1 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 09:18 AM
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You & your daughter might enjoy visiting these smaller museuems:

... Cluney Museum which houses the stunning Lady & the Unicorn tapestries along with treasures from the middle ages

... Musee Jacquemart-Andre, a sumptuous 19th C mansion filled with a collection of paintings, sculptures. Have lunch in the museum's lovely cafe.

Also, walk through Luxembourg Gardens for a break from the city. It's lovely any time of the year!
2010 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 10:35 AM
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A tradition for "the ladies" in our family is to have tea or lunch at Angelina, on rue du Rivoli opposite the Tuileries. It has been there for over 100 years (originally called Rumpelmeyer's) and even though it does have a bit of faded elegance, it's what we love about it. You will see tourists there as well as well-dressed Parisian ladies who lunch. Angelina is well known for its very thick hot chocolate (might be a bit warm for that in May) and its Mont Blanc, a confection of chestnut puree, whipped cream, and meringue.

I hope the chestnut trees are still in full bloom when you are there; they are glorious. April is their month, but last May they were still lovely.

My first trip to Paris with my daughter was when she was in college, and more recently we have added another generation, her two elementary-aged children!

Happy memory making to you and your daughter!
grandmere is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 10:45 AM
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as you mention flowers, hie thee to the Bagatelle gardens in the Bois de Boulogne - there is a terrific rose garden there, and if it's too early for them, the tulips are very pretty too.

and the jardins des plantes should also be a picture in May-the batobus goes right there.

as well as/instead of a seine cruise, you could do the canal-st-martin - a very nice rest for the feet and you get to see a lot. the people who run seine tours also run these and if you go to their website, you can get discounts on tickets for this and for the seine cruises:
annhig is offline  
Feb 16th, 2013, 04:05 PM
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We are making lists of patisseries/boulangeries to visit not too far from our apartment, any feedback on these? Any other suggestions?

Pierre Herme
La Patisserie des Reves
Thiery Renard
Bread & Roses
Cafe Pouchkine (Blvd Haussmann)
LBloom is offline  
Feb 16th, 2013, 05:20 PM
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Poilane has more or less set the standard for bread in Paris since it was first opened in 1932 by Pierre Poilane. His son, Lionel, took over the business and ran it until his untimely death in a helicopter accident in 2002; Lionel's daughter now runs the rue Cherche-Midi store, which ships internationally.

Pierre Herme vs Laduree: people are divided as to who makes the better macaron. I prefer Laduree! Both are on rue Bonaparte; Herme is south of Blvd. St.-Germain, and Laduree is toward the Seine, just down the street from Deux Magots. Laduree has sit-down service for lunch or tea, also.
grandmere is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 05:39 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
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you picked a great location for an apartment!

Here are my few tips:
Musée Rodin
Musée d'Orsay

rue de Rennes - international prêt-à-porter brands
rue de Sèvres - more upscale boutiques, you’ll find great Parisian fashion boutiques and le Bon Marché

For a nice relaxation, stop by the legendary local patisserie, the Ladurée, for a box of macarons and head to the Jardin du Luxembourg.

For your nights out the rue de la Huchette is packed with restaurants (Greek specialties predominating) and fashionable bars to keep you awake till dawn!

For your trip to Versailles, you should definitely take the RER C train (http://www.holidayrentalapartments.o...-travel-guide/). But if you decide to come, plan to be there all day.

And for other destinations, I would suggest Fontainebleau or Provins, not far from Paris.

Enjoy your stay!
HanaK is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 10:40 AM
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Please do yourself a huge favor and do NOT ever eat on the rue de la Huchette. It may be cheap, but it's disgusting. The last time I naïvely had a meal there, there was a dead pigeon under my table. It may be the worst place in all of Paris to get a meal.

Take your daughter to La Maison de Fournaise on the Ile des Impressionistes, about a 20-minute ride from central Paris on the RER. It's where Renor painted "Luncheon of the Boating Party," and the restaurant is the same building he painted. The food's good, the view superb, and it makes for a very special outing.
StCirq is offline  

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