Paris in the early spring

Mar 28th, 2009, 06:03 AM
  #21  
tod
 
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With pleasure Adrienne:

Here is the link - should be able to still see photos as well.
http://tinyurl.com/ctrgyp
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Mar 28th, 2009, 06:56 AM
  #22  
 
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Great! See you had a wonderful time which I knew you would. I'm back off to Paris at the end of the week. Happy Travels!
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Mar 28th, 2009, 07:18 AM
  #23  
 
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I'm really enjoying your report!
Sounds like you had a wonderful trip.

I have to say I remember how much my feet hurt during our week in Paris. My daughter and I would take turns massaging each other's feet at night!

Looking forward to the rest...
Thanks!
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Mar 28th, 2009, 07:46 AM
  #24  
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tod - You are right! DH just thought the Tuileries kind of started on the Champs-Elysses and made a turn I guess! Thanks for straightening us out. And are we right in thinking that this was the puppet theater in Charade? And I totally agree with cathies - the Luxembourg Gardens are far superior to the Tuileries, in my opinion. I couldn't figure out why there was so must dirt and so little grass in the Tuileries. Maybe it improves in full summer - but in the early spring Luxembourg was much nicer.
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Mar 28th, 2009, 01:23 PM
  #25  
 
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tod - thanks for the link to your report. I now remember reading it last year.

Patti - I think the Luxembourg gardens are much nicer than the Tuileries except I love the sculpture in the Tuileries. There's also a puppet theatre in the Luxembourg gardens at the southern end.
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Mar 29th, 2009, 05:45 AM
  #26  
tod
 
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I don't know if the little Vrai Guignolet in the Champs Elysees gardens was the one featured in Charade - the puppet theatre in the Luxembourg gardens is huge by comparison.
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Mar 30th, 2009, 04:35 PM
  #27  
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Wedneaday - March 18 - Got up at 9:30 this morning. Had coconut activia, toast and marmalade for breakfast this morning. Jumped on the St. Germaine metro to Montparnasse station. Tickets to Chartres cost 25 E each round trip. We were a little confused by the tickets as they didn't say Chartres, but we soon figured out that the tickets stated the end of the line city. Asked a couple of nice ladies who didn't speak English very well, but they were very kind and helpful. While waiting for the train there were some young men in camo walking through the station with these huge assault looking weapons. I was a little scared at first until I figured out that it was probably French military keeping things safe. It took about 1 hour and 20 minutes to arrive at Chartres. We enjoyed seeing some of the French countryside outside of the big city. I saw Versailles as we passed by.

We were enjoying another brilliantly blue sky and were glad because we had been told it was best to view Chartres in the sunlight. It was in the 50's and very pleasant. We got off the train and it was easy to see the spirals of the Cathedral. The walk to the cathedral seemed like only a couple of blocks and of course we took many photos before going inside. I have learned that I love gargoyles! I got some great photos of the Chartres gargoyles closer up.

As usual, there were several people begging by the entrance. I feel sorry for these people and want to give money to all of them, but then I am not certain if they are truly in need, or just trying to make extra money.

When I walked in I was surprised that it was so dark. I think that I expected the same brightness that I had experienced at St. Chapelle and this had a whole different look to it. I saw Malcolm Miller sitting and talking with a group of people and knew that if we wanted we could catch his tour in the afternoon. We listened in a little bit and could tell that he was very knowledgeable. He seemed to be entertaining his group and I heard him talking about St. Chapelle.

I asked where the veil of Mary was and was extremely disappointed when I was told it was not on display due to the renovations going on in the cathedral. Since there was scaffolding up in the sanctuary I wonder if that made the cathedral a little darker than it might have been otherwise. They had a little picture of the veil and that was the closest that I got to seeing it.

We wandered around and marveled at the carvings all around the church. We talked about the carvings more than the windows. I still have a difficult time getting my brain around the fact that all of the churches and cathedrals that we saw were so old, yet had such amazing, intricate work. How on earth were people so many years ago with probably more crude tools than we have today, able to make such creations? How did they get to the top of the cathedral? How did they get the materials up there and how long must it have taken and how many lives must have been lost in these endeavors.

After we wandered around for a while we decided to go outside for a bite to eat to warm up. We ate at LeSerpente across from the cathedral. We sat outside and chatted with a couple from Canada. DH and I had ham sandwiches - and when the menu says ham sandwich, that is what you get. Bread and ham. They were $5.80 E each and were good.

After lunch we went back into the cathedral and decided to not take Malcolm's tour. He was going into such minute detail with the other group, that we decided we didn't want that much detail and wanted time before we left to walk around the town.

We looked at the windows more closely this time and also remembered to look at the labyrinth on the floor. The windows were beautiful and I loved the Chartres blue color. We picked up one of Malcolm's book and will study it more in detail later.

We stopped by the tourism office and got the map for the walking tour. My shins still are hurting and DH decided to take the LONG walk. Once again there were steps and stairs - many of them! But what a quaint little town. We walked down by the river and just say a while and absorbed some serene France. How peaceful it was here. There were old, old cobblestone roads and some extremely old looking buildings. The swan floating on the river just added to the peace we were experiencing.

We finally decided to head back and noted that our return tickets had the wrong time on them. We had asked the girl at the ticket counter to return at 5:00 and she had given us tickets for 15:00. We figured it would not be a problem and stopped at a little patisserie where I got a huge meringue to eat and DH got something chocolate.

When we got to the station the conductor said to just take the next train that arrived heading to Paris which we did. No one ever checked out tickets coming or going. We spent about 5 hours at Chartres and was a lovely day.

On our return to walked to MonoPrix to get some food for our evening meal. I had a turkey fillet and DH had fish. I was very hungry for baked beans and bought a little can of what I thought was regular baked beans. Turned out to be what we call, beanie weenies. We also had corn, bread and apples. We did some laundry and I ironed and checked emails. Called home and found that everything was fine there. We had an early night.
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Mar 30th, 2009, 07:09 PM
  #28  
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tod - I did some research on line and can't figure out which puppet theater was used in that old movie. DH thinks it was from the Champs Elysses park - but I'm going to watch the movie and figure it out for myself! I loved the music that was playing while we were in the park from the puppet theater.
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Mar 30th, 2009, 07:13 PM
  #29  
 
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yellowrose, I am contemplating day trips for a visit in May. It sounds as if Chartres itself is charming as well as having the cathedral. That's sort of what I'm looking for, a pretty town with something *major* to see. Would you agree that Chartres fits the bill?
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Mar 31st, 2009, 04:01 AM
  #30  
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We loved going to Chartres. We debated Versailles or Chartres and we happy with our decision. The town itself is charming and it was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Paris. I was born a country girl and it was so nice to see some of the rural parts of France, even if by train. I certainly would recommend Chartres as a day trip.
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Mar 31st, 2009, 05:28 AM
  #31  
 
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ttt
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Mar 31st, 2009, 05:47 AM
  #32  
 
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Nice report! It is almost a year since we were in Paris and it brings back wonderful memories.
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Mar 31st, 2009, 05:55 AM
  #33  
 
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yellowrose, I am really enjoying your trip report! I am also glad to hear that your dealings with parisbestlodge and Thierry were so positive, as I am renting from him in August. Looking forward to reading the rest of your report!
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Mar 31st, 2009, 06:05 AM
  #34  
 
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Thierry is the nicest person!
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Mar 31st, 2009, 06:06 AM
  #35  
 
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travelgirl, which apartment did you rent? I once rented the Studio Rivoli and it was excellent!
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Mar 31st, 2009, 07:31 AM
  #36  
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travelgirl - you will not have any problems renting from Thierry! Which apartment did you rent? I really debated about the studio we rented and his crazyview one.
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Apr 2nd, 2009, 04:37 PM
  #37  
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Thursday, March 19 - Strike day! Got up and emailed Thierry and took my shower. When I got out of the shower I already had my answer from Thierry. According to his daughter, the metro was running and she had not seen any problems. DH went out for breakfast - fresh croissants, eclair, fresh strawberries and daffodils. Ahhhh, spring.

We left for St. Denis. We got on the Odeon metro line to Duroc and then took line 13 to St. Denis. We walked by an open air market which seemed a lot like a flea market from back here at home. We went into the travel office to discover that because of the strike the bascilla was open, but the crypt was closed. Darn! We were able to go into the bascilla and looked at the effigies. It was another beautiful church - but DH was especially disappointed we could not see the crypt of the dead kings.

We headed to Invalides and the Dome Church. We found the Dome Church open. DH thoroughly enjoyed seeing Napoleon's tomb and the W.W. I and W.W. II museums. Because he had been so patient when I wanted to go into tourist shops, I wandered around with him without any complaining. I enjoyed seeing the old uniforms and the old American flag with less than 50 stars. After spending time with Napoleon and the wars, we headed back to the apartment. I might mention that once again we were blessed with gorgeous weather. We headed back to the apartment and ate a lunch of bread, cheese, tomatoes, yogurt and strawberries.

We rested for a while and headed back out. This time we walked along the Seine to the Orangerie. It was closed due to the strike as well. Will tray again tomorrow. Walked through the Tuilleries gardens and sat down for a while and watched the children playing in the playground. It was so comfortable and pleasant sitting in the park. I continue to marvel at our fortune of having such a blue sky every day. We walked to St. Roche on rue St. Roche near the Louvre. This was not in the Gothic style but appeared to be Romanesque. It was a nice change in architecture. It had a wonderful painted dome and more lovely stained glass windows. It was peaceful. We sat in the sanctuary and rested for a while. Then we left and headed to Germaine aux Erboisjust east of the Louvre. My heel began hurting after all of the walking so we returned to the apartment. I got on line and read my Fodors mail and received a good tip for a restaurant for dinner this evening.

We walked around the corner to l'Insulaire. Madame was outside on the sidewalk drumming up customers. It was a very small little quaint place, but since it had been recommended we were willing to give it a try. DH had escargot and I had the French onion soup for starters. We had chateaubriand with bearnaise sauce. I had creme brulee for dessert and DH had apples flambeau with rum. It was so cool when she set it on fire at the table! This was an excellent meal and very reasonable at only 17 E each. We walked back to the apartment and read more Fodors mail and discovered that we are in a very historical part of Paris and had been walking past historically significant cafes each and every day and didn't even know what we were looking at. Turned in for the night.
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Apr 2nd, 2009, 05:02 PM
  #38  
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Friday, March 20 - Got up around 9:00 a.m. It has been so pleasant to sleep until I wake up and not have the darn alarm clock clang me awake every morning at 6:30 a.m.! We ate breakfast in the apartment again - strawberries, yogurt, orange juice, bread, tea and coffee. We decided to return to St. Denis because it was so important for DH to see the crypt. The subway ride takes a while, but I find it enjoyable to study the other people on the subway. When we got back to the Basilica, we were able to get our tickets for the crypt and headed right in.

DH was enthralled with the crypt. He read all of the names and tried to take photos, but they did not turn out very well. I didn't like it all that much and at one point almost had a claustrophobic attack when a tour group gathered in a little room with us and blocked the exit.

We went back up into the Basilica and found that we were able to get much closer to the effigies than we were able to the day before. We walked around for a good hour looking at all of the effigies and getting some excellent photos. I got some photos with the sun coming through the stained glass on the effigies - so pretty.

This day was perfect weather wise, again. The blue sky made it difficult to take a bad outdoor photo. The temp was a little cooler than yesterday, but still in the 50's.

We got back on the 13 line and took the 2 line to Montmartre.
There were a lot of little ratty looking shops and a lot of tourist shops. It looked like there were some used clothing shops as well. There were many fabric stores there which I could have spent hours in since I am a quilter - but I decided that I could buy fabric at home, so I made myself walk past them!

This part of Paris is what I have always imagined Paris to be like with the artists painting and people singing on the streets with their little crank organs and people standing all around on the square watching them and people playing guitars. I thoroughly enjoyed it all.

We looked up at Sacre Coeur on top of the hill and started climbing steps. My shins are feeling a lot better and I am able to climb without as much pain as the previous few days. We took it slow and periodically turned around the take a good look at the view. There was somebody playing the guitar on the steps as we walked up and there were many people sitting watching him. I wondered if he might be somebody half famous because he was really good!

After we got to the top we realized there was a little tram that would bring you up to the top of the hill! Oh well, good exercise - get my another eclair.

We went into the church and for the first time we were not allowed to take photos. I watched one lady try to take a picture and a little church lady ran up to her and waved at her to stop and waggled her finger at her. The interior of this church was not as spectacular as many of the others that we have seen. We also went into the church next door - St. Pierre de Montmartre - the sign said it was the second oldest church in Paris. It was dated from 1133. It also was not all that impressive to look at, other than being so old. We walked down the hill on some of the side streets and back into the tourist area. We are lunch at Bouillon. Darryl had Spaghetti bolognese and wine and I had a ham/cheese omelet. It cost about 25 E. We sat next to some young students from Canada and had a very nice visit with them.

We got back on line 2 to 4 to 3. At one station, Reaumur Sebastopol, I was scared as there was an argument going on and a crowd was gathering. Fists were being raised and we got out of there! We came out at the Opera Garnier. Oh my goodness, what splendor!!

We paid the 8 E to go through to see the grand staircase, library and audotorium. This is my definition of opulence. I was fantastic - but I didn't see the Phantom. Did see the great chandelier and watched the stage hands raise a background scene. It was fun seeing some of the costumes and head pieces and jewelry which were displayed. I loved it!

We decided to head back to our area. We got off the metro at Odeon and walked down Cour du Commerce - St Andres and took photos of the old cafes there - so much history in this area.

We stopped at Franprix for food and water. Got back to the apartment and soaked my left foot in cold water and did a few stretching exercised.

We read in one of the Paris books that the Orangerie was open till 9:00 p.m. on Friday, so we decided to go back there. DH did relent and we took the subway this time - but there was still a lot of walking! It was closed again - 3rd time. I guess it doesn't stay open late any more. We walked down the rue de Rivoli and stopped at Angelina's. We had to wait in linve approx. 15 minutes to get a table. We had her famous hot chocolate africans. It was thick, and creamy and delicious. They brought whipped cream and water along with it. I could have drank 3 little pitchers of it!! It cost 6.50 E each. So good!!

We walked back through the Louvre area and saw the Eiffel tower at sunset. Tried to get some photos, but you know they will not turn out. It is so impossible to capture the true feeling of what you are seeing.

Went back to the apartment and DH cooked hamburgers, fish, and green beans for supper. Night time - only one more day before we return home. Why do vacations go by so quickly? It just doesn't seem fair.
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Apr 2nd, 2009, 05:14 PM
  #39  
 
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I hate the end of vacations! Thanks for continuing.
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Apr 4th, 2009, 06:31 PM
  #40  
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Saturday, March 22 - DH got up and went to Paul's for pastries. We decided to have a day of trying to see what we might have missed close to the apartment and for second visits to some of our favorites sites.

We went to Place Furstenberg and looked around. We walked to St. Germain des pres. We had walked by it countless times during the week but had never gone inside. It had shells when you walked in for the holy water and they were very pretty. I guess this is supposed to be the oldest church in Paris - I have been confused during the week because so many of the different churches have boasted about how old they are. We spent a little while there and then headed for the metro.

We went to the Latin Quarter to see Louis D'ile church. There were many large paintings there and it had a dome. It also had a beautiful organ. There were chandeliers by the alter. There was a small sunburst at the alter and there were gold accents on white marble everywhere. It seemed very lonely there. There was actually an extra set of organ pipes on the side of the sanctuary. I would have loved to have heard the organ play.

We then walked to St. Gervais church. This is where Catherine de Medici called for the slaughter of the Huguenots in 1572. It was located on 13 rue des Barres. There was metal work in this dome which was different from the other domes that we had seen. It also had stained glass. There were many large figurines in the church. There were a lot of young men there in long black robes and young women with long blue apron type outfits and white coverings over their hair. I imagine they must be students perhaps learning to be nuns or priests. There was a beautiful starburst stained glass window.

When we left by the front door we heard yelling. There was an older man yelling at a younger man and a younger girl to the side. I got kind of scared and stayed in the doorway of the church so I could go back in if things got ugly. At one point the older man went to the younger woman and took off his backpack type thing he was wearing and went after the younger man and they got into a fist fight. They slammed each other into the cars until another young man in a suit came by and got between them. At that time my DH and I walked in the opposite direction.

At this time we got tickets for the Batobus at the Hotel DeVille. I had bought a 2 GB memory card for my camera and could not believe that at this point, I had to change memory cards as it was full. Thank goodness I brought along another card. I can't believe I had taken that many photos.

We had to wait about 10 minutes for the batobus and decided to go and try the Orangerie for the 4th time! This time it was open. I was very happy because I really wanted to see Monet's water lilies. We did not have to wait in line very long - maybe 10 minutes. The museum was smaller than I had expected, but seeing those huge water lily painting was a highlight for me. I love Monet. DH enjoyed Chaim Soutine, an impressionist artist that he was not familiar with. After going through the museum we headed back out for the batobus.

We decided to go to the Eiffel Tower for a closer view during the daytime. It really is magnificent. We had the clear blue sky again and temps in the 50's. This was our last day of sightseeing and was so grateful that we had much a wonderful spell of wonderful weather. We ate lungh at a restaurant near the Eiffel Tower called Castel Cafe. I had marguerite pizza - cheese and tomato and DH had a ham and cheese sandwich. $23 E.

As we were talking at lunch we talked about the other day when we were walking along the Seine and saw a girl laying on a bench with the top off! This was eye-opening for us as in America you would get arrested for exposure! It is so great to travel to different cultures and explore how other people live. I think that this world would be a better place if everybody did some international travel.

We walked around the Eiffel Tower after our lunch and returned to the batobus. We traveled to see Notre Dame for the last time. We walked down some very old streets, rue de pretres, saint severen, rue della harpe - on the way back to the apartment.

We ate our evening meal at Le Procope. It was an old, elegant restaurant where Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin had eaten. It was expensive as we had just missed the special. I had coq au vin and DH had trout. $52.40 E. The waiter was very efficient - but not rude. We had been told to watch out for rude waiters in France, but we never experienced any rudeness from anybody.

We stopped for another gelato at Amorino's. Gosh I wish I could get this at home. I love it. We returned to the apartment and packed for our return trip home.

Sunday, March 23. Had to get up really early, 5:45 a.m. The taxi was right on time at 7:15 and got to the airport in plenty of time. There was no traffic to speak of. Going through customs I lost my jelly that was in my carry on - but the kind customs man gave me one jar back along with a wink.

This was not a sunny day. There was a lot of fog and I was concerned that the plane would not be able to take off. After such a great week of weather, I found it interesting that the day we were departing there was crummy weather.

The flight home was non-eventful. We arrived in Detroit at the same time as 3 other international flights, so we had a really long wait to get through customs and reclaim luggage and get them re-checked. Luckily we had a 4 hour layover!

Arrived in Minneapolis at approx. 8:30 p.m. and my brother was waiting to pick us up. Our Paris adventure was over, for this time.
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