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CharlesIII Jan 16th, 2006 07:34 AM

Paris Jan 2006 Trip Report: 7th Arrondissement
Dear European Forum:

We just came back from Paris, and I thank all of you for the continued help we receive from this valuable board. Since my wife took care of our trip records, I shall pass the keyboard honors to her so that she may post in the next submission on this thread.

With much appreciation for your valuable insights,


CharlesIII Jan 16th, 2006 07:44 AM

<b><u>Paris Trip Jan 2006 7th Arrondissement</u></b>
(Submitted by “Mrs. Charles”)

<b>Flights: Non-stop USAirways out of Philadelphia to CDG</b>

<b>Transport to/from CDG to the 7th Arrondissement: Taxi</b>—Fare with tip was around 54-58 Euros both ways.

<b>Comment:</b> We have used the Roissybus and the AirFrance bus successfully in the past, but for four, a taxi is both convenient and economical.

The numbers we had in our possession to call for our taxi back to CDG were
<b>Taxi Bleus</b> (tel: (01) 4936 1010)
<b>Alpha Taxis</b> (tel: (01) 4585 8585)
<b>Abeille Radio Taxi</b> (tel: (01) 4583 5933).
Charles does not remember which one he contacted.

As you are aware, taxis can add on the fare it takes to reach your hotel or apartment before they can pick you up. Six Euros was on our meter when we entered the cab on our way home.

<b>Accommodation:</b> Friend of a friend's apartment off of Rue Dominique in the 7th Arrondissement

<b>Comment:</b> A fellow francophile was appalled that we had never stayed in the 7th Arrondissement before, even though we have probably visited Paris either as our sole destination or as part of our trip itinerary over 12 times in the past decade. It seemed that one of her best friends had an apartment off of Rue Dominique, a one bedroom with a pull-out sofa and a sort of daybed in the living/dining room. Upon hearing the astounding fact that we had never been guests in that neighborhood, the apartment owner offered its use to us free of charge for our January 2006 trip.

The owner refuses to rent the place but does like to have it occupied so that someone is always aware of upkeep needs. We were astounded at her generosity, but since the washer’s line connection broke while we were there and we were able to contact her management agency before any damage was done, we now better understand her logic. As you may well imagine, we are currently pondering the best way to repay her kindness.

CharlesIII Jan 16th, 2006 07:46 AM

<b>Travel Companions:</b> Accompanying Charles and me was our college-age youngest daughter and boyfriend. The boyfriend had been to Paris before twice, once with a high school group and once with a godparent. Although we did indeed prepare him for total exhaustion with our daily schedule, he has since informed us that he played no high school team sport requiring as much endurance as traveling with us.

Even so, he is considering a future biking trip to Italy with us. He told us that biking probably would be less tiring than our touring.

For our part, we were happy with his congenial presence, especially since he helped with the luggage hoisting (carry-on only) on the air flights. In fact, if he accompanies us to Italy, we might consider packing more heavily. :)

We never pack more than a carry-on suitcase (duffle or roll-aboard) and one medium backpack. We find that even packing this lightly, we still bring back things we haven’t worn. With this trip, a washer was at our disposal and only the cold weather dictated a full carry-on.

CharlesIII Jan 16th, 2006 07:54 AM

<b>Trip Goals:</b>
In addition to showing our guest some new sites, we decided we would learn two new skills this trip.

First, we were determined to <b>ride Paris buses</b>. Believe it or not, we had never ridden a Paris bus in our 12 prior trips. Oh, we did do the l'Opentour...for exactly 1/2 day in around 1999. Unfortunately, we spent most of that time stuck in traffic breathing fumes, and we declared we would not repeat the experience.

Charles was informed, however, that bus lane renovations in Paris had changed the speed with which buses can get from point to point, and since I now have a very bad leg, the idea of making it up one or two steps as opposed to the up, down, and across, across of Metro correspondences was quite appealing.

Second, Charles decided to tackle <b>using</b> our two <b>cell phones</b>, ones we have used often and quite easily in London and Ireland, in France. He sends his regards to XYZ and Elsie June for their guidance.

<b>Prior Preparation and Research</b>
In addition to searching on this forum for help, we used many, many other reference tools. The ones that stand out are:

<b>SideStep</b> to monitor daily airfare fluctuations—our airfare dropped by $300 on one day for exactly two hours. Interestingly enough, this drop was not during the “midweek plunge” but was instead on a Saturday morning. We quickly booked the flight. It went up $200 more by noon.

<b>Great Eats</b> by Sandra Gustafson
<b>Paris guidebooks</b> by Fodors and Lonely Planet
<b>Streetwise maps</b> (one copy per person)

Of course, the advice of our francophile friend and the apartment owner was most helpful and welcome.

<b>Research Tip:</b> The RATP website’s interactive map is marvelous for bus lines.
Go to this URL: <b><u></u></b>
Click on any bus line you want to research. A pop-up window will give you an excellent, printable graphic of the line.

Charles copied each graphic to Publisher, reducing the size to fit horizontally on legal paper, two maps per page. He printed out copies for every member of our party. All of us found this private visual guide to be quite useful.

We also requested at the Metro guichet the large map of the system; nevertheless, we all still preferred my Charles’ publication.

Travelnut Jan 16th, 2006 07:54 AM

I think your presence in the apartment and being able to circumvent a flooding tragedy is 'repayment' enough.

CharlesIII Jan 16th, 2006 08:01 AM

<b>Our experience with the neighborhood:</b> We loved it. While Rue Cler gets the media attention, we happened to enjoy Rue Dominique the most.

In our five days there, we found that between 4:30 and 6, the street became alive with children, moms, returning workers and friends. Everyone seemed to be clutching a baguette, a pastry or some sort of sweet. I shopped for a new English book every day at a bookstore there (it was a branch of the papeterie by the same name across the street).

Our favorite part of going to restaurants was looking at the sparkling Eiffel Tower over the string of arcing street lights with little Eiffel Towers.

<b>Cell phones:</b> We bought our SIM cards <b>(Cost: 30 Euros per SIM Network: Orange)</b> at The Phone House on Rue Cler and bought the recharge at another mobile store on the Avenue Bosquet. No one should worry about trying find a place to purchase these—phone stores were ubiquitous.

Old habits, though, still die hard. Rather than attempt to buy a &quot;ring back&quot; phone card for our international calls via cellphone, we just bought a Telecarte. We had very few calls to make anyway, and as Charles has termed it to me, as least this method is a &quot;no-brainer.&quot;

We decided not to buy a 10 Euro recharge right away. The SIMs had at least 4 Euro credit, and we wanted to see what we would need. It was a good decision. Because we could use the apartment phone, we didn’t spend much time with cell-to-cell calls, and whenever we called someone from the apartment, that incoming call was free.

On our last day, though, we each had less than one minute left, and we bought a just-in-case recharge for each.

We have not installed them. We will be returning to Paris in early August before our SIMs expire, and we will install the recharges then.

<b>Buses:</b> We rarely rode on the buses together as a party of four. In our independent wanderings, it was quite easy to pull out Charles’ graphic maps and see which bus would be the most interesting to jump on. After the trip, we decided <b>Line 69</b>—one that we use to get back from Centre Pompidou to our apartment via the Louvre area—was our favorite.

Now that we feel comfortable using the system, we will probably be taking the bus more frequently on future trips.

CharlesIII Jan 16th, 2006 08:08 AM

<b>Museums Visited:</b> (we have been to most of these in prior visits)
Musee d’Orsay
Moyen Age (Cluny)
Opera Garnier
Centre Pompidou
Monde Arabe
Musee de l’Armee, Tombeau de Napoleon 1er

The Negatives
Picasso:</b> We enjoy the Picasso, but the current exhibit using his preparatory sketches for his works displaced the standard exhibition. Therefore, the most overwhelming aspect of the museum, Picasso’s prodigious and varied artistic output, was quite dampened.
<b>Centre Pompidou:</b> The museum has now arranged the works according to “theory” rather than any timeline or artist, calling it the “Big Bang.” Works that I had so enjoyed in the past had disappeared from the walls. It was a major disappointment.
<b>Pantheon and Musee de l’Armee, Tombeau de Napoleon 1er:</b> We happened to be in the neighborhood, we had a pass, we therefore took our guest. No need for anyone to make a special visit.
<b>Monde Arabe:</b> This was a disappointment. We had never been. We hoped to see something special. It wasn’t!
<b>The Positives
Musee d’Orsay:</b> We always love the Musee d’Orsay, and because we’ve been there so often, we now get to explore nooks and crannies instead of just concentrating on the major works. This time, Charles and I were overwhelmed by a tomb statue named “The Souvenir” to be found in the Salle de Fetes. In fact, in our one afternoon at the museum, we went back to it three times. We also spent a lot of time with Jules Dalou’s works.
<b>The Jacquemart-Andre:</b> This was our second time there, and we wondered if now knowing what the house contained would lessen our sense of delight. It didn’t in the least. What a marvelous jewel of a museum. The special exhibit this time was David.
<b>Moyen Age (Cluny):</b> Having been there twice before, we skipped all the other exhibits and went straight to the tapestries. Our guest, to his great surprise, enjoyed them as much as we did and kept repeating “I can’t believe I liked tapestries” throughout the whole trip.

CharlesIII Jan 16th, 2006 08:46 AM

Dear Forum: I am so sorry for all the bold print in the section above. I have been editing and editing this section of the report, and this website has not been registering my changes.

I will re-post this section completely to allow better readability.

CharlesIII Jan 16th, 2006 08:48 AM

As we have done similarly in the past, we bought a <b>three-day Carte Musee (36 Euros)</b> for each of us shortly after arrival and just used <b>carnets (10 billets for 10,70 Euros)</b> on an as needed for transportation.

<b>Comment:</b> For the first time, we would have been better off doing what we never do: buying a <b>Paris Visite</b>. Belatedly, we found that our guest had never seen the Jacquemart Andre or the Opera Garnier, two admissions that are currently included in the Paris Visite and which are not included in the Carte Musee. In addition, both he and our daughter still qualified for student rates at museums. Even though Charles has told me, “In a trip costing thousands, you are worrying about only a potential total of 50 Euros wasted among four people,” it still bothers me.

Le Florimond</b> 19 av. de la Motte-Piquet 75007 Paris Tel. 33-(0)1 45 55 40 38
Twice. Our daughter and boyfriends liked the Escargot Lasagna and the Millefeuille dessert. Husband liked their Cr&egrave;me Brulee here. I liked everything. Service was intimate and warm. Place was full of Americans and Brits, but the French in the restaurant did not seem to mind (on both nights, there were no loud voices, no demands for English menus). <b>Prix fixe cost for four with four Kir Royals and one 30 E range bottle of wine: 205 Euros</b>

<b>La Fontaine de Mars</b> 129 rue Saint Dominique 75007 Paris Tel. 33-(0)1 47 05 46 44
Huge portions. Nice, but not as warm as Le Florimond. Would go back. My Foie Gras Chaud was my personal food highlight of our trip. Daughter and guest felt the Magrets de Canard here was the best they have ever had. Wine, their recommended reserve, was quite good. <b>Prix fixe cost for four with four Kir Royales and one 30 E range bottle of wine: 220 Euros</b>

<b>Au Petit Tonneau</b> 20, Rue de Surcouf,75007 Paris Tel 33-(0) 1-05-09-01
Our francophile friend recommended this place, and some other reviews supported it, so we tried it. We sadly cannot recommend it. While we enjoyed meeting the owner and her cat (the dog has to stay upstairs now), the place is run-down and of poor value now. There is no prix fixe. While the Salad with Roquefort and the Escargot were very good, and while the Pommes Dauphin(e?) will remain in my memory as a melt-in-your-mouth delight, the cheese selection was miniscule and the Chocolate Mousse was grainy. Our house wine was good, though. <b>Cost for four with four Kir Royales and pichet of house wine plus two more glasses: 218 Euros</b>

<b>Le P’tit Troquet</b> 28, rue de l’Exposition 75007 Paris Tel 33-(0)1-47-05-80-39
This is a delightful restaurant with a very sweet and attentive owner.

Unfortunately, this very small restaurant was invaded not only by one but by two very badly behaved parties of Americans. The wife of an older American couple shouted loudly, “Do-You-Have-A-Menu-In-English?” A party of five American women was a total embarrassment. They shouted to each other over the table, and two members of the party would reach into their purses, pull out bottles of water, and swig them. The women appeared to be rather wealthy (the boyfriend in our party, who had the best vantage point of the people who will be ever remembered as The American Tourists from Hades, said there were at least two face lifts in the group) and from the no-way-to-avoid being-overheard conversation, somewhat educated. We felt like apologizing for them because owner looked less angry than she did heartbroken.

We don’t have a clue as to where these ladies came from. I asked my daughter and her boyfriend, students at NYU, how Americans in New York—Charles and I are not from big cities—would react to this situation. The boyfriend said that if anyone behaved that way in this type of establishment, another guest would have asked the owner to intervene or would have himself walked over to the table and told the party to quiet down or leave.

Sadly, we felt neither of those actions were options. Again, we felt very bad for the owner.

The food was excellent. <b>Prix fixe cost for four, plus four Kir Royales plus bottle of their “wine of the month”: 198 Euros</b>

CharlesIII Jan 16th, 2006 08:51 AM

Now I am confused: I swear the entry above was in total bold print just a minute ago. Now my messaging about reposting makes no sense.

Ah well, I am new to this!

Travelnut Jan 16th, 2006 08:56 AM

You're doing fine, keep it up!

CharlesIII Jan 16th, 2006 08:57 AM

<b>Breakfasts and Lunches:</b> We varied each day. Since we four went in different directions quite a bit, some of us would pick up things at local bakeries and stores and take a respite at the apartment; others would eat on their own at a caf&eacute; near their destinations.

Two lunches stood out for different reasons:
<b>Le Vignoron,18-20</b>, rue du Pot de Fer, 75005 Paris (Metro Place Monge) Tel 33 (0)1-47-07-29 99:
Charles and I had eaten a lovely dinner with an excellent wine here on our last trip, so we took our daughter and boyfriend up to the Pantheon, over the hill to see the general Hemingway sights, and across to Le Vigneron.

The service was totally rude, the vegetables were gray, and two of the offered desserts on the prix fixe menu weren’t available—and we were there early.

We haven’t a clue why the waiter had such a bad reaction to us, either. We generally have not been treated as “Ugly Americans”—our French is far from fluent but still competent enough to deliver an efficient food order. Waiters generally do not switch to English for us, and we are also mindful that those around us may speak English, so we don’t make rude remarks. It will remain a mystery.

Another odd thing was that the waiters kept entering and exiting by the front door (there is a sister restaurant next door) without making any attempt to close it firmly on a very cold day with gusting winds. Everyone—and the clientele was mostly French—in the restaurant became quite irritated by the cold wind in their faces.

Charles and I will not go back.

<b>Caf&eacute; de l’Epoque</b>, Rivoli area, Gallerie Vero-Dodat: Our guest had never seen any of the <b>Paris passages</b> or the <b>Palais Royal garden</b>, so we left the Louvre one day to hop over to the garden and the <b>Galerie Vero-Dodat passage</b> for lunch. We just ordered main dish salads, but they were remarkably excellent. Service was quick, polite, efficient.

Supposedly the main clientele is the banking crowd, and they may choose to eat more swiftly than the rest of Paris. It certainly worked for us--we had many plans for ourselves that day.

One nameless place near the Picasso had very bad food but a wonderful and quite kind waitress. We had just stopped in for a snack, but the waitress decided we wanted more (this really was a cafe--no tablecloths, dinner set-up, etc. Lots of people were just having a coffee or a drink of wine).

She was so worried that we wouldn’t understand the special that she called upon the linguistic talents of all in the restaurant to explain it to us. From four tables, the clientele offered their translation suggestions, and many then debated the values of their answers. After all that effort, we felt guilty and ordered it. It was awful (fish mixed with potatoes with a side salad drowning in mayonnaise), but we didn’t want to tell her and we felt obligated to clean our plates.

She then wanted to make sure we experienced the King cake for Epiphany. We had never had it, was pretty sure we wouldn’t really like it, and certainly didn't want it, but again, we felt guilty and ordered it.

If you think we were conned, you are wrong. I think half of the French hanging in the place also hated the food but were really fond of her and were doing the same as we were.

That is the general summary of our trip. Please let Charles know if you have any questions, and I thank you your patience with my posting.

&quot;Mrs. Charles&quot;

Luisah Jan 16th, 2006 09:18 AM

Thank you for a very useful report. I appreciate the lists and comments on the restaurants. Your experience with the rude Americans was unfortunate, though. I stayed in a small hotel in the 7th several years ago, which was very quiet until one night a couple of American women came in very, late, more like morning, and decided to drink and talk and laugh (very loudly)in the courtyard. After a while I heard a very soft male voice speaking to them and the noise stopped.

Re the list of museums. Have you visited the Marmottan Monet museum in Passy? It is wonderful! There is a web site you might check before you next Paris trip.

CharlesIII Jan 16th, 2006 09:28 AM

It was most kind, Travelnut, to encourage my wife. She was becoming awfully frustrated with the posting. She began to suspect there was an ulterior motive for my handing off the report to her.

She was, as always, absolutely correct in her assumption.

Thank you, Luisah, for your kind remark. Yes, we have visited the Marmottan in the past. Thank you for thinking of it, though.


HappyCheesehead Jan 16th, 2006 09:41 AM

Great details - and thanks to Mrs Charles for gritting her teeth and working through the technical difficulties to give us this report!

pooka Jan 16th, 2006 09:47 AM

Many thanks for the trip report!

I love reading reviews on food and their respective establishments. Great job!

I'm returning to Paris in March, and one of my goals is to dine in at least five of the many Fodorite-recommended places.

donco Jan 16th, 2006 09:54 AM

Thanks to both of the Charleses for the restaurant lists-I'm adding the info to my Paris folder with much gratitude.
Re the rude Americans: What happens to folks that they must be so awful??? Are they that way to begin with or just showing off?? Urgghhh!

Charley1965 Jan 16th, 2006 10:14 AM

Good trip report. Straightforward facts and information.

I like the way you have set it out. It's very clear to read and I like the bold subtitles. There are so many posts I do not bother to read just because they are far too long and in a large block with no paragraphs.

We are also very fond of Rue Saint Dominique. Great view of the Eiffel Tower!

loisco Jan 16th, 2006 12:48 PM

I also liked the format you used. It was so easy to read...thank you.

CharlesIII Jan 16th, 2006 02:56 PM

The Mrs. Charles appreciates it greatly that you have lauded her posting struggles with this format.

However, she has informed me that the next time, I will have the privilege of using the HTML tags.



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