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Paris: Macaroons, ice cream and a visit to the local emergency room

Paris: Macaroons, ice cream and a visit to the local emergency room

Sep 28th, 2005, 05:33 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 190
Paris: Macaroons, ice cream and a visit to the local emergency room

Well, we had a fantastic time in Paris! (Weekend of September 23, 2005). We arrived in Paris from London Ashford via the Eurostar. We drove to Ashford very early (5:30 am) to catch the 8:00 am train (we live outside Brighton). It only took us 1:15 which was very good. We were able to take our time, had a light breakfast and off we went. Taking the Eurostar was so much easier than going by airplane. We arrive in Paris in just under two hours. We easily walked from the Metro to the Hilton Arc de Triomphe.

As for the Hilton itself, I feel a bit guilty about the review I have to give as the stay was a freebie after entering a competition on the UK Conde Nast Traveller website last December. The reception desk was great and very helpful and we were allowed to check into our room very early. This was a bonus as we did want a nap before going out. We were upgraded to a King deluxe suite which consisted on two bathrooms (only one with a bath), living room and a separate bedroom. The décor of the suite and hotel is nice.

Besides reception, service was virtually none existent. We called three times to have the plasma TV in our bedroom repaired as there was no reception. When the technician did show up he said very little except the TV was broken which we already knew. He offered us nothing and then my husband asked if the regular TV set in the living room could be moved to the bedroom. He swapped the TVs and we suspect whoever stays in the room next (room 424) will have to make a few calls if they wish to watch TV in the lounge area.

The hallway leading to our room was constantly littered and quite a few stains on the carpets. When we arrived there were dirty drinking glasses in front of our door and when we left (two days later) the same glass was there. Kid you not. It wasnít like they were concealed.

Room service was appalling and way overpriced even by Paris standards. We ordered a cheese plate that came with two small pieces of cheese (mold and all) and a small bistro salad, a croque monsieur that was cold and bottle of Evian for 50 euros. Had the food been good food, no problem, but it wasnít so we canít give room service a good review.

We also had access to the Executive Lounge. The food offerings were slim. It was okay for a drink before going out, but the EL was not worth the upgrade price. Again the service was non-existent and the lounge is pretty much self service.

We have stayed in many hotels in Paris and this is not one we would rush back to. There are too many choices in Paris at the same rate level to choose from.

After our nap we needed some food. The hotel is about a 10 minute walk to the Champs-Elysees. We just missed the lunch service at Laduree, but stayed anyway for the limited menu. We had a nice outdoor seat and enjoyed the perfect September weather. The salads were just okay, but the dessert, oh the dessert, was so so good. I did have a hot chocolate, but our server kept forgetting to bring it and by the time he did it was cold hot chocolate. I didnít think it was that great. The dessert is what we went for and it was worth it.

We walked around a bit before heading to the Eiffel Tower to do the Fat Tire Bike Night Tour. We chose a beautiful night to do it. The sky was clear and there were so many people who showed up they broke us up into two groups. It is not a strenuous ride, but not for the faint at heart as we went on a Friday night (there was lots of traffic). We stopped at Notre Dame and had ice cream at Berthillon (always high on our list when we go), went rode around the Louvre, St. Chappelle and many other places. You can find a full itinerary on their website - http://www.fattirebiketoursparis.com...ght-tour.shtml
The tour ends at Pont de l'Alma where you park you bike to take a cruise on the Seine (wine is included). The cruise is with Bateaux Mouches - http://www.bateaux-mouches.fr/English_index.htm. However, only moments before we were to board, my husband passed out and fell backwards hitting his head on the pavement. It was very scary as he is in perfect health. He was out for what seemed to be age. Everyone on the tour rallied around to help. We are currently training for a marathon and we had not had a lot to eat which may have been a contributing factor. The guys at Fat Tire were extremely helpful as were the paramedics. We did have to go to A&E as my husbandís head was bleeding. Luckily he did not have a concussion and the wound was superficial. The hospital staff was great and we were in and out in no time - how many can say they have done that in Paris before?

The next day, get this; we were back on the bikes again to do the Tour of Versailles. This was an all day event and so worth the time and money. Again you can read all about it on their website. The highlight was the picnic on the Grand Canal at Versailles facing the Chateau. Very romantic. We picked up sandwiches, salads and lots of pastries from the most wonderful patisserie in the market area. http://www.fattirebiketoursparis.com...ike-tour.shtml

After the bike ride we changed and headed to the Arc de Triomphe. We have always wanted climb it, but every visit prior it was raining. We climbed it this time and took in the view. We then headed over to the Pont de l'Alma to take the cruise on the Seine we did not do the night before. It was okay, but not intimate as it was huge boat. You could barely hear the sightseeing information being played on the PA. I think this would be annoying to those who have never been to Paris before and really wanted the sightseeing information. Next time we will take a smaller boat.

After the boat ride, we walked back towards the hotel and had a quick, but late meal at an Italian restaurant called Findi. It was few doors away from the Crazy Horse and was still packed at 11:15 pm when we arrived. The food and service was very good. Not the best Italian weíve had, but still good and with lots of atmosphere.

On our last day we slept in a bit and decided to just go walking. We thought about going to the Grand Palais which has just reopened, but the line was never ending so we sat on a bench for a while and just people watched. After that my husband need his ice cream fix so we went back over to Il St. Louis and had a little lunch and lots of ice cream at Berthillon. Our last stop was Laduree where we stocked up on macaroons and other goodies for family and friends. Our supply is already low. Thank goodness my husband is going back next month so I think I can make it until then. Usually, I get a nice gift from Louis Vuitton, but I just want and endless supply of macaroons.

It was fantastic slow paced trip. We had a great time and are looking forward to our next visit with our 2 Ĺ year old next spring.
parisandelle is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 09:17 AM
  #2  
 
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With the exception of your husband's passing out, it sounds like a lovely weekend but what a disappointment on the hotel.

I appreciate it might seem churlish given that it was a freebie but I'd let Conde Nast know about your experiences there so that they can update their notes on the place. Not impressive at all given their rack rates.

Also, please do ask your husband to have a full health check at home before running the marathon. It's one of those situations where undiagnosed health problems have a habit of showing up and not in a good way. Wishing him the best.

Kavey
Kavey is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 09:54 AM
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My husband, who had plenty of experience with the hotel chain when he was on a committee arranging large technical conferences, has always said that service does not appear to be part of the Hilton employee vocabulary. Too bad you had to find out the hard way.
Underhill is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 10:43 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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Parisandelle- I loved reading your trip report! It brought back so many memories! I am happy to say we have not visited the emergency room in Paris but...we did have to run to the Venice hospital for what turned out to be a nursemaids elbow(my niece was 1 at the time!) There are alot of bridges in Venice and it makes it extra hard with two carriages !!!
Oh yes- I can't forget about our visit to the local doctors office two years ago for my daughters 104 temp.
Ahhhhh! The memories and joyous occasions when you travel with kids LOL!!!
Have fun with your 2 1/2 year old!!!
Linda
vino is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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Oh how I would love to be able to hop on a train and be in Paris in two hours. Even with a trip to the ER. My sister broke her nose there but we just went to a doctor's office - oh the wonderful memories! But you know, even with that we had a great time, I guess Paris just does that for you.
SharonG is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 08:02 PM
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Oh! your poor husband! and poor you, how frightening..so glad it was nothing serious ( or more serious than having to go to ER in Paris)
I too wish I had a constant supply of Parisian pastries, but think of how we would increase in size!!LOL
Will you get to go back with him or just wait at home for the macarons? Ohhh imagine, he brings home a VL bag full of macarons
Scarlett is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 08:03 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Vuitton Louis? LOL you know I meant that to be an LV bag
Scarlett is offline  
Sep 29th, 2005, 06:57 AM
  #8  
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Hi everyone! Thanks for reading my trip report.

Kavey - I made him promise to see his GP as soon as and he is going in next week. I was very surprised his head was not scanned as it is common practice in America (I'm American) to have any head wounds thoroughly checked. You're right something could creep up. My mother-in-law has been worried about us running since hearing about 4 perfectly healthy runners dying after doing the Great North Run in Newcastle. We are joking bit about it now. I guess if you are going to go, what better place to do it than Paris? ;-) On the Seine facing the Eiffel Tower...so dramatic!

Underhill - The Hilton is so bad for service. It is not our first Hilton in Paris either. Two years ago we went to Prague and Paris (for Bastille Day) and a friend from the US always, I mean always stays at Hiltons. So for us to be together we stayed at the one near the Eiffel Tower. The service was none-existent then. We had higher hopes for the Arc de Triomphe because it seems to be catering to a different crowd. No such luck.

SharonG - Oh, I am loving living in Europe. My husband is English and I have been in England 3 1/2 years. Everything is on our doorstep. My husband wants to visit every state in US, but that is only after I do the same with the EU. As for the hospital visit, my husband and I are so competitive that we are now in a battle to see who can visit more foreign hospitals. I lead 2-1 with a visit in Geneva and one in Chicago. He says Chicago doesn't count as I am from there. I beg to differ as I was on vacation there when we went. ;-)

Scarlett - I am wearing my fat clothes this week and they are a bit snug. You would have thought I just stuck the macaroons to my backside the way I am bulging. No, I am not going to Paris next month ;-( My husband does and annual charity touring event from Italy through Austria, Germany and France. The last day is always spent in Paris before putting the cars on the ferries back to England. Our son is too you to go and it would be cruel to make him sit in a car for hours on end. So mommy and baby stay home and wait for daddy to come back with bags of goodies. As for the VL bag, quite possible with all the fakes you can buy. Good thinking though on packing a LV bag with the macaroons. Can't believe I missed that one.
parisandelle is offline  

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