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Paris trip report

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I really enjoy reading other trip reports so I thought I would give it a try. My wife and I took our 13 year old grand-daughter to Paris, Normandy & London in June and had a wonderful time. I freely admit I am a Fodor's forum addict but have never posted any reports of other trips (2 to Italy in the last 3 years) so here goes the Paris portion.

Day 1. Uneventful overnight flight on Delta from Atlanta to CDG. Arrived fairly rested after a reasonable amount of sleep on the flight thanks to ambien. Took a taxi to our apartment on Rue du Bac where Laura showed us how to use the dishwasher, washer, drier etc. We prefer apartments to hotels for a variety of reasons but mainly for the extra space and the kitchen. Unpacked, walked around, got the feel of the neighborhood and had a fantastic lunch at Cafe Varenne. Went grocery shopping at Bon Marche then took the Metro to the Eiffel Tower. Did the boat ride on the Seine and about 10 guys mooned our boat from the left bank. It was actually quite funny. Grabbed a mediocre dinner and headed to the apartment, a very good first day.

Day 2. Up quite late and had the usual amount of trouble trying to figure out how to get a cup of coffee made and showers taken. My wife and grand-daughter soaked the floors trying to get used to the hand-held shower. While my wife finished getting ready, Taylor and I went in search of a bakery for fresh breakfast pastry to bring back. We had a fun time getting directions from a guy we saw carrying a fresh baguette - he spoke no English and we spoke no French. Went to Notre Dame, toured the Church and climbed to the top. Fantastic is all I can say. Believe it or not, we got lost inside the St-Michel train station and a very nice French woman helped us. Everyone was extremely nice to us everywhere we went. Relaxed a little at the apartment before going to the Place de la Concorde and walking up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe. Just as we got to the top of the Arc, the light show on the Eiffel Tower began. Had dinner outside at a restaurant on the Champs-Elysees and got in the middle of an incredibly wild celebration by the Portugese soccer fans for their victory over Spain.

Day 3. More fresh pastry for breakfast then on to Sacre-Coeur. Beautiful church and view. Did the tourist thing and had Taylor's portrait done by a guy in the place de Tertre. It took about 30 minutes and we were very satisfied. Metro back to Place de la Concorde, wandered around the Tuileries Gradens and had lunch at the top of the Samaritaine Dept Store. Then we went to St Chappelle and St Germain des Pres churches. It was about this time Taylor said she wasn't going to church for a month when she got back home. Stopped for drinks at Cafe de Flore and had a great time giggling while we were people-watching. Bought food at Bon Marche and cooked at the apartment. Lots of laughs about some very stinky cheese.

Day 4. Went to the Orsay. Taylor was getting bored with her grand-parents so we made a game of her going a room ahead of us and picking out her favorite painting. When we got to that room, she would show us the one she picked and tell us why, then she would go on to the next room while my wife and I looked at the rest of the paintings. This seemed to work very well for us. Next we toured the Rodin museum, some of which is very bizarre with a 13 year old. Then on to the Invalides and Napoleon's Tomb. Next we took a lot of pictures on the very beautiful Alexander I bridge and walked down the right bank looking at the incredible house boats on the Seine - each of us picking our favorite. This little walk is one of my favorite memories of Paris.

Day 5. Versailles. Short train ride on what turned out to be a very cold and windy day. The palace and gardens were great and Taylor wanted to ride in the row boats in the cold and wind. What an adventure. We survived and went back to Paris to get ready for our splurge at an expensive resaurant. Had a great meal at a very tiny place that was recommended by a friend.

Day 6. Toured the Louvre with an English speaking guide from the Louvre. Very good tour with the private headsets they now use that makes it easy to hear even when it is crowded and loud. Next we went to Luxembourg Gardens then had lunch at a small cafe where we experienced our first "hole in floor" toilet in France. I'm sure we didn't laugh all the time in Paris but thinking back we sure had quite a few laughs. That night, we had dinner at our favorite Cafe Varenne again. We had more laughs as our waiter had to act out the type of dish on the menu for us because Taylor wanted beef but it was "finished" for the day. He flapped his arms, jerked his head back and forth and went "coo coo' to describe the pigeon which Taylor refused to try. He then walked around saying "baa baa" which she also refused. I can't remember what she finally ordered but we had a blast trying to figure it out. After dinner, we went back to the Eiffel Tower to go up while it was dark to see the lights of Paris.

Day 7. Our last day in Paris was very relaxed just walking around a little eating crepes and Bertilli's ice cream. Went back to the Champs-Elysees for a final time then went back to the apartment to pack for our train ride to Rennes the next day.

This has taken a lot longer than I thought because I guess I am reliving the experience and it is taking quite a while to sort out all the little fun things we did every day that made it such a special trip. If I can get the time and energy again, I'll try to put together a report on Normandy where we stayed 2 nights at the Chateau de Sully near Bayeaux and 1 night at the Dormy House in Etretat - both of which were great.

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