Paris Trip Report - 1st Time Visit

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Jul 1st, 2007, 05:36 PM
  #1
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Paris Trip Report - 1st Time Visit

First, thanks to all that helped in the some of the planning for this trip. We had a fabulous time and ended up doing everything we really wanted to over the course of the 12 days and ditched a few things that were on our list too.

We got back Friday night and I thought I'd give you some of my overall observations of Paris and the trip. Some might be a bit strange, but here goes....

Everything takes longer than you think it is. Mostly because you start on a plan and see something so you turn another corner, go down another street, look into a shop, see another street you have to go down and this goes on all day. It is easy to get caught up in Paris because the architecture and things that we just don't have here.

With a good map you can wander as much as you want because you are never really lost in Paris. I had a great street map that folded up very small with attractions and metro stops on it – this is a must.

We are all amazed at the number of cafes, restaurants, patisseries, brassieres, bistros, chocolate shops, ice cream shops, crepes, etc. Food, food, food and everything looks amazing. The pastries in the windows are masterpieces in themselves without even eating them.

The architecture, churches, statutes, store fronts, etc. made by jaw drop constantly. Truely amazing city.

The last two weeks of june was a perfect time for a vacation in Paris. The sun comes up at about 5:40 am and doesn’t set until almost 10:00 pm – it isn’t even dusk until about 10:30 and it gives you a great amount of freedom to do plenty of sightseeing.

The Summer Solstice, June 21st. They take this day seriously with some heavy duty fun, music and entertainment. Museums that are supposed to stay open late on that day will close at 6pm as will other things to accommodate the celebration. Tons of people and along with armed, flack vested police to keep things in control.

Weather: With the exception of a few warmer days in the beginning of the trip it is in the 60s many days and some low 70s. Most of the time partly cloudy and many times it looks like threatening rain is about to happen, but when it did rain it only lasted a short amount of time. Most days we carried our umbrellas because it was supposed to rain, but never did. Weather was perfect for walking all day outside.

When they built Paris a lot of it was thoroughly thought through. For example, if you are in a roundabout where a lot of streets come together, all the buildings surrounding the roundabout will have the same type of architecture, windows, etc. All the streets that jut out from that circle will have trees that line the street and they actually trim the sides of the trees so you can see straight down the street.

We had a French/English/German speaking guy with us for a few days on the trip. Every time I try to say something to him like Champ-Elysees, Sacre Coeur, etc. he can’t figure out what I am saying. Duh, I am pronouncing it like it reads, but not like it is supposed to be said in French. That happens a lot during the trip.

How many ways can there be to turning on a faucet? I could not believe how many I saw in Paris. Peddle on the floor, big button on the floor, automatic, turn, push, pull – you name it. Toilets flush mostly on wall above toilet as there is no tank, some are floor flushes. Many men’s and women’s toilets were separate rooms but shared a common sink area. A couple of bathroom areas also had a urinal out in the open. Weird.

Good to have some toilet paper or napkins in your purse for those toilets that don’t have any – that was often the case. Walking and drinking water all day means when you see a toilet or are in a restaurant – use it. You never know how long it will be before you see another one that you will want to use. I used one of those free public oval things on the street out of desperation and once was enough.

Walking, walking and more walking. Have good shoes and the better shape you are in the better you will enjoy the trip. So much walking and stairs that I came back the same weight as when I left. Maybe even slightly lighter. If it weren’t for all that gelato, wine and deserts I would have come back skinny! What a shame….NOT!

I love all the owners and their dogs walking in Paris, riding on the train, or shopping in the mall. Mostly little dogs and predominately Yorkies, which I have so I missed my dog a lot. There were some larger dogs, but few and some of those were Seeing Eye dogs.

Bought beautiful and tasty chocolates and teas, and a purse made in Paris that I love.

The Metro in Paris is much cleaner, larger in the area it covers, and more up to date than London.

The food is expensive but good and you can eat all day long and anywhere you want. Places to eat are one next to the other, everywhere. Wish I could get one of those great baguette sandwiches here.

Never once did we encounter a rude or unpleasant person on the trip. On the contrary, I thought everyone we interacted with was extremely pleasant and a lot of times a lot of fun.

Bread, baguettes, pastries – The Parisians know how to make it, they are experts. There is no doubt about it.

Using the ATM was the cheapest way to get money when it comes to fees and the exchange rate.

Met a lot of different people on the train back to Gare RER by CDG every night while staying near there the first six nights and had great conversations with people from all over the world just about every train ride. Although the trip took me about an hour or a bit more every time, I didn't mind.

Our hotel the 2nd half of the trip - Sofitel Baltimore is in a great location. Within a few minutes walking distance to the Eiffel Tower, maybe 15 minutes to the Arc de Triomphe, and a lot of fabulous places to eat and very nice part of Paris.

I hope we get the chance to go back some day.


keepmoving is offline  
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Jul 1st, 2007, 06:33 PM
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We'll be visiting Paris for the first time in October. Thanks for the observations! Very helpful.
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Jul 1st, 2007, 07:00 PM
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Glad to hear your first trip to Paris was great! Thanks for the report, keepmoving.
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Jul 2nd, 2007, 05:34 AM
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Don't you just love Paris? Thank you for your report and observations.

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Jul 2nd, 2007, 04:54 PM
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Paris was fabulous. I forgot to mention we did some things not on our original list because the gentlemen that spent a couple of days with us who is from Europe took us to the Opera Palais, Layfayette shopping area, French Quarter, Madeline Church Fauchon store and many other places. Opera Palais was a gem and we would not have gone in there.
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