Paris trip report, April 2007

Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:13 AM
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Paris trip report, April 2007


We recently got back from a week in Paris, after not having been there for 2 years. It was great to be back, though it felt almost like the first time, as we stayed in a different area and had to learn to get around all over again We usually stay in the 6th, so are pretty familiar with the public transportation there, but are not as familiar with the 7th. We found it pretty easy to get to places from our hotel, especially places on line 1, as we could connect with it from line 13. However, it would have been much easier had the #8 metro been running, as it goes from the 7th to the Opera and to the Eiffel Tower and Champ de Mars. We have that to look forward to next time We managed to work around it by taking the bus. We didn't find out, though, until one of the last days of our stay, that there was a bus stop on the rue de Grenelle, very close to our hotel. A big thanks to those who told me how much they love staying in the 7th, as we enjoyed it very much. The area was very quiet, but we liked that. We were right by Musée Rodin, and they've changed it since we were last there, with vertical windows in the wall so that you can look in and see the beautiful grounds, and right by the windows are the sculpture, The Burghers of Calais. In the following photo, you can see the vertical windows the museum has added.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Rodin097.JPG

The day we arrived, we walked to the Saxe Breteuil Market, and it was fantastic! It made me want to stay in an apartment so we could shop at the market We also finally got to see the marionette show at Jardin du Luxembourg that day, but it was dark in there, and we hadn't slept the whole night over on the plane, so we kept dozing off and on. We'll have to go back to see it on a Wednesday, after we've recovered from jet lag

We went to many of the same restaurants as we always do, but tried a couple of new ones. Most of the restaurants seemed to have gone up in price, some more than others. Le Perraudin has changed hands, and though it was a good meal it was more expensive, and they no longer have poulet roti on the menu, which was always my favorite. They also now request reservations, which isn't a big deal, but the old owner didn't take reservations, so it was easy to just show up around 7:30 and get a table. That said, the young couple who own it are very pleasant and hard working, and we had an enjoyable evening there. We loved Rotisserie du Beaujolais. It was a good, reasonably priced meal, with friendly service, in a cheerful setting. We will definitely return It was probably our favorite this trip. We went to Le Coupe Chou, and our waiter was absolutely wonderful, but it was more expensive and not as good a selection as we remembered. We liked Le Maupertu for the beautiful view on Les Invalides, but found it a little expensive for what we got. We ordered two Croque Madames and two bottles of water at Les Deux Magots, which we often do, and the price was about 50 euros! I feel sure it wasn't that much last time, though maybe we were just more aware this trip. We love Les Deux Magots, but we didn't go back this trip. We loved Bistro de Breteuil even more this time than our last visit. The food was good, and it is such good value, with a bottle of wine included, as well as a Kir Royale, an appetizer, coffee or tea, and dessert. We'll definitely be back! The price has gone up there too, but only to 34 euros, from 32 euros 2 years ago. We really enjoyed Fish on our last visit, but not as much this time. It was probably our least favorite restaurant -- the most expensive and very noisy, although the service was quit friendly. We had wanted to have lunch at L'As du Falafel in the Marais, but they were closed on Tuesday, so don't know if they're usually closed on that day or if they're closed for good. We made do with a Pain au Chocolat for me and a Tarte Citron for Bob from Au Levain du Marais, which we ate seated on a bench in Place des Vosges, and headed to the 6th where we had lunch at Paul. Glad we did, as they really do have good sandwiches. We enjoyed our lunch at Le Petit Josselin in Montparnasse, where we had ham and cheese crepes and a bottle of Cidre. The bill only came to 14 euros! We spent a few hours in Montparnasse, having had breakfast at La Coupole and then going up in the Tour Montparnasse -- gorgeous views!


One morning, we hopped the metro and ran up to Batignolles, which we've been meaning to do for years It was on Easter, so it was very quiet. The park is very pretty and only a couple of blocks from the Brochant metro. On the way to the metro is a good boulangerie where we stopped to buy a pain au chocolat. One reason we've never been there before is that it wasn't that easy to get to, but from the Varenne metro, it's a straight shot.

One day we got turned around on the metro, so decided to go out to Bercy, as we were headed that direction. Bad idea, as it was Lundi de Paques, and very crowded! Not sure we'll go back there, as it didn't seem that different from an American shopping center to us, but pretty, as it's housed in the old wine warehouses. We did enjoy taking the #14 train out there. It was very modern, and elevators in the stations, so it might be worthwhile going back on a day when it's not so crowded. On the way back from there, we stopped at Le Train Bleu for a drink. Gorgeous!

I ordered tickets on the Eurostar website for a day trip to London -- I had gotten tickets for 39 euros each way, so couldn't pass them up. However, I was worried that we'd have to pick them up from a machine at Gare du Nord and our credit cards wouldn't work or that there would be some problem LOL... I know, I'm a worry-wart, but it turned out to be no problem at all, as I just handed my print-out with confirmation number and the credit card I'd used, and the ticket agent handed me the tickets Couldn't have been easier! I'll definitely do it that way again. In London, we met up with friends who live near Cambridge. They met us early in the morning, and we spent the day together. We started off with breakfast in the National Portrait Gallery Restaurant, which has a beautiful view of London, and then we walked around the gallery a bit before heading for Buckingham Palace. We then had lunch in the Red Lion Pub, and after lunch headed for the Big Bus tour. We rode on that until it reached Harrods, where we picked up souvenirs for everyone and some great bears for the kids, one dressed as a Queen's Guard, another as a London Bobby, and another as a Scottish Guard After Harrods, we headed for Kensington Gardens for tea in the Orangery. We had about an hour and then got back on the tour bus to see some more sights, on the way back to Waterloo. We arrived at Waterloo with just time enough to grab a sandwich in the train station and use the restrooms before it was time to board the train back to Paris. It was a very long day, but a good one, and the weather was beautiful!

Before we left, I had heard all sorts of stories about people having difficulty getting a Carte Orange. We had no problem at the Varenne metro, and the sales clerk was especially nice. There was a machine there, but he sold them to us with no hesitation.

We went to Versailles, and we were there much longer than we'd planned, but we had such a nice day for it. The lilacs were blooming, as well as many flowers. We met a very nice French woman on the tram, who was with her granddaughter. She had lived in New York for a year as a young woman and had very fond memories of it. Now, she lives in Versailles. When we were riding the bus, we also met a very charming young woman (18 years old), who had spent a year in the US as an exchange student. She chatted with us about her time in Mississippi and her family in Perpignon.

We went to Vincennes, another place we've been meaning to go for some time. My husband liked it very much, so glad we went. We tried to go in the chapel, and from what I could see it was lovely, but they were shutting the doors. I think they might have been having a private ceremony. I'd like to go back and walk in the park, but didn't think it was worth it this time, as my husband had injured his foot before we left, and by then he was in pain. It was a very long walk just to get from the chateau to the park. From what I could see, the park was very pretty, though. You couldn't go inside the chateau yet, but soon I gather.

We finally got to the Mariage Freres, and it was lovely! The smell of the tea when you walk in is incredible, and all the shelves are filled with tea and teapots. We had breakfast that day at Pain Quotidien on the rue des Archives, and Mariage Freres was very close to there. We had planned to take the Marais walk, but didn't, as I knew my husband wouldn't be able to manage it. He wanted me to go by myself, but instead we just took a leisurely walk to Place des Vosges and sat on a bench, with a pain au chocolat for me -- I ate a lot of those -- and Tarte Citron for him. Mmmmm...

We did get to L'Orangerie, and it was beautiful! Worth the wait It was listed on the Paris Museum Pass as being closed, but they did honor the pass. They have a very nice gift shop there too, and I bought water lily themed souvenirs for the kids.

Our last night was a Friday, and we were in Saint Germain de Pres, but thought we had missed the roller bladers. However, when we got off the bus at Invalides, there they came! We were happy that we hadn't missed them The last morning we woke up early, so had time for a walk before we had to leave. We took the metro from Varenne to Champs Elysees Clemenceau -- 2 stops. We were amazed when we walked out of the metro. It's right by the Grand and Petit Palais! We didn't know, as we'd stayed in the metro to transfer to another train every other time before that. It's a beautiful area, and next time we'll go to Le Notre, right by the metro stop, but it was closed that morning. We didn't get to see everything on our list, but always a good reason to return

Sandy
sandypaws3 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:22 AM
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Sandypaws, where did you stay? We usually stay in the 6th and are planning to try the 7th next trip.
Judy is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:32 AM
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Did anyone ever tell you why the #8 Metro line was not operating?
Robdaddy is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:00 AM
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1. Metro line 8 is operating just fine. Only the Opéra station on line 8 is closed for a couple of months for renovation.

2. Bercy Village is always crowded. It being a holiday weekend had nothing to do with it.
kerouac is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:37 AM
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Judy,
We stayed at Hotel Varenne. We liked it, though I noticed that the rate has gone up already, since we stayed there Maybe we lucked out and got 2006 rates.

Robdaddy,
Guess we misunderstood. We thought the whole line #8 was not running. Didn't realize it was just the Opera station. That would have made things easier had we known Ah well...

kerouac,
Thanks for the information on line #8. Guess we'll stay away from Bercy, then... too many people for our taste.

Sandy




sandypaws3 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 10:05 AM
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tod
 
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That was a whole lot of fun Sandypaws! Thanks for the lovely report.
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 12:16 PM
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tod,
You're very welcome Glad you enjoyed it!

Sandy
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:34 PM
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blh
 
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Thanks so much for your report - really enjoyed it. We leave in four days for France - with a week in Paris. Enjoyed reading the restaurant reviews - especially the update on Perraudin as it is one of favorite restaurants. Good to know they now prefer reservations. Always liked not having to reserve - could just show up early and get a table.
blh is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:35 PM
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Lovely report! We're planning to go back to Paris, maybe next year, and staying in the 7th. I'd always wondered about the Bistrot de Breuteil - now we'll try it for sure. Thanks!
Iwan2go is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:56 PM
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Thanks for your lovely report Sandypaws! You make Paris feels so real. Only 7 months and I will be there!
chiarachiara is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 07:30 PM
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blh,
I agree that it was nice to just show up early at Perraudin and get a table. I like the young couple that are the new owners, but I miss the old owner. He was a lovely man. Hope you have a wonderful trip!

Sandy
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Apr 26th, 2007, 07:54 PM
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Iwan2go,
I think you'd like Bistro de Breteuil. Not only is it a good meal and good value, but it's a very pretty walk towards Les Invalides.

Sandy
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Apr 26th, 2007, 07:57 PM
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chiarachiara,
You're very welcome The seven months will go by quickly. Have a wonderful trip!

Sandy
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Apr 26th, 2007, 08:48 PM
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Sandy, I've enjoyed reading your report. I'm currently going through Paris withdrawals and this has been quite helpful for me.

Thank you!
Leely is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 05:35 AM
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Leely,
I'm glad you enjoyed it It seems hard to believe we were there just a couple of weeks ago.

Sandy
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May 1st, 2007, 06:42 AM
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Thanks for your report.

We also had a great experience at Bistro de Breteuil in February. I think it has to be among the best values in Paris. The waiters were charming to our two girls and they even included a glass of champagne with desert too. Good thing our apartment was only across the street at that point!
cruisinred is offline  
May 1st, 2007, 01:26 PM
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lovely to read your report, going to be there in 2 weeks and wondered where you saw the bladers from. I know they start in Montparnass but wondered what a good vantage point might be to see them go by.

Thanks

Pat
joey365_000 is offline  
May 1st, 2007, 01:47 PM
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The only way to know where the Pari-rollers are going is to check their website on Thursday or early Friday to get the route for that week's roll. The site is in French but you can probably work with it..

http://www.pari-roller.com/
Look under Randonnée for the Parcours. Currently there is not one posted but there is one for last week.
Travelnut is offline  
May 2nd, 2007, 04:35 PM
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Pat,
Travelnut is right -- check the website, but I can tell you that we have always seen them on boulevard St. Germain except this year when we saw them by Invalides. Not sure what time they start, but it seems to me that it was anywhere from 9:30 to 11:00 PM that we saw them. The first year, we went to dinner about 7:30 PM, and were walking out of the restaurant by about 9:15 when they came zooming along. Thousands of roller bladers, whooping and hollering, with the police behind on horses. It is a fantastic sight... don't miss it

Sandy
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May 2nd, 2007, 04:37 PM
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cruisinred,
What a wonderful area to stay in... did you book with an agency?

Sandy
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