Planning 1st trip to Paris - HELP!!

Old Nov 13th, 2000, 09:11 AM
  #21  
Alexis
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Elvira - Thanks for the information. I have ordered the "know before you go" guide from Customs.
 
Old Nov 13th, 2000, 09:59 AM
  #22  
Ess
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We didn't buy much so didn't bother filling out VAT refund forms. I don't have the patience. But I did buy some eau de toilette for my parents at Galeries Lafayette which I should have bought at the airport duty-free. Prices were better. There are all kinds of vendors outside the department stores that sell scarves, hats, bags, etc. I bought a great knock-off handbag for 149 ff (around $19?). I bought chocolates, tinned pates and soaps at the duty-free shop. I was tempted to bring back cheeses but didn't want to stink up the airplane and besides wasn't sure whether it would be allowed in the U.S. Fortunately, I didn't try to as soft cheeses, apparently, are not allowed. Alexis, we went on the Bateaux Mouches (sp?) boat ride at night and loved it. We rode on the open, upper deck and it was a little chilly but very romantic as you pass under the bridges on the Seine. There are sculptures and relief carvings on most of the bridges as you pass under that you wouldn't notice from above. The boat passed the Eiffel Tower which is beautiful at night, too. I thought it would be a hokey type of thing, but the boat ride was lovely. There were no announcers explaining anything and it lasted about an hour. I think it's the only time I ever came in from an outdoor event smelling head to toe of cigarette smoke. EVERYONE smokes in Paris, so just accept it as a fact of Parisian life. We went to the Eiffel Tower at night, too. It was awesome to just stand underneath it, let alone actually go up in it. It's VERY high - much more impressive (and scarier) than you expect. Also the "Roulet de Paris" (sp? again) ferris wheel at the Place de la Concorde was fun. We did that during the day though that would also be fun at night. I highly recommend seeing some of the sights at night, as Paris truly is the city of lights. One other suggestion I would make, as previous posters have said, don't plan all your time - leave room for the unexpected. We never did make a restaurant reservation, and I had so many notes on restaurants to try, but we couldn't be bothered to plan that far ahead. We never once had a bad meal in any of the restaurants we meandered into. There is another restaurant at the Eiffel Tower other than Jules Vernes, called Altitude 95 (I think it's 95) where you do need a reservation. It might be fun to visit the tower at night and then have dinner there. Jules Verne requires reservation months in advance. You don't have to dress extra-posh. We went fairly casual and fit in most places we went. I brought skirts but wore pants most of the time. Make sure you have very comfortable shoes to walk in (more than one pair to switch off) and that small totes umbrella is a very good idea. Unless you're accustomed to all day hikes, I would suggest an afternoon rest for your feet between daytime and evening activities. I used the time to massage my feet with lotion and a lie-down for a while in the hotel room. I walked my poor feet and legs off, but even with all the eating and drinking we did I managed return home two pounds lighter than I when I left. We used the Metro quite a bit, which is fairly easy once you get used to it. Most Parisians speak at least some English, but it's really a good idea to learn a few French phrases before you go, and bring along a small pocket dictionary. It will come in handy. Besides, it's fun to try to communicate in another language, and the French really do seem to appreciate your efforts. I found the Parisians to be rather friendly, though maybe just a little reserved at first. Some French phrases are a good ice-breaker. Hope this rambling helps somewhat. Have a wonderful time in Paris. Next time I want to go with my mother, too.
 
Old Nov 13th, 2000, 11:01 AM
  #23  
Stephanie
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Alexis: Several other things to suggest:
1. Eiffel Tower: Especially cool at night. BE SURE to see it every hour on the hour for 10 minutes it is illuminated with sparkler effect. Neat. Look at it from Palais Chaillot overlooking the fountains.
2. Boat Rides: At the base of the Eiffel Tower you can find Vendettes de Paris/France. Smaller boats with much less touristy feel. Seats 80 instead of 200 people. Buy sandwiches, water and kick back and enjoy the next 45 minutes.
3. Notre Dame: Gotta do. Then walk along the right side (as you face it). Cross behind it and cross over Pont Louis to Ile St Louis. Enjoy cafe and whatever there. I enjoy the church there along the "main drag" and if you like sorbets & icecreams, check out Bertilion. Classic.
4. Museums: To each his/her own but I especially would not leave Paris without seeing the Jacquemart-Andre. Stunning museum in the mansion of and exhibiting the collection of 2 true art lovers of a gone era. The audio guide is free, USE IT. Facinating history of their lives. Other museums I really enjoy: Picasso and the museum near the intersection of rue du Bac and Grenelle. Nice spaces to see smaller collections of art. Marmottan if you like Monet. Rodin Museum is also great and the gardens are cool.
5. Walks: Love the entire length of rue Cherche Midi. Love the length of rue des Saints Peres (start at rue de Sevres, end at the Seine and cross at Pont du Carrousel into the Place du Carrousel at the Louvre. Cool.
6. Other: Metro Edgar Quinet. Walk rue Delambre to rue Vavin along to Jardin du Luxembourg.
7. Take lots of breaks. Drink lots of cafe noir or creme and enjoy.
Anything further?
 
Old Nov 13th, 2000, 01:11 PM
  #24  
Diane
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My list:

1. The Arc de Triomphe at night, followed by a stroll on the Champs Elyses, and possibly a meal people watching on the same stree.

2. The Eifel Tower - at night. I'm a bit leary of heights but it was well worth sweating out the ride to the top. Just surrounded myself with people and slowly worked myself to the edge once outside on the top. Spectacular or the parc de Champ de Mars to see the tower.

3. Notre Dame or even better St. Chapelle.

4. Wander and watch - Rue Cler, the Latin Quarter. Relax and take it in.

If there on a Sunday, find a local park and watch the men play Bol or watch the roller bladers of all levels of experience.

Where you go, stroll leisurely and just take it all in and enjoy.

 

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