Quickie Trip Report--Paris MLK weekend

Jan 19th, 2005, 05:09 AM
  #1  
amelia
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Quickie Trip Report--Paris MLK weekend

We left the US Thursday evening and left Paris at noon Monday, so we squeezed a lot into our few days. This report will be a brief as our trip.

Hotel: Hotel Du Pantheon. My daughter and I shared a superior twin room with view of Pantheon. My sister had a standard room on same floor. Would stay there again. Good hotel for return visitors as opposed to first timers as it is not near the major sites nor within a block of metro station. However, it is within two or three blocks of RER B, which means access from CDG is easy. Breakfast there is 12 E for sliced cheese, meats, toast, fruit cocktail, dried fruit, yogurt, juices, cereals/whole milk, croissant, pain au chocolate, tea/coffee/hot chocolate. However, this sounds better than it is: am used to "cave" breakfast in small hotels, but this breakfast room was outright depressing. Was in sharp contrast to rest of hotel. Lobby had little fireplace and was quite cozy.

Restaurants:
Perraudin: Excellent value (by the way, they now take credit cards).
Polidor: Not worth our time.See report in misspelled posting "Polidar Report." Brasserie Balzar: Good experience but not great value.
Le Vigneron: Good food; decent value.
Food court at Galeries Lafayette: Wonderful.
Le Comptoir Brasserie for breakfast one block from hotel: standard petit dejeuner at 6.90 Euro (croissant, tartine, jam, OJ, hot drink).

Sightseeing:
Did Lonely Planet walking tour of Latin Quarter to seek out Hemingway sights.

Cluny Museum--Loved the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. Thought gift shop was delightful, too. Excellent children's books.

Turner/Whistler/Monet exhibit: Very, very crowded exhibit which limits enjoyment. However, great to see juxtaposition of these three artists. Have always loved the Tate just for Turners. Bought a DVD of the exhibit with English subtitles so I can "visit" a bit more closely.

Andre Jacquemart/200th Napoleon Coronation Exhibit: Napoleon exhibit was just OK--again crowds make it tough. HOWEVER, the house blew us away. Small as mansions go; intriguing in design and in art collection. Anyone who is into Italian art will be amazed what two people collected for their own enjoyment, not for public exhibition. Also liked it that audiotapes were free with entrance fee. No fussing or mussing.

Le Cas du Sac exhibit at Musee des Arts Decoratifs: I could read enough French for the only-in-French guide to this large handbag exhibit but there wasn't enough light inside to read it! The arrangement of the exhibit left much to be desired.

Eiffel Tower: Top floor won't open until next month, but we wanted to see the ice skating. Sister, for some reason, has never been up in the tower, so it was a great excuse to check out the skaters. We couldn't get over the ice--it looked like it had two inches of crushed ice on the surface. I guess one can't get a Zambrani (sp) up to the First Stage. By the way, I wish they would clean the film in the history exhibit.

Shopping:
We had to go to Abbey Books in St. Germain to pick up poetry anthology for my daughter's homework. I've been there before, so that really wasn't new. I like the streets around there more than I actually like the bookstore.

Went to that St. Germain mini-mall that has GAP in it, etc. Daughter bought Le Phare de Baleine stuff at huge discount.

Bon Marche: We only buy consumables as souvenirs. Daughter is always able to find clever chocolate gifts--small, excellent taste, not too pricey--for friends and teachers.

Galeries Lafayette: We had never seen the dome, believe it or not, in 11? 12? 13? trips to Paris. Had been to La Samartine, Au Printemps, etc. zillions of times but not this one. Had good luck at sales. Sister bought mink scarf for around $88.

So that's it.

Oh, one last thing. I always travel with color copies of all my documents--passports, health cards, you name it. This trip, I was in a rush to get out of the door. I stuffed the copies in a bag, fully intending on putting all of it in daughter's and my suitcases on the way to the airport. Left the bag by the garage door because dog made Great Escape just before we left. I remember it just as we near the airport. I think,"Nothing has ever happened. You always over prepare anyway."

Three days later, we take the train to CDG on our way home. We have not paid attention to which train we got on from Luxemburg. That's right--it's the one that vears off from the CDG route. No problem: we just get off the train and cross the tracks to take next train in opposite direction. I'm feeling "light." Yes, I have left my purse with passport, credit cards, health card, you name it, on the train that we watch go off into the distance.

I am happy to say that I threw myself on the mercy of the gate agent (and it's amazing how fluent I became in French when in distress). She immediately called the train, they searched for my purse, they found it. I just had to go two more stops in the wrong direction, got four stops back to where I could get the right train to CDG, get to CDG and the bus to the terminal, and yes, we managed to make the plane.
 
Jan 19th, 2005, 06:46 AM
  #2  
 
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Amazing story, amelia -- regarding the lost purse!

And welcome back.
111op is offline  
Jan 19th, 2005, 06:56 AM
  #3  
ira
 
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Thanks for sharing, amelia.

>...yes, we managed to make the plane.<

Hooray for you.

>Balzar: Good experience but not great value. <

Are you aware that you get a 15% discount if you reserve a table over the interner?

http://www.flobrasseries.com/resa/en/

ira is offline  
Jan 19th, 2005, 05:10 PM
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amelia
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Yep, knew it. You post really well, ira. Thanks!
 
Jan 20th, 2005, 12:46 PM
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Hi Amelia: We just got back yesterday. I can't believe it--we were staying right next door at L'hotel des Grands Hommes. We meant to check out the Hotel du Pantheon and just ran out of time.

We really liked the location, too. Did you ever get around to checking out the Relais St. Jacques? If you remember, I was trying to find out first-hand information on it for this visit and never had a lot of luck.
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Jan 20th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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amelia
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Everytime we got back to the Luxemburg RER station and I sat the street sortie for "Abbe de l'Epee" I was so tempted to go down and visit the Relais. But we never did it.

Nor did we visit your hotel. In fact, I didn't think of it. Wish I had.

Where did you end up eating?
 
Jan 20th, 2005, 01:27 PM
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dln
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Amelia, the first time I went to Paris with my husband almost 20 years ago we stayed at the Hotel du Pantheon! All I can remember is that the rooms were teeny-tiny but there was a great view which made up for it all.

I had wanted to go to Galleries Lafayette food hall but somehow spent so much time in the main store that I didn't get to it! (surprise, surprise, seeing that it was sales week) Next trip I'll make time for it.

Marcy and I had much the same experience at the Turner/Whistler/Monet exhibitit but even still we were glad we went to see those amazing paintings, crowds or not.
 
Jan 20th, 2005, 02:53 PM
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How funny! The first time I went to Paris back in 1973, my friend and I stayed at the Hotel du Pantheon. I remember that the price in francs equalled about $30. It was ok for us. When my husband and I went to Paris in 2003, we went to see the hotel...even went in and told the host at the desk that I had stayed there many years ago (probably before he was even born!). It is a really nice looking boutique hotel now. They have done a good job renovating imo.
wren is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 02:18 AM
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I'm jealous, you just went this last weekend? Sigh....sounds like you had a wonderful trip! I've GOT to see that Napoleon exhibit.
Huitres is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 03:02 AM
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Hi
sounds like you did and saw exactly as you wanted and had a great time

I'm so happy you got your purse back, but the anxiety must have been awful!
Glad it worked out
elaine is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 08:14 AM
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Sorry to take so long to reply--I'm not often on this board.

We ate at Chantairelle (it was good but not great) and Les Fetes Galantes. In fact, we ate at Les Fetes twice. It's at 17, rue del"ecole Polytechnique.

We also ate breakfast at Le Comptoir. Like you, we found our hotel breakfast to be a good deal for what they provided but too much for what we wanted to eat.
catherina is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 08:23 AM
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Thanks for mentioning the food court at Galeries Lafayette. It's always packed with both locals and visitors and there is a huge variety of prepared foods. The grocery store that's adjacent to the food court is fantastic. They've got tons of great chocolate (cheap and lots better than the US chocolate,my opinion) and cookies and they make great souvenirs.
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Jan 23rd, 2005, 04:59 PM
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amelia
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Regarding the food court: I was just going over all my receipts today, and the value for the Galleries Lafayette Food Court was superb. Folks, you can get pitchers of wine there! (No, we didn't). But any "Paris" food in your wants, you can basically do there. For lunch, my sister really, really wanted a salad with a cheese sampler. Little child and I went straight for dessert (hey, it's a food group) and a good double expresso/chocolate chaud.

Funny thing was that I didn't plan this food court at all. It was a last-minute thing as part of our metro ride to Andre Jaquemart museum from the Mouffetard area. But I shall return.

Hey Catherina, you didn't tell us what food you ate at Les Fetes Galantes. Of course, now that I think of it, I didn't say what we ate at our restaurants. We were trying to serve the needs of the child--she wanted to eat escargot and entrecote au poivre until she burst. So it pretty much directed our restaurant choices.

 
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