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Janice Jun 27th, 2002 08:22 PM

Recent trip to France
Just came back from a two week trip to France staying in Paris and in Provence Regions. I want to alert anyone that is traveling by air that they maybe surprised to be inconvenienced by Air Traffic Controller Strikes. We were schedule to fly out of Charles De Gaulle and ended up taking a 5 hour bus trip to Brussels to fly home back to the states. Apparently, all of the EU countries will be striking periodically this summer to get their point across. Also was very surprised at how little our dollar was worth this trip. We were there last spring 2001, and had a glorious time shopping and eating. This time I found that I had to walk away from items as the cost have gone up tremendously. If you are planning on shopping be sure to check prices out at home first. I had booked my hotels seven months in advance and was surprised when I arrived to see how much the price had differed because of the changing rates. One hint leave your conversion tables at home as the price is straight across now. We found that the dept. stores offer the locals a 40% discount off many items which we are not able to get. I oftened wondered how the Parisians manage as the pricing has gotten so expensive with the Euro. Be also on the alert for pick pockets on the Paris Metros especially on Line 1 which encompasses many of the tourist sites. We saw a group of teenage boys around the age of 15-16 roaming the metro. One boy wears a mustache and floppy cloth hat. The day before we heard a Parisian lady pointing to the same group of boys telling her friends that they were pick pockets. The following day, believe it or not we ran into this same group as we were passing through the metro. We actually stopped and faced them directly and what do you know, one of them actually came after my husband trying to get into his pockets. Luckily my husband started yelling scaring the kid off, but these boys are gutsy. Be alert also near the Eiffel Tower if you are strolling through the park. A boy tried to follow my husband there too. It's a little alarming to hear announcements in the Metro station warning people of pick pockets. We found that our money went much further in the<BR>South of France. People are also nicer too.

alison Jun 27th, 2002 09:57 PM

Janice, thanks for sharing your observations. It will help regarding the pickpocketing issue. It apparently has gotten much worse since we there in 1999. The way you describe it, the pickpockets are pretty young and they are aggressive. Hopefully, one can still take the metro if one is aware of the surroundings.

xxx Jun 28th, 2002 08:07 AM

Janice, I love to read trip reports, but please, please separate yours into paragraphs. Makes it SO much easier to read.

sd Jun 28th, 2002 08:14 AM

Could you give some advice on Provence? I'm planning to go there after the summer rush, but only for a few days. Any advice about transportation between the smaller towns, or advice on any places I have to see or shouldn't bother with? Thanks.

betsy Jun 28th, 2002 08:28 AM

Well, well, look who's here! Looking forward to getting all your trip details at breakfast next week! :-)

Christina Jun 28th, 2002 08:31 AM

Hope you had some good things happen on your trip, it sounds very bad... I was just curious about your remark that dept. stores offer locals big discounts that others can't get. Where did you see this occurring and how was it enacted -- I mean how did the locals have to prove they were local, for example, and how did you become aware of this? Was this actually advertised store policy that was posted? I've just never heard of something like that and wouldn't think it would be legal, exactly, but that's just because I know how regulated prices are in France that I'm thinking that. I could see maybe some small vendor doing such a thing maybe in a heavy tourist area, but wonder if this is some new French govt economic policy? Actually, tourists usually get better deals because they can get the VAT back and locals can't.

Andre Jun 28th, 2002 08:38 AM

"We found that the dept. stores offer the locals a 40% discount off many items which we are not able to get. I oftened wondered how the Parisians manage as the pricing has gotten so expensive with the Euro."<BR><BR>You must be kidding, Janice!<BR><BR>First of all, the department stores most certainly do NOT offer special discounts to locals - I should know, I lived there.<BR><BR>As a matter of fact, tourists get a much better deal, with 10% discount cards valid at Galleries Laffayette available at their hotels - plus a VAT refund (about 15%) if they live outside the EU. <BR><BR>How do many Parisians manage? Well, many of them live far out in the suburbs, they don't set foot in the expensive, touristy department stores near the Opera and they rack up some major debt...<BR><BR>Andre

topper Jun 28th, 2002 01:50 PM


Possible Jun 28th, 2002 01:58 PM

Isn't it possible that the locals received coupons in the mail? We often receive coupons which a tourist wouldn't even know about.

ttt Jun 29th, 2002 03:00 PM


vacation Jul 1st, 2002 07:49 PM

a vacation in Paris and all she reports is not getting a rate like locals and pick pockets in the metro...jeez. you really know how to enjoy yourself.

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