Short Trip to Paris

Mar 21st, 2017, 08:12 AM
  #1  
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Short Trip to Paris

We got back last night from a very short trip to Paris. Thank you all very much for your input, your figurative voices were ringing in my ears as we made decisions each day on what to see and do and eat.

We were there from midday Friday until Monday morning so it was fast and furious. Clearly we were limited in what we could do but really had a great time. We logged about 30 miles of walking, and several miles of dancing

FRIDAY
We departed Thursday night expecting to arrive by 8am. Our flight had a very long delay on the tarmac for mechanical issues so we didn't end up getting in until almost noon, We took a cab to our hotel. We loved the location of Hotel des Deux Continents. It gave us great access to so many areas. The room was tiny but comfortable. We checked in quickly and were on our way. For those interested, I'd worn my Tieks flats on the plane. My girlfriend swore she wore them every day in Europe and they were comfortable. They were comfy when I put them on, and easy to take off and on for security but I knew by noon they were not going to let me walk all day. I put on my (very cute if i do say so myself) retro styled Saucony sneakers which became my go to shoes.

The first order of the day was coffee and lunch. We walked around St. Germain a bit to get our bearings and settled on a cafe. We had sandwiches and coffee and plotted our day. Our waitress was gorgeous in that I'm not even trying French way. In fact we saw so so many beautiful women with flawless skin and very little makeup. Made me more determined to check out their skin care options! We walked down to the Seine, along the Seine and then to Notre Dame. The line was long so we looked at the exterior and then visited the Archaeolgical Crypt. It was a short overview of the area, and interesting to see the Roman baths.

We then made our way to the Louvre for our tour. We did this with Oriel of Paris Walks and are so glad we did! Everyone had told us not to bother with the Louvre because it was too much for a short trip. Holy cow! It is too much for a month long trip! The tour was just right for us. Oriel was knowledgeable about both the Louvre and it's history as well as the art. It was really cool the way she shuttled us around the three wings in back passageways and around crowds. I think without her we wouldn't have made it out of the Pyramid in 3 hours. We saw and talked about many of the highlights. I am very sure I would have been overwhelmed by any more.

When we emerged from the Louvre the sun was setting and the light was so perfect. The pyramid was illuminated from within and seemed to float within the courtyard, It was lovely. We sat and just soaked it in. We walked back towards our hotel and walked around the area some more. We ate at Cafe Seraphim (warm decor, excellent ox! This tasted like regular steak to me, which the waiter said it was but the menu said ox. Either way, beautifully cooked and seasoned.). It was about 10p at this point which means I'd been up for basically 36 hours. I wasn't as fried as I would have thought but was ready to lay down. The bed was very comfortable, we woke from 2 to 4am and Facetimed our daughter and then went back to sleep and the morning came very quickly,

More to come in comments...
shaya is offline  
Mar 21st, 2017, 08:13 AM
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SATURDAY
We started the day at Marche d'Aligre. We bought strawberries (they may have been the most delicious things I ate in France. What a difference!) and ate them as we walked around. We noticed no one in France walked around eating or drinking. Very civilized! We walked around the Sorbonne area. My husband's grandfather had been a student there some 100 years ago so it was neat to think about that as we walked around. We stopped and had espresso and pain chocolat. (I wish every day could start that way) We walked more of the neighborhood and wandered into some shops.

I found a Monoprix and bought some of the toiletries I'd been wanting and a very lovely white cotton nightgown for myself. My favorite kind of souvenir! I'd heard from many friends that shopping in France was challenging because the shop people were not so helpful. I must say I did not experience that. It was challenging because I don't speak more than a few words of French but the people were very nice and seemed willing to help me.

It was almost time for our lunch reservation. We were nervous about being late so we hailed a cab. It was a mistake, traffic was terrible! But we made it to L'Ange 20 almost on time. We sat at a hightop table next to the bar. We could see into the very tiny kitchen. How in the world does such wonderful food come out of such a tiny place?! We had the foie gras and goat cheese salad as appetizers, then my husband had cod and I had duck for lunch. It was incredible. That cod is literally making my mouth water as I type this. The service was charming and the food superb. Couldn't have been better.

We then hustled to make it to our private walking tour. This was through Paris Walks with Mary Ellen, on the topic of the French Revolution. We met her at the statue of Danton and walked throughout the area. We went through Luxembourg gardens, saw the Odeon theater, etc. It was a good overview and we liked her, but she didn't have a great depth of knowledge. My husband came into the tour already knowing a lot about the era and I don't think it was in depth enough for him. The standing and walking was making itself felt. We went by our room, stretched and changed into warmer clothes.

We then took the metro down to the Arc de Triumphe and saw them light the flame and change flowers for the unknown soldier. It was very moving. Hard to imagine it is done that way every day. We walked up the Champs-Elysees for a while. We had walked several miles at this point and could feel every step. We stopped for coffee and rested. Then we walked some more, rode the ferris wheel, walked around the Grand Palais and crossed the Pont Alexander III as the Eiffel tower sparkled in the distance (this was just marvelous), finally taking the metro back to the are of our hotel. We found a lovely creperie and sat at a communal table and drank cider and ate crepes. We then made our way to one of the recommended jazz clubs (les Caveaux de la Huechette). It was about 11pm. They had a wonderful swing band. We stood in the basement which is very medieval, an actual cave, and watched the swing dancers. I loved that the best dancers all seemed to be over 65. One man in particular looked like Sean Connery and was wonderful to watch as he twirled his partners around effortlessly. We ignored the protests of our feet and danced until we couldn't anymore. I was pretty much in pain at this point. I couldn't lean forward my back was so tight and every step hurt. So of course, as we walked to the hotel I stepped in dog poop. REALLY?! Why was there so much dog poop on the sidewalks, what is up with that?! It meant walking around scraping it off, trying to find a way to clean off the worst of it without tracking it into the hotel. Finally we went to our hotel, I spent a good half an hour standing at the sink trying to clean off my shoe in the sink. Note to self: next trip my shoe selection will be solely determined by the tread pattern and how easy or difficult it is to clean. This one had very fine lines and lots of them. Not good. We showered and collapsed after 2:30am.

More to come in comments...
shaya is offline  
Mar 21st, 2017, 08:13 AM
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SUNDAY
We somehow managed to get out the door early and get to Notre Dame by 8:30am. No lines. They were having mass and it was beautiful to hear the music and the liturgy. We weren't able to go up to the top but it was wonderful anyway. Walking around outside we had our only encounter with scammers who tried to ask us to translate something. We ignored them and they skittered away.

My husband had now realized that the time he had seen for the soccer game was the time it was being broadcast in the US. It wasn't at 4pm, it was at 9pm! That killed our plans for a boat ride and seeing the tower at night but gave us more time during the day. We decided we'd try to see the tower and maybe get to the Hotel des Invalides before the soccer game.

We stopped at a cafe for (you guessed it) coffee and pain chocolat. Then we took the metro over to Reed Restaurant for our cooking lesson. There were 6 students, my husband being the only male. The lesson was fun and informative. It occurred to me that being a tourist and not speaking the language leaves you a bit isolated feeling, so the camaraderie of the class was very nice. We made strawberry shortcake, chicken in a salt crust, potatoes, and a mushroom accompaniment. We enjoyed it. The pros were a great group of people, insight into French life and produce, and a delicious meal. We learned a lot. And honestly we had walked almost 12 miles the day before AND gone dancing. I don't think we were in any shape to be very active so a nice calm cooking class was good. That being said the con is this - We had signed up for this class because it was listed as a 3 hour class. So we knew there was no market visit but it gave us more time for other things. The class lasted almost 5 hours! We were the first to leave and the husband was bit grumpy (rightfully so) that it had eaten up the extra time we had. It was also really pricey.

We made our way as quickly as we could to the Eiffel Tower. It was a grey and cloudy day and lines were not terribly long. We had no reservations but got through line pretty quickly (maybe 15 to 20 minutes?) and went all the way to the top. It was nice to get that big view of the city but if we could have done it at night it would have been perfect.

Back to the hotel to change and then we took a cab to the Parc des Princes. I know, we should have taken the subway but we were tired and didn't want to be in the crush. And it was nice the area from above ground. The venue was easy to manage and the game was fun. We found it amusing that the players warmed up to pop hits like the Trolls soundtrack. We made it back to the hotel by around midnight.

MONDAY
We got up early, went to Gerard Melot for croissants. Then to City Pharmacie which was everything I had read about. It was chock full as soon as they opened. Everyone had detailed lists and were stocking up! I gathered a few things and wished I'd been more organized about my shopping plan. It would have been smart to do this Day One and try the products while in France so I could have known what I loved and needed to stock up on. An example was a lip balm that was 5.5 euros. I tried it last night and loved it. Found it on Amazon for $20! Wish I'd gotten 5 more!

I dodged into Monoprix one more time (this one had a big grocery section). I was so frazzled about the time I couldn't shop! I looked for the things I'd read about but nothing was coming easy so I decided to call it a day. We ran back to the hotel finished packing and headed for the airport.

I love French efficiency. We checked ourselves in, printed our own luggage tags and checked our bags ourselves. Bu then the immigration lines were no joke! There were easily a thousand people in line and it took over an hour to get through. After that security was easy and fast.

Shopping in our terminal was mostly high end. I'd seen a Paris SG tshirt at the entrance to the airport and wrongly assumed the same shopping would be available in the terminal - boo! There was Longchamps, Duty Free, lots of beautiful things but not what I was looking for.

Our flight home departed without delay and was uneventful. My family picked us up and delivered a home cooked meal for dinner. What a lovely way to re-enter our real world. Daughter and dog were both happy to be home. All is well.
shaya is offline  
Mar 21st, 2017, 08:15 AM
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Pictures available here
https://www.instagram.com/styleorama/?hl=en
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Mar 21st, 2017, 08:16 AM
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Nice start; looking forward to more!
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Mar 21st, 2017, 08:24 AM
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Sorry, posted my comment before the rest of your post appeared. ;-)
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Mar 21st, 2017, 08:31 AM
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Russ - you are fast!
shaya is offline  
Mar 21st, 2017, 08:37 AM
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glad you had a nice time, you wrote a lot of good detail.
Christina is offline  
Mar 21st, 2017, 09:23 AM
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Nice report & very good pictures. Thank you.
MmePerdu is online now  
Mar 21st, 2017, 10:40 AM
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Thanks. I enjoyed the report and photos.
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Mar 21st, 2017, 10:54 AM
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Great report. Thanks. We love L'Ange 20.

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Mar 21st, 2017, 12:42 PM
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mms
 
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What a great report! This is the speed that I enjoy while traveling, so nice to see someone else do the same thing, lol! Loved your photos
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Mar 21st, 2017, 05:42 PM
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Thanks guys! @mms - maybe someday we'll have the time and money to travel more leisurely. For now it would be torture not to try to utilize every moment possible. Glad you get it
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Mar 21st, 2017, 06:56 PM
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Ah Paris. Haven't been back since '97 ... The most beautiful city in Europe ... have not been back in the 21st Century; to me, it's a city for couples, and going solo or with another F makes me pensive, maybe that's just me.

Just responding because long ago, long long ago, 1963, on first trip to Paris, we went on Frommer's Europe on $5 a day, and stayed at Hotel Les Deux Continents. Back then, basin in the room and shared bath on the landing -- but it was $3,50 per night! (in today's money, $35?). And yes, it was the perfect neighborhood. Rue Jacob had that Jazz club way back then, and my husband brought along his clarinet mouthpiece so they'd let him "sit in".
Memories ...
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Mar 21st, 2017, 07:17 PM
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What was the lip balm you liked? I followed the link, hoping to get a glimpse, but alas it only went to Amazon.
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Mar 21st, 2017, 07:29 PM
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Nice pics too, you have a good eye!
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Mar 21st, 2017, 08:11 PM
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Thanks rosiecaro! It is NUXE Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm. Ah-may-zing! You only need a little bit and it lasts and lasts. Not sticky, not glossy, just right.

Travelerjan that is funny! We did have our own bath but it was teensy! We paid about $150/night. My husband was teasing me that my next girls' trip would be to Paris. I told him that could never happen, first of all that would drive me crazy to have to negotiate with multiple people on what to do and where to go and having to worry about not being pushy but still feeling like I get to do what is important to me - belch! Besides he is my perfect travel companion. He loves much of what I love (history, art, walking tours, food) and pushes me into things I wouldn't do on my own (swing dancing after walking all day, sporting events, etc) and can usually be coerced into rubbing my feet. What more does a girl want?
shaya is offline  
Mar 21st, 2017, 08:12 PM
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And my phone autocorrected my "Blech!" to belch. Pardon me!
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Mar 22nd, 2017, 12:47 AM
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Very nice trip report, sounds like you had a great time. Dancing till it hurts, that's the way to celebrate!
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Mar 22nd, 2017, 02:14 AM
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shaya, I use Nuxe Rêve de Miel lipstick too. It's the only lipstick that's good for me^^
Thanks for the trip report.
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