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Spring Time in Paris (3/22/12 - 3/30/12)

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Apr 16th, 2012, 06:22 PM
  #1
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Spring Time in Paris (3/22/12 - 3/30/12)

Back about 2.5 weeks from our most recent trip to France so I thought I would put some memories on paper (or the internet).

First a little background information:

Travelers: Myself (4th time), wife (5th time), 7 year-old daughter (3rd time), MIL (3rd time) and 16 year old niece (1st time). After her first trip in 2008, our daughter has developed a love for all things Paris...her room is decorated in a Paris theme, her last birthday party was Paris themed (complete with a caricature artist) and she is even taking French classes every Saturday at the local branch of the Alliance Francaise.

We flew round trip from Orlando - Paris departing on 3/22/2012. Outbound flight was a non-stop (direct flight) on Air France.

Airport Transportation: As always, reservation made throught Shuttle Inter.

Lodging: Vacation in Paris #225 - http://www.vacationinparis.com/apts/id_225.htm

Day One (or night one): We were lucky enough to book tickets (at least one way) on the Air France non-stop flight from Orlando to Paris before they suspend service in September. These days I hate having to change planes, so this was a great option.

No issues at airport or during boarding, although flight was a little cramped. It was a late departing flight (9:55pm) so they weren't supposed to serve a full dinner (we ate before) but they did serve a full dinner before dimming the lights.

Can I just say that this was the hottest international flight I have ever been on!! Normally I'm a little cold, so I wear a long sleave shirt, but for whatever reason, this plane did not have any personal air blowers and they kept it warm. So warm that I couldn't get any sleep, couldn't even use my neck pillow, because it made my neck sweat. Oh well, at least we're going to Paris.

Other than the heat, the flight was uneventful and we landed a couple of minutes early in Paris. Went through immigration, picked up our bags, breezed through customs and then found our driver from Shuttle Inter standing nearby with my name on a board.

No searching for ATM's in the airport for us...I always like to have some Euro's in my pocket when I land, so I always get about 100 euros benfre departing the USA. Being a tourist destination, there are plenty of exchange places around Orlando, but I use the exchange counter at the Florida Mall. Quick, friendly and a minimal charge but to me it's worth it to have some cash on hand when I land.

The van ride into the city was relatively quick (about 50 minutes, in total) and soon enough we were standing in front of these big castle-like doors that lead to the apartment.

This is our 3rd time using Vacation In Paris for our rental and we've never had an issue any time. It's certainly nice arriving with keys in hand and not having to wait for someone to meet you.

The apartment is on a little side street (Rue Princesse) between Rue du Four and Eglise St. Sulpice. Upon arriving we noticed how quiet it waas, but also noted that there were a number of bars located on the street.

After entering the big wooden doors, we were quite surprised, because there was an corridor that vaguely resembled a dungeon. We found the stairs and made our way up the 1.5 flights of steps to the apartment.

The apartment was just as advertised. 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and a fold out couch (although my niece always just slept on the couch without opening the bed). The master bedroom and bath were a nice size, but the other bedroom/bath were a little small, yet still quite manageable. There is a 42" tv mounted to the wall and free calls back to the USA as well as free WIFI. After getting to mobile devices set up on the WIFI network, it was time to get out and get some sun.

My daughter loves the Jardin du Luxembourg (especially the playground) so we head over there as it is a short walk from the apartment. She swears that she must show her cousin her favorite park equipment in the whole world, The Flying Fox. My daughter could literally spend hours just riding this (she did for 2 hours on our last day) contraption. For anyone who has been to the park/playground, they will know the Flying Fox as the ride with the track above it where the kids ride around the track on a rubber disc suspended below the track, We have never seen such a playground ride in the USA, but my daughter loves this ride.

While she and her cousin play, myself, my wife and MIL sit on some chairs and sook up some sun. After a little bit, I walked over the a boulangerie on Rue Vavin, grabbed some baguettes and then headed back to the park. After about 90 minutes in the park, it was time to head back towards the apartment, get something for dinner and then get to bed fairly early (no naps for us).

I beleive we stopped at the Monoprix on Rue de Rennes, got some dinner and then headed back to the apartment. After eating and showers, everyone was in bed by about 7:45pm. My MIL said that she had a hard time sleeping due to the bar noise below, but I did not hear anything after taking 2 Tylenol PM's.

All in all, a great first day in the city of lights...more to come soon. I'll try to condense a little in future installments and try not to be so wordy.
clemson91 is offline  
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Apr 16th, 2012, 06:35 PM
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Eagerly looking forward to the rest of your trip report because we are going to Paris for the first time in July/August. Sounds like you are staying in the 6th, right? We are staying at the Hotel Bonaparte in the 6th. I would appreciate it very much if you could give restaurant names, addresses & prices.
Thanks.
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Apr 16th, 2012, 06:42 PM
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First Full Day in Paris (3/24/2012):

Activities for the day: Menagerie at Jardin de Plantes and a visit to the Eiffel Tower.

After getting a late start, we walked down Blvd. St Germain, eventually stopping briefly at the Maubert-Mutualite Saturday market. We then went by the boulangerie for some food (we stayed in this area on a previous trip) and then headed into the metro for the short trip to Gare de Austerlitz (thanfully we had some metro tickets left from a previous trip because the counters were not manned at the Maubert-Mutualite station).

After arriving at Gare de Austerlitz, I found a manned ticket counter and purchased 2 carnets.

Now it's off to the Menagerie for about 2 hours. Before leaving the park, my daugeter had to ride the carrousel.

Now it was off to the Eiffel Tower via metro (we just wanted to show it to our niece up close...no intention on climbing it today). Took metro to Ecole Militaire stop and then walked down Ave. de La Bourdonais towards the Eiffel Tower.

The area surrounding the tower was packed on this day, as it was a beautiful and sunny Saturday. After about 45 minutes in the area, we decided that we would take a leisurely stroll back to the apartment down Rue St. Dominique and the Blvd. St Germain.

It was a nice walk and we made multiple stops to rest and just look around.

For dinner, we decided to try La Coupole. It was a fairly short walk from the apartment and we arrived at about 7:45pm. Everyone execpt my daughter ordered from the 33 Euro Prix Fixe menu (daughter ate from Kid's menu). Food was good, especially my Steak Tartare. Total bill for all 5 of us was 160 Euros (including a carafe of wine).

Walked back to the apartment (the bars below were already hopping) and called it a night.

More to come......
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Apr 16th, 2012, 08:24 PM
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Liking this report, and hour apartment choice looks excellent.
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Apr 19th, 2012, 03:36 PM
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3/25/2012 - Jim Morrison and Mona Lisa...

Got another late start this morning and didn't originally know what we were gonna do, but we figured it out.

First stop was Pere Lachaise Cemetery so we could go looking for Jim Morrison of "The Doors" fame. My niece was particularly interested because she attends the same high school in Melbourne, FL, that Jim Morrison attended.

After reading/studying the cemetery map hard, we finally stumbled onto the grave site kinda tucked away between some other grave sites. Not how I envisioned it, but oh well.

After that we wandered a little bit more and the went looking for Frederic Chopin. After some searching we came upon his grave, which was a little better marked.

Afterwards we sat on some park benches up by the chapel admiring the view before heading for the Metro.

Next stop, The Louvre....

The Louvre is not some place we were considering (having been 3 times) but we had to make a stop as my niece had never been. She got to see all of the major attractions and we were out of the museum in about 2 hours.

Did a little shopping in the shopping area under the museum and then walked back to the apartment.

After a short break, we headed out for dinner to Leon de Bruxelles on Blvd St. Germain. Everyone enjoyed their mussels except my daughter (had fish and chips) and my MIL (had a steak of some sort). Wife and I enjoyed a beer with our dinners.

After dinner we stopped at Amorino's, which was right around the corner from the apartment, for some tasty gelato.

All in all, another good day.

Coming up...A day of Religion
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