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Sue survives Paris; thanks for all the tips

Sue survives Paris; thanks for all the tips

Old May 10th, 2002, 08:09 AM
  #1  
Sue
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Sue survives Paris; thanks for all the tips

I’m back from Paris and I wanted to thank everyone for contributing all the great information I used in planning my trip, from hotel advice to credit cards to new things to see and restaurants to try. I’d list names, but there would be way too many.

April 14-24: I had a great time and the weather cooperated, too. Actually, according to the natives, Paris was about a month ahead of itself weather-wise; the muguets had all bloomed, which made the florists tear their hair out, for there would be none for May Day. I'll have to remember this when planning a future spring trip--it was just perfect.

My housesitter drove us to the airport, where I discovered that the only thing I’d forgotten was American money! No luck cashing a travelers check, but my friend bought coffee for us.

I flew over with a French friend Cécile, who was going to spend time with friends and family, and upgraded us both to business with American FF miles (whoo-hoo!). We transferred in Dallas and lo and behold, the little jitney picked us up (we must have looked decrepit), so we didn’t have to take the tram and do all that trekking. What heaven business class is--my feet couldn’t even reach the back of the chair in front of me. And I loved being able to choose my own movie, a little French comedy to get in the mood.
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 08:13 AM
  #2  
Sue
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Arrived at Terminal 2 in pretty good shape, got money at the ATM and were picked up by Cécile’s cousin. They dropped me off at my hotel, the Relais Bosquet in the 7th. Because it was my first trip back since my husband’s death, I got a superior room (144 euro)--I did not want to be depressed! It was a large, sunny room in yellow (just like the website).

There was so much to like about this hotel: half-empty minibar (perfect for storing yogurt) with a square little freezer where I made ice cubes in plastic cups. Walk-in closet with safe, iron and ironing board, towel "shelf" over the end of the tub great for hanging clothes to dry, shower curtain. And they have electric shutters that you can lower to keep out noise and sun. I lowered them 3/4 of the way at night and left my window open, feeling very safe. (Ever since someone came through an open window in Florence and robbed us, I’m leery.)

There were real glasses on the English-style refreshment tray, as well as Villeroy and Boch cups for the tea or instant coffee (and a water heater). I loved being able to run down to a patisserie in the morning to get a croissant and pain au chocolat to eat with instant coffee (not bad at all). I waited to get a café crème (3.50) till mid-morning, a nice pick-me-up. At that price, I was grateful for the instant in the room.
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 08:16 AM
  #3  
Sue
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The people at the desk were very kind--they found me a room that was ready, so I was able to plunk my stuff down immediately and shower. They also found the address of the closest SNCF boutique, so I set off for a newsstand to get TV guides, l’Officiel des Spectacles (I prefer that to Pariscope) and a Ticket de Téléphone (7.5 or 15 euro) with scratch-off PIN so I could use it from my room. Then down to the metro station to get the coupon hebdomadaire (13.25) for my Carte Orange, then to rue St. Dominique to the SNCF boutique to pick up the first-class RT tickets to Amboise ($45) that I had bought on the internet. Painless. Then back for a 1/2 hour nap before meeting up with Fodorites! I took bus 87 to Seine/Buci. I had said I would have a blue flower in my hair, but couldn’t find any in the fading Buci market.

We met up at Café Conti on the corner of Buci and Ancienne Comédie. It was the perfect thing to keep me awake till bedtime. Diana, Joy, Mike and Mary, Bill and Paula, and Mark Harris (of Parishuttle fame). Mark even brought a sign that said Fodors, but we all showed up at the same time. (He’s a cutie; somehow I didn’t expect him to be so young.) See Diana’s pictures on Sally’s site: http://geocities.com/dhfsbf/fodorite/fodor.htm
(Thanks, Diana!)
To be continued...
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 08:33 AM
  #4  
Wendy
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Sue, great beginning of your trip report! Just the thing to get me through this boring Friday.

I tried the link for the pictures but it says it doesn't exist.

Wendy
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 08:38 AM
  #5  
Sue
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Sue, I just wondered if getting euros at the ATM at CDG took a lot of time; someone earlier said that there were a gazillion of people in the line. I am thinking of going over w/o any euros (on a matter of principle, I hate to get such a bad exchange rate to convert at bank here before I go--yep, I know, why get hung up on such a trivial matter!!) but perhaps that is rather foolish. Sounds as tho you had a wonderful time; good for you!
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 08:41 AM
  #6  
s.fowler
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I'm so glad your trip was great! I can't wait to introduce a good friend of ours to Paris in June

Hmmmmm .. that link should have worked BUT -- here's domain named lin instead: http://traveurope.net/fodorite/fodor.htm
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 08:57 AM
  #7  
Wendy
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Great pictures! Thanks for sharing!
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 09:11 AM
  #8  
Sue
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Sue, there was a line, but it didn't take too long (5-10 mins). Not a gazillion people. I agree: it galls me, too, to get a bad rate, and I always bring home money to have with me the next time, but there was this durned euro changeover.
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 10:36 AM
  #9  
Sue
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It was great to meet and talk, and finally most of us walked over to the Relais Odeon (on Monday many restaurants were closed) and had their plat du jour (10 euro), duck leg with vegetables—yum! I had a hard time finding the bus back—I finally caught it at St. Sulpice.

The next day I went to the Orsay—the entry is now on the quai side because of renovations; I went right to the front of the line with my teacher ID card, then straight to the top floor before it was too crowded, rounded the corner and the first painting I saw was Daumier’s La République (some of you may remember the art question earlier this year)! It seems you can’t go out on the terrace any more, and I did love to do that.

The funniest scene in Orsay: two American couples--one in dark clothes, woman in scarf, dark shoes; the other, woman in light blue jogging suit, man in khakis, flowered shirt, both in white Nikes with backpacks. You should have seen the look the dark-clad woman gave them. I thought, "I’ll bet that gal is a Fodorite!" Later that day a family of French walked by me, all in tennies.

Next I went to Thoumieux to meet my friend and her cousin for lunch. Nice atmosphere, waitress. I had cassoulet (17 euro) and crudités (8), they had fish. We all enjoyed the meal. I walked back to RB, browsing on the way.
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 10:43 AM
  #10  
Sue
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After a nap, I headed over to the Café Bosquet for lamb chops. The food was so-so, and it was surprisingly empty. Then I walked over to the Champs de Mars and the Eiffel Tower. It was twilight, people were walking their dogs, kids playing soccer; it was lovely.

Wednesday after croissants and phone calls, I took off for Auvers-sur-Oise. In the Invalides station, the ticket booth was closed, so I had to enter the RER and then leave it again (glad I had my Carte Orange) to get upstairs to buy the combined ticket that included the chateau (14.60). Trains leave every half hour and, of course, I just missed the 9:51. Then what did I do but get off to change at the wrong station (it’s a new one, not yet on the map with virtually the same name as the right one). My advice: go clear to Pontoise (not far) to change. I exited the track at the wrong end to easily find the connecting train, which as it turned out came in on the opposite side of the tracks from the RER. Honestly, I am not usually this ditsy!

I finally made it to Auvers! I visited the park with Zadkine’s statue of Van Gogh and went to the tourist office; I had a lovely chat about flowers--I was so happy to see the lilacs in bloom. I miss them a lot in the desert.
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 10:45 AM
  #11  
Sue
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By then I was starving, so I had a salad in what looked like the only restaurant in town; it was pretty full and they were racing around like mad as if running the few steps from the kitchen to the little dining room would speed things up (it actually slowed things down, as the waiter kept dropping things). From there, up to the chateau (everything was up or down) to see the multimedia impressionist show--actually you walk around with the listening device that triggers explanations depending on where you are standing. I found it a little hard to use; you really had to be standing in just the right place. The one at the Georges Brassens museum in Sète worked better.

I didn’t bother to see Vincent’s room since it is bare, but I did walk up (there’s that word again) to the cemetary to see his and Theo’s graves. Daubigny’s museum was closed, but this was the only day I could work this trip in. Then back to town, pretty uneventfully, except that I missed the Invalides stop (honestly, this just wasn’t my transportation day); however, it was easy to catch the bus 69 back to my area, and I got off near lots of restaurants: Fontaine de Mars, Le Croque de Sel, and walked down rue de l’Exposition, where there are lots of others, but it was too early and I was too tired from my adventures to contemplate a restaurant.
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 10:48 AM
  #12  
Sue
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So I hit a little market on rue Cler and bought a tiny loaf of pain Poilane (with walnuts, but not sweet--it was great with cheese), some camembert and ham, made a picnic and took it to the Champs de Mars. What a lovely place in the evening. I also bought a $2 bottle of wine, which I thought would be terrible, but it was great.

The next day I got up early and took a walk, then off to Amboise. The young woman at the desk of the RB almost blushed when I told her it was the hotel of my dreams, and she said that a regular single would be plenty big (17 square meters, as opposed to 22 for the superior).

I had to wait at the taxi stand on avenue de Tourville, but got to Austerlitz station in plenty of time (not Montparnasse because I wasn’t taking the TGV). I love regular trains; I had a whole compartment to myself (with my luggage) and read, ate, slept and worked crossword puzzles during the 2.5 hour trip.

I stayed at the Hotel Belle Vue mainly because of the elevator--I just like to save my legs for touring! The first room she showed me was rather dismal and had a little roof outside the window (safety?), so I asked for a higher room, which she gave me for 2 euro more (48), room 19 with nice yellow spread (karma) overlooking the Seine. Some of the rooms look onto the chateau.
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 11:09 AM
  #13  
Barb
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Sue--what a great report! I'll bet it makes a lot of people eager to be in Paris. I leave in 34 days(not that I'm counting) Thanks for sharing.
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 11:32 AM
  #14  
Capo
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Thanks for a great write-up, Sue. Glad to hear you had a wonderful time in Paris.
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 11:41 AM
  #15  
mimi taylor
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Thank you Sue, a wonderful report!
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 11:44 AM
  #16  
Lynne
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Sue:
So very glad to hear all the great
things about the Relais Bosquet as
we're there next Friday!

Sounds like you had a terrific trip.
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 04:55 PM
  #17  
is that the
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don't think your hotel in Amboise overlooked the Seine.
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 05:12 PM
  #18  
Sue
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Good sign that it was time to take a break! The Loire, of course.
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 05:14 PM
  #19  
Mary Anne Cook
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Thanks so much for your travel experiences. My daughter and I will be in paris Tues staying at the Relais Bosquet for six days. It is our first trip to France. It was so great to hear that it is a good choice of a place to stay. Already Frederica has been so helpful. Can't wait!!
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 05:27 PM
  #20  
Sue
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Mary Anne, I hope you two have a wonderful time! Don't forget the Champs de Mars at dusk. Café du Marché is across the street at rue Cler, and my husband and I enjoyed it a lot last trip. It is very popular. I didn't try the patisserie beside the hotel, but did like the one on the corner of rue Cler and Champs de Mars, less than a block away. If you can figure out the buses, it's a good way to get places. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Sorry this report is so chopped up, but I understand posts have to be less than 250 words, so my "word-count" function has been getting a lot of work.
 

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