things i learned in france

Old May 21st, 2008, 08:28 AM
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things i learned in france

1. as a solo female traveler going with a group tour to paris, provence & the riviera, i thought there would be others like me, but i was wrong. there were, however, friendly couples i was able to hook up with.
2. i didn't get to see one-tenth of the sites on my list in paris, largely because we were just there for 2-1/2days,but also, i was too intimidated by the metro & bus system to take it by myself. I found out on my last day there about the batobus, a shuttle boat up and down the seine.
3. just walking along the seine, sitting in a sidewalk cafe, enjoying the wonderful food and wine was awesome.
4. parisians are not rude and snotty to americans. without fail, everyone was polite and helpful.
5. summoning up my college french from 40 years ago was an amazing experience. it's one thing to communicate in the classroom, but when you do it in person -- and someone actually understands what you've said -- it's great.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 09:31 AM
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Things I could have learned by reading Fodor's.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 10:48 AM
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6. You never see it all, so return every year - as we try to do!
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Old May 21st, 2008, 11:34 AM
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fyi, robespierre,
i read fodors faithfully for months before my trip. readin' ain't the same as doin'.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 11:36 AM
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bobbye7, you learned the most important thing (No. 4). It sounds like a good trip. Hope you plan to come again.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 11:38 AM
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"i read fodors faithfully for months before my trip. readin' ain't the same as doin'."

No , it isn't. But it is helpful..
Also helpful is to make reservations for your return trip, as soon as you get home
After you have gone , perhaps a dozen more times, you will be able to branch out into new areas lol...

Thanks for posting!! Anything about Paris is good to read ..
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Old May 21st, 2008, 12:26 PM
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Bobbye7:

Right you are about #2. I too was a Paris solo traveler in 2005. I was there for 7 days and I didn't ride the metro but one time and that's because I had no choice (took the metro to Du Nord for a one day London trip). Other than that I wasted valuable time walking everywhere. However, I did take the Batobus a few times, but it doesn't go everywhere.

I learned when I went again the following year. I was a Metro riding fool baby!

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Old May 21st, 2008, 01:50 PM
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dwebb,
i try not to think of the walking around paris as a waste of time. i interacted with more people this way, like stumbling into boutiques and asking, "excusez moi, je cherche le whatever." and that's how i found the batobus, wandering into the jardin des plantes. also the picasso museum and the place des voges.
however, physically, i overdid the walking. my feet & ankles were swollen by the third day by overuse and i had to wrap them in cold towels every night.
yes, next time i am going try to master the metro. i also hope to take a companion. it's just more fun that way and two heads are better than one!
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Old May 21st, 2008, 04:30 PM
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Maybe next trip you'll be ready to go solo without a tour group? That's when it really gets fun.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 04:42 PM
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My best advice to those who tire of walking is to use the buses. You can see where you're going, and often, the
metro has so many steps that you walk more than you think. I love riding buses in Paris! You can buy a booklet with maps of the bus routes at almost any news-stand or tabac.
Barb
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 02:18 PM
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totally agree with Barb.. but not just paris. madrid, london,vienna.. berlin.. barcelona..

love being above ground and checking out what´s going on.

sometimes they are harder to figure out, but it is worth the extra effort to do so.
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 02:43 PM
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I almost never take the metro unless I have to. Buses or walk. Try to master the buses - you'll enjoy Paris even more. Often I'll plot out a circular route around Paris taking us through areas we might not visit otherwise. If it looks interestng (like a market in progress, interesting shops, or a park), we'll hop off, visit, then get back on the bus to continue. Great way to see Paris.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 05:42 AM
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i agree, i like the idea of a bus better & dealing with a driver i can see. but i have some questions:
what exactly do you do when you get on a bus? hand the driver a ticket or coins? and can you ask him if you're on the right bus? also, if you want to get off, is there some overhead thingie you pull like in the usa?
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 06:18 AM
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bobbye,

Buses take the same tickets as the Metro, but the drivers also sell the tickets. So either a ticket or cash will work. The important thing to remember is to validate your ticket in the little machine on a post near the driver. And there are many big red buttons throughout the bus. Push one for the next stop. Each bus stop has maps for the routes of the buses that stop there, with the corresponding number. And the buses are clearly marked with the number. As someone else said, there are very handy bus route books that are sold everywhere. Enjoy exploring Paris on the bus!
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 06:24 AM
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You use the same ticket/pass as you use on the Metro. There is a ticket taker machine on the bus where you insert it into, and it will process it. It will give it back to you for transfers. If it is invalid (time of transfer expires - I think it's 1 1/2 hrs for a non-"pass" ticket), it will tell you so. I have not used the Carte Orange (one week pass) since they modified the ticket taker machines to process them - but you will either show the Carte Orange to the driver or insert the ticket into the machine.

There is a cord you pull to get off the bus. Inside the bus there is a very detailed map that displays all the stops along the way, cross streets, and the other lines where you can transfer. I don't remember, but there might also be a sign indicating the next stop.

The buses are well marked, so you won't have any trouble telling which one to take. Also the booths where you catch the bus is well marked, and also the detailed route plan (same one that's on the bus) is on the booth. Also at each booth is a local map telling you the location of other booths in the immediate neighborhood. This is good for locating booths for transfers to other lines, or where to pick up the same bus going in the opposite direction. Boothe have names - just like Metro stops have names. many times if there are seeral lines stopping at the same location, there will be multiple booths. Some lines will stop at the first booth, and others at the second or third. The booths indicate which line stops where. Some booths have displays that indicate the time till the next bus arrives. A few stops where only 1 bus line stops don't have booths - just placards on a lamp post or some kind of "upright"

You can pick up a detailed route map with general booth locations at any Metro station - you'll need map # 2. You can also purchase detailed route maps at news stands. I looked at the latter map, but the free one obtained from the Metro station is adequate for me.

I live near San Francisco, and our bus system is considered OK - but the Paris system is much, much better.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 06:35 AM
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>>Boothe have names - just like Metro stops have names. many times if there are seeral lines stopping at the same location<<

That's booth not boothe, and several not seeral.

fbc34 is correct - there are red buttons not cords.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 12:53 PM
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Oooh....Robespierre...tsk tsk...your responses are normally good to read for the droll, dry wit you generally display. This one doesn't quite meet with your usual standards. Patience is a virtue for which very few of us will be rewarded. Cheers!
p.s. Are you by chance a Chelsea fan? If so, all is forgiven; you've suffered enough.
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