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passionfruitdrink37 Dec 2nd, 2012 11:22 AM

If she bails, it's irrelevant to me. I don't need her to get on the plane.

LeslieC Dec 2nd, 2012 12:36 PM

This is a very long thread, so forgive me if I am repeatin anyone else's advice. But, here are some random thoughts:

1) You mention taking a cell phone. Are you aware that roaming and data charges can be extreme when so far from home? I recommend that you learn how to turn off data roaming on your phone so you don't incur surprise charges. Then buy a flat rate phone/text plan for travel to France and don't use your phone for internet or GPS.

2) Are you aware the Pantheon is a mausoleum? Your cousine might not like it. I found it a bit sterile and spooky (unlike the Pantheon in Rome which is spectacular!) Not a must-see in Paris, IMHO.

3) If you do have a nice weather day and run into any markets, a fun Paris lunch is a baguette, a hunk of cheese, a few pieces of fruit, a demi-bottle of red wine, and a chocolate bar to finish it off! Find a park bench and have lunch. This also makes for a fun in-room dinner if you are tired and don't want to sit in a restaurant. You will see there are many take-away places Europe to have an inexpensive meal (e.g. point to the Quiche Lorraine in the deli case, Have them heat it up and walk away with eating it.

4) I can't speak for the young crowd, but generally I'd say the French culture is a bit more formal than American or Canadian. Americans think they are being friendly when they are very informal and the French think they are being friendly when they are more formal/respectful, so we can often misunderstand each other. My advice, when in a shop or a restaurant, or the hotel desk: make eye contact, always use the appropriate greeting (Bon jour, madam....Aurevoir, Monsieur, etc. and always say Merci with the cheerful lilt)

menachem Dec 5th, 2012 06:52 AM

As to using your cellphone with data in Paris: there's a lot of free wifi around in public parks, at Mc Donald's (sorry, sorry, but it's true) and at a lot of cafe's. Just ask for the "code" and you're set.

Having lunch on a park bench wouldn't be my idea of winter fun, and 2 - 7 centigrade is cold, especially if it's also wet, which it will be. Better to be on a heated terrace. I can almost guarantee you that the weather end of december - beginning january will not be nice. Exceptions excepted of course.

@PFD: yes to your discovery of the Mobilis pass. It's brilliant and easily bought from a ticket window. It will save you a lot of money, compared to carnets.

kerouac Dec 5th, 2012 08:47 AM

This evening it is 3° in Paris and we may see snowflakes before the end of the week. But of course this is meaningless in terms of weather on December 27th.

passionfruitdrink37 Dec 5th, 2012 08:51 AM

2-7 degrees is most definitely not cold. Chilly, but I've lived through much much worse. The wet, 2-7 temperature will be a nice change compared to what I will be having at home. So I guess "nice" weather is relative.
As for the data, I know. I plan on using wifi, I cannot afford the other option.

nyse Dec 6th, 2012 04:59 AM

"passionfruitdrink37 on Dec 2, 12 at 2:22pm
If she bails, it's irrelevant to me. I don't need her to get on the plane."

But isn't her father funding your hotel?

passionfruitdrink37 Dec 6th, 2012 11:32 AM

I'm pretty sure it's non refundable, so the chances of her bailing are pretty nonexistent. Also, I could find a hotel on the off chance of that happening.

Doppio Dec 6th, 2012 07:18 PM

Have you decided what and how to pack? How much luggage are you taking?

gtlc Dec 6th, 2012 09:00 PM

We used the MetrO app last fall when we visited Paris. It was on an iphone, but see if it's available for Android. It sounds similar to the one mentioned above - it works offline, but it works for many cities so you might need to load in Paris while you have internet access. You enter your start and end stations, and it tells you which line to take, which direction, where to transfer, shortest travel time route and route with the fewest transfers (my favorite feature).

Especially when you are in crowded spaces, be aware of where your valuables are. Keep your hands over them. Pickpockets are very nimble and any commotion can be used as a distraction. Keep a hand on your bags at all times. A friend was worked over at a train station when someone asked her to help them with directions. They held out a map and gradually turned her away from her bags, and when she turned around, they were gone. Her money, travel info, train tickets. At least her passport wasn't in there. Trust your instincts - if something seems fishy, there's probably be a reason.

I don't recall if you posted an updated itinerary, but I try to put my 'must-sees' earlier in the day, and my 'it would be nice to sees...' later in the day. That way, if I want to stay longer or there are any delays, there's not as much pressure to hurry on to the next stop. Of course, clustering them geographically makes the most sense, this would be a secondary consideration.

Good luck traveling with your cousin. I traveled with my sister, and I can still hear the complaints. 'the bathrooms smell worse after they clean them' 'this sandwich has egg on it' 'aren't you going to order my food for me? i don't speak any french' 'we have a view of the dump from our room' ugh.

Try to keep a travel journal - it will end up being your best souvenir. I am really looking forward to your trip report - have a great time!

Leely2 Dec 6th, 2012 09:15 PM

I too am looking forward to your trip report. Even if it's brief, please do post back and let us all know how it's gone!

After reading all your planning, I find myself seriously contemplating dashing off to Paris for a quick end-of-December trip because it sounds like so much fun. It is a nice time of year to be there, very festive.

Doppio Dec 11th, 2012 10:58 AM

Any updates??

passionfruitdrink37 Dec 12th, 2012 05:39 AM

Hi! Yeah, sorry I haven't said anything in a while. It's exam time for me, so needless to say, I've been quite busy.

For luggage, I'm taking a large piece of luggage, like 28 inches tall. I'm also taking a carry on. I won't be packing too much, as I plan to buy stuff while there. I'm bringing maybe 5 pairs of pants or so. A variety of sweaters. And yeah haha.

I will be keeping a travel journal and I'm excited to write this trip report. I'll try and be as detailed as possible!
As for my itinerary, I've only really planned the first few days, because of the pass. The day we arrive, we won't do too much. We might go up the Montparnasse tower, walk around and just chill I guess. I was thinking maybe also checking out the Jacquemart André since it's so close to our hotel. On the second day, like I posted above, I'm planning on going to Versailles and then to the Louvres. Third day, Chapelle Expiatoire and the Army Museum, and maybe the Rodin museum as well. On the Sunday, I want to go to St. Denis, and as was mentioned to me, there will be a market there, so I'm excited for that. After that, I wanted to go to the Orsay museum. Finally on the Monday, We'll be spending quite some time on l'Île de la Cité visiting Notre Dame, la Sainte Chapelle and perhaps the Conciergerie, if we have time. I also might swing by L'Orangerie.
So those are my first few days. The other ones, not much planning. I want to be free to do what I want on those days. We might go up the Eiffel Tower on New Year's day. Go to the Luxembourg gardens and just walk around and shop. If anyone has any ideas, I'm all for it!

stokebailey Dec 12th, 2012 06:46 AM

We'll be there ~the same time. My 22 yr old wants to maximize the Sundays afternoons at her favorite salsa dancing club, Barrio Latino near Bastille. (Eiffel design, lovely space)

I'm also gleaning some tips from this thread. Maybe we'll pass each other.

passionfruitdrink37 Dec 15th, 2012 01:13 PM

Exams are done! And 11 days until I leave! Any final tips and suggestions?

StCirq Dec 15th, 2012 01:20 PM

Good to hear about the exams. Advice? Yes - don't even think about a 28" suitcase! For one week (or even 6), that's complete overkill, and you'll be really sorry the minute you start schlepping it around.

annhig Dec 15th, 2012 03:25 PM

I'm bringing maybe 5 pairs of pants or so. A variety of sweaters. And yeah haha. >>

for how long? you've only got a week there. THat's at least 2 pairs too many.

I'm no light packer, but that 28" case will be as a millstone around your neck. 3 of everything and some travel wash would be what I'd take.

passionfruitdrink37 Dec 15th, 2012 07:50 PM

Well i want to bring stuff back. I bought the luggage especially for this trip so I'm still going to use it.

passionfruitdrink37 Dec 15th, 2012 07:52 PM

And three pairs of pants? Really? That doesnt seem like enough at all.

Leely2 Dec 15th, 2012 08:07 PM

Passionfruit, this thread got me so excited about Paris (and I was last there in May), that I invited a younger cousin of mine to go with me--her first trip--for New Year's. Completely last-minute and impulsive, but we're doing it. Thank you for inspiring me!

annhig Dec 15th, 2012 11:30 PM

Well i want to bring stuff back. I bought the luggage especially for this trip so I'm still going to use it.>>

so don't fill it full of stuff you won't use.

<<And three pairs of pants? Really? That doesn't seem like enough at all.>>

as for the number of pairs of trousers you will need, you are not, I understand, planning to eat at fancy places, therefore you don't need more than day-time clothes. Personally when I am on holiday i would wear a pair of trousers at least 3 times [not necessarily consecutively] before i would consider them to be too dirty to wear. [in a hot summer of course that may not be the case, but we're not talking about that].

so 3 pairs gives you 9 days, and you are there for 7.

undies are so small you could probably pack enough for the whole trip, rather than planning on washing some, and you could easily get away with 4 t-shirts [for the under layer] 4 shirts, and a couple of jumpers. you are after all staying in a high-end place that will have a laundry. 2 pairs of shoes [3 at a stretch] and you are good to go.

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