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trip report- 50th wedding anniversary in Paris

trip report- 50th wedding anniversary in Paris

Sep 15th, 2010, 11:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 34
trip report- 50th wedding anniversary in Paris

First of all, I would like to thank everyone on this forum and others for all the help I received in planning my trip. And plan I did!! For six months I felt like I was living in Paris in my mind, and I was almost afraid that the reality would be a let down. I walked the streets of our Paris neighborhood with Google earth and looked at many restaurants and shops that I wanted to check out.
I worried for nothing. Even though I found a lot of things familiar because of all the research it was still very, very exciting to see it in person. Our apartment could not have been better. Paris Best Lodging has an excellent reputation on the web, and it lived up to its hype. Thierry is an excellent landlord.
We landed in Paris on a Wed. am. and while the Paris airport was not the most user friendly (we had a hard time finding the way out) we finally got a cab and a rather hair-raising ride to our apartment. This cost 50E, including tip and was well worth it for us because I wanted our arrival to be as stress free as possible. My husband has some physical problems, making walking difficult, so I tried to minimize any extra steps wherever possible. After checking in and meeting with our landlord we ventured out to the Franprix for some basic supplies, ie. bread and wine. Later, while hubby rested I took the first of many long walks to get acquainted with our neighborhood. It has so many cafes and restaurants, all with large outdoor areas that it is mind boggling. I walked to the Luxemburg gardens which were very impressive.
On day two we had timed tickets for the Eiffel tower, I thought we would get that out of the way first. We don;t like waiting on line, but this is something you have to do. The ticket saved us time in one line, but it was still pretty long for the security line and the elevator lines, both up and down.
After the tower we decided to go to Gare Nord because we had hoped to take a side trip to Bruge. For a lot of reasons, this didn;t work out so we ended our afternoon at a nice sidewalk cafe (this was to become a daily pattern) where we struck up a conversation with a German gentleman and had a nice pick-me-up.
The following morning I set out alone at about 8:30 to walk around the area. I would continue this habit every day and I really covered a lot of territory. From our central location I walked to the Place Concorde, the Tuilleries, Place de Voges and the Carnavelet, the Market at Bon Marche (fantastic), the Sorbonne and Cluny areas, the Islands of Cite and St. Louis (I didn;t think it was possble to get off these islands and not know it, but I managed to do it twice) , up and down the Boulevards of St Germain and St. Michel. I then went into either the Paul or Kayser bakeries for fresh baked goods for our breakfast.
On Friday we headed out to the Delacroix museum where we bought our six day museum passes. This was a small but blissfully quiet place with a lovely garden, and also some lovely jewelry for sale. These were copies of jewels worn by ladies in some of the paintings. I got my anniversary gift in this place, a really pretty pair of earrings. We then picked up some sandwiches along the way and headed to the tip of the Cite island and the park just beyond the Pont Neuf.. We had our picnic there watching the boats go by. After lunch we made our first foray into the Louvre. Nothing could prepare me for the size of this place!! The museum pass was wonderful here and we spent a few hours and didn;t even cover one wing.
To be continued.
aferrick is offline  
Sep 15th, 2010, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Great start! I'm glad it worked for you, and that you were able to explore by walking a lot. As much detail as you can
Michel_Paris is offline  
Sep 15th, 2010, 11:46 AM
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Anniversary gift of jewelry in Paris, great. Thanks for sharing your trip, will check back for more.
returntoyourseat is offline  
Sep 15th, 2010, 02:54 PM
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congrats on making 50 years.

great start to the trip report - I'm looknig forward to more.

much more!
annhig is offline  
Sep 15th, 2010, 04:29 PM
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Posts: 238
50th Anniversary? CONGRATULATIONS!

and what a great start to your report ... more, please!
screen_name_taken is offline  
Sep 15th, 2010, 04:43 PM
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It sounds like you had a wonderful time. Congratulations to you both. I can't wait to hear more. I'm taking my first trip to Paris in two weeks. I love hearing everyone's stories.
BuffaloGirl is offline  
Sep 15th, 2010, 07:23 PM
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Oh, I am wanting to hear all about your trip. It sounds just lovely so far, and I'm trying to talk DH in to a trip back to Paris for our more than 50th anniversary. Can't wait to hear how yours works out. many thanks, and congratulations!
taconictraveler is offline  
Sep 15th, 2010, 07:33 PM
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What a lovely anniversary celebration. I'm enjoying your report. Congratulations!
cw is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 02:21 AM
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Congratulations, afferick - how delightful to be able to spend such a milestone in that wonderful city!

I look forward to reading the rest of you report. Di
di2315 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 03:14 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 142
Congratulations on your 50th! What a perfect place to celebrate. I can't wait to hear more about your trip. Thanks for sharing your memories with us

We've dealt with Thierry twice and have always been very pleased. Which apartment did you rent?

ParisJo is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 04:24 AM
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Congratulations on your 50th! We are celebrating our 49 in Paris next month. I'm putting a lock on the Pont des Arts! Still haven;t decided where to dine yet. So tell us more!
avalon is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 05:45 AM
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Happy 50th! More, please...
TDudette is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 07:29 AM
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You deserve a medal both of you! Congratulations!
I remember the luncheon we gave my parents on their 50th and thought 'I'll never get there' but maybe we will now as this year in December is our 40th!
tod is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 10:08 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 34
Chapter Two
Thanks for all the kind words and best wishes. I never expected to reach this milestone and certainly never thought I would have such a wonderful trip. In our first apartment we had a print of a Corot painting which was a view from the Pont du Change. What a thrill to see it in person and take a picture of the same view. That brings me to our next day in Paris in which we went to Notre Dame and the lovely flower market in the same area. I've seen some great orchids, but what they had there topped all. Too bad I couldn't bring them home. I did get some nice lavender sachet. Notre Dame was just as I had always seen it pictured, but the inside was darker than I expected. We didn't climb the tower even though our museum pass allowed us to do so. We had several views of Paris from on high without climbing stairs. We also went to St. Chappelle, which did use the museum pass and by-passed the lines. The stained glass windows were very beautiful, but one half of the chapel was being renovated and was closed off so we didn't get the full effect of the sun coming through. I did some shopping in the shops in the area and of course we had our mid afternoon cafe break. That night we had dinner in a pizzaria. For all you foodies out there, you will be disappointed that I don;t give much restaurant information. Sorry to say, I am not and after 69 years, never will be an adventurous eater. I am a near-vegetarian and French food just isn't what I usually eat. What I had was always good, but nothing that anyone would get excited about. I had lots of onion soup, which was always great.
On Sunday am. we went to the 10:30 Mass at St. Sulpice which is followed by a concert on their famous organ. We then had lunch at a small cafe near the church and then on to the Army museum at Invalides which was interesting, but more so to my husband than me. This also was covered by the museum pass and includes a visit to Napoleon's tomb. This day involved a lot of walking, but since we were so near we also went to the Rodin museum, (museum pass) which was interesting both for the fabulous sculptures and also for the lush gardens and the mansion itself which included many well known paintings. I wonder if anyone has ever made an estimate of the value of all the artistic masterpieces in Paris. I never saw anyplace with such an abundance of riches.
On Monday we bought our bus/metro pass for the week, Carte Navigo,and we were surprised at how easy it was to get. My internet info had told me what size the picture needed to be and so I brought two small head shots from home and they worked perfectly. This was a real convenience and we used it a lot. Also, the computer in the apartment was very useful for finding bus and metro routes and the itinerary feature of the ratp website led us from our apt. to wherever we wanted to go. BTW, our apartment was the Studio Mazarine, which we chose because it was on the first floor w/ an elevator and also because it had a small terrace. I loved this even though it had no view (except straight up). It had kind of a "rear window" appeal, surrounded as it was by other apartments.
Mon. is a day when many of the museums are closed, but we decided to go to the Pompidou Center (museum Pass). Modern art is not really my favorite but there were some things I found worthwhile and many that I found jaw=dropingly outrageous. The outside of the building is something to see in itself and I found a really good French workbook for my grandaughter that I think will be age and skill level appropriate.
I'll take a minute to tell you that I knew not a word of French before we started planning this trip. My husband bought us Rosetta Stone for Christmas and I worked with it faithfully, as well as with some internet and other resources. While I never got to the level of conversation, and really did not need to, I was able to read and translate enough to definitely increase my comfort level in getting around. This is also a good time to point out that we encountered no rudeness at all (one minor exception will be noted later). Waiters (and why are there no waitresses/)were uniformly helpful and friendly.
On that note I'll take a break and will continue with chapter three later.
aferrick is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 10:16 AM
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Congrats on your 50th. Great report so far.
bardo1 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 11:45 AM
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Thanks I'd been checking back all day!Funny you should mention no waitresses. The only place I've ever seen them is at Le Pamphlet and that is in over 20 trips to Paris! I just had never thought of it before!Oh and also at Paul but that is more of a bakery breakfast lunch place!
avalon is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 08:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
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funny how that works ... it didn't register with me (no waitresses), but thinking back, ... you are so right, always waiters!

And I agree, we have been to Paris only twice but we never came across rudeness, just the opposite - everyone very helpful, even with our mostly english (some spanish thrown in at times) and really pathetic attempts at french.

Looking forward to part 3!
screen_name_taken is offline  
Sep 19th, 2010, 03:08 PM
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Part three, Before I continue with the report I want to comment on some food that I did like very much, ice cream. We were very close to the Amarino ice cream shop and their creations look as good as they taste. They even make an ordinary cone special by layering the ice cream in petals around the cone. It looked especially yummy with colorful flavors, but I like chocolate so it was a little more bland-looking. Still great.
While we still had our museum pass we headed out to the Musee D'Orsy the next day and like many people I found this to be a real crowd pleaser. It seems so much more user-friendly than the Louvre and has many great pieces. I was hoping not to be disappointed since I read on the web that because of renovations, a large portion of the impressionist collection was on loan to a museum in SF. There was still plenty there and I really don;t know what I missed. We caught a bus from there, over the river and down the Champs Elysee to the Arch de Triumph. There were hordes of people on this grand boulevard so we went a block away to have our afternoon cafe break. It probably wasn;t any cheaper, but a little less hectic. It was a very sunny day and the view from the top of the Arch was magnificent. I thought it was a walk-up, which we wouldn;t have done, but our museum pass seemed to be the key to getting us a small elevator. This is another of those must do things and of course you get a great view of the Eiffel Tower from here. (Who said that the best place to be is at the top of the Eiffel Tower because that's the only place in Paris where it can;t be seen)
Our dinner that night was at the Procope, an historic eatery that looked a little intimidating but was really very comfortable and had good food at reasonable prices. It was the only place where we were asked if we wanted an apertif, but nobody seemed annoyed that we refused. This was a good eating experience!
The next day was the last day of our museum Pass so we started our by going to the Orangerie. This is a small Impressionist museum with a large panoramic Monet waterlillies display. It took up the whole room. The basement of this museum had many more of the great impressionists. We then went on to round two at the Louvre. We covered most of what we really wanted to see, but have to leave a lot for our next visit to Paris. Dinner that night was at a place in the 6th called Le Pre aux clercs and I enjoyed my dinner there too. I had lasagna!! (Don;t judge me)
On Wednesday we used our bus passes to get us to Montmarte and I found the streets with all the fabric. I am a sewer and quilter and saw these streets on Google earth. They have floors and floors of fabric and a lot of it in bins out on the street. Heaven for a seamstress. I looked, but somehow nothing called to me, and remembering all the projects I had at home unfinished, I didn;t buy anything. We then went up the funicular to the Sacre Cour cathedral which was quite beautiful and had a great view of the city. I think the atmosphere was spoiled by the pop American music being played on the steps, but there was a large audience for it so, live and let live. We then took the Montmarte bus down to Pigalle to take in the atmosphere down there. We also stopped in a cafe with some terrific people watching. We made up little scenarios about some of the passersby(use your imagination) Dinner this night was at the Bistro Mazarin right on the corner of our street and again it was quite good, but I don;t remember what we had. Prices in this neighborhood were certainly higher than what we spend at home (upstate New York), but not as high as I was expecting. After a few days we kind of got used to it. Eleven Euros for a bowl of soup? No problem!.
Well, I;m almost through our entire two weeks. The next day was our actual wedding anniversary and I'll begin there when I get back.
aferrick is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2010, 07:03 AM
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Chapter IV. September 3, 2010, our fiftieth anniversary. I can hardly believe so much time has gone by. Before we started on our day's sightseeing, I told my husband that I had a surprise for him and that we needed to walk over to the Pont des Arts. It's not a long walk from our apartment and it was a beautiful day. If you've been there you may have noticed all the locks which are place on the railings of the bridge. I knew about this from the internet so I brought a lock with our initials and the date on it and we added ours to all the others. If you go, look for a brass lock with DK and AF 1960. Its in the middle of the bridge on the west side. Of course, we had someone take our picture next to our lock. We then headed down to the Eiffel tower area to take the vedettes of Paris boat trip down the Seine. This was very pleasant and although by now we had seen most of these sights, it was fun to see it from a different perspective.
I had really wanted our anniversary dinner to be special and was willing to pay a little more than usual. I chose Willi's Wine Bar because I thought with a British owner we wouldn;t have any trouble with the menu, also because I had a personal recommendation and many good printed reviews, and because I was able to make a reservation on line and tell them that it was a special occasion. What a disappointment. The only thing that came true was that we paid much more than anyplace else. The British owner was borderline rude in explaining the menu and the service was sluggish at best. The food was just so-so and I went away hungry and mad. They made one comment about how it was our anniversary, but otherwise, nothing. We could have done much better staying in the 6th. This was not a perfect ending to a perfect day, but was really the only unpleasant event of the whole trip.
The next day we went back to Cite island and decided to go to the conciergerie. We no longer had the museum pass, but it wasn;t expensive and was pretty interesting. I wanted to do some shopping so my husband walked back to our apartment, key in hand. What neither of us remembered was that he didn;t know the codes to the two door to get into the building. His adventure in getting in was pretty hilarious, but he did it by going into the art gallery next to our building and playing on the sympathy of the owner. She spoke little English and her husband none, but somehow they understood his problem and even figured out a way to help him, even though it wasn;t their building.
Sun.turned into kind of a wasted day, so I won't go into detail. We tried to get the Balabus that circles the tourist area and get off at the Carnevalet, but it took us so long to get there that we just stayed on the bus and made a complete loop. We got off at Defense and had our wine break there and then came back to the 6th and ate near the Palace of Justice on the island. This was a very good dinner and the name of the place I think was the Rose of Paris. The couple next to us were honeymooners and they had just gotten married on Sept 3rd. We agreed to meet there again in 50 years. Ha Ha.
On Monday we did the sewers of Paris tour. My husband spent all summer re-reading Les Miserable and he really wanted to do this. It wasn;t bad. Later we located a small museum of special interest, The History of Medicine. Neither of us was in the medical field, but we are interested in the subject and the old instruments were pretty interesting and at the same time terrifying. We also walked around the Sorbonne and Cluny museum area.
Our last day in Paris was a beautiful sunny one, and we thought we could finally take the Canauxrama boat trip on the St. Martin Canal. We got down there only to find that because of the strike, the lock keepers were not working and the trip was cancelled. Being so near we then went to the Victor Hugo museum and Place des Voges. We had our afternoon wine there and then tried to head home. Buses weren't running in that area because of a demonstration at the Bastille but we did get back in an extremely crowded subway. Ourlast dinner was at the same place as our first, the Cafe Conti.
The next morning we said goodbye to Paris as we took a cab to the airport, but there was one last funny thing to happen. Our cab driver, who spoke little English, didn't seem to know where the US Air drop off point was. He was driving and looking at a pamphlet to find his way. I thought this was going to be the easy part of the trip. He finally had to pull over and get out to consult a billboard-type map of the terminal. All this while the meter was running. He did finally take us to the right place and we had a pretty good trip back home.
You can tell this was a pretty "slow travel" type of vacation. Others (younger) would have seen the same things in half the time, but it was a great way to really get a feel for the city and since we have plenty of time it was perfect for us.
aferrick is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2010, 07:49 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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What a loving person you are! To go to the trouble of having your names engraved on the lock and romantically presenting it to your husband on the Pont des Arts. I find that very touching. Good idea for a few of us with upcoming 50th's!!
I don't think I could wait another ten years so might just go for it on our next trip!
I do sympathise with what happened on your special day.
Maybe when you get back to Paris go there again, order something, send it back as not acceptable, and then just complain about everything! That'll teach 'em.

Thanks for the report.
tod is offline  

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