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Trip Report TRIP REPORT - PARIS - 12 MAY TO 19 MAY

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NOTE: This is the third trip to Paris for my wife and me since 2001. We arrived 12 May and returned 19 May. Anything with [N] indicates something we had never done before on our previous two trips.

DAY 1 – TUE 12 MAY

After our overnight flight from PHL to CDG (US Air 754) we got some extra cash from the ATM and took the CDGVAL shuttle to the RER station. Note: We never check baggage. We’ve managed to do all our Europe vacations – 7 to 10 days – on two carry-ons and a small shoulder bag. We also try to keep about 100 EUR from each trip for use when we arrive, in case there is a problem with the ATM or credit cards.

Money: I have come to the conclusion that there is no better deal than a credit card, if you have the right one. About two months ago, in anticipation of this trip, I got a Capital One card that has no surcharge for overseas transactions. I used it everywhere I could. Naturally, a few hundred Euros are necessary for those places that do not take plastic.

At the ticket booth the following worked well: Bon jour. S'il vous plait, Je voudrais deux passes Navigo Découverte avec les Cartes Orange Hebdomadaire zones 1 et 2 et deux billets pour Paris.

I strongly recommend the Carte Orange, even if you are only going to use it 5 or 6 days. The convenience and freedom to hop on and hop off buses is worth it. We actually each took nearly 40 rides during the 6 valid days at a cost of 16.80 EUR (+ 5 for the Navigo).

NOTE: If planning to buy the Navigo, bring a 20 x 30 mm photo. We usually carry photos in a selection of sizes when we travel.

We took the train to Chatelet, then the 1 Metro to St. Paul. (It turned out that the Hotel de Ville station was a little closer.) We dropped our bags at our hotel – Hotel de Nice on R. Rivoli – and headed out.

Walked around the neighborhood and then over to Notre Dame. Took the bus to a crepe restaurant a friend had told us about on the left bank – Creperie de Cluny on R. de la Harpe. It turned out to be so-so.

Took the Metro over to the Inst. du Monde Arabe – the Arab museum. [N] Very interesting, but I would not recommend it for first-timers. NOTE: We bought a 6-day Museum Pass there. The woman did NOT fill in the starting date. Since that was the only museum we visited that day, we filled it in on the 13th, thereby getting 7 days out of the 6-day pass. I cannot guarantee you will be that lucky.

Walked back to the right bank via Ile St, Louis – grabbed a quick Berthillon ice cream cone. Then hung out around Place des Vosges for awhile before stopping in at the Carnavalet Museum (free). This museum of Paris history is one of our favorites. Checked out the great art nouveau room and a couple of other rooms.
Then back to the hotel to check in and take a nap.

A word about food. Most people would not approve of our dining habits. We tend to find two or three inexpensive restaurants that we like and stick with them the entire trip for dinner. Our two in Paris are Pizza San Antonio (an Italian place in the place right outside our hotel) and Equinox (on R. de Rosiers, about 2 bloacks away).

After the heavy crepes and the ice cream, we were not very hungry. We each had a salad nicoises and some wine. Then we went over to the Eiffel Tower to check it out at night. We’ve been up it before, so we just enjoyed the view. Then back to our hotel for bed.

Our Hotel: Hotel de Nice. 42 bis R. de Rivoli. This was a new hotel for us, and we loved it. We had a 1st floor double for 110 EUR. Simple, but clean and friendly. The location was perfect for us – in the Marais, and close to major transport and the river. We will probably stay there next trip.

[…to be continued…]

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