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Trip Report: Paris

Old May 18th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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Trip Report: Paris

I had a wonderful 4 day visit to Paris in no small part due to the help I received from this chatboard. Stayed at the Hotel du College de France which was absolutely great. About $90/night for this solo traveler. It has a great location near St. Michel, off of St. Germaine, very near two metro stops. Quiet,safe, very clean, good beds, recently updated. Nice size room. I can heartily recommend this hotel.

Went on a Paris Walk to the Montparnasse area. Excellent. Very informative and a lot of fun. Two hours for 5 euros---I think it was a steal.

Ate once at the Cafe de Marche on Rue Cler in the 11th. This is a very comfortable place for a solo or anyone new to Paris to eat. Good food, reasonable prices.

On advice from friends from Fodor had incredible hot chocolate and pastries at Angelina's on Rue Rivoli. What a fun experience!

My other eating experiences were unplanned and just spur of the moment. I had no bad eating experience. The food was just wonderful.

I tried Bethillion ice cream, pastries that were oh-so-good, croque monseiur ( a grilled ham and cheese sandwich+), keers (a white wine and blackberry liquor drink) and more and still lost weight because I walked and walked and walked. And I can't say enough about how great the food is!

I used the hop-on, hop-off tour buses. I was so impressed with them. It is actually 4 different routes you can do them all (about 8 hours altogether), or just one or two, and hop on and off all day. I thought the taped commentary was better than the London tour buses. I saw parts of Paris that my tired legs would have never gotten me to, or I would have missed when using the metro.

I also used the Batobus on the Seine. I know that many like this, I had expected to, but for me it was just okay. I enjoyed the bus ride much more.

I saw a bit of the Louvre---the most amazing structure I have ever seen. I fell in love with the Impressionistic paintings at the D'Orsay---in my opinion a 'must see'. I went to Ste. Chappelle--a gorgeous stain glass structure--with a little stone!

I didn't plan to shop, but couldn't help myself in the small outdoor markets.

My French is abysmal. I tried and tried, but was pretty awful. The French put up with my failings.

I hadn't planned on going to Paris. I was going to London, Oxford, and the Normandy area, but decided pretty last minute to go. I'm glad I did. Back from Paris I feel like holes in my life have been filled up. I don't think a lot of us realize how much in our lives are referenced to Paris---the Louvre, buildings, paintings, food, and history.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 12:52 PM
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Hi, thanks for sharing. I'm glad you had a very nice visit to Paris and I agree with your sentiments!
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Old May 18th, 2005, 01:07 PM
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What a charming report! And what a nice thing to say about how Paris filled some of the holes. I know exactly what you mean. People at home just can't understand why I'm so in love with Paris. My only explanation is that they have never been there.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 01:14 PM
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I'm so glad that you decided to go - what a great report. Isn't Paris wonderful? It is always nice to have a convert as there are so many people who haven't been and don't know what they are missing.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 01:20 PM
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Adamsparks - loved your trip report! Glad you enjoyed Paris.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 01:23 PM
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Yes, Cafe du Marche was our first night's dinner on our first night ever in Paris. Memories...That was in August 2003 right before the heat wave. We went back to Paris and Cafe du Marche last September. Trying to DRAG my husband there this time. My other two times were with my daughter. He isn't one for travelling but our 20th Anniversary is in August and Bermuda (honeymoon spot) is more expensive from Baltimore than Paris. Too bad! lol!! Time for him to get a passport! lol
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Old May 18th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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Hi
great report, glad you enjoyed yourself.
About the hotel, I always read good things. Do the rooms have charm, besides the functionality? Is there tv with an English station? Was breakfast included or available? I love hotel details. thanks
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Old May 18th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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"...a gorgeous stained glass structure--with a little stone!"

I love your description of Sainte Chapelle. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 01:30 PM
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Glad you had a good time (and that after all the worry about choosing a hotel it worked out perfectly fine).

Thank you for this report. It's really gratifying to hear from people who have enjoyed their first trip to Paris.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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I am so glad you enjoyed your time in Paris. It is funny how the unplanned things can turn out to be the best!! And what is not to love about Paris!! : )

Your words are so eloquently written. Thank you for sharing your experience!!!
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Old May 18th, 2005, 02:38 PM
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Lovely report. Thanks for sharing.

I too am glad your trip was wonderful. I know you wanted to make the "right" decision regarding hotel so I'm glad you were happy with the HCF. We did the same regarding meals - ate whenever we were when we were hungry - and enjoyed every meal.

I hope your Paris Phase 2 is just as wonderful - I think your son is joining you later?
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Old May 19th, 2005, 05:52 AM
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Elaine: Hotel du France de College was a great deal more than functionality. I know what you mean. Really quaint, comfy lobby and breakfast area, very funky elevator (that went to 5 of the 6 floors) and rooms that were a good deal more than functional and plain---well thought out and again---comfy. Really, really nice bathrooms with hair dryers, and more than decent showers. Breakfast was not included. I only utilized it once. The desk help did not go out of their way to be helpful----but were very helpful when asked. And yes the tv in the room did have one or two English channels---which I really enjoyed because the British elections were going on.

As those who followed my struggles on finding the right place to stay in Paris know, I struggled. But frankly for me it was the right thing to do. I didn't struggle nearly as much in regard to London, Oxford, and a few towns I visited in Normandy. But I just somehow felt for my first time in Paris the 'just the right place' was what I needed. I think I was right. I visited many of the other areas that I had intially investigated, and they were wonderful and interesting and maybe for 'next time. But for me, the 5th--the Latin Quarter---was just right. Lots and lots going on, very convenient to Notre Dame, Ste. Chappelle, the Louvre and the D'Orsary (tho' my legs sometimes didn't agree with me!). For this trip the Eiffel Tower area, the 6th, or the Right Bank would have been either too quiet, not close enough, or didn't have that busy, funky feeling that I enjoyed in the Latin Quarter. Next time. . .

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Old May 19th, 2005, 05:58 AM
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Starrsville: I forgot. My son and I went to Paris for about 24 hours, as we headed into Normandy. Then I came back to Paris for 3 more days. I stayed at Hotel du France both times. My son had been in Paris just a few weeks before, ending a 1 1/2 jaunt around Europe---and had had a miserable time (end of trip fatigue I suspect). Our 24 hours there changed his mind in regard to Paris. College guy, he loved the Latin Quarter, and with Mom paying ate his weight in good French food.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 06:12 AM
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What a lovely report. I know what you mean about a trip to Paris filling some holes. My husband and I went to Europe in 2003, and I told him I could "die happy" now that I'd finally been there, as we traveled from London across Europe all the way to Istanbul.

We're taking my in-laws, my Mom and my aunt to Paris in September. My Mom and Aunt have never stepped off of this continent, and are in their mid 60s. Both keep saying that they just can't believe they get to see Paris, that it's been a lifelong dream. I can hardly wait to see how Paris fills in those spaces for them as well. When my Mom stands in front of the Eiffel Tower, I suspect we'll both mist up.

Traveling is SO fun. I said to my Mom when I got back "Well, I guess I see why the French consider themselves the beacon of culture -- they are!"

Thanks again.

Julie
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Old May 19th, 2005, 03:03 PM
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Adam!

I'm so happy you had a great trip! I'll copy your hotel comments into my file and hope they can accommodate us next time.

Did you and your son make it to the jazz club?

Glad you liked the Latin Quarter.

J
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Old May 19th, 2005, 03:35 PM
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Thanks for the report, adamsparks. Seeing Paris does seem to change your whole outlook on life, doesn't it?

I'm curious though; I don't see a Montparnasse tour on the Paris Walks website. Could you mean Montmartre? I'm hoping to do a couple of walks on my trip next month and would like to know what all my options are.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 01:10 AM
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Nice report, just one brief note: Cafe du Marche (and the rue Cler) are in the 7th, not the 11th.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 05:14 AM
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I love the spontenaity of your report..and your choice. A few years back - I wanted to go to France. And landed in Paris for a couple of days before all of us from American hooked up to go barging. By then, I had merely been introduced to Paris ... and I was in love. What spirit Paris holds.
I've been back twice..and will go back again.
Thanks for the rport, Hotel du Colledge de France..mmmm....
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Old May 20th, 2005, 05:41 AM
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JeanneB: You know you are one of the people who got me interested in Hotel du College. It is really a very nice hotel. Thank you! As to jazz, no we didn't get to go. We were both dead, by the time we got back to the Latin Quarter at 11:30. However, the chatboard had a lively discussion about jazz, I cut and pasted it for my son, who is going back to Paris next month--he is still studying at Oxford. With that and my left over carnet of metro tickets he is ready to go!

Jocelyn P: Yes, Montmartre. I am not 'with it' serious catch up at work, and still Paris stars in my eyes. It was a great tour. Gave a real nice history of the area--the village and we saw a great deal.

BTilke: Hmmm, yes the 7th and not the 11th. How quick I have forgotten! Glad for the correction.
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