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Trip Report: tedgale in Rome, Tuscany, Normandy and Paris

Trip Report: tedgale in Rome, Tuscany, Normandy and Paris

Apr 11th, 2008, 07:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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How did Charlotte know you were a writer or an intellectual? Was there a questionnaire upon inquiring about the apartment?

I agree that Mappy is invaluable for learning where the speed radar cameras are. We were very smug when we avoided one speed trap that way last summer; then we took another road and had our picture taken. Still waiting for that shoe to drop.
Nikki is offline  
Apr 12th, 2008, 02:09 PM
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We got caught that way on the autoroute in Languedoc last October.

We were never sent the ticket -- the police did not bother when they found out we were foreign residents.

But Hertz, who were asked to supply the name and address of the miscreants (us) put a $20 or $30 charge on our Visa bill for administrative time + trouble.

We got a parking ticket in Perugia this time (NOT my fault -- I was overruled when I wanted to feed the meter).

I wonder if we will get another administrative charge from Hertz.......
tedgale is offline  
Apr 12th, 2008, 07:08 PM
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Enjoyed your report on Normandy.

But about the diesel fuel surcharge...what the heck?
Underhill is offline  
Apr 13th, 2008, 02:44 AM
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It's not a diesel fuel charge but a supplement for a diesel car.

We always reserve an economy car but ask at the desk for a diesel car, if one is available that day.

You can't book a diesel car, only a car of class XX. Even with a request in advance, no company has ever guaranteed a diesel car. But if they had one on hand in our price band, they gave it to us.

It now appears this company has the right (ie they have given themselves the right) to add a surcharge -- without informing you and despite the rate quote for that class of vehicle.

Where's the transparency in that pricing?
tedgale is offline  
Apr 13th, 2008, 04:37 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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tedgale, you've just reminded me that we ran into a diesel supplement when we rented at the airport in Clermont-Ferrand a couple of years ago. As the agent was shuffling the paperwork, I asked whether our car was a diesel. No, it wasn't, and if I wanted a diesel, it would be an extra X € a day. I agreed to the supplement and it was added in to the final adjustment when I returned the car.

Oddly enough, when I rented in Reims last October, I was given a diesel without asking and there was no supplementary charge.

"Behold, I show you a mystery ..."

AnselmAdorne is online now  
Apr 13th, 2008, 10:10 AM
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When we rented in 2006 we had a diesel, but there was no surcharge. How life changes! I suppose diesels are becoming more popular, given the difference in the gas price--if that still applies.
Underhill is offline  
Apr 13th, 2008, 08:40 PM
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Tedgale, I am enjoying your report.

Based on your Facebook picture, I hope you don't mind me saying that I expected to see someone who looked rather older, given your posts about your spouse of almost three decades. You must be doing something right.

The Paris apartment looks like something I might happily consider. I usually have some objection or another, but that one ticks various boxes for me (two separate sleeping spots, reasonable price, practical and interesting location, good owner).

I have to say I didn't find Easter Sunday to be that mild later in the day, although it started off rather promising if I recall. So far as the streets being devoid of traffic, I also found that to be the case in the 8th arrondisement, near the Madeleine where I attended an Easter service and then subsequently proceeded to the Musée Jacquemart-André museum. It was almost eerie, and the few cars there were took the opportunity to really zoom through the streets.
WillTravel is offline  
Apr 14th, 2008, 04:25 AM
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None of the weather in our time in France was as good as March of last year, when we had 6 days of unbroken sunshine.

But compared to the preceding days in Normandy -- eg waking to find a layer of snow over everything! -- Easter Sunday was fairly decent.
tedgale is offline  
Apr 14th, 2008, 01:11 PM
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BTW: Thanks for the compliment about my looking younger than you expected.

Some days I feel every day of my 55 years...but never in Europe, the great fountain of youth for us Fodorites! Travel keeps me young.

When at home, I have to rely on a minimum of an hour/ day in the gym, every day. And a diet of truly Spartan stringency. Both are abandoned when we travel -- another plus, to this repressed sybarite.
tedgale is offline  
Apr 14th, 2008, 02:47 PM
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tedgale, I'm thoroughly enjoying your report. I'll again be in Paris June 1st, but alas for only 4 hours - in transit at CDG. Pray continue!
QueScaisJe is offline  
Apr 14th, 2008, 04:32 PM
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I think my Paris report is going to be quite brief, for the simple reason that I don't have many insights that others have not already shared with Fodor's readers.

As I indicated above, we stayed in the Bastille area and tended to stay close to home at first, because we wanted to explore the neighbourhood thoroughly before venturing further afield.

But I also wanted to walk as much -- and as far -- as possible. In fact, what follows in this post is a sketchy account of some of the walks I took:

We gave half a day -- a blustery, bitter day -- to Kerouac's walking tour of "ethnic Paris", areas around the Gare de l' Est and Gare du Nord. I got hard copy of the walk from Nikki, organizer of our Fodors GTG/dinner at the Bistrot du Peintre in the av. Ledru-Rollin.

Paris friends, with whom we had dined that same week in their newly acquired apartment near Oberkampf, explained to us that the desirability of Paris neighbourhoods is a function of two factors:
*where you fall on the east-west spectrum (no surprise there -- in 90% of European and NA cities, west is "better" than east)
* whether you are inside or outside the route of the two elevated metro lines -- Line 2 in the north, Line 6 in the south.

(Obviously, the huge 16th arrondissement is an "outlier" -- outside the route but still highly desirable. Otherwise, the metro line is a pretty sharp divider.)

Kerouac's "little India" lies inside the line. And while it's a bit funky, it's not sordid. When we passed beyond the elevated metro, I felt we were in another Paris, of mean streets and rough inhabitants.

Some of the neighbourhoods are pleasantly "colourful". But mostly I had the impression that was no meeting, no reconciliation between these eternal "foreigners" (Chinese, Indian, African, Arab) and the city that houses but does not embrace them. Sobering.

Another day, I walked the left bank of the Seine, from the Gare d'Austerlitz to the Assemblee nationale, initially through a dreary, degraded 70s garden-strip alongside the RER tracks, then along the actual quayside (close to flooding, with March rains).

I then crossed to the Place de la Concorde, walked the right bank to Passy and cut in to that little train station by La Muette.

Beyond the former train station is a park, including an old railway right of way. As I discovered from a "panneau" along the way, a mid-19th C entrepreneur had conceived of a belt railway linking Paris' various main stations. Goods moved along this little belt railway right up until the 1970s, I believe.

The railway was turned into a nature path around the 70s. Flash forward 30 years and you find the burned-out remnants of the bivouacs of homeless people -- just a few metres from high-priced real estate of the 16th arrondissement.

On the road, once semi-rural, flanking the nature path, I found the house of the Goncourt brothers, literary lions who gave their name to the Prix Goncourt. I tried to recall the details of their journal, especially accounts of life during the 1870 siege of Paris.

Around the Porte d'Auteuil, I turned back and made my way eastward again: through the 16th to the Trocadero, crossing the Seine to the Eiffel tower, then walking through the aristocratic 7th, to the rue de l'Universite (what shops!) and eventually over to the right bank. Here, rain caught me and I was obliged to abandon my walk by the Louvre-rivoli metro station. Ignominiously, I took the metro 4 stops to Bastille and scooted home from there.

tedgale is offline  
Apr 14th, 2008, 06:16 PM
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Oh, don't be brief in Paris, that's what I've been waiting for!

One thing I learned on the Canal St. Martin boat ride is that the two metro lines you mentioned are built along one of the old Paris city walls, and that the neighborhoods beyond those lines used to be independent villages.

Is it really true that in 90% of European and North American cities, the more desirable residential areas are in the west and the less desirable in the east? Is there a reason for this? I am trying to picture cities I know well or have lived in. Doesn't work in Chicago, for example. Boston? Not so obvious. New York? Miami? I'm not sure I'm seeing it.

Nikki is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 02:47 AM
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I remember hearing this from an urban geographer...Of course there are exceptions, esp where unusual topography plays a part (eg Manhattan).

Funny there are so many counter-examples in US whereas in Canada the phenomenon is VERY pronounced: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, even my own miserable hometown of Ottawa...
tedgale is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 03:04 AM
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I recollect one of my professors suggesting that the "west side is the best side" had its origins in the growth of smokey heavy industry in urban areas. With our prevailing westerlies, there was an advantage to living upwind. For those of us who ever saw Cape Breton's steel mill in operation, you can see why people would prefer to live in the west end of Sydney.

AnselmAdorne is online now  

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