I’ve been reading Fodor’s for years and accumulating info “to be used as needed.” I am 67, newly retired from nursing, and feeling the need to celebrate. My husband RE and I will be in Paris for 4 weeks beginning March 24. I KNOW there are other wonderful places to go but we persist in returning to Paris. Maybe next time we’ll go to Strasbourg, Budapest or Prague. We have visited Paris 3 times but with strict time constraints.
We are actually in Merida, Mexico, now for 2 weeks (pre-celebration). I was hoping that I would love Merida more than Paris (so much cheaper from Houston) but alas, while it’s a lovely city with wonderful people, and a grid street numbering system even I can follow, my mind is already on Paris. I was reading Fodor’s last night when I heard French being spoken outside the door. At first I thought perhaps I finally had lost my mind but later met a lovely Canadian couple here to escape the cold. Coincidentally, they visit France each year and shared their suggestions and experiences.
We adore the food, the architecture, the language, the art, and the French. I had been working on my language skills but learning a little Spanish and a few words of Mayan has evidently caused the synapses in my 65+ mind to backfire, and now I can barely speak any language. I love le Louvre and am determined to see every painting, statue, etching, and artifact. Well, maybe not every artifact. I have several Great Courses DVDs on the Louvre, the Renaissance (my personal fav), and Impressionism (RE’s fav) which I have watched through the years and will watch again and then see the real thing. I have worn out my Midnight in Paris DVD and read books, blogs, and Paris newsletters until I finally am tired of preparing and am ready to be there.
My only problem now is my attachment to our little dog Mary (a French poodle). She will be in wonderful hands with my daughter and her family but I really seem to be irrationally distressed at leaving her. I’m hopeful Mary can SKYPE with a little help from my grandson Jake. One other issue is my October of 2013 knee surgery. We took a van and small boat tour to see flamingos yesterday and required three very polite Mexican gentlemen and my husband to haul me into the van and boat each time. I have six weeks to rehab my knee and my dignity.
We visit Paris with the guidelines of extreme scrimping and splurges. Our ongoing rule is the less we spend this trip, the sooner we can come back. We have a cute (I hope) apartment close to the Pompidou and I vow to finally conquer the bus system. I adore the Metro but after two knee surgeries I prefer to keep my stair climbing for places where it is absolutely necessary.
We leave March 23 so I have a little more time to work on my pitiful language skills, exercise this silly knee, and play with Mary. Fortunately RE shares my love of Paris so we do well. He has a sense of direction (I have none) but I can read a map so we complement each other. I also have what he describes as a “signage” disability but I will try to overcome that.
The information from Kerouac, WelltraveledBrit, FrenchMystiqueTours, and so many other contributors has given me wonderful and useful ideas. Writing a trip report is not easy for me. I love reading other people’s reports but I never post or read Twitter, Facebook, and other social media (so maybe I look at RE’s Facebook). I’m writing it to share our adventures with our family and friends and to have a record to look back on, but I hope that others with similar interests will read it also.
I welcome comments and suggestions. I must admit I am even more reluctant to post anything after reading swoosh’s fascinating report. I fear my report is going to be like a vanilla wafer compared to a Laduree’s macaron but I will try.
And so - until March 24, I will go back to fretting about taking the RER to the Les Halles station and walking 100 meters to the apartment or a taxi from CDG. And maybe I can fix the scratches on that DVD. And do I really want to dine at le Jules Verne on our anniversary? And so it goes.
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