Trois jours à Paris

Mar 10th, 2013, 11:32 AM
  #21  
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 88
Last installment, I promise!

Day 3- 20 It really IS a small world after all!

So this is the day we reserved for the Louvre and the D’Orsay. Probably a lot to do in one day, but we had a plan. Again, we were up early to get to the Rue des Pyramides to get advanced tickets, in our obsessed quest to not wait in any lines. We had seen a pretty healthy line at the D’Orsay the day before and were keen to avoid that. For the time spent trying to find that dang office we could have been sashaying through half the Louvre! As an aside note, I love that kids are free.

After we bought the tickets we went right to the fast line at the Louvre while smirking at the poor schmucks who had to wait maybe 5 more minutes. Yeah, it wasn’t that crowded. We went right to the coat check. What a great idea! We had done a bit of research and decided we wanted to see the Mona Lisa, Venus, Winged Victory, etc. in addition to concentrating on the Sully Wing and some of the Denon. We started with the medieval history of the Louvre at the bottom. Fascinating to see the workers’ marks on the blocks of the moat and walls (how they got paid?) Son has been reading a series of historical fiction books about ancient Egyptians. It was fun, and surprising to have him give us some background information about what we were seeing. I enjoyed the palace as much as the art. I found the marble inlaid floors particularly beautiful.

Guess who we see again at the Louvre? The boy from my son’s school! Okay, I cannot just let them do a vague nod to each other again. I approach the family and say hello and reintroduce ourselves. We don’t really “know” them. We have a laugh to think of the chances of seeing them twice in the city. W told me when he got back to school, he and the boy had fun sharing their experiences.

This day was a bit colder, overcast and blustery. We decided we had to have some chocolat chaud, so we head to Angelina’s for their famous concoction. Only W ordered the C.C. while B and I opted for deux cafes crèmes. I’m glad I got the coffee because one sip of son’s C.C. was enough. It was delicious, like a melted candy bar but trop riche pour mois. Please excuse my crappy French. I really liked that we each got a pitcher of black coffee with a pitcher of milk on the side. I like strong coffee and most café crèmes are on the milky side for me. If you want stronger coffee with milk, would you order a cappuccino instead? Oh, and we each got a pastry too. Hubby got a millefleurs (tres yummy), son got a beautiful lemon cheesecake (tres, tres yummy) and I got a Mont-Blanc (I had read about this dessert. Kinda weird, but I checked that box off)

From there we meandered through the Tuileries (love the trampolines!), across the bridge and to the D’Orsay. The bridge was another Love Lock pedestrian bridge. On the other side I noticed the name of it, the Passerelle Leopold-Sedar-Senghor.
http://lookbridges.com/leopold-sedar...n-paris-france Another small world occurrence. Senghor was the president of Senegal, and I know his great grand nephew! His son went to preschool with my son. Pretty crazy.

So glad I got those advanced tickets for the D’Orsay. We would have had to have waited 10 minutes here! Ha ha! Oh well. The D’Orsay was gorgeous. I loved the big, expansive, bright, airy feel to it. I would have loved to have spent more time here but, our “cram it all into three days” was catching up to all three of us. My new walking shoes were wonderful, but it was my knee that started bothering me. We had been fairly flying up and down all the stairs at the metro stations and museums. At least it wasn’t just me. Even my athletic teen was feeling the pain! We found ourselves sitting every 15-20 minutes at the D’Orsay, but that’s fun too in it’s own right. How cute the school children were with their clipboards and exuberance!

After the D’Orsay, we had another must see activity. Back through the Tuileries and the soccer players, to the metro to take us to the Charles de Gaulle – Étoile station to see the l’ Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées. This is the only place where I felt a bit uncomfortable and put my cross body purse under my coat. I also made sure my pockets were empty. While going through the turnstile, I had a woman come quickly behind me, shouting Madame, Madame! She forced her way through the turnstile right behind me. Not sure if she just wanted a free metro ride or empty my already empty pockets (heh heh). On the plane back B spoke with a woman who had her camera taken from her pocket in this fashion. We then walked the entire length of the Champs-Élysées. I’m glad we did it, as otherwise I think we would have wished we had done it. Have to say, it was a bit disappointing, though. Kind of icky and touristy. Saw at least two supposedly incapacitated beggars suddenly jump up and scurry off when approached by police.

Small world #3 for the day. We ran into our sweet bike tour guide with her tour at the Place de la Concorde! I wonder if that wonderful little company had a legit SIRET number? :/ (being sarcastic)
It was about 6 p.m., and we were exhausted. Our bike guide had mentioned a favorite restaurant nearby called Le Soufflet. We took our achy selves there thinking we were smart and would avoid the normal 7+ p.m. dinner crowds. Ugh, it was closed until 7 p.m.! We decided to head back to our hotel, stopping by a shop to get wine, fruit, bread and cheese instead. We also got some yummy macarons. We enjoyed our al fresco dinner in the lovely courtyard of our hotel. This was our last night in Paris and I am sad to say we could not muster the strength to do a boat tour. I can’t feel too badly as I feel we squeezed as much into this trip as we possibly could. Literally packing so much in, where we fell into bed each night.

I cannot wait to return to this beautiful city. Next time I would like to explore some of the neighborhoods. I definitely would like to use Michael Osman. While we walked a ton and used the metros confidently, we did not try the buses. I have heard that’s his favorite mode to get around and it would be nice to have him help us navigate. I wonder if he ever has given a tour using the velibs? I would really like to have someone help us figure out how to use them effectively. Imagine how much area you could cover, and little hidden gems you could explore without blowing out your knee!

When I was a student, we stayed in a dormitory type building with a courtyard near the Luxembourg Gardens. I could swear the name of the street was Rue des Etudiants. I looked on many maps but could never find it. That would have been fun to have retraced my steps from long ago.

Things I noted: Paris seemed much dirtier and louder when I was a student. I remember shop owners hosing the garbage from in front of their shops down the street. I remembered a LOT more dog poop. I stepped in it 3x in one day! With my cute new Parisian ballet flats with the little holes in them. Who knew shoes were disposable? People seem to clean up after their dogs more than they used to. I remember the sirens were incessant. This time, I heard them infrequently and only a few cycles before they quit. And there is so little honking! I was very happy by the kind, patient treatment we received from the Parisians. We were careful to always try our best French when speaking. I never felt that anyone was brusque. Oh, and I kept my wrists on top of the table, but had a heck of a time using a fork in my left hand. Old habits die hard.

This was our first trip with just our youngest son. Wasn't sure how he would feel being with just his mom and dad and not his two older brothers. He was just adorable- clearly amazed by everything he saw, experienced, ate etc. It was a joy to experience it through his eyes.

Feb. 21 Time to go home ☹
Seasoned travelers that we were, we took the RER back to CDG. We gauged the time based on how long it took us to get into the city. The ride back was not nearly as crowded and was much quicker because, of course, we knew what we were doing and no mistakes this time! The terminal where Delta is, is beautiful. I wish the designers of the new international terminal in Atlanta had taken a few notes at CDG!

Thank you again, Fodorites for your generous expertise, time and suggestions. I have to admit, I often thought about the trip report I would write while in Paris. I know I wouldn’t have done one had I not gleaned so much information from reading the T.R.’s others have written.

Okay, now to planning our 25th anniversary trip to Italy in May. Any experts here? ☺
GAJayhawks is offline  
Apr 15th, 2013, 10:04 AM
  #22  
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I am finally getting pics up from our trip in addition to the last entry of my trip report (above).

I hope this is a good way to share them.

http://share.shutterfly.com/share/re...ZsXLFu0bs2LKRg
GAJayhawks is offline  
Apr 15th, 2013, 11:13 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 299
I am enjoying reading this!
SamanthaCanyon is offline  
Apr 15th, 2013, 07:09 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,638
Thank you for sharing your photos, GAJayhawks. Your family looks to be having a great time--and you certainly had lots of blue skies. Very lucky.

Hope you all get back to Paris soon.
Leely2 is offline  
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