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Two Ladies on the Loose in Paris - dln and Marcy trip report!

Two Ladies on the Loose in Paris - dln and Marcy trip report!

Jan 21st, 2005, 05:56 AM
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Two Ladies on the Loose in Paris - dln and Marcy trip report!

Marcy and I left for Paris last Friday, 7th of January. If you are anything like my mother, my sister, my best friend, etc. etc., the first and foremost questions on your mind will be "How'd it go? Did carry-on luggage work out? Are you still friends? Are you still talking? Would you do it again?" The answer to all: A resounding YES! We had a marvelous time and a week flew by like no time at all. We'd do it again in a heartbeat.

With that out of the way, I'll present the highlights. I started out with the best of intentions to keep a good journal but it didn't pan out that way. When I travel with my husband I have a system already worked out: every evening back at the hotel, we pour ourselves a drink, and I write and Rob comments along the way. My husband is a quiet man, which encourages me to be quiet and think and write. I can get a lot done with him. It wasn't the same with Marcy because the two of us like to talk! We talked late into the evenings, every evening, and very little writing was done. What I brought home from Paris was a mismatched jumble of notes that started out strong and steadily deteriorated. You might get a trip report like that, too! Or maybe I will be honest and tell you that mid-week, Wednesday, the sales started, and we lost any powers of concentration after that...
Jan 21st, 2005, 06:08 AM
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Marcy and I flew on American Airlines. It was an uneventful plane ride made much better by Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Those things are wonderful! Marcy loaned me hers and I have to say that once you use them, there's no turning back. They muffle the roar of the airplane and make airplane travelling civilized. I think they're worth their weight in gold (and yes, I've already ordered a pair for myself because there's no way I'll travel without them now).

We took the train from CDG. Walked off the plane onto the train. Oh the beauty of carry-on luggage! Another thing worth its weight in gold when you're jet-lagged and the only thing on your mind is getting to the hotel so you lay your body down and nap for a few blissful hours. The napping part applies to me only; Marcy arrived in Paris fresh as a daisy since she had the good sense to sleep through the flight, unlike me.

We checked into the Hotel Bonaparte. I liked it. It's a nice, homey kind of hotel with a very hospitable staff. I'd stay there again. The price is right and the location is unbeatable. St. Sulpice is around the corner and the street is lined with boutiques, all of which we carefully checked out and many of which we patronized.

I napped while Marcy strolled around the St. Germaine des Pres neighborhood, returning after two hours with a treasure trove of goodies. FOOD! Lovely French food. She had purchased a cheese tray with several kinds of cheese. The presentation was marvelous! Tiny wedges of cheese were artfully arranged on a parchement leaf set upon a cardboard lid taken from a larger wheel. Each had a little label identifying the type of cheese. We had Fourme d'Ambert, a blue, Livarot, a firm cheese with a creamy yellow color, Chevrot, which was Brie-like in appearance, and Comte, which was hard and nutty. All were delicious. We sipped a glass of wine, Cordier Bordeaux 2001, and rounded off our cocktail hour with delicate, delectable macarons from Laduree.

I'd never had macarons before. What a treat! Marcy bought nine mini macarons, which came in an elegant little green and burgundy filigree box. Among the flavors that Marcy had selected were citron, which tastes like lemon meringue pie, cassis violette, a creme de cassis cocktail in a bakery form, mixed berries, which was colored a bright hot pink, as much a treat to the eyes as to the mouth, caramel fleur de sel, an intensely Werther's kind of butterscotch that was to die for, and reglise, a mildly flavored black licorice that Marcy categorized as a licorice for people who didn't think they were crazy about licorice.

Jan 21st, 2005, 06:21 AM
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Hey dln, this is great. This morning I was wondering when we would get your report!
gomiki is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 06:33 AM
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This is sounding like fun already.

One thing I can't fathom -- everyone from Fodors seemed to have been in Paris, but I actually thought that there were very few tourists. Where was everyone hiding?
111op is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 06:45 AM
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You'll find the tourists at the Louvre! Man was it crowded!
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Jan 21st, 2005, 06:49 AM
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dln, thanks for starting your report. I'm glad that you and Marcy had a great time. I can't wait to hear the rest!
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Jan 21st, 2005, 06:50 AM
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I think somehow I was lucky. When I went on my guided tour on Saturday, it was relatively uncrowded (I hardly had to wait to buy my ticket).

The guide for our guided tour even said that this was prety unusual while she was commenting on the Mona Lisa. She said that in truly busy days, there would be a long line of tourists waiting to see the painting (that would stretch down the long gallery). She said that January was a good time to visit Paris, when the city is relatively uncrowded.

I also didn't hear much English spoken.
111op is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 06:57 AM
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Yes, it is starting good! ...."the sales started, and we lost any powers of concentration after that... "
Scarlett is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 07:33 AM
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11op, I can't vouch for other tourists, but if you couldn't find Marcy and me in a boutique, then a cafe would have been another good bet!

We went to the Louvre on Friday morning and found it very uncrowded. It might have been an excellent day to have viewed the Mona Lisa, but that wasn't what we were there for. We made a beeline to Sephora, and spent a blissful hour dabbling in the cosmetics aisles trying out different lipsticks and eye shadows, sniffing gorgeous fragrances and thanking our devotion to Fodors, from which we both learned the French word for "samples."
Jan 21st, 2005, 07:36 AM
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You're really cracking me up, dln. I'm looking forward to the report.

Remind me who Marcy is? A fellow Fodorite? Or a friend?
111op is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 07:42 AM
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Dln, whose macarons did you taste?
cigalechanta is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 07:43 AM
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Saturday evening found the two of us wandering the St. Germaine des Pres neighborhood, suitably fortified by our wine and cheese picnic. Marcy knows the neighborhoood very well; I not at all. We walked the narrow streets of St. Andre des Artes and Gregoire des Tours, which I really liked. They're lively and charming and you don't see the dreadful crush of tourists and the blinding glare of neon that you do on little streets surrounding St. Severin. We saw several restaurants offering ethic foods--Chinese traiteurs, Mexican, Breton-style crepes. It looked like you could feed yourself well for about 15-20€. As you can imagine, there were plenty of students around! We walked down Rue de Seine and came upon a salon across the street to the Hotel de Seine where you could get your hair cut or legs or eyebrows waxed. The eyebrows cost only 3.80€! I made a mental note to come back later in the week but somehow never got back there (next trip, next trip).

We had a drink a bit later at the Cafe Latin at the corner of Rue St. Andre des Artes and Rue Git le Coeur. It rang of Parisian authenticity and was full to brimming of students. Marcy wryly remarked that we were the oldest people there. No matter; this was our first night in Paris and we were exactly where we wanted to be. Marcy had a Kir Royale (7€, which proved to be the average price) and I had a cidre (3.50€, also average).

More walking--a good two hours or so--and then to the restaurant Bouillion Racine on 3 rue Racine. We didn't have any reservations but were found a table within ten minutes. What a beautiful place to dine if you have an appreciation of Art Nouveau! And the food is excellent, as well. I chose the formule of the day at 23€ and had a bowl of vegetable soup like my grandmother used to make, followed by steak tatare. Our server hastened to make sure I knew I'd be eating raw beef before she wrote down my order. Oh, it was heavenly! It brought me instantly back to my childhood days. You see, my mother's best friend after my father was always the local butcher. She'd come home from the butcher shop with wonderful cuts of meat (this was back in the days when you went to a dedicated shop; you didn't pick up meat at the grocery like you do now). Knowing that the ground beef she bought was of the best, freshest quality, she'd make us all meatloaf but not before handing out liberal tastes of the raw mixture. The steak tatare I had at Bouillion Racine reminded me so much of that! I can't even tell you what Marcy had to eat for dinner; I was that enraptured with my carnivorous feast. Except for dessert, though. That was creme brulee, which one should always order in Paris, for it never fails to delight.
Jan 21st, 2005, 08:27 AM
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Mimi, the macarons came from the Laduree down the street from us. Marcy meant to try the ones from Hermes just over the street from the Hotel Bonaparte, but somehow the ones from Laduree called her name more often. No wonder! They're very good.

111op, Marcy is a friend of mine. She lives not more than five miles from me and we have several friends in common. However, we met through Fodors! She wrote a trip report last July about a trip to Paris and Provence with her husband. In it, she mentioned not being able to drive back to Indianapolis, her home, because of troubles with the airline, which dropped them off in Cincinnati instead. I picked up on that because I live in Indianapolis, too! We eventually got together and became friends, and from that this ladies' only trip evolved.
Jan 21st, 2005, 08:33 AM
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Enjoying your report - looking forward to the rest!
Sue4 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 08:43 AM
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Wow, lol, I was going to post about our recent time in Paris, very brief, to say the least ... but after reading the start to dln and Marcy's I believe I'll simply abstain, enjoy yours and wait until next year's trip to tackle how to make our umpteenth x 10 trip to that lovely place interesting and fun for all the read. I look forward to reading the balance. Great job!!!
Jan 21st, 2005, 08:58 AM
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hi dln,

welcome back!

i have a strange question: would you please mention how you managed the jet lag/ time difference - as you took a nap and marcy didn't? the consensus seems to be to push through the day, but i'll be there with my 9 y.o. daughter in march(!!), and i'm not sure if she'll make it.

did you wake up at 3am the next morning? were you groggy the first day, even after the nap?

thanks! can't wait to hear about the shopping . . .
melissa19 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 09:14 AM
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Melissa, I can't sleep on airplanes for more than an hour or two. Even those fabulous Bose headphones and a dose of Ambien couldn't do the trick. I've just resigned myself to arriving anywhere in Europe an exhausted mess. I know that I need a nap! Marcy sleeps on planes (was I envious or what) and that's why she was able to take on Paris right from the get-go. I, on the other hand, was so tired that I felt physically ill. My head was dizzy and my stomach was churning. I fell asleep immediately and when I awoke I had to ask Marcy how we got to the hotel--I had absolutely no recollection of anything that happened after the plane landed. It was like I had a horrible hangover without even having had the benefit of a wild party preceeding it! I will say, though, that that was partly my own fault because I went on the trip tired. I knocked myself out getting my family prepared for a week's absence by me--washing, ironing, cleaning, you get the idea (you can start playing the violins now).

What I would tell you is to take a short nap--two or three hours at most--and start your day on European time from there. If you wake in the afternoon, eat lunch with everyone else, for example. Don't think about what time it "really" is, because that doesn't matter and will only distract you. Both Marcy and I took a sleep aid at bedtime for extra insurance against waking up in the middle of the night and that worked well. I wasn't groggy at all after my nap because frankly, the prospects of being in Paris were too marvelous not to have my wits about me (mind over matter is what I subscribe to).

Jan 21st, 2005, 09:26 AM
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111op, You cut me to the quick!
I guess I need to post a little more often!

Just to fill in the gaps a little: At Boullion Racine I had onion soup for my first course, which was excellent, and sweetbreads with risotto and cepes, which was to die for!

For anyone who has never tried sweetbreads... don't be intimidated- they're wonderful, not strong-flavored, just tender and delicious.

Melissa, in answer to your question, I always try to stay up the first day, and that works for me, but I think maybe for a 9 year old you'd be better with a short nap.

Just don't sleep too long, though, or it will keep you from adjusting to the time difference.
marcy_ is online now  
Jan 21st, 2005, 09:47 AM
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Welcome back and thank you so much for this post. I am really enjoying it so far - delicious food, strolling and shopping with a dose of art thrown in. What could be better? How wonderful that Fodor's brought you two together!
taggie is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 09:52 AM
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dln + marcy -- I think that it's really great that a friendship grew out of Fodors.

I should really try to cut down on the time spent on Fodors. Sometimes I tell myself that I don't really spend that much time here -- it must be because I've a good memory that I can actually seem to recognize various names and personalities (yeah right).
111op is offline  

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