What? Paris again?

Apr 7th, 2010, 06:12 PM
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What? Paris again?

Yes, that's right. I'm off to Paris again and yes it will be my 4th trip there. That's what I keep saying when asked where I'm going on vacation. This time however, will be different.

My best friend, who I've known for almost my entire life, is living there for the next 2 years. So how could I possibly pass up a free place to stay? With that said and having already been to the major sites during the first 3 trips, I would like to do different things this time. This will be my first solo or should I say semi solo trip. My friend will be working during the day so that leaves me 6 full days on my own. I do love the touristy things/places so some I will revisit but I can't imagine them taking 6 days to see.

I don't feel comfortable renting a car on my own and in the past, my do it yourself trips have been a bust. Mainly because things were closed, being renovated or I just couldn't find the places I wanted to see. So, I am thinking of taking a couple of day tours. I am looking at Mont Saint Michel, Loire Valley and a flat tire bike tour to Giverny. I may do one of these, two or all three. I'm just not sure and was wondering if anyone has done these tours? If you could only choose one or two, which ones would you pick and why? I will be visiting at the end of September. My friend and I will also be going to Belgium for a long weekend, which is why I didn't list that as a choice.

Any advice you can give would be appreciated.
sassy27 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2010, 06:28 PM
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There is so much to see in Paris. You could not see it all in 4 trips. Why not stay there are get to know the city. That would be my wish.
cigalechanta is online now  
Apr 7th, 2010, 06:49 PM
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I have honestly lost track of how many times I've been to Paris. I get asked all the time "why again?" I stopped trying to come up with genuine answers because I can't really explain it to anyone's satisfaction. Because if you don't feel what I/we do, you don't get it anyway.

I do go other places, but when I'm into comfort and ease and just feeling happy, I go back to Paris.

Cigal--my wish, too!
MelJ is offline  
Apr 7th, 2010, 07:00 PM
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I'm not really into museum's but have been to the big ones as they say, all three times. All the other major attractions at least once to three times, the fleas markets, the passages, Versailles (three times), boat trip on the seine, dinner at the Eiffel tower and even the Hard Rock cafe. I know there have been other things but can't remember them all. I'm one of those people who cram as much as possible when I travel, with each trip back, being more relaxed than the last. There are probably some things I've missed but if it's something I'm not interested in, I'll skip it.

I'll really have 11 full days total this time. I just subtracted my time in Belgium and days to relax. I also plan, if all goes well, on visiting my friend again early next year when I get more vacation time. Which is why I might not do all three tours. Save something for the next time.
sassy27 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2010, 07:03 PM
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I know what you mean MelJ. I do have a tendency to revisit places over and over. I don't like to see reruns of shows or movies twice but give me the chance to revisit a place and I'm there.
sassy27 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2010, 08:29 PM
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I would suggest maybe a Loire Valley trip and also Giverny. Mont St Michel seems too far for a day trip. I've done Normandy on a day trip twice. It was a long day but well worth it. We trained to Cannes, I think, and then hooked up with a tour there. They met us right at the train station. It was a small group and we were in a larger van. I've also done it by renting a car. On a third time to Normandy we did a multi-day trip, which is the way to go but, a day trip was also well worth it if you don't have a number of days.
I'd also suggest taking at least two days just to "live" in Paris. Pick an area you've never visited and just go wander. Go to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, wander and enjoy the beauty there, then wander the area of that part of Paris.
My hubby and I are going to be in Paris next week. We'll be there a week before I have to work. He'll leave and I'll stay in France for 10 more days. The owner of the company I'm working for asked what we planned to do while in Paris that week. My response was "just live." I lived in Paris many years ago and my husband and I have been there together many times. We love it so much now we just go to live. We always rent an apartment and enjoy! How lucky for you to have a free place to stay. Have fun and enjoy the opportunity!
wug is offline  
Apr 7th, 2010, 08:34 PM
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Another vote for Normandy. As wug said, having a few days there is ideal but if you can only spare a day then do that. We did a day trip our first time and have no regrets.

A fun thing that we did on our 3rd trip was a cooking class. Cookin With Class is in Montmarte and they have half day as well as full day classes. We did the half day macaron class and it was a lot of fun. We did this on our last day. It is something that we will definitely do again when we return.
mms is offline  
Apr 7th, 2010, 10:35 PM
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Day trips by train where you wouldn't need a car:
Troyes, Fontainebleau, Moret-sur-Loing, Reims, Chantilly, Chartres, Metz, Nancy
klondike is offline  
Apr 7th, 2010, 11:50 PM
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There's a good book for short day trips, One Hour From Paris.

Though I'm in the same class as Melj and Cigale, I never get enough of Paris and have lost count of the number of times I've been there over the last 25 years. Off again in Oct.
avalon is offline  
Apr 8th, 2010, 04:52 AM
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4 trips to Paris? I've made 108 and I'm still not tired of the place, not even close. In 4 trips, I assure you, you haven't even begun to plumb the depths of the city. Have you been to Belleville? Saint-Denis? The Ile des Impressionistes? Any of the outlying arrondissements? Have you taken day trips to Auvers-sur-Oise? Chantilly? Senlis? Fontainebleau? Vaux-le-Vicomte?

I wouldn't do Normandy unless you can devote about 3 days to it, which is my minimum, given how much there is to see and do there. Likewise, le Mont St-Michel, IMO, would take two days minimum, though I know people hop on buses and speed there for a very long day. Giverny is do-able as a day trip, however, but if you go, get there early.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 8th, 2010, 04:53 AM
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Definitely if you haven't been to Chartres, go. It is about and hour on the train and the cathedral is amazing. I'm not sure he is still around but we have taken fascinating tours on the cathedral by Malcolm Miller. There is a noon tour. The town of Chartres is charming, and pleasant this time of year to walk around.

Giverny is lovely this time of the year.
mamcalice is offline  
Apr 8th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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Take the TGV from Gare Montparnasse to Angers, 90 mins away in the western Loire valley.. The chateau is an easy 10 min walk from the train station..Angers is perfect for a day trip.. There is a pedestrian only zone around Place St. Croix so you can meander through w/o cars getting in the way..

If not Angers, then you could try a day trip to Laval. Laval is also about 90 mins from Paris, just east of the border with Brittany. It has a some terrific sights; a 12th century cathedral and a chateau along with some lovely 16th century mansions along the banks of the Mayenne River..
Langcraft is offline  
Apr 8th, 2010, 07:46 AM
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I have lived in Paris for 4 years and tomorrow I am fling back for a 5 month extended visit. Why - because it never get's old. Actually, I will use Paris as my home base and travel by motorcycle all around France but always coming back to Paris. And each time I return I will say to myself - 'I am home'.
RetiredTraveler is offline  
Apr 8th, 2010, 03:11 PM
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Thank you all for your input. This does give me a lot to think about. The half day macaron class sounds like a lot of fun. I'm not much of a cook but I love to bake.
sassy27 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2010, 09:32 AM
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I wanted to give an update if anyone should come across this post looking for the same advice. I actually only had 4 days to myself because my friend had lots of things planned for me. I had booked and went on the Mont St. Michel and flat tire bike tours.

Out of the two tours, I loved the flat tire bike one. It more than met my expectations. I hadn't ridden a bike in so long but it was so much fun. The market was open and you could either get your lunch there or walk around the corner to a sandwhich shop that was recommended by the tour guide. The weather the day I took the tour was one of the warmest during my stay. I met some great people and the tour guide was nice and informative. I would recommend this tour by far.

The Mont St Michel tour was just ok in my opinion. I'm glad I went but have no desire to redo it. The food given at lunch was nice but only if you like fish. We weren't given food options but I happen to like fish so it wasn't a problem for me. Mont St Michel was crowded and I did have plenty of time to walk the main road to do some shopping. I had some extra time so walked a little on the beach. It had rained on this day but wasn't a big deal since we were inside for part of the tour. One thing to note though, if you need to use the restroom at the stops on the way, run to the them. All of the buses stop there and it's either use the bathroom or get something to eat. There isn't enough time to do both and it is a long day.

Overall, I am glad I did the tours because you just never know unless you go on them yourself.
sassy27 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2010, 07:43 AM
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What were some of the things your friend had planned for you in Paris? Anything new that you would recommend?

I'm hoping you went on a fat tire bike tour. The flat tire bike tour wouldn't have gotten very far.
Nikki is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 07:21 AM
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Sorry, I just came across my post again and didn't realize anyone replied.

Yes, I went on the fat tire bike ride. That was a typo in my post above. I almost did get a flat though because I ran into a curb. The bike was in first gear and I wasn't used to switching gears yet but I was going too slow to fall.

My friend didn't have anything new planned for me. She had free tickets to Disneyland Paris so we went there even though I've been there before. She works for the state department so one night, I went to a reception they were having. The view from the place was amazing. I wasn't allowed to bring my camera so I didn't get any pictures. Another late day/evening I got a tour of where she works and then attended a champagne tasting. I'm not a drinker but it was fun. I met up with my friend another night after work for dinner.

It seems that I had a lot of time but not really after planning my tours, meeting my friend and then going away for the weekend. I had good time and plan on visting her once more before she leaves.
sassy27 is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 07:48 AM
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You really do need to think about driving yourself around at some time in the future. If you can do it in your own country, you can certainly do it in France.
kerouac is online now  

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