Whirlwind tour of Paris and points south

Nov 11th, 2019, 06:41 PM
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Whirlwind tour of Paris and points south

I have been to France many times but this adventure was with 2 friends who were new to this wonderful country. And what an adventure it was. Part on our own, part on a bus tour, it was fast moving, seeing some of the highlights that all first timers want to see.

Staying at the Marriott Rive Gauche in the fourteenth was not an ideal location, but it was part of the tour.
We arrived 3 days before the tour started. Actually the hotel was quite nice, just too far from the places we wanted to see, so lots of cabs.

After being awake for 23 hrs. we arrived at the hotel a bit exhausted. Checked out the surrounding area a bit, and got settled for in for a 4 night stay. Took a cab to Ile St. Louis for dinner at Líilot Vache, one of my favorites. Totally lived up to expectations....I love this place.

Comfortable room and very good food


The next morning I had tickets for Saint Chapelle which is a must-see IMO. My friends were awed by the beautiful windows and age of the building. A walk over the bridge to the left bank for a look at Notre Dame,
Rene Viviani- Square

Lovely little park overlooking Notre Dame

Then back across The Seine to Ile St. Louis for a bit of shopping and the most creative flower shaped gelato at Amorino. What fun!

Amorino gelato

Taxi to Rue de Buci for a few more shops and a stop at Paul for coffee and an almond croissant...I did promise my friends we would eat our way through Paris and we were starting out good.

Saturday night was another highlight....dinner at Le Grand Colbert in the second followed by
a 2 hour ride through the city in a 1938 Citroen. A misty rain didnít take away from any of the
famous sights.

Le Grand Colbert
it was fun for my friends to watch the movie ďSomethingís Gotta GiveĒ with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton and then have dinner in the restaurant they were in during one of the last scenes.

1938 Citroen

Place Vendome

Fun to see

Of course, we drove the hills of Montmartre, Champs to the Arch, Louvre, Eiffel, etc. and took lots of
photos of the sights lit up at night. This was through City Wheels. It was 209 Euros for 2 hrs. and
definitely worth it.

More tomorrow..........
TPAYT is offline  
Nov 11th, 2019, 07:28 PM
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I love this already! Looking forward to the rest.
pgtraveler is offline  
Nov 11th, 2019, 07:40 PM
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Very nice report. Looking forward to more.
john183 is online now  
Nov 11th, 2019, 08:04 PM
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Ah, Paris...wish I was there too...
geetika is online now  
Nov 12th, 2019, 12:48 AM
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TPAYT....enjoying every word...happy to meet you and DH at the DC GTG......sorry we didn't see you on this trip, but, maybe in the Spring?????
Traviata is online now  
Nov 12th, 2019, 04:22 AM
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Ohhhh, LOVING your TR! The photos are gorgeous!
"Rene Viviani- Square" - your photo is prettier than mine!
You got the almond croissant I missed!
My Christmas tour in the vintage Citroen was perhaps my favorite travel memory. Such a great way to see the city at night!
LOVE your trip so far and I'm taking notes on places to go on my next return trip. Can't wait for your next installment!
That gelato looks divine!
starrs is offline  
Nov 12th, 2019, 05:22 AM
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Very cool ice cream 🍦! More soon please.
TDudette is offline  
Nov 12th, 2019, 06:58 AM
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I must thank all of the Fodorites who answered my questions preceding this trip. Even though I visit Paris often this was quite a different experience trying to show my friends the basics in a short time. Your help with taxis, etc. really worked well.

Traviata, starrs, TDudette.....my DH and I had such fun at the DC. GTG meeting you and the others, we hope to do more of the GTGs in the future. Also hope to see you traviata in Paris in the spring.
starrs....your photos far exceeded mine. DH is the photographer in our house and he stayed home.

On to Sunday......We had tickets for the 11am tour in English at Opera Garnier. Wow, was it crowded. I think the free entry to sites on the first Sunday of the month added to the chaos. Only 10 in our group helped but there were so many people everywhere. Just stunning, the Opera Garnier is a treat to the eye.

The Grand Foyer is a rival to Versailles.

Grand Foyer

The theater and ChagalL ceiling something you will never forget.


Chagall ceiling

The Tour in English was the way to go. Interesting information in a gorgeous venue.

Next we walked over to Galeries Lafayette. I wished it was closer to Christmas so that the unbelievable tree would have been in the center but it was still beautiful to see the dome. Unfortunately, it was so crowded that you could hardly walk in the aisles, much less shop. We headed to the rooftop terrace for the view. Only time for a couple of photos before a torrential rain came through.

View from rooftop terrace of Galeries Lafayette

Time for a food break at Angelina. Onion soup and some treats and tea....should have tried the hot chocolate.

Interesting center

Famous Mon Blanc, Pistachio Mont Blanc, And a strawberry delight

Delicious in every way.

Taxi back to the hotel As we were meeting our tour group at 5pm for a welcome dinner.....who eats dinner at 5pm? Well, there was a meeting first, but still! We had signed up for a bus tour from Paris to Dijon, Avignon, Aix, Nice, St. Paul de Vence, Monaco, Ch teauneuf du Pape, etc. I guess the early dinner was because of people arriving and tired after long flight days,

We met our guide and there would be 38 people in our group. I’ve only been on one bus tour so this was new for me.

We walked 1/2 a block away to Au Reveille Samaritan restaurant.

The room was nice, the group fun to get to know, food and wine(lots of wine) was excellent. Started with a Kir (the first of many) toasted to a good trip. Escargot, chicken breast in a creamy white sauce, frittes, and an apple tart, all very tasty. This was included so no idea of cost.

The tour had arranged our room at the Marriott and we were happy to have 2 adjoining rooms and 2 bathrooms for we 3 ladies. 7am wake-up call so off to bed.

Bus tour of Paris in morning, followed by a Seine Cruise, then on our own afternoon. Lunch and up to the top of The Eiffel. Dinner at the exceptionally gorgeous Le Train Bleu......
TPAYT is offline  
Nov 12th, 2019, 07:10 AM
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Oh, you got to Angelina's at Galeries Lafayetee! What did you think of the location?
You are packing a lot in a short period of time!
I'm not usually a bus tour kind of person but I'm intrigued by your tour. Can't wait to read more to see how it goes.
Fabulous TR! Thanks for taking us along with you.
starrs is offline  
Nov 12th, 2019, 08:05 AM
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I must add that I am not a bus tour kind of person either. When my 2 friends sent me a text and asked if I wanted to join them, of course I said yes, it was Paris after all. But I suggested we have a few days on our own in Paris & Nice.

Would I do it again? Not sure. There were a lot of pluses and minuses. As in life, you get what you pay for and this Globus Tour was very inexpensive. The higher cost tours are probably better. All in all, if I overlook the glitches, we got what we paid for and had a lot of fun together. Also, some of the downs were caused by rain which is certainly not the fault if the tour company.
TPAYT is offline  
Nov 12th, 2019, 01:47 PM
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Why have I never gone inside of the opera? I always love your trip reports. Beautiful pictures and glad you enjoyed Angelina's
Macross is offline  
Nov 12th, 2019, 02:38 PM
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OMG, Macross, you need to visit the opera....the most beautiful building in Paris (obviously, my opinion!)
Judy is online now  
Nov 13th, 2019, 02:46 AM
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To answer your question, people on bus tours eat dinner at 5! Figure I could kid since youíre not a fan either. 😉 Iíve had to show friends/family around Paris, but most recently, only for a full day. Sounds like you hit all the highlights for them. You are a good friend. And now I have a face for your name! Looking forward to more- great pictures, too,
YankyGal is offline  
Nov 13th, 2019, 03:46 AM
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TPAYT, thanks for the gorgeous pictures, havenít been inside Palais Garnier in eons, should plan it for next visit.

I have taken day tours but never a longer one like you did, sounds like fun when itís mixed up with DIY stuff, plus good company. Iím considering something similar for Scotland next July as neither my sister nor I want to drive, letís see how it works out.
geetika is online now  
Nov 13th, 2019, 06:40 AM
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Monday morning took us on a short bus tour of the city and luckily we had a bit of blue sky.

Les Invalides

Eiffel Tower with friends, I’m on left

Arriving at the Arch

From Bateau Parisiens boat tour

Some blue sky then the clouds closed in. After the boat ride some of the tour went on an optional tour of the Louvre. We stayed at the Eiffel as I had purchased tickets to go to the top. We had some time before entry so we walked to a little cafe close by for lunch, Croque monsieurs, of course.

Then up we went. Not the best weather but a little sun here and there. Your first trip to Paris must include
the summit of The Eiffel after all.

View from the top

After many photos and some more shopping, we returned to the hotel to rest a bit and get ready for dinner.

I should add that each cab to & from the hotel was around 16-20 Euros depending on traffic. Yes, we could
have taken the Metro, but with all the walking we did the steps up and down would have been too much.
With 3 of us to split the cab and private car rides the cost was minimal.

Le Train Bleu......fabulous!

Having dinner here is quite a lovey experience. It’s sort of like dining at Versailles. The room, the food, the service are all memory making. In the middle of dinner a bellhop stands in the aisle loudly talking about something. Anyone know what?

I am going to add a note here....MDH and I brought our 13 yr. old GD here 5 yrs. ago. She’s now in college. I sent her a photo of my friends and I and asked her if she remembered dining here. Her response was, “I sure do. I had the best cooked spinach of my life.” Spinach! That’s what she remembered, LOL!

Here’s a few thousand photos and reviews.

We had a kir to toast the evening, then moved on to a nice bottle of Chablis. Foie gras starters followed by duck and pike quenelles. A small trio of desserts (mousse, lemon tart, & tiny rum baba) for 2 of us. The other had a large rum baba. The waiter left a huge decanter of rum on the table to use as we liked. Of course, we had a lot of fun with that.
Just to give you an idea of cost, it was 265 Euros.

Foie gras

Pike quenelles

Duck and dauphinois potato

Trio of desserts

A wonderful evening

Loud shouting, but what is he saying?

Tomorrow we are off to Versailles and a long bus ride to Dijon.
TPAYT is offline  
Nov 13th, 2019, 07:13 AM
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Looks like a wonderful trip! It reminds of when my daughter and I took my mom. My mom had never been to Paris (or Europe for that matter) and so it was fun to show her a new place and see it through her eyes.

Your photos are beautiful and you can see the joy in each of your smiles, love that!

On another trip with just my daughter, we were there in the summer and thoroughly enjoyed the rooftop of Galleries Lafayette. We stumbled upon that as I did not know about it ahead of time. Always fun to find new things!
mms is offline  
Nov 13th, 2019, 07:33 AM
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Beautiful photos! Beautiful day! I am jealous of the blue skies.

"I should add that each cab to & from the hotel was around 16-20 Euros depending on traffic. Yes, we could
have taken the Metro, but with all the walking we did the steps up and down would have been too much.
With 3 of us to split the cab and private car rides the cost was minimal."

I completely agree.
Even solo, for me it's "well worth it". Time is money and if a cab or Uber ride gives me more time to enjoy Paris, it's time AND money well spent.

LOVING your photos!
starrs is offline  
Nov 13th, 2019, 07:49 AM
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TPAYT and Starrs--I agree! With my mom, we took cabs many places and then after my fall at Versailles, taxis were a godsend.
mms is offline  
Nov 13th, 2019, 11:38 AM
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Really enjoying your report and gorgeous photos. Looks like you had a wonderful trip.
john183 is online now  
Nov 14th, 2019, 06:22 AM
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Tuesday took us to Versailles and on to Dijon. The bus was comfortable with WiFi and the ability to charge our phones and iPads.
It was a bit cold and drizzly so we only went inside. My favorite memory of Versailles was a Cyrano de Bergerac fireworks show in the gardens a few years ago.
our group was split in two with 2 local guides to show us around. The downside...no garden tour, the upside...less crowds.

If you like bling this is your place
TPAYT is offline  

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