Who JUST got back from Paris?

Nov 22nd, 2006, 03:53 PM
Original Poster
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Who JUST got back from Paris?

Welcome back! We'll be leaving for Paris in just 2 days!! How's the weather? Do we need winter coats or just light jackets? What's going on in town? Now that you've gone, what tips would you give from your personal experience? Any great finds, or things you wished you could have fit in?

You can probably tell how excited we are. Hope you had a great time!

wandrlst is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 08:50 PM
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How do I envy you! Back now about two weeks. Weather was nice - light jackets will be fine. Although I remember being in Paris last year first week of December and it was COLD!

I was too early for Christmas decorations in shop windows and illuminated streets like Champs Elysees. You willbe lucky enough to see that!

I wish I bought more shoes and scarves!

Enjoy Paris!
chiarachiara is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 09:15 PM
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I am not back from Paris because I am IN Paris. It is cold and rainy -- pretty much time to haul out the winter coats after an exceptionally mild November (up until now).
kerouac is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 09:16 PM
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The lights go on on the Champs Elysées tomorrow.
kerouac is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 10:05 PM
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Winter coats are pretty crucial if you plan on walking around all day.

I thought I'd be fine last December since I'm from Chicago and it was at least 15 degrees warmer in Paris. I FROZE because I didn't bring my warmest coat. I didn't realize that I'm only outside in Chicago in between buildings, the car, etc -- NOT sightseeing outside all day. When I'm leaving in two weeks for Paris I'm bringing my warmest coat.
fishee is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 02:02 AM
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Best advice from kerouac who is there right now!

Look at the lights for me, will you?

Fishee, I was in Paris first week of December last year - and as I said it was COLD! Lucky you to be there this year as well!
chiarachiara is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 03:46 AM
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Like kerouac, I live in Paris, too. I don't find it that cold right now, but I'm Canadian - so these are pleasant temperatures in comparison with Toronto.

The weather seems to be fluctuating between light winter coat-worthy cold days (e.g. yesterday) and leather jacket-worthy cool and wet days. I keep getting it wrong (wore leather jacket yesterday (not warm enough), wearing winter coat today (too warm).

My standard travel clothing combination for most weather conditions short of temperatures below 0C is: a) spring/fall raincoat or leather jacket; b) neutral (in my case, black) zip polar fleece jacket underneath when needed; c) gloves; d) scarf; and e) umbrella. And for damp climates like Paris, I make sure that I have at least two pairs of comfortable walking shoes (in case one pair gets soaked). That way, I can add layer up if I'm going to be outside for most of the day, but I can also remove the polar fleece layer for indoor activities (museums, restaurants, shops, metro, etc) and put it in my backpack.

Speaking of rain, I just bought an umbrella in one of the gift shops at the Musée du Louvre. I usually prefer basic black to colours or strange designs. This one is lightweight, collapsible and black, except for one segment that a reproduction from an illuminated manuscript (white lettering on black plus some representations of people). Subtle, and a little more interesting than your average black umbrella. A good stocking stuffer, and only about 10 euros. They weren't in the main gift shop but a smaller one nearby that mostly sells cards and books.

It is the Salon du Vins des Vignerons Independents this weekend. We went last year. It's extraordinary - about 800 exhibitors, I think, and about 2000 people when we were there. It's a madhouse, but the tastings are free once you have paid 6 euros admission. (We got free tickets from a friend last year. Once we got there, we got an exhibitor to give us a free ticket to return the next day.) It takes place in a large conference venue at the south of 15th arrondissement, but it's easy to get there by public transportation. Go to http://www.vigneron-independant.com/...98&salon=Paris

I have a feeling that the exhibitors at this event will not necessarily speak much English. But you don't need much French to ask for a taste of wine. (Just a Bonjour Monsieur/Madame, hold out your glass for a pour and remember to say merci and au revoir.) There is basically no food at this event, so make sure that you don't go on an empty stomach - and bring a bottle of water so that you can cleanse your palate and re-hydrate between tastings.

You might have better luck finding exhibitors who speak some English at Le Grand Tasting. It's closer to the centre of the city, at the Carroussel du Louvre. It's a lot more expensive (30 euros entry), but then you get free tastings of grands vins.

Last night, my husband and I went to a champagne tasting at Lavinia, a very large wine shop (almost a wine supermarket) in Paris. Last night's event was for Lavinia Club members only, but the store offers free tastings in the early evening on many Saturdays and sometimes Fridays, too. This Friday and Saturday there will be tastings of cognac and/or calvados. Check out www.lavinia.fr. There are very helpful English-speaking staff at the shop; if you like wine, it's worth a visit even if you don't buy anything.

Save your trip to the Marais for Sunday (brunch + shopping), because a lot of shops in this neighbourhood open on Sunday (some close on Monday).

If you like to shop but don't want to invest a lot of time in the activity (or your significant other doesn't want to trail after you for hours and hours or days and days), you can cover most of the bases with a trip to one of the large department stores (especially Printemps, Galeries Lafayette or Bon March&eacute. The fashion departments have a wide selection of French labels, including the kinds of labels that in North America would be available only as a store brand in a stand-alone shop. (It's as if you could go to Bloomingdales and find Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and Victoria's Secret boutiques in it.) Printemps has the best shoe department, as well as an extraordinary cosmetics floor, but I like the fashion in Lafayette better (the stores are beside each other, though, so it's easy to go to both).

Paris is a good place to buy reasonably priced, good quality leather purses. My favourite shop/label is La Bagagerie because it's reasonably priced and has classic, simple designs - but there are lots of options.

Have a great trip!
Kate_W is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 03:48 AM
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Oops. I forgot the link to The Grand Tasting. It's at www.legrandtasting.com
Kate_W is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 04:42 AM
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One of my favorite Paris experiences last month was a visit to the Deyrolle shop on Rue du Bac. Walk upstairs and prepare to be surprised!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 06:02 AM
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Actually, today turned out be be another day 10C over the normal seasonal temperatures (meaning it is about 15C when it should be 5C) -- however, it has been dark with annoying light rain all day.
kerouac is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 06:08 AM
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It was rather mild when I was there on Saturday, but it started raining in the evening. Fortunately Sunday morning I was off to London, and it was sunny in London. I was happy that I had good weather the entire weekend, more or less.

The weather in NYC seems to be mirroring the weather across the Atlantic. Last week it was mild. After I came back it's been considerably colder, and it's been raining since last night.
111op is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 09:03 AM
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Kate_W - thanks for posting about your umbrella purchase. I will be in Paris next week and yesterday as I left work in the pouring rain here in Vancouver I was musing about whether an interesting umbrella might be a good souvenir to bring back!
taggie is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 09:52 AM
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I bought a great umbrella that is designed to withstand wind. It's fairly compact but was a bit expensive at around $25-30. It's guaranteed to not turn inside out in wind up to 15 mph -- so far it's held up in Chicago.
fishee is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 08:11 PM
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Merci beaucoup to all for your input! I'm bringing a warm coat, preparing for rain, looking forward to the holiday lights, shopping, wine-tasting, and now am quite curious about this Deyrolle shop! Keep it coming...I can keep checking in until my evening flight tomorrow.
wandrlst is offline  
Nov 24th, 2006, 01:14 AM
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For that umbrella, you might also want to check Madeleine Gély on boulevard Saint-Germain. They have an amazing selection.
Toupary is offline  
Nov 24th, 2006, 04:42 AM
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We just returned yesterday; a raincoat with zipout lining, good hat and strong umbrella are highly advised. Lots of standing water in places; appropriate shoes/boots are important.
oakglen is offline  
Nov 25th, 2006, 09:57 AM
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That standing water oakglen mentioned is very useful when you need to rinse the dog merde off your shoes ...
Kate_W is offline  
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