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Just came back from 3 nights in paris ... great time!

Orlando, Florida
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Just came back from 3 nights in paris ... great time!

Hi, my husband and I just came back from paris, we were there from 4 days/3 nights, and had a blast. Highly recommend it! We got a lot of useful advise browsing the forums before leaving, so I wanted to give our input.

Hotel: we stayed at the abbatial saint germaine, i just posted a review of it, highly recommended, great place, not too far from notre dame.

Transportation: we got a taxi to and from the airport instead of dealing with metro/bus/air france shuttles. we figured we're on vacation, may as well relax. the other transportation method we used a lot was the two day pass for 28 euro each for the l'open tour bus, which runs 4 bus lines around paris, and let us see areas that we didn't have time to get down and walk around. got great pictures while on the bus also, which surprised me.

Weather: wow, did we get lucky! before leaving, we'd read that it was going to rain everyday ... it lightly drizzled one morning (which we used as an excuse to sleep in, and by the time we got up, it was just overcast, and finally the sun broke through by about 2 pm), and then the day we were leaving, it poured. but the day we arrived, the weather was sunny, and comfortable, and our other day there was sunny and warm, my husband was regretting taking a jacket with him for the day, since he just had to shlep it around all day. I am always cold, and even had to peel off layers that day. we both got a bit of a tan to our faces that day. :)

Food: we chose to get breakfasts at patisseries or creperies everyday instead of eating in the hotel, and i'm glad we did, the pastries were SO good. incidentally, at lunchtime, the quiches at the patisserie were also amazing. for lunches we often got sandwiches and sodas at cafes/bistros. for dinner, we ate twice at random cafe's, and then tried to get reservations for the last night at someplace more upscale ... due to a mixup, we were under the impression that it wasn't possible to get reservations there, so booked a table at a different restaurant (not as upscale), which was still nice, but we were bummed that we didn't go for one really fancy dinner. i'm 4 months pregnant, so was being careful in terms of wine and cheeses, and I'm still a little sensitive about what i'm eating (i still get queasy rather easily), so unfortunately i went with rather safe meals (roast chicken, pasta, etcetera), since everytime i'd look at the menu for the more gourmet meals, my stomach would turn a bit. that makes me a bit sad, but hey, its all for good reason. but my husband enjoyed his meals.

Attractions: i had wanted to plan what we were going to go see and when, my husband wanted to be more spontaneous, and since we ran out of motivation and planning time before arriving in paris, everything was very spontaneous, but it worked to our benefit. first day we walked around notre dame, then we got to the louvre at about 2 pm monday afternoon, no line to get in, no real line to see the mona lisa, and then wandered around the museum freely. we went on the tour bus/seine river cruise the next night - the cruise leaves from the base of the eiffel tower, so rather than taking the bus back to rue de rivoli and then taxi'ing back to the hotel and going to bed, we got off the cruise and just wandered over to the eiffel tower. no line to buy tickets (well, maybe 3-4 people), went up to the second floor, then there was about a 30 minute line, then the elevator to the top. much better than the huge lines i was anticipating! it was very cold and windy at the top of the eiffel tower (although by the time we got up there it was about 1030 pm) but definitely worth it - there was an indoor viewing platform, which included maps and labels of landmarks, and then one flight up from there was the outdoor viewing platform.

another day we found ourselves at the arc de triumph, climbed up the 250+ steps to the top, only to spot a woman at the top, who had been climbing ahead of us and after about 15-20 steps had said it was too much and climbed back down. apparently, there was an elevator around the corner. d'oh! ah, well, the view at the top soon eased the ache in our calves, and it was worth it. but when we went to sacre cort and spotted an elevator at the side, we chose to cheat and pay to take the elevator to the top, so that we could wander the cathedral, and then walked down the front steps. only thing we missed was invalides, we were too tired to get there the night before we left, so we figured we'd go first thing the next morning before having to leave paris ... when we woke up to pouring rain, and were soaked by the time we got to the patisserie, we decided not to go. i guess its just one more excuse for needing to go back to paris!

money - we didn't plan on shopping, just a few touristy things, so most of our money was spent on food and attractions. the attractions were all 5-10 euro to get in; the open tour bus was 28 euro for a two day pass; breakfast is about 1-2 euro per pastry, sandwiches from 4-7 euro depending on if you are eating inside or taking out, and how close you are to the tourist trap; beware, a can or bottle of soda costs 2-3 euro to take out, and a medium soda in a bistro was 5-6 euro (although a glass of wine was only 4 euro!); dinners were 12-15 euro for the main course in the cafe/bistros, appetizers/soups 5-9 euro, desserts around 6 euro. we'd already paid the hotel on credit card. a few souveniers, and we were done, so realistically our spending money in paris ended up being less then we expected.

Overall - what a great time, and a good time to go there, judging from the minimal lines we encountered. there were a fair amount of school trips there, but they didn't really bother us at all. the only bad thing about going in mid march is that the gardens were barren - none of the flowers had bloomed yet, even the trees were bare ... although i noticed a tree that had suddenly become green with opened buds on the last day that we were there (that had previously been bare). it was still beautiful though. i spoke minimal french (just the key phrases of good moning, good evening, please, thank you, excuse me, do you speak english, may i please have), and everyone was very helpful. my husband spoke a little more, which was helpful, people appreciated us trying to speak french i think

thanks for everyones input .. it was great, hope this was useful to those of you planning on going soon ... we're jealous already!

Newport, RI
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1. Re: Just came back from 3 nights in paris ... great time!

Hey gipsi, did you find that 3 days was enough time? My husband and I are going in late June early July and we have given most of our time there to following the tour de france. How was the plane ride and walking being pregnant? We are hoping that I will be for our trip, any advise on how to plan for that. The traveling not getting pregnant, :). Glad to hear you had such a great time.