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We are in Paris: May 10-25

Paris, France
Level Contributor
1,861 posts
19 reviews
We are in Paris: May 10-25

Paris, Days 1 & 2

Well, we are finally here!! We landed at CDG yesterday about 10 am. Because we used a charter airline (Zoom out of Montreal), we landed at Terminal 3, which I guess is not used by any of the bigger airlines. We were through customs in less than 5 minutes and had our baggage 5 minutes later. I had booked a shuttle with Shuttle Inter after reading good reviews about them on Trip Advisor.(I just want to say that as I am writing this, I am sipping on a rose in our apartment and eating some macaroons we got at the Bastille market this morning. Ah, Paris!). The fare is 55 euros per trip for a private shuttle ~ IOW, we were the only passengers, no waiting for anyone else. The driver was waiting for us when we left the passenger part of the terminal with a sign with our name on it. We had no traffic coming into the city and were at our apartment in the Marais about an hour after we landed!! We had told Thierry from ParisBestLodge that we would probably be there about noon, and it was only 11:15 when we got there. There was still someone cleaning the apartment, so we went for a walk to orient ourselves while the cleaning was completed and were back about 12:30. On our way in, we spotted the Cafe des Musees which I had read about (49 rue de Turenne). We made reservations for dinner later that night.

We have rented the Place des Voges apartment, which is literally half a block from Place des Voges on Rue de Turennes. The apartment is very cozy and completely spotless. There is a comfortable bed on the upper mezzanine and a sofa-bed on the main level. The kitchen is well equipped and the compact bathroom has a shower with great water pressure. We unpacked and went for another walk, after having phoned Thierry and confirming that he would be by about 6pm to give us an orientation and take our payment. (One of the reasons we booked with Thierry was his very easy booking system ~ no deposit or security deposit except for a cheque we sent him when we booked which he does not cash. He holds it and will give it back to us when we leave. We had to pay him in cash yesterday, so I did have to exchange and carry 1600 euros (800 euros/week) with me, but we really liked not having to pay anything in advance or having money tied up in a security deposit.)

We walked to Place des Voges and realized we had seen it last year without realizing what it was. We stopped for lunch at Cafe Hugo, on the north side of Place Des Voges under those beautiful arches. We each had a wonderful salad for 11 euros each, Den has the Salade Nicoise and I had the Salade Fermiere, with goat cheese, apples and ham. We split a half litre of Brouilly and the total was 36 euros. Fortified with food and wine, but starting to feel the effects of jet lag, we walked to the Bastille where Den bought some earphones for his Ipod at the FNAC across from the Bastille Opera House. We walked down to the nearest Monoprix and got some yogurt, coffee and cream for our breakfast. (There is a boulangerie a half block from our apartment where Den will get our daily pain aux chocolat and croissants in the morning). As we were walking back, we ran across a huge gathering of people celebrating the end of slavery. Den read this morning that President Sarkozy met with representatives of the group yesterday. We got back to the apartment around 4:30 and took a little nap since we had been up since 6am the day before in anticipation of the trip. Thierry came by at about 6pm to explain the appliances and TV/cable in the apartment. We have a washer/dryer, a dishwasher and a computer, which are very nice conveniences to have for a 2 week stay. He showed me how to connect the internet directly to my laptop and I thought everything was OK, but we haven't been able to use the internet on the mac yet because I don't have his internet connection info. Being the techno geeks that we are, we didn't realize that we are not using a wireless network when we connect the internet cable directly to the PC!! We tried various ways to connect and have given up for the moment, not wanting to worry about this when Paris is outside our door waiting to be explored. I may phone Thierry later this week to ask him about it, but have decided to just write my blog through his computer and worry about uploading the pictures later.

We walked to dinner and were seated at a delightful little table right at an open patio window. We had read very good reviews about this little restaurant and were happy to start our vacation finding a recognizable place so easily. We both ordered from la carte. I had mushroom caps stuffed with escargots for an appetizer and Den had saucisse de cochon noire. Both were delicious and we had a bottle of Gamay from the Loire valley, a steal at 18 euroes. Den ordered cuisse de canard which came with Dauphine potatoes and a mesculan salad. I had the mijote of the month, which was lamb shoulder stewed with veggies and potatoes in a delectable broth. Halfway through our meal, we started talking with the people next to us to discover they were also Canadians. They were on their last night of their 2 week vacations and gave us several restaurant recommendations (including Robert & Louise and L'Ami Jean). Den had a chocolate terrine for dessert and I had rice pudding after seeing how much our neighbours enjoyed theirs. Dinner lasted about 2 hours and was a very reasonable 81 euros. We walked the 2 blocks back to our apartment and were fast asleep in about 15 minutes.

We woke up this morning at around 6:30, very excited to finally be in Paris. We lounged around the apartment, drinking coffee and trying to connect the mac to the internet (unsucessfully) till around 8:30, when we walked to the Bastille Sunday market and bought some fruit, cheese, eggs, fresh butter, a baguette and various other goodies. We had been to this market last year and we are even closer (about a five minute walk) this year. Walked back to the apartment, put away our yummy stash, had some bread and cheese and walked over to the Bastille metro to go to the Pere Lachaisse cemetary. We spent about 2 hours walking around, looking for the famous tombstones and enjoying the peace and beauty of the cemetary. Although it was pretty neat finding Jim Morrison's plot, the monuments that had the most impact on me were those which I didn't even know were there ~ the many monuments to the victims of the Second World War and specifically the victims of the Nazi concentration camps. There were about a dozen memorials to the tens and hundreds of thousands of innocent French victims of Nazi atrocities. The carvings were very poignant, reminding us of the horrors of this part of history and bringing me to tears several times. This was the most memorable part of my visit to Pere Lachaisse, which I will remember for a very long time.

We left the cemetary a little after 1pm and had planned to take the metro back, but it was such a beautiful day, we decided to walk back. We walked through the 11th on rue de la roquette, which took us right back to the Bastille, stopping on the way at a little cafe for a break from the sun. As we got nearer to the Marais, Den remarked that we had been in Paris for over 24 hours and not yet visited the Seine, so we coninued walking towards Ile St Louis, with a stop at the L'As du Fallafel for those wonderful sandwiches. Sitting on the curb, munching those huge, delicous monsters, we knew we were definitely back in Paris. We had dreamed about these babies since having them twice in one week last year. We walked through Ile St Louis and towards St Chapelle, hoping to get in without too much of a wait, but there was about an hour wait to get in, so we decided to walk back home. By the time we got back, around 5:30, we had been walking pretty much nonstop for 7 hours and our little tootsies were hurting. We decided to just have dinner in the apartment with our goodies from this morning's market and hang around, listening to the CDs I brought and resting our bodies for tomorrow. I was anxious to enter my first post from Paris and Den is playing with iphoto on the mac, transferring the pictures we've taken so far.

I think we will take the bus to Champ de Mars tomorrow and walk slowly back. I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep and another wonderful day in paradise in the morning.

Jo

Paris, France
Level Contributor
1,861 posts
19 reviews
1. Re: We are in Paris: May 10-25

Some more thoughts before we go out today

While Den is still sleeping off yesterday's marathon walking session (which is pretty funny, since he is usually the one up really early, waiting for me to get up), I thought I would just add to yesterday's comments.

First, what to wear in Paris ~ every single site I visit, one of the most asked questions is what should I wear and what should I not wear. I just want to reassure everyone that we have seen everything and anything, so my advice is ~ just wear what makes you comfortable. It has been really hot and sunny since we got here (yeah for us!) and tourists and Parisians are wearing shorts (not short shorts, but nice casual bermudas, although we did see some Japanese girls wearing extremely short shorts) and tshirts, jeans, dockers, sandals, running shoes, walking shoes, high heels, sun dresses, you name it, we saw it. As many people have said before, the most important thing is to make sure you have comfortable walking apparel, whatever that means to you. Of course, walking around in the day and going out to nice restaurants in the evening are 2 very different things, as they would be back home. Use common sense and don't expect to get into a good restaurant dressed like you're shopping at the mall. Even then, dressier jeans, nice shirt or sweather, khakis would be OK as long as you are not at a 3 star Michelin restaurant (this is an assumption on my part, since we can't afford those anyways!!)

At the end of the day, don't agonize too much over this and use common sense and just be clean and comfortable.

Also forgot to mention yesterday that our apartment has many Paris guidebooks (the one we rented last year on Ile St Louis did as well) so I think this is probably common in many apartments geared to tourists. My point (and I do have one) is don't bother lugging your heavy copies when you will probably find loads of info in your place. One of the books we found on the shelves is the Food Lover's Guide to Paris by Patricia Wells, which I am enjoying very much. I have too many restaurants I want to try and not enough time (or money!) to try them all. We have reservations for Spring on Friday and Il Vino tomorrow (which I may cancel if I can get into Fables de la Fontaine or Au Bon Accueil). I also want to try L'Ei Dupain, L'ami Jean, Chez Omar, Robert & Louise, Cafe Constant, Le Petit Trouquet, Le Petit Marche, Chez Janou, Le Pamplet, Le Petit Prince de Paris, Laduree...........well, you get the idea! I already feel myself gaining weight as I type this, but I didn't come to Paris to watch what I eat (well, yes, I did, but in a totally different way that I do at home!). I'm just hoping that all the walking we are doing will help keep the extra pounds to a minimum, and if not, oh well, I'll deal with it when I get home.

Well, it looks like another beautiful day today, I'm going to jump in the shower and then wake up my sleeping beauty and see where life will take us today.

Jo

Paris, France
Level Contributor
1,861 posts
19 reviews
2. Re: We are in Paris: May 10-25

Just a note to explain that the above are copied from my blog on Slow Travel, hope that is OK. If so, I will continue to copy my entries as I go along.

JO

Rio De Janeiro
Level Contributor
133 posts
43 reviews
3. Re: We are in Paris: May 10-25

Loved reading your TR! It is so nice when you have a lot of time in Paris, like you guys... No rush for anything... Keep the TRs coming!

Great Barrington...
Level Contributor
4,268 posts
64 reviews
4. Re: We are in Paris: May 10-25

I'm anxious to hear about the side trips you have planned

ipswich england
Level Contributor
451 posts
1 review
5. Re: We are in Paris: May 10-25

Regarding the guide books provided in your apartment. No doubt by the owner, but I am a sucker for guide books and very often give them to the hotel when I leave, or sometimes I give them to one of our local charity shops at home.

Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
1,598 posts
44 reviews
6. Re: We are in Paris: May 10-25

What a great way to start my morning! Thanks for sharing and will be looking for the next installment.

Louisville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
288 posts
6 reviews
7. Re: We are in Paris: May 10-25

I love what you've written so far. Can't wait to hear more about restaurants. We're going in 2 weeks.

Keep it coming!

Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
23,111 posts
110 reviews
8. Re: We are in Paris: May 10-25

Local time here is 7:50 am, and this trip report did indeed start my morning off with a smile, off to work I go , as off to play go you!! Can't wait to read more!!

Paris, France
Level Contributor
1,861 posts
19 reviews
9. Re: We are in Paris: May 10-25

Another beautiful sunny day and we are out of the apartment and on the #69 bus by 10:30. The route of the 69 is very scenic, around the Bastille monument, down Rue de Rivoli and all those shops, right through the middle of the Louvre Museum (the courtyard, not the building, of course!) through St Germain and right to Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower. Much cheaper than a tour bus and hitting all the right sights for the price of a bus ticket. We checked out the time of the last elevator entries for the Tower for tomorrow night. It's my 48th birthday tomorrow and I want to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night and just revel in the sight of Paris below us. Today, the 3rd level was closed, so I hope it will be open tomorrow, but if it's not, I'll be just as happy and wide eyed to be looking over Paris from the 2nd! We walked down rue St Dominque and we scored a reservation at Christian Constant's Fables de la Fontaine for my birthday dinner!! We walked down Rue Cler and were kind of underwhelmed, found it a bit touristy. We went in search of a little restaurant near Les Invalides and the Rodin Museum that I had read about for lunch, but it was closed, like many other places today, due to today being the last day of a long weekend that began on Thursday. We walked down St Germain de Pres, leisurely looking for a place for lunch. We passed all the high end designer shops and the famous cafes and kept going. We kept walking until we found ourselves at the Luxembourg Gardens. By this time, we have been walking non-stop in the hot sun for over 2 hours! We could have had lunch at a large cafe right across the street from the park,on the Pantheon side, but the menu looked very heavy and we were too hot to eat those types of dishes. We found a little take out place a few doors down (Lina's, 13 rue de Medicis), ordered 2 great sandwiches, some waters and a strawberry tart and walked back to the park for a picnic. We just sat and watched the world go by for over an hour. At one point, we spotted a beautiful fountain just behind where we were sitting (the Medici Fountain, originally built in 1630) and sat there for another half hour, enjoying the sunshine, the people all around us and being in Paris in the springtime. There was the cutest little boy, about 2 and a half, who was running around and throwing little rocks into the fountain. When he spotted some ducks paddling towards him, he squealed in delight and made me think of Sebastian and how we will bring him to Paris one day.

When we left the park, we spotted a large group of blown up photos along the outside gates of the park. It was an exhibition of pictures from the Figaro magazine, we only saw a part of it, from about 1990 to the present. There were some unbelievable pictures from around the world. These pictures had accompanied various stories in the magazines over the years. For anyone who is in the area, it was worthwhile taking about half an hour and reading the captions to the photos (in English as well as in French). This is what we love about Paris, you don't have to plan anything in particular, and you will still usually run across something fantastic almost anywhere you go. We continued through the 5th, across the bridge to Ile de la Cite, where we sat for another 20 minutes or so, just watching the world go by again (and resting our aching little feet). We were back in the apartment by 4:30 and Den is having a little nap on the couch right now. We've decided to have a simple meal of moules frites tonight at one of the Leon de Bruxelles restaurants near the Bastille (about a five minute walk). I'm hoping we don't need reservations and that we can eat about 7pm for an early evening. I know it's not gourmet, but dinner tomorrow night should be awesome (and expensive) so we are taking it easy tonight, both in food selection and on the pocketbook!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's adventure...............hopefully, our middle aged feet can hold up to the strain!!

Jo

Bolton, United...
Level Contributor
3,417 posts
20 reviews
10. Re: We are in Paris: May 10-25

Ahh Paris!, how your report brings it alive to me. Thank you so much.

Arn't you lucky to have such beautiful weather? Paris is at it's best in the sunshine.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday, I'm sure you will. I cannot think of a better place to celebrate.

Denise

love from England