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Paris was magnificant!!!

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Paris was magnificant!!!

I just returned from my vacation in Europe ( I went to Barcelona and Paris) and wanted to add my two cents about Paris. As you note in the topic header, I had an amazing time in Paris!!! I believe that every person on the face of this planet owns it to themselves to see this city in person. Words and pictures cannot discribe it accurately. This city is a jewel...

I also want to squash any rumors about "rude Parisians". It is mainly false. Parisians all in all are friendly and are not hassitant to help you. I am not just referring to hotel personnel (i.e. people who are paid to be nice to you). I am talking about everyday people, people who you meet on buses/streets/metro/cafes, etc. I've travelled to several metropolitan cities around Europe and North America (London, Boston, San Francisco, Vancouver, Vienna, Budapest, Barcelona to name a few) and I can say that Parisians are definitely not rude. They are classy (which some tourist confuse for rudeness I think...), courteous, and friendly.

I was very happy with my trip and will be back to Paris soon (hopefully in 2007 when they finish the renovation to the Grande Palace... and the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles). Thanks to all on this forum who helped me out with questions about Paris and Montparnasse. Next time I will probably stay in St-Germain-de-Pres.... I love the atmosphere of this neighbourhood!

NJ
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1. Re: Paris was magnificant!!!

I'm heading for Paris in 3 weeks. I can't wait. What was the part of your trip that you enjoyed the most? Any great places to eat that aren't too expensive? Last but not least, how much French do you know? I've been trying to learn at least basic French just because.

Wellington, New...
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2. Re: Paris was magnificant!!!

When can we expect your trip report (blow by blow). I am off to Paris in April 06 and find trip reports from those who have seen and conquered invaluable. Cheers.

Arctic Bay, Canada
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3. Re: Paris was magnificant!!!

tomincanada we too think this city is a jewel..Ppl were so friendly and all the talk about dog poop all over the sidwalks "Rubish"..City was very clean saw the men in green jackets every morning in the 16th cleaning the streets ...I would go back 8 days is not enough time to see all of Paris. We have some amazing memories of Paris...Jimmy

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4. Re: Paris was magnificant!!!

>>>I also want to squash any rumors about "rude Parisians".<<<

Well not all the rumors are false. When Caesar's legions marched on Gaul, some of the French were very rude to them....and the Germans weren't very well received in 1871, 1914 or 1940 but everyone else seems welcome. It's a '..myth..' that simply won't die. If aliens from a galaxy far, far away ever arrive on earth, their second question (after "...Where's the nearest GAP?..") will be, "..Is what we've heard about Parisiens being rude, really true?..". (okay, it loses something in the Plutonian-to-English translation).

Canada
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5. Re: Paris was magnificant!!!

KD, just too funny. What a great metaphor for "expect what you give". Even as I write this I am still chuckling over the mental image of the German comment.

After the visual beauty of the city, the architecture and the food, the warm acceptance and kind assistance of the residents of Paris make any visit a jewel in my eyes.

'Tis a shame that such an ill founded urban myth persists. If there really is a more friendly and accepting city out there, I just haven't found it and frankly I have very little initiative to look for one.

If one gets off the plane or train and simply exhales and inhales and says to themselves that this is going to be a great time...then it will be a great time. I have never felt anything but a warm welcome from everyone (including the gypsy pick pockets in the Metro) and my French is quite pedestrian at best.

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6. Re: Paris was magnificant!!!

Several of you have asked about specific experiences of my trip to Paris. So here we go...

First of all, we (group of 6 adults) bought Carte Orange as soon as we got into the city of Paris Monday afternoon (please search through this forum regading how to obtain Carte Orange). I have to tell you that this little card was invaluable to us during our stay. As soon as we hopped off the Orlybus we rushed into the Denfert Rochereau metro station and with the help of a friendly RATP staff (who knew some English) we bought these cards.

Monday night, walked to Hotel de Invalides, and Ecole Militaire, afterwhich we were stunned by the views of Eiffel Tower. Every hour there's a light show that's not to be missed. Back to our hotel, not before an unfortunate store-robbing incident near Bir-Hakeim metro station (it happened 30 seconds before we got to the store... little bit freaky...policy scrambling). Spirits were still very high after seeing Eiffel Tower :)

First full day on Tuesday, we went about to discover the south shore of Seine. So, garden of Luxemburg, Sorbonne, Pantheon, lunch at Restaurant du Tibet on rue de la Montagne Sainte Genevieve (the food here is absolutely out of this world... you will not regret going here, please trust me on this), on to a visit to Notre Dame and the island, back to Saint-Germain-des-Pres with a quick snack on Rue de Buci (this is my favourite neighbourhood in Paris), walked a little bit more and back to our hotel in Monteparnasse.

Wednesday, we went about discovering the north shore: Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, Place d'Opera, Galeries Lafayette, Pompidou centre, lunch (I think it was at Leon's), Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Petit Palace, Pont Alexandre III, Place de Concorde, Jardin des Tuleries, Louvre (did not go in though), back to hotel after long day.

Thurday, Versailles, afternoon back in Paris at Trocadero and Palais de Chaillot with a breath-taking view of the Tower, walked across to the Tower, sat a little at the base just admiring the structure, walked up to first level and back down, made our way to Ecole Militaire, got on to bus 87 to ride around for a while (this bus takes you to many parts of Paris) and back to our hotel.

Thurdsay was for whatever that was left. First of, we went back to the Opera house early in the morning to see the tour of the building, then Place Vendome (where the rich people are staying at the Ritz...), walk along rue de Rivoli, a quick ride to La Defense on Metro line 1, lunch at La Defense, back on to Metro to see Musee d'Orsay ( a must see by the way ) until the closing, quick Metro ride to Bastille (unfortunetly we could not find the old walls of Bastille), bus ride back to St Germain to enjoy our last evening, and back to our hotel for a good night sleep.

Saturday, a fond farewell to Paris as our plane took off early morning from CDG.

Detailed enough??? ;)

By the way, to all Paris experts, throughout our stay we saw a big police and military presence everywhere we went from La Defense to Notre Dame to Luxemburg. What's the deal??? Don't get me wrong it made us feel safe but every 10 minutes we heard policy sirens and policy cars/motorcycles rushing by...

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7. Re: Paris was magnificant!!!

Sorry forgot to answer mjthecruiser, my brother picked up some French before we left and I have also been exposed to it in the past(in Canada we learn french in public school... although I was never very good at it... in theory we are suppose to be bilingual here...).

I would strongly encourage you to learn basic words, like to usual greetings, numbers, basic foods, etc. As long as you try that's what matters. Many Parisiens know basic English but are somewhat hasitant to use it... If everything else fails, you have two hands to communicate with :)

paris
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8. Re: Paris was magnificant!!!

Actually all you can find is an old city wall on the platform of the metro line in Bastille station (for line 5 or 1 i think), as nothing is left from the bastille fortress (only some stones in square Sully Morland belonging to the bastille fortress are to be seen). Also the military presence comes from all the threats on any big city since all the different bomb attempts...and also people leaving their luggage unattended and so scare people off, then police is called to blow off the luggage in case it would hold a bomb, so that adds to the normal police presence

USA
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9. Re: Paris was magnificant!!!

>>>By the way, to all Paris experts, throughout our stay we saw a big police and military presence everywhere we went from La Defense to Notre Dame to Luxemburg. What's the deal???<<<

I'm not sure that there is any specific major '..threat..' been directed at Paris but since the London bombings this past summer, EVERY major western city is on much higher security alert status. Paris, being no stranger to terrorist attacks of all sorts over the decades, tends to take this stuff a LOT more seriously than many international cities. The regular gendarmerie, the black-clad national police (who must have their sense-of-humor surgically removed before joining the force..NEVER mess with these guys) and the BDU-garbed military with slung sub-machine guns, all provide a VERY proactive police during these periods of heightened security.

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10. Re: Paris was magnificant!!!

Raphy, now that you mention it the police blew up an unattended package right in front of Notre Dame the day we were there. They moved in quickly, cornered off the area and kaboom... pigeons were flying everywhere.

I've spend the last 15 years in Canada, so this heightened security presence was a bit unusual for me. The weird thing is, I was in Los Angeles and San Francisco just last year and I did not see anything close to this level of security.

Well, at least we felt very safe in Paris...