Traveltalkonline.com Forums


TTOL Sponsors
Forum Statistics
Forums39
Topics38,952
Posts315,411
Members26,604
Most Online2,734
Jul 13th, 2024
Top Posters(30 Days)
Kennys 33
bailau 18
erb923 17
RonDon 16
lcote 13
Lancer 13
Member Spotlight
Posts: 7,377
Joined: November 2002
Show All Member Profiles 
Today's Birthdays
jt716
Who's Online Now
28 registered members (boucharda, SXMFOX, taraavo, BillS, RickandJulie, cabokid, caribbeangirl13, Fran, Angelface, Bernd, xrayman67, jazzgal, Fletch, Kennys, Todd_Melinda_K, skyscubadiver, NumberCruncher, 11 invisible), 477 guests, and 323 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate Thread
Trip report - France - 2013 #21036
07/01/2013 04:37 PM
07/01/2013 04:37 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 301
Schenectady, NY
kenmoore Offline OP
Traveler
kenmoore  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 301
Schenectady, NY
My wife and I flew from Boston to Paris via Frankfurt on Lufthansa using one of my code share FF mileage tickets. We arranged for a shuttle van to take us from the airport to our apartment at St. Michel. I’m glad we did because driving in Paris is no fun at all. Don’t even think about it.

Our apartment was a half block from St. Michel on the left bank of the Seine, two blocks from Notre Dame and two blocks from the Sorbonne. Our apartment was a 4th floor walk-up which was only a problem when you had luggage. It was a delightful 1 bedroom apartment with a living room, kitchen, and bathroom/shower facilities. The French windows overlooked Rue de la Harpe and, with a little imagination, looked as it did 100 years ago. The apartment had a clothes washer which allowed us to reduce the amount of clothing to take with us. It was owned by an Australian who came to Paris as a young man and never left. He was most gracious and made our stay extremely pleasant. The fully equipped kitchen allowed us to eat breakfast there and host a Happy Hour with some longtime French and English acquaintances

Paris is Paris. I was in France as a student in 1968, but my wife had not been there at all. Thus, we did all of the sights that most tourists do the first time there. We also discovered that we could not have a bad meal there. Here are some of the things that we did:

Musee d’Orsay – For Impressionism art, it is definitely a must see place and it’s worth a 3-4 hour visit. It’s big enough so that any crowds are not bothersome

The Louvre can only be appreciated by spending a day or two in each section over a period of several months. Thus, our Museum Pass allowed us to run in, see the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Venus de Milo and run out with a plan to see more on another trip to Paris.

Walking the length of the Champs Elysees from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe. Excellent bistros along the way to rest your weary feet and quench your thirst with local wines. Lots of stores to tempt your wallet such as Louis_Vuitton and Cartier

The Arc de Triomphe is worth the climb up the stairs to the top, if you can do it. Great 360 degree views of Paris. Underneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from WWI. Solemn and respectful, despite the crowds.
Naturally we did the Eiffel Tower and rode the elevator to the top. The lines were long, but they moved quickly. From the start of the line to the top was less than 45 minutes. Breathtaking views;

Les Invalides & Napoleon’s tomb. Very interesting – especially knowing the history of Napoleon and those buried in the same area. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was so impressed that he had his own mausoleum built in Norfolk, VA resembling Napoleon’s tomb.

Montmartre & Sacre Coeur. We attended a sung Mass at the basilica and then moseyed over to Place du Tertre and the artist colony. Very French and very touristy, but impressive nonetheless and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it started to rain and many of the artists packed up their canvases for the day. Without them, it’s just another park.

Pigalle – Getting to and from Montmartre required a Metro (subway) to Pigalle, the former red light district known to so many WWI & WWII GI’s. Snapped some picture of the Moulin Rouge and walked up the boulevard. It was loaded with sex shops, some with over the top gadgets, but nothing that we haven’t seen walking around NY & Boston. Did not spend much time there.

We also took two day trips outside of Paris
1. Giverny – home to the Impressionism artist Claude Monet and his famous gardens. We could have spent twice the time there by spending more time in and around the gardens and the small village. However, we were somewhat constrained by our train schedules. This is a must-do for anyone interested in Money’s work or Impressionism art.

2. Versailles – this is another place that has to be seen in sections. The crowds there were enormous, but with its size, we were able to walk through most of the palace on our own time. Hint: don’t go there on a Sunday. Next time, we want to do the gardens and the Petit Trianon – Marie-Antoinette’s palace. Plan at least a day in each area.

After Paris we took the train to Caen on the Normandy coast. I was a student at the university there 45 years ago. We stayed at the same hotel where I had my room. Not too surprisingly, it looked quite the same, although with modern upgrades.

As a student, our shortcut to the university involved walking through the Chateau of William the Conqueror each day. There have been some major restorations since my student days and we spent some time visiting the displays. It was fun, but somewhat nostalgic to re-visit some of the bistros and haunts of my college days

The next day we rented a car from Europacar and drove to Mont St. Michel. Once we found our way out of Caen, the path was easy to find and delightful to drive. Despite being a major tourist attraction, the roads to the Abbey were quaint, quintessentially French, and a joy to see. The Abbey is an amazing place, despite the crowds of tourists. Unfortunately, the Abbey itself was closed due to a one-day workers strike, but the rest of the cobblestone stores, restaurants and hotels gave a definite sense of the 17th Century.

We satisfied our cathedral fix by returning to Caen via Bayeux. There we saw the famous Bayeux Tapestry depicting the battle of Hastings in 1066. We also entered the Bayeux Cathedral and marveled at the stained glass windows.

The next day – our last full day in France, we drove to the
Normandy landing beaches. This is another place where we’d like to spend several more days at each beach. There is an excellent museum at Arromanches where the British and the Canadians landed in 1944. We then motored up to Omaha beach and the American Cemetery. Similar to Arlington, this hallowed ground is meticulously maintained and inspirational. My wife and I were awed by the sacrifices made so many so years ago, and deeply moved by the dedication to their sacrifices. Both of us were fighting to keep back some tears.

Alas, our time was running out. We returned to Caen, turned in our rental car, and took the train back to Paris and to our airport hotel for our return flight the next morning.

We were exhausted, but thrilled and satisfied by our trip and would like to return about 2 years from now for a more sedate pace. When either of us wins the lottery, we’d like to do the same pace of touring and seeing everything for two weeks, and then come back via SXM and Club O for a week of sand gravity and decompression.

Next year it’s off to Germany where I was stationed from 1972-1975. We are planning on taking the southern loop from Frankfurt through Bavaria and the Black Forest and spend 8-9 days in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Munich area.

Au revoir & Auf wiedersehen.

Sponsors
Re: Trip report - France - 2013 [Re: kenmoore] #21037
07/01/2013 06:59 PM
07/01/2013 06:59 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,288
P
PelicanPirate Offline
Traveler
PelicanPirate  Offline
Traveler
P
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,288
Interesting report.......You suggested a good idea....European vacations are often physical sight-seeing adventures without much down time............flying the KLM 747 from Amsterdam to SXM would be cool plus add the relaxation to the trip.

Have you thought much of the logistics of returning to US from Europe via SXM?

Re: Trip report - France - 2013 [Re: kenmoore] #21038
07/02/2013 08:28 AM
07/02/2013 08:28 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,261
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,261
Central Florida!
Thanks so much for the report! I've never had the pleasure of visiting Paris. Would love to do that some day. Any pictures you can share?

Looking forward to seeing your Germany report next year too! We were in southern Germany in the early 80s, visiting Eric's parents, who were stationed in Giessen. Beautiful area!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip report - France - 2013 [Re: kenmoore] #21039
07/02/2013 07:33 PM
07/02/2013 07:33 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 327
swg Offline
Traveler
swg  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 327
i really enjoyed your trip report. It brought back many wonderful memories of Paris, and of France in general.

Sue

Re: Trip report - France - 2013 [Re: kenmoore] #21040
07/02/2013 10:08 PM
07/02/2013 10:08 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,219
JAX
jphart Offline
Traveler
jphart  Offline
Traveler
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,219
JAX
Great report! Visited Paris many times, and always end wanting to go back. Train and Metro are no brainers, don't ever think of renting a car!

How did you book the aptmt? How much did it cost? Great location. Love the Left bank.

Re: Trip report - France - 2013 [Re: Carol_Hill] #21041
07/03/2013 03:38 PM
07/03/2013 03:38 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 301
Schenectady, NY
kenmoore Offline OP
Traveler
kenmoore  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 301
Schenectady, NY
In 1968 I took 176 slide pictures on my Kodak Instamatic over a 5 month period. In 2013 I took 1,076 pictures on my digital camera over a 12 day period! When I get a chance, I'll edit them down to a manageable 2 dozen or so and send them on to this post.

Re: Trip report - France - 2013 [Re: jphart] #21042
07/03/2013 03:51 PM
07/03/2013 03:51 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 301
Schenectady, NY
kenmoore Offline OP
Traveler
kenmoore  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 301
Schenectady, NY
Finding an apartment in Paris is quite easy, but quite exhausting. There are thousands to choose from. Go to your web browser and type in "Apartment Rentals - Paris" or whatever city you want to visit. You will be linked to hundreds of apartment opportunities in any location and at varying prices. A lot of the findings are through networking. I am a graduate of the University of So. California. I contacted their alumni association and was linked into people who legitimately rented apartments all over the world. Paris also has a USC alumni club where I corresponded with several graduates.

Ultimately, I was networked into a real estate agent 15 miles from my house who put me in touch with my selected landlord. It was a 4th floor walk-up on the Left Bank on the busy Rue de la Harpe, adjacent to or near St. Germain des Pres & Boulevard St. Michel. Our one week's rental costs $1250 plus a 75 Euro cleaning fee. This is about the price we were willing to pay had we chosen to stay in a hotel. The presences of a clothes washer was an added incentive that allowed us to take less clothes than we would have otherwise. Also, our living room sofa turned into a very comfortable futon bed for our guest from England.

As long as you do not mind the walk-up, we enthusiastically recommend this apartment.

Re: Trip report - France - 2013 [Re: kenmoore] #21043
07/04/2013 08:21 AM
07/04/2013 08:21 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,261
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,261
Central Florida!
Looking forward to seeing them! We have a bunch of slides from years ago, including our trip to Germany. One of these days, we need to put them onto a DVD..


Carol Hill
Re: Trip report - France - 2013 [Re: kenmoore] #21044
07/09/2013 01:58 PM
07/09/2013 01:58 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,461
Yonkers, NY
fabila Offline
Traveler
fabila  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,461
Yonkers, NY
Thanks for sharing. The best vacation my husband and I spent together was in Paris. We agree, couldn't get a bad meal there. It also helped we went in April and had the most fabulous weather. Unfortunately six days was not enough to see it all and have time to travel outside the city.

Re: Trip report - France - 2013 [Re: kenmoore] #21045
08/07/2013 12:04 PM
08/07/2013 12:04 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,461
Yonkers, NY
fabila Offline
Traveler
fabila  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,461
Yonkers, NY
Thanks for sharing. Paris was wonderful. I smile whenever I read a report about it.

Re: Trip report - France - 2013 [Re: kenmoore] #21046
08/19/2013 04:28 PM
08/19/2013 04:28 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 227
Allentown, N. J.
D
deirdre1 Offline
Traveler
deirdre1  Offline
Traveler
D
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 227
Allentown, N. J.
Well done!

Bob <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />

Re: Trip report - France - 2013 [Re: kenmoore] #160216
05/04/2018 08:25 AM
05/04/2018 08:25 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 17
L
Lynn Foy Offline
Traveler
Lynn Foy  Offline
Traveler
L
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 17
Very interesting trip experience you share. I also went to Paris last year with family and I also have some unforgettable memories of Paris and try to share with you all next time. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Re: Trip report - France - 2013 [Re: kenmoore] #181079
01/18/2019 07:34 AM
01/18/2019 07:34 AM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 23
L
luvG43 Offline
Traveler
luvG43  Offline
Traveler
L
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 23
Lovely. I too enjoyed reading through this.


Moderated by  Eric_Hill 

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.1