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Four Travellers - A week in Paris, May 18-25, 2019

Doug Phillips

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Why we were there
  • Our grandson is enrolled in French Immersion. When he was in Grade 1, I told him that I would take him to Paris “someday.” He has just turned 11. Liz & I decided this would be a good time to introduce him to Paris. Very happily, his mother, our oldest child, decided to join us.
  • We chose the 3rd week in May, because it would only mean missing 4 days of school for our grandson; the weather should be OK; peak tourism is a few weeks away. Our first couple of days were cloudy with occasional rain, but the weather the rest of the week was perfect.
Where we stayed
  • The last time Liz & I were in Paris was in 2011 with our other daughter. We stayed in a newly-renovated apartment on rue des Rosiers in the 4th, the Marais. I contacted the owner almost a year in advance & reserved the same apartment. Excellent choice.
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Planning
  • I bought 2019 Eyewitness Top 10 guide book, which included a street & Metro map. It was a very useful resource and all we needed.
  • I ordered & paid for the Paris Museum Pass & a 5-day Metro pass online. Our 11-year-old grandson did not need a Museum Pass. He had free entry to all the museums covered by the pass & his Metro pass came with a 50% discount. I could have paid to have the passes delivered to my home in Canada, but I opted for a much simpler solution. Shortly after our arrival at our apartment on rue des Rosiers, we took a short walk up rue de Rivoli to the Paris Tourist Office, part of the Hotel de Ville complex, & picked up our passes. Very easy.
How we got around
  • We flew Air Canada from Ottawa to Paris & return, with a connecting flight from Montreal both ways.
  • On arrival in Paris we took the RER from Charles de Gaulle to Chatelet, transferred to the yellow line, went 2 stops to Saint Paul, only a short walk to our apartment. Reverse on the way back to Charles de Gaulle
  • We got a 2-day batobus pass so our companions could enjoy scenic views from the Seine.
  • We used the 5-day Metro pass for the rest of the week.
What we did
  • Saturday afternoon exploring our neighbourhood, including Île St. Louis; a visit to a nearby supermarket, a walk up rue de Rivoli to the Hotel de Ville; a batobus tour of the city from the river. A pleasant introduction to Paris.
  • A Sunday morning walk to the nearby Place des Vosges; then a batobus trip along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower & a visit to the 2nd level; return to the 4th & some shopping at stores that caught some eyes earlier in the day – Swatch watches, jewelry, Nespresso pods!!
  • Monday morning visit to the beautiful Pont Alexandre III – a big hit with an 11-year-old; a walk along part of the Champs Elysées; followed by the rest of the day touring Montmartre
  • Early Tuesday morning tour of a deserted Pere Lachaise cemetery; a brief history lesson at la Place de la Bastille; a walk up another part of the Champs Elysées; then to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc was more impressive to our grandson than the Eiffel Tower; post-lunch visit to the Musée d’Orsay. Impressionist artists don’t make much of an impression on at least one young man.
  • It’s Wednesday! Time for a taste of the Louvre in the morning. The afternoon included visits to Saint Chapelle, la Conciergerie (and another history lesson on the French Revolution), & the early days of the repairs to Notre Dame. This may seem ambitious, but all three are in close proximity on Île de la Cité. Finally, a walk from our apartment to the nearby Picasso Museum in the late afternoon. A wonderful museum back in 2006, very disappointing today.
  • Thursday at Versailles was great. Our grandson didn’t want to leave.
  • Friday morning at the Rodin Museum, followed by a visit to the Pantheon. An afternoon relaxing in & enjoying the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens. And on our final evening we re-visited Pont Alexandre III for a nighttime viewing of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Out of our apartment by 9:30am Saturday for our return to Canada.
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Food

We had breakfast each morning in our apartment, with a visit to the Boulangerie Patisserie almost next door every day before starting out.
We stopped for lunch at a bistrot/café/garden wherever we were in the city.
And we paused for a drink each afternoon at an outdoor café.
In the evenings, we had a variety of dining experiences.
  • I read an article in the New York Times about the recent April opening of Eataly Marais – only a 6-minute walk from our apartment. We went there twice – highly recommended.
  • Freda Cameron recommended Miznon, a very casual Israeli/kosher restaurant just around the corner. We went there twice also. And when it was closed one evening, we walked a few steps to Chez H’anna on rue des Rosiers.
  • One evening we ventured across the Seine to Relais de l’Entrecote, in the 6th. It’s a steak/frites place. We were last here in 2011. It’s great.
  • And one evening we “dined in” – on falafels & sushi.
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Lunch in the Gardens!

It may seem odd that 3 of our most pleasant experiences during our week were lunches, but the settings, the weather as well as the food made each memorable. On separate days, we had lunch at an outdoor café/restaurant in the:
Comments

Obviously, this was not an “off the beaten path” experience in Paris. In fact, just the opposite. We were on the beaten path with almost every step. But we had a great time. Our original plan was for just three of us to be in Paris. Our daughter’s decision to join us made our time Paris so much more enjoyable and rewarding. It was great that she was able to share the experience with her son.

I write my Trip Reports mainly for myself. But if this report is of any use in helping or encouraging anybody, especially a first-timer, to plan their own excursion – to Paris or elsewhere - even better.

Our only reason for this visit to Paris was to introduce our grandson to one of the great cities of the world. I hope that in some way he has acquired a bit of the “moveable feast” that Hemingway wrote about.

But what was his impression?

Well, he told his mother a few days after our return to Canada, “That was the best week of my life.”

So there’s that.
 
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chachalaca

100+ Posts
Doug, I always love your reports! What an incredible trip for your grandson and how wonderful to be able to share something you love so much with someone you love so much.
 
Stunning photos and a really good review. I proposed to my wife in London and then took her to Paris so it'll always be a special place for me.

We particularly like Montmartre and so many people leave it out. It's an beautiful little village in Paris that you must visit if you go.
 

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