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Observations of Paris, a Solo Trip in February 2016.

SMJ

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
This was a two week trip I took by myself to Paris in February 2016. Not a great time of year, you say?

Non, non!

The perfect time of year!

No need to worry about my garden at home, as too cold to be out there; and not so many people traveling then either.

I had found a very cheap airfare, non-stop on Air France.

My husband is not a travel fan, so I went alone, as I couldn’t pass it up!

The weather in Paris was much like home: rain, sun, snow, lightning, wind…and some all at once!

I wasn’t cold, as I had all my Canadian cold weather clothing with me; though it did get down to minus 6C one day.

I’m a rare person who would pick a winter holiday over one on the beach any day.

I rented an apartment on the Boulevard St. Michel for two weeks, and it was ideal.

I returned and rented it again the following March, 2017.

I won’t recommend the agency, as they no longer have as many to rent out; and the agent had a public “barney” with people on another travel forum the following year, which made a lot of people lose respect for him.

If I knew the owners, I’d rent it again from them in a second.

It had a fabulous clear view of the Eiffel Tower, and the sparkly light show there every hour at night.

The area was just ideal, as the RER B stopped right outside, so easy to get to and from the airport with the wonderful Navigo pass.

I booked a weeks’ French Language course for my first week, at the Accord School, and it was great.

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Lovely instructors, and lots of extra activities and classes offered if you wanted them.

Can’t say I‘m any better at French since then, but I love to do things like that while on vacation.

My travel friend from Scotland came and joined me for a few days for the second week, so that was lots of fun catching up with her.

Other things I did in Paris were: visited the Louvre one evening, saw the Petit Palais (stunning), The Musee Quai d’Orsay, the Rodin museum (a bit “meh”, as of course the gardens were not in bloom.)

Walked for miles, took a Paris Walks tour of Montmartre, which was really good, got the train to Chartres one day , what a pretty town!, drank much coffee with many pastries, window-shopped, walked more miles, went back to Montmartre a second time and had another good exploration of the area, rode the buses all around, walked in the Luxembourg Gardens across the road from my apartment, took lots of photographs, and generally absolutely loved being immersed in one of my favourite cities.

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SMJ

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
You can read about attractions and the best place to have lunch in any old guide book, so when I’m away I write about what I see on the streets and about the people going about town.

This report is more writing about my observations than a play by play trip report.

I didn’t write something every day…too busy!

This was my fourth time to Paris.

I just write for my friends and family on Facebook, so here it is: edited to remove the irreverent parts!
 
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SMJ

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Departure Day:
The adventure begins.
I'm enroute to Paris by myself!✈

Found a very good flight price that could not be ignored.
French language classes are booked for a week, and lots of cheese, museums, galleries, cheese, and walking are in the plans ....and maybe a bit more cheese....
Meeting a friend there from Scotland for the second week.
First adventure: narrowly escaped a disaster when careless tractor-trailer tried to run us off the highway on way to airport. Quick reflexes by taxi driver saved us.
Stay tuned!


Arrival Day:
Landed safely in Paris after a good flight with Air France, though security at CDG airport on arrival took almost 2 hours to get through, standing the whole time.
I almost lost the will to live!
Got my Navigo Pass, and set off on the RER B into town.
Met the agent, paid my apartment rental, and ran along the road to the FranPrix store to stock up on groceries.
Now I have a wicked sore throat and every muscle aches.
Have been sleeping on and off since I got into my apartment on the Boulevard St. Michel, which is small and cosy, but very clean, and has a great view of the Eiffel Tower!
Tomorrow is another day, and I hope to feel better by then.

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SMJ

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Two Days Later:
Finally starting to feel better, after two days of being in bed or lying on the couch with actual flu.
I could be anywhere, really; as I was a bit out of it to say the least.
Wasted two holiday days!⏳
Good thing I travel with every OTC med known to man.
Finally left the apartment for some Observations of Paris:

French women all seem to be tall, and always look cool.
You will never look French, despite the new boots you thought were cool.
French men seem to be not too tall , and all wear scarves draped interestingly.
A lot of weird people are about, the same as every big city.
There is music everywhere: on the Metro, in the streets, and coming from the weird people every now and then.
The bread really is that good, and you must eat some every few hours to really fit in.
Some French folks really do carry a baguette under their arms, and I’m waiting to see someone on a bicycle with a baguette.
French people are very helpful and friendly, but won't smile at you when passing in the street.
It feels safe here, and that is helped by the military , patrolling major sites and the student areas near me, near the Sorbonne, with machine guns.
They don't smile at you.
The Metro system is a breeze, and we can only hope that our version, the SkyTrain System here at home, will one day emulate the great European transit systems.
They don't have those vending machines in the Metro stations any more, that used to sell pastilles in beautiful miniature tins. I guess that was over 30 years ago!
The dog poop-scooper has not yet been invented in France.Ack.
You can sometimes buy wine in shoe shops. Not making that up. Saw it with my own eyes.
Many more later ; but bye for now!☕

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SMJ

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
After Three More Days
A Few More Things About Paris.

The shops are gorgeous, as are the contents; and there are some lovely clothes to be bought at eye watering prices.
Most people are not wearing the lovely clothes, but skinny jeans or leggings , and no shoes.
That is: everyone is wearing boots, boots, boots.
Add a massive huge scarf the size of a queen-sized blanket; over a black, navy or khaki hip length jacket, and you blend right in.
That describes the men.
The women are dressed the same: just add a cigarette in hand as your accessory.
All the cool young women with beautiful skin are smoking; they don't yet see their future in the older but still cool women evident here in their later years, but with wrinkles and baggy eyes.
The older ones still look good though , with their lipstick and good handbags.
When the sun hits the old stone buildings in the low winter light, you have to stop dead and gasp at the sight.
There seems to be no very early morning coffee culture in the local bar/cafe here as we are used to in Italy.☕
Perhaps everyone has their caffeine at home?
This is not a cheap place to buy anything.
Most things are 2 times the price compared to Italy.
The dog poop scooper still has not yet been invented (since yesterday) in France: look before you leap!
A lot of apartments have a little wrought iron balcony; and why would you not want to have two 7 foot tall red and yellow plastic rabbits on yours? as I saw while on my way to school this morning.
Probably for the same reason you would deliver two giant palm trees on a truck in the middle of morning rush hour, blocking traffic and making me late for school today.
French butter is delicious. What the heck do they put in theirs that we don't?
Perhaps they have happier cows.
French cheese deserves a story all to itself; and as there are 320 known French cheeses, I can't begin to write about them all.
People here are quiet and respectful on public transport.
No shouting, loud talking or inane cellphone conversations here, by George.
Did I mention that Harry Potter’s twin is my teacher at French School.
I am the oldest in a class of 6; and realize I know very little French despite it being my best subject for five years in long ago high school.
The others are from all over the world, and I am the oldest by about 3 decades!
My brain hurts after only two classes.
This can be remedied with a glass of French Rose!.......I'll speak better French after that, I'm fairly sure.
School tomorrow is all day instead of morning only, so I may be a babbling wreck by this time tomorrow.
A bientot.

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SMJ

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Next to Last Day:
Last Observations about Paris.

I'm flying home tomorrow, and looking forward to that, though I will miss pretending to live in Paris for a short time.
Great things about a Winter Paris holiday:
Very few tourists, no lineups at all to get into some of the best museums in the world; no excuses needed to stop and have yet another cafe creme, pain aux raisins, crepe, or chocolat chaud.☕
When it's minus 3-6 C and sunny but with a biting wind, I believe it is your obligation to support all the little bakeries and cafes.
Sitting outside in February on those Parisian cafe chairs , with your drink, protected by plastic curtains at the sides, and heaters above; and watching every man and his dog,more dogs, and mobile phone go by.

Getting unlimited bus and Metro rides for a week for E21.
Listen up TransLink (our transport provider at home).
I think I'd have spent at least four times that , if I had paid for every trip.
The bus or train you want always arrives within a few minutes of waiting.
The buses and trains are immaculate, always on time, and every bus stop and Metro platform has a screen advising you of the time of the next one, and where exactly you are.
You cannot get lost here, it would be impossible.
And if you did, there would always be something wonderful to see or eat at your surprise destination.

Don't bother with the Hop On Hop Off buses; for E1.80 the number 69 bus takes an hour to go from one side of the city to the other, passing every single famous site on the way.
The Navigo Decouverte transport Pass is the greatest thing ever. EVER.
Love how French women keep it in their purses, and just fling the purse in the general direction of the card reader on board to validate their trip.
On board the buses , you will be able to observe little slices of Parisian life: bundled up Grannies arguing about recipes, people singing, kids going home from school, people actually reading books while they travel along!
Gasp!

There are museums more wonderful than the Louvre, and no one seems to know about them!
The Petit Palais for one; a huge place with free entry, stuffed with amazing paintings, Art Nouveau objects, and other secrets.
And no tourists.

Can't be more thankful that I brought with me a fleece hat and gloves, and my giant blanket scarf.
Also the famous Italian hot water bottle. (Bought in Venice last year when we shivered in a brief cold snap.)
You can see your breath in all the big churches.
Wonder how many layers the priests wear to conduct Mass.⛪ Bet they drink a lot of hot , hot chocolate.
Or they’ve got their fleecy under layers on.

My French isn't much better now than when I arrived, and I continue to mangle the accent and somehow end up speaking Italian and Turkish (?) to bewildered shopkeepers.
The classes were fun, though.

I got into trouble this morning from Madame La Concierge, keeper of the apartment block I’m staying in, for dutifully putting two weeks’ worth of recycling into the bin in the courtyard.
After she peeked out her window at me while I was separating everything, she came out and stood "over" me sternly (all five feet of her) and made me pick it all out again till all that was left was the paper.
The rest went in the garbage.
Yikes.

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SMJ

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Haven't done much shopping at all , as everything is very price-y; and most of the rest is tourist souvenir stuff.
I love to shop in Europe.
I did buy some lovely Fragonard perfume for myself and friends, and a Sorbonne sweatshirt for my husband.
Packing to go home will be a breeze; just hope all the jam and mustard jars don't break en route.
I'm not going to mention the cheese that's wrapped in my dirty laundry........
If my friend Y. can bring back 20 lbs. of Gouda from Holland, what's a little Reblochon, hmm? ….about 4 lbs. of it……
….well, maybe more…

A bientot, Paris.....je reviens!

☕❄

(And I did return...the following March for another two week solo stay in the same apartment.)
Paris is addicting....

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Angela

New Member
Departure Day:
The adventure begins.
I'm enroute to Paris by myself!✈

Found a very good flight price that could not be ignored.
French language classes are booked for a week, and lots of cheese, museums, galleries, cheese, and walking are in the plans ....and maybe a bit more cheese....
Meeting a friend there from Scotland for the second week.
First adventure: narrowly escaped a disaster when careless tractor-trailer tried to run us off the highway on way to airport. Quick reflexes by taxi driver saved us.
Stay tuned!


Arrival Day:
Landed safely in Paris after a good flight with Air France, though security at CDG airport on arrival took almost 2 hours to get through, standing the whole time.
I almost lost the will to live!
Got my Navigo Pass, and set off on the RER B into town.
Met the agent, paid my apartment rental, and ran along the road to the FranPrix store to stock up on groceries.
Now I have a wicked sore throat and every muscle aches.
Have been sleeping on and off since I got into my apartment on the Boulevard St. Michel, which is small and cosy, but very clean, and has a great view of the Eiffel Tower!
Tomorrow is another day, and I hope to feel better by then.

View attachment 17493
I love your pictures. Do you know how I can go about inquiring about availability of the apartment that you stayed in? Thank you.
 

SMJ

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Hi Angela:
I don't know where you could rent that apartment.
As I said , the agency doesn't list it any more; and the agent himself went a bit crazy at posters on another forum a few years ago, so I wouldn't recommend him either.
Remember when you rent an apartment in Paris now, you need to find one with a 14 digit Registration number so it is all legal with the government.
Good luck!
 

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