As with most of my travel-related blogs, I feel like I should start my posts about Paris with a logistical one to explain what we did, where we stayed, etc. and get all of the boring information out of the way. I don’t like to talk about trips as boring recounts of daily activities, so here is that boring overview.
How I got there
This was my first time flying internationally all by myself like a big girl. I just met David there. He flew United, I flew Delta. On the way back from Paris, I was lucky enough to have a lay-flat seat on Delta which was great. The seat on the way over was a standard business class seat, which made sleeping more difficult, but I love the set-up on the new 767s with lay flat seating in business class. It truly makes flying heavenly, even when you are flying through JFK on a day when every single flight is delayed or cancelled because of weather related issues. Because I flew by myself, I have zero pictures related to air transportation.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at the same hotel we stayed at last time we went to Paris – Le Meridien Etoile. It is not the most special hotel in the world, but right by the Porte Malliot Metro and RER stations, and has a fantastic breakfast, comfortable bed, and good showers. All of the other Starwood hotels were already full, so we will have to stay at the Westin at the Place Vendome another time. I like the Meridien just fine, though. No pictures of the hotel, though. We stayed there before, but it did look different this time around, as it has been recently renovated.
Since this wasn’t our first trip to Paris, I tried to limit the number of overwhelmingly tourist places that we went. So there wasn’t any Louvre or Eiffel Tower on our agenda. The one place where we had to deal with crazy crowds was Versailles. Basically, on this trip we did lots of walking in neighborhoods where we hadn’t spent as much time in the past and exploring. Also, there was the eating. So much eating. I was able to eat at least four meals that included foie gras, which was fine by my account.
Thursday – Arrival into Paris, meeting David at the hotel, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie, dinner at Philippe et Jean Pierre (in the 8th Arrondisement), walk down to the Seine to the Place de la Concorde and the Jardin des Tuileries
Friday – Musee d’Orsay, lunch at Les Ambassadeurs at the Crillon Hotel, Musee National de l’Orangerie, visit to the Place Vendome and shopping along Rue de St. Honore, La Madeline, dinner at Chamarre Monmartre, walking through Monmartre, Le Sacre Couer, etc
Saturday – Place des Vosges, walking and shopping in the Marais, Musee Carnavalet, Cimetiere du Montparnasse, le Jardin du Luxembourg, St. Sulpice, shopping in St. Germain des Pres, dinner at L’Absinthe, walk down to the Ile de la Cite.
Sunday – Versailles – palace, gardens, le Petit Trianon and Marie Antoinette’s estate, walk along Les Champs Elysees, going to see Moonrise Kingdom
Monday – depart
Why Paris was so much easier this time
Despite my declining language abilities, Paris was much less stressful for me this time around. I knew where I was going and was completely comfortable navigating the Metro. Let me give you the best tip for taking the stress out of Paris: visit the website www.parisinfo.com. There are three things that I did on this website that meant that I didn’t have to stress out in Paris at all: 1. Buy a Paris Museum Pass (which means you can get into pretty much every museum in Paris, including Versailles, and not have to stand in ticket lines; booked based on the number of days); 2. Buy a Paris Visite Metro pass (which works on public transportation all over the city and means it is super easy to get everywhere); 3. Make Dining Reservations after reading restaurant reviews (I did this on this website for three out of the four restaurants we went to; I separately booked Les Ambassadeurs on the Crillon website). All of my logistical stuff, that which usually stresses me out, was done. All we had to do was then decide where we wanted to go each day. We had the metro tickets and the museum passes delivered to our hotel, so they were there waiting for David when he checked in on Wednesday. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Paris the second time around beats the pants off the first visit. And now, I just realize all of the things I still need to do and see the next time I go. I am looking forward to going back.