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Report 1670: Two Week Trip to Paris and Provence! May 2009

By Monica Pileggi from Frederick, Maryland, Spring 2009

Trip Description: 7-24 May 2009: This is my trip report on my 16-night visit to Paris and Provence with my friend Louisa and her daughter Elizabeth. It was seven years since I had visited Provence.

Destinations: Countries - France; Regions/Cities - Paris, Provence

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Vacation Rentals; Attended GTG; Day Tours; Foodie Trip; Shopping; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 3-4 people

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Page 1 of 17: Paris France, Friday, 8 May 2009

photo by Monica J. Pileggi

Notre Dame

I have arrived in Paris! Itís a gloomy morning, but I already knew it would be an overcast day. Checking the weather report before I left, I saw cloudy and rainy days for Paris. Today is also a holiday Ė VE Day. My friend Louisa and her daughter Elizabeth will join me in a few hours. They booked the 10pm flight so they wouldnít have to miss a day of work. I was glad to have the day off, as it took me a while to pack.

I flew on Air France from Dulles International, which left an hour late, due to air traffic, yet we still arrived on time. The flight was smooth all the way to Paris (on a Boeing 777-200) and the flight was full. After dinner, a couple drinks, and a movie, I tried to sleep. As always, I can never sleep sitting up. The two men next to me talked the whole night too!

I booked my shuttle service to Paris with Airport Connection, which I booked online two days prior to my trip. Two years ago, I took the Air France bus to Gare de Lyon and then a taxi ride. I decided this time to have door-to-door service, which was a treat. Round trip price was Ä50.40 paid by credit card, so I just had to tip the driver. After landing at 6:10am, 20 minutes getting through passport control, and getting my checked bag, I called the toll free number to let the company know I was ready for pickup. I only had to wait outside for 5-8 minutes. We were on the road by 7:20am and I was at my apartment 25-minutes later. There was only couple in the van with me and I was the first to be dropped off. There was no traffic at all due to the holiday.

Louisa booked our two-bedroom apartment via Vacation in Paris. The apartment is on the second floor, up two narrow staircases. Carrying my two heavy bags was not fun. I had told Louisa that the next time we travel together and get an apartment, it WILL be in a building with an elevator! The building is quite secured with a keypad outside and an interior door, which a key is used to get in. The apartment is quite charming in a Parisian way: two small bedrooms one with a large bed and the other tightly fit with two twin beds. The entire apartment is only 43 square meters.

Thereís a small bathroom with the toilet in a separate room, a tiny kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, stove, and washer/dryer. The living room is a combo living-dining room with a couch, two chairs, a table with four chairs. Itís perfect for three people, but not more.

There is free WiFi Ė Louisa checked with the rental agency, who told her we needed took up to a LAN line, so I brought a cable. The problem with the setup is that the hookup is next to the TV, so I had to move the TV stand close to the dining table so I could use the netbook on the table. However, although a small problem, itís really nice to have access to the Internet and emails.

There is a bookcase of travel books and novels. So, if anyone wants to rent this place, you really donít need to bring a Paris guidebook. The one main window faces the interior of the building, so itís nice and quiet.

I tried to nap a couple hours but couldnít. I walked around the area for about an hour and went back to the apartment to wait for Louisa and Elizabeth. They arrived about 12:30pm and after freshening up, we headed to Lías du Falafel where we sat and enjoyed the falafel special (Ä7 euros each). They were just as delicious as the last time (May 2007). The street was crowded with a long line of people waiting for a table or to order their lunch at the take-out window. Busy, busy, busy! Great place, so donít miss it for a delicious, inexpensive lunch.

After lunch, we wandered around the area and headed to the left bank. We visited Notre Dame (packed!!), the flower market and walked along rue de Rivoli. After stopping at Franprix for breakfast items (juice, fruit, yogurt) and some wine, cheese, and crackers for our pre-dinner happy hour, we relaxed in our apartment.

Itís just before dinnertime. We made reservations at Bistro líOulette (38, rue des Tournelles, Tel: 01 42 71 43 33. where we dined two years ago. We hope itís just as good as it was back in 2007.

Dinner tonight was delicious!! Louisa and I ordered the escargot appetizers. Not in the shells or in butter and garlic. Along with the escargot, there was diced artichoke hearts and what looked like huge pine nuts, but I think they were almonds. The appetizer was in a light green sauce of some sort. Elizabeth had a cold asparagus soup. For my plat, I had the duck with potatoes au gratin and a salad; Louisa had a beef dish wrapped in a cabbage leaf and 'stuffed' with a pate/foie gras. Elizabeth had sea bass. All of it was very good! Decadent desserts all around with a chocolate like fondant and I had a sort of apple pie with a crisp puff pastry on top and a side shot of icy-chilled grand marnier. Total bill about Ä150 with a nice bottle of white wine.

We walked around after dinner and now back in the room getting ready for bed. Tomorrow we'll be doing a walking tour of the Marais at 10:30am with Paris Walks. I hope for a sunny day tomorrow!

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