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Paris and Rome Trip Summary

Hello everyone,

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who gave me advice for our trip to Rome and Paris.

I wanted to return the favor by typing a summary of our trip and answering any questions you might have.

One of the most frustrating issues I came across was finding the cut and dry answers I was looking for. For example, I would ask what to wear and it would become a debate and my question would get lost. I hope to give simple and concise answers to everyone.

Clothes:

I wore only black and grey.
4 long sleeve button up collar shirts.
2 short sleeve polo shirts.
Black, charcoal, grey pants with one dark blue jeans.
All the colors correlated with each other.

One pair of black dress shoes (Belvedere Bay Bridge Center-Seam).
Gary Player jacket, great light jacket because each pocked has a zipper for security (From Men's Wearhouse).

Posted by
91 posts

This is how I dress comfortably. If you dress like an American, no one will notice because everywhere you go, you will be surrounded by tourists. If you dress like a local you will still look like a tourists because you will be at the tourist locations but you will be less noticeable.

We dressed like the local and I am proud to say that we were asked 7 different times in the local language where something was located. It is an great feeling when a tourist thinks you are a local and this was our first time over seas!

Packing:

I would follow Rick’s packing list suggestions. I followed it and even added a pair of pants and some extra shirts. I over packed!
Carry on is must. My wife did one carry on and one check in. The check in got lost and arrived 4 days later.
Eagle creek packing folders worked like a dream. I used the folder to pack all my collared shirts, jeans, and pants. (The larges size fit perfectly in my carry on)
All my undergarments and socks were packed in plastic bags that were rolled letting all the air out of the bag.
I used Burt Bees shampoo bar and a bar of soap
I packed individual packets of wipes, laundry detergent, and goldfish snacks.
All my gel was in a plastic bag, following the 311 carry on rule.
The only liquid I had was hair gel and toothpaste
I put all my vitamins in a camera film roll bottle and labeled it with a maker.
By packing this way, I had room to spare.
Getting through security was a breeze.
To make getting through security easier, I put my liquids bag in an outside pocket for easier access.
Packed a copy of all our travel documents with a USB flash drive containing the digital copies

Posted by
91 posts

The Flight:

We flew from the USA to Paris and it was about an 8 hour flight on Delta airlines.
We used SeatGuru.com to pick our seats.
When going through security, remember to take out your liquids bag so it can be scanned separately.
If the security lines are long, walk to the next one. It’s always shorter.
Once underway, take off your shoes because your feet swell during the flight. It will make the flight more enjoyable and relaxing
We brought our own headphones, mp3 player, inflatable neck pillow, ear plugs, guidebook, and eyeshade on the plane.

Posted by
91 posts

Rome and Paris:

We took a shuttle for the airport to our hotel because it was our first time.
We took the metro in each city to get back to the airport, we saved about 35 euros.
Learn key phrases and the locals will treat you better.
We use good morning, good afternoon, good evening, numbers 1-10, and do you speak English the most.
If you plan on following Rick’s books then the Paris museum pass and Roma pass are well worth it.
The metro is safe, we rode it about 6 times a day from 8am to midnight with no problems.
We purchased the PacSaf CitySafe 200 and love it. Stylish, yet comfortable and safe.
We exchanged 100 euro at the airport and when we got to Paris we used an ATM to get all our money.
We walked about 7 miles a day, so no matter how comfortable your shoes are, your feet will hurt.
To blend in, wear a scarf.
I did not want to walk and read the book all do (like a tourist) so I made small maps with directions.
Each map was a copy of a walk from the book with the instructions typed on the back.
We took small Texas lapel pins with us in our bag and gave them away when someone went out of their way to help us.
Buy a bottle of water when you land and reuse it everyday, filling it up and the water centers.
To cut cost we found a local bakery and every morning we bought a sandwich and packed it in our bag for lunch.

Posted by
91 posts

When we went to Versailles the RER was broken down so we had to take many different busses and trains to get there. While we were waiting we met a couple from Brazil. They helped us figure out where to go because no one spoke English. Once we got to Versailles we gave they two Texas lapel pins for helping us. They were surprised by the gesture and excited because they have never been to Texas. On the way back we local Parisian asked if we need help with directions. While we were going back to the city he was telling us about everything we were passing. When we got off we gave him a pin and he was extremely thankful and blessed our marriage. The lapel pins are a great, small, and cheap way to break through the American stereotype. It worked wonders for us. I suggest everyone try it wherever they go.


If you have any questions please feel free to ask, I will answer them to the best of my ability.

Thanks

Posted by
8293 posts

You have style, Mike, as a traveller and as a reporter. Good on you.

Posted by
521 posts

Nice and classy Mike. Well done. Your trip sounds flawless and your research and work are obvious. LOVE the lapel pin idea. I think I will try that on my next trip. Curious, what did you enjoy while you were there? My passion for Paris continues to grow and I can't wait to go back.

Posted by
91 posts

We took the back way to Eiffel Tower and walking up to it was spectacular.

Posted by
2000 posts

Mike, I love you posts and appreciate a man who knows how to dress for Europe (and women too). I agree with everything you say, except for climbing the stairs up the Eiffel Tower -- though I have gone down them, which was kind of OK.

Posted by
11450 posts

Great trip report,, and men, you have it so easy when it comes to clothes,, I am so jeaulous. I too though still to black and one other colour and it has always worked for me, even in summer( black or dark bottoms , for all that sitting on dirty surfaces, benches, metros, etc) .

I enjoyed walking up the ET also, and curiously found walking down was harder, partly as it made me dizzya and I would go faster and then need to touch the hand rail and let me tell you , that hand rail is NASTY!

Posted by
1717 posts

Mike, you said your wife's checked bag was lost by an airline. Which airline was that ? Flying to which airport ?

Posted by
91 posts

My wife's checked bag was lost by Delta airline flying from Atlanta to Paris - Charles De Gaul airport. Delta does not charge for the first check in bag as long as it is not too heavy. I would say 90% of all the passengers had carry-on bags. My carry-on bag is the maximum size that is allowed and it would only fit into the overhead bin sideway. So it took up more room. We always made sure we were close to our gate so we could board before most of the passengers, this solved the problem of the overhead bins being full. If the bins do get full, there is a closet behind the pilots cabin that the airline attendant will put extra bags, otherwise your bag will have to go under the seat, but this is highly unlikely. The airline attendant will take out a jacket or hat and replace it with a bag. I would not worry about your bag not going in the overhead bin, there will be room. In America, most airlines carry-on rules are one carry-on plus a small bag (purse, laptop bag or backpack). However in Europe, they only allow one carry-one.

Posted by
91 posts

We were in Paris for five nights, it was the perfect amount of days but it was hectic and tiresome. If you want to have a relaxing time while seeing all the sights, plan for more nights. The Louvre was great but after we toured the four miles of art, we were ready to go. It's hard to choose a favorite place, but I will tell you if you see all the sights again at night it is a brand new site and well worth viewing them at night. We were worried about the metro but we had no problems. Use common sense and put your bag in front of you, things like that and you will have no problems. We never once had a bad feeling while we were on the metro. The metro was confusing at first, but once we got the basics down it was fine. Here are some suggestions that might help:

The metro goes in the direction of their last stop.
If you are going to the Opera stop from Gare de l'Est, that is on Pink Line 7 toward the Villejuif-Louis Aragon stop.
This link will tell you how to get from one metro to the next
Take a moment and watch how people insert the ticket
The carnet is worth every penny
If you are going from a metro stop to a RER line you can use the same ticket

Posted by
283 posts

Here is what I took for two weeksin Paris (beginning of October):

My color scheme was black, white, and red.

Black houndstooth skirt
Black houndstooth pants
Black pants
Black jacket
Dark jeans
Black sweater
white and red t shirts
white turtleneck
red jean jacket
2 pairs black shoes
Red and black rain coat with fleece liner
scarves--have to have these in Paris!
socks, underwear, etc.
Sleep sweatshirt

We took old underwear, sleep shirts, etc. We threw them away before returning--lots more room in the suitcases.

Posted by
1717 posts

Mike, We thank you for providing the internet Link to the website for the good map of the Paris METRO system. That website is interactive, and easy to use. (English language). And it has the departure times of each METRO train. I am planning all of my Paris METRO trips for each day that I will be in Paris. -- Merci. Au revoir.

Posted by
1717 posts

The internet website for information about public transportation in Paris (an internet Link to it is in the reply from Mike in this discussion thread, dated 11/9/08 , 1:39 p.m.). That website has all kinds of information for using the Paris Metro, RER trains, Tramway, Bus, Noctilien. It includes information on where and how to buy tickets and passes and Excursion Bus tours. That website has photographs of the 4 kinds of Metro signs that are at Metro station entrances in Paris. And a photograph of the escalator at the entrance and exit of a Metro station that is located very near Arc de Triomphe. The Paris Visite Card, and T + tickets, and Paris open tours tickets can be purchased via the internet at www.euroquest.com

Posted by
31465 posts

Mike,

Very interesting "Just Back" report - thanks!

It's great to hear that you had such a wonderful time in Paris.

Cheers!

Posted by
91 posts

One thing I did notice is that in Italy a lot of women wore purple.

Posted by
11450 posts

Great reporting Mike, fun and easy to read.

Yes, purple is the "it" color of the season, my daughter and I noticed that this summer, all the new stuff coming out seemed to feature purples. I am impressed you noticed that,, many men would not have!

Posted by
1253 posts

Mike - Thanks for the info. Our family will be going to Paris late June 2009. What type of carry on bag did you use?

Posted by
91 posts

We both used the standard roller carry on baggage. Them maximum size is 22 x 14 x 9. We had no troubles with this size.