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Trip Report From Paris....

In Paris now. Parisians are friendly, Rick is right: make the effort language-wise and they are gracious.
Some of the world's greatest art here, of course. Paris Museum Pass!
Hotel de l'Empereur is good, spend a little more for the bigger rooms. Modern large room and bathroom.
Picnics in parks, even wine allowed, just now was at Champs de Mars, I did not have wine in the parks but you could.
And eating informally is much easier than ten or twenty years ago.

Posted by
7680 posts

Sounds like you are having fun! Nice to know your opinion of l'Empereur...staying there in Oct on a RS tour.

Posted by
10260 posts

I'm in a deluxe room, you'll probably be in a smaller room, but there was a complete renovation in 2011, which made the bathrooms really nice.

Posted by
335 posts

Kent, I totally agree with all you say except: I'm almost 70 and wear shorts (actually capris) in the warm weather there. Of course, they are dark colored, fitted and worn with a nice top, not sloppy. Wish I were there too - have fun!

Posted by
10260 posts

I agree, no one else will care what you wear.
I've been to Paris many times but never in the summer, if it's hot you would want to be comfortable.

Posted by
489 posts

Wonderful to here. Your visit is sounding absolutely lovely. My husband and I felt the same way. We enjoyed an evening dinner picnic with wine at Champs de Mars and watched the Eiffel Tower light up one evening in May. I have returned solo since and have all positive things to say about the city and the locals.

Well, except one I forgot. I will never understand how the doogies get to do their thing and leave the messes behind. I want to assume some owners neglect the ordiance to clean up after their dog and that you are not allowed to leave it there?

Posted by
10260 posts

Diane,
years ago there was dog poop in Paris but now they have cleaned it up. Been here a week and have not seen one. the dogs are lmostly cutie little breeds and are well behaved.today I heard behind me the command "asseyez!" And I sat down but his dog beat me to it, so I realized my French might not be up to the canine level. But ater I realized the dog did not know how to conjugate the verb Voudriez (I would like), so I knew a few things the dog didn't know.

Posted by
796 posts

That's a good place to stay. I like their deluxe classic with a view rooms. The decor is so pretty. A Paris Museum Pass can be a museum lover's best friend. The French love style including the men. The first time I went to France, I was around 6, to visit family (I had a French grandma), I already spoke French and as I have grown older, I have heard people (speaking in French) talking about American tourists being loud, rude, and arrogantly expecting everyone to speak English to them. When an American struggled to use a limited amount of beginner's French, it made a world of difference. They were perceived as being friendlier and most people want to help them. I hope you have a fantastic trip and remember- what happens in Paris must not stay in Paris- we'll want to hear all the details!!

Posted by
6798 posts

Terri Lynn is right about making the effort to say a few words.
However, I've never in forty years going over and living in France overheard anyone call Americans rude, loud, etc. I am bilingual and a dual national, so I do have a handle on the language and culture. I've seen some startled faces when a tourist--any nationality--doesn't begin interaction with a minimum of a bonjour. But I've found clerks, waiters, etc. too well mannered to say something derogatory aloud.
I suppose that if I made a comment about someone's behavior the clerk might join in, or if they assumed I didn't speak French, maybe they'd gossip in front of me. But it has never happened.

Posted by
6543 posts

Last time we came into the Gard du Nord, the customer service desk was staffed with young Parisians who refused to speak English. I thought that was hilarious since thousands of U.K. tourists come thru there daily on the Eurostar trains.
And the counter help at McDonalds that refused to speak a single word of English when we all know English is part of their high school curriculum.
But I've found that the nicer you are to Parisians and the more you smile at them, the nicer they'll be to you. And they may even speak English to you.

Posted by
2766 posts

I'll be in Paris next month for the fourth time and at 69 y/o I will be wearing shorts if the weather is warm. I take convertible pants with those zip off legs. In 12 years of going to Europe, I have never taken jeans as they do not lend themselves to "sink-washing" nor do they dry overnight. And, yes, you could take them to a laundromat but I do not want to spend time doing that. In all of my visits to Paris, and France for that matter, I have never encountered a problem with locals related to language. My wife studies French before out trips there so I rely on her to help with communications. Before out first trip to Paris, all I heard was how unfriendly the French were towards Americans. I have never found that to be true, thank goodness.

Posted by
3580 posts

My friendly Parisian cabbie couldn't manage my English so he showed me his electronic translator. It's the size of a cellphone but thicker. Siri or somebody provided clear understandable translations out loud.

Posted by
1516 posts

Hi Kent, glad you're having a good time in Paris. Your story about the dog cracked me up, so funny! I stayed at the Hotel L'Empereur last year and thought it was very nice. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

Posted by
32 posts

I've never encountered rudeness from the French. I don't speak the language well, but I try my best, and they usually respond to me in English. That is very gracious and considerate! I value the French people's politeness, and wish it would make a resurgence in America.

Posted by
10260 posts

Today (Sunday) did day trip to see two Paris area chateaus: Vaux le Vicompte and Fontainebleau.
Each approx 25 and 30 miles south of Paris; transport relaxingly provided by private bus (leave the the driving to Viator/ParisCity/Visions).
Louis XIV got his ideas for Versailles from Vaux: ravishing and 1/10 the Versailles crowds.
And Fontainbleau has 900 yrs of history.
Paris environs have chateaus.

Posted by
7173 posts

Do realize that sometimes a European will refuse to speak English not because they're trying to be rude, but because they may feel intimated and insecure in their English skills. Just fyi there could be several reasons.

Posted by
11430 posts

THANK YOU TIM,, the attitude I see here is sometimes very upsetting.

My relatives and friends who are younger DID take some hs English.. just like some of you took hs French or Spanish.. but that does NOT mean they feel they can speak it.. its embarrassing to most of them. Often if you try to speak French, and they hear how bad you are,, they will try some of their English , figuring you can meet in the middle.

They also likely took German, Spanish and Italian.. perhaps if any of you could speak those langauges switch to them , they may feel more confident in those ones since they live right next door to those countries also.. n

Posted by
11430 posts

kent.. glad you are having a good time .. and love your attitude.

Posted by
6798 posts

It's been in the school curriculum since the 1970s but only a few hours a week, not enough for most people to get very far. Furthermore, I have many French boomer friends who studied three or four languages in school in the 50s and 60s, none of them English.

Posted by
10260 posts

Went to Giverny today, the trip by independent travel is just as described by Rick, 6 to 7 hours total from Paris.

Posted by
10260 posts

Paris is an amazing place. 9 at night and a great rock 'n roll band at the river at The river and la tour. Hundreds of people at this time of the night. the day began at Giverny. Paris is unbelievably unique.
Bring flexible clothing and plan to do less than you think. 25 days in Paris and have not seen it yet.

Posted by
7680 posts

Bring flexible clothing and plan to do less than you think.

Kent, probably the BEST advice ever!

Posted by
10260 posts

at l'Empereur and Rick's Highlights of Paris and Heart of France tour arrives, Chris Coleman leading it. I'm still traveling independent but glad to see Rick's group arrive at the hotel.

Posted by
1845 posts

Kent, it's fun to read whatever you post! I think I'll start a collection of your more "pithy" sayings. You're having a wonderful time, I can tell. Enjoy the tour.

Posted by
2229 posts

Kent, as you know, Paris is pretty much endless. Have a wonderful time-and stay flexible!

Dave

Posted by
10260 posts

Thanks for the posts. Day trip to Reims today, champagne cave and cathedral.

Posted by
67 posts

Sounds like you're having a great time Kent! Couldn't agree more on how quickly time goes by and how little you get to see - you'll just have to go back soon! :)
What's the best meal you've had so far and where? I, for one, am in love with their street food and pastries!

Posted by
11613 posts

I loved Reims! I teach Christian art but the Cathedral took second place to the champagne - I scheduled champagne snacks throughout the day. I did get to the Cathedral on the second day (between snacks).

Posted by
10260 posts

Unboundly,
Yes, here in Paris for the last couple of weeks we've enjoyed both things you mentioned: street food and pastries.
Eating simply, without a lot of bother, is much easier in Paris than it was 10 years go. Avoiding formal restaurants has its advantages.

Posted by
10260 posts

Zoe,
Isn't Reims wonderful? Today we day-tripped from Paris to Reims, 40 minutes on the 170 mph TGV from Paris, this makes it an easy day trip. Reserve 90 days in advance for good fares.

Just as you said: in Reims 2 things we enjoyed today were the Cathedral and the Mumm's champagne cave. As I write this, I'm sipping some Cordon Rouge Brut.

As you know, the Reims Cathedral is staggering in its historicity: 800 years of Gothic architecture, all the kings of France (except 2) were crowned there and I now have a better understanding of what coronation meant.

Posted by
908 posts

Kent, your posts are feeding into my dire need to get back to Paris. I went last Oct for my first time, fell in love with it. I am heading back at the end of May beginng of June next year, want to see it in different weather & season. Have my Vilseck, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Hallstatt, Salzburg & Munich trip coming up next week, but neeeeeeeed to get back to Paris.
Keep the posts coming & the fun alive.
Tim

Posted by
13961 posts

Kent, when you wrote "flexible clothing" did you mean the ones with expandable waists?

Have you tried the chocolates and macarons yet?

I liked the Reims cathedral, but even more I liked Basilique Saint-Remi, and it's just a couple minutes' walk from Taittinger (stingy with tasting) and Martel (very liberal with tasting). Did both those tours, very different, liked them both. Did not do Mumm's though I had a coupe of it (that's a glass) at the station while waiting for my train back. Too many choices in Reims, all good and Epernay has even more champagne and Mercier's tour there is the most fun. In the end, I decided that I like cider more and it's a whole lot cheaper. After seeing where the kings were crowned you may want to take the metro to St. Denis and see where they all ended up :-)

I also found it was great to take it slow and enjoy just being in Paris. On a sunny Sunday around noon there was an excellent jazz combo on the foot bridge between the 2 islands, with the back of Notre Dame on one side and Bertillion on the other. That's the advantage to returning after having seen most of the sights and staying for more than a few days.

If you can't tell, I'm missing Paris soooo much. Keep writing, please!

Posted by
214 posts

I'll chime in with Charlie - for summer travel you can't beat shorts for comfort and convertible pants for flexibility. And, since 60 is the new 40 (haha), I'm perfectly comfortable with fashion ensembles though I'd like to fit into skinny jeans ...

Posted by
4354 posts

"I scheduled champagne snacks throughout the day."

Zoe, that is positively the best sentence I'll read all week.

Posted by
10260 posts

Chani's cHampagne snacks are a good thing. I am in Paris right now and snacking on MummS tonight as I write this.

Posted by
59 posts

Keep writing, Kent. This is fantastic. We leave for Paris in about a month. I will see how far my 10 words of French will get me. I was already told in phone conversations with hotel in Paris that I have a nice French name (does that count for one of my 10 words?)LOL

Posted by
10260 posts

Jackie,
You mentioned 10 words of French. There are only a few basic situations where you need some basic French and only a few phrases you need (you won't be discussing the meaning of life with your waiter or taxi driver).

The basic situations I've encountered are:

1) taxi from the airport to your hotel; you can write the address on a note card and hand that to the taxi driver at CDG (treat yourself to a taxi instead of trying to wrestle your luggage on the RER and Metro when you're jet lagged); hand him the card and say:
bohn-zhoor muhs--yuh, ah seht ah-drehs, see voo play (hello, to this address, please) (the spelling of this in French is roughly: Bon jour, monsieur, a cette address, s'il vous plait)

2) checking in at the hotel (a Paris 3 star hotel will have a receptionist that speaks better English than your French, but you could try saying it in Fench)

3) basic ordering in a cafe or brasserie, one of your most useful phrases (besides the politeness phrases) is: je voudrais...., , which sounds like zhuh voo-dray... (and then point to something on the menu or say it)

4) basic politeness phrases, which will get you a quick smile even from a Parisian

Rick's French Phrase Book gives you the above and much more, complete with how the words should be pronounced, which is useful because pronunciation is the key, otherwise they may not understand what you're trying to say.

Posted by
13961 posts

Kent is spot-on yet again. I found that just about everywhere, before I could get a halting sentence out in French, people were speaking to me in good English. I did spend an hour or so with a lovely woman in a cafe who insisted on speaking French so that I could practice (her English, though not great, was still better than my French). A little wine and a little patience and encouragement on her side and we were happily chatting away, while her brother - the waiter - kept our tongues well lubricated.