Hi everyone, Just got back. Spent a week in Burgundy, a week in england but I'll concentrate on paris for this post.
As in the past, always love this city.
Few things different this trip which I give Big Thumbs up.
- Museum Pass. We hit 7 museums in 2 days. Spent little or no time getting in. And no guilt for wanting to see a few things and then leave!
- Navigo Decouverte. Travel like a local. This is the way to go got the pass for zones 1-5 for 21.50 Euros which is just a little more than a return trip to city from CDG and hopped on all the subways and buses as we liked, just tap and go... The caveat as many mention is that it is from Monday to Sunday. Honestly even if it cost a little more based on when you are there. The convenience and not having to find those little tickets in your pocket and try to remember which one you used to get on .... Well worth it!
- Global Entry Card. While this is for the more frequent travelers, we go abroad 1 or 2 times a year and it gives us the tsa precheck within the US. Coming back home to the US was sweet, look at the long line waiting for the passport control as you walk up to the kiosk. Stick your passport in, put your fingers on the scanner, check off a few answers then take your receipt and hand it off. Don't forget to look back at the line still waiting!
- Versailles, Hmmm if I was to do it again I would do it differently. First off the security line is long, even first thing in the am. The outside of the Chateau, The Gardens, fountains, and the Cottages were impressive. Inside the Chateau? Not sure that I was that impressed. First off the crowds, you feel like you should Mooo at times. After visiting many Chateaus in Burgundy I felt this ongoing theme. There was once royalty, and oppulance. then the Revolution, these were all torn apart and destroyed. then some time later someone said "Hey, People will pay money to see this!" and they rebuilt and restored (re produced) Some are done with great care like Rochepot. I felt that Versailles looked very reproduced inside. No worries though we have the museum pass and we quickly moved through the chateau and went to the Gardens. If I was to do it again we would have gone to the Gardens and Cottages and just looked at the Grand Exterior of the Chateau. If you want interior, Go to the Louvre. While enjoying the Art, Look up once in a while! Thats what I'm talking about!
- St. Chapelle. Definetly worth it. Period.
- Rodin Museum. While there is a Rodin Museum close by in Philadelphia, hey we have a museum pass, on the way to the military museum, lets peek in! Nice!
- Military Museum, We Just wanted to see Napoleon (1st) tomb and the armor collection. Did not disappoint!
- Museum Orangerie: no lines and Monet's Water Lilies... No brainer for me!
- Orsay Museum: Pleasant surprise. Gorgeous inside. All the small galleries with all the masterpieces. Seeing the Impressionists work for real and the way they are lit. I get what the fuss is about.
- 4 roues et un parapluie tour in Citroen 2CV. Bought this as a Bday gift to my wife. 1.5 hour drive around town late Friday night.
The driver was really knowlegeable and took us places we never knew. Better than expected! Gave us lots of ideas for next time.
Also driving around Latin and St Germaine late Friday night was cool to see everybody out.
Paris has a very strong military presence. We stayed near Republique square, but everywhere around town you saw them. Mostly Parisians were glad to see Americans visiting. Oddly Most of the Americans we met, all were carrying Rick Steves guide books! Not to mention that making reservations around town is pretty easy right now.