Last November I was lucky to purchase 400 dollar round trip tickets to Paris on AA for September. In doing so I was able to fulfill my coworkers life long dream of visiting Paris. I'm afraid I've created a monster :) Since our return the smile on her face hasn't let up and she has opened a travel savings account announcing to me our return in two years!! I wasn't asked I was told we are going back haha. My coworker is 70 nearly 71 years young and it was a great vacation.
I received many great bits of advice by questions asked and answered and by researching this forum. So thank you to all for your input.
I have been to Paris twice before but never alone and most sights were seen from the outside only. So for me I really consider this my first trip as well. One thing right off the top is how friendly the people were. Perhaps I was more open minded this time around or experiencing the city the way we did afforded this new opportunity. Either way I couldn't have been happier with my visit. Paris was not only my coworkers first trip to Europe but her first trip ever outside the USA!
We landed in CDG without any issues, collected our luggage and attempted to get money from the ATM. Still an issue with me. Next week I'm visiting my hospital's credit union to see if it's better than my bank. But the conversion rate is where you lose the most money and I'm not sure how to get around that. We used the Travelex ATM in CDG. I vaguely remembered a warning to stay away from those machines but in my jet lagged fog we got our first euros. I usually take out 800 euros so the pain only happens once. My coworker got her first taste of loss and even though I warned her she was still shocked. It was a bad first impression of travel but was quickly replaced when we got into our taxi for Paris. I initially wanted to use the RER C line but I had a suitcase and my coworked ignoring my packing list had her luggage which I later nicknamed the monster along with her "carry on" bag that most of you would consider a check bag. But her suitcase gave us many nights of laughter as she tried to wrangle it closed with her newly bought treasures. And our one shopping trip to buy a new suitcase for our trip home. Next trip she announced she's packing light!! We'll see.
After the ATM some one escorted us downstairs to "taxis" but there was no taxi sign on the car. Didn't feel right and I said no thank you. We went back upstairs and got into a taxi with a proper taxi sign on the car's roof. I believe the others are private taxis? In any case I thought I remembered reading you'd pay more for those services. Traffic was a nightmare getting into the city. We arrived at 8am at CDG and arrived at our hotel just before 12pm.
After reading many opinions on where to stay in Paris I chose the Ile Saint Louis and booked the Hotel Saint Louis. We were very happy with the location and hotel. Lovely people at the hotel, very helpful. The hotel has a lift but it lands between floors so if you want to stay there be aware you will have to carry your luggage up about 8 stairs or so. The rooms and bathrooms are small but charming, clean and big enough for most. We booked a five night stay before our tour and left the tour hotel on our last day and rebooked the Hotel Saint Louis for our last day and night.
When we got to the hotel our room was ready. The gentleman gave us our key, the rules and told us he'd bring our luggage to our room momentarily. We went upstairs and my coworker was beyond giddy with excitement. The gentleman was right behind us with our luggage. We showered, changed clothes and took off for our first days adventure.