Paris Vacation

I started this post but hit a button by accident so I have no idea what happened to my comments - sorry! Hubby and I returned last night from our first Paris vacation - wonderful! We stayed at a little hotel called Hotel de Tourisme in the 15th arrondisement. It was a 3 block walk to the Eiffel Tower which is in the 7th, so a pretty good area. The Metro line Motte-Piquet Grenelle was right outside the front door as was a taxi stand, so a very convenient hotel. Across the street was a Monoprix where you can get just about anything you need. Some observations: everyone speaks English! And I mean everyone. Also, wear whatever you want just so long as you are comfortable and neat. Colors are fine - we saw many, many French wearing white sneakers, brightly colored jeans and the (in America) ubiquitous puffy coat! The French were incredibly kind and cheerful and polite....I had three (3) people on three different occassions give me their seat in the metro. Ok, so I'm old (62) and use a cane, but still...here in Philly that does not happen. And in one situation a man gave up his seat so that my hubby could sit next to me! One afternoon we decided to take a stroll down a little street near our hotel. It was called Rue du Commerce (Commerce Street). What a lovely little street for shopping and we found a great restaurant on this street too-Cafe Commerce. The waitress gave us the wrong bill - it was for 22 euros and I knew our bill should have been closer to 90. So I quietly pointed this out to her and she was so grateful, that she gave me a (free) glass of champagne! The weather provided a bit of everything: rain, sun, heat, cold...but we were in Paris and loved every second of this very special trip.
Cathy/Philadelphia and New Jersey

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7815 posts

Cathy what a wonderful sounding trip, thanks for report and glad you enjoyed yourself.. but two comments. Everyone in Paris does not speak english, no matter what you encountered,I am thinking you were mainly in touristy 7th and at sites, and lucky. I say this after many many years of visits, and I say it so that others do not labour under that impression and then get mad when they encounter someone who "won't speak english to me" and get all huffy( I personally have relatives there , and no, they do not speak english, sorry) Second, I am sad to hear that in Philly people do not routinely give up bus seats for people with canes or elderly( I am sure there are some nice folks that do) , that sounds awful and parents should be ashamed for raising kids that way, and men should be ashamed to sit while you stand ..

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1963 posts

Cathy, What a pleasure to read your post. Here's proof that the attitude you send out is what you get in return. I concur about being offered seats in the metro. I too was offered many last summer. However, after I had my hair colored and cut one day at a neighborhood salon, not one person offered me a seat for the rest of my stay. (Downside of trying to look younger!)
Hope you have many more happy travels.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3193 posts

Loved reading your report, and so glad you really enjoyed Paris! Thanks Cathy for taking the time to write it. Now, if you could post on the "How rude are the French?" thread... LoL

Posted by John
Peoria, IL, USA
1 posts

Cathy,
What a wonderful trip. Obviously you found the many misconceptions about Paris, to be false. It is beautiful city with so much to do. I always try to greet Pariseans with a few French words or just asking in French, if they speak english. It always works and they are always helpful. I love Paris and I suggest that every American see it once. We stayed in 15th as well. Our hotel was the Sublim Eiffel. Great location and a great price. We probably spent half of what most tourist hotels cost in Paris. We used the Rick Steves book for Paris. Which, I find to be a Bible for touring Europe. I also like the Zagat guides for restaurants, as they have so many restaurants in it. Viva la France!

Posted by Thomas
Hermosa Beach, CA, USA
74 posts

What a wonderful report! We loved Paris, too. We exchanged homes for three weeks and found that our area (Neuilly-sur-Seine) was outside of the usual tourist haunts, but even in August the people were incredibly nice anyway. There was no language barrier whatsoever. A point, a shrug, and a smile was enough to communicate even with non-English speakers. There was always a smile in return. We discovered a way to use the Velib bikes and pedaled our way all over Paris. The most memorable event of our trip had to be our anniversary dinner at the 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. Whenever I see the tower in my everyday life, I think (or say), "That's where we ate. Right there!"

Posted by Pam
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
63 posts

Cathy,
Thanks for the positive report r/t Paris. My mother and I will be visiting for the first time this June and I've been worried as I only know the bare basics of french. Glad you had a great experience and now I feel more at ease about our upcoming visit.

Posted by Patty
Steilacoom, WA, USA
304 posts

I enjoyed your wonderful report. It remineded me of our last trip. We were getting on the train with our luggage and a woman who had me by at least 10 years insisted on helping us with our bags. I'm 60, so I was quite impressed. She loves Americans and just wanted to make sure our trip went smoothly. Then several young men helped us carry our luggage up the stairs at our stop. Just being polite and not wanting to make off with the bags.

Posted by Wanda
Greensboro, NC, USA
53 posts

I'm going through the last year of reports to get all the tips and suggestions I can for our trip to Paris in September. Your report is absolutely delightful! Thank you for sharing it!

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7815 posts

Patty , funny just a few weeks ago on here there was a post by a lady who was very frightened when a young man made motion to carry her adult daughters luggage up some metro steps.. she was rather convinced that he must have know that that particular suitcase is the one they stashed all their electronics in.. its funny who some people see the good in others and other people worry about the bad... glad you enjoyed your trip.

Posted by christie
upland, ca, usa
10 posts

So nice to hear you "discovered" the wonderful Rue De Commerce and the wonderful Cafe Commerce. We went last year and were the only tourists there- the waiter brought us the most delicious crepe ever made and gave me and my two daughters impromptu french lecon's. Also- the shopping on the adjacent street is affordable and very non-touristy. I love discovering all the secret neighborhoods of Paris.