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Two Weeks in Paris

This was a rescheduled trip from September, 2020.

Flights: I booked my flights 10 months in advance. You can't get anywhere from Cleveland. I am always jealous of the great airfares that some of you are able to snag. I was able to get one layover flights (ATL outbound and DTW return) in Delta One outbound and premium select return for $1400 and some miles. Flights were smooth, service adequate, food barely adequate. My flight from CDG to DTW was delayed by 30 minutes due to air controller strike at CDG.

Hotels: I checked in to Hotel de Londres Eiffel on Saturday morning. Surprisingly, after a ten minute wait, I was given my key. It was about 8 am. I paid 235 Euros/night for 2 nights prior to the RS Paris city tour starting. This is a great hotel. Yes, the rooms are Paris small. My room was perfect for one. It is beautifully decorated. The staff is outstanding. You get a note when you check in that the hotel is their home and they want it to be your home in Paris. The staff follows through on this promise. The neighborhood is safe, quaint, and lively without being too noisy. Air conditioning worked well, safe and mini fridge. Small desk and chair. I highly recommend this hotel if it is in your budget.

On the next Saturday, I moved to Hotel Du Lion D'Or Louvre. It is between The Louvre and Palais Garnier. I stayed in a single room. It is like a dorm room. There is a twin sized bed, a small wardrobe with full length mirror, a safe and a small desk and chair. The sink and shower are in the main room. The toilet is in its own tiny room with a door. I paid 139 Euros per night. Air conditioning worked well. No mini fridge. Staff was kind and helpful. Good breakfast, included if book online. Neighborhood is safe, but more gritty in the 1st compared to the 7th. Very close to Metro stop on line 1, so easy to get around. I would stay here again as I think you get very good value for the money. I originally booked this hotel for 2020 paying the prepaid, reduced rate. They readily offered me a voucher that lasted 18 months after my booking date. They did not really want to extend the voucher further or refund my money. But, I persistently sent them email requests to extend my voucher or to refund my money as laid out by French law. I even told them I would happily accept a reduced room rate. Eventually, they honored the voucher. I paid a small amount to make up the difference for the room rate (48 Euros). I would stay here again.

TOUR: You can easily read the tour itinerary on this website. Our guide was Marie Altman. She is excellent. Our local guides were Cerise (Montmartre), Elisabet (Louvre), Joelle (D'Orsay) and Vincent (Versailles) All guides were excellent. The tour included a Navigo Decouverte one week pass and a six day museum pass. We took an evening bus tour of the city the first night. In the past I said that I wouldn't take a city tour because I can handle myself in a big city, but I do feel the tour is worthwhile. The guides make a big difference. It is also nice to have some company since I was traveling on my own this time. There was a good mix of guided time and on your own time. There were 20 of us on the tour. Four people were on my tour mate list that didn't end up on the tour. All of my other tours had 28 people, the smaller group size is nice. Based on this experience I will likely take another city tour in the future.

Safety: I felt safe in Paris the whole trip. I did not wear a money belt. I use a Tom Bihn medium size cafe bag that I wear cross body. I use 2 of the Tom Bihn zippered wallet like thingies that clip to the inside of the bag. In one, I had my drivers license and my credit cards. In the second I carried cash and my individual metro tickets for before and after the tour. Because they are clipped, they would be difficult to pickpocket and would be impossible for me to forget them somewhere. I carry my passport everywhere.

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1397 posts

...cont'd Safety.

I kept my passport in the zippered pocket that is on the outside of the bag but is under the flap when the bag is closed. I secured the zipper pull to my bag with a safety pin. I was on some very crowded metro cars and buses with standing room only. I keep super aware of myself and my belongings. I think awareness is important. I met a gentleman on a Paris Walk that stated his phone was lifted from a front zippered pocket on the metro on his way to the meeting point at Pere Lechaise. I kept my phone in the back unzippered pocket of my cafe bag. I wore that side of the bag against my body. I never saw anybody with their hands anywhere near myself or my bag. Maybe I am just lucky, but I do think that awareness is more important than zippers. I did take more precaution with my passport. I was out several times after dark. I walked over 2 miles from dinner to the hotel one night after 10 pm. I felt safe.

COVID: I took a test the morning of my tour and the night before my flight home. Both were negative. Nobody on the tour was ill. Very few people in Paris were wearing masks. As a tour group, we wore masks in museums and on transportation. If you have any specific questions about the protocol, I am happy to answer.

Packing: I carried about 20 pounds of stuff in my cafe bag and my Osprey Porter 46. The pack was not packed full. It even fit in the overhead bin of a small regional jet from DTW to CLE. Five shirts, 3 pants, Volcano El Naturalista boots and Keen Newport sandals. I use a Pixel 6 phone and happily pay the $10/day to use cellular data. One scarf, one REI waterproof shell that folds into its own pocket. I bought 2 books at the airport which were handy to have at a cafe or park in the afternoon. I also read part of a book on the Kindle app on my phone. I used the MLB app to watch or listen to some Guardians games. I also took one Hunger Hiker collapsible hiking stick. No troubles at security. I pack a foldable nylon bag. I did use this on the way home as it is bigger than my cafe bag and I brought home 24 macarons and some Hevin chocolates.

aero cafeterie: 16eme. I had eggs mayonnaise and quiche. Fine.
Devour Food Tour in the Marais: there were 3 really good stops--Sasha Finkelsztajn for beef perogies, Miam Miam for socca (chick pea crepes) and Aleph for lemon birds nest tarts. Otherwise, not my favorite food tour.
Closerie des Lilas: 6eme. I loved this meal. Great service, beautiful setting and delicious food. I had foie gras, sole meuniere, and a fig dessert. 110 Euros.
Les Petits Gourmands Boulangerie: 7eme. I bought a breakfast and a dinner here. I recommend
La Terasse: 7eme. Group meal here. Wine, kir, nicoise salad, salmon and green beans and tarte tatin. Very yummy
La Mosquee: 5eme. One of my best meals, poulet couscous. A very polite cat sat down next to me and I was happy for the company.
Amorino: Rue Cler. Gelato for dinner after the above big lunch. Not bad.
Bouillon PIgalle: I did not enjoy my meal here. Cheap and nutritious, but not yummy.
Le Septieme Vin: Group meal. Excellent small place. Goat cheese salad, Boeuf bourguignon, caramel flan. Very very good!
Angelina's: 1st. So this is a tourist trap, right? I wouldn't say so. I loved my tea time lunch here so much, I came back a week later. I waited about 20 minutes each time. Service is lovely, wait staff is friendly and efficient. Food quality is very good. Both the hot chocolate and iced chocolate were delicious.
Vin & Maree Suffen Ecole Militaire: Group meal. Prawns, Duck and cream puff. Good, not fantastic.
Linette Cafe: 7eme. Ceasar Salad, hot tea. Fine.
New Kashmir: 2nd. It is in the Panormas Passage. One of the best biriyanis I have ever had. Definitely recommend.
Au ti Breizh Creperie: Near Pere Lachaise. Oh my gosh, very yummy. Popeye gallete (spinach and cheese) and chocolate and banana crepe.

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La Boussole Bistrot: Latin Quarter. Very local place. No English actually had to use my Google translator. I had Cod and a citron tarte. Pretty good.
Laduree on Champs-Elysees: OK, this really is a tourist trap (IMO). Pan Perdu and tea. Not very good. Macarons are too sweet.
Blend Burgers Latin Quarter: Yummy enough American style burgers and home made fries.
Cafe Fratelli: 1st. Italian cafe. Adequate. Brasaola and pasta.
L'AS du Fallafel: Not a tourist trap. I got there a little before noon and got a table. I had the fallafel plate and mint lemonade. Very, very good. I highly recommend this.
I also had 2 meals from things I picked up at the corner grocers.

OK, enough for today. Let me know if you have a particular category you want to hear about.

Posted by
2269 posts

Thanks for all the detailed info.

Posted by
12653 posts

What a fun time you had! I always enjoy La Terrasse. I've eaten there twice for group meals and usually go once during each stay. I accidentally spent WAY too much for lunch here...I blame the large glass of rose on a warm afternoon, hahaha. It was not the waiter's fault but he tantalized me by saying the chef had just made the mille feuille that morning and they were delicious, hahaha. Then an espresso...and so on!

I laughed at your remark about not being able to get anywhere from Cleveland. It just depresses me when I see people getting $600 fares.

Great meals! Thanks for the list!

Posted by
3674 posts

Nice, comprehensive trip report! Thanks for sharing.

Posted by
2936 posts

Thank you for all the food recommendations, hope to visit some of these places on my next trip to Paris!
I share your frustration on your limited flight options, same problem up here in the far north! More expensive too!

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10 posts

Did you pack your Hunger Hiker walking stick in your carry on or did you have it out as you went through security at the airport? I know that TSA rule enforcement frequently depends on the judgement of whoever is working the security shift, so I’m wondering if it would be wiser to use the stick as a walking ‘aid’ going through security. I’m nearly 80 so think it possibly wouldn’t raise eyebrows. Thanks!

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6172 posts

Thank you for the trip report and especially the detailed restaurant and meals list! I am wondering how many of those macarons made it all of the way back home! ; )

I stayed at the Hotel de Londres Eiffel during my RS week in Paris tour nine years ago, and it is a lovely hotel! I’m glad to see they still are using it.

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2015 posts

I really enjoyed reading your report, sounds like you had a great time! I miss Paris!

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3961 posts

vandrabrud- Thanks for sharing your detailed trip report. Appreciated your review of L’As du Fallafel. We did a walking tour of the Marais and our guide took our small group to lunch there. There was a line to get into the restaurant, but our group was able to bypass and go right in. Glad to hear you enjoyed the food. We loved it. It’s been nine years since we were there. We stayed in the Marais and enjoyed the neighborhood vibe. Miss Paris!

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122 posts

We spent late November 2021 in Paris and chose L'as du Fallafel as our Thanksgiving dinner. Best holiday meal ever!

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1397 posts

@texas: I use my Hunger Hiker stick like a cane through security. I am 57 years old, but I have fairly extensive osteoarthritis. I keep expecting to have it confiscated at security, but they don't seem interested. I do put the stick on the conveyer belt and walk through the sensor/scanner without it. I know the guide and other tour mates are worried when they first see me with the stick, but they soon learn I can keep up. The stick doubles or triples how far I can walk in a day.

Thanks for all of the other comments.

@jean: I brought home 24 macarons from Damyel in the Marais. I took 6 in to work for co-workers to sample and the rest are for my dear hubby and my son. (I might sneak a few too). I liked these macarons better than any other I sampled. I also brought home some chocolates from Jean- Paul Hevin.

Souvenirs: In addition to the goodies listed above I brought home 2 scarves for myself. I purchased those on Rue de Rivoli. My 91 year old MIL asked for an outrageous, touristy T-shirt. I found a nice one with bright metallic studs in the shapes of the big landmarks. My son asked for a St. Germaine-Paris soccer jersey. I had to look all over town for that. I bought my Mom 2 kitchen towels with Paris themed graphics. The goodies increased the weight of my personal item significantly, but since flying Delta, it didn't matter.

Walking: I walked between 3 and 7 miles each day. I could have walked less each of those days by limiting free time activities or taking the Metro more or a taxi. I could have just as easily walked more each day, but my joints wouldn't have liked it. I think the biggest thing to consider for those with physical limitations are the number of stairs to go up and down. Stairs are everywhere.

Museums: As a group we visited Sainte-Chapelle, The Louvre, Versailles and Musee D'Orsay. There was time to visit other museums covered by the Museum Pass during 5 days of the tour and then either the first day prior to the tour starting or the Saturday the tour ended (6 day pass). All of the guides were excellent. Our guided tour of the Louvre was 2 hours long. I stayed another 4 hours after that. I did take almost an hour break in one of the cafes. I guess I don't really recommend spending that much time in one museum, but it worked out for me and I don't regret it.

On my own, I visited Marmottan Monet on my first day, pre-tour. I highly recommend this small museum. It was great seeing Impression, Sunrise in person. I visited L'Orangerie during a free time afternoon. The water lilies are great (my favorite parts are the willows), but don't miss the rest of the museum. It is small enough that you can look at each piece, which is refreshing after the Louvre and D'Orsay. I went to the Branly Museum on the Saturday the tour ended. The next week I visited Picasso Museum and Rodin. The only other museum that I had wanted to see this visit was the Pompidou. But I just couldn't digest anything else.

Getting tired, had to go back to work today : (. I will add more info about what I did my second week tomorrow.

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1397 posts

@Pam, to make myself feel better about those low airfares some people get, I remind myself that the cost of living is a lot less here so it evens out.

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105 posts

Hello vandrabrud

Piggybacking on your comment about not being able to get anywhere from where you live in Ohio (our son lives in North Olmsted with his family) my husband & I use to live in the DFW area, 20 minutes (depending on traffic) from the huge D/FW international airport & couldn’t relate to people who had to drive distances to get to D/FW. We also couldn’t hear each other when a noisy plane went over our garden, though we’d be sitting right next to each other. We live in a tiny mountain village now & like it lots, lots better though for flying it’s inconvenient. We either drive to the next town (an 85 minute or so drive to the airport) & then fly onward to Denver international or we drive 5 hours or so to the Denver airport.

vandrabrud your RS Paris tour was our 1st RS tour in 2017 (celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary) & like you we had a very special time! Thanks for sharing! I am so glad to hear that Covid wasn’t a problem on your tour. We are 13 days away from our first RS tour since we got back from Italy in October 2019 & are nervously excited. We got our Bivalent Viccine September 9th.

We are planning on RS Greece in 2023 and while there are so many (all of them!) tours I want to do, I also really want to go back to Paris – I know it’s connected to other RS tours…

vandrabrud did your Paris tour make you want to go back?

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12653 posts

"Our guided tour of the Louvre was 2 hours long. I stayed another 4 hours after that. I did take almost an hour break in one of the cafes. I guess I don't really recommend spending that much time in one museum, but it worked out for me and I don't regret it."

I so agree. The first few times I went to the Louvre I spent about 5 hours there without a break which was madness. I now think I do better with a sitdown and an espresso or horror of horrors a Coke, lol. Something with caffeine and sugar!

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3978 posts

lisalu910, If we could fly PE and Delta One from ATL for $2800, we would be ecstatic. My husband flies out of JFK, an airport I despise, because upperclass is so much cheaper from there.

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1397 posts

Sorry for the delay. I have been falling asleep in my Edith Bunker chair not too long after I get home from work! I am enjoying the extra sleep because sleep is something I am not good at in my post 50 era.

To answer some of the comments:
I think I used 40,000 miles. I know some will not consider that a good value, but I was pleased.

I definitely loved Paris. This is the longest that I have ever stayed in one place and I really enjoyed that. I think I will plan something similar for London. My son and I are planning a trip of WWII sites and we will likely fly into CDG (and maybe out as well). I am looking forward to going back to the city. I will let my son choose how many nights we stay. He will want to see Invalides. He loves stained glass, so I think a second visit to Sainte Chapelle is in order. This will be the first city that I go back to.

Pam, I had a great big Cola during my rest at the Louvre. I needed the caffeine and sugar. I don't drink soda very often in my regular life, which means the caffeine really makes an impact when I have it. I also had frites! Good energy giving carbs.

I wanted to address a few of the biggest complaints I read about Paris. I have already addressed the pickpockets/safety issue. I did see many groups of people playing the ball and cup game along the Seine north and west of the Eiffel tower. They must be making a killing. It seemed obvious to me that members of the same family or group were playing the game in order to entice tourists to join in. I saw thick bank rolls of Euros and a lot of money changing hands. I also saw some women with clipboards approaching folks at one of the metro stations, but I can remember which one.

It varied a bit by neighborhood, but I found the city to be about average in cleanliness compared to other cities. I was never put off by the amount of trash. There is some dog mess on the sidewalks, but not commonly. I did take a photo to document that, which didn't please dear hubby, who is probably the only person that will sit still to look at all of my photos. I was ready to post that I didn't see one rat.....except I did sit in one of those cool green chairs in the Tuileries Garden for a few hours on my last day. There are small, cute, playful rats running everywhere. Some of the other park patrons were a bit freaked out, but they didn't bother me. They behaved similarly to the squirrels and chipmunks in my local parks. Pigeons of course were everywhere.

One activity that I really enjoyed and recommend to everyone going to Paris or any of the other cities that have them is the Atelier des Lumiere's display. I would have rather seen Van Gogh or Klimt, but Cezanne was playing when I was there. I loved it. It was super. I went on a Sunday and there were quite a few children running around, chasing the apples on the floor. That added to the atmosphere for me. Definitely go see one of these if you have the opportunity.

I went to the top of the Eiffel tower. It was worth the time. I went late morning so no sunrise or sunset. For people that don't love views from heights it can be skipped. I also went to the top of Montparnasse tower. My husband did this on his trip in 1990 and I always try to recreate something he did when I go to Europe. I went 40 minutes before sunset and spent about an hour there. There is a nice hippy like space on the roof with chairs and a bar. I wanted to dislike or at least be indifferent to the Eiffel tower, but it is too much of a presence to be ignored. I really enjoyed the views and the "vibe". I recommend this.

I learned enough French to be polite and to mostly understand a menu. I found that the French workers that I came across were mostly very friendly and welcoming and at the worst curt and efficient. I had about 4 or 5 times when the person spoke ONLY French to me and we figured it out. Once I used my Google translator.

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1397 posts

I signed up for two Paris Walks that fit into my schedule. I emailed them the evening before. I took Pere Lachaise walk and French Revolution Walk. The guide for the second walk was the same RS guide we had for Montmartre. I had wanted to go on a tour with Corey Frye, but what he had available on my free days didn't interest me, so I skipped that.

For fun, I kept an eye out for Wallace fountains. I also downloaded the invader app and "flashed" as many of his creations as I could. This helped me to pay attention to the architecture of each street as I was always looking up!

Last reflections:

I had a great trip. I didn't find that the increased expectations due to a 2 year delay caused any trouble. I enjoyed the planning. I did most of the activities that I planned and a few that weren't planned. I had a nice balance between "seeing" and "being" that was discussed on a different thread. I definitely would like to repeat this kind of trip at another big city like London in the future when I am traveling by myself. I thought the combination of the RS tour and time on my own was good. I definitely could manage it without the tour, but I enjoy the company of a tour and I also enjoy the solitude of solo travel. Now I am trying to choose the photo from my trip that will be added to my photo wall at work. I choose 1-2 8 x 10 photos of each trip to hang up. When I get discouraged about the aggravating parts of my job, I can look up and see why I choose to keep at it!

Thanks for reading and for your comments.

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3674 posts

I wanted to dislike or at least be indifferent to the Eiffel tower,
but it is too much of a presence to be ignored. I really enjoyed the
views and the "vibe". I recommend this.

Yeah, I think the Eiffel Tower is pretty great, too. The lights on it at night are cool, too.

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1397 posts

I forgot to mention that they are not lighting up all of the monuments at night due to the energy crisis. They also limited the lighting of the Eiffel tower due to Queen Elizabeth II's death. I am glad I spent some time around the twinkling tower early on in my trip. Our evening bus trip on the tour was affected by some of the monuments not being lit up.

Posted by
14027 posts

"women with one of the Metro stations...." Most likely this was at Gare du Nord. My hotel is just outside of the one of entrances. I see these women roving among the crowds on almost every trip.

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103 posts

Thanks for such a great trip report, vandrabrud. We're considering this trip for next spring/summer. I especially appreciated you meal report! You mentioned something I'm unfamiliar with, though.

For fun, I kept an eye out for Wallace fountains. I also downloaded
the invader app and "flashed" as many of his creations as I could.
This helped me to pay attention to the architecture of each street as
I was always looking up!

Can you tell us more about Wallace fountains and the invade app, please?


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1397 posts


wallace fountains

Invader, Paris street art

For the Invader app, just look at your app store. It uses your camera. When you think you have found one of their street art pieces you "capture" it with your camera. If it is an invader piece it celebrates with beeping noises and you get points. I found it to be fun and it increased the likelihood that I was looking up and paying attention to the architecture.

The Wallace fountains are beautiful. Some of them are still working and are a great place to fill up your water bottle.

I try to pick something like this in every city I visit.

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1337 posts

I to play the Invader game. Last Nov/Dec my mom was with me and she got in the habit of looking up at the buildings to find them for me.

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1397 posts

I only ended up capturing about 20, but it is fun to remember where I saw them. I have one with C3PO and Chewie, one with Princess Leia, and near the Picaso museum there was a Picaso.

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3978 posts

It would be worth the trip for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing a "very polite cat". Those words just don't go together.