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Thread: 6-14 NOV 2015: Paris in the Fall!

  1. #1
    Valerie is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2009 Maryland Posts: 195

    6-14 NOV 2015: Paris in the Fall!

    After months of planning we finally have returned from our trip to Paris! Our trip was an amazing experience although it did end on a horribly sad note when the Paris terrorist attacks occurred on November 13th. I'm thankful we returned home safely and will continue to keep the people of France in our thoughts and prayers. I also appreciate everyone on the forum that thought of us while we were there.

    I thought I would write about our trip in three parts since there is so much to say! First our travel and accommodations. Now just to put this out there, I'm either losing my memory already (at 35!) or I made a bit of a mistake in booking our flights which has never happened before because I double and triple check everything! We traveled using our American Advantage miles from BWI to CDG and then coming home we flew into DCA. I booked our flights back in February so I can only assume flight times were better this way and that I did indeed book us in different airports on purpose! Even if it was a mistake it was easily corrected with two one way rental cars that actually cost less than a week of parking at DCA anyway :)

    Our flight was easy and on time getting us into CDG bright and early at 6:30 am. Immigration and retrieving our luggage was amazingly quick-so much so that we found ourselves sitting at a cafe in Paris enjoying breakfast by 7:30! We booked transportation into the city using Victor Cabs as suggested by Paris Made Perfect and our driver was waiting for us as soon as we excited baggage claim. As they work with Paris Made Perfect so frequently he was aware that the office did not open until 9:00 and dropped us off at Cafe Constant a short one minute walk from the office. I settled in to enjoy the menu petit dejuener while Frank set off to secure Euros from an ATM. The first of many freshly squeezed orange juices and cafe cremes were consumed!

    At 9:00 we made the short stroll down to the Paris Made Perfect office to drop off our bags until our apartment was ready for us to check in. For those familiar with Paris Perfect they recently changed their name to Paris Made Perfect and I have to say they are quite aptly named! They were very responsive during our booking process and provide a wonderful guide of tips and suggestions to assist with your planning. Their office is also extremely close to the majority of their apartments which was convenient for leaving bags to begin exploring the city.

    At 1:30 we arrived back to the office where we met our lovely greeter and were led to our home for the week-apartment Cassis. I initially asked for one bedroom apartments available with an Eiffel Tower view under 200 Euros a night. From the list I was provided I quickly narrowed our selection down to two choices ultimately deciding on Cassis. This decision was due to the larger kitchen and bathroom which I thought we would appreciate during a week long stay and of course the view of the most beautiful night light ever-the twinkling Eiffel Tower!

    The apartment was lovely and staged for our arrival. Our greeter talked us through the use of the various appliances and answered our questions on both the apartment and the area. We were also pleasantly surprised with everything that was already waiting for us-detergent for both the dishwasher and washing machine, soap, shampoo and even slippers! Things I was definitely not expecting for an apartment stay! There was even juice, milk, plenty of Nespresso pods (of course there was a Nespresso machine as well!) and a bottle of wine with the glasses all ready for us to toast our stay in this beautiful city!

    And of course, we enjoyed many meals in our little apartment!

    We were located on Rue Jean Nicot, right off Rue St. Dominique so we had an ample selection of restaurants and take out right outside our door. It truly does not get any better than being able to run right across the street each morning and grab fresh pastries! Our view is below and the little pink awning in the lower right is PariSeven boulangerie.

    Lastly, I have to point out how amazing Paris Made Perfect was in the aftermath of the attacks. Early Saturday morning, well before their office opens, I received an email telling us that if we were unable to travel home that day they had already arranged for us to remain in the apartment until Tuesday. At that time if we still weren't able to get a flight they would help us with additional accommodations as someone else was scheduled to arrive at Cassis that day. Thankfully, our flight left but it was wonderful to know we weren't on our own if we had to stay longer than planned.

    I feel like I've already written a novel but there is just so much to say! Next up will be the wonderful food we dined on during the week!

  2. #2
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 8,247
    Very nice report, & "Paris Made Perfect" owes you a big "Merci" for the enticing recommendation!

  3. #3
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 57,001
    Thanks for a great report Valerie! Sorry your trip had to end on such a sorrowful note -- a trip you will never forget.
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party Memorial -- June 5, 2023

  4. #4
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 30,264
    I am so looking forward to your next installment, Valerie.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  5. #5
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Denver, Colorado Posts: 18,218
    First and foremost: I'm SO glad your home-bound travels were safe and uneventful.

    I can't thank you enough for this first installment of your trip report, Valerie. I'm in the dreaming and note-taking portion of my trip planning and Paris Made Perfect, specifically, Cassis, is very focused on my radar. I love that they were so "present" and accommodating during your stay. Not being familiar at all with the city, was your location convenient to walk to many of the sights a first-timer would want to visit? What are your thoughts on biking to/from your location? Thanks for any intel you wish to provide. Feel free to PM me if you'd like. While I would want to read this intel on a travel forum, others may not.
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  6. #6
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Posts: 22,332
    Valerie, I know how much time it takes to write a report such as this. Your work is much appreciated.

  7. #7
    Valerie is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2009 Maryland Posts: 195
    Thanks for the kind words everyone!

    Missy, I will definitely send you a message with more info about Cassis. We would stay there again in a minute!

    And Kevin you are so right-it sure is time consuming to write but a great way to relive the trip and hopefully help out future travelers :) I don't know where I would be without reading all the reports on the forum. I have sbhonline to thank for finding out about Paris Made Perfect! Hopefully I can get part two up this weekend...

  8. #8
    KaraBrooks is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2002 Posts: 1,687
    Hi Valerie - We are so saddened that your trip ended on such a tragic note but we were so relieved to hear that you were safe and able to make it back home as planned. I am looking forward to reading about your Paris experience and seeing if we crossed paths any other places than Le Parc in Reims!

  9. #9
    Valerie is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2009 Maryland Posts: 195
    And now the food! While I’m not on the level of Amy and Phil I will do my best to report what we enjoyed during our stay

    Now I have to admit I went into this trip with grand plans of many delicious dinners out as well as whipping up something wonderful in our apartment kitchen but that is just not how things turned out. We did indeed enjoy many great meals in restaurants in our little neighborhood just not as many as I had hoped! And the cooking, well that ended up being me in the kitchen plating our takeout meals In the evening we were so tired from all day spent walking around the city and sightseeing that most nights we opted for bringing something back to our apartment to enjoy by candlelight with our awesome view.

    With that said these are the places we visited and would no doubt return:

    Café Constant: We enjoyed two breakfasts and one dinner at this wonderful little café on Rue St. Dominique. It is owned by Christian Constant who also owns the one star Le Violin d’Ingres right down the street. They don’t accept reservations so it was the perfect place to stop in after a long day. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meal. I opted for a shrimp and puff pastry entrée and a delicious chicken plat (I really have no words for how great this chicken was). We shared the chocolate quenelles for dessert along with a pichet of red wine.

    Paris Picnic: After a long day/night of travel we wanted something simple but enjoyable to do for our first day of vacation so this was the perfect thing! You order in advance on their website and then meet them at a designated spot to pick up your meal. We opted for Champs de Mars at noon. We found their location easily and retrieved our lunch that included several cheeses, charcuterie, fresh fruit salad, an Asian inspired vegetable salad, baguette, cookies, water and wine. They include all of the necessary items (plates, disposable flatware, napkins) right down to plastic wine glasses and a picnic cloth! We were so giddy with arriving in Paris that the only photos I have are spreading out the blanket and then enjoying our leftovers back at the apartment! There was so much food that it easily fed us for two meals.

    Calife: I initially wasn’t going to do a dinner cruise until a friend highly recommended the Calife. They are a smaller and more intimate operation that actually prepares the food on the boat rather than ashore. It was a magical experience and I’m so glad we did it! It was a perfect way to end our day and I’m so glad we did it early in our trip. Watching the beautifully lit sights of Paris pass by while eating a well-prepared meal made for a lovely evening out. And it didn’t hurt that the handsome maitre d’ mistook us for French-I definitely take that as a compliment! Our entrees for the evening were a goat cheese salad and the gourmet salad with foie gras. Frank opted for the sea bass while I had the rump steak for our plats. Desserts were an apple tart and chocolate fondant.

    The sights truly are beautiful at night and the Calife is timed so that you arrive at the Eiffel Tower on the hour to see it twinkle. The turn around point is the Ile des Cygnes where you get a very special view.

    Les Fables de la Fontaine: We found this one star seafood restaurant on Rue St. Dominique to be a fantastic place for lunch. We had a beautiful day and opted to sit at a table outside to enjoy their 25 Euro two course menu dejeuner which proved to be a great value. Both courses of course featured a fish (I wish I could remember which ones!), the entrée with a cauliflower puree and the plat served over polenta.

    We shared the orange supreme for dessert and finished with a café. They definitely win the award for espresso presentation-it was served with two dark chocolate mignardises (fancy new terminology I picked up from Kara's blog ) and a rock sugar swizzle stick. The food was wonderful as was the setting!

    Tentazioni: This restaurant was a fortunate find in Montmartre. After spending the day wandering and exploring we were in need of a late lunch and this little spot was perfect! We wanted to avoid the tourist restaurants by Place du Tertre so we headed out seeking something more local and stumbled on this fantastic little Italian spot. We both ordered the plat de jour, pasta Bolognese that was delicious! I finished with my dessert of choice when its offered-a café gourmand. This little place is definitely worth seeking out if you are seeing the sights around Sacre Coeur and Montmarte for the day.

    Angelina: This stop was a must on our list for the chocolat chaud so it worked out perfectly to eat here on our Versailles day. I had no idea they had a location at the palace so it was a nice surprise! We dined at the café and I had the formule that consisted of a Parisian sandwich, vanilla financier and bottled water. It was a perfect light lunch and quite inexpensive too-10 Euro! We of coursed finished with the famous chocolat chaud. We even stopped in the gift shop to purchase some of the mix to bring home as a gift for our son since he is quite the hot chocolate lover!

    Le Parc at Les Crayeres (Reims, France): We took a daytrip out to Reims to visit the champagne houses and took the opportunity to dine at this wonderful two star restaurant. This experience was our first time to dine at a two star establishment and it was everything we imagined and more! The restaurant is beautiful outside.

    We both opted for the three course menu with wine pairings (a total steal at 90 Euro/pp). Every course was delicious and the service was impeccable. Our amuses were the same as Kara had on her visit that included an excellent beef tartare and foie gras followed by a pumpkin and mango mousse. We didn’t plan this, but we each selected different options for each course so we sample the entire 3 course menu. The entrees we enjoyed were foie gras and cuttlefish pasta. Our plats were the chicken and scallops and then the crème brulee and meringue mushrooms for dessert.

    After dessert we opted to move the salon for a change of venue. There we enjoyed our tea and coffee with a wonderful little selection of sweets. We were so sad when our meal came to an end. If you ever find yourself in Reims you must go to Le Parc! The food and service were executed perfectly and the setting is just lovely.

    PariSeven and Nelly Julian: These two boulangeries were the closest to our apartment and the sources for many of our breakfasts. We preferred our croissants/pan au chocolat from PariSeven and loved the quiche at Nelly Julian.

    Capriccio Sorrentino: We stopped by this Italian traiteur one evening for takeout pasta, roasted vegetables, calzones, and chocolate fondant. Good service and nice takeout dishes.

    Apollon: A Greek restaurant on our little street. We picked dinner up one evening after a long day sightseeing in the city. The portions were huge and we ended up having leftovers for dinner the next night as well. We both enjoyed the chicken gyros with salad and frites. Very tasty and filling (not to mention inexpensive) and a great option for dining at home.

    Pazzo Pizza: Another little spot on our street with great takeout fare. Two slices of pizza, drink and dessert (we went with tiramisu) for 10 Euro. Super friendly service and good pizza as well.

    Final post to come with sightseeing around Paris!

  10. #10
    Valerie is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2009 Maryland Posts: 195
    Thanks Kara! Next time we head to Paris I'm going to have to ask you for restaurant recommendations :) One week was not enough to even begin to experience everything the city has to offer!

  11. #11
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 30,264
    Brava-great report and photos and info...loved it.
    I am liking the boat dinner-something we have not done yet.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  12. #12
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 57,001
    Quote Originally Posted by amyb View Post
    Brava-great report and photos and info...loved it.
    I am liking the boat dinner-something we have not done yet.

    The Marius 100th Birthday Party Memorial -- June 5, 2023

  13. #13
    KaraBrooks is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2002 Posts: 1,687
    Les Fables de la Fontaine is on my short list and your pictures confirm that it will be on the MUST DO list next trip. Just looks great! I still think it is wild that you were at Le Parc the day before I posted about it! It was just so lovely. Even the coffee was sublime! Thanks for sharing all your experiences. You are helping extend my "trip bliss".

  14. #14
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 11,265
    We love Cafe Constant (simple food, tasty, great location and quick) and Violin d' Ingres which takes reservations (dinner only). Please tell us the web site/booking agent you used for your accommodations.

  15. #15
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Denver, Colorado Posts: 18,218
    Wow...Valerie! You've outdone yourself with this excerpt of your trip report. Merci, beaucoup. My notebook now has several more "must do's".

    Quote Originally Posted by stbartshopper View Post
    We love Cafe Constant (simple food, tasty, great location and quick) and Violin d' Ingres which takes reservations (dinner only). Please tell us the web site/booking agent you used for your accommodations.
    Post #1, paragraph #3: Google + "Paris Made Perfect" =
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  16. #16
    Valerie is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2009 Maryland Posts: 195
    Amy, if you do a dinner cruise I think the Calife is the way to go. We saw the other boats and loved the character and charm of the Calife so much more. Not to mention from all I've read the Calife is the clear winner when it comes to the meal and we can attest it is quite good!

    Kara, I know you will love Les Fables de la Fontaine! We knew we made the right decision when all the tables around us were occupied by local businessmen and friends meeting for lunch. Pretty sure we were the only tourists outside that day! The fish was perfectly cooked and the presentations lovely. Just out of curiosity have you dined at La Fontaine de Mars right across the courtyard? I had read good things about it but we never made it there.

    Hopper, Le Violin d’Ingres is definitely a place we want to dine at in the future. We just loved the casual atmosphere at the Cafe and not needing reservations-and the price can't be beat! Do check out the link Missy posted for Paris Made Perfect. We really enjoyed working with them.

    Missy, I can't wait to hear about your trip planning! I started working on everywhere we visited but probably won't finish until after the holidays. We're headed to Pittsburgh for Turkey Day.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  17. #17
    marybeth is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2004 Pittsburgh, PA Posts: 3,779
    Hi Valerie,

    I was waiting until the last installment of your series before posting but it looks like it will be delayed by your visit to my hometown. Anyway, love your report and pics. We are on the fence about where we're going this summer and we might have to add France to the list.

    Thanks for sharing the details of your trip, especially the restaurants.

    Enjoy your visit to the 'Burgh. Sorry we will miss you but we'll be in SBH :p


  18. #18
    KaraBrooks is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2002 Posts: 1,687
    Valerie - We haven't tried La Fontaine de Mars but we generally shy away from the more classical places. I also get the sense that it is a little past its prime but that is not from personal experience. But Les Fables de la Fontaine looks so wonderful!!! Can't wait to try it!!

  19. #19
    Valerie is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2009 Maryland Posts: 195

    Re: 6-14 NOV 2015: Paris in the Fall!

    Well y'all I really do intend to finish this trip report! We found out right after Thanksgiving that we brought a little hitchhiker back from Paris with us and we are expecting a baby girl around August 3 :) I've been horribly sick this time, so much worse than I was with our son so it's been all I could manage just to get through the day. Things are finally looking up so I plan to get this trip report done soon!

    And Marybeth I have to say we had a great Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh! My husband is from there but this time we checked out a few new to us things. We visited the Christmas market downtown and loved it! I was so surprised with all of the vendors-wonderful local vendors as well as many selling beautiful things from around Europe. We also did a day trip to visit the Christmas Story house in Cleveland and I even bought a leg lamp to add to our Christmas decor!

  20. #20
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 30,264

    Re: 6-14 NOV 2015: Paris in the Fall!

    Congrats on the new addition that you are working on. Funny, that's exactly where our Jillian Paris began her life!
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  21. #21
    marybeth is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2004 Pittsburgh, PA Posts: 3,779

    Re: 6-14 NOV 2015: Paris in the Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie View Post
    We found out right after Thanksgiving that we brought a little hitchhiker back from Paris with us and we are expecting a baby girl around August 3 :)
    Congrats and what an adorable way to describe her!

    Pittsburgh has come a LOOONG way. We moved back about 3 years ago and still can't keep up with everything there is to do AND eat. FYI, the Children's Museum and the Aviary (both on the north shore) are both great for little ones.

  22. #22
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Denver, Colorado Posts: 18,218

    Re: 6-14 NOV 2015: Paris in the Fall!

    Oh, delightful! A perfect Paris souvenir, I'd say. Congratulations to you ALL!
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  23. #23
    Valerie is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2009 Maryland Posts: 195

    Re: 6-14 NOV 2015: Paris in the Fall!

    So in going through files on my computer I found the last part of our trip report to Paris from over a year and a half ago now! I've been busy with our little Parisian hitchhiker (our baby girl Victoria that joined us back in August!) and realized I neglected to ever get this up. I thought I would still go ahead and post in case it can help someone plan their trip since I think most of the information is still relevant. And it was fun to spend the morning reliving our trip while adding pictures to the report! So now we have the final installment of sightseeing in Paris...

    One of the activities I was most looking forward to was attending a ballet at the Opera Garnier. I purchased Sunday matinee tickets inadvance roughly a week after they went on sale and that was still not soon enough! The performance during our visit was a contemporary ballet, selections of Bartok/Beethoven/Schonberg choreographed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.

    I must admit I am not a huge fan of contemporary dance andmuch prefer classical ballet so due to this fact I wanted to keep our ticketsat a lower cost which ruled out orchestra seating so I focused on box seats. Bythe time I purchased, the available boxes were a bit more removed from thecenter so our view of stage right was a bit obstructed. However, for the priceof 25 Euro a ticket I can’t complain. We had a great time and the venue itself is unbelievably beautiful. We arrived early and listened to a string quartet play before heading into the theater. At intermission we enjoyed a lovely glass of Tattinger champagne while people watching and admiring the architecture.

    The ballet itself was enjoyable and well performed. Most importantly we could appreciate the technique and control of the dancers even if the style of dance itself was not our favorite.

    On Monday we had 10:30 am ‘Skip the Line’ tickets for the Eiffel Tower purchased through Paris Made Perfect. We agreed this is the only way go! We arrived at the tower and there was a ridiculously long ling (it had to be an hour or more) to purchase tickets to the second level. With our tickets we bypassed the line and went straight to an elevator! We walked around the second level for a bit before heading to the top which is included with the‘Skip the Line’ tickets. We spent around 1.5-2 hours before heading back down.

    In the afternoon we returned to the Musee de l’Armee wherewe had purchased our six day Paris Museum Pass the day before. If you plan to see a number of museums the pass is a necessity! We more than recovered our cost with the number of sights we visited and the time saving aspect is worth every penny! We were able to skip the ticket lines at many locations (d’Orsay,Rodin, Louvre, etc.) which was a huge help. Also, its best to buy the pass as a less visited museum like the Musee de l’Armee. We visited twice and never saw a line. I’m not sure why this museum isn’t more popular though. We probably spent 4 hours there and Frank still said he didn’t have enough time! They have a remarkable collection of suits of armorand of course Napoleon’s Tomb is there as well.

    In the evening we put our pass to use again at the Arc de Triomph. We took the stairs to the top and admired the view as the sun was setting.

    We ended up playing Tuesday by ear as we had no advance plans for the day and we decided to head over to Notre Dame. We had previously done a bit of a rushed tour here when we enjoyed an over night layover in Paris many years ago. This time we were able to walk at a leisurely pace through the cathedral and tour the treasury as well (the treasury is not included with the museum pass). It truly is an awe inspiring place and I can only imagine what it must be like to attend a service there.

    For the afternoon we took the metro to Montmartre and did the walking tour found in Rick Steve’s guide book starting at Sacre Cour. From there we strolled to the artist’s square and admired the paintings on display ultimately picking out a piece to bring home. The artist showed us the location that he painted the canvas from and was kind enough to pose for a picture withme so that I would always remember the artist of our souvenir painting. This little painting now hangs in our daughter's nursery-it seemed to be the most fitting place!

    In the evening Frank suggested we head to Champs Elysees fora little handbag shopping. Thankfully he is very accommodating of my handbag habit! I had been planning to make a purchase from the Louis Vuitton flagshipstore and this was the night. The store was very crowded as expected but we received excellent service. My sales associate was extremely helpful providing bags that met my guidelines within my budget. And well how can any shopping experience not be wonderful when youare sipping a glass Veuve Clicquot Rose!

    My husband is convinced I need to save all handbag purchasesfor overseas since in the end I saved 30% on my purchase. Unfortunately, with the events preceding our departure we forgot to validate our VAT refund which would have been an additional 8% savings on the price back at home. Of course in the grand scheme of things werefuse to worry about that.

    On Wednesday we purchased RER tickets and made our way to Versailles. We left our apartment at 8 am and were able to arrive at the palace just a bit after opening. The palace was beautiful and just as opulent as expected. We also took the petit train to the Trinion Palaces and Marie-Antoinette’s hamlet. It took the better part of a day to explore and this was without focusing too much on the grounds with it being Fall. We need to plan a trip back in the Spring/Summer so that we can see the gardens in all their glory!

    Thursday was our day trip to Reims which I highly recommend! We took the 8:00 train getting us into Reims a bit before 9:00. From there we walked to the Notre Dame Cathedral at Reims. It was amazing to compare to the cathedral in Paris and we practically had it to ourselves rather than it being swarmed by other tourists!

    From the cathedral we walked back to the bus stop to ride to Veuve Clicquot for our 11:00 tour. We selected the ‘In the Footsteps of MadameClicquot’ tour booked about 2 months in advance. This tour focused on the history of the champagne house and Madame Clicquot’s pioneering role in champagne production. We were then led on a tour of the caves while learning about theprocesses that set VC apart from other houses. We ended with a lovely two glass tasting. First we tasted the yellow label and then the Grand Dame. Well we ofcourse saved a bit of our yellow label to taste in comparison with the GrandDame-let me just say that is a very bad idea! Thankfully by the time we popped a bottle of yellow label back in our apartment the next night we were quite content since we didn’t have the Grand Dame side by side!

    After Veuve we walked the short distance to Le Parc for our1:00 lunch reservation and then it was on to Pommery for our 3:30 tour. Well the day did not end as planned. We arrived at Pommery only to be told the tour guides were on strike so no tour/tasting for us! It was a bit of a disappointment so we headed to Tattinger to see if they would fit us into a tour but alas that did not work out either. From there we opted to walk back to the train station rather than take the bus to fill the rest of our afternoon (we still had an hour before our train left). We boarded our 5:00 pm train back to the city and were back in our little apartment close to 7:00 after picking up dinner for the evening. Just a note-buy train tickets early for the price is best. We actually paid less for first class than we would have for coach!

    Our final day was spent visiting museums. We began our day at Rodin which had just opened back up from an extended closure for renovation.Our trusty museum pass let us skip the long ticketing line and we were quickly inside and walking among the grounds. Between the outside gardens and the inside exhibits we spent two hours before making our way to d’Orsay. There we decided to focus mostly on impressionism and realism.

    Our final museum of the day was the Louvre. Being tight ontime (we had a Christmas market to get to!) and knowing that another trip to Paris was in order, we decided to take our time and just focus on a portion of the Sully wing including Egyptian and Greek art and Napoleon’s chambers. I would assume this means we are probably the only tourists to go to the Louvre and not see the Mona Lisa!

    Our final stop of the day was the Champs Elysees Christmas market. I had read that while this market is the largest in Paris it is not necessarily the best but we still found some lovely items. We brought home some lovely scarves made in France and a hand painted Christmas ornament from the Ukraine so I call that successful! We also made it a point to check off all three items from my Christmas market food list-crepes, roasted chestnuts and vin chaud. The chestnuts were such a novelty to us and I’m so glad we tried them! I had no idea what to expect so I was a bit surprised to find the nuts to be soft when roasted rather than crunchy. We shared a petit sachet which proved to be a good decision because we found them to be very filling and even together we couldn’t finish them all! All said it was a lovely evening to get us in the Christmas spirit and close out our vacation.

    I have to say we had an amazing vacation and can not wait to return to the city of lights (more than likely with our children in tow). Until then we are thankful we took away such wonderful memories as well as a beautiful little addition to our family. Meet baby Victoria!

  24. #24
    julianne is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2003 CT Posts: 3,145

    Re: 6-14 NOV 2015: Paris in the Fall!

    Thanks for posting the rest of your Paris story, Valerie. We've been to Paris in the spring and summer but you make Paris in the fall enticing. Congratulations on the birth of your, oh-so-special souvenir! Hope you (and Victoria) find your way back to St. Barth soon.

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