Here's the Paris portion of our trip report (as copied from the London forum)
Better late than never I guess! Been busy picking up extra shifts to pay off the rest of this trip so we can go back!!! :-)
Sheri (aka Podo944)
Martin (aka Marty, Sheri's hubby)
Scott (Sheri's 15 yr. old son)
Paris was supposed to be a day trip...
However, after the contageous enthusiasm at the Paris boards and some encouragement to spend at least one night from a couple of friends, we ended up spending 2 nights there and we're glad we did!
We caught a noon flight from Dublin on a Sunday, and by the time we arrived by taxi to our hotel, it was late afternoon.
The hotel we stayed at was Hotel Lutece in the Isle St. Louis and it was wonderful! We also splurged on getting Scott his own room... which was not quite as affordable as the B&Bs we had been to but Marty reminded me we were in Paris after all! ;-)
After putting our bags in our rooms the first thing we did was go to Berthillion's ice cream shop which was right down the street from us, and had the best (it's absolutely true!) ice cream ever!! Especially the caramel ice cream!
With cones in tow, we walked over to see Notre Dame which was only a few minutes away. We approached from the back garden which was beautiful and the "Flying Buttress" was amazing!
We were fortunate to arrive at the church as they were getting ready for mass, and although we walked around the visitors section, we were able to hear the choir start singing. The inside of the church was breathtaking! I really got goosebumps!
Afterwards we went back to our hotel and changed for dinner. My son really wanted to try frogs legs, and he was also up for escargot, so I had made reservations at a restaurant called "Le Escargot" yes... The Snail! A very old restaurant, and quite fancy!
The staff and service were fantastic! They knew they had inexperienced americans in their midst and really made it enjoyable and fun! And while we probably wont be seeking out frogs legs and snails to eat anytime soon, it was an adventure!
(BTW, the duck we had as a main course was delicious!)
After dinner, we walked to Pont Neuf on the Seine river, and took an hour cruise. It was after 10 at night by then and we saw all the illuminations! Beautiful! Marty and I had our I-pod and listened to "Chavellier de Sangreal" from the Divinci Code movie soundtrack. Woo hoo! That was cool!
The next morning we headed over to the Eiffel Tower and went to the top! It was a hazy day, so we couldn't see very far, but it was still really fun! We sent off all our postcards we had to friends and family from the post office on the tower!
We then took a taxi to Champs Elysees to see the Arc de Triomphe. It was a lot bigger than I imagined! We skipped climbing up though cause we were tuckered from climbing down the Tower from the second floor and we were hungry!
We had lunch at a busy cafe on the famous street and we had the stereotypical rude overly busy waiter! Yay! I actually thought it was a hoot!
From there, we caught another taxi and went to the Louve.
Martin and I had bought ourselves 2 day museum passes (38 US bucks a piece, and under 18 is free, so Scott didn't need one) and it was worth it (even though we didn't go to that many museums) just to skip the lines to buy tix!
We did the typical thing most tourists do when they don't have that much time at the Louve, saw the outside Pyramid, the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory and Venus De Milo! We also saw the Egyption exhibit. Now, Martin and I could have spent HOURS there! However Scott was already done and anxious to move on.
From there we stopped by the Musee' de l'Orangerie and saw Monet's Water Lillies. Very beautiful with a peacefull quality I found.
We went back to the hotel and had a short rest before going to dinner at Le P'tit Troquet, a sweet family run small restaurant near the Eiffel Tower that is non smoking! :-) A good meal was had by all, and Scott got to split a half bottle of wine with Martin which was kind of a kick.
We also wanted to see more of the Tower at night with all the twinklies, so we took a nice walk in the park behind it. So gorgeous!
The weather was warm and there were lots of picnics and folks just canoodaling. xoxoxo :-)
By the time we got back it about 10 pm and Scott just wanted to go to sleep. (The wine perhaps?) But Marty and I wanted to walk to the Marais and find a cafe for a cappuccino. For as little as we saw of that neighborhood, it was lively and fun and we shared a wonderful Creme Brulee! On the way back, very close to our hotel, we stopped to watch some street musicians playing Klesmer music and they were amazing! They had quite a crowd around and got a lot of applause!
The next morning, Scott didn't want to get up too early so we let him sleep in while Marty and I went to see St. Chappel church and it's famous stained glass. Again, breathtaking!
Afterwards we fetched Scott and climbed up the Notre dame towers to see the Gargoyles. Whew! Quite a climb for me and Marty, but by then we were in pretty good shape from all the walking and stairs from subways etc. so we did it!! :-)
We checked out of our hotel at noon, but they held our luggage until we needed to get to the Gare du Nord train station for the Eurostar back to London.
In the meantime, we went to the Catacombs where there are tons of bones buried. I let the guys do that one on their own. Martin said he thought it was even creepier than the ghost walk we did in Edinburgh! Scott thought it was "cool"!
We then took the metro back to the Marais district and the Jewish quarter to find a pastrami sandwich! We did, and also had the best falafel sandwich ever!
Tummy's stuffed, we picked up our bags and took the Metro to the train station. It was just enough time for Scott... he had a great time in Paris, but he was done. Martin and I however, vow to go back on our own for a week, and just "wander". We'd also go back to the Hotel Lutece in a heartbeat! It was wonderful, and the location was fab!!
Thanks again to everyone for all the GREAT advise!!!