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My Paris Experience

Los Angeles, CA
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330 posts
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My Paris Experience

My wife and I returned from our first trip to Paris a few weeks ago. I have had quite a bit of time to ponder our experience as well as what we would do again and what we wouldn't do. 1st, let me comment from an American point of view of the French; the French/Parisians that we we encountered were nothing less than polite and accommodating. Not once did we encounter a "rude" Parisian. We were all over Paris and had wonderful experiences with the people. I did, however, witnessed rude Americans. The first was at the concierge desk at the Hilton Suffren. As the cute little girl at the concierge politely addressed the man at the counter with a "bonjour", the man rudely DEMANDED the train schedule which seemingly frightened the girl, and then proceeded to raise his voice and DEMANDED again "do you understand, I want the train schedule!" Wow... please, if you are a fellow American, please do not slide into the stereo type! It is not hard to say bonjour, bonsoir, auvoir and parlez vous anglais? These four phrases are enough if you are intimidated with French. Politeness should be a practice where ever we are at!

2nd, we bought the hop on hop off bus 2 day bus pass. Let me say this, it is cheaper than hiring a tour with the bus so do it if you want to get a "guided" tour without shelling out the bucks. I don't think we would do it if we had to do over. Traffic is pretty heavy so it takes forever to do all the lines that are available. A travel dvd on Paris before you go would rather be recommended. So plan your days as well as you can and use the public transportation.

3rd, we purchased the Palace of Versaille and Paris City Tour through iSango. It was okay, but the $340 USD that we spent was not worth it at all! The lunch that was included was worse than horrible! You are better off getting your own tickets for the Seine cruise and Eiffel Tower.

4th, the two day Paris Museum Pass is great if you use it to the fullest, otherwise, it is not worth it.

5th, we did not know that ALL the retail shops closed on Sundays! So, make sure you plan wisely or just hang out. We made the BIG mistake of booking a shopping "tour" of La Vallee Village. I did post a topic on this outlet and was told not to go. Of course, dumb me, I just had to see for myself. Bottom line, it's a waste of time!

7th, The cityrama website has a airport shuttle service which was really good. I would recommend it bases upon my experience.

8th, If you are close to the Eiffel Tower, there is a wonder restaurant "La Tour" on Deplaix. EXCELLENT FOOD!!! If you are familiar with the Flemings Restaurants here in the States, IT IS BETTER!!! So try it out if you are in the area south of the Eiffel Tower on Avenue Suffren.

9th, We spent our time from Feb. 13-18. It was colder than heck (we are from Southern California) However, the best part of traveling during this time is that hotel prices were great and there were less tourists to deal with. The down side, it was coooold!

10th, As the USD is getting beat up by the Euro, Louis Vuitton was actually cheaper there than here in the States. Make sure that you check with your credit card company if they charge a 3% transaction fee while overseas. Visa generally charges this fee, however, American Express does not (bonus!)

11th, Finally, do your homework on Paris before you go. Language, food, shopping, transportation. Don't be afraid of using hotwire.com, we wanted 4 star hotel by the Eiffel Tower and got the Hilton Suffren for $120 a night. It was a great location!!!

Auvior!

Bolton, United...
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1. Re: My Paris Experience

Dear tripamaniac

Thanks for taking the trouble to post your observations, I'm glad you had a good trip.

It's always interesting to get feedback from people

Thanks again

Denise

Love from England.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: My Paris Experience

Thanks for taking the time to post!

San Francisco...
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3. Re: My Paris Experience

If you want to shop on a Sunday in Paris, take the brand new line #14 to Cour Saint Emilion, a kind of "California like" outdoor mall with shops and restaurants, open on Sunday. The new metro line is worth seeing.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: My Paris Experience

Oops! I forgot to say thank you for taking the time to give your impressions of your trip.

I couldn't agree with you more about being a polite guest in a foreign country. It does not take that much time to do as you said and learn how to say bonjour, bonsoir, au revoir and parlez-vous anglais?

In France, it is polite to say "bonjour" when you enter a shop and "merci, au revoir" when you leave. You should always say bonjour to a sales person before you ask a question, and remember to speak as quietly as the french people around you are speaking. It is not usually the white sneakers that make people stand out as "tourists", more frequently it is their loud foreign voices.

New Boston, New...
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5. Re: My Paris Experience

Merci for sharing your thoughts on your trip. Totally agree with a bit of politeness goes a long way when in a foreign country.

Glad you and your wife had a nice trip.

I'm looking forward to taking my husband with me on my 2nd trip hopefully 9/2010.

Los Angeles, CA
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330 posts
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6. Re: My Paris Experience

ahhhh yes, also Merci is a must in the must for a tourist in France! The Parisians very much impressed me as an ancient culture of etiquette. Also it is quite true to be more subdued in our responses. There was another incident as my wife and I walked through the park behind the Eiffel Tower where 3 fellow Americans walked pass us with wine in hand and as loud and obnoxious as can be. I have a friend who is French and is now living here in Los Angeles. He suggested to me to be mindful, respectful and pleasant. This will ensure an enjoyable time. He was exactly correct! Please, my fellow Americans, the French do not hate us (as many of my acquaintances eluded to when they found out I was going) The French are very proud of their heritage, and are very private and polite people. As we travel, I have never been disappointed to learn phrases in their native tongues.

Virginia Beach
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7. Re: My Paris Experience

Appreciate your feedback! Thank you for time.

Los Angeles, CA
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330 posts
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8. Re: My Paris Experience

Oh, I just read a thread about how to dress Parisian. If you are an American and can speak fluent French then try to fool other Americans/tourists, if not, who the heck are you trying to fool? Parisians will pick you out to be a tourist, especially an American!

KTfromNC
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352 posts
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9. Re: My Paris Experience

Thanks for your post!

My wife will be working in Brussels soon. And after I meet her, and spend a few days there, we'll be spending a week in Paris before returning to the states (NC).

We're renting a loft, for the week, a few blocks from the Louvre and are really looking forward to the time there.

Will definitely try the "hop on, hop off" bus as we're not into the guided tours.

Will also try "La Tour"....

Sadly, rudeness knows no boundaries. Not always from we Americans. No reason for it either, since being nice is so very easy.

Really, really looking forward to this trip.

Again,

Thanks!

Los Angeles, CA
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330 posts
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10. Re: My Paris Experience

Hey KT, you're right, politeness is universal. That is great. The area around the Louvre is really nice. Restaurant De La Tour's address:6, Rue Desaix 75015 Paris, France +33 1 43 06 04 24

Also Restaurant L' Escargot 38, rue Montorgueil 75001

Tel: 01-42-36-83-51, is great. As the USD is not that great, it is pretty expensive to eat in Paris! Brasseries are okay, but to have a great meal you just have to fork out the cash, but it is well worth it!