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Trip Report - 5 days in Paris

Hickory, North...
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Trip Report - 5 days in Paris

It was our first time in Paris.

We arrived early Sunday am 8/26.

We had decided to take the RER to our hotel.

We just followed the signs that said " Trains to Paris". We bought our tickets in the machine using our credit card. We had notified our bank and credit card company that we would be there so it went off without a hitch.

Once we had our tickets we had to wait only a few minutes to board the train. You cant go wrong here, the RER B only goes in one direction from the airport.

We stopped at the St. Michel stop to change to the RER C line. Since we were staying at the Beaugency hotel in the 7th, we took the C train in the direction of Pontoise and got off at the Pont L'alma stop and walked about 15 minutes to our hotel on Rue Duvivier. We didn't know it then, but we could have changed to the metro at Pont L'alma and taken it to the Ecole Militaire stop which was 5 minutes walk from our hotel. All in all it was a breeze using the RER.

The Beaugency Hotel couldn't have been nicer. We arrived early and since they were full we could not check in. They have a storage room for luggage so we left our bags in the room and off we went to explore. We were ten minutes from the Eiffel Tower so thats where we headed. What a feeling when we saw it. Breathtaking to realize that we had finally arrived in Paris. We strolled around just taking in the sights. We then headed back to the hotel and strolled up and down Rue Cler until about 1 oclock, then we went back to the hotel.

The room was small but clean. The staff was excellent. And amazingly our room had a view of the Eiffel Tower! What a bonus :-). Although we had a front room along the street, the hotel was very quiet with the windows closed. We left the windows open most of the time to hear the sounds of Paris :-).

The first day we mainly walked everywhere but soon realized that in order to see everything we wanted to see we would have to use the metro. We then purchased two carnets of tickets. We actually ended up buying a third carnet. We used our last two metro tickets friday am to take the metro from Ecole Militaire to Invalided, where we changed to the RER C train to St. Michel, then we boarded the RER B train back to CDG. Our return flight on Usairways was leaving from Terminal 1 so we debarked there. The security procedures at CDG are different from ours in Charlotte but everything went very smooth. We were boarding at Gate 25 so we headed there. We sat at the gate about 9 am. We had left our hotel at 6:30 am. You need to allow 90 minutes transit time to the airport from your hotel if you are using the RER. We sat at the gate until we boarded our non stop flight at 10:45.

There was a slight delay but we finally took off around 11:30 am.

The flight wasnt full, and it was smooth and quiet until landing around 3 PM Charlotte time where customs was empty and we breezed through, got in our car and headed home.

All in all it was the smoothest, problem free trip we have had. We had been to London, Rome, and Florence before, and this had to be our smoothest trip yet.

We purchased our Eiffel Tower and Louvre tickets in advance and were glad we did.

The other attractions had minimal lines and we rarely had to wait long.

We were blessed with gorgeous weather the entire week.

We loved Paris, and if anyone has any questions that we can help with, please dont hesitate to ask. The more info you have prior to your trip, the smoother your trip will go.

Len

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1. Re: Trip Report - 5 days in Paris

Thanks for sharing Len. It's nice that everything went so smoothly. You obviously did your homework and it paid off for you.

Did you enjoy the food - any restaurants that were especially good or bad?

Edited: 03 September 2012, 12:22
Florida
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2. Re: Trip Report - 5 days in Paris

I am happy to read that a US-issued credit card worked in the CDG RER ticket machine !

Your reports sounds like a little planning goes a long way - glad you had a nice time...

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3. Re: Trip Report - 5 days in Paris

Great info. Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation.

I am taking that same flight on US Air to Charlotte. Is the terminal (boarding area) still devoid of any real food and shops? If so, I will be better prepared. Last trip, I thought that I would so some shopping in the terminal. There was only one Snack bar and very small convenience store in the waiting area.

New Jersey
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4. Re: Trip Report - 5 days in Paris

Thanks for posting your report. Glad you had an enjoyable first trip to Paris.

You mentioned that you successfully used your US credit card in the machine to buy the RER ticket. Did you use the unmanned machines? Does your credit card have a chip? I've never been able to use my chipless card in one of the unmanned machines. I have to go to the ticket window, even if I've called the bank to let them know I'm traveling outside the US.

Thanks!

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Philadelphia...
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5. Re: Trip Report - 5 days in Paris

Len- can you elaborate on the Eiffel Tower tickets you got before you left the US? Was it a tour or just tickets? Thanks for the report

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6. Re: Trip Report - 5 days in Paris

Lucky you -- I am glad when somebody's trip has no glitch at all.

Were you satisfied with the restaurants and cafés?

Hickory, North...
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7. Re: Trip Report - 5 days in Paris

To answer all of your questions:

My credit card has no chip. It worked fine in the unmanned machine and this was at 6:30 on Sunday am.

The Eiffel Tower tickets were purchased online in advance, to the summit. It was not a tour, just tickets.

The gate at CDG had a few shops, a coffee and pastry kiosk, and a small snack bar. We were disappointed at the lack of shopping options at the airport.

As far as restaurants, we were staying in the Rue Cler area, we ate at Cafe Central and

Le Petit Cler and both were good. We sampled alot of pastry and ate sandwiches while we walked around and all were good. Tried some Macarons but thought they were a bit too sweet for our taste. The croissants were wonderful. The diet coke which is called Coke Light is a bit odd tasting. Tastes kind of like the soft drink called Tab. Must be a different sweetener.

We had a great time.

I think in April we are heading to the Amalfi Coast :-).

We love to travel. Travelling must be done when you are young enough to enjoy it. I had a cancer scare a few years ago and vowed not to put off travelling while I am still young enough to enjoy it. I am three plus years cancer free and very healthy so off we go! Still have a few more places on my bucket list. :-)

I'm always willing to answer any questions if I can help.

Len

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Davidson, North...
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8. Re: Trip Report - 5 days in Paris

Len, we live about 45 minutes from you...good to see another report from a local :). Will also be there for 5 days minus a few hours and are staying near the Tuilleries. Thanks for your good info. I also am a survivor and totally agree with your philosophy on travel. We go as often as we can!

Hickory, North...
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9. Re: Trip Report - 5 days in Paris

Hey neighbor :-). Glad I could help in some small way.

We had a blast. If you have any other questions let me know.

The Tuilleries area is really nice. We bought a great souvenir when we walked from the Tuilleries area up the Champs to the Arch. Went to a store called Bernadauds for a really nice candle holder. It's on our mantle as we speak.

If you need any info on it let me know.

Len

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10. Re: Trip Report - 5 days in Paris

Thanks for sharing your report and congratulations on being cancer-free for three years :-)

We're still trying to pick an area for our next trip to Paris. There's a slight chance it will be next August, but at the latest it will be in 2 years. I'm glad to hear you thought that area was quiet enough to keep your windows open because I really love open windows. I was really impressed with how quiet it was where we stayed, just a bit to the west of the Arc de Triomphe, but it's a somewhat less convenient area.

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