We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

djkbooks in Paris April 14-28, 2013

Which Paris hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
New Hampshire
Destination Expert
for Paris
Level Contributor
21,045 posts
25 reviews
Save Topic
djkbooks in Paris April 14-28, 2013

We use a Park/Ride shuttle from NH to Logan (40 miles, $100 for two, round trip, always reliable). Van was waiting with one other passenger when we arrived at lot a bit early. No check-in line at Aer Lingus at Logan. Swiftly through security. Three hours to spare. Flight left a few minutes late and arrived in Dublin 20 minutes early. Efficient connection. Since only orange juice was served on plane, had time for a wonderful breakfast (Illy coffee, fabulous!) in Terminal 2 (scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, whole grain toasts, Irish butter). Very nice people all about. Great shopping opportunities (didn't buy anything).

Arrived at CDG Terminal 1 right on time (1:10 PM). We were seated next to exit door, so first (great ride on up and down people mover!) to passport control. Bags came out promptly. Brother arriving 2E from Dulles found us. No queue for taxi. Nearly no traffic (Sunday, don't recall a single red traffic light). Driver took us around Arc de Triomphe, Rond Point (beautiful flower beds!), over Pont Alexandre III, past Eglise du Dome, to blvd Montparnasse, to our Vacation in Paris apartment. Loved that route! 53 Euros plus 3 Euros for the bags. Paid him 60 Euros (thanked us profusely). (Because of all the one way streets, I had given him the address of the bank on the corner, and asked him if he could let us out at the bank. He seemed to be wondering about that...) Were inside apartments at 2:40 PM (90 minutes).

Inspected the apartments. Everything just fine! (We've stayed in them previously.) Correspondence with VIP advised local reps had been inside both recently and all was well maintained. Our last stay was September 2011, but it seemed we'd returned to our Paris "home" much sooner. Brought two ice trays, but there is quite the collection now, so plenty of ice!

Blue skies, sunny, 74 degrees! Just awesome. Relaxed on balcony a while, enjoying views of Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Eglise du Dome, etc., then headed out for a stroll around the neighborhood and to take care of some errands.

Refilled our Navigos Decouverte at Gare Montparnasse. Went from one Relay shop to another until we found Lebara SIMs (did receive free ones in the mail, more on that later). 9,50 with 7,50 credit. 5,00 when activated, 2,50 when topped up. 10% extra if you top up with "My Lebara". We were all able to activate our SIMs and register with My Lebara rather quickly. I added 20,00 to mine for internet. That isn't quite sorted out yet, but Customer Service is handling one step at a time, more in the morning, for (hopefully) successful connection. (All is new and set-up and settings are required depending on model of phone...) We were able to connect all our devices to the WiFi in the apartment instantly.

Chose a place with large terrace for salads, tartine, beer, coffee (hilarious waiter) and relaxed over all that for a couple of hours. Stopped in a convenience store for milk for coffee, water, juice (will stock up tomorrow when Monoprix is open).

Back at the apartments, enjoyed sitting on the balcony watching all light up as it got dark with crescent moon (should be full by the 25th) and a clear sky full of stars.

waterlooville uk
Level Contributor
1,881 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
41. Re: djkbooks in Paris April 14-28, 2013

Thankyou for posting about the Caroline Nin concert: I'm glad you enjoyed it. We leave for Paris tomorrow and have tickets for Wednesday next week. Can't wait - just need to pack now!

Ottawa, Ontario
Level Contributor
1,647 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
42. Re: djkbooks in Paris April 14-28, 2013

I had originally thought that the books may be a bit large to fit into my purse (both the one recommended by djk and inna) but I followed the fodors link and was able to get 3plans sent to Canada for only 6euros with free shipping (code Massin13). For that price, its worth a shot! All other locations were selling them for $12-$15CAD.

Destination Expert
for Quebec City, Block Island
Level Contributor
4,703 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
43. Re: djkbooks in Paris April 14-28, 2013

Wow, what a trip report and I love all the other posts too. djk, you helped us on our first trip over last year, and I'm saving this for our second trip next year. Glad you haven't mentioned the trouble back here at home, though thank god, and the police, it is all over now. I wonder if any of that was the cause of seeing more police in Paris on the streets.

Keep posting and have a wonderful trip!!


Dubai, United Arab...
Level Contributor
643 posts
80 reviews
Save Reply
44. Re: djkbooks in Paris April 14-28, 2013

Loving your trip reports !

New Hampshire
Destination Expert
for Paris
Level Contributor
21,045 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
45. Re: djkbooks in Paris April 14-28, 2013

I was up until 4AM last night watching the capture, then the press conference, then President Obama...

Saratoga Springs, NY
Level Contributor
5,452 posts
144 reviews
Save Reply
46. Re: djkbooks in Paris April 14-28, 2013

It was pretty addicting! I don't usually watch news on TV, but we turned it on too!

New Hampshire
Destination Expert
for Paris
Level Contributor
21,045 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
47. Re: djkbooks in Paris April 14-28, 2013

Saturday - very chilly, very breezy, blue skies, beautiful clouds, no rain forecast. Much warmer in the sun (of course) than in the shade.

For many years, our visits have been in September. This year, April, for the spring flowers and flowering trees in the spectacular photos others have posted (pjk) in hopes of pleasant weather. Yesterday, the trees in Square le Petit Pont (with Notre Dame beyond for fabulous photos, as seen in many printed tour guides) were in full bloom with gorgeous dark pink flowers.

Cotton/poly twill slacks (silk top but not bottom), cashmere sweater, polartec with hood, new scarf purchased yesterday (awesome! and makes a difference).

Bistro 15 opposite apartment building for “brunch” of Croque Madame with fries and salad. Stopped in Relay at Gare Montparnasse (the only one of half a dozen within that had Lebara SIMs when we arrived Sunday, to pick up one by request) and the racks previously full of Lebara SIMs are empty...Gosh, were we lucky day of arrival! “No idea” when new inventory will be received. (“When they arrive, we stock them.”) The web access out and about has been fabulous, none of us even at 10% yet (just over 5% actually), after seven days, of our free (with 20,00 top up) allowance (valid for 30 days).

Bus to Place d’Italie. On the way, more and more leaves on trees - beautiful in both directions riding past l’Observatoire. Beautiful flower beds within the gardens around the fountain at Place de l’Italie and around the perimeter of the Place. Strolled down avenue d’Italie to the apartment building (atop a Monoprix!) where I had considered another apartment, very nice, very reasonably priced, with balcony and view of Tour Eiffel, etc.

Back on a bus to Place de la Nation. More beautiful flower beds and grand “place”. Irish Coffee on the terrace at Pub Irish Corner. You can surely imagine how perfect on a beautiful, but very chilly, day!

Bus to Place de la Bastille. Coffee on terrace of Café Francais. Very much enjoyed watching the passing parade. Mostly locals, few tourists.

Bus to end of route 76, then on again to quai de la Megisserie, where we poked in and out of pet shops! Wanted to rescue those puppies, but not at those prices! Incredible array of “pets”. Adorable floppy eared (very tiny) baby bunnies. Gorgeous plants in the florist shops (very, very, pricey compared to home). Amazed to see “Million Bells” with which we fill the eight window boxes on our deck at home every year (for about 1/4 the price from our local nursery).

More café cremes on sidewalk opposite Palais de Justice/Conciergerie. Just beautiful! Walked across bridge to bus to Odeon and dinner reservations at Vagenende. This is another of those places with “mixed reviews” and “not so friendly to Americans”, but we just love the place (gorgeous interior) and the food. Magnificent dinner, friendly service, reasonable prices.



After dinner drinks and coffee at Danton (did I mention I love the lamps inside and out?).

Right across the street, bus to home.


Same forecast as yesterday, but felt a lot warmer, much warmer than yesterday in the sun and comfortable in the shade. Cashmere sweater plus polartec (carried most of the day).

There are overhead electric heaters at many sidewalk cafes, but I don't care for them and avoid them. Too hot. Too bright, shine in your eyes. Would rather dress for the weather and enjoy the fresh (for Paris) air.

Up at 7AM with coffee on the balcony listening to the singing birds and church bells.

Previous guests have left all sorts of things - laundry tablets, q-tips, etc., etc., stacks of maps, plenty of tour guides, dining guides, “Paris Free and Dirt Cheap”, tons of brochures, and there’s a very thick French-English dictionary (handy for the appliances).

Stopped in Gare Montparnasse to recharge Navigos Decouverte.

First destination, Raspail Bio Marche for the potato cakes! (Also amazing savory tarts.)

Beautiful, beautiful, skies and very pleasant temps in the sun.

On to Marche Richard Lenoir. Just amazing. (Stocked up on Fleur de Sel de Guerande. 6,00 - 250 g, versus 9,80 for “organic" at Raspail - seriously, is there non-"organic"?)

On the way to Bastille, had noticed Jardin Tino Rossi was full of flower beds and flowering trees (and almost people-free), so stopped there for a stroll and photos on our way to Isle Saint-Louis (something you’d never notice riding the Metro).


Unfortunately, Isle Saint-Louis was mobbed with tourists. Fortunately, we scored a table inside (rather that have the sun in our eyes and listen to Americans holler at one another) Brasserie de l'Isle Saint-Louis for lunch. Wonderful food as always. Plat du Jour roasted Bresse chicken with morels in cream sauce with (perfect) Duchess potatoes outstanding. (You crave roast chicken after strolling through a market!)

Strolled down quai Montebello. Up ahead, we could see a long, long, long, row of police vehicles along the quai and all along one of the bridges. There had been crowd gathering earlier at Place de la Bastille and signs were being posted at bus stops about “Manifestation”, so we decided to hop on the Balabus and ride to the end - La Defense. Among the beautiful places we saw along the way - Rond Point, a lovely park with a fountain at the end in the median along avenue Charles de Gaulle once in Neuilly, flowering trees and colorful gardens on Île de la Jatte. We walked around La Defense (deserted on a Sunday6y), then took the Balabus back to the Louvre. Bus routing was still disrupted, so we took the long way around, Bus 67 to Bus 91, stopping at Vavin for refreshments on the sidewalk of Le Dome, before returning to the apartment. A mom wandered by with, guess what? A small boy riding his bicycle with training wheels! Four, maybe five, years old. We’ve seen young children on all sorts of small vehicles, but mostly in the neighborhoods, not on busy sidewalks in Tourist Central. A great place to see all that is Parc Ranelagh, especially on a Sunday.

I must say it is quite distressing, riding the buses, to see so many American men (apparent husbands) in seats (generally wearing jeans and huge brand new white sneakers) pretending not to notice older women standing, worse, struggling with groceries, shopping bags, etc. Most ladies are too polite but, sometimes, another will poke the guy until he gets up. It’s shocking to me the wife/female companion doesn’t admonish him. My brother and husband almost never sit on a bus, no matter how long the journey, unless the bus is half empty.

One journey, I got up for an older lady. The seats had all filled. She took the very edge of the seat and motioned for me to share! I demurred, but the gent opposite (considerably older than me) offered me his seat, which I also declined.

Most people are SO considerate. It’s just embarrassing when Americans have such poor manners. (Almost always you can be absolutely sure they’re Americans by brand names of their clothing, and what they’re discussing.)

Enjoyed sitting on the balcony enjoying the rest of the afternoon and early evening.

Dinner was at Pietro, a short walk from the apartment. Wonderful Italian food, low prices, very friendly service. Excellent carbonara and salads. This is one of those places where the food being served looks amazing and smells fantastic, so you can hardly go wrong! Wish we had wanted dessert. Those looked appealing as well.

Found out online what had been going on earlier


Level Contributor
1,145 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
48. Re: djkbooks in Paris April 14-28, 2013

DJkbooks - if you are back in the apartment with the view shown in your avator - give it a virtual 'pat' or good luck rub from me that it will be available when I would like it next. So many memories in your report.

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
10,957 posts
106 reviews
Save Reply
49. Re: djkbooks in Paris April 14-28, 2013

Excellent installment, DJKBooks. This is the way to see Paris (sorry about the Americans, apparently they can't help it).

It always irritates me when my husband (who is no longer young) gives up his seat to someone while hulking American teens or petite fashionable American girls retain their seats. I have seen same kids remaining seated even with very elderly person with mobility problems is on board and the rest of us are standing...a trip to Paris should be, in part, a lesson in the local culture.

(It is these same people, we find, who come home and say unkind things about "rude Parisians.").

I love the theme of today's trip around Paris (spring blossoms and beautiful squares). I too have Vagenende on my list - glad to hear your viewpoint (really like your traveling style and thanks for including the clothing details!)

Level Contributor
2,990 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
50. Re: djkbooks in Paris April 14-28, 2013

Djk, I'm loving your reports. You're being awfully hard on American tourists though; I use the bus system almost every day, and I can attest that French people (particularly teens) are just as guilty about hogging the seats.