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Booklover Trip Report: Days 4-7

Salt Lake City
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Booklover Trip Report: Days 4-7

Trip Report – 4-7

Tuesday – We biked to Pere Lachaise cemetery. It was the only time I felt a little panicked in traffic with our bikes, but we made it safely. We liked our stroll through the graves; it really did feel like a city for the dead, to paraphrase David Downie. From there, we took a metro to Saint Sulpice, ate lunch and went to the Longchamp store (went there twice during our visit, as I realized that I just had to buy presents for my mom and sister there, too!). We got Velibs again, and biked to Luxembourg Gardens. We liked the bowlers and tennis players, as well as the scenery and people-watching.

Wednesday – In the morning, we saw the Nissim di Camando Museum and ate a picnic lunch in Parc Monceau. We thought the audio tour was fantastic there: organized, informative and doable in an hour or two. We had some sun in the park and just lounged, watching the kids, who all apparently have half days of school on Wednesdays.

From there, we saw the Arts and Decoratifs Museum. Again, great audio guide. I was interested in the way that design tended to move from religious to classical to ornate and back again, really up through the Art Nouveau period.

Back to the apartment for a rest, then off to the Louvre for the Wednesday night late hours.

On our way there, we made the mistake of eating at one of the “Chinese” restaurants along the Rue Saint Antoine. Ugh! I thought we would get food poisoning, and the “food” is terrible. I don’t know *what* we were thinking!

Anyhow, anyone who plans to go to the Louvre may want to consider downloading an audio tour, or taking a printed tour – at any rate, do NOT rent the 3DS guides from the Louvre itself. We found them frustrating to use and sparse in information. We spent the time seeing the Flemish and Dutch painters of the 17th and 18th centuries. For us, the highlight was the series of Rubens paintings that depict Marie de Medici’s life. That woman was a force of nature!

Thursday – Versailles and Musee D’Orsay. A great day! We got on the train early (8 am) and headed to Versailles Chantiers to rent bikes. Oops! I forgot the passports, so we couldn’t do it. But, in the end, I’m glad we didn’t (more on that shortly)… We saw the main Chateau before the crowds got too bad, then rented bikes on the grounds: we rode all around the Grand Canal and to the Petite Trianon. I think the best part of the day was wandering out to Marie Antoinette’s hamlet – it was a lovely walk and we liked the farm animals and gardens. I’m glad we didn’t rent bikes near the train station because we wouldn’t have used them all that much; we enjoyed riding for about an hour.

Because the RER C stops at Musee D’Orsay, and because the museum is open late on Thursdays, we decided to visit on the way back. We went up to the café for a break, and enjoyed the museum tremendously. I think so many people prefer the D’Orsay to the Louvre because it’s more manageable and the audioguides were helpful.

At the café, we started chatting with a couple next to us (from South Africa). They had been caught in the football/soccer riot on Monday and were tear gassed. Luckily, a French couple noticed they were getting no help from the police, and guided the South African couple through some alleyways and passages to an open Metro station. Glad we missed that!

Friday – Shopping! I dragged my poor husband all through the Marais on foot, but found some really cute gifts (tea, notebooks, and chocolate). Then, we rode Velibs to the Rue Mouffetard and bought scarves from Diwali, kids’ stuff, ice cream (for ourselves, obviously), canned pate, more chocolate. Then, off to Bon Marche (mustard! Candy! Salt!), Longchamp and Monoprix.

We had pasta at Fuxia (so-so; man! I wish I had planned our meals a bit better);

Saturday, we were picked up by a taxi promptly at 7:30 and had an uneventful flight home. My dad had come to stay with our kids and took such great care of them. AND we had asked him to make a landscape plan for us to replace trees we’d taken out (he’s something of a talented amateur landscape artist); instead, he bought plants and *planted* them for us. So, we came home to a nice dinner, happy kids, and a new garden.

All in all, it was a perfect visit. We fell in love with Paris and can’t wait to go again.

Bastille Market
Flea & Street Markets
Rue Mouffetard Market
Flea & Street Markets
Rue Cler
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Flea & Street Markets
Salt Lake City
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1. Re: Booklover Trip Report: Days 4-7

Also, I forgot to post that we saw a concert at St. Chapelle on Tuesday evening and had a very good meal at Au Bougnat afterwards. The concert let us see the church without waiting in line and the music was beautiful, if somewhat predictable and safe.

Saratoga Springs, NY
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2. Re: Booklover Trip Report: Days 4-7

Thanks for sharing your trip report with us!! How wonderful of your dad to do that for you -- can you rent him out in NY? ;-)

You're starting to make me rethink our food plans. We have only two reservations for 10 days -- and one is for lunch on a day trip out of town!

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3. Re: Booklover Trip Report: Days 4-7

Thanks for the trip report! Glad you liked Au Bougnat, it's usually our first stop for a good first meal in Paris. I feel just like you do about wasting a meal in Paris on crap food so I try to make a loose plan of different restaurants with favourable recommendations.

Did you get your Longchamps bag at a good price? Not sure if they will be cheaper in Paris or USA as we are going to San Fran after Europe, what do you think?

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: Booklover Trip Report: Days 4-7

Thanks for the enjoyable and interesting report. :-)

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Booklover Trip Report: Days 4-7

Thanks for sharing!

I have decided against reservations, but have noted down a few places I'd like to eat at in each area. I hope this will be good enough.

Wagga Wagga...
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6. Re: Booklover Trip Report: Days 4-7

Wonderful report, thanks for sharing

Los Angeles
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for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
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7. Re: Booklover Trip Report: Days 4-7

What a lovely trip you had (and how nice of your dad!) Thank you so much for the feedback on the Louvre 3D guides (we don't usually like audioguides, but those look alluring on their website, thanks for the heads up - the laminated cards are just enough for me). This trip, I do have particular plans to look at certain paintings, which means I have that information in my head and hopefully back-up notes on a phone. The Marie de Medici cycle is like a night time soap opera/drama before there were any such things.

I'm glad the South African couple got help from locals.

I know what you mean about meal planning. We did a little better last time, and this time, well, I do have notes and numbers for reservations for the nicer places, and a good list of cafés that might permit an impromptu visit. I'm not going to be shy about calling for reservations, people here have encouraged me enough to make me think I'll be understood.

I need to go find Days 1-3.

New Hamburg, Canada
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8. Re: Booklover Trip Report: Days 4-7

I really enjoyed reading your trip report and notes. We loved Au Bougnat, as well. I still dream of their chestnut soup from their winter menu. We will be back in September and I am looking forward to trying new dishes. They were kind enough to give me a menu to take home.

New York, NY
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9. Re: Booklover Trip Report: Days 4-7

Great trip report! Hubby and I are headed to Paris next week and plan on visiting Versailles and Musee d'Orsay on Thursday as well. How convenient that the RER C goes to Musee d'Orsay as well, thanks for the tip!

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10. Re: Booklover Trip Report: Days 4-7

Great trip report thanks for sharing. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip with a great surprise once you got home....sweet.