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getting a big group in and out of town

Philadelphia
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getting a big group in and out of town

I'm travelling to Paris with a group of 8 (myself included). This is NOT my usual travel MO...usually I travel alone or with one other...so I am flummoxed by EVERYTHING...starting with how to get everyone from the airport to our apartment on Ile St. Louis. Any suggestions?

Any suggestions for feeding that many people without going totally broke? Fortunately we are in two apartments so can eat at home..but what about eating out? I'm embarassed to make reservations for 8!

Also am thinking about trips to Giverny and/or the Normandy landing beaches...can either of those be done by public transportation?

All suggestions for this big group appreciated!

Ages are 54 (me, 5th or 6th trip to Paris) 46, 40, 24 (first trip for all), 21 and 20 (both been there before ) and two 15 year olds (never been). I am the only french speaker, hahaha!

How did I get roped in to this??

los angeles
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1. Re: getting a big group in and out of town

Don't allow yourself to get completely "roped." Be there as needed for support, but that's all. Everyone in the group aside from the 2 teens are full fledged adults. You can split up into smaller groups and need not move en masse throughout the day. The people who should be primarily responsible for the 2 teens are their parents/guardians. Other than that, don't take all this responsibility on.

Get the group together a few weeks before you leave (or even longer before), and give each "sub group" a guidebook. People can then read up and decide what they are most interested in doing.

You can make suggestions for the first-timers, but don't be in charge of the total execution of the plans. (Would you have to tell them what time to be up and ready, etc?)

You need to take on only the amount that is appropriate. It's fun (for me at least) to show Paris to people who've never been before, but to try to wield a large group anywhere--no. Plan a few total group events if you want, but there is no reason to do everything right down to deciding when people will be hungry and what they will be hungry for and how much they will be happy to pay for it!

Edited: 18 February 2014, 20:35
New Hampshire
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2. Re: getting a big group in and out of town

Two taxis would probably be your best bet from CDG to your apartment.

You could consider a shuttle van with a service such as Shuttle-Inter. But, those services are not generally totally reliable and really don't save you enough to bother.

Giverny is an easy trip if you sort out the details in advance (train tickets, advance admission tickets).

Normandy is more complicated and a very long day trip, if that's what you have in mind.

Have a look at TheFork - a terrific resource for choosing restaurants, booking, and discounts.

Is there some reason others are not participating in the planning, other than your prior experiences? Of course, if you enjoy being in charge and don't mind taking care of everything, you can do that.

You do not have to always travel in a pack. There may be lots of activities, including meals, where you'll want to split up. Most people manage just fine with no knowledge of French, so you don't need to be around at all times to interpret for them, and it may be more rewarding for them to be on their own now and again.

Essex
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3. Re: getting a big group in and out of town

They are nearly all old enough to look after themselves.

Give them all an app or phrasebook for basic French and relax a bit...

Paris, France
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4. Re: getting a big group in and out of town

From the airport you just need 2 taxis. That's the easy part. In a restaurant can you split up into 2 tables for 4? You can also easily grab some street food, like crepes or a sandwich and grab a roast chicken & potatoes for a nice dinner at home.

Philadelphia
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5. Re: getting a big group in and out of town

OK, you all are making me a feel a bit better. It is a bad family dynamic with a blended family that lead to too many people coming...you are correct that they will all be quite happy to do some exploring on their own. Even the 15 year olds grew up downtown in a city (PHiladelphia) and are quite independent..one of them spent 3 weeks in Montreal last summer and although he was supposed to have some supervision, sounds like he spent a lot of time wandering and having fun on his own...so that will be OK.

We will use two cabs.

Good idea on the guide books, I'll do that.

Last question...restaurants on or near ile st louis for a few dinners? We will probably want to eat en masse a couple of times, although I am fine with firing everyone out the door on the own much of the time too.

Le Bugue, France
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6. Re: getting a big group in and out of town

I've done a fair amount of traveling with groups that size (though they were paying me, which makes a huge difference!), and the one thing (well ok there were several, but I'll focus on one here) that consistently practically drove me over the brink was the overpackers. The ones who couldn't get their luggage to the taxi, the ones who missed trains because there are no porters in France and they couldn't get their steamer trunks through the train station, the ones who slowed everyone else down constantly, the ones who shared a room but needed the entire dresser AND closet to themselves...and yet never wore or used half the stuff they brought, the ones who were always trying to nab some poor businessman on the metro to ask him to help get their luggage up the stairs. It affects every aspect of a trip.

SOOOOO.....I would deliver a really stern lecture about packing light and give everyone a list of what to bring and how much their suitcase should weigh. Have a weigh-in a couple of days before departure. I know I sound like a packing Nazi, but really, you cannot imagine how annoying the overpackers become; it can really sour a trip.

Philadelphia
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7. Re: getting a big group in and out of town

Good idea about the tables for 4, we will definitely do that. I just hate the "we are a large and boorish group of Americans". Will help to split up, definitely.

and I love street crepes.

A few dinners at home from the local market will be perfect..we all actually really enjoy cooking.

Thanks for the sane tone.

Philadelphia
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8. Re: getting a big group in and out of town

That is perfect and fantastic! I literally just sent out the airline guidelines and told everyone under no circumstances are they to check a second bag or an overweight bag. I'll hone in even more with your support...may even copy and past your message!

Open to any other suggestions from your experience with groups. I am big on slipsliding my way, wearing black, speaking french, sliding sideways and trying to be invisible in my tall american ness. This is wearing on me!

Philadelphia
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9. Re: getting a big group in and out of town

New mantra...relax! Gonna stop at Barnes and Noble tonight and buy guidebooks for all.

Boston...
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10. Re: getting a big group in and out of town

Eating in couldn't be easier. Most everyone loves those rotisserie chickens you buy with the potatoes cooked under the drippings. Pick up a vegetable or salad, and you have an easy dinner for a crowd. Or have everyone stop at a neighborhood traiteur and get what they like the looks of.

I couldn't have said it better than mcal in post #1. I'd also institute a No Whining rule from the get-go. Nothing grates on my nerves like the one person in the group who opens or whines. And there's always one....

Edited: 18 February 2014, 22:00