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Paris Trip Report - A Week in July

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Melbourne, australia
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Paris Trip Report - A Week in July

Hi

This is a little late as I was in Paris at the beginning of July but better late than never.

I did lots of research on TA before a 5 week holiday in Europe ,including one week in Paris.

Thank you to all the TA contributors for their time and patience in answering our queries.

We are are a couple in our mid 50’s who travel a bit and enjoy the history, sights, people and food. Plenty of time is allowed to sit and watch the world go by.

Our apartment is in Saint Germain (ParisBestLodge) and I am excited to be opposite 2 café/bars and next to a chocolatier. We are in a small street between Rue du Mazzarine and Rue du Seine. If I walk in one direction I am in the Luxembourg Gardens, another direction takes me to the Seine and another to the Boulevard Saint Germain. I am also in heaven! The streets are interesting with wonderful little boutique shops and galleries and plenty of places to eat. This is going to be wonderful.

We go to dinner at a little place in Rue du Baci and a delightful young French couple sit at the adjoining table and chat to us as if we’ve been friends for a lifetime. It is such a lovely way to spend our first dinner in Paris and we find that at every dinner we have in this magical city, there are always people at nearby tables who are happy to chat and share experiences of Paris and their home.

Mostly these are tourists but we also find the locals are happy to share their Paris with us. We look forward to dinner time, both for the food and the wonder of who we will be talk to tonight.

On our first morning in Paris, we are out and about early, 5.30am (time differences and their consequences generate stories in themselves). We are amazed at the lack of people about, especially as it is a week-day morning. We follow the street sweepers and look for a café to have some breakfast.

There is nothing open yet and we see quite a few homeless people sleeping in doorways. They seem to have no sense of urgency to be up and about and obviously know that it is not opening time for awhile yet. An hour later, there are signs of life as shops prepare for the day, but my enquiries as to the possiblity of a coffee are met with the response of “ferme” – closed and a look of amazement that I would expect to be served at such an early hour.

It begins to make sense now that those 2 little café/bars opposite us are still going strong at 2am, even though it is a week night. Parisians are late risers!... and this makes me love them all the more.

We lose our sense of urgency and take a seat in a bus stop and watch as Paris awakens. It is one of my best memories of Paris, sitting and watching as more people come by making their way to work, streets start to fill with people and movement, traffic increases, the noise levels go up and Paris comes alive to face another day. We finally have our breakfast at around 7am whilst watching window washers, waiters setting tables, men making deliveries and as always, the women of Paris walking in their high heels over those cobblestones. Hahaha what a great place to be alive.

Andrésy, France
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1. Re: Paris Trip Report - A Week in July

Good start. Please go on...

grafton
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2. Re: Paris Trip Report - A Week in July

Love the way you write. Looking forward to reading more.

Melbourne, australia
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3. Re: Paris Trip Report - A Week in July

Paris Trip Report - A Week in July part 2

today, 21:51

After our breakfas we decide to just wander. We are not ready to see inside any of the sights just yet, I want to just walk around where my fancy takes me and enjoy being here.

Just a slight digression here. I wear Ecco sandals and walk in them every day for many, many kilometres. My feet are never sore and I can wear them for days on end. It is more important for you and your comfort to wear shoes and clothes which will not intrude upon your enjoyment than it is to try and “fit in”. We are all tourists; we look like tourists; we go to places which tourists go; the majority of us will never look like locals. Please don’t let what you wear cause any stress to your holiday planning; wear clothes and shoes which you would wear at home in similar situations. Everyone else in Paris is too concerned with themselves to be care about what you look like!

During our time in Paris I walk around Notre Dame every day, sometimes several times a day. I never tire of sitting out the front and looking at it, watching people being photographed, enjoying the crowds of people and the buzz of excitement at just being here. I even see a wedding party having photos taken. I often wander around by the side to the back and sit and watch the world go by. This is just about my favourite view. It is a glorious building and among my favourite places to go. It takes several days before I even get inside it and am amazed all over again at the beauty.

I spend lots of time in the Jardins de Tuillieries over the week. I buy a coffee and watch a dog carer (I presume) take about 10 dogs onto the grass, all manner of shapes and sizes and colours and let them frolic about. I take a chair to the edge of the path and sit writing my diary, watching the African street sellers, the children playing, people drawing and painting, couples having lunch.

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I am gazing over the lawn when I see a goat…… yes a goat, grazing in the ditch between the path and the lawn. I can’t quite believe my eyes and get out of my chair for a closer look. When I am nearer, I see another goat also grazing and see that they are both tethered and have a bucket of water nearby. I laugh with joy at the absurdity of seeing a goat in the middle of Paris, in the Tuilieries and the wonder of a system that allows this; how sensible and how wonderful.

We take our time walking through the gardens and criss cross them, looking at the sculptures and appreciating how wonderful the planners of Paris are to give us such richness and beauty in the middle of a huge city.

On the banks of the Seine, we are watching a man who is a living statue. You know the ones who paint themselves silver and dress up. He has finished for the day, it is nearly lunchtime and he has come to the river banks to transform from the living statue. He is meticulous in his routine and carefully wipes all the silver makeup from his face and neck.

He has already shed the clothes; we come upon him towards the end of his toiletry and he performs slowly and with care, all the while looking into a small mirror propped up on the walls of the Seine. It is a fascinating performance, for he knows we are watching, and I know that he must do this each time he performs and this is the perfect place.

He finishes and he packs up his things into a little suitcase, passes us and doffs his hat. I sing out “Bonjour” and “Merci” and “Bon Chance” when really I would like to say that he has given me an amazing memory of Paris that I will treasure forever. Oh what a fabulous city and how lucky I am to be here!

Paris, France
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4. Re: Paris Trip Report - A Week in July

Very nice report. Thanks for posting,

Pjk
New Jersey
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5. Re: Paris Trip Report - A Week in July

Couldn't have written this better --->

"Our apartment is in Saint Germain (ParisBestLodge) and I am excited to be opposite 2 café/bars and next to a chocolatier. We are in a small street between Rue du Mazzarine and Rue du Seine. If I walk in one direction I am in the Luxembourg Gardens, another direction takes me to the Seine and another to the Boulevard Saint Germain. I am also in heaven! The streets are interesting with wonderful little boutique shops and galleries and plenty of places to eat. This is going to be wonderful."

Pjk

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Paris Trip Report - A Week in July

We also were amazed at how quiet the streets are early morning. When we have done day trips, and been walking streets at 6:30am to get to RER/trains we were amazed at how quiet the streets were. We live in a community where people commute to work, and by 6:30am the roads are crowded, and busses are full. Not so in Paris.

However, at home it's "all quiet" by 10pm weeknights, again not so in Paris. Different lifestyle.

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: Paris Trip Report - A Week in July

What a joyous trip report! Looking forward to the next installments.

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: Paris Trip Report - A Week in July

Your report makes me wish I was an early riser!!

Thanks for sharing, I hope there is more!

Melbourne, australia
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9. Re: Paris Trip Report - A Week in July

Apologies for the long break, life intrudes.

We are at the Eiffel Tower; and oh what a magnificent structure it is. I join the people gazing up at it in amazement, both for the hands that created it and the minds which envisioned it..

Yes, we’re all here in Paris at the Eiffel Tower!!. Can you believe it!

Viewed from a distance it is striking and majestic ; up close it is enormous and very impressive, even for most of us who no doubt have seen many large and impressive structures. Imagine what the people in the 1880’s must have thought of it.

There are crowds of people here today and long queues to climb it. We are not fussed about climbing and just stand off to one side watching the scenes around us and taking in the fact that we are here.

Many soldiers are walking around the site, all in groups of 3. In their mushroom coloured uniforms with red berets and black boots, I think they look pretty fine. Later we discover there was an unspecified threat to the Tower, which explained the presence of so many soldiers and police.

We wander over to the gardens (Parc du Champs de Mars)at the back of the Tower , watching the dog walkers and family groups. I am in love with the terraced apartments overlooking the gardens, which have a cracking view of the Eiffel Tower.

It starts to drizzle with rain but doesn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm although it does put a kibosh on some of the picnickers in the park.

We walk through the Park and end up beside a vertical wall of green, soaring into the sky and looking pretty swish. We are at the Museum du Quai Branly and decided to go in. It is a fabulous museum of American, African, Asian and Pacific cultures with great displays.

It is not on our “list of things we might see” but just illustrates that it is great to just wander in Paris and take what comes. Also when there, I see someone with an electronic cigarette - first time for me and I am nearly as fascinated by that, as I am by the displays!! Small things.

The first few days in Paris, I walk quite a bit by myself, as DH has a virus and is not up to hours of walking.

On several occasions, solitary girls approach me with the “gold ring” trick and several times I am beseeched by petitioners, waving clipboards at me, seemingly desperate for my signature which will make the difference.

I never feel unsafe or threatened,I just keep walking and ignore them and they soon give up. Some seem almost half hearted in their approach approach….maybe too many unsuccessful days for them! Interestingly, I am only approached when I am alone.

There is lots of free entertainment in Paris. I sit on the steps outside the Musee d”Orsay and listen to a jazz band for about half an hour, together with tourists, people in their lunch break, young and not so young couples, all sitting on the steps in the sunshine, listening to some great music. Plenty of smiling faces.

We also see 2 buskers today in the Metro; a violinist and a flautist. Music played so beautifully it brought tears to my eyes.

I reckon the buskers here must have to audition for a gig!

Walking back across one of the bridges, we see a guy on a bike at the other end of the bridge. He’s just waiting on the bike in the middle of the bridge. Many people around with clipboards and official looking badges. We stroll further along the bridge, eating an icecream and wonder what is going on.

Stopping closer to the bike guy, a young woman approaches and asks us to move off the bridge as they are filming a Givenchy commercial.

She is trying to keep the bridge clear of people, with varying amounts of success. Just when it all looks good, someone else strolls across and the assistants all rush in to move them on. I am entertained by this for quite some time but nothing much happens, so I give up the idea of somehow becoming an extra and move on.

Paris, France
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10. Re: Paris Trip Report - A Week in July

I really like how you develop and pay attention to the "smaller things" of Paris. Really a great way to actually enjoy your time on the ground, rather than rushing from one site to the other to just "tick the list". And also a great idea to write the report in the present tense, makes for an even livelier report!