I Pack My Bags

So, on Saturday, XUP Jr. and I are going to Paris (yes, the one in France)  for a week. This will be her first time in a foreign country, not including the US. I think I’ve been neglecting an important part of her education in this area because she was quite irate when I came back with only 205 euros in exchange for 300 of her dollars.

“Where is my other hundred dollars?” she demanded, like I’d stolen it from her. This reminded me of when she was 4 and to surprise her one day I traded in about eight dollars worth of the coins she’d amassed for a shiny new, purple ten dollar bill. Holy moses, what a carry-on that sparked.

“You stole all my moneeeeeeeeeeeeey! Where’s my moneeeeeeeeeeey! I don’t want this stupid piece of paper. My own mother steals my moneeeeeeeey! I can’t belieeeeeeeeeve it!  I want my money baaaaaaaaack!!”

No matter how many different ways I tried to explain that I’d actually given her more money and that this paper money would be easier for her to take shopping, it wouldn’t wash. I had to give her the coins back.

Fortunately, she’s a little better equipped to see reason these days — although she’s still looking at me with some suspicion about the euros. Then when I told her to save the receipts for anything she buys so we don’t get charged duty on the thousands of dollars worth of designer goods we’re going to snap up for a few hundred euros, she laughed at me.

“Why would they care what we bought? And how would they even know what we bought?”

Sigh….

I’m looking forward to this being a real eye-opening experience for her — something to give her a teensy bit more wisdom, cultural awareness and sophistication.  At least she’s come a long way from last year when I suggested we go to Paris for our vacation and she said, “Why? What’s to do there?”

I said, “Nothing at all honey. You’re right. We won’t go. We’ll spend March Break in the mall instead.” She has consequently spent this last year finding out exactly what there is to do in Paris and is now quite looking forward to it — while struggling to maintain the most blasé attitude possible, of course.

I’ve never been to Paris and am the opposite of blasé. While my main purpose for this trip is to collect new blog posts (ha ha), I’ve also been enjoying going around at work saying, “Oh, sorry, I have to miss that meeting because I’ll be in PARIS.” I’ve done lots of research and mapped out an itinerary so we’ll be able to get to everything we really want to do and see while structuring it loosely enough so that we can still be as spontaneous as possible.

We are hoping to meet up with Linda somewhere along the line for a café au lait or a glass of wine (The official drinking age is 16, which seems to be the most anticipated highlight of the adventure for XUP Jr. so far.)

I’ve been dumbfounded at the number of people who suggest to me that we should visit the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre while we’re in Paris.

“Really? Do you think those are worth having a look at? We were thinking of spending the entire week at Euro Disney and Le McDonalds.”

I would however, very much welcome suggestions for any non-obvious places to visit while we’re there.  My main goal there is to soak up the atmosphere. We have a small apartment  in the Marais district, so I can shop the markets and bring back a baguette and some fresh eggs and make our own breakfast.

I have a couple of interesting off-the-beaten track things I want to check out and the child is looking forward to seeing some art (aside from the usual places she specifically wants to see the Palais de Tokyo , the Catacombs, the Moulin Rouge (because she’s seen the movie about 30 times) and of course, she wants to shop and spend all the money she’s been diligently saving for the past 4 or 5 months.

So, any other ideas, advice, suggestions, warnings? I just found out on a random blog the other day, for instance that sometimes the transit people don’t want to sell tourists the very reasonably-priced Navigo Decouverte   transit pass — which gives you access to all forms of public transit within the city for only 16 euros for the entire week. There are other transit pass options that are more expensive and I understand some of ticket guys do their best to convince you that only locals can buy the Navigo. So, anyway this blog thoughtfully provided a link to the Navigo handbook to print off, along with the relevant paragraphs highlighted. So I’m ready and even rather eager to having this argument now.

I’ll probably get a friendly, accommodating ticket seller though and will have to save my mediocre French outrage, arm-flailings and shrugs for another occasion.

I’m looking forward to tips from all you seasoned travelers!

_________________________

PS: For those of you who may be concerned, rest assured that Bazel has a nice person, who he knows and likes, looking after him and his home while we’re away.

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58 responses to “I Pack My Bags

  1. Two Canadian babes footloose and fancy free in Paris? How cool is that! I’m tres jealous. Takes lots of photos and send me a postcard from Paris will you? I’ll send you my address.

  2. Ooooh, how exciting for you and XUP Jr! Travelling alone with a teenage daughter is truly one of the most wonderful experiences – I advise all my married girlfriends with daughters to leave the husbands and other kids at home and do it at least once. And here’s yet another similarity between you and I: the first big trip I took DD on was to … Paris (and around France by train). She was a bit younger than XUP Jr, though, just turned 15.
    Anyway, the Moulin Rouge itself really isn’t much to see, although it is in Paris’ red light district. As I recall, it’s not too far from Sacré Coeur (awesome view) and Montmartre, with the artists in Place du Tertre. The catacombs are really neat: DD was quite fascinated. She’s a huge fan of music from the 60s, so of course we had to make the pilgrimage to Père Lachaise cemetery to view Jim Morrison’s grave. It’s quite different from Canadian cemeteries, and worth a visit. We tried to take the tour of the sewers (Les Égouts), but they were closed the day we went. You will check out Notre Dame and Île St-Louis, won’t you? Just walking along the Seine is lovely, and of course a stroll down the Champs Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe is fun. Take an umbrella, too, because it’s often rainy there in March (now that’s great advice from a Vancouverite, isn’t it?!)
    But mostly, amusez-vous beaucoup, beaucoup (have lots and lots of fun)!

  3. I can’t offer you any advice because I haven’t been there, but it sounds like you are well prepared for a great visit. My artist friend took an old wood and straw broom out of the dumpster behind the Louvre and has always kept it hung up in her studio. That’s my only Paris story. I bet you will have a lot more. And I greatly look forward to reading them. Oh and the teenage daughter thing? That will evaporate once you are in a strange place together. Most often she will be your little girl again. Trust me on that. It will be fun.

  4. I am so happy for you. I have not been to the city of lights but extensive reading and friends lead me to recommend Musee d’Orsay and as a day trip, the Palais at Versailles. Despite the grandeur of the Lourve or perhaps because of it, many find the Musee d’Orsay more human size. The Palace of Versailles showcases the opulent architecture of the Sun king. Don’t forget to feed the squirrels.

  5. It sounds just wonderful! And my sympathy to XUP Jr, because I always have trouble converting currency in my head, to the point I carry a cheat sheet.
    Two things that impressed me – one is the museum of dress and costume (entirely forget the real name) which has couture dresses of extreme fascination. As well, when I am in a foreign country I always make a point of visiting major department stores and/or shopping centres because what people buy (as opposed to what they are trying to sell you) tells you so much about the culture.
    Also impressive, the sheer volume of the traffic. I recall being chased along a sidewalk by a tiny car, and crossing to Sacre Coeur was a real challenge.
    And watch for pick-pockets. Especially if a twosome or group try to crowd you on an elevator or stairs. Do not carry valuables in the outer pockets of a backpack. I recommend a purse slung under one arm or a belt pouch secured with a twist tie.

  6. Cool, a trip across the pond. I expect you will walk past the Eiffel Tower, up close, at some point. I mean, would you really want to go to Paris and not walk about the area where the Eiffel Tower stands?
    Once you are there you might be tempted to go up into the tower. If you do, see if you can walk up the stairs. When I went to Paris I walked up the stairs of the Eiffel Tower and then called my mother from the top. Maybe you can’t do that anymore, but I would say it would be worth investigating. Now anytime the E-Tower is in a movie I nudge whoever is sitting next to me and tell them I climbed that tower. 🙂

  7. What an exciting way to spend March Break. You guys will have a wonderful time.

    I can’t remember what it’s called but make sure to check out the area where Amelie was filmed. They have nice cafes across from the park where you can eat a Croque Monsieur (sp?). All the cafes make the most beautiful and buttery pain au chocolat. Please bring me back one. 🙂

  8. Dr. Monkey – Thanks. And I will send you a postcard. Send your address to urbanpedestrian@gmail.com

    Pinklea – Yes, yes, yes to everything. I think the Moulin Rouge will just be a photo op thing as part of our Montmartre visit. I wish we had an extra week or two so we could tour the rest of the country as well. Next time!

    Geewits – I think you’re right about the teenaged daughter thing. I’m looking forward to that almost as much as the trip. It would be cool to find something like that old broom to take home. Now I’m going to make a point of rummaging through all the dumpsters.

    LGS – The Musee d’Orsay is on our list as is Versailles near the end of the week. Just for you I will make a point of feeding the squirrels!

    Mary – I think the euro will be easy. Just divide whatever the price is in half and then add that half to the original amount to make it equal to what it would be in Canadian dollars. I’ve heard about the pickpockets. We’re taking our giant purses with all our money stowed inside zippered pockets. The real valuables will be stashed in the hotel safe.

    OC Driver – I think you can only walk up the first 2 flights and then you have to pay to take the elevator. I fully intend to walk up it as far as I can though.

    Stefania – I’m pretty sure Croque Monsieur has some meat products in it. I’ve diligently made a list of all the vegetarian restaurants in Paris, by district – there aren’t that many. They think vegetarians are insane. Amelie was filmed in Montmartre, which is definitely on our list.

    Meanie – Thank you. I’m pretty pumped.

  9. I really loved the modern art museum, and if you’re in the Marais you’ll be close by. It is such a freaky, interesting building and the top floor was the nicest Paris view we saw.

    And please go to the Potager de Marais vegetarian restaurant. Please, please. For me. It is so lovely there.

    Have a great trip! It hasn’t been that long since we were there and I’d go back in a second.

  10. Oh, wow, Paris in Spring! How amazing!

    I’ve had one brief visit. It was in 2001 and we considered it a bit of a honeymoon for ourselves since we hadn’t really had one when we got married in 1997. Brings back great memories.

    And 2 books that I used as guides:
    1. I had recently read a book called Memoirs of Montparnasse by John Glassco and annotated by Michael Gnarowski, an English prof at Carleton University. It had been part of a course I was taking at the time and I loved being able to visit the same cafes that folks like Man Ray, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and James Joyce had hung out in.
    2. National Geographic guide for Paris. It had great walking tours in it. We must have done about 4 of them in the 3 days we were there. They were really interesting and easy to follow, with illustrations and background history of each spot along the way.

    Have a wonderful time! So pleased for you XUP.

  11. – Take one of the water taxis up and down the Seine… great way to get around if you tire of the stinky Metro.
    – Le seizième arrondissement is a great place to spend a day if you just want to wander. Trocadéro is an especially cool place to sit outside, have lunch and enjoy the great view of la Tour.
    – Also, in the 16ème, there is a great little wine shop run by this old gentleman – great prices and selection… Rue Benjamin Franklin and Rue de Passy area.
    – Speaking of lunch, ya gotta chow down one afternoon on the Champs de l’Elysées – quite an experience.

    I’ll try to think of more stuff this week, but you’ll need at least a month there to do everything that is suggested!

  12. I really enjoyed my time in Paris, but I had the benefit of having my uncle who is an art historian take me through the louvre..

    I quite enjoyed that, the Musée D’orsay and the Eiffel tower, though I did end up getting evacuated from it before I got to the top.

    The Champs Elysée is great, I was really surprised at how big everything was, and the straight lines and wide boulevards.

    It sounds like you have done your homework and I think that’s really the key.

    Sorry I don’t have much more to add than that.

    I would also pray that you don’t get caught up in a strike. I did, and it was annoying!

  13. Not sure I can add anything more to the discussion that hasn’t already been said. I’ve only spent a couple of days in Paris, but I, too, loved the Musée D’orsay and Versailles. I also just loved strolling around the Montmartre area.

    Hope you have a wonderful trip!

  14. J – I absolutely will go to Potager de Marais – it’s on my list and in our ‘hood. The modern art museum you speak of is not the same as the Palais Tokyo?? It’s modern, experimental art. I even imagine how they’re going to get me back on the plane to go home…

    Julie – I’ve dug up a couple of good guides, too. One in particular has some stuff to do and see that is a bit out of the ordinary – which I will blog about on my return if they’re worthwhile.

    Trashy – A trip down the Seine by boat, at night is on the itinerary and there’s a bar on the Champs de l’Elysees owned by Johnny Depp, Sean Penn and John Malkovich which we are going to hang around in in hopes of having Johnny Depp drop by, which would completely slay the child.

    Justin – I expect some strike or other – I understand they happen all the time, but are usually pretty short. It would suck if the Metro went on strike the whole week we were there though.

    MaryLynn – Thanks, I intend to!

    MM – If we get a chance, I’ll try to do some short posts and/or send some photos while we’re there. If not, I’m sure no one will be able to get me to talk about anything else for months afterwards.

  15. I spent about 40 hours in Paris on the way home from Italy. You’ll have a great time.

    We arrived in Paris and wandered around the first day with no real plan other than the Louvre and the Eiffel tower. And it was great, but exhausting. The next day we actually go passes on the tourist busses that go all over the city and have a little automated audio guide about what you are driving past and you can jump on and off all day. If you have a day with no plan and don’t want to wander it works really well.

    The other thing we did was we got a tour at the Louvre. Our guide had a PHD in art history which apparently gets you a job as a tour guide. But really she basicly ran us through the building in 2 hours taking us straight to all the major works and then would tell us about it. If I had all the time in the world I would have loved to have just wandered for days, but I only had 40 hours and even your week will leave you with things you wish you had more time to see.

    One thing I really wish I had seen was the Rodin Museum. Unfortunately I didn’t even know it was there until the bus went by it and it was already closed for the day.
    http://www.musee-rodin.fr/welcome.htm

  16. Pinklea seems to have covered it. I was going to say you have to go to Père Lachaise. Everyone who is anyone is there – from Chopin to Gertrude Stein. And you have to climb to the top of the Sacré Coeur – a workout and an awesome view.

    I loved the Rodin Museum. It’s really worth going to.

  17. What a wonderful trip you have planned. I have never been to Paris, and would love to go there with my family one day. Enjoy! And Euro Disney made me laugh…

  18. I have no suggestions, I’ve never been there. I just wanted to say that it sounds so lovely to be taking this trip with your daughter. She’ll always remember it and it’ll be full of memories — good and bad, I’m sure!! — for you both to share. Yay!

  19. My opinion on Le Tour Eiffel is that it’s not an absolute necessity to go, but not going will gnaw at you every day after you get back until you jump at your next opportunity to go. So whether you visit is probably a function of how badly you want an excuse to revisit.

    Halfway between the two Metro stations to the east of Le Moulin Rouge is a supermarket, and directly across the street is the supermarket of sex. Just wanted to throw that out there. Don’t worry though: it’s mostly souvenir stores in that area.

    Reading above comments, some thoughts:
    Much of Rodin Museum is an outdoor sculpture garden, so go there on a nice day. I went when it was raining. Quelle horreur.
    You may want to watch the clock if visiting Le Louvre or Musée d’Orsay, because you can really start losing track of time and looking and everything if you’re not careful. If you have a lot of time, then go nuts.

    My condolences that XUP Jr. is not more excited about this: I’ve been to Paris once in high school and once after undergrad and I’d still be giddy as heck to go again.

  20. MG – We’ve mapped out a few things we specifically want to see at the Louvre. We both have fairly short attention spans so I’m sure we’ll be able to squeeze in a good bit of that and a couple of other museums.

    Jazz – Pere Lachaise is on the list, too! But not until Saturday – Saturday is the kind of “we’ll see if we have the energy to get to it” day. Really, I may have to stay a few extra weeks at this rate.

    Finola – Seriously, how on earth could we NOT see the Eiffel Tower while we’re in Paris?? Aside from anything else, it’s kind of hard to miss if you ever leave the hotel. I expect to lose about 5 pounds from all the walking and climbing and then to gain about 10 from all the eating and drinking. That’s my goal.

    Lynn – No. We will NOT have any bad memories – only good. Okay? And yes – YAY! Only 5 more sleeps!!

    Kelvin – Oh, don’t worry – she’s excited. She’s just not allowed to show it around me just yet because it’s not a cool thing for a teenager to do. I’m sure with her friends she’s giddy as all heck, too. And of course, we’re going to the Eiffel Tower. I was being facetious. Also like I said to MG, both of us are kind of deficit in the attention area, so there’s little fear of getting too absorbed in anything for too long. Thanks for visiting and for the comments.

  21. Reminds me of when I’d make change for my son in boardgames. He was convinced I was taking money from him and the change I’d give him back was never enough even when I was generous, giving him five fives for his $20.

    Are you packing luggage or going al naturale and saving on that suitcase fee!?

  22. This is so exciting for you guys. I had to stop looking at my usual roster of daily photos from Paris blogs as every time, I knew you were getting to see it all in person… and I wasn’t. But then, I remember the awesome present you are going to bring me and I feel better.

    I spent one day in Paris. Unfortunately, it was near New Years’ and rained. And there was a new strike by the time we left. It was not a happy experience.

  23. You look French and you can speak French, so you should be able to say you were born in France and moved to Canada as a teenager and brought your child back to see her homeland so stop treating me like a fucking tourist you French snobs, because I too am a French snob…and then say something really offensive in French slang, light a cigarette blow the smoke in their face… and you will be welcomed on the metro with open arms…unless you light up a Virgina Slim or something like that in which case they will think you are an American from Texas and it will go all ugly from there.

    It doesn’t sound like good advice at first, but if you really think about it after a couple glasses of Merlot you will see it for the solid merde it really is.

  24. P.S. oh and at this point I think I feel drawn to give you the saged advice my mother always gave me when I travelled, “Pin your money in your bra” like that would not be embarrassing to fish around in there for a couple Euro when needed. And I think you are suppose to wrap it in a little hankie first or something.

  25. Linsey – If you send me your address, I will send you a postcard.

    Amy – Umm..ya, I’m going to pack half a suitcase. I’ll need to change my clothes a couple of times in 9 days, I think. The other half of the suitcase is for bringing back stuff.

    Violetsky – Next time we’ll plan a few weeks and tour the whole damn country and you’re coming with, okay? Awesome present….check…

    Cedar – I think I might just go and be all Canadian and polite instead – how about that? And tell your mom we have ATM cards now. They chafe.

  26. We spent 3 days there in 2008. Peter’s pix are here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bikeriders/collections/72157605286932384/

    Here is one in the middle of the batch detailing our sewer tour.
    Paris
    That was very interesting and not crowded, so I recommend it.

    We went to the Tour Eiffel and discovered a line up that looked to be at least a mile long, as it snaked around the plaza under the tower. We bailed on going up the tower and instead, decided to climb the towers at Notre Dame. Unfortunately, they had another enormous line so we never did climb a tower in Paris. Wear running shoes and bring a nice book for waiting in lines. Be sure to check out l’Orangerie beside the Louvre, as Monet’s waterlilies are now back there after 6 years of renovations.

    I would purchase a Lonely Planet guide to Paris as I have discovered the intel in other LP books is outstanding.
    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/
    The web site is a little slow…
    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/france/paris

    I agree with the above that I hope you do not have a strike (perturbation) while you are there. We had a minor one on the way up from the south and another on one day but they didn’t bother us much. Make sure you have planned alternate routes to the airport, for when you leave, so you don’t miss your flight if there is a strike. We took the subway and then the train to get to the airport but they weren’t on strike that day. And leave lots of extra time (even more than usual) for navigating your way through security at the airport. Everybody says what a great airport it is but we were stuck in an interminable line.

  27. I love, love, love Paris! We were lucky enough to have gone a few years ago with a friend who grew up there and still goes back every year.

    We had a ton of amazing meals but the best were at Les Deux Magots over in the St. Germaine-des-Pres area. It’s very lovely inside, but we preferred to sit outside and watch the sights. The food was simple but incredible. And not overly pricey.

    About a block away is Café de Flore, which is a great place to sit and grab a cafe au lait. It’s where Sartre supposedly used to hang out.

  28. HAHAHA @ Cedarflame. I love that.

    I will email it to you straight away! SUPER EXCITING! I hope you have nice handwriting because otherwise, how embarrassing.

  29. Do go see the Mona Lisa. It is wonderfully disappointing. Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. Its a shame it is full of French people.
    Eurodisney is the best part of Paris.
    Have a Royale wit cheeze on the Champs which is wonderfully treed: we don’t want the Germans marching in the sun now do we?

    Actually – try the Taverne Alsaticien they do a wonderful Sauerkraut. Seriously.

  30. Yes, that’s the area. I loved it there.
    Croque Monsieur has meat in it. How could I forget that you’re vegetarian? It’s so French.
    I went to Paris 2 years ago and was able to eat vegetarian food with no problem. There’s a sandwich place like Subway but French and better :-). I believe it’s called Pain au Pomme or something like that. They have a vegetarian sandwich.
    I just love how they encourage people watching by placing the chairs at the cafes to face the sidewalk. Paris is a lovely place.
    On another note, you coming to my workshop? 🙂

  31. Mo – You know what? I haven’t yet had anyone say to me “Ewww …Paris. I hated it there. I can’t believe you want to visit that place” I will make a note of Les Deux Magots and I’ve already noted several cafes in that area where Hemingway and Gertrude Stein et al used to hang out. St. Germaine-des-Pres is uber cool.

    Linsey – OK! I will print in block letters, but will make the message extra embarrassing.

    Lebowski – I’ve heard people say that about Mona, but heck, it’s THE Mona Lisa. We do intend to spend some time on the Champs but are not going to France as Germans. I will make a note of Taverne Alsaticien for when we get in the mood for kraut. Do they have some good German beer to go with it? And okay – if we’re in the mood for a quick sammich, I’ll check out the Doree. Thanks I’m sure you’ll think of some other fun things to do which you’ll let me know about over the next few days, right?

    Stefania – I was looking for the details on your workshop but kept getting sent back to the original page. When I know what it’s about and when it is and where it is, I will let you know. I have a pretty comprehensive list of veggie places to eat. And we also have a kitchen in our apartment, so I don’t think we’ll starve, anyway. If worst comes to worst, we’ll just have to subsist on wine and bread.

  32. How timely! We are planning a two week trip to Paris in June or July after having not been back there since ’98. Can you share details of your apartment find? As I type this there are several windows open in my browser of our top selections for apartments. I can’t wait until you return and can give a full report, perhaps even a recommendation of an apartment?

    Enjoy it all, soak it all in! I’m also excited to hear your restaurant reviews… we’re veg too and will be curious to hear your top picks. There’s got to be several Maoz falafel in Paris by now (I hope)… if all else fails.

  33. Wow! That’s awesome! (About the trip AND your ability to steal her money all while concocting some weird story about exchange rates. Good one!) 😉

    I can’t wait to hear all about it!

    Have a GREAT time!!

  34. I thought Musee d’Orsay was actually more interesting and more impressive than the Louvre. And I loved Versailles. Be careful on the sidewalks, the locals will just bowl you over, they have some innate ability to spot tourists and refuse to move to the side even one inch!

  35. It’s cold here right now so be prepared-especially if you go to the top of the Eiffel Tower which is cold in the summer with the wind up there. I look forward to meeting you and your daughter. You will have a great time.

  36. Parasol – I shall definitely be posting on my return. I wasn’t confident enough to rent an apartment from the apartment websites. There are too many variables there for me – location: some of them are quite far out from the main activities I was interested in; a lot of them are privately owned and you never know what you’re going to end up with; there is no front desk if you need help or have questions; most of them don’t have elevators and while I don’t mind walking up and down a few flights of stairs every day, I don’t want to be dragging my luggage up and down them; no security (i.e.: no safe to store valuables, no one on site) So, we opted for the safe though not too charming apartment hotel chain “Citadine”. They have apartment hotels all over the world including 2 properties in Paris. They’re pretty basic, but had what we need. There’s a 24-hour front desk, laundry facilities, wi-fi, full kitchen and bathroom. I’ll forward you my top list of eating places when we get back, too.

    Linsey – OK

    CP – Thanks. I know, eh? Fiendishly clever of me. Unfortunately the exchange people pulled the same trick on me with my money.

    Sean – Merci

    Charlene – I’ve heard that about the d’Orsay quite a few times and we’ll definitely make a point of checking it out, but we still have to at least set foot in the Louvre. And, having lived in several touristy areas in my life I can tell you tourists are not that difficult to pick out. We’ll do our best to try and not be too obvious.

    Linda – I’ve been keeping track of the weather forecasts. Right now it looks about the same temperatures as Ottawa. Next week’s forecast looks to be a bit warmer. Thanks for the heads up. And I’m looking forward to meeting you, too!

    Stefania – I have a list of the natural food stores, too and the largest market in the city is on the front steps of our apartment the day we arrive and again on Thursday, so I’m pretty sure we’ll be okay, too!

  37. Ooh, excellent timing – I’ll be in Paris for the first time later this year. I will be sure to ask for your recommendations, especially on accommodations!

  38. The modern art museum we went to was the Centre George Pompidou which should be very close to where you are. It is a giant building with weird scaffolding and tubes on the outside that houses modern and contemporary art plus an art school. Very cool. David loved the modern art floor because the progression of art is chronological and really interesting to follow. Also seeing Picasso etc pieces that were painted in Paris was very cool.

  39. About the Mona Lisa, in the same room (or one over) there is another, same-sized portrait by daVinci (or one of his pupils) — “La belle Ferroniere” that is more beautiful and easier to see. Check out Lisa but make sure you go see the other one.

    Louvre

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_belle_Ferroniere

    I am sure I do not know why she is an ironworker.

  40. Say hi to the Pope for me. He lives in the Eiffel Tower doesn’t he..
    And don’t forget to make fun of the Queen of England to endear yourself to the locals..

  41. One more comment and then I’ll stop….I just think it’ll be wonderful for you and your daughter to chill out on the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower eating Brie and sharing a bottle of wine (if she decides to drink and you let her). What a civilized way for your daughter to drink wine for the first time (assuming she’s never had wine before) and not at some crazy underage party back at home.

  42. Paul – Stay tuned! When are you going?

    J – Hmm – yes, that would be interesting to see. I really think we’re going to have to extend our trip to a couple of months. How long were you guys there? Was it just a week, too?

    Pauline – Merci!

    Julia – Noted. Thanks.

    Glen – No the Pope lives in the Leaning Tower of Pizza; many people get those confused. I’ll be sure to mock her majesty though.

    Stefania – Ha ha ha ha….wine for the first time…No, she’s had some at home before and I’m pretty sure she’s had one or two other things not at home before (she IS 17) but it will still be fun to be able to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner together in public. Thanks – and feel free to keep the suggestions coming.

  43. Stefania – She doesn’t drink a lot like some other teens. She might have a beer or two, if she’s really pushing the boat out at a party and she’ll have a small glass of wine with dinner occasionally.

    Paul – Isn’t August in Paris pretty much a dead zone? Everyone’s on vacation and leaves the city? Should be able to get some good deals then though.

  44. “Isn’t August in Paris pretty much a dead zone?”

    Yes, I’ve heard that too but unfortunately the timing of my trip is pretty much fixed.

  45. Gosh it’s many MANY years since I was in Paris so I will restrict my suggestions to things that are unlikely to have changed: the Conciergerie, where Marie Antoinette et al were imprisoned before heading to the guillotine; the Musee de Cluny – just an odd, very French sort of museum; for a bit of relaxation the Parc aux Buttes Chaumont way out at the end of the Metro line is lovely to wander round and finally Fauchon, Paris’ finest food shop in the Place Madeleine – go, look and salivate at the window displays – faire lecher la vitrine! Enjoy. Wave as you fly over our heads, won’t you!!

  46. YAY!!!!! i’m just reading this that you are going and i think you are gone?? i feel your giddy about the trip and rightly so 🙂 xup jr is SO lucky that she’s got such a cool mom that is TAKING HER TO PARIS!!!!

    can’t wait to read your stories, be safe and make damn sure you come back. unless of course you meet a millionaire prince that wants to have you as his mistress….