Saturday, December 9, 2017

Paris: Au Revoir et Merci Beaucoup

Originally Julie was supposed to fly out at 9:00am today but thanks to the snow storm in Atlanta and her smooth talking, she was able to get switched to my flight later in the afternoon so we could fly back together.  We took advantage of the beautiful but chilly day and did a little last minute shopping and exploring the hotel neighborhood.  We stumbled upon these red flocked trees...definitely a first.
Paris is such a wonderful city and one that can be visited time and time again.  I've been fortunate to have been here three times and each time, I see and discover something new.  The time of year also makes such a difference.  The last time we were here it was summer time and tourists were everywhere and lines were long.  Fortunately, we purchased a Paris Museum Pass so we did not have to wait in if you do plan to visit during peak season, definitely look into a museum pass.  The pass is also a good deal if you plan to see a lot of the museums and sites as it saves quite a bit of money.  During Christmas season, the crowds are light so it really wasn't necessary to get a pass as we had already seen most of the places covered.
We had such a great time and it was the perfect way to celebrate turning 50!  As in typical AOH fashion, while on this holiday we started planning our next adventure. While I'm sure we'll have some short breaks between now and October, you'll find us in my most favorite city in the world, Florence, and the Eternal City, Rome, next fall.  Until then, as Julie's mom would say, "travel cheerfully".

Friday, December 8, 2017

Paris: Meandering and Freezing in Paris

When we were in Paris in 2012, we took a tour with Paris Greeters and had a wonderful time with Marie so we thought we'd give it another try this time.  Jean-Claude was our guide and while he was a very nice man, he spoke little English (he was listed as an English speaker), had a tendency to constantly repeat himself and really didn't pay much attention to where he was going (most of the time he was bumping into us because he would abruptly change his walking direction).  Regardless, we got see a few new sections of Paris on our 3 hour walk with the windy low 30's temps.  I think the Paris Greeters is a great concept so would still recommend but just know it is a bit of the luck of the draw on the guide as they are volunteers.

One of the places Jean-Claude took us was Aligre Market, a spot we visited on our tour with Marie.  I will definitely plan to visit here on my next trip to Paris as there is so much to see.  Even on this very cold winter's day, the market will full of activity.  I can only imagine the delicious dinners prepared this evening from all the gorgeous produce, fabulous cheese and fresh seafood and meat.

After making our way through the streets of Paris, we had Jean-Claude stop our tour at the Musee du Cluny.  We were frozen solid so popped into a cafe for a late lunch and some much needed warmth.  Of course, tonight was supposed to be the coldest night of our trip and what did we have planned?  An open air bus tour to see the city lights...a brillant idea, right?  Well, while it was pretty cold, the bus company did provide us with warm blankets and we saw some beautiful sights.

Our bus driver sat in front of the Eiffel Tower for about 15 minutes and it was worth the wait as we got to see the twinkle lights up close and personal.  On December 6, Johnny Hallyday, a much loved singer and actor in France, passed away.  As a tribute, Merci Johnny was on the Eiffel Tower.

After the tour, we popped into the Café de la Paix for a little snack and to warm up.  Our waiter was so much fun and totally loved us.  He even comped our dessert...some more yummy chocolat chaud.  What a great end to another fabulous trip!