Friday, February 08, 2008

Planning Paris

The plane tickets are purchased, the studio apartment (with free internet, of course) has been rented and for the first time in my life I acquired travel insurance. This is my personal little way of insuring that nothing will happen to keep me from going to Paris ☺. Reverse psychology or something like that, you see?

Thus far everyone I have encountered is delighted and saying “Go! Go! Go!” –with the exception of my 15-year-old daughter who thinks it is she who should be going; and a few friends who think I am nuts to go by myself. (But to be perfectly honest, I think they may just be a little jealous ☺.)

Since this adventure in many ways started with a blog post and I have received nothing less than enthusiastic support from my commenters, it seems only fair that I should keep you up to speed and include you in the plan makings! So, here we go:

Leave Seattle Wednesday, February 27. Arrive Paris Thursday, February 28.
My neighborhood is “in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower”. Don’t you just love that?
I will be returning home on Friday March 7. So, that is eight days and nights in the City of Light. ☺

Now, here is where you come in. A few helpful commenters have already given me “must do’s” for the trip. Your task is to add your own dreams to my list. If you’ve been to Paris before—great! If not, no worries just tell me what you would want to do if you went to Paris. Or perhaps even your favorite movie or book about Paris. Or what you would wear as an American in Paris (or what you wouldn’t wear.) You get the gist of this. You can continue to help me dream, sight see and pack. In return, I promise to take you along on the journey (virtually, of course ☺.)

Here to start the list are a few of my favorite suggestions thus far:

1) Sit in the garden with Rodin’s “The Thinker” on an overcast day. (Theresa)
2) The Musee d’Orsay comes highly recommended by many.
3) See the accessible gargoyles on Notre-Dame and the medieval treasures of the Musee Cluny. (Barbara)
4) Please make sure to touch the small brass ring in the ground in front of Notre Dame to ensure your return to Paris one day. (Pamela)

So, please make your own suggestions and I will add them to the list as we count down to Paris.
(18 days!)

17 comments:

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Well, it was so long ago when I was in Paris that there was no IM Pei structure in front of the Louvre - so you'll see that when you run in to see "The Mona Lisa". The Louvre would take a lifetime to see but there are probably others of us who would suggest other must sees inside that huge structure.

Barbara said...

Frequent a cafe in your neighbourhood. Soak up the local atmosphere. Shop where the locals shop for bread and cheese and chacuterie (cold cuts). A steady diet of the richer forms of French cooking can be unpleasant to an unfamiliar gut.
Europeans tend to be more subdued in dress and formal in manners than an American.

lucy said...

sometimes i think my computer must have a little "bug" in it so that you guys can hear what i am saying and thinking!

SS--hubby and i were just discussing the need to run in to see the mona lisa :-)

barbara--you have named my #1 choice for the week. i selected my studio partially because it is in the midst of lovely markets, etc. & i am looking forward to a little bread, wine & cheese for my evening enjoyment.

i would love to know more about what you mean of "subdued in dress". i am thinking lots of black & white clothing as well as bonjour & merci beaucoup for manners :-)

The Dream said...

Absolutely THRILLED for you, Lucy! People who can go out on adventures by themselves have been granted the gift of LOVE for self and the security of KNOWING and FAITH.

I know so many people who suffer the burden of self and can not grasp the beauty of being alone - they are always lonely. How awful to not enjoy one's own company. They can't even go to a movie flying solo.

So my friend, it is a party of one (and, of course, as you and I believe wholeheartedly - we are never really alone). Our day of meeting will come - this one is all about you.

Anonymous said...

As you prepare to enter the Louvre, be warned. In my opinion, I.M. Pei was not thinking straight when he put an unventilated greenhouse over the hole in the ground where the entrance to the Louvre is located. Waiting in line to get in is suffocating if the sun is out! For your sake, I hope the lines are short and fast-moving.

While you're in the Louvre saying "hi" to Mona, be sure to see David as well. Magnificence in marble! Should be no problem finding either one--just look for a big clump of people. Good luck finding a clear sighting for a photograph! But of course, we were there in the summer at the height of tourist season (a few days before the Tour de France arrived).

Once you get in, though, at some point consider making your way to the basement (i.e., away from the most heavily traveled areas) where there is an exposed a portion of one of the support columns of the ancient fort over which the Louvre was built. Geezer Dude and I found that quite fascinating, especially considering how old it is.

I think you'll find the Paris metro rail system fairly easy to use. As in all the areas of France, Germany and Switzerland that we saw, the train systems are safe, clean and prompt. A shame we don't have something similar in the U.S.!

Bon voyage!

--Marilyn

Country Parson said...

For perfectly selfish reasons, come back with the name and address of an outstanding restaurant where a CP can find his non-cow-dairy meal when he goes - someday.

Anonymous said...

Lucy! I am so excited for you! I started to flip through pictures and memories of my trip to recommend some 'must sees' and 'must dos' only to realize that the greatest moments really were spontaneous moments that really can't be planned. My favorites: (1) The wild taxi ride from the airport with the french taxi driver who wore a cowboy hat and was so excited to discover we were from Oklahoma who insisted on playing Garth Brooks at high volumn because according to him 'he is God!" (2) Standing in front of the beautiful Monet's and trying to express to my then 18 year old daughter how wonderful it was to be in Paris and standing infront of the Monets and having her say "No kidding Mom, these French guys are Hot! (obvious generation gap!) and finally (3) visiting Euro Disney and riding the water ride 'It's a Small World' and then for the rest of the day having that song stuck in my head in French!! I think it is those moments I remember. I recommend you stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower with you arms opened wide and feel the sway of it in the wind. I hope you don't just take pictures but have pictures taken of you so we can enjoy them too!! Have a wonderful, AH Mazing Time! Love, Pamela

Barbara said...

All this talk of the Louvre reminds me of an Art Buchwald column in which he recounted how some Finn had broken the 3-minute Louvre, i.e. he saw the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory and the Mona Lisa within 3 minutes. [Not any easy task, by the way!] My hairdresser, a fellow from Marseilles, was not amused when I told him.
Subdued in dress... hmmm, I guess I mean refined, dressy, sophisticated. European women don't have lots of clothes because they prefer a few very good items to having lots of lesser quality. They tend toward the classic. Think Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly. So I mean nothing too conspicuous. Blacks and whites are fine. You'll be amazed what they do with scarves. It must be in their genes. However, things may have changed since I have been there.
And I hear they do not drink cafe au lait in the afternoon or evening. It is strictly for breakfast and served, often, in a bowl. If you like milk or cream in your coffee, just add it to a regular cup of cafe.
And never be afraid of trying something new!

Barbara said...

I spelled it wrong in a previous comment -- the word is charcuterie.

Kel said...

you'll be there three weeks before me!?!

i'm going with my mum - for years we joked that we'd go to Paris for my 40th

husband gave me a box on my 40th birthday last july and said "dreams do come true", it was full of brochures and magazines on France

on my must do list is:

Chartres Cathedral on a Friday to walk the labyrinth - not in Paris, 88km sth west but easily accessible by train

Butte de Montmartre and Sacre Coeur - sit on the steps and enjoy the panoramic view over Paris

buy some designer item at a depot-vente [recycled designer store]

Berthillon icecream on the Île de la Cité

won't this be fun :)

Kel said...

oh, and Virtual Tourist is the best website for help with planning and ideas - their forums are awesome, post a question and within minutes there is usually a response.

Laura & Miram said...

favorite paris book--hemingway's "a moveable feast"

Karen said...

Yaaay!!

I've never been, but what I'd love to do is go to an outdoor cafe by a busy street, and just sit and stare. And maybe jot down a few things in a notebook.

lucy said...

fabulous comments & suggestions from my fabulous readers!!! i think i may have to extend the trip to a month or year or decade or something like that. all of these tips are so enticing!!! thank you!!!!

Abbey of the Arts said...

So many great suggestions, it has been 20 years since I lived there, but I think I already chimed in with the Musee D'Orsay. I was actually underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa, much smaller than I expected, and then with the crowds, the dim lighting and the casing in front, I would rather have spent the time walking along the Seine. Yes, lots of time to linger in cafes, and look for the bakeries with the longest lines.

His Girl Friday said...

France is where I learned the origen of the phrase, 'who cut the cheese?' ;DD
...warning, unless you like Strong Cheese, only get the mild stuff! ;)
(was only in Paris for a day, so I can't add anything else! :D)

...can't wait to see the photos...hint,hint....

lucy said...

christine--lingering, walking and bakeries all sound like a significant part of my time.

HGF--i'll watch out for the strong cheeses :-)