Monday, September 29, 2014

European Vacation: Paris (Day 1)

Dave and I just returned home from an unreal European Vacation were we visited Paris, Nice, Monaco and Barcelona.  It was pretty perfect so if you are heading to Europe hopefully I can provide some tips!

Before I start I want to tell you that we have the best travel agent ever!  Her name is Shannon Radel. She owns her own company, Rising Star Travel.  I can't even begin to tell you how amazing she is. For example our Nice flight from Paris was cancelled and she woke up in the middle of the night to take care of it!  If you are in the market for a travel agent she is your gal!

Shannon K. Radel
Rising Star Travel
615-389-8480




We flew Air France from JFK (they were on strike that week and thank goodness they didn't cancel our flight) on an Airbus A-380.  This is the largest passenger plane they make that has a spiral staircase. Dave was super pumped about the plane and I loved that there was an unlimited amount of Free Champagne.  However, no Wifi on the biggest plane ever...it was nice though, I had to remove myself from email :)  After a 7 hour overnight flight and maybe 30 minutes of sleep we arrived in Paris!

Getting To Paris from the Airport

So this was a little confusing...We were supposed to take the bus into the city but when we got to the kiosks to purchase the tickets they were only taking cards and not Euros,  these kiosks do not accept US credit cards because most of our cards do not have chips.  My advice is to make sure you have Euros when you land in Paris, you can order them from your local bank or even get them at the airport but they are a little pricey there.  All you need is about 100 Euros when you get there, then it is cheaper to just get more out of the ATM's.  We ended up taking a car service with about 8 other people into the city for 40 Euro but if I were you I would plan a little more than we did.  We just happened upon the car service once we found out we couldn't buy bus tickets. Great Info from Trip Advisor here!

Eiffel Tower

The Louvre

Luxembourg Gardens


The Louvre

Love Lock Bridge






The Louvre





Mona Lisa













Napoleon's Apartment



He had just a few chandeliers


Pretty Pretty Crown Jewels





I forgot Dave's Sunglasses so it is totally my fault he is squinting in all these!





Where we stayed:

14 rue Brea, 6th Arr.,
73006 Paris, France




Paris is split up into 17 arrondissements and in doing research I found that we should stay in the 4th, 5th or 6th.  We ended up on the edge of the 6th which is St. Germain.  In the heart of St. Germain is super expensive but so so beautiful. I found our hotel had great reviews on Trip Advisor but that it was super small.  In Paris most of the room are small so we were ok with that.  The location was great with a TON of restaurants, cafe's and bakeries within 2-3 minutes of the hotel.


Drink coffee in Europe!  It is SOO much better!


We ate a lot of italian food while we were there and drank a lot of wine of course!


Tips

  • Be prepared to walk.  I didn't want to look like a tourist so I took really comfy flip flops.  
  • If you are going to be there for a short time, buy tickets for the Hop On Hop Off Bus.  We wished we would of done this in Paris.
  • The line to ride up in the Eiffel Tower at sunset is 2-3 hours long.  We passed.
  • Order the House Wine.  It is SUPER cheap and better than the expensive wine. 
  • The Louvre is HUGE!  You could spend 3 days in there.  We picked what we wanted to see and went to those sections.  I have never seen so many naked greek men in my life!
  • You won't be able to get anywhere near the Mona Lisa.  There are so many people trying to see it.  Make sure you camera has a great zoom.
  • Try the Metro.  Cabs are so expensive.  Just watch your pockets but we didn't run into anyone sketchy in the metro during our entire trip. The Paris Metro is super easy to figure out!
  • The metro ticket kiosks give change, so don't worry if you don't have the exact amount.
  • Try to speak French.  Learn how to say Hello (Bonjour), Goodbye (Au Revoir), White Wine (Vin Blanc), Red Wine (Vin Rouge) etc.  Once you try they are more inclined to help you.
  • Get a good Map.  Your hotel should have one, you will need it!
  • Most places take US credit cards, make sure you check before you leave about foreign transaction fees.  We made sure we didn't have any so we could use it whenever possible.  This way you are protected if your credit card is stolen. 
Stay tuned for more!  Next Stop: Versailles










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