My partner and I recently returned from 7 nights in Paris. True, it was rainy. But the architecture is whimsical on a grandiose scale. The 8 hour plane ride was not the best part of the vacation. But, we got a direct flight on Air France. Would I recommend Air France? Actually, yes. Non-stop is the only way to fly.

I would caution against buying non-refundable hotel reservations on Yahoo/Travelocity, because, if it turns out that the room is too noisy (adjacent to an elevator) or you don’t like it for some other reason (the photo on Travelocity does not necessarily correspond to the actual room) there is nothing you can do. It translates into wasted money. I will try to avoid Travelocity. Yes, I know it is the result of the hotel’s policy, but, when I read on the website that a portion of the money for the pre-paid reservation may be deducted in the case of a cancellation (I had called three to four weeks in advance of the trip) I never imagined the portion would be 100%.

But, I got to see Paris. That is the important thing. I don’t know why people laugh when I tell them I wanted to see Paris before I was old. I am dead serious -in a manner of speaking.

The lines were frequently quite long. I am guessing it was the season. And Sunday was even worse. But I think the advice is do not go to attractions on Sunday.

The Louvre. I went to the French/Spanish paintings section. The collection included Medieval paintings. We visited the fountain and famous glass pyramid in the courtyard.

Most importantly, I got to practice my French. And, it does help so much because, unless you are encased in a tour bus, you will meet people who know very-little-to-no English. Besides, French is a beautiful language. And it will do your brain good to learn something.

As far as tour buses go, we had a wonderful experience on L’Open Tours.

I bought some children’s books in French. They are hard to come by in the states.

The subway is tres merveilleux! I recommend that. It even goes to the Charles De Gualle airport.

I saw the Eiffel Tower and watched it sparkle at night.

We shopped at Les Mots a la Bouche. And I bought a wonderful work of fiction: This Book will Save Your Life -by A.M. Homes

Avoid taxis.

There are some wonderful gay bars in the 4th arrondisemont on/near Rus Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie. One good reason to brush up on your French is so that you can ask what street your on. I lost the Eiffel Tour and had to ask. But, it was at night.

Of course, no trip would be complete without seeing the Notre Dame on the Ile de la Cite. There is one magnificent fountain after another. Walk past the Salon du The, or into a brasserie/cafe or wine bar and ask for the Carte des Vins. Work out the French Language part of your brain.

In my humble opinion, the food and wine are superb…and so was the coffee. I recommend using the A.T.Ms to get your currency. When we visited it was approximately 1.3 dollars to the euro. Check it out on the internet.

As someone advised me, Paris is for you to “absorb”. And drink it in!

Trip to Paris

JLegare


Amateur writer, pianist, denizen of Houston and part-time GLBT activist


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