This is my fourth visit to Paris and the city never dissappoints. It is one of my favourite cities to visit in Europe. The cooler weather made it perfect for walking the wonderful streets and taking in the surroundings. On this trip we stayed in a private apartment on Ile St Louis at 4 rue le Regrattier, just a short stroll to Notre Dame and a miriade of cafe's, bistro's, boutiques, boulangeries and some of the best ice-cream you'll ever eat.
Day one we walked to Luxembourg Gardens, along Blvd St Michel and along the Seine. This helped to tire us out after a 13 hour flight and get us into the new time zone. Getting around with a 3 year old in a pram wasn't too bad although the cobbled side walks can be challenging. Arriving on a Sunday means that supermarkets are close, but the smaller supermarkets, boulongerie's and sandwich syands give you a good option for lunch. We enjoyed dinner Rue Jean du Bellay overlooking Pont St Louis. It was a nice way to spend our first evening in the city.
On our second day we walked along the Seine and via the Louvre to the
Champs Elysees. We spent a full day along the Champs Elysees shopping, enjoying a baguette lunch, people watching and visiting the Arc de triomphe. Our daughter loved it. We had to go into the Disney store but be prepared for the masses of people inside and exhorbitant pricing. Our daughter also loved posing in front of the many sites and shop windows. It was a big adventure for her.
On my fourth trip to Paris I was not missing the Musee Dorsay another time so we spent most of the third day in there. Surprisingly our daughter didn't get bored in the hour long queue and really enjoyed looking at all the paintings. There was a Degas exhibition on which was also amazing to see these works along with some of the other spectacular impressionist pieces. It truly is a place not to miss. We spent the later part of the day visiting the Eiffel Tower. This was number one on my daughters list of things to see. The views of Paris, from the tower, are worth a visit to the top. Our daughter fell asleep soon after taking some photos in front, so she didn't get to go
up on this occassion, but we have been a couple of times and I hope she will have the opportunity to return to Paris another time and have the experience for herself.
Before heading back for the day we meandered through the streets toward the the Palace and Champs Elysees to visit some designer stores. Designer pieces are definitely cheaper in Europe than in Australia so Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Cartier and Chanel were on my list. After spending a big chunk of my spending money in Bulgari, I decided the other stores would be a window shop experience as we have almost 3 months left of our trip. I saved around $500 on the purchase compared to what I would have paid in Australia. It was a great day and a shopping experience I will never forget.
Day five and we head off to Orly airport to pick up our car and commence the road trip with the first stop, Loire Valley, Tours. We chose to lease a car on this trip and the process was very easy. I would recommend it to anyone that needs to hire a car for more than 4 weeks and travel throughout more than one country in Europe. Everything was organised in Australia and we received all our information before we left. We leased the car through Drive Away Holidays. Keep in mind that if you are travelling to Eastern Europe or Italy, the lease prices will be slightly higher, but the plus side is that you can drive the car in these countries. Car hire companies will appear cheap and then charge you a very high price to take the car into eastern europe or Italy. The cars are also insured with roadside assist.
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