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Published: June 18th 2015
So paris taxi drivers are pretty much assholes. Had my ankle not still been messed up, we would have avoided them at all costs. If you don't have GPS on your phone you're basically getting bamboozled. Here is the pertinent info on rates and such: http://www.taxisg7.com/faq-questions-and-answers-parisian-taxi. Our first cab driver from the airport took the long way around and overcharged us by 10 euros. The second cab driver gave our friend the amount of money back in change that we were supposed to pay. I didn't realize in time, and shut the door, and he had driven off by the time we realized that he stole 6 euros. The third cab driver took the long way around the latin quarter, and this time, I sat in the car so he couldn't drive off and I was like, you could have driven straight here in 4 euros. The cab fare was 8, and I gave him 6 and that was that. So the lesson learned is, if they take you the long way, underpay and they will accept it because they know they are jipping you.
We arrived in Paris around 11pm. If we had gotten there earlier we would have taken public transit into the city. It's fairly easy to navigate and also to purchase tickets. HOWEVER the ticket machines will NOT accept cards that don't have chips in them, so you either have to have the euros or have the chip (this no chip thing was a problem for us throughout our trip). We used an AirBnB for this part of the trip: https://www.airbnb.it/rooms/3579787 Great neighborhood, had a washer and it was easy to get to everything, though unfortunately we left our water bottles behind and the host left them downstairs on the post box so we could come back and get them, but someone took them :/
The main things I wanted to do in Paris were Michelin star dinner, go to the Centre Pompidou, Eiffel Tower at night and see Anish Kapoor at Versailles.
Pompidou was OKAY, not as awesome as I had imagined it would be, but some memorable artworks. *this is susan - I didn't think Pompidou was worth it at all and this is definitely something you could skip.
Enjoyed the Eiffel Tower, but it got super cold and we didn't get down in time to see the little light show they do. This is susan - I was up there and was outside and got to see it up close and it was awesome. I would definitely advise going right at the end of the evening and staying for a couple of hours / we saw the sunset, the lights come on, and the light show. The lines look long, but at around 9pm it only took us 65mins to get through the escalator line. One of my favourite things is this announcement while your up there: Please be advised that pickpockets are active in the tower :] DUDE the street hawker game in Paris is NO JOKE. They all sell the same eiffel tower key chains and replicas that they carry on this metal loop and the RUN from the cops. Susan was at the pharamacy and a woman came in bleeding from a wound she got while one those dudes was fleeing the cops and stabbed her with his eiffel tower! Yeah, so be alert folks.
I was BLOWN AWAY by A.K. at Versailles. Like life goals level shit is going on there. Was NOT expecting to see his endless whirlpool (that's not its name) but oh my was I fangirling in my pants over that one. This is susan - the gardens were beautiful but I didn't like the music they play everywhere. If you go, go when the gardens are free (not on the weekend) and when the fountains are on. It is much more beautiful. I really like how Anish provided multiple perspectives on each piece and filled the garden all the way down until the end. It was great to see Toisha smile; she was so thrilled!
We went to Le Chateaubriand http://www.lechateaubriand.net/index_uk.html for dinner Friday night. They take names for the second seating at 9:15pm and seat around 9:45pm. This works out if you are an even numbered party, our party of three didn't get sat for over an hour and we were literally the first names on the list. That said 70 euros for the meal we had was BEYOND a freaking bargain because there was this tuna dish, with flash fried fennel, and 18 hour cooked tomatoes that was so freaking divine i would have spent that money just to eat that. The other standout was another fish dish with sage and some other leaf that was so good. The raspberry ceviche and the cucumber soup with trout eggs were also very good. The poullette, this squid dish and the desserts were meh, but the veal brain was memorable. But the best part of the meal, was the happiness to have broken bread with a great friend on her best day evar!
This is Susan. I also walked around when Toisha was resting her ankle in the apartment. I walked around Marais district, the Notredame Cathedral, the Parthenon, and the Luxemberg Garden. the garden was just as wonderful as I remembered from the last time, and I ate a croissant and drank coffee and read a book in one of the many chairs they provide *since you can't sit on the grass in most places. We also went to the st. louis chapel with the stained glass. The sun was pouring in through the window and it was beautiful, but it was nothing like what i had remembered so i'm learning that my memory is mostly dreams that are not real and in some cases are even more stunning than the real thing. Still, it was worth it. Finally, I ate a lot of patisseries. I went to Pan de Sucre every day as everything there was delicious *except the last day when a customer made fun of me for asking a question in english. We also went to Loudres or something like that, which was the best pastry ever and totally worth every penny. Toisha here, the patisserie place is called Laduree. I went to a few no name places for pastries, and those were not good. It is worth it to pay more for quality. The bread, though, is excellent everywhere. I also went to a Jewish bakery to have baked goods, and those were not great and not bad but interesting to see what the Jewish interpretation of french baked goods is. It was clearly a well loved institution in that neighborhood.
The best thing about Paris is that people, for the most part, are not rude anymore when you don't speak in french. My last experience in Paris was so terrible I vowed never to return and I would think about it every time I helped French tourists in the state with directions. But this time was totally different. People helped me get around, navigate the transportation, and would be patient with you in restaurants, shops, and transit agencies. I would definitely go back because it was very pleasant and we had a wonderful time.
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