Blogs from Île-de-France, France, Europe

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Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 12th 2019

The adventure began this year with a departure from Lansing at 4:00 headed for the Air France counter at O'Hare Terminal Five. We arrived on time and got through security quickly and with enough time for a snack of egg rolls. The plane was fairly comfortable though nobody slept much on the overnight flight. After picking up our bags and heading to the arrivals hall where a driver was supposed to be waiting for us with a placard, no one was to be found. Two phone calls to the company went straight to voicemail and went unreturned. This was a little frustrating because the shuttle was booked directly through Air France/KLM and paid ahead of time. We eventually found alternative transportation but were very frustrated after arriving at our Paris hotel to receive an email receipt ... read more

Europe » France » Île-de-France June 26th 2019

As this was a travel day for us, and we were only operating on 4 hours of sleep, not much sightseeing to report on this time. But, we did accumulate some random thoughts about Paris that we wanted to record and share: This is one of the cleanest cities we've ever seen. Rarely, if ever, did we see trash lying about, despite the millions of tourists passing through. It was very impressive. We could not believe how many people smoked. Everywhere we went, people smoked. The foyer to our apartment building reeked of it. It's sad to see such a sophisticated culture and people in so many ways still addicted to such a horrible habit. Most of the French people we encountered were quite nice, not condescending at all, and happy to help us in English ... read more

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris June 26th 2019

Tips for traveling in Paris: 1. Download the Paris Metro app - so helpful 2. Do not do Paris when the temperature is in the 90s. Our first "real" Grand Tour stop was Paris. I had been to Paris twice before but never during high tourist season or when the weather was predicted to climb into the 90s and 100s. This is true of all major tourist cities, but if you can plan your visit not during the summer months, do it. Not only is it tourist season, but France is also hosting the FIFA Women's Wold Cup and starting to prepare for the 2024 Olympics. If Paris is in your travel plans soon, definitely use the Paris Metro app and plan for construction and crowds. Our first day and a half were was spent with ... read more
Bouillon Chartier
Inside Bouillon Chartier
Our Server's figuring

Europe » France » Île-de-France June 25th 2019

Our last day in Paris! We split up for the first time, with Todd, Maggie and Sean getting up and out early to head to see San Chapelle, an ancient church with gorgeous stained glass. Marcia, Tommy and Billy met up with them at Shakespeare & Company, the quaint, fairy-talesque book store that Maggie had discovered on her student trip to Paris a couple of years ago. It sits almost directly across the river from Notre Dame, which unfortunately we could not get too close to as they have closed off most of the area after the fire in April. We strolled around the left bank, souvenir shopping and with Billy looking for enormous fish in the Siene, which we later learned were Wels Catfish. We meandered through many shops and picturesque Paris cobblestone streets, finally ... read more
Notre Dame
Father & Sons
Michelle

Europe » France » Île-de-France June 24th 2019

After two days of hoofing it for many, many hours, we opted to take a double decker bus tour of the city so we could get a feel for the different sites and neighborhoods without exhausting ourselves in the heat. Almost everyone we met commented on the unusual heat wave timed perfectly with our stay. Lovely. The bus tour was fun, and we hopped off spontaneously at the Paris Opera House - a grandiose building definitely suited for kings and princesses, including Todd and Maggie! It was fun to imagine high society and royalty dressed in their finest garb roaming the grand staircases, marble foyers and gilded ballroom. We were surprised by how small the actual theatre seating area was, but every part of the opera house was so luxurious what it lacked in size it ... read more
Maggie's Balcony
Magic Bubbles Ride
Mona Lisa

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Fontainebleau June 22nd 2019

It’s Saturday – parkrun day and today we’re running in the grounds of Fontainebleau castle. To be more precise; 2 laps of an ornamental lake at the entrance to the château. My fitness has declined due to injury so I’m not looking forward to it. But I meet a lovely lady called Christine from Kingston and we pootle round together. It takes a very slow 47 minutes but we chat the whole way so the time flies by. We speed up towards the end when our respective families come and encourage us to run more and talk less. Then it’s time to drive the 225 miles to Calais. It’s hot and first we have to circumnavigate Paris. Today’s soundtrack is Hadestown – appropriate for a Parisian motorway on a Saturday morning. We reach the Tunnel and ... read more
Fontainebleau parkrun
Fontainebleau parkrun
Fontainebleau parkrun

Europe » France » Île-de-France June 22nd 2019

Keeping true to our traveling tradition, Todd rose first and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast sitting at a Parisian cafe people watching over his coffee and croissant. The rest of us, rested and refreshed, appreciated the delicious French breakfast baked goods he brought back to the hotel before packing up and heading to the train station, carting our 5 large bags. If there is one thing we have not yet mastered it is the art of packing light! The train station was not a far hike, and after some help from Maggie to decipher some key phrases, Todd was able to locate the right ticket machines and begin the transaction to get our first metro tickets to take us to our Air BnB apartment near the Arc de Triumph. They received a highly suspect offer of help ... read more
Sacre Ceour
First Glimpse of Eiffel Tower
Marcia & Todd at Eiffel Tower

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Fontainebleau June 21st 2019

Today’s 210 mile drive takes us as far as Fontainebleau. It’s a slight deviation from the optimum route but it’s Friday and Fontainebleau has a parkrun. Our route is predominantly motorway which is (a) expensive (it costs €60 to drive across France) and (b) dull. Thank goodness for musical theatre. By the time we reach our destination, we all know all the lyrics to Six, but only one of us feels the need to sing along. There’s still time for a rendition of Les Misérables. Singing along is trickier but daughter no 2 performs admirably (although I fear her head is going to explode during One Day More). We stop at a rest area to use the facilities. The toilet is so high tech it’s like wandering into the USS Enterprise. It’s a far cry from ... read more
Château de Fontainebleau
Château de Fontainebleau
Château de Fontainebleau

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris June 18th 2019

As the saying goes, all good things--including this odyssey--must come to an end, so today we packed our suitcases for tomorrow's flight from Paris to Orlando. Our direct flight departs Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport at 2:40 PM local time, and is scheduled to land in Orlando around 6:30 PM. During the past sixty-four days we've traveled thousands of miles (with over a hundred of them on foot), taken almost 1,100 photos, and blogged more than 32,000 words. Of course, we suffered our fair share of aches, pains, and bumps in the road during our journey this year, but the memories of so many amazing sights--and especially the moments spent with dear friends--more than compensated for any setbacks and disappointments we encountered along the way. This final blog entry is really an attempt to highlight some ... read more
Bon voyage!
Our odyssey begins
Blooms in the Palmengarten

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris June 15th 2019

The weather since our arrival in Paris has been unseasonably mild, with temperatures hovering between 60- and 70-degrees during the day, with partly cloudy skies, and a few light, intermittent showers--quite a contrast from two years ago at this time, when we sweltered in 90-degree-heat! Today we decided to make a short outing to visit the Rodin museum, which is located adjacent to Les Invalides, the complex of buildings that includes the Dôme des Invalides where Napoleon Bonaparte is entombed. With the assistance of a bus ride as far as Les Invalides, the total walking distance would be less than a mile roundtrip, so the strain on Dee's sore foot would be minimal. After our lunch at a friendly little Italian restaurant down the street, we caught the bus as far as Les Invalides, where the ... read more
Le Penseur ("The Thinker")
Monument to Victor Hugo
Le Baiser ("The Kiss")




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