Monday, June 24, 2024

France 2024 - Paris

Tuesday morning, we returned to the Nice airport and flew Air France to Paris' Orly airport. BT Transfer picked up the 6 of us and took us to Hotel Pont Royal in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district in a spacious Volkswagen van. 

Hotel Pont Royal's service easily matched the Fairmont Monte Carlo's with doorman Daniel providing exceptional service. There were 2 elevators (spacious for Paris) and there was never a long wait on them. A full breakfast was served downstairs. I usually asked for a tray and carried it back up to the room.

And we had nice views from our rooms on the 7th floor.

I had spent many hours trying to book a visit to the Eiffel Tower. I had tried all the tricks to no avail. Finally, I reached out to the concierge at Hotel Pont Royal and they booked it at our convenience with Mon Petit Paris for Tuesday evening after we arrived. We met our tour guide Paul at a souvenir shop just across from the Tower. Nearby were lots of restaurants and even a Franprix that we visited later. 

Paul whisked us through the security lines and gave us thorough explanations of the Paris scenery. We rode the elevator on to the summit for more views.

We had some refreshments on the summit.

We were famished after the Tower. We had seen several sidewalk restaurants while waiting for the tour to begin so we returned to our starting point.

We ate at Bistro de la Tour Eiffel and couldn't have been happier. The kids (and parents) enjoyed the food and the waiter entertained us throughout.

As we finished eating, the Eiffel Tower began its on the hour sparkling.

Wednesday we started with Finding France taking us on a 3 hour driving tour of the sites in Paris guided by Lucia. They picked us up at Hotel Pont Royal and drove the 6 of us to each location in an 8-passenger van. Then we hopped out and the van disappeared into the traffic. Lucia provided detail information and then the van reappeared and we were off to the next stop.

While we couldn't visit the inside of Notre Dame, the front was visible and it was interesting to watch all the ongoing reconstruction.

This is the oldest clock in Paris at the Palais de la Cité on the Île de la Cité,

This is the Pont de l'Alma bridge where Princess Diana died.

This is Zouave, a stone statue set beneath the Pont de l'Alma that has been used for decades to measure the level of the Seine. In 1910, the water was up to his shoulders!

We had lunch at Cafe Suzanne in Montemarte. I had booked lunch in advance and was greeted by Loo when we arrived. A quick provision of French fries satisfied us and we enjoyed a leisurely French lunch while it rained outside. Then we headed back to the hotel for a well deserved rest.

Wednesday afternoon, the younger crowd visited the Catacombs.

Thursday norming, the younger crowd climbed the Arc de Triomphe (we would visit it later in a rental car!).

The rest of us took a leisurely ride on Bateaux Parisiens. Like the Eiffel Tower tour, this was booked by the concierge at Hotel Pont Royal.

After the river cruise, we stopped in Brasserie de la Tour Eiffel for lunch. They had free toilets using these tokens!

I stopped by Maison AS just around the corner from the hotel to visit with a friend of a friend, Alexandra Sojfer. Alexandra has a very high end boutique of original fashion accessories.

The afternoon was a group visit to the incredible Saint-Chappele.

After inquiring of a gendarme with a machine gun of a recommendation for dinner, we ended up at Brasserie Les Deux Palais where Sandrine introduced us to Kir.

While the weather wasn't always perfect for walking, it certainly yielded some beautiful sights.

Since there were 3 families involved in our visit to Paris, we had over-booked and under-booked. Some of us went to some attractions, some went to others, and all of us went to most of them.

We pretty much used G7 for transportation throughout our time in Paris. They came quickly and had either black Lexus or Camrys. Fares were usually between 20-30€.

Friday morning we all went our separate ways - Vincent and Sandrine back to Bassin d'Arcachon, the Toohigs to Barcelona, and us to Normandy.

Zoom in and you can really see some details.


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