Thinking back here are a few personal observations and notes….
Pamela is back on her chemotherapy treatments. I encourage all the women reading this blog to become familiar with the signs of Ovarian Cancer. Watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fH9N4auMblE and/or read this webpage http://www.webmd.com/ovarian-cancer/guide/ovarian-cancer-when-to-call-a-doctor . If you become suspect but don’t have access to a specialist, have your doctor or clinic do a CA125 blood test. It isn’t a perfect measure, but can be a good indicator. I hope Pamela will be feeling better in the next few days and will post some final thoughts about her visit to Paris.
Good, Bad, and Ugly of 30 Days In Paris:
Good = We created some great content and really enjoyed your comments. In the old days travel writing was a one way communication, this is great.
Bad = We want to thank those that sent donations via PayPal. But the numbers were so small that it looks like this trip is a major bust financially. But HEY! you can still donate at www.30daysin.com/support.html .
Ugly = Only way to make this work is to get sponsors up front. That means contracts, lawyers, meetings, and other paperwork. It also means not being able to write what I really think about a service or product. That SUCKS!
Favorite things I loved about Paris and now miss:
- A Fresh baked baguette right available right around the corner.
- The dark chocolate covered marshmallows from Pierre Marcolini at 89 Rue de Seine. It should be noted that these do not travel well. We tried to take them on the plane. As warned, they didn’t make it home intact, they “broke” so we ate them mid-flight. The pressurized cabin causes the marshmallow to expand and crack the beautiful thin and delicate dark chocolate coating. It is nice to know there are some things that will always remain in Paris. Maybe that is what makes this craving so strong.
- Excellent public transportation.
- NOTE: Not missing the great food in Paris. Here at home we live within walking distance of several excellent restaurants.
Things I’m glad I brought:
- A small digital alarm clock. I usually carry this in my bathroom travel kit for use as a backup for my cell phone while on the road. During our stay in Paris I placed it on the mantle in the main room leaving it set to “home” time. It was very handy to have a clock out and visible that showed the time zone of family and friends.
- My favorite brand of deodorant soap. I’m sure the local market had a similar product, but it was nice to not worry about it.
- A warm vest. Adding this to a jacket makes a great combination for cooler conditions.
Things I didn’t need to bring:
- Why on earth did I bring that heavy power transformer? See DAY 9 post. I left it with an American woman we got to know.
- I didn’t need to bring a long Gor-tex rain coat. My jacket worked fine.
More about our Apartment:
We decided to go with an official/commercial apartment operated by BridgeStreet.com. See Day 1. BridgeStreet operates several locations in Paris where all the buildings apartments are managed by them. Our 2nd floor unit at 85 Rue D Aboukir was a recently remodeled unit, with simple furnishings, located in an older building. But it was a lone unit, unlike other multi-unit BridgeStreet addresses. It should be noted that a crackdown is taking place on unauthorized rent by owners apartments in Paris. These properties don’t pay the proper taxes and force locals out of the city center. BridgeStreet also operates a building with multiple apartments nearby at 4 Rue Etienne Marcel.
We enjoyed staying in this area of the 2nd arrondissement. It was on a small street lined with wholesale fashion/design shops well away tourists. I think that was one of the most important points. We saw very few travelers in our area. During the day the people you saw on the street with suitcases were buyers going in and out of the shops. Even though the description says “Marais” this is located far from the popular Marais area of Paris.
The thing we really fell in love with was right around the corner, a pedestrian street called Rue Montorgueil (mon-tor-goo-ie). This street became an important part of what made our stay so enjoyable. The street has a couple of bakeries, several markets, wine and chocolate shops, a dozen cafes, cheese shops and more. I had never seen a fishmonger with gentlemen standing on the sidewalk offering a tray a fresh fish as they shout out about the quality of their product. This to me this was the typical stereotyped Paris street. Just like in a movie. We loved it!! Read more about the street here: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/04/rue-montorgueil-les-halles-paris/ .
The street has one hotel, Victoires Opera Hotel, I didn’t have a chance to check it out, but it looked nice and if returning to Paris for a shorter visit I would definitely consider this hotel. http://www.hotelvictoiresopera.com/
Also right around the corner from the apartment was the Sentier Metro Line 3 subway station. Note that this station has two entrances, the one near the apartment doesn’t have a counter to purchase tickets, the one further down the street does. You can walk East a short distance, or take the #3 train, to the Reaumur/Sebastopol Metro station. At this station you can get on the #4 line. Between these two Metro lines, the #3 an East/West train and the #4 a North/South train, you can easily travel all over the city.
Is Paris changing?
It appears to be in transition. I spoke to several American locals who confirmed this. Some blamed it on the exposure to United States lifestyle and entertainment, others on the spread of worldwide international commercial brands. As local Parisians have been priced out of the city’s central areas they have been forced out to the edges of Paris. As a result many of the small restaurants and specialty shops have closed. One woman from Los Angeles that I met told me that she had been visiting Paris every year for 15 years. Except she didn’t make the trip in 2009 for health reasons. And now, after just a two year lapse, she says she sees lots of changes.
Since it was my first visit I wouldn’t know, but I was surprised to see so many Starbucks, Subway and McDonalds outlets. Even a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop. But it appears that the locals are patronizing these establishments, and for some strange reason I saw lots of tourists in them. Well….not that strange I guess…. It seems crazy to me but some travelers don’t like change, and eating at a Subway while on vacation a long way from home can feel comforting.
I was also surprised to see the English language used on so many signs and billboards. Also many of the songs we heard on the radio where in English. Also recent changes in the French governments immigration policies have increased the diversity of the population. I read one story about how they are now paying immigrants to return to their home country.
But one thing is not changing. And that’s the magnificent buildings that make up this beautiful city. The Ben & Jerry’s ice cream stores may come and go, but the timeless architecture of Paris is impressive and never ending.
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