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Paris 4 weeks from today!
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NotQuiteJuneCleaver



Joined: 02 Aug 2007
Posts: 19
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:51 pm    Post subject: Paris 4 weeks from today! Reply with quote

When we started planning this trip 8 months ago I thought...OH I have all the time in the world. But here I am 4 weeks from our flight out and still making lists! I am too excited. This country girl has never been ANYWHERE! And my first real trip (we will be in France for 4 weeks) I am landing in Paris. My husband works in Tunisia so he is meeting me and our three youngest (19, 15 and 12). I know there are threads upon threads about where to eat, shop etc but if anyone has any advice for this country mouse, feel free. This is a great forum though admittedly I mostly lurk.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow you sure are plunging in to this! 4 weeks, first trip, 3 kids (admittedly they are old enough to be helpful)----congratulations on deciding to venture on!! You are landing in Paris---and then???? Will most of your time be spent there---or are you touring the countryside? What an extraordinary adventure for you and the kids!!! And in April too--how beautiful that will be!
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NotQuiteJuneCleaver



Joined: 02 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes! What an adventure! Why do things half way??? Actually we will only be in Paris initially for 3 days. We have a house rented in the Loire Valley for three weeks and then one in Normandy for the last week. We have a car rented for the duration but plan on taking train trips etc. Actually my husband plans on us eating our way across France, and side tripping into Spain and Germany. He is quite the chef (not his profession but from a LONG line of amazing cooks) and this trip is as much about food as anything.

You know, I needed this. Frankly, I haven't been on vacation in 5 years because I was primary caregiver for both of my parents for a total of 15 years or more. We have been married for 31 years in Sept so this is our 30th anniversary trip - a bit late and with kids! The last time we really went on a jaunt was our 25th. He travels all the time with work so him giving up a month at home is a great sacrifice on his part - in my opinion.

I really cant explain how excited (with a bit of fear mixed in) I am about this. A trip of a life time for the children.
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NQJC,

Fear nothing - enjoy all the experiences. Think of this as a big adventure and take all the experiences in that light. Also, take a sketchbook with acid free paper pages and make a journal so you'll have a reminder of the whole trip.

Do go to the Musee d'Orsay, Rodin Museum, Musee de la Mode and the Musee Cluny in Paris. If that's not for you, then do go out early and walk through the city. Paris is an amazing city and a historic one. There are amazing buildings and there are lots and lots of amazing shops. Do try and speak in French - if you try you'll get help, if you don't you are liable to get hard stares!

Don't eat or look for the food you can get at home. Try new food every day. Always carry a bottle of water with you. And most important of all... when you get home... tell us what you got up to!!

Have a wonderful time, o country mouse!
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NotQuiteJuneCleaver



Joined: 02 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh museums are just what we all love! And the history...oo la la! We will be there the first three days and the we have intentions of going back into the city a time or two more. If we were in Paris the whole time we would never see all we wanted to!

I will give a full report - I am sure there will be so very much to tell! Thank you for your advice. Both our girls (19 and 15) have each had two years of French...not near enough I know. But we have been practicing. I understand and read MUCH more than I am comfortable speaking. But we try to speak some French every day at home. My husband has picked up a bit with his job as the second language of many of the people he works with is French. Being a native Louisianan (Cajun French) has helped a little.
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NQJC
You deserve this trip. I so admire those who care for their parents. How wonderful you will be sharing the adventure with your children. Have a great time. I'm looking forward to hearing everything on your return.
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Barbara
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
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Location: England

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NQJC,

If you love history, you'll definitely love the Musee Cluny which is medieval history. The Musee d'Orsay has some Impressionist paintings but lots more. The Musee de la Mode is fashion history. With two girls you might enjoy that a lot!

You've really, really earned this 30th anniversary trip, so do have a wonderful time.
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NotQuiteJuneCleaver



Joined: 02 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barbara, I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of in the last 5-6 months of my mom's life. She was diagnosed with cancer the first week of May last year and passed October 10. I did things I would have told anyone I couldnt do. My dad had passed 3 years earlier on Nov 17. They raised me to believe I could do anything and during that time I was more than happy they had instilled that in me. I needed that belief more than any other time in my life. No one would have enjoyed this trip more than them. My father loved food more than anything, not in a gluttonous way at all but an adventuresome way and my mom loved cooking just as much. The one thing she said to me before she became unable to communicate, that stuck with me was "Do the things in life you long to. It is far far too short not to." They both would have LOVED the fact we are taking this trip.

Griffin, I don't know that I have earned this trip but I am so thankful for this opportunity. April in Paris...I could have never imagined!
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Rachel



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 296
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NQJC,
I think you'll probably find loads of info on Paris in this forum - but if you have any questions about the Loire Valley, ask away! I lived there for a year and saw quite a lot of it, so I'd be happy to help.
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NQJC, I somehow found your site several months ago and now you are here! I like what you said about aprons in your (homey charming American) blog:
"...not only protect your clothes, but they give you a sense of purpose..."
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Lady Amalthea



Joined: 18 Dec 2004
Posts: 136
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NQJC,
First off, congratulations. I know you all will have a wonderful time. I second the recommendation of the Musee Cluny, but also recommend going to the Louvre on a Friday night (if possible). It's free for people 25 and under and half-price for those older. Perhaps more importantly, it's far less crowded, there are no tours, and you'll be able to spend as much in each section as you please. When I lived in Paris I was there almost every week.
Second: My favorite restaurant in Paris is Le Bistrot d'Henri (http://noshesthoughtsreves.blogspot.com/2005/05/le-bistrot-dhenri.html). Do make a trip; the owner is extremely charming and it is typical French bistrot food. They are also very patient if you are having language troubles.
Third: While in Normandy, try to check out Deauville/Trouville. They are resort towns but I'm sure they're lovely in the off-season. Also try and stop off at Mont St-Michel. And in the Loire: Guerande, where Fleur de Sel comes from.
Finally, enjoy!!!! And do tell us all about it.
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah, definitely stop by at Mont St. Michel!! It's straight out of a gothic romantic novel - so picturesque and fabulous... and it's by the sea so you'll have wild sea air and St. Michel appearing to stand upon the sea itself...
There's an English version too in Cornwall, which I have seen.

NQJC,

My mum died of cancer too - in 2003. A huge hole in my life where she was and yet somehow my life has the nerve to continue... who knew it would?! I still have my dad, but other than him and my brother I have only a sister who I neither speak to or have anything to do with. Without him it will feel as if I am truly alone in the world. ... then I really will be stuck... and will have to get a cat.
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NotQuiteJuneCleaver



Joined: 02 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all so much!

Rachel we will be just outside Valencay if you know anything of that particular area.

I just got off the phone with hubby (he is in Tunisia) and he is sounding very excited as well...reminding me to practice my French!! He is doing a CD course and I find his memory is so much better than mine. I think being thrown in the mix will help a lot.

Griffin, so sorry to hear about your mum. I find at my age (4Cool it is still hard to realize I am an orphan. I have two brothers younger than me, we all love each other tremendously but dont often spend a lot of time together. Mostly holidays. I am sorry for your estrangement from your sister. My husband deals with it in his own family and it is painful no matter what the reasons. He has moved past it but I still hurt for him at times. And for my children who don't have that side of the family any longer. All six of our children are very close even though they range in age from 29 down to 12. I hope they always will be.

You all have been so kind to answer and respond to my inquiries. I am sure as the weeks zip past me I will think of a thousand things I should have asked! I am going to see if I can find time to search out other threads but I am making notes of what you tell me. I looked up Le Bistrot d'Henri - looks like our kind of place! We have plans to eat at those kinds of places - bistros cafes etc. Plus we will be doing a lot of cooking for ourselves. That is very exciting to think about.

Tell me if you can what to expect in the way of fresh produce at that time of year. I am not familiar with when local crops become available. My husband will be so anxious for this information! We will miss having our own garden this Spring. But very little to give up for such an opportunity!!
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NQJC - I'm a big apron fan too. Most of mine have a wine logo on the front. I do love these ones though.
http://enseignedegersaint.typepad.fr/photos/chez_gersaint/dscn1050.html
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Barbara
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NotQuiteJuneCleaver



Joined: 02 Aug 2007
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Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are adorable!
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