A Trip to Paris…Day one: Getting There

The school had a week long fall break, so we decided to take out first real trip somewhere.  Littlest has been asking to go to Paris since we arrived abroad.  And since I have been deemed the trip planner during our stint over here, I thought…why not?  So began my furious research of where to stay, where to go, and how to get there.  I will be brutally honest here….I don’t know much about Paris, or France in general.  It has never been all that high on my bucket list of places to see.  I would prefer to go to somewhere like Iceland and see the Aurora Borealis.  But after looking into the big blue eyes of my youngest….Paris it was.

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Where To Stay

I needed to figure out how much hotels were going to cost, since Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world.  Hotels were going to be expensive.  So I researched some more and discovered Haven In Paris.  Awesome!  We can rent an apartment instead and have more room, and a kitchen….and it’s a little cheaper than a hotel!  Because we booked more last minute, we got 20% off the apartment.  It’s a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment that’s a 10 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower.  Haven In Paris is awesome because they have a greeter who meets you at the place you are staying, and they go over everything in the apartment, how it all works, etc.  They provide restaurant recommendations, stores and shops that are nearby and convenient, and you can contact them anytime if you have questions.  Here’s where we are staying for the week….

The window lit up on the bottom right is our living room.  The window above that is someone else’s apartment.  There’s a central blue hallway door that leads to the inside, where you find the door to your apartment.  Ours is on the ground floor, but is a 2 story apartment.  Yay for minimal stairs!  Above the blue door is this beautiful carving.

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When you walk in you see the stairs and living room.

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There is a tiny kitchen and even tinyer bathroom just to the left of the stairs.

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Up the stairs you find a loft area that holds a couch that turns into a sleeper sofa if need be.  And a smaller loft area that holds a desk and computer.

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Bedroom and Bathroom #1 (this bathroom has a very nice walk-in shower, not in the picture)

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Bedroom and Bathroom #2

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Where To Go

Once I figured out where we were staying, I needed to figure out what we were going to do!  I knew we would hit the majors…Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Versailles, etc.  just didn’t know if there were better days to go to a particular one, other things to do nearby, that kind of thing.  So after more researching I discovered a travel agency that caters to families!  Ciao Bambino is a travel agency that was created by traveling parents for traveling parents and their kids.  So I thought I would give them a try.  It costs some money to use them, but they contact you, figure out your likes and interests, and create an itinerary for you (with your input and final okay) as well as make reservations for you at your various destinations, send you your tickets if required, and provide you with travel instructions on how to get to your various activities.  SCORE for someone like me who knows nothing about where we are going!  After speaking with our agent a few times, we settled on an ambitious, but fun itinerary for the week.  She has since been available to answer any questions we have had during our trip, so that has been nice and helpful.

How To Get There

You hear everyone talk of how bad the drivers are and parking is in Paris.  So I was nervous about driving here…even though it’s a 4 hour drive from our house.  So I looked up train tickets, and that was going to be about €500 for all of us to ride the train here and back….blech.  I wanted to know how much it would cost to park in Paris for a week.  After researching, I discovered car parks….basically underground secure parking garages where you can store your car.  I found one that was a 10 minute walk from the apartment, had security, and was €120 for the week.  SCORE again!  So I made reservations for the car park, and our car has been parked there since we arrived.  Driving here allowed us to be more free with our luggage and stuff we brought with us. On any future trips, I’m sure we will take the train at some point.

Regarding on-street parking….I will say DONT’T DO IT!!  There is only parallel parking.  All of the streets are tiny and one way.  All the cars are tiny.  And they leave literally inches between your car and theirs.  MyMan and I watched someone leave their space one day, and the method seems to be…pull up until you bump their bumper, turn your wheels and back up until you bump their bumper, and repeat until you have room to get out.  And if you look at the bumpers of 99.9% of the cars here…they all look like crap.  No thank you!

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