This will be our 3rd 5 week stay in Paris.
Dahlia’s objective is to reinforce her Parisian accent.
Les’s Objective is to refine his portfolio of Paris images.
This Paris blog will consist of a number of sections each some 7days long.
SYDNEY TO PARIS TRAVEL REVIEW.
A) Overall Itinerary. Sydney to Paris. London to Svalbard. Svalbard to Sydney.
Booked with Scandinavian Airlines, long haul flights business, regional flights economy.
Sydney to Paris Sectors.
i) Could not check in online on the SAS or Thai air websites.
Sydney -Bangkok with Thai air. 9hr30m, on time. Service on ground: Vgood. Service in Air: excellent. Food: vgood; seat pitch and sleeping; vgood. Sydney lounge is Air New Zealand lounge: good.
Bangkok –Copenhagen SAS. 11hr. On time. Service in air: good. Food: average. Seat pitch and sleeping: excellent. Bangkok lounge is Thai air lounge: average and crowded.
Copenhagen-Paris: economy. 2hr. On time. Service in air average. Seating pitch 30” (my estimate). Must pay for all food and drinks including water.
Arrived at Charles De Gaulle terminal 1. Baggage came out fast. Decided to get TGV (RER B) to Gare du Nord and then taxi to apartment in Rue Mazarine on left bank. Long lines at Charles de Gaulle rail ticket counter, so purchased tickets from automatic ticket machines using credit card. Cost 8.70 Euro and was easy.
Caught express train to Gare du Nord. It was a long way to taxis rank and difficult with luggage. The streets of Paris were crowded and the taxi took 40min to Rue Mazarine. Total cost for 2 persons from airport to apartment was 43 Euro. If one had a lot of luggage like us, it would be much quicker and less hassles to catch a taxi from airport costing around 50Euro. Without luggage one could get the RER train from the airport to St Michel (takes about 30min) and walk remaining distance for a cost of 8.70 Euro per person.
Our Apartment Location.
We stayed in a one bedroom apartment on the left bank in Rue Mazarine Saint Germain des Pres arrondissement 6, see map fig1. It is an ideal location, being some 500m from the Seine. It is then a short walk over the foot bridge des Arts to the Louvre. In the opposite direction it is 20m to Le Buci with all the open air cafes, another 200m to the Boulevard St Michel and the Odeon metro. In the other diagonal direction it some 600m to the Pont Neuf and the St Michel metro and the Latin Quarter. A little further along the Seine is the Notre Dame Cathedral. So this location is well situated to be part of the Cafe scene.
The First Six Days in Paris.
i) Purchased a monthly pass for the metro from the Odeon metro ticket officer. This cost 62 Euro per person for Paris and suburbs (zone 1 and 2) and required a passport photo.
ii) Went to the Louvre at 9:30am and joined the large queue through security at the pyramid. Bought a year’s pass from the friend of the Louvre office down the hall from the ticket machines. Cost 45 Euros per person, a passport photo and a Paris address. This allows access to a number of Louvre entrances available only to ticket holders with short or no queues. See figure 3. Considering a single visit cost 14 Euro this is a great buy and provides much less hassles. It also provides 25% discount to other museums e.g. The Musee D’Orsay. Went into the Louvre for an hour: It was jammed packed.
Went three more times to the Louvre, each time for an hour. On the third time when it was not so busy went to see the Mona Lisa. See fig4.
Walked the streets to reconnect with our old haunts and favourite local restaurants. Of 5 restaurants one had closed, two were under renovations, one had lost the plot, and the other was average.
For breakfast we got a baguette and tart from Pauls or one of the cake shops in Le Buci. For dinner bought some fruit and cheese or meats from a delicatessen in Rue de Buci or Rue Dauphine. Our main meal is at lunch where we sample various restaurants. At lunchtime, the service is fast and friendly, much cheaper than dinner, and for the most part we don’t have to book.
iii) Went to the Musee D”Orsay, to see the Manet exhibition, and the Gauguin, Monet and Van Goph sections. Had lunch at the D’Orsay restaurant, with its great ambiance and excellent food, fig5 &6. Used our Louvre card to get 25% discount, and once inside bought a ticket for the future so can enter via ticket holder door and avoid long queues.
iv) Walked to the Marais via Notre dame, and bought some fromage de Campagne a soft farm style cheese (which is hard to find) from the small cheese shop Pascal Beilleuaise near the St. Pauls metro. Then walked down to old Jewish quarter, had coffee at The Philosopher, and lunch at the small Italian restaurant Alivi on Roi de Sicilie, expensive but good, just as we remembered from our last Paris stay.