I enjoyed reading everyone’s trip reports so much that I am determined to do the same for others.
Our 1040 flight arrived a little early. We breezed through customs with no wait at all. Walked out and immediately spotted the Orange kiosk. The 2 ladies there were so fantastic and accommodating. They set up both my husband and my phones with the Holiday SIM cards so we had working phones with data within 5 minutes of landing. I asked the Orange ladies about the tourism desk and they pointed me in the right direction which was a 30 second walk away. At the tourism desk, I stood in line for about 2 minutes to obtain two 4 day museum passes. While she was retrieving the, I noticed a sign about metro tickets and remember reading on TA that these tickets could be purchased here as well. I bought 2 carnets of tickets, one for adults and one for children (we are here with our 11 yr old daughter and 8 yr old son). The whole process took about 5 minutes. We walked outside and I did not see any signs for the taxi ranks. I asked a gentleman who was sweeping the floor but I could not understand him (my French is VERY limited) so he spoke to another passenger sitting nearby who then told me I needed to go to gate 10. We found gate 10 and saw the taxi sign. There were approximately 10 men standing about and one man approached us asking if we needed a taxi. I asked if he could take credit card and he said yes. I showed him the address and he brought over another man stating that this would be our driver. I asked the man to confirm “55 euros to the Left Bank, correct?”. He said “no, it is more on the weekend”. And then I knew we were not at the official taxi rank. But they were all standing RIGHT outside the taxi rank. I walked over to the cars with the trunks open and the drivers standing outside of the car (the attendant was not there but came back as I was speaking to one of the gentlemen). I confirmed that we were now in the right place and off we went to our hotel (in the taxi, the meter was right on his rear view mirror and it clearly showed 55.00€).
30 minutes into our trip and already information gained on TA has paid off in spades!!
We arrive at our hotel in the 5th at 1145. Our room was not yet ready so we headed out to gather lunch for a picnic. At the farmer’s market at Place Maubert we bought fruit and a whole roast chicken. Then, we grabbed an assortment of cheeses from Fromaggerie Laurent Dubois and croissants from L’Maison de Isabelle (voted 2018 #1 croissant au beurre in Paris. And while I have nothing to compare it to, I can assure you that it was amazing!). Lastly, a baguette tradition, a baba au rhum, & a pain au chocalat and tarte au framboises from Peter Kaiser was procured. On the corner was a bank so we used the cash machine to obtain euros.
While we were shopping for the other items, my son ate the entire baguette so we had to go back by Peter Kaiser for a second one. Then, we walked over to Luxembourg Gardens to have our picnic and let the children play in the playground (I believe it cost 2€ each) and they had a blast! My hubs and I sat outside the play area and ate our fill of cheese, bread and chicken.
After the gardens, We walked up Rue Bonaparte with the plan to go up to the Seine but the husband and children were in need of a break and it had begun to drizzle so they went back to the hotel while I continue on to LV where I picked up a bag for a friend (who is paying me back! I’m not THAT good of a friend ;) and a Diwali for a scarf for me. It had continued to drizzle while I shopped but it was such a small amount that I was ok with just my sweater and hat. I was talking to my husband on the phone while walking without really knowing where I was going when I can upon my first glimpse of the Seine and Notre-Dame. They did not disappoint. I went back to the hotel and we got ready for dinner. We walked down to Shakespeare and Company where both my children picked out books and the store stamped them. We walked across Pont au Double to the square in front of Notre Dame. The bells were chiming making for a rather lovely moment.
We walked on to the restaurant, La Cuisine de Philippe, where we had 7:30pm reservations. Although we arrived at 7pm (they had just opened and we were the first in the door), we were welcomed by 2 very friendly servers. Philippe came out in his tall white chef’s hat and welcomed us before the restaurant quickly filled up. We proceeded to have an amazing meal. I had the lobster and crab soufflé followed by the peppercorn hanger steak in a cognac sauce served with the most amazing potatoes and finished my meal with a Caramel Soufflé. The hubs had the terrine of foie gras with dried figs and smoked duck followed by duckling roasted in honey and Grand Marnier soufflé to finish. My 11 yr old had my favorite entree of the evening...poached eggs in a wine sauce with bacon, mushrooms and pearl onions, and for dessert, she had the dark chocolate soufflé. My 8 year old son ate half my Caramel soufflé and the packet of pretzels I bought him on the way home (lol. He is still super picky). We finished the meal with glasses of port then fell into our beds at 10pm and slept for 9.5 hours!