Monday, June 22, 2009

Blogging our France trip

If you happen to have this address to follow our trip in france, I have been blogging at a different address


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Kara found this great site.
It has all different locations with succinct details on each page

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Most Parisians, I know, never visited the Catacombs (spelled Catacombes in French). I never did when I lived there. I finally visited them and I have to say it is truly unique. I recommend strongly touring the Catacombs.

This is one of the rare tourist attractions in Paris, where for just a few seconds you wonder if engineers have studied the place. They must..right...

A brief history:
The origin starts at the end of the XVIII century. After being used for 10 centuries the cemetery of the "Innocents" was starting to become a health hazard in this Paris neighborhood. After much complaining by the Parisians, the state decided to use old quarries (created when Paris needed raw materials) to store the bodies. After receiving the appropriate blessing, the "move" began on 7 April 1786 and continued at night until 1788. This "move" was orchestrated by surpliced priests carrying the tombs full of bones, covered with black veils, while singing the prayer for the dead (In French, l'office des morts). Then this process continued until 1814 with the bones of all other Parisian cemeteries. It is evaluated that 6 millions people rest in the catacombs.

France: Paris attractionPractical Information: map
Address: Catacombes de Paris
1, avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy
75014 Paris
Métro et RER B: Denfert-Rochereau
Closed on Monday and Holidays.
Opened from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00AM to 5:00PM (access available until 4:00PM)

Guided visits/tours (duration 1h30):
Tuesdays at 10:30AM and Saturdays at 3:00PM

For tall people watch your head or you will hit it on the ceiling (in some spots).
If you visit the Catacombs of Paris, please remember to respect the sanctity of it. The Catacombs will continue to exist for 100s of years if we all do.

When you get out of the subway at " Denfert-Rochereau" it is hard to find. Do not hesitate to ask (do not give up...).

Paris Museum Pass

ak_mama said...

ok. the way this pass works is once you put a date on it you have exactly 2 (or 4 or 6) days. which means you should only activate it first thing in the mornng to give yourself a full day. it looks like if you are gonna hit the louvre, versailles, arc de triumph, and notre dame, these alone would make the 2 day worth your while. BUT you've only got 2 days to see it all!! therein lies the catch. also, some of theses places don't charge anything unless you want to climb to the top of them which seems like it would be really cool, or if you want a tour. so if you didn't want to do that, some are totally free to begin with. sorry, i'm long winded. hope this helps someone!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jen's Paris Itinerary - Subject to change OBO

Tuesday 16th travel to paris

Wednesday 17th Hotel (1pm?), Catacombs??? (10am-4pm) Rick Steves Historical self guided walking tour of Paris ending at Notre Dame (5:45pm Vespers)

Thursday 18th Giverny-Versialles Tour(9am-6:30pm)
(Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées and Eiffle tower at night)

Friday 19th Sacre Coeur (7am), Eiffle Tower (9am), Siene Cruise (12:30-2:45),

Saturday 20th Travel to Provance

July 1-5 Florance

July 6th ???

July 7-8 Cinque Terre

July 9th-17th ???

July 18-19 Venice

July 20th Fly out of Paris

Sacre Coeur

Coleen said...

Set on the highest point in Paris (420 feet), the Sacre-Coeur (sacred heart) Basilica has a panoramic view of the city. The Roman-Byzantine-looking structure took 44 years to build (1875-1919). For an unobstructed view, climb 260 feet up the spiral stairs to the top of the dome.

The church is open daily from 7am-11pm and is free. Climbing to the dome is 5E.

Take the Metro to the Anvers stop. If the 'funicular' is open, a metro ticket buys your way of so you can avoid the stairs.

Closer, but less scenic is the Abbesses stop. You still have to hike up to the church.

My friend Louise loves this place. It's in the Montmartre neighborhood that also includes such sights as Moulin Rouge (kind of a 'red light' area) and a flea market (Puces St. Ouen closed Tue-Fri).


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cooking Class in St Remy 6/29

Please see below for details on the cooking class that is available through the place we're staying in St. Remy. Mom said she wants to do it, as do Brenna and I. I'll ask him to move the class up so that we're not late for our train back to Paris. If anyone else wants to do it, email David Carpita or try to register through the website.

The morning classes normally start at 9 am and finish with lunch by 2 pm. We could move that up by ½ to 1 hour if that would suit your schedule better.

We need a minimum six persons for the class which costs, 150 euros per person. If ten persons enroll, a group rate of 140 euros per person applies. This is inclusive of the class, recipes and lunch with wine included.

Classes and recipes are in English.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

With best regards,

David Carpita

Seasons of Provence Cooking School and
Mas de Cornud Country Inn
Petite route des Baux
13210 Saint Rémy de Provence, France
Tel 33 4 90 92 39 32 Email:

Websites: and

"Every man has two countries - his own and France"

Musee D'Orsay

The Musee d'Orsay houses French art of the 1800s and early 1900s, picking up where the Louvre's art collection leaves off. It houses the best general collection anywhere of Impressionists Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Gauguin.

Hours are 9:30am-6pm Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat/Sun; 9:30am-9:45pm Thu; closed Mon.

Prices are 8E over 30, 5.50E 18-30 years, free under 18; 5.50E for everyone after 4:15pm.

Entrance A is for people who need to buy tickets. Entrance C is for people who have their tickets or a pass.

Looks like it's about a 10 minute walk from the Beaugency.


Coleen said...

I know Mom wants to go to Monaco.




ak_mama said...

oh my gosh I'd love to go snorkeling!! I think I heard of a place on the coast that has great where was that??...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Carcassonne 6/28

Margaret said...

um...this looks wonderful :) what is there to do here??

Coleen said...

This site has a concise little overview of the city.

Lavandar Fields of Provance

Margaret said...

ok, i'm excited about the lavendar fields....but this tour sounds like a LOT of lavander...could we do something like this on our own that wouldn't be so follow the touris leader??

Minibus from Avignon
60.00 Euro/adult and child
5 hour tour, conducted in English and French
Drive along picturesque road through lavender fields to Sault, lavender capital. Free time in Sault or Roussillon to wander and do shopping in lavender shops. You will appreciate the lavender : essence, flowers, honey... Drive to Coustellet across lavender fields and small picturesque villages : St Jean, Lioux, GORDES (free visit). Visit of the LAVENDER Museum in Coustellet, where you’ll learn everything about lavender (video, exhibition and shop).
From June 4 to August 15 Available Mon,Tue,Wed,Thu,Fri,Sat,. Departure at 2:00PM Pick-up and drop-off at your hotel in Avignon.

Criuse on the Seine

We have tickets!!! Friday June 19th, 64 Euro apiece. I paid for it on my credit card, I will accept reimbursement in Euros!!!

In addition to the classic cruise, you will have lunch on board while visiting Paris. A piano bar makes the atmosphere cool and nice. Reservation is compulsory, so do it now!
Departure Time: 12.30 p.m. everyday, return at 2.45 p.m
Tour in English and French
Menu for the Bateaux Parisiens
Bateaux Parisiens Cruises Menu

Starters (choose one)
Pan-fried Burgundy snail and spinach fritters with basil and port Mediterranean prawn parcel with tomato compote and reduced balsamic vinegar
Duck foie gras, roast peach chutney and raisin bread
Thick-cut smoked salmon with Southern spices, potato mousse and caraway vinaigrette Creamed sweetcorn cappuccino, smoked bacon chunks and salted popcorn

Main Dish (choose one)
Pan-fried duck breast, light dried fruit polenta and caramelized spices Arctic char with lime, aubergine crumble
Thick-cut roast lamb, crunchy potato and cep mushroom parmentier, baby onion gravy Leek roll, pan-fried scallops and fennel cream
Pan-fried five-peppered beef, courgettes fried in olive oil and carrot compote Fillet of pork with black olives, gravy, served with potato and hazelnut gratin Vegetable medley and parmesan tuile*

Cheese plate
Desserts (choose one)
Chocolate melt filled with a raspberry coulis, pan-fried red fruit tuile
Dacquoise biscuit with pineapple, peppermint coulis
Religieuse pastry with Nutella®, an old childhood favourite
Pastry strip with figs and almond cream
Apple cooked in butter, iced Isigny cream flavoured with Calvados

Mineral water, Coffee White wine (1 bottle for 3 people), Red wine (1 bottle for 3 people)

Notre Dame

Nana said...

I would like to go to vespers on June 30th, when we are staying in the hotel near Notre Dame.

Coleen said...

Mom is interested in going to a Vespers service. They are every day at 5:45pm.


Cathedral is open every day of the year from 8 A.M. to 6:45 P.M. (7:15 on Sat/Sun). English tours on Wed/Thur at 2 P.M. and Sat at 2:30 P.M. Access is free of charge. Notre Dame is a few blocks from the Hotel Saint Louis.

The site of the Notre dame is the cradle of Paris and has always been the religious center of the city. The Celts had their sacred ground here, the Romans built a temple to worship Jupiter. A Christian basilica was built in the 6th century and the last religious structure before the Notre-Dame construction started was a Romanesque church. Contstruction started in 1160 and was not completed till 1345!!! According to legend, de Sully had a vision of a glorious new cathedral for Paris, and sketched it in the dirt outside of the original church. To begin the construction, the bishop had several houses demolished and had a new road built in order to transport materials for the rest of the cathedral.

The Palace of Versailles

Nana said...

Since Thursday seems to be the best day to visit of our days in Paris, I would like to go on Thursday.

Jen Agrees :)

Sounds like there are 4 different parts to Versailles: the palace, the gardens, the Trianon, and Marie-Antoinette's estate. The Palace is open every day except Monday, 9 A.M. to 6:30 P.M.
The gardens are open every day. The Trianon (2 smaller chateaux) are open every day from 12 noon to 6:30 P.M. as is Marie-Antoinette's estate. Tickets for the palace are E13.50. Tickets to Marie-Antoinette's estate are E9. The gardens are free. A pass to everything is E20 on weekdays and E25 on weekends. This includes the Trianon (that's the only way I could find access to the Trianon) and the Grandes Eaux Musicales (music and fountain event only on weekends). Under 18 are free to everything. Tickets can be purchased online.
Best days to go are Wed, Thur and Sat.
You can take the RER train from Paris and walk 8 minutes to Palace, or take the 171 bus from Pont de Sevres metro station and be dropped off just opposite the Palace.

Versailles is perhaps the world's most famous palace. From 1682 until the revolution in 1789, it was the capital of France. It was a showcase of French artistry on a scale never before (or since) attempted. Laurel said they road horses through the hallways!!! See Louis XIV's bedroom, and Louis XVI's grotto in the gardens, even Marie Antoinette's private rooms where she could escape the constant public gaze.

Louvre Museum
Coleen said...

I've been there so probably won't do this one again. However, it's a great museum with more than just pictures! For instance, I wouldn't have missed Venus de Milo. Plan on spending a day there, and map out where you want to go before you get there. There's way too much to see.
It's open from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. every day except Tuesday. On Wed and Fri it's open until 10 P.M. Some exhibits are closed on certain days and hours, so check out the website.
Tickets are E9 for permanent collections, E9.50 for temporary collections (Hall Napoleon) or E13 for both. (Permanent collection tickets are less for Wed/Fri evenings - E6 starting at 6 P.M.)
Access by Metro is at the Palais-Royal-Musee du Louvre station.

Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées

Eiffel Tower

Coleen said...

The Eiffel tower (or tour eiffel) has 3 floors, so the price varies by which floor you're going to and how old you are (under 25 is the lesser price).
If you take the elevator, the second floor is E8/E6.40; top is E13/E9.90. You can only get to the first floor (this is not actually at ground level) by taking the stairs, and there's no charge. To get to the second floor by stair is E4.50/E3.50.
It's open 9 A.M. to midnight every day and has a beautiful view. (Go to the top)
It's near the Beaucency Hotel. I plan on picnicking on the lawn in the evening to see it all lit up.
It has a couple of restaurants and cafes. Liam liked their chocolate waffles!

Margaret said...

ummm...i'm in :D but on the site we went to it said the it was like 150 euros...whered you find your prices?? (cuz yours are so much better!!) haha

Coleen said...

Here's the website:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009