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MRM MRM is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Minnesota, USA
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You don't need any French to have a wonderful weekend in Paris. If you are polite and respectful and don't insist on engaging people in conversation in English without knowing whether they want to talk to you, you will get along perfectly. Any time you need help or directions, a polite respectful "excuse me" followed by a pause to see how you will be received seems to be the universal key in Paris for locals to take pity on a traveling Yank and be polite.

Now is a particularly good time for Americans to travel to Paris. 2018 was the centenary of the 1918 armistice, so there have been a lot of Americans and Commonwealth tourists visiting the country and there was a lot of public education about the war. There seemed to me to be a genuine appreciation for the American contribution to the war effort and some of that spilled over to people being nice to us because we were Americans.

If you're going for just a few days, stay as close to the center of town and walk as much as possible. I stayed at the Hotel Notre Dame St. Michel, right across from Notre Dame Cathedral, and it was perfect. Easy walk to the Louve, a doable walk to Musee d'Orsay. Just down the street from Shakespeare & Co and the Latin Quarter. https://hotelnotredameparis.com/en/ Ask if you can get one of the top floors with a skylight. They have a view of Notre Dame and the river.

A couple of suggestions. The Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre are must-sees. The Louvre is so big you can get overwhelmed and waste the day wondering if you're not careful. If you have a plan and an idea of where the things you want to see are, you can really have a nice time there. The restaurant there is very nice. Not too expensive for a nice lunch and very nice for dinner. But also see the Rodin Museum. It's in his old estate and has a sculpture garden in the back yard of the mansion. Napoleon's Tomb and the French military museum are great if you want a little historical stop. As you walk the streets be on the lookout for little plaques that have a name, a birth date the legend "Mort pour la France" and a date of death some time between 1939 and 1940. They are commemorations to Resistance fighters who were killed by the Nazis. You can stop and Google the names and learn a little about each person. If you want a really fun, historical dinner, go to Le Procope. It's reputed to be the oldest restaurant in Paris and is famous for having Napoleon's hat. He apparently left it to secure his bill one evening and it has been on display ever since. It's also the restaurant that Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams and the other American diplomats ate at when they were trying to get French support for the Revolutionary war. There are plaques by each of their favorite tables.
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