Guest Notes for Episode 493: Family, Fun and France

Categories: Family Travel, Paris

Discussed in this Episode

  • Los Angeles
  • Paris
  • south of France
  • Armenia
  • Italy
  • Turin or Torino
  • VoiceMap app
  • Paris Opera Ballet
  • Bastille Opera
  • Palais Garnier
  • World War II walking tour
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Perfumeries in Le Marais
  • 2nd arrondissement
  • Le Marais
  • Saint Germain
  • Opéra
  • Seine River Cruise
  • Saint Germain des Prés
  • Latin Quarter
  • Sorbonne
  • Louvre
  • Soccer stadium
  • Lake Como
  • Lake Garda
  • Switzerland

Traveler Introduction

– Armen Aghaian (he/his), 51, spouse
– Tara Aghaian (she/her), 20, daughter
– Alex Aghaian (he/his), 18, son
– Aleen Aghaian (she/her), 15, daughter
– Travel Dates: June 30-July 11 (12 days)

Journey Overview

This exciting episode covers the second leg of a 6-city family vacation, featuring all first-time visits. The adventure began in Armenia for a cousin’s wedding, then progressed to France, and wrapped up in Italy. Over three weeks, the family visited Rome, Florence, and Milan, where the oldest daughter participated in a Contemporary Dance Workshop in Turin. Family members from Iran and the UK joined the Aghaians at different points, enriching the travel experience with reunions and shared moments.

Key Highlights and Activities

– Nightly Seine River Cruise
– Strolling through Saint Germain-Des-Pres
– Exploring the Latin Quarter and Garden du Luxembourg
– Participating in a baking class and visiting Opera Bastille
– Shopping for vintage items in the 3rd Arrondissement
– Enjoying photo exhibits and performances at Theatre Des Champs-Elysees
– Discovering the delights of the south of France

Accommodation Details

The Aghaians opted for Airbnb apartments in Paris (2nd Arrondissement) and Nice (Les Musiciens). Both apartments featured two bedrooms, two baths, and a sofa bed, plus a full kitchen. The Nice apartment offered more space and was slightly more affordable. Amenities included air conditioning, elevators, and washers/dryers. The decor was beautiful and well-maintained, providing a secure and welcoming environment, far surpassing standard hotel accommodations.

Challenges and Solutions

– Learning to use a French washer/dryer with the help of the A/R Translate app
– Dealing with noisy neighbors and other minor residential challenges

Culinary Experiences

The family adopted a casual dining approach, mostly snacking on the go without formal reservations, enjoying baked goods and local cafes 80% of the time. They experienced exceptional service and quality food everywhere they ate. A highlight was trying the anchovy/garlic dip at Le Safari in Nice.

Transportation and Local Travel

Transportation was meticulously planned with airport/train station transfers booked through Hertz Drive via the Air France site. Within cities, the family used a mix of metro, taxis, ride-sharing services like Uber and Bolt, and walking. Special travel arrangements included TGV and SNCF train bookings for longer trips.

Cultural Interactions and Personal Reflections

The Aghaians quickly felt at home in Paris and Nice, thanks to their approachable demeanor and the local vibe of their cousins. They learned important travel lessons about paying attention to venue times and locations, and not overplanning.

Final Thoughts

The trip was deemed a “trip of a lifetime,” filled with memorable moments and personal discoveries. The family embraced spontaneity, allowing them to fully immerse in the culture and history of each place they visited. Annie’s podcast provided valuable insights, helping them plan and enrich their journey, making travel seem like an enriching investment in life.

“Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.”

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Categories: Family Travel, Paris