Transcript for Episode 257: Inspiration for a Successful Multi-Generational Trip to Paris

Categories: Family Travel, Paris

Discussed in this Episode

  • Museum fatigue [9:24]
  • Musée de l'Orangerie [10:41]
  • Decorative Arts Museum (Musée des Arts Décoratifs) [12:05]
  • Musée des Arts Forains [13:14]
  • Petit Palais [24:32]
  • Circus Bakery [25:52]
  • Compagnie Française des Poivres et des Épices [29:09]
  • Tuileries Festival [33:45]


Annie Sargent 0:00
This is join us in France Episode 257. Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and join us in France is a podcast where you’ll hear pragmatic advice for your next trip to France. Hopefully you get inspired to go beyond Paris and enjoy the rest of France too. But today we stay in Paris with my guest, Maren Gregerson. And we talked about her five day trip to Paris that included three generations. They came to Paris with grandparents who enjoyed an afternoon nap, a couple with a nine year old who needed to engage in child friendly activities and a childless couple who wanted to enjoy the Paris nightlife. How did they make all of that happen? Maren tells us all about it in a minute.

Annie Sargent 0:49
Join us in France is a listener supported podcast, both in terms of financial support and for guests selection. I believe you regular traveler have a lot to contribute and if you have a good idea for a new podcast episode, email You’ll find the episode page for this show. And the guest notes at the number 257

Annie Sargent 1:48
Bonjour Maren and welcome to join us in France!

Maren Gregerson 1:52
Thank you. I’m so happy to be here.

Annie Sargent 1:54
How are you today?

Maren Gregerson 1:56
I’m doing great, excellent.

Annie Sargent 1:58
So today we are going to be talking about a multi generational trip you took to Paris. And the difficultie that come with doing a big trip like this with several generations and all of that and different families, I guess, in a way, give us the lay of the land in bed who was on this trip with you?

Maren Gregerson 2:22
Yeah. So originally, my husband and I, and we have a nine year old daughter. We’re planning on going to Paris, and we were starting to plan it. And my father, one day casually mentioned that my mom had never been to Paris, and he hadn’t been since the 70s.

Maren Gregerson 2:43
About a week later, he’s like, I think we’re gonna come with so we were, you know, we’ve traveled with my parents to Disney World and that sort of thing. So we thought fine, but my dad is a very even Stephen, very fair question.

Maren Gregerson 3:00
And so he was like, you know, if we’re coming as a Christmas gift, we will purchase the plane tickets. But if we do that we were also going to make sure that your brother and sister in law are also invited.

Annie Sargent 3:14
Oh, wow.

Maren Gregerson 3:14
So what started as a small family trip that my immediate family was planning suddenly expanded to my brother and sister in law who we have never traveled with, or spent more than a day with mom. And then my parents as well. And so we…

Annie Sargent 3:35
So you had age spans. Your parents are, how old more or less?

Maren Gregerson 3:42
My parents are in their 70s my brother and sister in law are in their 40s. And then my husband and I, and we have our nine year old

Annie Sargent 3:50
Yeah, okay. Very good. All right. So So this trip expanded, and who ended up doing most of the trip Planning?

Maren Gregerson 4:01
Well, because I think each individual joined at their own time. And because we don’t travel with my brother and sister in law very often, or ever, we all did our own trip planning. So I know what works for my family. And I know that traveling with my father, for instance. He has a he’s very, he enjoys what he enjoys, and he’s not going to kind of go out of his way to do things that he doesn’t enjoy anymore. He’s just at that stage of life. And I know that he really needs a nap in the afternoon. That’s important for him and physically, there are certain things that he’s not comfortable doing anymore, right. So they, you know, they planned kind of their trip in the way that they were most comfortable, which means they met with a travel agent, and they booked most of their travel plans through travel agent only felt most comfortable with. And then you know, they read the Rick Steves books and they talk to their friends who are of a similar age about what they did.

Maren Gregerson 5:10
Whereas my husband and I are museum professionals. So we worked in museums a long time. So we talked to our other Museum, professional friends, and there are certain things that we like to do. And we also have a nine year old, so we have to be really cognizant of what works for them.

Maren Gregerson 5:30
And then my brother and sister in law, like about a month or two before I think they just went on a bunch of blogs and Instagrams and they made their own travel itinerary and about a week before they shared it with us.

Annie Sargent 5:44
Okay, so maybe you you guys met like at breakfast and at dinner or one or the other? Okay?

Maren Gregerson 5:51
Yep. Usually on the first night, the first day we spent together when we landed and my dad had booked a car. Which was something I would never have done. But it was amazing to have someone after a long trip, meeting you there and I’m pretty comfortable in large cities, but getting out of Charles de Gaulle Airport seems a bit of a nightmare in a car.

Annie Sargent 6:19
Well, if you’re going to drive it yourself, it’s it can be but there’s, you know, there’s plenty of taxis and there’s for people who want to go to cheap there’s public transportation. Yeah, yeah, yeah. driving it yourself. Yes, yes. I wouldn’t recommend people land in Charles de Gaulle and then drive into the city that right themselves that…

Maren Gregerson 6:40
It it had been just my family, we probably would have taken public transportation or a taxi. But we had we then arrived and got checked in at our hotel and again, hadn’t been just our family. I had several Airbnb us that we were going to stay at but when my dad joined Airbnb or not something his specific generation or it may be just him are comfortable with. So he booked us into a really lovely hotel called Hotel Melia Notre Dame, which is basically about a block from the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Okay. And it was just a really lovely small hotel again, nothing we would have chosen ourselves but happy to stay there. My dad made my dad comfortable.

Annie Sargent 7:26
Was it noisy? was also we’re all three couples there in this hotel.

Maren Gregerson 7:31

Annie Sargent 7:32
Okay. And and was because not very far from Shakespeare and Company. It could be noisy, was it or not?

Maren Gregerson 7:39
No, it wasn’t noisy at all. It was a block off that main drag. And that just that block off, no one ever turned down our street. And it was, it was there was a little construction going on during the day but we weren’t there.

Annie Sargent 7:55
Right, right. Okay, well, that’s good. That’s good. Okay, so I’ll I’ll look it up. And maybe Put it as a would you recommend this hotel to two other travelers?

Maren Gregerson 8:04
I would absolutely I mean, I don’t know, like if I could afford it myself, but it was a lovely hotel. And mainly the staff were just amazing. So like if we had come in after a day out, and we would stop and grab a bottle of wine before dinner, just to have in the lobby, and as we walked in, you know, the staff would immediately follow us with a corkscrew, and they just kind of anticipated all of our needs, and we’re incredibly kind and they had a candy jar that changed candy every day. So Eliza, my daughter was thrilled.

Annie Sargent 8:41
That’s great. All right. So and how many days did you stay in Paris?

Maren Gregerson 8:44
We were there for five days. Okay. And then we continued on to England and my brother went to Amsterdam and my mom and dad went to Normandy,

Annie Sargent 8:52
okay. And you feel that was an adequate number of days to spend in Paris.

Maren Gregerson 8:58
Yeah, I think for our for me What a month have been wonderful. Yes. But yeah. Five days was perfectly I wouldn’t have wanted to do any less. Okay. I mean, had we had seven days that would have been amazing. But we had a conference we had to be too. So.

Annie Sargent 9:15
Right. So did so you mentioned that you and your husband Art Museum professionals, does that mean that you went to a lot of museums?

Museum Fatigue

Maren Gregerson 9:24
Yeah, that’s kind of our norm. And I maybe everyone does, but that’s just what we do when we travel. So yes, we go to a lot of museums, that kind of what we tend to center our museums and food tends to be what we center our experiences around. But it also means that we’re really particular about the museum’s that we go to, I don’t go to museums that are just the museums that they tell you. That seems like everyone says I really want to be interested in the contents. I really want to I really like small museums because I don’t think you feel the pressure to I firmly believe as a museum professional, you should never spend more than two hours in a museum. In one in one go just because you get museum fatigue. And it’s exhausting. And then what’s what you started off being like, I love this place by like our three, you start hating it, you’re tired and your feet hurt. So we really wanted to go to museums that that you felt were kind of doable in an hour or two that had something that interested all three of us.

Annie Sargent 10:32
So I assume you didn’t go to the Louvre?

Maren Gregerson 10:34

Annie Sargent 10:35
Okay. Did you go to the Orsay?

Maren Gregerson 10:37
No, no. So

Annie Sargent 10:38
Which ones did you go to?

Orangerie Museum

Maren Gregerson 10:41
I wouldn’t lie. I think I would love to go to the Orsay. And obviously, the Louvre is my brother went to the Louvre. And obviously I would like to go at some point. Yeah, but for this trip, we went to the Musee de l’Orangerie

Annie Sargent 10:57
OK, l’Orangerie. Yeah.

Maren Gregerson 11:00
And I think that was outstanding, because, first of all, it was August. And we didn’t wait in any lines for any of our museums. But that one was really beautiful because in the morning, it was quiet. There were very few people there. And we could really kind of take in art is I think it was meant to be seen as like a sanctuary to the city. But then also what was really lovely about it was, that was one of the few museums that we saw that had a designated children’s area. And that was lovely for Eliza to be able to go and draw for a bit, obviously, like we brought her own drawing materials and like scavenger hunts for her, but that was really nice in terms of having a little break for her. So when then,

Annie Sargent 11:48
where do you find the scavenger hunts for her?

Maren Gregerson 11:51
We just make them ourselves. Okay. Okay.

Annie Sargent 11:53
Yeah. And naturally, contrary to what you said, a lot of museums in Paris have an area dedicated to kids. I can’t see all of them do but most of them do.

Decorative Arts Museum

Maren Gregerson 12:05
That’s great. That’s great to hear. Yeah. And so then we went to the museum of decorative arts, which we I just my favorite American Museum is the Cooper Hewitt museum and my favorite London museum is the VNA. Okay. We really like we really liked Design Museum is but because we had come from the Orangerie, we just went for the jewelry collection. Okay. Because my daughter, obviously, like it’s a beautiful like black box room with like, lots of jewels. It’s organized in a really cool way. And their store is really good. I love the museum store.

Annie Sargent 12:45
So this is really important for everybody listening, when you go to a museum, and you’re the professional, but I do go to an awful lot of museums. I think the best way to enjoy a museum is to decide what you want to see there. Before you go. So you go for the jewelry collection or you go for the old instrument collection or whatever it is, you know, that’s a really good way to do this. I think let me what do you what do you think? I mean, this is your job so

Musée des Arts Forains at Bercy

Maren Gregerson 13:14
yeah, I mean absolutely. I think you always want I think always a museum is the best part is being surprised by a collection you weren’t expecting to love. But it is nice to know that like, my my goal, this museum is just to see this and anything else is a cherry on top. Yeah, yeah. Um, but our absolute favorite museum was and I cannot say it in French, no matter how many times I’ve tried. It’s the museum for all

Annie Sargent 13:46
Yeah, so the Musee des Arts Forains. It’s a lovely, lovely place. Very odd actually. It’s a private museum. Which means that it’s never free and it’s not are open all the time like the other one, you know, some of the other ones that we’ve mentioned. They’re like they’re free on the first Sunday of the month or whatever this one is not and is off. Oh, where’s what’s the name of that place that area anyway, it’s not quite in the city center, but it’s easy to get to by bus anyway, I took the bus. I don’t know, there’s probably a metro station, right?

Maren Gregerson 14:25
There’s a metro station

Unknown Speaker 14:27
be the area. It’s the old wine warehouse.

Annie Sargent 14:33
It’s awful. I’ve been there so many times. And I can’t think of the name right now. But who come back to me? And it’s, well tell us tell us what it’s like. Tell us what you experienced.

Maren Gregerson 14:43
Well, first of all, what how we found it. Well, there was a New York Times article about like three small museums for children that people miss. And then we also got a book called like the little museums of Paris. lovely little illustrated book. And so both it was highlighted to them, both of them And my daughter, we let her pick like, everyone got it because there are so many people on this trip, everyone picked one thing that there was their priority.

Maren Gregerson 15:09
And so her priority was going to this museum because in the article, it said that you could write a bunch of carousels. Yes, what she was like, Oh my gosh, that’s amazing. So that was her one thing that she wanted to do in Paris. And so we booked because you have to, because it’s a guided tour experience. You have to book ahead of time. Yes. But they only do English tours, I believe twice a week. And we were not going to be in during August because lots of things are different hours. They we were not going to be there on the weekend. And that’s when they did an English tour.

Maren Gregerson 15:48
Oh, so we did a French tour which was actually 100% fine for us. I speak a little bit of French not well, but the guide. It was Wonderful, I think because so much you could tell through expression. And then they also had a laminated guide in English right when she was done talking, we could kind of skim through and give Eliza what she had missed or if there’s any key things we thought, but it’s also used as a wedding venue or an event when venue which does not surprise me because it’s, it’s wild. And it’s a weird and it’s beautiful. And you go in and it’s it’s really like three or four different collections.

Maren Gregerson 16:30
And it’s a fun museum because it’s basically one man’s vision of, he wanted to preserve the carnival arts of France of when these traveling fairs would go around. So there are different sections of the museum that kind of highlight different collections of his and then he designed them to be kind of an otherworldly festival experience. So there are lots of animatronic old people that like sing songs and then That guide encourages you to like do the waltz in this big ballroom all these animatronic people saying but the most exciting thing is there’s an older carousel that is a bicycle carousel. Yes. bicycles were not everyone could have a bicycle and they were kind of like the new amazing technology. So this way everyone could experience the the joy of riding a bicycle. And so you get on these very old rickety bicycles and there’s lots of safety discussions because you I think you go up to like 30 miles an hour.

Annie Sargent 17:33
Yeah. So they kind of rev you up. I mean, cuz the whole, the whole group is running. This is a People Powered experience. So you hop on a bicycle, and everybody pedals and you can go very far. If you have a lot of strong people on board.

Maren Gregerson 17:54
Little kids are not allowed to pedal and like if you lose your pedal, they like teach you how to like put your feet On so yeah, like, let him go. Yeah, but he goes so fast and it’s so fun. Yeah, it’s just like a really magical weird experience.

Annie Sargent 18:08
Yes. And the whole thing is magical. You know, in French, we say faily it’s like you enter a different world. It’s not. It’s not like something you experience every day and it’s well worth the reservation in advance. And like you said, even if you don’t find a tour in English, I think it’s worth going because the the venue speaks for itself. I mean, it’s so fun, you know, to just be there. And the that now between Christmas and New Year, every year, every attraction in this museum runs. So the rest of the year, it’s just a few things that you can play with. But be true. And the dates I’m not sure of the dates, but I know that it’s like the Christmas holidays for French kids for that whole two week period. It’s Everything runs, so they have enough staff to to have everything. And I really want to go on that time because that would be so much fun to try some of these things that that you. I mean, you can’t, you know, you can’t believe with everything that you said you look at.

Maren Gregerson 19:13
Right now, it was a really lovely time as well, because I think as a tourist, especially in August, you often feel like you are just amongst tourists. And so, you know, you wouldn’t be there as French people that go means most people, it’s all it was all French kids and their nannies or their parents and grandparents. And so it was a lovely experience for Eliza to kind of be more immersed in the culture.

Annie Sargent 19:40
Yeah. Let’s talk about other things that you enjoyed. So you gave me a list of favorites, which has this Musee des Arts Forains which we just discussed. Orangerie which we discussed as well. Did you do the bike tour or was that somebody else in your group?

Maren Gregerson 19:54
So my brother and sister in law their second day, they They went on the bike tour of Versailles and again, we were there.

Annie Sargent 20:06
Was this like a Fat Tire tour or something. It must have been like a

Maren Gregerson 20:09
book. It was a book tour. Yeah, they you take a train there, and then you meet there with like, regular bikes. And so they, because it was the middle of August, like what we had read was that Versailles would be a nightmare. Yeah. So because there’d be so many tourists. And they said that it was but what they loved about it is the majority of the time they were biking around kind of the outskirts area. Yeah. And then they went to they were guided to kind of a, oh gosh, why am I blanking on the word, they were guided to a place it a market to buy all their food for a picnic, and then they sat and had a lovely picnic. And then they did a little bit more bike riding and by that point, the crowd to dispersed a little bit and the guide was able to tell them kind of what rooms wouldn’t be as busy and how to get in without waiting in line. So that was that was hands down their favorite experience because they felt like they got to really enjoy the natural beauty of the area. They got to eat really good food. And then they were able to just see a little little bit of Versailles the actual palace without feeling overwhelmed. Yes. And I think that was why it was their favorite and

Annie Sargent 21:25
right and so you could do the exact same thing without getting a guide. Because you can rent bicycles there if you want. If you exit if you don’t exit through the main door, since you have a bike, you can exit through the other doors. And reentry is not a big deal there. So you can get out on your bike, buy your lunch, come back. And the trick to Versailles, which I’ve explained many times on this podcast, I even did one episode that’s called Versailles yes or no where I give you more details, but the trick is to not Go to the Palais des Glaces. So that’s the, the hall of mirrors what you call it in English. Don’t go until 5pm Okay, if you got 5pm most of the bus people will have left because website is the type of venue where people come by the bus loads and so it’s really really busy so Okay, that’s good to know that they that they enjoyed that that’s that’s very good.

Maren Gregerson 22:30
Yeah so they really enjoyed that thanks to her but then the rest of their time was really spent I think as like, as you would want as a child, someone without children in their 40s they they went to a lot of bars and restaurants that they really enjoyed and had a good time at so that was really kind of their focus. They were the ones that did like the midnight bicycle rides. Or what is that called like those carts that people bike you on?

Annie Sargent 22:57
You know the tuck tuck

Maren Gregerson 22:58
the tak tak so they took a taxi like midnight at the Eiffel Tower one night and you know they enjoy like the late night Paris. Sure,

Annie Sargent 23:06
sure which is which is good. You know why not? Did they give you a list of the restaurants that they liked for the two that

Maren Gregerson 23:15
they really loved was Tiger bar which we had read a lot in like kind of like eater blogs and that sort of thing. It is a I believe the theme of Tiger bar is a they do a lot of rum drinks. And it was beautiful. And they had a great time with the bartenders there. And then their other favorite we went to Luxembourg Gardens and they met us there and I guess there’s a Treize Bakery Paris which is just on the outside of Luxembourg and gardens and they enjoyed gin, the gin there is served in a teapot and then you can mix your own gin cocktails as you sit out and look out over the garden.

Annie Sargent 24:04
Okay, very nice.

Maren Gregerson 24:06
Yeah, that’s what they really enjoyed.

Annie Sargent 24:08
Okay, and what did your parents particularly enjoy?

Maren Gregerson 24:11
So my parents did what I would really call the Rick Steves experience. And so they did things like their favorite was the Musee d’Orasay, and then they joined us for the hop on hop off boat. Taxi

Annie Sargent 24:29
and also you took the Batobus.

Petit Palais

Maren Gregerson 24:32
Yes. So we have done that our second day just to kind of get a lay of the land. And we hopped off, knew the show sleazy. And then we just kind of wandered. And that’s how we kind of stumbled across Le Petit Palais, which was not on our list at all. But again, one of the nice things about not making a huge list is when you stumble upon something that’s free Most importantly, has three bathrooms. What do you take advantage of with the nine year old? were like, well, we’ll just use the restroom and maybe we’ll get a snack. And we ended up it was again. Very few people were there. They had lovely little bits of art that you can but what was really impressive about the petite Palais for us was their courtyard. It was just this very beautiful kind of quiet sanctuary and yes, bustle of the city. Yeah. And they had a lovely cafe. And so we just ate lunch there. And it was it was a great little surprise for us.

Annie Sargent 25:36
Yes, it’s hard to believe that you’re so close to bless the Place de la Concorde which is a madhouse and then you go to party ballet and you know, yeah, it’s so peaceful and lovely. Yes, it’s it’s it’s a fun. That’s a fun one to go to.

Circus Bakery

Maren Gregerson 25:52
Yeah, so that was a lovely kind of stumble upon the other. The other kind of lovely surprise was the circus bakery, which was About two blocks from our hotel and we were just walking down the street and we were overcome with this smell that was just so decadent and delicious. And we popped in but it was pretty late. And so we decided to check it out the next day and I went back to our hotel and googled it. And of course it had just been written up Vogue Paris. And so they’re known for these they really only make two things there that lovely, very boutique bakery where it’s just everything on a butcher board and they make, I think two or three pastries and that’s it. And then coffees.

Annie Sargent 26:37
So what is it called?

Maren Gregerson 26:39
It’s called circus bakery

Annie Sargent 26:40
circus bakery, huh?

Maren Gregerson 26:42
Yeah. And they specialize in these very intricately woven cinnamon rolls and they are so amazing. And there was a line out the door and down the street. When we got back there. The next morning

Annie Sargent 26:59
was most But that line was mostly visitors, right? Yes, yes. Yes. Because I like a one or two item bakery in France. This is not something French people patronize like we we like a French bakeries like where they have a little bit of everything and we can get our favorite thing. But visitors love those. Those, you know, like they just do Macarons or they just do le Merveilleux. Or they just do you know, the cinnamon buns or whatever or the canelets probably or, you know, there’s one for every pastry. But this is touristy. trappy

Maren Gregerson 27:38
If felt very New York City, very Brooklyn.

Annie Sargent 27:39
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But it’s doesn’t mean that it’s bad. It’s just now you know, just No, this is not the French experience. This is more of the Rick Steves experience. Yeah.

Maren Gregerson 27:51
It was lovely. And we enjoyed it. The entire bakery was probably the size of two dining tables. So it’s But it was it was wonderful. And it was a lovely little stop for us. Oh, yeah. And then the other things that we were very nervous being there. We were there because we were going to conference in England. And so dates were, I would not generally have chosen to go to Paris. So he was mid August when a lot of the restaurants that were recommended to me, and a lot of the tours that were recommended to me were closed for the holidays, or for the summer vacation.

Maren Gregerson 28:31
And so we were concerned that maybe the things that were open might be a little subpar, which was absolutely not true. Obviously, like everything we had was great. And we went on a food tour because we really wanted to do food by mouth on which was, I think that’s the name of it food by mouth. There are a couple food tours that we had, that were highly recommended to us, but we ended up finding one online

Annie Sargent 29:00
No you called it originally… on your in your notes you say you went to Saint Germain des Pres Original food tours is what it’s called

Compagnie francaise des poivres et des epices

Maren Gregerson 29:09
that to we took okay. It was a three hour tour there were my mother and my husband and I and our child and then one other family. And it was a three hour walking tour of chocolates and pastries around Saint Germain. And it was so lovely because it was places that we probably wouldn’t have found on our own, just walking down the main drag. But we were able to go in and sample a little of all these different places. Yeah, and one of our favorite places was the Compagnie francaise des poivres et des epices

Annie Sargent 29:10
La compagnie francaise des poivres et des epices. You actually wrote it out for me, so I know what it is. Yes, it’s good.

Maren Gregerson 29:57
It was a wild little experience we walked into into this little courtyard that you would never think there’d be a shopping it in the middle there was a gentleman just playing the accordion, which felt very staged. Sure. But then we went into this little store and it was a store that specializes in making custom spice blends. And they had these amazing different ways that you could sample them and taste them. And it was it was just a really fun little nice experience.

Annie Sargent 30:29
That’s great. And also spices are a good gift take back I think for Yeah, family and friends. Well, your family and friends. We’re right there with you. But yeah, that’s usually a that’s a that’s that’s great. I, you know, for as much as I’ve been to Saint Germain des Pres, this is not one I’ve ever looked into. So I will go

Maren Gregerson 30:47
Yeah, it’s it’s a very neat space. I guess it’s only been open about a year or so. Okay. Yeah. And so that was in general. We, my parents did the Rick Steves stuff so they are They did the hop on hop off bus one day they did Sacre Coeur which is where my mom was almost pickpocketed but I think that’s mainly because they were on these massive tour expeditions and so you know when you’re when you’re surrounded by all people that look like you and have the same outfits and what you look like targets

Annie Sargent 31:26
Well, I know Montmartre it’s really hard. There’s so many big pockets and it’s Montmartre is mostly visitors I mean, honestly for Yeah, that’s why pickpockets are there it’s so many in such great numbers is because they know it’s mostly visitors and some of them you know, they might have looked at your mom and said Oh, she looks like an easy target but maybe she wasn’t so that’s good,

Maren Gregerson 31:49
right? So it was

Maren Gregerson 31:53
that’s what they really enjoyed as they enjoyed the the bigger museums. They want to go back Then the other thing that my mom really loved was the Ile Saint Louis

Annie Sargent 32:04
Ile Saint Louis. Oh, yeah. L’Ile Saint Louis. Yes.

Maren Gregerson 32:07
Yes. And I think because my mom is from a smaller town originally, she lives in Minneapolis now but um, she likes little breaks in the city that feel a little bit more small townie or a little bit more manageable. Yeah. And so she felt like because we could walk there from our hotel, so we walk there and we had ice cream and just kind of in the evening, she enjoyed just kind of walking around there and taking in the architecture and feeling like it wasn’t quite as busy as the rest of the city. Yes, it was. That was her favorite spot.

Annie Sargent 32:42
He Ile Saint Louis is very residential. So but but at the same time, there are a lot of restaurants and bars and things like that. So in the evening, it kind of wakes up a little bit but during the day, it’s very quiet. You know you there’s not a lot of people It’s completely the opposite to Ile de la Cite, which is the next Island over. Ile de la Cite is very, very busy during the day, because a lot of people work there. But then in the evening, it’s quiet. And Ile Saint Louis is the opposite during the day is quiet and the evening it lives livens up a little bit.

Maren Gregerson 33:21
So that was my mom’s favorite. And my dad just really enjoyed coming back to the hotel at five and then going to a local local cafe and just sitting and drinking wine and kind of watching the world go by very nice,

Annie Sargent 33:36
very nice. Yes, sounds great. Are there things that you would do differently next time? I assume you’ll go back to Paris at some point?

Tuileries Festival

Maren Gregerson 33:45
Yeah, I think you know, we really on this one, except for the Arts Forains museum. We stayed pretty close to the main area and I would love are like the center of the city and I would love to To go further out and explore other of the smaller museums further out this thing that we had to run about as like a possible really fun thing to do with kids is we went to the Tuileries festival. So in the middle of the that’s pretty livery there during August is a basically a carnival or we would, we would call them like kind of a county fair here in the US. So yes, you know, there’s rides, there’s games, there’s bad food. And we had told him that after going to the museum of decorative arts, we could go there for a while, right because it is very close. Right? It’s right there. And it was it was not great. Yeah, no.

Annie Sargent 34:50
Yeah, it’s a Campon kind of experience. That’s Yeah. That he’s the guy who put put on The Champs Elysees Christmas market. And he’s been his persona non grata by now with a new mayor of Paris because she thinks all of this stuff is just low quality crappy stuff. But he still he still had a lease to keep doing some of this stuff for several more years. So that’s what you experienced. But I think this is about to not happen anymore. One because Marcel Campon is an old man by now. And, and two because the mayor of Paris doesn’t want to put up with it now there’s gonna be elections, you never know. But hopefully, she’ll keep him away. They’ll whoever is in position in that position will keep him away because it’s just not good.

Maren Gregerson 35:49
It looks I mean, it looks like in photographs like a really delightful experience of like, ooh, like ride big swings like in the middle of the you know, the Tuileries but it’s really low budget like I didn’t want my child on a lot of the rides.

Annie Sargent 36:04
Right? And also he hires all these Blondie Russian girls. You know, they’re, they’re 15-16 and they’re all cute, but no, no, no.

Maren Gregerson 36:20
Avoid that if it’s still happening, and then the other thing that we would do is we would probably had a is making a I know that you can kind of wander into any restaurant but I will say that I would say one of the negative parts of staying where my dad chose is that it was very touristy. Um, yes, I know that there are. So I think a lot of the restaurants really catered to that huge tourist audience, right. So if we had stayed, you know, I was looking at staying in the Marais or in a little bit further and I think maybe you would have been able to wander into restaurants that were a little bit felt a little bit more homey or a little bit more French and not quite as touristy Yeah,

Annie Sargent 37:11
you’re absolutely right. All those all the restaurants that are right around the Shakespeare and Company, bookstore. So within, I don’t know, a quarter mile of there, it’s just touristy restaurants. Yeah. Now there might be one or two there are better than average. But all the ones I’ve been I’ve, and I’ve made the same mistake, like when I’ve stayed in that area. At the end of a long day, you’ve been walking all day and you’re tired and you’re hungry, and you just, I’ll just eat here. It doesn’t matter. And when you go on that wasn’t that great? I mean, it was fine. It’s not like I got sick, but you know, you just don’t want to do that.

Maren Gregerson 37:55
We didn’t have any bad food at all. I just felt like a lot of the places We ended up because we were so tired by the end of the day. We’re close to our hotel and we’re there by a little touristy and I would have loved. If we were to go back I would probably stay in a different area. Because another reason that we stayed there is that it’s very walkable to the major tourist areas. Yeah. And so but because my husband and I have both lived in London, New York, DC, Seattle, we’re very comfortable like the the metro there is super easy to use. Yeah, um, so we would have been very comfortable staying a little bit further out and taking the metro more. Whereas my dad wasn’t so that was another show choice of which is understandable. You know, he’s like 75 he’s, he doesn’t want to have to navigate a new transportation system.

Annie Sargent 38:57
So if you if you just go up the hill a little bit from where you were. So you were right around the Saint Michel metro station, well RER station, it’s a massive station, if you just go up a little bit towards Odeon. There, you have a lot of very nice French restaurants much. I mean, they are still tourists, but they’re much nicer. And you’re just maybe a kilometer away. You know? Yeah. So yeah, you you just happened to be right in the in the middle of the not, you know, like, yeah, food wise, it’s, it’s a bit of a desert there.

Maren Gregerson 39:33
Right. But in general, I think traveling with three generations we were a little nervous about it. We sat down before and had an expectations meeting where everyone kind of went around over dinner and said, What’s the one thing you really want to what are your expectations for this trip? Because that way we could know you know, my dad does want to take a nap every day at two. So like, that’s just what he’s gonna do. And my brother and sister in law, we’re not going to get up Before 9am, like so we see them at breakfast. That’s fine. But then we had our expectations that everyone knew kind of what the one thing they wanted to do while they were there. So we made sure that that happened.

Maren Gregerson 40:15
And so I think what was really fun about that is that when we did come together for dinner or a couple times, we just kind of brought bottles of wine back and had a bottle of wine and cheese or what have you in a lovely hotel lobby area. It was nice because you kind of felt like you had three trips, because you shared what you did that day. And my parents shared what they did. So it felt like you kind of were living vicariously through these different experiences. Yeah, so with a nine year old, we couldn’t go out late at night and experience you know, the midnight Eiffel Tower experience or all the different bars but we heard about them and we saw them on the Instagram feeds as my brother and sister in law. Were walking around. So it was fun because we really did feel like you had a bigger experience. And maybe you did because you were able to kind of follow along with their trips

Annie Sargent 41:08
as well. So did you use the … Did you listen to the podcast at all before you went?

Maren Gregerson 41:13
Yeah, so I listened for about a year, okay. In preparation I listened, um, for about a year, maybe a little bit longer. And I was a part of the Facebook group. So that was super helpful. There were certain ones especially because we were going in August and we were there on a national holiday. And there’s, those are the ones that we that I listened to more than once, once the you know, like a year round. And then as we got closer, I kind of read this into kind of make sure I was remembered. So we listened to the first time in Paris, traveling in August because it really does change the experience. Yeah, I think in some ways.

Maren Gregerson 41:53
The one thing that my daughter said having been we traveled to London afterwards is Her issue with Paris in August was she felt like, there were so many tour groups, and especially at the time we were there, there were a lot of tour groups from what appeared to be Asian countries where there were, you know, maybe 100 people, they all had their headphones on. And some of them could be, you know, just culturally, it was more acceptable to be a little bit more aggressive in terms of pushing in front of you, or wanting to stay as a whole group. But when you wait for 100 people to kind of move past you. It can be a little overwhelming. And so she felt that that was challenging at that time.

Annie Sargent 42:39
Very astute young lady it annoys the heck out of French people too.

Maren Gregerson 42:44
Yeah, so that was hard. But we listened to that. And then the ones on Paris transportation because I’d never been there. We listened to the different ones you had about taking the bus versus the metro versus, you know, Uber and we took all of those and found them all to be equally successful. It was just what, you know, how much time do you have? Where are you going? And we found all we found it to be such an incredibly easy city to get around.

Annie Sargent 43:11
Yeah, Paris is pretty easy to I mean, some people will prefer to take a taxi, others will want to take an Uber, whatever or the metro or the buses or. There’s so many ways to do this. But of course, you’re used to big cities. That’s the thing, you know, people who’ve never been in a big city, it can be a little bit intimidating because it’s all different. Right?

Maren Gregerson 43:37
So like, even going to the train station, my brother and sister in law, were going to the same train station at the same time with us, and we didn’t travel together because I had extra Metro tickets that I wanted to use. And I’m very comfortable taking a suitcase on the metro. And my sister in law was like, No, we’re taking an Uber

Maren Gregerson 43:59
They took an Uber and we took the metro and we met them there.

Annie Sargent 44:03
Yeah, well, that’s the good thing about doing it, the way you did is that you were in the same hotel, which is a good idea because then you can meet up after you know, at the end of the day or first thing in the morning or whatever. And but you all had different experiences and on your guests notes that you sent me, I will put that up so people can see all the details of what the different age groups did, because I think that’s fascinating to see. You know, what, what do people do, I mean, as they as they get older, or with a kid or whatever, it’s a, it makes a big difference.

Maren Gregerson 44:38
And I think it made everyone a lot happier. Everyone, it’s only five days, you don’t have a lot of time to experience a large city and it’s a really special trip. So you want to make sure that everyone is is getting the most out of their experience. And for some people that might be together time for some people that might be we want to be together the whole time because that’s what that’s going to make good experience. For my family that wasn’t it everyone kind of wanted to see what they wanted to see and see in a way that they were most comfortable with and then meet back together and that was really special for us and then everyone really got to kind of experience Paris in the way that suited them the best.

Annie Sargent 45:17
Well Maren, you have been not not Maren Maren right? Yes, sorry about that. You know, these the vowels in English? I mean, some of them I don’t know how to say them. So anyway, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing all this great great stuff with everybody. I I think it’s invaluable to hear how people trips went that’s why I keep doing this is because that’s, that’s the real skinny, you know, that’s the real stuff.

Annie Sargent 45:52
That because, you know, you say you said your brother read all these blogs, and they’re wonderful travel writers who write beautiful blogs. And, and they don’t really tell it like it is. You know, they, yeah, they’re good writers. Let’s put it this way. So. So I would much rather to talk to somebody like you just says, you know, this was good and this was not so good.

Maren Gregerson 46:16
Yeah, and I really appreciate it. We listened to so many podcasts of other people’s trips to kind of prepare ourselves. So thank you so much. Thank you.

Annie Sargent 46:25
Merci beaucoup. And I hope you come back to France at some point and maybe next time, you need to not stay in Paris, and just go see some other places.

Maren Gregerson 46:35
Absolutely. I’d love to.

Annie Sargent 46:38
Thank you very much, missy. Thank you joy to Susan Gilbert. I would say in French I’m not sure if she says Gilbert, probably it’s Gilbert, right. Anyway, Susan. I’m sorry if I butchered it. Michael groves, Danielle Kiessling, Sheridan and jam Clemson. Jennifer guru when key and Leslie Harrington for pledging to support the show on Patreon this week, you make me feel like the show is worth something to you. And that’s a great feeling. patrons enjoys several rewards including membership into a secret Facebook group lunch break French, where you get to test your French comprehension, which is the most difficult part of learning a language because you could do dual lingo for the rest of your life and still not be able to understand what a real French person is saying to you. The French history brief, and patrons can also hire me to be their trip consultants.

Annie Sargent 47:39
This week, I published two of my favorite photos of France for the friends photography buffs, which is also one of the rewards one is the tool the law should you Paladin icta that Sadly, many people miss because they don’t know that they should be looking up and there’s so many things to look at in Paris. They just Yeah, they didn’t know it was there. The second is a great point of view towards the village of Sensi club up in occidental in my neck of the woods, one of the most beautiful villages of France. I care a lot about my patrons and I tried to give you excellent value for your five bucks, visit forward slash join us to see the different reward tiers and thank you so much for giving back.

Annie Sargent 48:28
My thanks also to Melissa Jacob for sending in a one time donation using the green button on any page on join us in France calm that says tip your guide donations of $20 and over also get you an invite to the secret Facebook group.

Annie Sargent 48:44
And if you’d like to support the show without spending a penny you wouldn’t have otherwise. Before you go shopping on Amazon, go to the bottom of any page on join us in France calm and click on the Amazon ad because You came to Amazon through my site, I get a small commission, and it doesn’t cost you a penny more. And as Black Friday and Christmas giving season approach that click on the Amazon banner ad could help me pay for the hosting for this podcast for several months. So I’m grateful for those of you who will remember to do it.

Annie Sargent 49:21
Roselyn grace wrote a wonderful review of my my tour on Facebook. You can walk my tours with the voice map app, and it’s like I’m in your pocket taking you around Paris, and for a very small cost to Anyway, here’s what Rosalyn wrote Annie Sargent, thank you so much for the personal tour. today. We did the voice map tour of the mahai. And although we had already walked around this area, some our eyes were opened yet again to the little details we didn’t see the first time. I loved that there was history and food recommendations. All in one My husband kind of thought I was crazy for wanting to walk around and do this type of tour. But when it was done, he asked me if there were more like it. We were able to follow your directions so easily. And it worked in airplane mode, as I don’t have any international data on my phone, MoMA for tomorrow. Can’t wait to see what we learn tomorrow. And Steve bond wrote last night in Paris sad face. We did both the MoMA and the audio tours. Thank you, Annie. We saw parts of Paris we could have never seen without your guidance.

Annie Sargent 50:39
Thank you so much, guys. But honestly, you are missing out if you’re not using my tours. I I yes, it’s true. And one huge advantage is that you can do them whenever you want. Like when it’s not raining or snowing in Paris, which it is right now. just looked at the weather. You can do them whenever you want. You can pause, start resume, go again, whatever, you can do it twice, you can do it five times it, you know, it’s yours, it’s your free.

Annie Sargent 51:09
In person tours are wonderful, but they are a lot more limiting. For one thing, you’re with a big group and you have to do them whether it’s raining or not. So look for the voice map app on your smartphone, then Paris, then Annie Sargent, and as a podcast listener. Once you have the voice map app installed on your phone, you can go to join us in forward slash audio tours and buy one or two or three at a discount, and I’ll email you the codes to unlock my tours.

Annie Sargent 51:44
For my personal update this week, my wonderful husband wanted to be helpful so he washed my cars and filled it up with gas. Unfortunately, he was distracted and he put unleaded gas in my old Volkswagen diesel heater. off and within a couple of hundred meters the car started sputtering and the engine died. Now these things happen a lot as a matter of fact, when he called her mechanic and said, I did something really stupid. The mechanic interrupted him and asked if he put the wrong fuel in one of our cars. Yes, mechanics get those calls frequently. Anyway, the mechanic did his magic and my good old Volkswagen is running again.

Annie Sargent 52:31
But there’s a reason why I wanted to tell you about this. When you rent a car in France, you might make the same mistake when you fill it up. As a matter of fact, one of my guests on the show had this problem. If you listen to Episode 165, we discuss it about 15 minutes into the show. The car rental agency where ever whichever it is, they will probably tell you that you are renting a diesel car if that’s the case, but when you go to the pump It won’t necessarily say diesel. Now newer pumps say diesel, diesel, and the handle is yellow. But in many older gas stations, it still says ghazala GAZOLE and it is confusing. And on top of that in America, what you used to is that the nozzle for diesel won’t even fit into an unleaded gas car. In France, all the nozzles are the same size so you have to pay attention when you’re pumping gas. And remember, unleaded is green and diesel is yellow. At least that’s the case in the newer gas stations are worried.

Annie Sargent 53:43
About the join us in France newsletter. I will start sending it out once a month on the second Thursday of each month. I have just sent one out and it contains three sections. One section of big events coming up in France in the next month or two A month in review. So these are a few stories that dominated the news in France. And three announcements about what’s new with Annie at least the podcast, all of that. The monthly reviews for the news, they always involve some political stories. I don’t choose only political stories, but there’s some of them. And normally I avoid talking politics on the show and on the Facebook group. But you please don’t expect me to comment on news stories and be neutral I I don’t have it in me so.

Annie Sargent 54:36
So if you want to receive the newsletter, go to any page on join us in France calm and look for the green button that says extras. And if you don’t want to receive and read the newsletter, please do not subscribe. Because I have to pay a company to maintain this list and I have no desire to keep people under this who don’t want to be there. Now newsletters often end up in the spam folder. Don’t forget to check. If you signed up and you don’t see it, check your spam folder. And you know, if I noticed that you haven’t opened the last few newsletters, I will purge you off the list because again, I have no interest in emailing people who don’t want to hear from me. You know what I mean?

Annie Sargent 55:20
Do you know someone who will be visiting France, tell them to search for join us in France, wherever they like to hang out online. And if you could talk them into listening to the podcast, you’d be doing me a great favor, in my humble opinion, because this is where all the best stuff happens. They can find it wherever they get their podcasts, or on Spotify or on Pandora. And if you invite them to the Facebook group, do tell them to answer the questions, or I won’t let them in. Because I mean, no, I’m not I’m just being realistic. If they can’t answer three questions, then yeah, they don’t want to They’re saying questions or feedback to any ad join us in Have a great week of trip planning, or a great time in France if that’s where you are and I’ll talk to you next week, or

Annie Sargent 56:16
the join us in France travel podcast is written and produced by Annie Sargent and copyright 2019. By addicted to France. It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution non commercial no derivatives license.

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Categories: Family Travel, Paris