Transcript for Episode 264: Planning a Group Trip to Paris

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure page for more details.

Categories: Family Travel, Paris

CLICK TO PLAY THIS EPISODE

Discussed in this Episode

  • Paris with family and friends [02:47]
  • How to pull off a trip with a big group [03:54]
  • Using a custom Google map [05:49]
  • Don't overwhelm your group with every detail [06:43]
  • Use the rome2rio app [08:30]
  • Keep everyone informed of changes via text messages [10:19]
  • Get the Museum Pass [10:51]
  • Use official taxis [12:47]
  • L'Alsacienne Restaurant [14:45]
  • Berthillon ice cream [16:35]
  • Great hotel at a reasonable budget [17:11]
  • View to the Eiffel Tower [18:30]
  • Don't make that mistake when going to Versailles [20:26]
  • Uber problem [21:24]
  • Have a good attitude [25:23]
  • Strategy for Versailles [27:09]
  • Éclairs and Millefeuilles [29:44]
  • Pickpocket on the RER [30:23]
  • What do you do if someone in your group gets left on the platform? [34:12]
  • Reserving restaurants using La Fourchette or messaging them on Facebook [36:33]
  • Watching Bastille Day fireworks from the hotel window [38:04]
  • Taxis in Paris are cheaper than in New York [39:16]
  • You'll walk a lot in Paris! [40:19]
  • Bourguignon du Marais restaurant [41:14]
  • Can you agree on not splitting checks? [44:08]
  • Hiring a van to take all of them to Normandy for the day [45:56]
  • Don't get upset if you need to make last-minute changes [49:27]
  • Don't be afraid to split up if you need to [49:47]
  • Get the Museum Pass [50:04]
  • Enjoy mealtimes [50:46]
  • Choose a hotel with lots of options nearby (more reasons why Petit Belloy was a good choice) [51:20]
  • Sometimes touristy places are great [52:42]
  • Advice for foodies [53:42]
  • Pre-purchase as many things as you can [54:11]
  • Buying tickets for the Eiffel Tower [55:05]
  • Thank you Patrons [58:49]
  • Trip planning consult with Annie [59:41]
  • Support the show without spending a penny you wouldn't have otherwise [01:00:06]
  • New Year's Resolutions [01:00:42]
  • Be an Ambassador for the Join Us in France Travel Podcast! [01:03:56]

Annie Sargent 0:00
This is Join Us in France, Episode 260. Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent. And on a typical episode of Join Us in France, I talk with someone who’s visited cool places in France, and tells us about it.

Annie Sargent 0:15
On today’s episode, Mary White tells me about her trip to France with 10 friends and relatives, including a child, a teen adult, the lot. And when you have a big group like that, things can get pretty complicated. But Mary blended really well. And they had a great time.

Annie Sargent 0:34
They spent time in Paris and went to Normandy to how did they pull that off with 11 people? How did you plan for this? What apps and what software did she use? We talked about a problem they had with an Uber ride and how it got resolved. They also had a run in with a big pocket, but because she’d heard about this so much on the podcast, she suspected something was up and reacted the right way.

Annie Sargent 0:59
How they chose to stay at a hotel I’ve recommended several times and they loved it. I mean, they could see Bastille Day fireworks from their hotel window. She tells me how they dealt with checks at mealtimes for big group. And this is a group of foodies. They’ve worked in restaurants, and all that. So you know, this was important to them.

Annie Sargent 1:20
Mary brings up the things you can skimp on and things you shouldn’t skimp on all the things that you should book in advance. And to top it all, the whole group was grateful for the work Mary put into this. And as someone who’s organized trips with big groups before I know it’s a lot of work that would be appreciated.

Annie Sargent 1:39
So listen up, especially if you’re planning on visiting Paris and France with a large group of family and friends. Show Notes for this episode are on Join Us in france.com forward slash 264. That’s the number 264. And if you’re planning a trip to France, this site is chock full of great resources, you should check it out.

Annie Sargent 2:32
Bonjour Mary and welcome to Join Us in France.

Mary White 2:37
So great to talk to you. I’ve listened to so many podcasts. I feel like I know you.

Annie Sargent 2:41
Oh, that’s wonderful. Well, we’re gonna. I’m going to get to know you too. That’s nice.

Mary White 2:46
Thank you.

Annie Sargent 2:47
So today we are going to talk about your extended family trip to France, or was it just Paris?

Mary White 2:55
It was just Paris. Yes, Paris.

Annie Sargent 2:57
Tell us about your family group a little bit.

Mary White 3:00
So, I have seven other brothers and sisters. And we invited all of them. But only two took us up on my older brother Brian, my older sister, Kathy, my husband Noel. And then a couple of cousins said, Well, we want to come to France to we’d love to come to Paris. So we had three cousins and their families and friends or nieces or nephews. So we’re all together. We had 11 people.

Annie Sargent 3:23
Wow, that’s, that’s a bunch of people. And so you stuck to Paris. So I assume you used public transportation most of the time?

Mary White 3:32
Well, actually, I was going to tell you that that. We did use public transportation and we all came in separate. We came in on different airplanes and things like that. But a lot of people use cabs. I mean, some of these people live in New York City, so they’re used to cabs or public transportation. But, but sometimes we use cabs or public transportation, what was it whatever was more convenient for the time?

Annie Sargent 3:54
Okay. So how did you pull this off? How do you do were you really scared that it wasn’t going to work out?

Mary White 4:01
I was petrified, absolutely petrified. Well, one thing I was petrified for I absolutely knew I had over planned. I was okay with that. Just because my brother my older brother said to me Mary with 11 people you need structure. Sure. And, and we had been to London the week before and not 11 people just four of us. We call the trip. I see London. I see France. My sister added don’t forget your underpants.

Annie Sargent 4:31
This is a rhyme right? I’m sorry. I don’t I mean, I recognize I’ve heard this before but I I didn’t grow up with it. So is this like a kids rhyme or something?

Mary White 4:39
It is a kids rihyme. Okay. I see London. I see France. Of course the next tag line is not on there. But I thought it was really cute.

Annie Sargent 4:46
Okay.

Mary White 4:47
So I had been planning for about a year. So my brother said to me, the previous July I would really like to go back to London and I said, I’ll go with you if we could add Paris. Because Paris is always a good idea. And I’ve been dying to go to Paris.

Annie Sargent 5:02
Sure.

Mary White 5:03
I have a very romanticized view of Paris, I’m sure but guess what? My dreams were fulfilled. I went to Paris and I absolutely loved it.

Annie Sargent 5:10
Oh, that’s good.

Mary White 5:12
So I then I was just looking for things to help plan my trip. I love to read I love to research. And I do a podcast with some other things. So I said, let me just look for podcasts and your podcast came up. I listened to some of them, maybe four and five and six times.

Annie Sargent 5:28
Oh, wow!

Mary White 5:30
Yeah, I got really used to your voice in the car, but

Annie Sargent 5:34
I’m sorry.

Mary White 5:36
No, I liked I thought you were traveling with me.

Annie Sargent 5:38
Oh, that’s good. That’s good. And the end, so you use the podcast to take notes on places you wanted to see or just on how things worked in France, or?

Mary White 5:49
So I started with places. I started with places and then I just started I created a Google document where I started with places and that I just would fill in, and then I moved those places. And fill in to day. What days we were going to be there. We had already decided we were going to be there in July, because that’s when most people have vacation. A couple of them were teachers. I work in education. So July seemed like a natural fit. And I knew it would be very, very crowded. So I tried to plan big things early in the morning, and then do walking around things in the afternoon so we could avoid some of the crowd. And then I just started to fill in. I started to send all those people the itinerary like every couple of months, and then I just stopped. I said they don’t need to know what the itinerary is. I’ll just send them the final one.

Annie Sargent 6:40
I think you’re right.

Mary White 6:41
And everyone was happy with that.

Annie Sargent 6:43
Yeah, I think you’re right. Because if you inundate people with information, they will either tune it out or they they, they won’t remember most of it.

Mary White 6:53
They absolutely did tune it out after a while, like no one was giving me any feedback, right? Like how does this sound? How does this sounds? And after a while, you know, I wasn’t getting any information from them. And so they just stopped emailing me They still like me though

Annie Sargent 7:09
Of course!

Mary White 7:10
Yes. And I just started creating an itinerary and filling in and researching more and listening to more podcasts. And I really paid attention to the Join Us in France closed group, the Facebook group. They were terrific. I mean, I would ask questions, and that has a searchable feature where you can search Hey, I know someone was talking about Google My Maps. Yeah. And I would, and I would just search and look for the posts and things like that.

Annie Sargent 7:35
Yeah. So you use my maps on Google to do this?

Mary White 7:39
I did. Okay, I did.

Annie Sargent 7:40
Yeah, that’s a really smart way to do this. And if I can just explain quickly what it is for people who don’t know it’s you make a custom map for your own trip on Google. Now, there’s some steps and I explained them a couple of episodes ago and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes for this one. But it’s where are just repeat them in the show notes because I don’t remember off the top of my head, but it’s pretty easy like you can. So you put in places you want to go and then you see them on the map and then you can organize your days around the geography of Paris. So instead of arbitrarily saying I’m going to go to I don’t know, Montmartre in the morning and then go to the Canal Saint Martin in the afternoon, that’s quite a distance. So you kind of group things together where they make sense.

Mary White 8:30
Yes, it’s very convenient. And I also used a website called Rome to Rio it’s wrong number two r IO. And that was very helpful but way overestimated walking times and was something took 14 minutes It took us half an hour

Annie Sargent 8:45
because you have a big group.

Mary White 8:47
We had a big group and we had a six year old Yeah, walking double for for us and my brother’s a very fast Walker, but I’m not an exceptionally fast Walker, right. So and I like because I like to Look around. And, you know, everyone said look up, look up. So I spent time looking up as well.

Annie Sargent 9:05
Right, right. Yeah, you’re in Paris! You’re not, you know, you’re not running. This is not a race.

Mary White 9:12
No, it’s not a race. Right? What it’s really, really, really enjoy. Right?

Annie Sargent 9:17
So and the other thing about these Google Maps is you can also add like, if there’s special restaurants you would like to try you add them in if there’s a special I don’t know, you read a blog about this bench in Paris that is so amazing, but you have to go see it. Well, you can add it if you want. And if it makes sense to to go that on a specific day, then you can do it. Otherwise you can drop it.

Annie Sargent 9:44
Because it’s I’m surprised how many times people go to Paris and they read somewhere that there’s this I mean, a bench was a stupid, you know, example, but like these kind of enough invader looking drawings on the wall.

Mary White 10:00
Oh yeah, I’ve seen those.

Annie Sargent 10:01
There are people who write there are people who will just go somewhere just to see that. There’s so much to see in Paris. It’s unbelievable. But if you do it with this mind map on Google, then you can organize it in a way that makes sense.

Mary White 10:19
Yeah, it was absolutely terrific. And I knew my brother was going to have cell phone service as was I did work out fine that we, we used it sometimes it didn’t work to our advantage. But, or we just cut things out. So we had to just go from point A to Z instead of going from abcdefg. Right, just because we had to change your itinerary sometimes.

Annie Sargent 10:40
So how many things a day did you plan?

Mary White 10:44
Well, I planned about two to three. Okay. And we got usually done two.

Annie Sargent 10:50
Right.

Mary White 10:51
One thing that I did was from all the research and listen to the podcast, I knew we were getting the Paris museum passes. So we we just went ahead and bit the bullet and got six days. Yeah, because I thought what if what if something changes? So we got six days and I had them delivered to the hotel, which I thought was a terrific idea. Okay. And we’re going to have them, you know, pick them up at tabac or some other place or a museum, but I said for 12 euros having them delivered to the hotel that seems very reasonable. Yeah. And they were there the day we arrived. So that’s very good. Yeah, that’s very good.

Annie Sargent 11:28
Yeah, the possible ways to do that is you either go to a museum that’s not super popular. So if you go to I don’t know La Conciergerie, or the Cluny museum or places like that, you can just buy in there because there’s usually not a big line. You don’t want to buy a museum pass at the Louvre because huge lines and or, or if there’s some, there’s a few places in Paris, they will have signs that say we sell the museum pass. Of course the tourist office, sells them both at the airport and in the city. It’s If you’re looking at the the town hall City Hall in Paris, the big one, the major one, you have to your to the left of the building. That’s where the big Paris tourist office is and they will give you maps and sell you the all the things that you might want.

Mary White 12:22
Yeah, it was terrific. I thought it worked out well and that Paris museum pass has a beautiful map as well as list all the museums. So sometimes people said oh my gosh, this is such a museum I cute museum. I never even heard of it before. And they would say let’s go there. And we will do some of that as well. Yeah. We did not get to the Cluny Museum, which is something I really wanted to do was right across the street from our hotel as well. Oh, wow.

Mary White 12:47
Yeah. So I was really disappointed in that. But there’s always another time next time. Yes. Thanks time. So we we arrived on a Saturday we just all came in on different planes and I had instructed Everybody after listening to millions of podcasts that one way to get from the airport, or the train station is a cab. Yeah, so everybody did that. Which was really great.

Mary White 13:10
We went from London, my brother, sister, my husband and I went from London. On the Eurostar. We went Gare du Nord and we took a cab. We’re gonna, but you’re right. I mean, there’s so many people offering rides and tech cabs. I mean, just get in the taxi queue.

Annie Sargent 13:28
Exactly. Go to the official taxi line. Don’t Don’t go for any of these people who want to sell your ride because they might be perfectly fine, but they might not. So don’t don’t try that.

Mary White 13:40
And I saw people getting out of line and doing that. But I just, you know, I just said to everybody, this is what we’re gonna do. We’re saying in this taxi queue, and it really didn’t take that long, right?

Annie Sargent 13:49
Yeah, they usually move fast. I mean, no, Gare du Nord is a major train station with lots of people. So they will have lots of cabs coming and going.

Mary White 13:59
Yeah, and it was very crowded. You’re absolutely right. So then my plan was to meet up at the hotel a little bit earlier. And then we were going to walk we were going to do like a walking tour, and things like that. Well, of course, the best laid plans. Everybody came in later or took longer to get there. So we really didn’t get to do that walking tour that I wanted to do. But we did walk to Sainte Chappelle and the deportation Memorial. Right away. Right before dinner, they work they all my relatives had come in that day. So they were exhausted. They were jet lagged. So I said, Let’s keep pushing. Let’s keep pushing, right. We had come in from a three hour trip to the Eurostar. So we were fine.

Mary White 14:44
Right.

Mary White 14:45
And then we walked to a restaurant called L’Alsacienne. Am I pronouncing that right? It is a Flammekuche Restaurant.

Mary White 14:52
Oh Flammekuche then it would be l’Alsacienne

Mary White 14:55
Okay, thank you. Yeah, I knew you would press it much better. And that was terrific. had made those reservations by messaging them on Facebook. Oh, I really they were so terrific. By the way, everyone was so terrific. So they put us downstairs like in a little private room. Because it was 11 of us. Oh, it was so nice. It was beautiful. And they have it’s flammekueche. It’s like, the best way I can describe it as pizza without sauce. Is that

Annie Sargent 15:23
yeah, it’s the pizza with a white kind of base. Well, it’s a it’s a pizza dough, but it’s very thin. And you apply a white sauce. Sometimes it’s just cream, and then onions and then there’s gonna be lardons I don’t know how to say that in English anymore.

Annie Sargent 15:47
Bacon.

Annie Sargent 15:51
Yes. So or any toppings you want. I mean, they could do it with anything but it’s usually onion and bacon.

Mary White 16:00
Yeah, it was it was, it was terrific. We had tons of it because everyone was starving. And so we had so much of it and they were so nice to us. And they we had this practically a private room, other couples would come downstairs to sit or, and they would quickly leave. I mean, it was 11 of us. So sometimes we were louder, louder, it was our first day everyone was really excited. And so we were a little bit loud, I think.

Annie Sargent 16:25
But it’s good to have a place of your own like that to kind of group up and and enjoy each other’s company on your first day. That’s good.

Mary White 16:35
It was it was absolutely terrific. And Iin in retrospect, my mealtimes were my favorite times for sure because we would just like you say, sit down enjoying each other’s companies relax, talk about the day and things like that. Yeah. And then and we walked to Berthillon ice cream is am I saying that right too?

Annie Sargent 16:56
Yeah, Berthillon Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mary White 17:00
That was phenomenal. Of course. I mean, people had talked about lines being out the door. We had no lines. We just went right in. We had dishes of ice cream. It was fabulous.

Annie Sargent 17:10
Mm hmm.

Mary White 17:11
And then we just walked home. We walked a little bit through the Latin Quarter, you know, past the bookstore, Shakespeare and Company. We didn’t go in anywhere. We just walked because people were really, really tired. And there was a Monoprix supermarket right near our hotel. We stayed amazing area and I in Saint Germain, we, I just looked on your resources for hotels and I that one look the best to me. I mean, you have there was terrific resources.

Annie Sargent 17:41
So which one did you pick in the end?

Mary White 17:44
We picked Le Petit Belloy.

Annie Sargent 17:46
Le Petit Belloy. Yep. Yep. I’ve stayed there many times. And the rooms are small, but you know what, for the price, it’s very good, and it’s a great location.

Mary White 17:56
The price is unbelievable. Yeah,

Annie Sargent 17:57
yeah, for Paris. It’s a very good one.

Mary White 18:00
It’s very good. I mean, but you have to like you talk about all the time on the podcast and you have to, you know, eliminate your ideas of an American hotel room or a king size bed and everything is gigantic. But I say look on the bright side, when I got got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom only had two steps.

Annie Sargent 18:21
More snuggling time too because the bed is so small.

Mary White 18:26
And the elevator was very, very.

Mary White 18:30
We sent it but it was very simple. I just got used to it. We sent the luggage up first and someone went upstairs and took out the luggage and then we send people up. Maybe two or three people fit in the elevator and I did get used to it. Yeah. And I was on the sixth floor. And here’s the best part about it on the sixth floor in that hotel. You can go on to the very small balcony and look to your left and the Eiffel Tower is right there.

Annie Sargent 18:53
That’s right. So that was room 602 or 603.

Mary White 18:58
I was in 602. One of our party was in 603.

Annie Sargent 19:03
There you go. I’ve had both. I have a slight preference for the one oh I can remember for the one on the right.

Mary White 19:11
That’s that’s the that’s the one I wasn’t in

Annie Sargent 19:15
the room might be a tad bigger, but not by much. You know, it might have like an extra few inches, but the balconies are very shallow because this is a Haussmannian building. And Haussmann didn’t want big balconies sticking out. And so you you step up and you have maybe 20 centimeters or maybe two feet, you know, away from but you have a glorious view on to the Eiffel Tower and on the other side, Notre Dame.

Mary White 19:43
It was absolutely spectacular. I mean, really, I I wasn’t expecting that. And it was that moment by the way that I looked at on my balcony that first day after kind of being like, I don’t know how this hotel is. I looked at my balcony and I that’s the moment I started to relax.

Annie Sargent 19:59
Yeah, It’ll work out

Mary White 20:02
that I said everything’s gonna work out. Exactly.

Annie Sargent 20:05
Yeah. Yeah, that’s good.

Mary White 20:07
So the next day is Bastille Day. And we were going to Versailles that day and we I think we definitely my plan was to get out and up very early because I thought Versailles would be very very crowded and indeed it was but we did very very well.

Mary White 20:26
But of course the sometimes your plans don’t work out you have to plan your work and work plan but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. And I think we got on the wrong metro station. So we were right near Cluny Sorbonne. And it said RER and I knew we could take and I had that mapped out we take the RER from Saint Michel to Versailles, but we got on the Cluny Sorbonne.

Mary White 20:53
Okay.

Mary White 20:55
And we we went to Saint Michel we should have got out got on the correct RER. We didn’t so we thought something was going on and there was a lot of people looking for Versailles so honestly, let me just tell you what we just did we just got up and got out and got Ubers Oh, okay. I mean really we

Annie Sargent 21:15
How much did you pay? Do you mind me asking?

Mary White 21:17
Well it’s a very funny story I paid nothing because I got a refund for it but I paid $65 American dollars okay. I don’t think is bad for the distance to Versailles.

Annie Sargent 21:30
No, and on a holiday and on a holiday!

Mary White 21:34
But we so we had to take three Ubers because there were 11 people should we could all couldn’t obviously fit into one.

Annie Sargent 21:43
Right.

Mary White 21:44
So we split up three three and three and we we did it my husband was in another Uber my cousin and my brother myself and my cousin. Other cousin were in this Uber and a man was pointing at us to in the tunnel. He was like pointing at our car and the driver. I said I don’t Don’t know what he’s speaking about. I don’t know what he’s speaking about. So we pulled over on the side of the highway which made me did make me nervous By the way, but it all worked out fine. And the man central man I speak a little bit of French said your tire is flat.

Annie Sargent 22:14
Oh.

Mary White 22:16
So the other man proceeded to pull out of air compressor and blow up his tire, huh? So it was amazing. Like I was very nervous about it. Why would someone stop us on the highway? Yes, but it turns out to be a very beautiful thing that this man was stopping him saying you’re going to get in an accident. Let me pump up your tire.

Annie Sargent 22:33
How nice! Okay.

Mary White 22:35
And so he did and he was terrific. I mean, I didn’t get a refund because of that I got a refund because he charged us a waiting time and in the end, he we they didn’t wait.

Mary White 22:48
So we went to Versailles and the line was very crowded because we stopped at breakfast. My plan was to go to the hotel Ibis and have breakfast there and then go to Versailles but that didn’t work out. So we ended up just having baguettes and crepes in a couple of little places along the way there,

Annie Sargent 23:09
Right. Yeah. Between well, so you got dropped off by an Uber right? In front of Versailles. Okay. Also inside of Versailles you had some breakfast, okay.

Mary White 23:21
No stores along the outside we had breakfast.

Annie Sargent 23:23
Okay

Mary White 23:24
Just baguettes and crepes turns out to be a lovely, lovely meal, by the way. And, and there was one person running one of those places one server waitress, I’m not sure cook, whatever you call her. And she was terrific. And she was working so hard. And it was an incredible experience actually, because we really enjoyed how hard she was working and how she how kind she was treating us even though she had a million people to serve.

Annie Sargent 23:52
Now, let me go back to your to your mistake with the RER station you got on at Cluny Sorbonne and what you needed to do is continue going downhill to the Saint Michel station. And there you can get on the on the RER for Versailles.

Mary White 24:13
We should have done that.

Annie Sargent 24:14
Right.

Mary White 24:15
We didn’t do that.

Annie Sargent 24:15
Right. So if you get on at Cluny Sorbonne, then you’re going to get on a regular Metro, I can remember what line it is. And then you have to change to get to the RER. And that’s probably what confused you if you had gotten straight, you know, walk straight down the hill almost to the river and then you have Saint Michel on the right. And then you get on here and and everybody’s getting on the RER for Versailles in July and August. And so you can just follow the flow.

Mary White 24:43
We should have known there was nobody on this RER that we were on to Cluny Sorbonne. We should have like I just didn’t clue into it. You know? Yeah,

Annie Sargent 24:50
you just got on the wrong thing. Yeah.

Mary White 24:52
In retrospect, I said we were on the wrong Uber. We needed to go to set Michelle, but it’s fine.

Annie Sargent 24:59
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ll see does this end with 11 people I see you, it’s outstanding that you were able to roll with it because a lot of people would get really, really frustrated and start bickering with one another. So it’s great that you didn’t do that, that you just went, Oh, well, we made a mistake. Let’s just move on. You know, that’s, it’s wonderful.

Mary White 25:19
Well, I had to do a lot of self talk.

Mary White 25:23
I just say, there’s no reason to get upset, Mary. I mean, I had to do some of that. But really, I just, I just decided early on with 11 people, a full itinerary, you just got to go with it. You have to, you have to let serendipity happen. You have to let whatever happens happens,

Annie Sargent 25:40
Right. And also, people in your group probably didn’t start blaming you for not planning this well enough for whatever because that would also not make things any better.

Mary White 25:49
Well, I was a little bit worried about that, but no one did that. Ever. Even once. If something else didn’t work out. No one did it. They will. They were the most grateful people really like My family, they were like, Mary, you were terrific. This is terrific. Thank you for doing this. Right, Mary, we never got up at two o’clock in the morning to get Eiffel Tower tickets. Thank you for doing that.

Annie Sargent 26:09
No, it’s true. It’s it’s a lot of work planning a group trip. I know this because I’ve done it for groups where I was getting paid to do this. And even when you’re getting paid, it’s a lot of work really. And, and you always worry that you’re going to get something wrong or, you know, and so it’s a big responsibility on whoever is planning. And there’s always the person who does all the planning. I mean, there’s just no way about it. You know, everybody, oh, yeah, let’s do this trip together. But it’s going to be 90%, the one person who does most of the planning.

Mary White 26:43
And I do think what you say is exactly true. And I was worried about what people were going to be thinking, but I had to let that go and the way and the one time I did let it go. I already told you about that. When I looked over and there was the Eiffel Tower. I let it out. Yeah, I said my sign to let it go. Right, right. And I did. When we got so I’m, is it okay if I go back back to the trip at Versailles?

Annie Sargent 27:07
I certainly Yes, sorry.

Mary White 27:09
No, no, no, I’m sorry. You run the show. So then we met up. And then we got online in the line, of course, after, it was very long at that point, because we had missed that moment of getting there early. So we got on the line around 10:30. And I said, I have an idea. Why don’t we get off the line, like I’ve heard on the podcast and go to the gardens, and the other houses, and that’s what we did and that, and that ended up being the most incredible thing. Really, we had a wonderful time.

Annie Sargent 27:42
So how did that work out? You walked to different entrance? Is that what you did?

Mary White 27:46
No, we walked down and we got one of the little trams to the Trianon. Okay. Yeah, that’s all because you

Annie Sargent 27:54
had your museum passes. Anyway.

Mary White 27:57
We had our museum passes, right brother. ahead of time to get us tram tickets, which was a very short line at that point, because everyone was in line to see the big gigantic house you know, the palace,

Annie Sargent 28:07
right? This is really really important people if if you get to website you see the gardens first see the other buildings first because website fills up with tour buses. And so if you if you get done looking at all the gardens doing all those things, and you can spend three, four hours just exploring the gardens and country unknown politically and all of that. And then you go back and see the shadow. And by then the bus is gone. So it’s still crowded, but it’s not crazy crowded.

Mary White 28:42
Right and I had seen the parking lot but though the tour buses and I said yes, go well, yes. So I in my back in the back of my head. I had that plan, from the podcast from the Facebook groups from I’ve had that in my head all along that that’s what we’re going to do and that’s what we ended up doing and it turned out to be fantastic. Yeah. Yeah. And we stopped at that, Angelina, please. Yes. apparent about. And that was the most delicious wonderful time we laughed about so many things and we had delicious hot chocolate even though it was July was cool. We wear a coat that day. Oh, yeah, it was beautiful. It was very windy and overcast and we actually ended up going to Paris between the two heat waves. So Excellent. So everyone of course thought I did that as a marvelous planning trick. Yeah, I didn’t know.

Mary White 29:34
So we had we split éclairs and can you pronounce this dessert for me? Is it millefeuille?

Annie Sargent 29:40
Millefeuille. Millefeuille. Yeah, it means 1000 sheets.

Mary White 29:47
And it was it was really a memorable time by the way.

Annie Sargent 29:51
Yeah, they have good pastries that Angelina. Yeah.

Mary White 29:54
We just split them it was too much and that ended up being our lunch. So then we went back Back to the palace. And really we had it was not nearly as crowded. We got back there probably 1:30 ish.

Annie Sargent 30:06
Oh, I would if I would have stayed out longer even but that’s good that it was. So you got the kind of lunch low because people do exit the palace to go eat something because there’s lots of little restaurants all around the gardens and various places. So probably that’s that was helping you too

Mary White 30:23
Yeah, it was terrific. So we and then we did the palace and we had we just had a great time and then we walked out, walked around and walk back to the train station. And we were going to go back to Paris and we did have a pickpocket incident on that Metro on the train.

Annie Sargent 30:39
Mm hmm. What happened?

Mary White 30:42
It was really, people were really slick. A woman was blocking the door. And I said there’s something fishy about this because I had listened to so many podcasts, so many some of them three and four and five times they said there’s something fishy about this. And so I pushed her out of the way she wouldn’t move on kind of push you out of the way I know you would have been proud of me because you push people out of the way.

Mary White 31:05
I know you’re laughing but I’ve heard like you say to people, why have I had to push them out of the way you do?

Mary White 31:11
And then I said no check for your wallet. That’s my husband’s name. Noel. And his wallet was gone. as well. It was funny as a front wallet. He has a wallet specifically for his front pocket. And I had everyone else check. And then these girls who look much like the woman found his wallet on the floor train. So they had tried but it was unsuccessful.

Annie Sargent 31:34
Okay. So they had they had removed it from his pocket but dropped it.

Mary White 31:40
Correct.

Annie Sargent 31:40
Oh, wow, you lucked out.

Mary White 31:43
Oh, we lucked out. But really, it’s um, someone asked me Someone asked him the other day on the clothes group like how do you avoid pickpockets? You don’t you have to have like a keen sense of your your surroundings and your awareness and pay attention and not not I’m not saying that talk to strangers that’s not what I mean. But, you know, I’m not gonna talk to you. I didn’t talk to the clown outside the Louvre. I mean, you know, yeah, things like that.

Annie Sargent 32:08
Yeah, honestly what works. I mean there are going to be pickpockets in Paris. This is a fact of life and wherever, lots of tourists congregate there’s going to be even more pickpockets. So, the way you deal with this is one you don’t take too much with you, you take as little as possible with you. So take one credit card, a little bit of cash.

Annie Sargent 32:31
Maybe if you have planned this in advance, you get a passport card, you know instead of your real passport. You also order a passport card and if they steal that it has no consequence to you. So but you still have official ID you know what I mean? It’s some people are a little bit nervous going around without official ID My husband is one of them. He’s been married me for years, decades and he still takes official ID everywhere. He goes And I never do. So that’s just a personality thing. But you, you take as little as you can with you. And then even if they take it, you know, and your phone has to be in your hand, even if it’s in your pocket, you have to have your phone in your hand. Otherwise they will somehow get it away from you.

Mary White 33:18
Yeah, it was it was unbelievable. Well, that was the only problem we had, by the way. And I had instructed everybody to get a color copy of their passport.

Annie Sargent 33:26
That’s good too. Yes, that’s good to work

Mary White 33:28
in their safe, which everybody did everybody followed that directory Good. Very good. Yeah.

Annie Sargent 33:33
Either a photocopy of your of your the front, you know, the first page of two pages of your passport, or passport card will do fine.

Mary White 33:42
It was so Heed my, my husband did find his wallet. It was on the ground and the girls that she was with and I’m sure she was with them, gave him back his wallet. So inverted that disaster I thought for sure. Wow. And then we just took the train back at one point my brother was in a different car than us. He got out to get into our car, and the train shot and left him.

Annie Sargent 34:05
Oh, dear.

Mary White 34:07
He just got up. He just got another train like a few minutes later and there we were.

Annie Sargent 34:12
Yeah, I think with a big group, you need to actually discuss that and and tell each other what what do we do if somebody gets left on the platform?

Mary White 34:20
That’s exactly it’s funny that you say that because that’s what we did. We said, you know, we’re going to meet up. It’s Javel?

Mary White 34:27
Yeah. Javel. We’re meeting in Javel. And we’ll meet and then we’ll get on another line to Cluny Sorbonne. Right. That’s what we said we were going to do when he got out. I said, Well, we’ll meet him in Javel. Yeah.

Annie Sargent 34:39
And now with, you know, if you have if you have data you can send what even if you don’t have data, you can send each other text messages, the cheapest way to do this. If, if you don’t want to get a data plan, even if you send a text message to a relative, even if you pay full price for it, it’s going to be maybe $1 You know, that’s really big. Will Probably be much less because by now text messages are almost free on any plan from any country to any country. So that’s always, you know, don’t call them because that might be expensive, but a text message. It’s nothing.

Mary White 35:13
Sure. And he text us and said, I’ll meet you in Javel. And that’s what we did. And then we went back to the hotel and where we were saying it’s a terrific area number one, there’s a Monprix supermarket right around the corner, a couple of stores a Starbucks as well, because I, I do like whole. I do only like the decaffeinated coffee. And so I don’t do any caffeine. So sometimes I did go to Starbucks because it was terrific. A Starbucks, but also there’s an area off rue de la Harpe.

Annie Sargent 35:50
Rue de la Harpe, yeah, right.

Mary White 35:52
It’s an area right behind Saint Michel and boulevard Saint Germain. And it’s an incredible area with lots of restaurants and bars. stores and some of them are touristy, but most of them really quite lovely and good.

Annie Sargent 36:06
Yeah. But you know, to go back to the decaf thing you had right there. You had a little Paul restaurant. A little Paul sandwich place. They have decaf.

Mary White 36:16
Yeah, I had decaf there one morning. Yeah, it was awesome. Paul is also right up the road. Yeah,

Annie Sargent 36:21
I know this because Elyse drinks decaf.

Mary White 36:23
Okay, so

Mary White 36:26
a lot of people look at me like I’m crazy. Like why do you even bother drinking it because I love the taste of it.

Annie Sargent 36:31
Yeah, sure.

Mary White 36:33
So then we had dinner there and again, a restaurant. accommodated. 11 people they said that is no problem. We will get you right in and we went right in that dinner. So did you

Annie Sargent 36:42
did you make reservations most places or not even?

Mary White 36:46
What I did was, I made three dinner reservations. One breakfast, reservation, one lunch, and then the rest. Were all we were going to have to find places to

Annie Sargent 36:59
dinner and Did you ever have a hard time?

Mary White 37:01
No, I had no hard time I made restaurant reservations

Mary White 37:06
in on an app called La Fourchette.

Annie Sargent 37:09
La Fourchette, yet.

Mary White 37:11
What should I say… So we have an Italian restaurant in my town called Forquetta.

Mary White 37:17
So La Fourchette, we I made reservations on there. Yeah. And somebody just messaging the restaurants on Facebook. Like I said in it. That’s amazing how kind everyone is there. That’s

Annie Sargent 37:29
good. I had never thought of that. But that would work really well, wouldn’t it?

Mary White 37:33
It worked fantastic. Yeah. Some said no, some said after I messaged them on Facebook said no, you have to call the restaurant or something fine. Yeah, I’ll do that. Yeah. So it was Bastille Day as I said, and after dinner, none of us wanted to go down there to Champs de Mars or, or anywhere near there. We were pretty worn out from the day. So we got some wine and drinks and things and went to our balconies. In our hotel rooms, we opened up the area between those two rooms in the hotel.

Annie Sargent 38:04
Yes, it’s perfect. You can see the fireworks from up there!

Mary White 38:08
It was fantastic. was one of my favorite memories.

Annie Sargent 38:12
Yes. I mean, the balcony, you can probably put three people across this. You’re right. But you can put three people down there and you lean a little bit and you totally see it! Great plan. Great plan. And

Mary White 38:25
really, we didn’t ask the hotel if we could go up to the roof. And that was no yeah, that was you know, yeah. You know, nobody wants that kind of, and really ended up being a very, very fun night. There was not all 11 of us at that point. Some people said we’re going to bed. But it was terrific. The end. After the fireworks were done. We went right to bed and we had a great time. Yeah, it was wonderful. That sounds good. It was like

Annie Sargent 38:56
a little party in our hotel room. Right and you don’t have to fight the crowds because there’s A lot of crowds around the the fireworks around the the Eiffel Tower.

Mary White 39:04
Well, and no one really wanted to do that.

Annie Sargent 39:07
So yes, fine. Yeah. Yeah, no great idea. Yeah. Because you had those two rooms with view to the Eiffel Tower. Perfect.

Mary White 39:16
It was perfect. No, I can imagine a more perfect time. Yeah. And then the next day was the Louvre day. We were going there and honestly a lot some people slept in because they had a little bit too much party the night before. So we took a cab to the Louvre we I some of our people that I was with live in New York City, really they found the cabs quite reasonable. There it is.

Annie Sargent 39:43
It’s cheaper than New York. Yes.

Mary White 39:47
So we took a cab to the Louvre and it was not crowded. We beat that crowd. And it was terrific. It was terrific. And then we did the Louvre and we ended up eating lunch at a cafe. They’re called Bistro Benoit, okay. And it was terrific really. Then we walked all the way through the Tuileries Garden. We walked all the way to gallery Lafayette to the I wanted to go to the opera house, but people were just pretty worn out

Annie Sargent 40:19
right after the Louvre. So you walk across the Tuilleries, then you take a right and you go towards the Opera House and you will run into the Galleries Lafayettes. I mean. So this is the Galleries Lafayettes on Boulevard Haussmann, right. The big ones. Yes. Right. Yes. So you moved it a long ways by then.

Mary White 40:40
At that point, we had done 15 to 20,000 steps a day and, and people were getting worn out but I wanted to go into the department store to see the view and we it was terrific. We went upstairs and saw the view we saw the department store was fun anyway, as well. I really was up for more walking Like I wanted to do more walk, but you know, people were just really tired.

Mary White 41:04
So we ended up going back to the hotel at that point for, you know, just to rest up and things like that. Yeah. And my sister and I then went to the grocery store and we got breakfast for everybody. For the next day. We got baguettes, pastries, fruit butter water, because we we were leaving on a bus at 6am the next day. Ah, so we had to have breakfast on the bus. Yes. So then we after we did that we had a little rest and then everybody walked to that restaurant overlooking Le Bourguignon du Marais

Annie Sargent 41:36
Oodh that’s another long way. Oh, yeah. But

Mary White 41:40
I wanted to go there. We did. I wanted to do a Marais walking tour which we ended up not doing and I had it mapped out. But we did a little tiny bit of it before we got to that restaurant. We had such a wonderful time at that restaurant. The waiters were so charming and fun. We had we sat on the side Walk. It was just the weather was gorgeous. It was beautiful.

Annie Sargent 42:05
Yeah, in my in my Marais walking tour, I walk you right past the Bourguignon du Marais and I tell people, you should really, you know, if you want to try French food, this is a good place to try it.

Mary White 42:17
Well, right and I knew we had a child with us and a 16 year old and sometimes you need to, sometimes you can press their limits, but this was kind of a good place to try it, as you said. And we walked past the restaurant and then came back to it just to do some more walking and walk a little bit of my tour that I had planned. But it’s okay, I’m going to go back and I’ll do that tour.

Annie Sargent 42:41
That’s good.

Mary White 42:42
And they have these amazing, profiteroles for with ice cream for dessert. They are really amazing. Yeah. And we had wine and drinks and so people were in good mood and things like that.

Annie Sargent 42:55
So did you then take your cab back?

Annie Sargent 42:58
No, we walked back!

Annie Sargent 43:00
Geez. You guys walked a lot!

Mary White 43:03
Yeah. And well, on the way back we did stops. You know, we stopped at the bridges we stopped at full sure.

Annie Sargent 43:11
But I mean, I would have taken I would have taken public transportation. Although right in front of Bourguignon du Marais… Yeah, it’s you have to know your way over around Paris transportation to get back to where you were staying.

Mary White 43:27
And I didn’t seem that long to me. I don’t know. It just didn’t seem that long.

Annie Sargent 43:31
Well, it’s a couple of kilometers only, but if you if you done the Louvre that morning and you walked all the way down, but you’ve probably walked 30,000 steps that day. I

Mary White 43:41
It was 25,025 Okay.

Mary White 43:46
So that’s why we enjoyed mealtime so much because it felt so good to sit down. We found the waiters by, by the way, absolutely charming. I were tippers by nature and i a lot of our family always has been in the restaurant industry. We’re servers are waiters, my sister’s a manager of a restaurant. So we kind of do that by nature even though it’s not necessary. We just do it.

Annie Sargent 44:07
Yeah.

Mary White 44:08
And we felt good about it. I should say something about mealtimes. And we agreed very early on in the trip, the first part of the trip the first night of the trip, not to split checks. We just, I had I loved the restaurants, conversations on the podcast, and they really don’t do that splitting check thing. So we just agreed who was taking one night you’re taking this night for dinner? for dinner? And you just then you don’t have to deal with what I didn’t have wine. Well, I didn’t have a drink. You had dessert? That’s right. You just don’t. You just don’t do that kind of stuff. Right

Annie Sargent 44:44
Now. You can but like when we when we did tours with Elise, we had people who weren’t related, you know, and we would sometimes have big groups and but I always told the waiters at the beginning. We’re going to be paying separately I would tell them, these two are going to be paying together. And I’m going to be paying this and you know, so we warned them. And also we’re French. So it’s easy for us to to get the message across. With a big group, I think you’re wise to not try to split checks. Good. It would be good. It would get complicated.

Mary White 45:18
So we just agreed to it ahead of time. And really, it always works out in the end. Always.

Annie Sargent 45:23
Yeah. So Bill, thanks to check one night and Joe takes checking every night or something

Mary White 45:28
Correct. And really, quite honestly, my husband and I never took a night. They were I mean, they were very grateful. This group was very grateful. We took one lunch, and which was like, fine, right? So I was very kind of everybody to do that. So we, we just agreed to early on to do it. But some, like you said, some of those agreements that you make early on with a big crowd are really important.

Annie Sargent 45:55
Yep. Yep.

Mary White 45:56
So we walked back and we went to bed and then at 6am 15 passenger van came to our hotel to pick us up. Now I had found that on the closed Facebook group because I didn’t want to we were going to Normandy and I didn’t want to take a tour necessarily on a very, very large bus, because it can get exhausting. So I asked how I can do that on the Facebook group and people said, well rent a van, you know, and a driver. So that’s what we did. from a company called an American in Paris. His name is Steve, and you spell his name Steeve, from an American Paris and he It was great.

Mary White 46:37
I just wired transferred money to him a month before and it was fantastic, good. Good. He actually called me the day before and he said the drivers name and he said the driver doesn’t speak any English. So I said it’s okay. We’re going to work it out. My cousin speaks a little French. I have a little French and so we worked it out really. It was so easy. See the van was there on time. He was terrific. It was just great. We had already worked out an itinerary. My brother Brian is a world war two history buff. And he has been to Normandy a couple of times. And he did the tour guiding.

Annie Sargent 47:16
There you go!

Mary White 47:18
He was great. He started about an hour before most of us slept on the bus on the way there. But we went to Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery. And we had a lunch and then we went back

Annie Sargent 47:33
And you kept your driver all day.

Mary White 47:36
We did. And we really didn’t have any problem with him speaking not speaking English. I mean, it was just terrific. We kept the driver all day we tipped him. Well, and

Annie Sargent 47:47
so you so yeah, this is this is a complication for a lot of people. Because getting to Normandy from Paris. It’s totally doable, but if you don’t want to drive yourself, it’s It’s Yeah, it’s a bit complicated. So that was that’s a way to handle it. I hadn’t heard of before.

Mary White 48:06
And there are tour guide, there are tour groups, you know, like very large buses like,

Annie Sargent 48:10
right, right. But you can also take the train early in the morning to Bayeux Yes. And then get one of the local guides then to take you around. Several people have talked about doing it that way. So, but these tour companies, they they do, they do the driving and they do the guiding, so it might be more expensive, or it might I don’t know, haven’t ever done that. I’ve taken people myself. Where I was doing both guiding and driving and it’s exhausting.

Mary White 48:46
It’s a lot

Annie Sargent 48:47
at the end of the day, like my brain is shot.

Mary White 48:51
Well, we It was a very sobering and emotional experience Normandy, just for I was so struck by how well maintained, everything was beautiful everything was and it was it was, it was a very, very great day. Yeah. So

Annie Sargent 49:08
Now because we’ve been talking for 46 minutes, I want to get to the, you know, wrap up our conversation with asking you the biggest takeaways from organizing a big group like this is things that you did that you think really made it easy even if you mentioned them before, let’s repeat them.

Mary White 49:27
So, the first one was about planning your work and working your plan, but not to be disappointed when things don’t work the way you want. I mean, you just got to get that in your mind that you can’t be disappointed. And you have to have a structure and you have to have a plan. But when things go awry, it’s okay. You’ll recover from it.

Mary White 49:47
And this another one is don’t be afraid to split up. I mean, everybody has cell phones. Like you said, texting is so easy. We had a framework to each day What if but if people wanted to do something else, they were certainly able to do it and I was definitely flexible to that.

Annie Sargent 50:02
That’s really good.

Mary White 50:04
Yeah, and get the Paris museum pass. That’s another one. I thought that really was a fantastic thing. And with 11 people don’t scrimp on mealtimes to me the mealtimes were the most important and wonderful thing. On our last evening together we went to a little bar that was next door hotel little place and we always we ran around and kind of set our favorite things that we have the six days we spent in Paris in mind was mealtimes. It’s definitely a chance to recharge and reconnect and languish in the atmosphere and I just the mealtimes end up being my favorite memories.

Annie Sargent 50:46
Right and French people will not rush you. If you want to stay two hours, three hours, they’re fine with it. They don’t even worry about it. Like you know you won’t have a waiter coming back every five minutes saying Do you need anything else? You know, can I really fill this with that. No, they will leave you alone, right?

Mary White 51:03
Yes, they won’t. They were fantastic. And really every we had a great time at every restaurant we went to and people were so gracious. We had a child with us. And you know, that’s always the Great Bridge and the great people love children.

Annie Sargent 51:18
Yeah, especially people in Paris.

Mary White 51:20
My other thing is to stay in a good area for you’re bringing a large group I stay in an area where there’s a lot of things around. Yeah, so people can walk out on their own and go to the grocery store to Starbucks to a restaurant to shopping to wherever.

Annie Sargent 51:34
Right. Oh, and that was perfect for that area is perfect for that because you have pharmacies, you have grocery, several grocery stores, bakeries, cafes, bars, you have all sorts of things right there.

Mary White 51:49
I’m definitely with I’m definitely going to stay there again. Even the hotel was very, very tiny. I would say in that hotel again. It’s a bargain at the price for sure. Yeah.

Annie Sargent 51:58
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we can talk about the Price. It’s I’ve never paid more than 155. So maybe in the middle of the summer like that it’s 170 or something. I don’t know.

Mary White 52:08
I paid 800 and something euros for the entire six days. Right? Right.

Annie Sargent 52:15
Right. So, yeah, so so it works out 145 or something like that. It’s very good. It’s very nice. It’s because the rooms are so small, they can’t charge very much. But if you can put up with a small room and a small bathroom, it’s it’s all functioning. Everything works just and the air conditioning is good. If it gets very hot, it works fine. So and you have the if you get the two rooms at the top, you get the beautiful view.

Mary White 52:42
Yes, it was true. And then my next thing is about making some dinner reservations. Breakfast, we had breakfast at Les Deux Magots. But a lot of people say oh, it’s very touristy. We had the most wonderful time there. It was good. Full in terrific. And we had lunch at Ladurée is We were with a 16 year old and she wanted to go there, right? So we had Lunch there. And it ended up to be also an equally wonderful meal, where the food was delicious. And everybody, you know, just had such a great time.

Mary White 53:14
So we made one breakfast, one lunch and three dinner reservations and the rest, we kind of left up to chance and serendipity. And you have to make some of that happen, make serendipity happen. Mm hmm. And it can happen and it can definitely happen in Paris for sure.

Annie Sargent 53:31
Right. So it sounds like you made a choice to not spend all your budget on your hotel, but rather spend it on nicer meals.

Mary White 53:42
That’s accurate. I would we’re kind of a foodie group. Our family you know, I told you we’re been in the restaurant businesses and things like that. So we appreciate good food. We don’t we are not You’re right. I mean, we probably blew more people’s budgets on their our food, but that’s okay. We were happy with

Annie Sargent 54:00
Right. There’s people who talked to me who will eat sandwiches almost the whole time they’re in Paris. But they get these nice hotels and that’s fine. If that’s your choice. That’s not a problem.

Mary White 54:11
Right? That’s what we chose to do. Yeah, pre purchased. We had pre purchased the hotel room. We had pre purchase this at Paris museum past we paid ahead of time for the van to Normandy. So we had pre purchase so many things that while you were there, it was okay to live a little bit. Yeah,

Mary White 54:27
yeah, you know, spend a little bit more,

Annie Sargent 54:30
Right. So would you recommend that people invite big family groups like this to join them in Paris? Or is that was that a crazy idea?

Mary White 54:39
Well, I would definitely recommend it. Because we like each other number one, but you but no one was disappointed with me. No one said anything. Oh, Mary, I can’t believe you didn’t make that work for us or no one. Did any of that. Everybody had the most memorable time they bought me a Longchamp bag

Annie Sargent 55:00
Oh,

Mary White 55:05
I presented it to me at our last lunch, but I would recommend it I mean, but just like you said, come to some agreements ahead of time, where you’re going to meet whether you have to do something or not. And everybody, like for example, everybody knew we had to meet at the Eiffel Tower at 5:30. And we had planned a meeting place because we had tickets. We husband and I got up at 2:30 in the morning to get those tickets for everyone.

Mary White 55:29
Why did you do that? Well, because it’s 8:30 Paris time.

Annie Sargent 55:34
Oh, so you wanted to so you bought you pre purchase them right when the ticket that batch of ticket opened? Correct. Okay. Okay. Yeah, this is something people might not know but the Eiffel Tower to buy the tickets. It’s a pain in the behind because they only open so many weeks in advance. And then people are going insane. Like I can’t get tickets and just because they’re not open yet or because they’re sold out. See, that’s the You have this narrow window between not open yet and sold out?

Mary White 56:03
Well, I just I wasn’t gonna do it. We could buy them from a tour group, you know, or like TripAdvisor or something like that. But yeah, just

Annie Sargent 56:12
It’s a waste of money because you pay you pay a lot more and the experience is exactly the same.

Mary White 56:18
And everybody had just PayPal me money. I mean, it was so easy to do it you just PayPal or Venmo or whatever.

Annie Sargent 56:24
Yeah, yeah,

Mary White 56:25
Whatever. And people just gave me money. And then I just would pay for the Eiffel Tower tickets. I mean, it was just so simple. Yeah. And I paid for the van from Normandy that way. So we got up to do the Eiffel Tower tickets. It’s two months in advance. 8:30 Paris time, and we did it. It was terrific. I mean, I just printed everything. I made packets for everyone. And that was that it was just really going into

Annie Sargent 56:54
So when’s your next family trip to Paris?

Mary White 56:59
Well, actually That’s funny you say that my husband and I said we would like to go by ourselves. Uh huh. And so we could even do you know, we would love to do we would love to eat at the Eiffel Tower. We will love to have more of a romantic trip. Yeah, this is definitely not a romantic trip. This was a fun and go go go go trip. Yes,

Annie Sargent 57:17
Yes. Well, lots of people go to Paris. They want the romance but they end up doing the gogogo because Paris is is an exciting place. You know, you want to see it all. So yeah,

Mary White 57:29
I can’t wait to go back.

Annie Sargent 57:30
Oh, good. Oh, good. Well, Mary, it’s it’s been delightful to talk to you I we need to stop because otherwise the separate episode is going to be monster long. But you’ve given us a lot of tips a lot to think about for people who want to experience Paris in a big family group.

Annie Sargent 57:48
I you know, I, I have been with my in laws. So I’ve had as and of course, two groups. So I’ve had as many as 14 people and it’s totally doable. Even even, not even making reservations for restaurants and stuff. If you can wait five minutes for them to, you know, clear up a date, a big enough table, usually it works out. So don’t hesitate to you know, don’t be shy. Just go and enjoy Paris with your family. I think it’s it’s a wonderful thing to do.

Mary White 58:17
It’s amazing. It was a trip of a lifetime for sure.

Annie Sargent 58:21
Thank you so much, Mary. And thank you for using the podcast to plan your to plan your trip. I mean, not that I get. It just makes me happy when people tell me that the podcast was helpful. So that’s good. Oh, au revoir.

Annie Sargent 58:39
I’m not going to thank anybody new for pledging to support the show on Patreon this week because I’m recording this an hour after I recorded the previous episode. But I want to thank my top three donors today. Thank you, Shannon kitchen, Tracy Gillespie and Rob O’Neill. for your continued and generous support of Join Us in France, your support means more than you realize it’s great encouragement and also it pays the bills. So that’s good. Patrons enjoy several rewards that you’ll find listed at patreon.com forward slash join us that’s pa tr e o n.com. forward slash join us no spaces or dashes.

Annie Sargent 59:23
I share exclusive content with my patrons, including help with your French comprehension stories about France, photos of France and membership into a secret Facebook group. And of course patrons can message me directly through Patreon and these messages always get top priority.

Annie Sargent 59:41
If you’re not sure if your itinerary for France as good as it needs to be, let me review it for you. For a $50 donation. You get a full review we go through the whole thing, first on the telephone, and then I send you my recommendations in writing email annie@JoinUsinFrance. dot com to set that up and make sure to write an itinerary review in the subject line.

Annie Sargent 1:00:06
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. com. There you will find an Amazon ad and a booking.com ad. If you click on these ads because you came to Amazon and booking through my site, I get a small commission and it does not cost you a penny more. And that’s usually enough to pay for all the costs associated with putting out this podcast, which is greatly appreciated.

Annie Sargent 1:00:42
For my personal update this week, since we’re very close to the new year, I would like to urge you to make one simple resolution for the new year. I’ve been watching a series on Netflix called our planet behind the scenes and the photography and videography for This series is just stunning. It’s narrated by David Attenborough and the whole thing is great. The only thing I don’t like about it, is that the show? Well, it features the tragedy that our warming planet is going through and how it’s destroying the natural habitat of animals, thereby killing millions of them. But the show at least so far, I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, doesn’t ever hint at anything the viewer might do about it.

Annie Sargent 1:01:31
Because everyone is afraid to step out of bounds or get preachy or recommend things that won’t make a big impact. But this is how I look at it. And I appreciate those of you who are willing to hear me out on this. Over the course of history, only a few human beings have been able to change the world drastically. Most of us will never change the world. It’s not in our wheelhouse, but we can make small changes that will add up so I’d like to encourage you next year to be determined to make some small changes in your life. They probably won’t change the world, but they can make it a tiny bit better.

Annie Sargent 1:02:13
And for me, I can’t stop using all plastics. That’s beyond my ability at this time, but I can stop using some plastics. Specifically in my shower stall. There’s so many plastic bottles in there, just switching to a bar of soap that came in a plain old cardboard box which is recyclable. That’s a few dozen plastic bottles I won’t be buying next year, right? Same with shampoo. I’m going to try bars of shampoo instead of liquid shampoo unit. I mean, I don’t know. I know it’s not going to solve the plastic problem and but if I don’t buy these bottles, they can’t end up in the ocean, at least not on my doing right?

Annie Sargent 1:02:59
And the other Thing is, I don’t want to give too much details about this because it’s horrifying and breaks my heart. But you can google it if you want. Don’t buy truffles and anything that contains feathers from China. They torture both dogs and birds in great quantities to produce these products cheaply. If it’s too cheap, don’t buy it, because there’s a lot of suffering behind that low price.

Annie Sargent 1:03:30
So there you have it, I am just a drop in the bucket. And it’s possible you’re just a drop in the bucket too. But there are some things we can do next year to make the world a tiny bit better. A cleaner place. A less cruel place and don’t even think that you can make a difference because you can we all can. It’s just that it won’t be all that obvious right away.

Annie Sargent 1:03:56
If you want to recommend the podcast to someone who already listens to podcasts, please Tell them get they can find. Join Us in France anywhere they get their podcast. If they listen to music on their phones, tell them to search for Join Us in France, on Spotify or Pandora. And if they don’t listen to anything on their phones, send them to Join Us in france.com they can listen there too. And thank you for listening and spreading the word.

Annie Sargent 1:04:24
Send questions or feedback to Annie at Join Us in france.com Have a great week of trip planning. Happy New Year to all of you and wishing you a wonderful holidays. And I know some of you must have had difficult things happen to you this year we all do. I hope next year will be better. Au revoir.

Annie Sargent 1:04:48
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

Subscribe to the Podcast
Apple Google Spotify RSS
Support the Show
Tip Your Guide Extras Patreon Audio Tours Merchandise
Read more about this transcript
Episode Page 

Categories: Family Travel, Paris