Subject: Re: Hooray for summer
Hi, Ziners, I'm sure you all know by now that my plans for summer include a trip with my daughter to Paris and Rome. I will be in Paris one week from today!

I want to thank all of you that gave me tips and information. Sandy told me about an inexpensive shuttle that you can reserve online before you leave home. It picks you up at the airport, handles your luggage, and takes you to your hotel for only 16 euros apiece for 2 of us. Thank you, Sandy! We have it reserved.

Candice gave me lots of good information about Paris, too. Cathia in Austin also helped. If I've forgotten anyone, please accept my apology.

And for those who responded to my query on traveling alone -- Linda, Marquerite, Carol, Lucy, Marlene, and Joan -- I appreciate your comments regarding your own personal experiences with doing this. My trip to Paris and Rome is with my daughter, but she can't travel very much now, so I want to attempt to do this on my own in the future and try not to be lonely.

Linda, thanks for reassuring me that Paris is a safe and wonderful city for a woman traveling alone. I love to walk, and I have a few books and maps on walks in Paris. I also learned that there is a company in Paris that provides walking tours in English. Their Web site is at: .

Marguerite, that's good to know that traveling alone helps to get to know the residents better. And that one should travel the way a native would. I try to do that all the time, and I've gotten along very well with the local people. I'm friendly, courteous, and polite, too, which really helps in making friends.

Carol, you suggested taking a trip to the city first. This is a good idea, and I have already planned to get to know Paris first with my daughter. Then I would feel more comfortable going back alone.

Lucy, yes, I agree that one downside is not having a companion to share things with right away. That's one thing that leads to loneliness. I intend when I go alone to do things where I can meet and get to know people, such as taking classes in the local language.

Marlene, you said that you went to Quebec City solo to give it a try and had a great experience even though you didn't know French. That reminds me of when I took a cruise that went to New England and the eastern maritime provinces of Canada. We had an overnight stop at Quebec City, and I loved it there. (As a matter of fact, I love all the places we went to in Canada and loved the friendliness and politeness of the people there.) I was alone on this cruise, and I do know some French, so I felt comfortable enough to try a little French with the shopkeepers. They loved it and made me feel welcome.

Marlene, you also mentioned trying out things alone in my own area, like going to a movie or restaurant alone. I don't mind doing these things alone in a familiar area like San Diego or Hawaii (I've been there over 20 times!), but it will be different doing them in a place where I've never been before, especially where the language is not English. This is what has concerned me, and why I'm glad I'm going with my daughter first.

Joan, I didn't know that by paying a single supplement on a tour that you get a double seat on the bus. That's very good to know. I am tentatively planning a trip to Croatia next year with a tour company where the single supplement is just $200. I hope now that I can get a double seat to spread out on.

Everyone, I think this is the best list I could have found, as I am a travel addict and am finding out such good information. And the people here are so nice. I am happy to provide my own tips and information whenever I feel it's appropriate to do so. I was reading a new travel book last night titled Traveling Solo. The author gives a lot of interesting information on traveling alone, and she also comments on her 4 favorite cities for being alone in. One of them is Paris, and I wrote down a couple of things to tell you about. This is in regard to finding other Americans if you get too lonely. One place she mentioned is an English language bookstore called W. H. Smith's, centrally located on rue de Rivoli. It's a combination restaurant, tea room, and bookshop. Also, she suggested signing up for language lessons at the Alliance-Francaise at 101 blvd Raspail. This is another place to meet up with Americans. In another book, I learned that rue Cler is where the expats hang out and that you can meet and get to know about happenings at the American Church there.

For myself, I have been in contact with the Accord Ecole de Langues for several years, and I think I may go there next year. It is near the Pompidou Center, so it is centrally located, too. I like the way they teach French and that they provide room and board (half -- breakfast and dinner), as well as outings to various points of interest. I would like to be there for 4 weeks, and it would cost no more than a high moderately priced 2-week vacation. While I'm in Paris, I'm going to walk over there and check it out.

Sorry to have been so wordy in this message, but I had all of this inside me that I wanted to finally talk about.

Thanks again for all your help,

Diana San Diego, California