Subject: Recent trip to Paris
Hi - We recently got back from a fabulous long weekend in Paris. It was too short, of course, but wonderful. We used a consolidator (for the first time) to get our airline tickets. I spent a long time looking at many different websites for the best fare and found it (and it really was a significantly better deal than anywhere else) on http://www.1800flyeurope.com . We were even able to get frequent flyer miles on American Airlines.

We stayed at the Hotel du College de France, a 2 star hotel I had heard about before and had always wanted to try. The location is perfect. It's in the Latin Quarter (the 5th) and a short walk to Notre Dame. It was also a very convenient location for us to take the RER B train from the airport as the San Michel station is just a few blocks from the hotel. The room was a decent size (especially for Paris!) and the bathroom was surprisingly large. The room was clean, and since it is on a side street, the noise wasn't bad at all. Also, the price was definitely right.

Susan and I had been to Paris twice before, but this time we brought my sister with us (her husband hates to travel) to celebrate her 40th birthday. She had never been to Paris before so we did a fun mix of things we had done before (Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, etc.) and things that were new to us. We also introduced her to some of our favorite food experiences like dark chocolate crepes and Angelina's hot chocolate! Speaking of food, we found the best falafel on rue de Rosiers.

One of the new things we discovered was Musee des Arts et Metiers. It turned out to be a fascinating place filled with everthing from old cars and airplanes to scientific instruments, machinery, old telephones, cameras, and the history of many inventions. It's definitely worth checking out. We had gotten a museum pass and I think it practically paid for itself by the end of the first day! We also took a walking tour of the Marais with Paris Walks http://www.paris-walks.com . We had taken one before of Montmarte and both were excellent.

One of the things we enjoyed most was a night time boat ride on the Seine. We had done it during the day before, but it was truly magical at night with everything all lit up. We used the Bateaux Vedettes http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.com

These boats leave from Pont Neuf so it was very convenient for us to walk back to our hotel after it was over. We were even able to get a 2 Euro each discount on their website. Speaking of discounts, we love the Brasserie Balzar and have eaten there whenever we've been to Paris. I discovered that by making a reservation online, I was able to get a 20% discount off the total bill (which was very nice, especially given the exchange rate!). We had a wonderful meal there, as always.

I'm sure I'm leaving a lot out, but I'm also sure I've gone on long enough. It always amazes me how much we are able to get done in a long weekend (we arrived on a Friday morning and left late Monday morning).

Jamie Natick, MA