Subject: Trip report: June in Paris & Provence
Greetings all.

We left Canada on May 30 and returned on June 16, flying Fredericton-Montreal-CDG. We had planned this trip extensively with the goal of having a wonderful time, lodging comfortably but not extravagantly, and eating well, but not (too) expensively. You could call us "budget plus" travelers. I will post the report by the day, as time permits.

May 31

We cleared customs and headed to the mezzanine where we purchased our Cartes Oranges and RER tickets to take us to Gare du Nord. We caught the # 42 bus and transferred to the #80 at Alma-Marceau to reach our destination at La Motte Picqet-Grenelle. The bus route took us past the Opera, Madeleine, Concorde, Tuilleries, Champs Elysees and over the bridge past the Eiffel Tower---a scenic ride. The Hotel de l'Avre where we stayed was a half block away from the bus stop: lines 80 and 82 and 3 metro lines: 6, 8, and 10. The hotel was comfortable, nicely decorated, and the staff was great--- helpful and friendly.

We made a dash for the Café Constant where we were having lunch with Penny & Bob from Toronto, a couple we had met on line here at the Travelzine while planning our trip. I had a nice lunch of salad, beefsteak tartare, and profiteroles. Peg had foie gras salad, chicken, and poires belle hélène (poached in vanilla syrup, with chocolate sauce & vanilla ice cream). We bid farewell to Penny & Bob and decided not to nap but rather to forge ahead, as we had managed to sleep a bit on the plane.

We crossed the Champ de Mars and rode the metro to the Bon Marché on Rue Sèvres. We "shopped" covering most floors of this store and I bought an electrical adapter in the luggage department. We ended on the ground floor at the "Grand Epicerie" which is a combination bakery, butcher, pastry and gourmet item market. There are many tantalizing treats to be had here, and it's perfect if you are getting something together for a picnic. We then walked the length of Rue Cherche Midi and Rue Dragon, window shopping as we went. Peg fell in love with a jacket at a tiny shop, Smatti, at 37 Rue du Dragon which she eventually returned to buy a few days later. We ended up in St Germaine des Prés where we hopped the metro back to the hotel where we freshened up and headed out to Ave Bosquet, Rue St Dominique, and Rue Cler where we had a satisfying meal of salads and duck at le Café du Marché. We ambled back to the hotel to review plans for the next day and then turned in, entirely satisfied with our first day and so excited to be in Paris!

Kevin Douglas, NB, Canada