After a long hiatus, we are back with an update! Unfortunately Tamara and Kim both came down with COVID after returning from their respective spring break trips, which has delayed getting a new episode out. But this week Tamara fills us in on her adventures (and misadventures) on spring break and shares some of the highlights and tips from her week in Paris.
Paris Trip Highlights
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- Tamara and her family stayed at Le Relais Saint Germain in the 6th Arrondissement
- See her full 5 days in Paris itinerary
- Tamara’s Paris trip planning timeline and checklist
- You can also see Tamara’s Paris travel tips
- One of the highlights was seeing Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musee d’la Orangerie, relaxing in the Tuileries Gardens, and an amazing tour of the Louvre
- The tour was “Mona Lisa at her Quietest” by Take Walks / Walks of France
- Tamara also recommend the Ultimate Food Tour of the Marais neighborhood with Devour Tours
- She recommends skipping a river cruise on the Seine, or do it at night when everything is lit up
- Tamara and her family also didn’t enjoy going up the Eiffel Tower, but if you want to do it, make sure you book tickets well in advance for a timed entry
- Two food highlights were the chef’s tasting dinner at Ze Kitchen Galerie and lunch with Hannah at Cafe Recruitment
- For Paris, Tamara recommends the Bandolier phone case and lanyard as the perfect travel companion for easy access to your phone for taking pictures, directions, etc.
- She also liked the packable travel backpack from Travelon
Full Episode Transcript
[00:00:00.190] – Kim Tate
Bonjour. Today we’re talking about the city of Paris
[00:00:15.810] – Announcer
Welcome to Vacation Mavens, a family travel podcast with ideas for your next vacation and tips to get you out the door. Here are your hosts, Kim from Stuffed Suitcase and Tamara from We3Travel.
[00:00:30.540] – Kim Tate
Tamara, it’s so good to finally get back online and chat and record this episode with you. It’s been a while.
[00:00:37.050] – Tamara Gruber
I think I forgot how to do this. Hopefully, everyone has not forgotten about us entirely. We certainly did not intend for our break to be this long, but as you guys may recall, Kim and I were both going on spring break. So I went first, and then Kim went. And turns out we both came back from our breaks with some extra souvenirs that we did not intend to.
[00:00:59.260] – Kim Tate
Yeah, definitely was not planning. I got too relaxed. Everyone that seems to happen on vacations and traveling. I think it happened to both of us.
[00:01:08.090] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So if you guys didn’t see on my Instagram, what happened to me was that actually halfway through our trip, my husband came down with Covet. And so we had just moved from Paris to Venice, and we were wondering if something was going on with him. We weren’t sure what to do, and then he became very symptomatic once we were in Venice. And so we quickly had to scramble and find him a place where he could quarantine for the up to ten days. And then Hannah and I need to decide what to do because luckily, if you guys remember, we were booking two different rooms for this trip. And so once Glenn was not feeling well, we had him in one room, and Hannah and I stayed in the other room. And we tried to debate what to do, but we basically had to take a lot of time to sort out the situation and get him all situated in an Airbnb and stocked up with food and things from the pharmacy. And we tested negative for a couple of days in a row after we had been exposed to him. And so we were debating, do we continue on our trip?
[00:02:16.530] – Tamara Gruber
And we had to leave Florence. We had to leave Venice because our hotel reservation was up and they had no more space for us. So we knew we either continued on to Florence as we thought. But then I thought, what if we get there and I get sick? What does Hannah do? Like, how is she managing on her own? And so what we decided to do was, since we were negative again was to fly home. And I think the stress and the exhaustion of flying and all of that, my body was like, you know what? I fought this off for long enough, and I can’t anymore because the day after I got home, I was not feeling well. And test positive for Covid also. So, yeah, fun. This is what happens when you travel sometimes. Unfortunately, it’s not going away. When we were in France when we first got there, you still had to show your green pass your vaccine pass to get into restaurants and things. And a couple of days into our trip, they dropped that requirement and they dropped the mask mandate. And so it became a little bit more open. We still tried to be careful in crowded situations, but some random encounter stuff happens.
[00:03:28.640] – Tamara Gruber
So my advice is just definitely to have trip insurance with really good trip interruption insurance as well. I actually am still waiting to see what is being covered from my claim. It should be up to $10,000, but they are backed up, as you can imagine, with lots of claims. And so any day I definitely will report back when I find out because it should cover both putting him up in the Airbnb, as well as all the cancelation fees that we had to do. I don’t know if it’s going to cover our return flight. It would cover his if we had to change it. But anyway, I feel like it could be its own episode and it’s such a long drama, I don’t know if I even want to relive it again.
[00:04:12.280] – Kim Tate
It might be a good episode. Yeah. About the insurance, who did you insure with again, just to give people an idea, who did you have and what did you pay for that insurance? So people get an idea, maybe.
[00:04:21.710] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So we used Allianz because that’s been my go to for many years and they have different levels of coverage. And this one was like, I think a one trip Premier plan. And then I paid a little bit extra to increase the values because you can choose how much coverage you would have for cancellation and for trip interruption. And you really have to look at how much the trip costs and how many costs you wouldn’t be able to get back. And also what would the cost be for you if you did have to quarantine for ten days somewhere? So that is certainly something to think about. I think the insurance cost me somewhere around six or $700. Okay. And like I said, it should cover. We’ll see if they agree with everything that I’ve tried to claim, but it should cover up to $10,000, I think, per person because we insured it for whole family.
[00:05:16.420] – Kim Tate
[00:05:17.450] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. And then that was also like a $10,000 cancellation coverage as well. So yeah, fingers crossed that that will work out as we hope. And if so, that would have been a very good investment.
[00:05:30.000] – Kim Tate
Yes, for sure.
[00:05:32.200] – Tamara Gruber
[00:05:32.440] – Kim Tate
I was just on a trip and it was domestic and I didn’t have travel insurance beyond just what’s included in my credit card, which some credit cards have some cancellation and interruption coverage. But my charger got smashed in a door and so I couldn’t charge my phone on the trip. I had to borrow start bumming everyone else’s and so it was a nice charge or two. It was one of those carbon or whatever special ones, and they cost about $60. And I was kind of wishing I had some kind of equipment damage type coverage because I know some people, like, lose their cameras or lose their phones on trips and things, so be another benefit sometimes. I know travel insurance covers that, but the coveted stuff is certainly still there. And I’m glad to know that they’ve started, including because initially it was like travel insurance didn’t cover COVID stuff at all. So it’s nice to know that.
[00:06:25.440] – Tamara Gruber
Yes, you definitely need to look at your policy and make sure. But this is why I bought this one, is that they would cover again. It’s not going to be like, oh, we don’t want to go because it’s getting bad again. That’s going to be covered. But if you actually get covered and you can’t or if you get covered while you’re on the trip, then those are covered with this policy. The only other thing I want to mention about this is that we did have difficulty. Once my husband’s quarantine time was up, he was still testing positive, which as anyone that has coveted may have heard, you can test positive up to 90 days on the PCR test. On the PCR test, yeah. And so in Italy, when you’re going to do it, they only do the PCR job. And so we had trouble getting him home. And so even though his quarantine was up and technically he should have been able to come home, we couldn’t get a negative test. And in Italy, they don’t have like a letter of recovery. So even though it’s accepted by the airline, it’s accepted by the US, the doctors there, we talked to a couple of doctors, and they were just like, we don’t know what you’re talking about.
[00:07:35.150] – Tamara Gruber
There is no such thing. Whereas in the US, they do have that. So what we ended up doing actually is doing a telehealth appointment with our physician at home. And then he was able to write a letter, which had to get faxed because for HIPAA violations.
[00:07:49.900] – Kim Tate
Somehow a Fax is more safer than email.
[00:07:54.870] – Tamara Gruber
A Fax that goes to a hotel lobby. So it was crazy because he was an Airbnb. So we had to have it faxed to the hotel where we had been staying, who was nice enough to continue to stay in touch with him and help out. Like when he needed to try to find something, trying to find resources, they stayed in touch with him via email and phone. And so unfortunately, of course, my doctor couldn’t figure out how to actually do an international fact. So it never went through. So then, like, as I said, when I came back, I ended up getting coveted. So then I’m isolating in my room, and Hannah is just like in the house. And luckily, she now drives, so I could send her to the doctor’s office to pick up this note to bring home that we could then Fax. It was really crazy. So stressful. I’m going to talk about our trip in Paris, and I’m going to try to remember it with the feeling that we had when we left, which was how much we loved our trip, but so much has happened since then. I feel like, wait, what?
[00:08:58.780] – Tamara Gruber
Paris was this year?
[00:09:00.020] – Kim Tate
[00:09:02.770] – Tamara Gruber
So that’s my drama. And you had a souvenir too, right, right.
[00:09:07.010] – Kim Tate
We came home myself as well, and just me. And it was kind of one of those things. Like, we considered it was safe on the cruise. We thought it was all good because everyone was tested to get on, and you had to be vaccinated to get on. But it was kind of funny because the way they were checking the tests and the vaccination, we were like, oh, my goodness, people could have fake stuff, and they would have no clue. It was massive. It took us an insane amount of time to get on the ship. So there was just a lot of people and not enough people checking people in. So I don’t know. We’re saying we’re like, oh, I wonder how many people faked their info to get on the ship. But yeah, we just kind of got lax with the masks because they weren’t required, and we were initially the only people wearing them. And walking around the ship, we felt odd, and people would notice us. You just start feeling like.
[00:09:58.680] – Tamara Gruber
I’m sure they weren’t.
[00:09:59.410] – Kim Tate
But that was what we felt like.
[00:10:03.130] – Tamara Gruber
[00:10:03.530] – Kim Tate
And so eventually a few days, and we were just kind of like, and then you just stopped caring. And then I just didn’t realize it. And I think it’s like you kind of going through stressors of getting home, and Mia was having a food reaction thing, and it just was not good. And I was under a lot of stress. And I think it’s the same thing where. Because when Lizzy had it in January, it wasn’t a problem. And then, yeah, I think my body was kind of just like, you’re exhausted and you’ve been drinking a lot of alcohol on this. That’s what I’m blaming it on. But yeah, I think it’s just kind of one of those things you just have to it’s still out there. And thank goodness it was not too bad for me, but definitely was not asymptomatic. I mean, I definitely had symptoms, but got over it pretty quickly, but it’s something to be mindful of, especially when traveling. I was thinking that because I was thinking, oh, my goodness, if I would have come down with the symptoms on the cruise or any of those, it could have really affected some things because, again, you’d have to quarantine and not fly.
[00:11:07.630] – Tamara Gruber
I’ll be honest. It’s not stopping me. Maybe part of it is because now I’ve had it. Maybe I’m okay for a little bit, I don’t know. But I am still going ahead full steam planning summer and fall travel. And my plan is before the fall to get another booster since I’m eligible. But I don’t want to do it right now since I don’t feel like I need it right now and hopefully there’ll be a better one in the future anyway. So I’m still moving forward. But it’s just Glen just said to me recently, so we’re never going to go anywhere without bringing our laptops, are we?
[00:11:42.120] – Tamara Gruber
And I’m like, no.
[00:11:43.180] – Tamara Gruber
But I don’t think so.
[00:11:44.890] – Kim Tate
I always bring my laptop, but I think the trip insurance is something good to know.
[00:11:49.670] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. I actually just bought an annual plan now for all of us since we especially having one going off to College. Like everyone’s going to be flying a fair amount. So I’m like, yeah, we’re going to go back to having the annual plan. But I’ve made it not the basic but a little bit more since we will be traveling a little bit more.
[00:12:09.850] – Kim Tate
Yeah. Well, we will move on from that. I’m sure everyone’s I think our listeners probably are glad to hear about it because it’s just kind of a good insight into precautions and things to be aware of and where your money lies. Like what kind of extra added expenses can you take if something does happen and you suddenly have to stay somewhere for ten more days and change your flights and all that? So I think it’s good to know. But we are going to move on and talk about your six days in Paris
[00:12:43.090] – Tamara Gruber
and both of us apologize in advance for our terrible French accents.
[00:12:48.250] – Kim Tate
Hey, mine’s beautiful. Don’t say that. No, I’m just kidding. So why don’t you start off and just kind of give our listeners an idea of whereabouts you guys stayed? Because I know you stayed in one place and you probably chose it. I know you, so you probably chose it really carefully. And I know how I choose my hotel. So I’m looking forward to hearing where you stayed and why you chose that area of Paris.
[00:13:09.980] – Tamara Gruber
Sure. Yeah. So I think that this was the longest day I’ve had in a hotel since I honestly have no idea when we’ve not stayed six nights in one place.
[00:13:23.690] – Kim Tate
[00:13:24.290] – Tamara Gruber
I really can’t remember when like, I guess when we went on the Alaska cruise, we stayed in our cruise cabin for a week. Oh, yeah. But that’s it. So it was such a delight to stay in one place. But I have talked to a lot of people about the different Arrondissement and where to stay, and everyone’s kind of like especially for first time visitors if you want to feel like everything is close by and there’s so much around, but it still feels fairly authentic to stay in the 6th. And so that is where I focused. And when we had planned this trip originally, two years ago, I was going to rent an apartment. I had rented an apartment, but then after our experience trying to cancel with their 90 day cancelation period and losing that money, we decided we’re going to do a hotel this time because even though it’s definitely more economical if you do an apartment, especially, versus getting two rooms for a larger family in a hotel room. Not that we’re a large family, but the hotel rooms are small. We just wanted the more flexibility in terms of cancelation and such, and I’m really glad we did.
[00:14:35.420] – Tamara Gruber
So we picked a hotel called Hotel Le Relais Saint Germain. And it’s really right in the heart of this Saint Germain neighborhood. And I looked at a bunch of places that some of them I loved, but it was just above our price range. And then others just looked kind of basic, like Hilton. I mean, they weren’t like those kind of brand names, but they just had that basic hotel room look. And I really wanted something that felt very Parisian, felt very like it had a lot of character. And so this is a small hotel. It has a very boutique feel, but it’s been around for a long time, and we did two different rooms. So my room was we really splurged for the beginning of this trip.
[00:15:22.690] – Kim Tate
That’s good now.
[00:15:23.510] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, exactly. So we had, like, a nice big room that had, like, a sitting area, and then this tiny little balcony that just looked over these typical French buildings. You look down at cafes. It was, like, so heavenly to walk out there. And even though it was March and we weren’t, like, having our coffee out there, it was more just like to walk out there and look around. I was very excited to have that. And then Hannah was, like a floor or two below us, but again, there’s, like three rooms on each floor. And her room was also, like, really lovely and just lots of character, like wood beams on the ceiling and very authentic feeling, decor and such beautiful. I really loved it. The staff was so nice. I will say the last time I was in Paris was 20 years ago. And at the time, granted, I was a lot younger, so it was a lot more intimidated, especially because I wasn’t as well traveled at the time. So I was very intimidated by Parisians. At the time. Glenn was working, and I had just tagged along, used his free hotel room to go explore Paris, except everything was on strike for that whole week.
[00:16:32.020] – Tamara Gruber
So all I did was kind of, like, wander around different neighborhoods, and I was so intimidated to go into restaurants and order. So order creps from the truck and just kind of go into a bakery and just order, like, croissants and stuff. So anyway, this time I just found everyone really nice, really welcoming. Not speaking French was really not a problem. I mean, you always walk in, you make eye contact, you save on shore and you attempt a couple of things and then you move on from there. But I did not get that same kind of attitude. And I don’t know if it’s just like the world has changed a lot in 20 years where there’s just so much more travel that we can’t be as insular. But also maybe it’s a little bit of like, oh, it’s been two years without tourism, and we need those Americans in their money. So it could have been a little bit of both. But I will say we had a really pleasant experience. The staff at a hotel was really lovely. There was a breakfast that was included every day, which they could make you eggs or it was just they bring over pastry and fruit and yogurt and stuff.
[00:17:34.060] – Tamara Gruber
And it was just so nice by the third day. It’s the nice thing about staying somewhere small like that. They knew, okay, she doesn’t want this and that one wants this. Like they know what kind of coffee you want or something.
[00:17:47.490] – Kim Tate
[00:17:48.150] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, it was really nice. And the location was amazing. Like, right outside the hotel is a very famous restaurant. And then they have these couple of other almost more like tapas bars or wine bars that are right nearby where you can go. One night we just stop after our day and we had a glass of wine and some little snacks because usually we had a later dinner, so they have a couple of those. But then there’s these other bistros and cafes. You walk out and it’s right there. And then maybe two minute walk to the nearest Metro stop or to a cab stand. And then there’s just this other district with just so many great restaurants and things to do. So I loved being there. Like, we were maybe a five minute walk to the Luxembourg Gardens, which is something that we did on our first day just when we were trying to get over our jet lag and not do anything too big. So it was just maybe 15 minutes to the Louvre or 20 minutes to Notre Dame. Everything felt very accessible. So I would completely go back to stay there again. I loved it.
[00:18:55.060] – Kim Tate
Yeah, that’s awesome. It sounds wonderful. I love how that’s kind of where you can just wander around and there’s stuff near you. I think that’s the best thing. Yeah.
[00:19:05.870] – Tamara Gruber
I would say the only thing is it definitely is not ideal for families where the specific hotel that I stayed at for families with younger kids because the rooms are not really set up for families too much. Like in our room, you could have definitely done three or maybe four. I don’t know if they would allow you to do four if they were really young kids. But you have some stairs and I don’t know, just different things where maybe it wasn’t so great for young kids. But I did see another family. There was, like the grandmother, parents, and teens, and they clearly all had separate rooms on separate floors like we did. And that was fine.
[00:19:43.510] – Kim Tate
Well, that’s awesome. Well, I know one of the big things for Paris is definitely the activities, and you probably got to do quite a few things, and you’re six days there. But what are some of the highlights that you think are really stood out to you that you think everyone should definitely make sure to do and maybe kind of tips. Any tips you had for those?
[00:20:02.210] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, absolutely. I really spent a lot of time trying to plan the itinerary, of course. Right. But I tried to group things by neighborhoods so that we are mostly doing things in one area one day, another day in this way, we got to see so many different areas of Paris without going from here to there and back and forth. But one of the things to really keep in mind when you’re planning a trip to Paris is like when things are open. So, like, the Louvre is always closed on Tuesdays. A lot of the other museums are closed on Mondays. So you have to keep all that in mind. And I have a couple of things that might help people. Actually, on my website, I have a post that I wrote that has a planning timeline and checklist. And then I also have a post that I wrote about, like a full five day itinerary that leaves everything out so really nice. I don’t need to go through every minute of every day here, but I do want to highlight some of the things that we did that just really were exceptional. And I’m going to give myself a little Pat on the back here because I remember towards the end of our time, I was like, so how do you guys think about this trip?
[00:21:07.220] – Tamara Gruber
What do you think about the balance? Because Hannah was like, oh, I can’t believe we have to leave Paris already. I really love it. I wish I had more time here. And I’m like, well, what would you want to do? And she’s like, well, just like, hang out. But then I did try to leave downtime for a little bit of downtime every day. I’m like, do you think it was too busy or not busy enough? They’re like, no, I think it was perfect. It’s like we did things, but then we had time to either chill out or just, like, wander or hang out. So it felt like a really nice balance of things because honestly, there’s so much to do. It’s a really big city, so many cultural attractions, so many famous things you want to do. It is hard to fit it all in, even a week and a virtual Pat on your back for you, too.
[00:21:52.320] – Kim Tate
[00:21:53.370] – Tamara Gruber
I was waiting for the end of the trip for them to be like, mom Tamara, thank you so much. This is such a great trip. But then the trip just kind of.
[00:22:04.630] – Kim Tate
Yeah, it kind of went downhill fast. Yeah.
[00:22:10.460] – Tamara Gruber
But some things I really. I’m going to tell you things that I love that we loved, and then things that I think you could skip. And so one of our highlights was the day. It was actually a really full day. I thought we’re going to be exhausted this day. I’m just going to tell you a little bit about this day. And I think part of it was that it was sunny and nice out also because it did rain a lot on a trip. Not like pouring, but drizzly, cold kind of stuff. But this one day everything worked out great. We actually took a cab over. We could have done the Metro, but we took a cab over to the Arc de Triomphe. And then we walked down from there towards the Louvre. The Louvre. And then on the way we stopped, just took pictures different places. We went to the Musee de la Orangerie. It’s where all the Monet. I think at one point there was something like a conservatory maybe, but it’s where they have all the Monet water lilies, like the huge canvases of that. I just love impressionist. So I’m like, yeah, I want to see that.
[00:23:17.970] – Tamara Gruber
So we did that kind of quickly. And then we continued walking down and we spent some time in the toiletries, like gardens. Just like people watching, sitting in the Sunshine, relaxing. And then we went and we had a very authentic lunch experience. Like, we sat in one of those busy the outdoor tables. So the three of us around this teeny little table. And we’re just like people watching and eating, listening to the conversations around us. It’s just like a really neat setting. And then we went and we did some cool, like, photo stuff, which my family doesn’t always want to cooperate on taking photos. But there’s this art exhibit that people have probably seen some pictures of, but it’s basically different, like columns of different heights that are painted in like a black and white. So a little bit checkerboardish looking. And so we just did different poses. Like on that we just had fun. We walked through another garden. We wandered through town, we stopped at a chocolate place, and then we went back. And then I had booked a tour of the Louvre called Mona Lisa at her quietest. Because the Louvre is huge.
[00:24:29.440] – Tamara Gruber
I think we learned something. Like every day there’s like 3800 pieces of art on display and that’s only like an 8th of their collection or something like that. So it’s so huge. There’s miles and miles of galleries that you can look at. And I knew that we were never going to do that. So I wanted to do some type of a tour that would help you see some of the highlights. And of course, everyone wants to do like the Mona Lisa. And I’ve seen pictures of like 100 people with other selfies trying to buy it.
[00:25:01.440] – Kim Tate
So this one was appealing to this tiny painting on the wall.
[00:25:06.190] – Tamara Gruber
Everyone’s like, oh, so disappointed, so small. I’m like, well, they take a close up picture. So anyway, I booked this with Take Walks or Walks of France, but it’s take walks as the overall company. And this was the absolute highlight of all the tours that we did. And it’s all because of the guide. We had an amazing guide, Adam. But we first walked up and I’m like, okay, we’ve already done a lot of walking today. Now here we are at the end of the day, about to do 3 hours of walking. So that’s why if you were doing it with younger kids, I would say don’t do a lot during the day. But I knew teens, adults, like we could handle it. And we walk up and he was like, oh, so this is actually the biggest tour group that we’ve had since COVID. And I’m like, great, because they do a Max of 14 where sometimes I’ve booked like the other tours I did were with live tours. Actually, with those, they were private anyway. But with live tours, there’s a maximum of six people, which is so much nicer because especially if you have a family, you’re most of the tour group, right?
[00:26:08.120] – Tamara Gruber
But with 14 people, I’m like, oh, boy. And then he handed us one of those little ear pieces that you put in so you can hear him. So he’s talking to a little Mike. And I’m like, oh, no, what is this going to be?
[00:26:18.760] – Kim Tate
It’s not like the nude colored headphones with the sponge ear thing.
[00:26:24.770] – Tamara Gruber
It wasn’t that. But still, I was waiting for the umbrella, but no umbrella either because we can be such knobs. Like, earlier in the week, we took a tour of by Notre Dame and like that area. And we saw this huge group going by with the tour guide, with the umbrella. And we’re just like, oh, God, I’m so glad I’m not doing that. But anyway, it ended up being wonderful. And I’m so glad that we had that earpiece because then you could wander a little bit away or you didn’t have to stand right in front of them because the loofah is busy, it’s crowded, and it’s really hard to hear sometimes. So I was super glad to have that. And his personality was just absolutely amazing. He has worked at the Louvre, he’s guided there for like ten years. He’s worked in the labs, and he just had so much personality. He was funny, he was great. But he told us all these stories and just things about how do you identify an original versus a replica? How do you tell the difference between Greek and Roman art? So just things that we wouldn’t get just like wandering around on our own.
[00:27:34.450] – Tamara Gruber
But then as we got towards the Mona Lisa. He took us aside and showed us some similar work from that era. And so that we had something to compare it to. So you could kind of understand why DA Vinci is so amazing at what he did. And then he showed us some of his other work. And so he got this really great history. And then we go into the room with Ammonia Lisa, right as the Museum is about to close. And so we talk a little bit more and then literally, as they’re about to make the announcements, like time to leave the Museum, that’s when we walk up, there’s zero people there. You could do a selfie with them on Alisa. There was no one else around but our group. So I would say if you do do it on your own and you want to go, then that’s where you need to be at the Museum closing time. So it worked out perfectly. It was just such a wonderful day. So I really think that’s a highlight. I would love to go back and do other tours with him because you can pick tours that have different themes, too.
[00:28:31.310] – Tamara Gruber
So you’re really interested in one type of art or another, and there’s just so much to see and so much to learn there. So anyway, I highly recommend that I have links to all of that on my blog post also, that was for me, number one. And then it probably won’t surprise you that one of my other favorite things was a food tour.
[00:28:50.970] – Kim Tate
Yeah. But that does not surprise me. But I’m sure everyone still wants to hear about it.
[00:28:54.940] – Tamara Gruber
It’s such a fun way to explore. And so there’s the neighborhood Lamaray that I didn’t have anything in particular that we were going to do there. But there are things to see. There’s a Museum and there’s a lot of shopping and restaurants. It’s a nice neighborhood. I would maybe stay there in the future, but I didn’t have something organized like a specific site that we’re going to go see. So I thought a good way to get a taste of that neighborhood. I made a pun and you didn’t mean to was to do a food tour. So that’s what we did. I did it with Devour tours and it was great. We had chocolate and macarons and French onion soup and charcuterie and cheese and croissants. It was like a real mix of things. And we really got to have a taste. And that also is where there’s a strong, like, Jewish neighborhood there. So we went to a Jewish bakery, had something from there. We did not go to the famous falafel shops, but we did walk by those. So, yeah, I would definitely recommend also a food tour if you’re into that like I am.
[00:30:00.550] – Kim Tate
Yeah, that sounds cool. The Devour Tours is on our we’ve talked to them before, haven’t we?
[00:30:05.560] – Tamara Gruber
We did, yeah. During Covid. We talked to them and they have tours. They started in, I think, Spain and Portugal. So those are their main sites. And then they have some others. I think they cut back some Dorian Covet and they’re like now slowly expanding back out again. But lovely, wonderful guide. All good. We ended at a wine shop. That’s never bad.
[00:30:27.820] – Kim Tate
I was like that’s right up my alley. I did a lot of wine drinking lately, so we’ve heard some of the highlights and this is a fun question that puts you on the spot. What about anything you did not like that didn’t impress you?
[00:30:40.830] – Tamara Gruber
I think we would all have the same answer for this one. And everyone was like, oh, you need to do like a river cruise on the sun. Sometimes they do like the dinner cruises or it could just be a sightseeing cruise. I didn’t want to do the dinner cruise because my expectation was unless you’re spending like 200 Euro per person for the fancy, fancy one, it’s probably not very good food. So we just wanted to do the site, seeing one and I booked to do it right at sunset. So basically we would be back coming back when the sun is setting and the lights are coming on. And maybe in retrospect, I would do it at night, but it just worked out for us. When we could get tickets to the Eiffel Tower, they were doing it at sunset. And so basically what you do there’s, like the Batto, Parisian Battle Mush or something else. So there’s different boats, different companies that go out. I booked the one that was right at the foot of the Eiffel Tower because we were going to do that afterwards to make sure that that was convenient. And I bought a ticket in advance.
[00:31:44.880] – Tamara Gruber
But it’s not for a specific time, it’s just for that date. And they have things that go out every hour, basically last an hour. It goes out every hour. So you have to go ahead of time and line up.
[00:31:56.540] – Tamara Gruber
And I got there half hour early, which I felt was early. And there were all these tour buses that had already come up and they were already in one huge line. So then we’re waiting in that huge line, then we get up to the thing. They’re like, oh, no, this is for the groups. You have to go around the other side. We’re like, so we get into that big line and we’re like, oh, what seats are going to be left? We’re going to be like inside, in the middle. What’s happening? It ends up being fine. Like if you get there a half hour early, you’re good, but don’t get there right beforehand because you may not have room especially for that one. I think is probably a popular time to go if you’re going during the day, I’m sure it’s like fine. So we got seats right up on top. Good view front row. It was cold but I’m like, no, I want to take pictures, not through glass. So we’re up front, up top. And I don’t know, it was just very like, I could completely live without it. If you wanted to do an audio guide, you could through your phone.
[00:32:53.290] – Tamara Gruber
But I felt like I knew basically what we’re seeing, and I didn’t want to have someone chattering in my ear the whole time. Just kind of wanted to enjoy it. But some of the groups that came on were schoolchildren who thought it was hysterical that every time you go under a bridge, you scream and you see how much it can Echo. And even Hannah was like. They’Ve got to stop me. She was so fed up with them. Oh, man.
[00:33:16.020] – Tamara Gruber
And there are a lot of bridges in Paris that you go under.
[00:33:19.690] – Kim Tate
[00:33:20.640] – Tamara Gruber
So when we were done, we were like, yeah, done. That check. Don’t need to do that again.
[00:33:26.590] – Kim Tate
[00:33:26.990] – Tamara Gruber
And I will say that I feel the same about the Eiffel Tower. Oh, yeah. When Glenn and I were there 20 years ago, it was like the only thing that we did. And at that time, you could just literally walk up. And I remember we went to the second level. He was scared of heights. Of course, it was really cloudy, rainy day, so you couldn’t see that far. And I’m like, okay, that’s good. We went down. I don’t even remember any lines or elevators or anything like that. This time, you have to give me time to entry ticket, and they sell out. You have to get it, like, 90 days in advance. So I did all that. 90 days. I’m like, going online, and it looks like the whole entire month of March is blocked out. But then they’re selling for April. And I’m like, how is this possible that you’ve just blocked out all of March? I don’t know what was going on, but finally I kept checking back, checking back. Because you can also always buy it through a tour. Like, buy a tour, get your guide. You can buy some kind of skip the line ticket through there.
[00:34:25.640] – Tamara Gruber
But I just wanted to go on our own. I didn’t need to do a tour. And so finally I saw they had, like, 10:30 P.m. Tickets. And I’m like, okay, that’d be kind of cool to see at night and to see the view of Paris with all the lights at night. So that makes sense. So let’s go do the boat thing. Let’s go have dinner, and then we’ll go up in the tower. Now, Hannah didn’t care if we went all the way to the top. And Glenn, of course, being scared, need to go all the way to the top. So we just bought the tickets to the second level. And a couple of things. First of all, the people that work there absolutely hate their jobs. It must be the worst job in Paris because they’re all on their phones. Like, they’re just miserable. And so you have to go through, like, three different security checkpoints where you have to put your bag through, take off your jacket, like that kind of thing to get, like, underneath, and then another one before you get onto the elevator. And even though you have a timed entry ticket, it’s still a long line.
[00:35:21.770] – Tamara Gruber
We probably had to wait, I don’t know, maybe 20 minutes or so to go up in an elevator. It’s one of these elevators. It looks kind of like a tram car. And it goes up a little bit on an angle, and they shove, I don’t know, 2030 people into there. So you’re, like, just jammed in with other people, not comfortable at all. I’m pretty sure that they actually required masks. If not, we were definitely wearing them anyway. Then you get up. It was really windy. It was cold. We’re like, okay. Glenn was like, you know what? I’m going to stay back here. And so we walked around, we took pictures. It was fine. But then we had to wait another, like, half an hour to get the elevator down. And I was like, can we just take the stairs? And Glenn was like, no way, because they’re like, more open. He’s like, no, we’re waiting for the elevators. I’m like, okay. I’m like, wow, I could have taken the stairs, but yeah. And I don’t know. It’s. It wasn’t exciting at all to me. None of us really liked it. I just don’t like being in crowds, and I don’t like being in lines.
[00:36:26.860] – Tamara Gruber
And for what you got for that was. And then when we walked through the park underneath, everyone’s always like, oh, during the day when it’s nice, you get a picnic, you hang out in the park, you look up at the wonderful view. Sounds great. We’re walking through the park, and I’m like, not even first of all, it’s dark, and so it’s like a little disorienting. There’s tons of street vendors selling those light up things that they throw in the air, and Disneyland blinking like Eiffel Towers and all this stuff. I will say to see the Eiffel Tower at night is great. And to be able to see it on the hour when it does its little sparkly light show, which is like, right when we got back on the boat that was going on. That is great. I just don’t need to go up in it. And I just don’t need to go into that park because there were rats running past my feet within, like, maybe a foot away from my foot. And I’m like, Holy cow. It’s like the size of a cat. The first one happened. I’m like, Ratatouille.
[00:37:23.910] – Kim Tate
And you’ve lived in New York. So you’re thinking they’re big rats than they are big rats.
[00:37:30.690] – Tamara Gruber
And they were not shy. And they would see them running across the grass through the bushes. And there’s another thing. Like, people are just selling cheap champagne so they can sit and, like, watch the Eiffel Tower have a champagne. Like romantic, like, whatever. I’m sure the champagne is terrible. And so there’s people even at night, like, sitting on the grass. I’m like, do you know what just ran by you? Look, every park, every city, there are rats. I just don’t want to see them.
[00:38:01.750] – Kim Tate
Anywhere. There’s a lot of people in food, right?
[00:38:04.200] – Tamara Gruber
[00:38:05.730] – Kim Tate
Well, it is what it is.
[00:38:08.340] – Tamara Gruber
I’m just saying don’t wear open toed shoes.
[00:38:11.180] – Kim Tate
I’m just picturing. Well, that’s good to know.
[00:38:15.040] – Tamara Gruber
We were just like, oh, there goes another one.
[00:38:17.410] – Kim Tate
Well, I’m sure ever it seems like all those tower things because the Space Needle is the same way. Like, I remember when we first came to Seattle and went to Space Needle, you just kind of walked right into the elevator and went up. And now it’s like you enter on the backside because there’s this big ramp line that everyone stands in for 20 minutes before you even reach your elevator. I definitely know what you mean with that. And I know that the big building in New York, Empire State. I’m like, it’s not Time Square. What is the word I’m looking for?
[00:38:49.080] – Tamara Gruber
There’s so many observatories. There observation decks now.
[00:38:52.490] – Kim Tate
Yeah, exactly. Like Top of the Rock. They all have the line thing now, too. So it’s kind of one of those things that if you want to have a look out at one of the tickets, just know you’re going to have a line.
[00:39:02.830] – Tamara Gruber
And these days I’m like, don’t travel, no, stay home, don’t travel. Then I realized I’m in travel. No travel. That’s my website.
[00:39:13.450] – Kim Tate
Well, that’s good to know. That’s some great stuff. And so did you want to share? Because I know you talked about your food tour, and food is always a big part of traveling. So did you have some highlights there?
[00:39:23.590] – Tamara Gruber
We definitely had some good meals and some highlights. We splurged on two different tasting menus. That’s the thing with Paris. It’s like you can get a little tired of just always going to the Bistro or browser because the menu is going to seem like pretty similar. So I wanted to mix it up a little bit and have some other cuisines or just some other experiences. So one night we did, but then if you don’t have that, which is more casual, then you have the option of doing, like, the fine dining, but they’re so expensive. So one thing is if you have time in your itinerary, you can always book one of those kind of restaurants for lunch. I usually wanted to be more out and about during the day and then have the nicer dinner. And so they charge it’s like a five course tasting menu. And it’s a set price per person. So those can really get very pricey. But if you wanted to do one, maybe a ten minute walk from where we stayed was a place called Z Kitchen Gallery. And again I have a link to it and my blog post which I will link from our show notes.
[00:40:26.240] – Tamara Gruber
And it was more of a blend of Asians who had the Vietnamese like French Vietnamese type of flair to it. And I loved it. Everything was delicious because I had a lot of citrus and cilantro, but also like French styles. That was really a very good meal. And then I think one of my favorite things was on the last day. This is when Glenn was like he had a stuffy nose, but he had tested negative and we had just been out in the rain and stuff. So we didn’t know what was going on with him, but I was like just stay at the hotel and just relax or whatever. So Hannah and I went out for the last day on our own and we went to Muse de Se which I loved again Impressionism. And then we walked around and we went to a place called Love Recruitment Cafe. That’s not really how you say it, but it looks like Recruitment Cafe and it has a view of the like from the corner of it. It has a view of the Eiffel Tower. And I thought it was going to be like maybe touristy. I feel like I’ve seen it on Instagram, but the food was actually really good.
[00:41:33.580] – Tamara Gruber
And we discovered that Hannah likes duck. She likes duck breast, which I’m like, wow, I don’t even know duck.
[00:41:39.250] – Kim Tate
Yeah, me either.
[00:41:40.720] – Tamara Gruber
But it’s just the two of us. So we just sat and had this outdoor table and felt very Parisian. So it was really nice. And then we went and I took her shopping. So again, little highlight for us. But those were kind of my favorite. Like the things that I really remember stand out.
[00:41:59.090] – Kim Tate
Yeah. Well, I know that as you mentioned, you have some posts on your site so people can all go and check. We three travel and get some more itinerary information and more details. But what about some final tips that you want to share?
[00:42:16.150] – Tamara Gruber
I would definitely say especially travel to Europe is coming back in a big way. So I would say that if you are planning, make sure you’re planning in advance. Paris is always a destination where from hotels to even activities and even restaurant reservations, it’s important to plan in advance. In Paris, you really should have a restaurant reservation and not just walk up. So even if you only do it a few days in advance. So again, I would maybe point people towards that checklist that I have in my blog post. But just understanding when things are open and what things require. A timed entry ticket like the Louvre requires a timed entry ticket. There are a few other things that require you to buy a ticket in advance even if you have like we had bought Paris Museum passes which gets you entrance into tons of museums, but sometimes you still need to get, like a timed entry ticket. You’ll enter your code from the past and it’s zero charge, but you still need to have it.
[00:43:20.770] – Kim Tate
That’s what City Pass had when I did that with Seattle not too long ago.
[00:43:24.690] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So that’s my thing. It takes some planning to go and really enjoy your time in Paris. I know I have a friend that goes to Paris a lot, and she went with friends. They’re like, oh, no, we don’t need reservations. And she’s like, yes, you do. And then, of course, they found out they did. And I feel like a lot of people can learn some things the hard way and why you don’t want to waste or ruin any time on your vacation. So just do a little planning ahead. I think the itinerary that I put together will help people a lot. And yeah, I don’t know, just I guess go enjoy. And now I am really very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. And Hannah really loved it. And so hopefully she’ll be able to return at some point in her cool.
[00:44:13.100] – Kim Tate
Well, we always ask all of our guests are lovely. And last questions. So do you have any favorite gear or clothing or anything that you really liked for Paris?
[00:44:24.190] – Tamara Gruber
I do, actually. I found something that I now love. There’s a lot of brands that do like the Lanyard kind of thing for your phone. Oh, yeah.
[00:44:35.230] – Kim Tate
I’ve been wanting one of those, and I have not yet found one that I like.
[00:44:38.060] – Tamara Gruber
So this winter especially, I’ve been very influenced on Instagram ads. So I bought one of these bandolier.
[00:44:44.740] – Kim Tate
You probably have seen the ads for the Tan one with the striped.
[00:44:48.380] – Tamara Gruber
I actually bought it in black because my jacket that I was wearing was black and black just goes with everything. But they have all kinds of colors and bands. Yes.
[00:44:58.010] – Kim Tate
I feel like that’s the ad that I always look at and like, maybe.
[00:45:01.280] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So I decided just to splurge a little bit on it, and I bought one that has the little wallet on the back so you can put your credit cards or your hotel key or whatever in there. And I just found it so useful. Instead of having to dig, either keep it in my pocket where it could get pickpocketed or dig through another bag to pull it out, because I was constantly wanting to take pictures and you just want to be able to take it on the go. So I just had it on my shoulder around my body like a cross body bag would, and then just like, lift it up, take the picture, drop it down.
[00:45:35.870] – Kim Tate
[00:45:36.840] – Tamara Gruber
So convenient. And so this is going to be very important for me, traveling everywhere, I think, to have that.
[00:45:46.090] – Kim Tate
I’ve been looking for one. I went out looking for one for the cruise, for that kind of same thing, and I couldn’t find one in stores anywhere. So I think I’ll have to break down and buy one online.
[00:45:55.680] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. And the other thing that I bought. So you and I both have a similar sling bag that is locking and good for locking travel on bag. It’s good for city viewing or whatever. But I was trying to be, like a little more stylish. Usually it was just me and my big coat because it was raining. I didn’t want to have something like that. And then it also isn’t really big enough to hold, like if you wanted to try to shove a raincoat or a little bit of like if we wanted to bring stuff for the family. It’s not big enough. But I also didn’t want to bring, like, a big backpack. I already had to bring a backpack on the plane that would include my camera, my laptop, all that kind of stuff. And so you don’t want to walk. That’s not what I think of as a day pack. So I bought a folding travel backpack from Travel On, and it zips up into this tiny little case that’s like the size of a Journal, and then it expands out. It is weatherproof and it’s locking, but it’s like really thin material. Is it slash or proof?
[00:47:01.590] – Kim Tate
Is it slash proof? Because that’s the one thing I like about traveling, because I’ve heard so many horrible stories about people, like cutting the bottoms of purses, like going to take.
[00:47:10.870] – Tamara Gruber
I can’t remember if this okay. I know our other Travel on things are. I know a lot of stuff. Yeah, exactly. Products are. But anyway, it was really convenient. So, like days when we were going to be out for a while, I was like, Glenn, I’ve got my purse and my phone. Can you carry this? And it was fine. So we could stick a couple of water bottles in there. And just like other basic stuff. But it wasn’t like big and bulky. It just kind of stayed pretty, like low profile. I liked that a lot. Those are my gear tips. And then Paris, I would just say we saw a lot of tall black boots, like the combat boot looking boots.
[00:47:52.090] – Kim Tate
Like dark Martins.
[00:47:53.410] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, a little bit. Hannah’s a pair. Neither of us have duck Martins, but similar in style. And then a lot of just like white sneakers. Like the white fashion sneakers. Not like the kids, but the bigger I think you have a pair. I know I have a pair of pumaish ones, like Adidas, Vegas.
[00:48:14.180] – Kim Tate
[00:48:15.670] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. Like Adidas. And then we saw a lot of skirts. But it’s also very hard to tell, like, who’s from Paris that he’s visiting.
[00:48:23.440] – Kim Tate
Well, that’s good to know. But I feel like I don’t ever want to look like an American tourist in France.
[00:48:29.770] – Tamara Gruber
And I feel like I’ve gotten a little bit more casual where you don’t want to wear, like, running shoes and jeans. But you could definitely get away with something that is still comfortable. Okay. Whereas I know the first time I went to Paris, I was living in New York at the time. And I’m like, I don’t want to look like America. I don’t want to stand out. And so I wore boots, but like boots with a heel. I remember coming home one day, my feet were misleading from the blisters.
[00:48:58.350] – Kim Tate
Oh, my gosh.
[00:48:59.010] – Tamara Gruber
And then I’m like, why am I doing this to myself.
[00:49:03.430] – Kim Tate
Anyway? Well, thanks for sharing. And yeah, it’s too bad that everything got changed around. At least you guys had a really good time there and made some good memories, like you said. I think hopefully that seed is planted then for Hannah if she wants to go back there again.
[00:49:20.180] – Tamara Gruber
And now we have another make up trip to do. We’ll get her to Florence at some point. Yeah. Well, before we say goodbye, I just wanted to give a shout out to one of her Instagram followers. And I don’t know her name, but it’s hockey stick scripts and trips. She just made a comment on our podcast, episode 2009, that was about flying. Remember when we talked about different Airlines? It feels like ages ago, but she actually has a little airport near her that she goes and she can buy tickets. And she says that she’s actually saved a lot of money. So she always buys tickets in person. And in December got tickets for her family of five to Florida and back for $443. And online it was $750.
[00:50:03.740] – Kim Tate
[00:50:04.310] – Tamara Gruber
And the year before, she got tickets from Orlando for $520 versus $800 online. And did she mention if that was, like spirit or it was spirit?
[00:50:16.110] – Kim Tate
Yeah, that’s what I was saying, because that’s what I’d heard. I had heard that for that airline that matters.
[00:50:23.110] – Tamara Gruber
And she said it doesn’t have to leave from that airport either. You can buy them for and fly out of the domestic. So that was a nice little tip that you uncovered. And thank you for giving even more details. Yeah.
[00:50:36.650] – Kim Tate
Thanks for confirming that, because I had heard it, but I never flew them. But that’s good to know that it really does matter.
[00:50:44.050] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. And that’s a nice savings.
[00:50:45.800] – Kim Tate
Yeah. That’s substantial. I mean, it’s worth driving and calling it a coffee day. Go to coffee and go book your airfare. Awesome. Well, thank you guys for joining us. And again, sorry for the long delay. Hopefully you’ve missed us and you were eager to hear us. And you will tune in again when we come out with our next episode.
[00:51:05.430] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. And I guess then you’ll share a little bit more about your spring break and your recent travels, right?
[00:51:10.260] – Kim Tate
Yeah. I have two things I want to kind of share and talk about. I think it could be three. Who knows? But we’ll probably just go with two. But I’ve got lots of information. I feel like I’m back to the travel phase. So it’s getting harder and harder for tomorrow night to find time to talk and get around trips. And we also have two graduating kids which is really throwing my spring and summer into another level of planning logistics.
[00:51:35.230] – Tamara Gruber
And Congratulations to both of our girls. I guess we’re right around decision day so we’re ready to announce Where they’re going?
[00:51:43.170] – Kim Tate
I think so. Both of our girls know now so I’m sure some of our loyal listeners have been following along. If they’ve made it this far in this episode, they’re going to be really excited to hear. So this will be the little gym for those of you that are still tuned in.
[00:51:56.590] – Tamara Gruber
[00:51:56.940] – Kim Tate
You share first, Hannah.
[00:51:58.360] – Tamara Gruber
Well, mine is not very much of a secret Because I already put it out on Instagram That Hannah is going to be attending the University of Arizona in Tucson. She’s going to be a wild cat so I will be spending A lot more time down there. Maybe. I don’t know. We’ll see how much she left. I will meet you there.
[00:52:14.510] – Kim Tate
[00:52:18.050] – Tamara Gruber
Get away. Yeah. A warm place in the winter. Sure.
[00:52:21.790] – Kim Tate
Yeah. And Lizzie will not be going too far from home but she is going to be in Oregon state Beaver So she will be going down there for their computer science program and is really looking forward to it. Definitely. Probably maybe doing a year of study abroad that she likes their study abroad program but it’s going to be good. It’ll be good far enough away to give her an independent thing but not too far where she can’t come home for easily on holidays and weekends.
[00:52:50.610] – Tamara Gruber
So that sounds kind of perfect, actually.
[00:52:52.810] – Kim Tate
Yeah, I think it’ll be good for her. I think being too close Would not have always been great. It might have been too much of a crutch. So five and a half to 6 hours away Is going to be just perfect.
[00:53:03.270] – Tamara Gruber
I meant to look it up but what part of Oregon Is it in?
[00:53:05.740] – Kim Tate
So it’s Corvallis so it’s just about an hour and a half south of Portland.
[00:53:10.160] – Tamara Gruber
Okay. Like towards the coast?
[00:53:12.450] – Kim Tate
A little bit, yeah, towards the coast. Not on the coast, but you can kind of get very easily to some of the coasts of Oregon. It’s beautiful.
[00:53:20.810] – Tamara Gruber
I’ll also meet you there.
[00:53:22.090] – Kim Tate
Yeah, exactly. The coast or wine region? Yes, absolutely. 100%. We’ve got it pretty good. In the next four years, you and I are going to have it planned out the deal. Yeah, well, thanks for lying. Talk to you later.
[00:53:34.770] – Tamara Gruber