Honeymoon in France!

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BriansAzBride Posts : 326 Registered: 12/5/08
Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 6, 2009 12:48 PM

So FH and I could not figure out what we wanted to do for our honeymoon. First, it was a few days in Hawaii, then it was a couple days in the Poconos, then it was a week in California. BUT we have finally found where we are going. It's actually through my university. It is 9 days in France!! I am so excited. We already made a payment and everything! I can't wait! I am SO excited for this. I have wanted to go to France since I was little. Just wanted to share all my excitement!

 

 

 

 I feel like a kid. Pinch me. This kind of love certainly can't be real. Oh wait, it is :)

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Bally Posts : 355 Registered: 9/25/08
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 6, 2009 1:20 PM Go to message in response to: BriansAzBride

Thats awesome! You'll love France! Where abouts are you going to?

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BriansAzBride Posts : 326 Registered: 12/5/08
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 6, 2009 1:34 PM Go to message in response to: Bally

Thanks Bally! I have a question for you actually! What is the weather like in May in France? I looked online and it said the average is around 69 F. Does that sound about right?

So I will be going to Normandy, Paris, Chartres, Loire Valley, Caen, Rouen, St. Malo, and Mont-St-Michel.

 

 

 

 I feel like a kid. Pinch me. This kind of love certainly can't be real. Oh wait, it is :)

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Bally Posts : 355 Registered: 9/25/08
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 7, 2009 4:51 AM Go to message in response to: BriansAzBride

Thats so cool! I have been around Normandy and to Caen and Rouen a couple times!! And Paris too. You will love it, its so beautiful there. When you're in Normandy, try to see the D-Day landings beach. I think the American part of the beach is called Omaha or something? I've only been to the Canadian (Juno) and British (Sword) sides but they are pretty amazing. You can go up and walk around the german bunkers that are still there!

Dieppe is another really nice town with a good promanade to walk along and a wee castle too and its quite near Rouen.

Last summer I took the ferry to Calais and did the battlefields of France and Belgium and they were spectacular, one of the best trips I've done..

Paris is great, I assume you're doing all the regular stuff like Montmarte, Grande Lourve, Versailles, Effel Tower etc? Just keep your possesions very close to you!! And if you walk up to Montmarte, you will be surrounded by people who will start tying bracelets on you and then will demand payment for it and if you refuse they will rip the bracelets off which hurt! So don't let them near your wrists!!

69F is 20 C or so I think, so that is about right for Paris, however I always find weather in Northern France is quite like British weather, it can vary greatly between being cold and rainy to sunny...Last year I was there in July and I had trousers and a jumper on most days as it was chilly and wet and I think I only wore shorts once. So dress in layers and allow for all weather conditions then you'll be covered!

When I'm in France, to keep the cost of eating down, I would go to a local boulanger (bakery) in the morning and I would pick up a big baguette and cheese and maybe some tarts and would munch on that all day. The baguette's are heavenly and melt in your mouth.

Any more questions sure, just ask away! You will love it there!

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 7, 2009 4:24 PM Go to message in response to: BriansAzBride

Dear BAB,

Hey, that's great! I've been all over France, many times, and had a blast. I've been to all the places you mentioned, plus all over the south.

In May you should expect "changeable" weather. It could be rainy and cold, or sunny and warm. My best advice is to pack clothes that can be worn in layers. As you get closer to the ocean and the English Channel, you are more likely to get rain.

Consider: spaghetti-string camisole, under a short sleeved t-shirt, then an unbuttoned loose cotton long sleeved shirt and a rain-proof light jacket, over jeans.

You can take stuff off or put it on depending on the day's weather.

Take super-comfortable walking shoes. Get some shoes, then walk around your town in them for about a month so you are 100% sure that you can walk a long time in those shoes.

Do you speak any French? I strongly suggest that you learn some French before you go. It is imperative to be perceived as trying to speak French. Learn as much as you can, then make a serious honest effort to speak French in France. You can get by with English-only in many countries. Not France. They are very particular about their language.

On the other hand, don't worry about making mistakes. It's far better to say something in poor French than to speak only English.

Pack light. You will be going a lot of different places, and will be schlepping luggage on and off the tour bus or train over and over. I suggest you do the same thing I do when I go to Europe. Get one shoulder tote bag and one "rollaboard" small wheeled suitcase or duffel. That's all I ever take, and I go for two or three weeks at a time. You can always do laundry in the hotel sink.

Finally, you do have your passports, don't you? If not, get them now.

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BriansAzBride Posts : 326 Registered: 12/5/08
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 8, 2009 12:32 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Thanks guys. You both have great advice! I was wondering what to pack and now I have a good idea.

Bally- We are going to the beach were D-Day happened, I'm not sure which side though. We have a tour guide that is taking us all around since it is through my school. We have "European breakfast" (I have no idea what that means) every morning and dinner everynight already paid for so that'll be nice. I'll make sure to remember to keep my hands to myself lol

Aunt- We have a tour guide and they will be leading us around everywhere, and our group leader who is with the school speaks French. Will I still need to learn French? I was always terrible at foreign language besides Spanish. Even though I live in Arizona, that's about how I dress in the fall. I don't do well in cold weather so I told my FH I am going to buy a couple sweaters before we go. All of mine have shrunk in the sleeves, stupid apartment complex washers!

 

 

 

 I feel like a kid. Pinch me. This kind of love certainly can't be real. Oh wait, it is :)

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Bally Posts : 355 Registered: 9/25/08
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 9, 2009 7:35 AM Go to message in response to: BriansAzBride

A european breakfast is a continental breakfast, so brioches, croissants, cold meats, cheese, fruit, cold boiled eggs, yogurts, cereals and orange juice/coffee.

Yes do try and learn a bit of French! It doesn't need to be properly conjugated but do get the basics like please, thank you, may I have...? hello/goodbye, how much is...? What time is...? Where is....? My name is...? Whats your name...?

When I was 16 I was in Paris with my school and I ended up in the Police station one night (not my fault) but they didn't speak english and my french was poor and our french speaking guides didn't know I was in the police station, so I had no way of communicating to the police. Not a good situation!

Just pick up a wee french-english dictionary and it often has commone phrases in that. Or if you get Pigeon Cards in America, get some of those! Very handy.

I'm sure you will be, but just be really polite! The french have no sense of humour!! lol...well they do but its different from American humour..






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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 9, 2009 5:13 PM Go to message in response to: BriansAzBride

dear BaB,

"We have "European breakfast" (I have no idea what that means) every morning "

At the minimum, that means coffee or tea or hot chocolate, plus various kinds of breads and jam. They typically serve sliced bagettes (long thin loaves of bread) or croissants.

A typical French hotel breakfast usually has a lot more. It's almost always (99.9% of the time) buffet style. They offer sliced meat, cheeses, yogurt and other things. What you probably will not find is any kind of cooked food. No eggs, no bacon, no pancakes, etc.

The French provide hot milk to mix in coffee. They consider it weird to mix cold milk with hot coffee. Because I dislike coffee (!), I usually get a cup of the hot milk and mix in chocolate powder. I also have a small glass of OJ and a slice of bagette with butter. That's my typical French breakfast that works for me.

"Will I still need to learn French?"

Yes. You need to memorize some basic words in French. I'll suggest some starters:

Please, thank you, yes, no, "where is the toilet?", "I'm American", "Pardon me, monsieur/madame, do you speak English?".

Next, learn the numbers from zero to ten. This will really come in handy. You can point at some goodie in the patisserie and say "Two, please. Thank you."

Here's a great way to learn numbers. Write them out on a little scrap piece of paper, and take that with you in the car. As you drive around town, look at car license plates. Read the license plate numbers off in French. It's a painless, effective way to learn numbers in any language.

The toilet.

In Europe, and practically every other country, "toilet" is a perfectly polite word for the entire restroom. (Bally? Do you agree?) One says "Where is the toilet?" and that's the polite way to ask. The word "restroom" is American, and most people outside the US find it hilarious that Americans need a room for "resting" instead of a toilet.

I have found it really hard to say "toilet" instead of "restroom" when outside the US, because to me it sounds rude. But, that's what they do. If you can't remember the full French phrase for "Where are the toilets?" (note: they use the plural), then just put a question mark on your face, shrug your shoulders and say "Toilet?". Someone will point you in the right direction.

In many European restaurants, the toilets are in the basement. I think that's terrible, as they are essentially inaccessible to many handicapped people. However, these buildings were designed many years ago and retrofitting is prohibitively expensive. Thus, don't be surprised if someone points in a "down" direction. You may find a basement stairway with the universal man/woman sign and an arrow pointing down. You may be ehh... challenged... by the flusher. They usually have flushers on the top center of the tank, not the side as we do. You either push a button or pull up on a knob. Sometimes the button has two choices, for Number One or Number Two.


If you already have some familiarity with Spanish, you won't find French to be too hard. The two languages have similar structure and share a lot of similar words.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 9, 2009 5:19 PM Go to message in response to: Bally

Dear Bally,

"The french have no sense of humour!! lol...well they do but its different from American humour.."

Way different.

I do appreciate Irish humor, though. I laughed myself silly over an Irish guy's description of his office-mate's snoring. I thought I was going to rupture some internal organ.

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Bally Posts : 355 Registered: 9/25/08
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 10, 2009 5:22 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

ATOB,

Totally agree with the toilet thing! I have never heard of it being called a restrom before, thats hilarious!! Yeah def don't call it a restroom!

And I never really thought of the toilet being in a bad place in the basement. I'm just so used to it being down there! Ditto with the flusher!

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 10, 2009 5:19 PM Go to message in response to: Bally

Dear Bally,

"Totally agree with the toilet thing! I have never heard of it being called a restrom before, thats hilarious!! Yeah def don't call it a restroom! "

Yep.

Here in the US, if someone came up to me and said "Where is the toilet?", I'd look at them like they were crazy and respond "In the restroom, where else?".

I really have to throw a switch in my brain when I go to Europe. I ask for the toilet, not the restroom, or the lift instead of the elevator.

I have to remind myself that Europeans don't eat without putting the utensils down because they are starving to death, but because over there it's polite to keep the fork in the left hand, knife in the right. They laugh themselves silly over our more complex system: Put knife down, switch fork from left to right then pick up food with fork in right hand. I have found myself the star entertainment at dinner parties all over Europe.

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 10, 2009 11:19 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Restrooms (toilets, sorry!) down a whole flight of stairs? Yeah, doesn't seem like the best idea to me...I wonder if the elderly in Europe are more fit than here, though, from having to use stairs so much :)

One thing I thought was odd while in Europe - having to PAY to use the public washroom. That was so weird to me...although we cheated the system and just held the door open for each other. Didn't have much change on us!
Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 10, 2009 11:49 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

Dear BL,

"Restrooms (toilets, sorry!) down a whole flight of stairs?"

Yep. Crazy, but that's what they do. It did not bother me until I had knee surgery, and stairs became My Enemy for a couple of years.

Elderly and handicapped people just have to live with it. I think it's terrible, too, but then the Europeans didn't consult me when they designed their centuries-old buildings. When I return home after a week or two in Europe, I think it's quite luxurious to be able to access the Ladies Room by just walking down a hall or going around the corner. Ahhh... no dreaded stairs!

OK, Bally, here's another one that drives me nuts. The first floor is the ground floor. The second floor is the first floor. I went into a hotel, once, and saw a sign that said "Reception on the First Floor". Well, I walked all around looking for the darn reception desk and could not find it. Finally, in desperation I asked someone. The guy pointed up the escalator. "First floor, madame.". Grrrrrrr.....

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 11, 2009 12:21 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I wonder if the handicapped and elderly just have to end up avoiding a lot of places...that or eat a lot of salt!

On the bright side...there ARE centuries-old buildings standing high and tall in Europe, where here, they like to tear everything down.
Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

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CatStandish Posts : 2,766 Registered: 6/20/08
Re: Honeymoon in France!
Posted: Oct 11, 2009 12:57 AM Go to message in response to: BriansAzBride

Learning to speak French... OH yes. ABSOLUTELY. You must make the effort, especially in Paris.

The shopkeepers there PROBABLY know English -- but that does not mean they appreciate tourists walking in saying "do you speak English?" In fact, many of them who DO speak English will hit you with a resounding "Non". How do I know?

I went to stores all over Paris, and I stumbled through my pathetic French. They'd answer me in English. Why? Because they respected that I didn't expect them to speak English and, probably, because they couldn't handle my awful accent any longer <G>. I had classmates who went into the same exact store, asked if they spoke English, and were told no.

Your guides will not be with you every minute -- you will have free time. So even if you use your dictionary and put sentences together pathetically, it shows the French that you respect them and they will respond more kindly to you...and in many case...they'll answer in English any questions you ask in French.

Bally's suggestion of baguettes is absolutely dead on. Grab one.....a LONG one <G>. But watch for birds.

You must have a croque-monsieur (it's a ham and cheese sandwhich...but somehow yummier)

Misty

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