Public transportation in Paris

I recently took my 15-year-old daughter to Paris in September. Our summer was booked with family visits so we had to carve out time during the school year. I do NOT drive in Europe. I have been legally driving now for many years, but I’m a bad parallel parker. I avoid it at all costs. I haven’t done it since I passed the test and had to. That rules out driving in a lot of places. For the record, I have countless hours of experience on city subways. We went to our trusty google to find out the cheapest way to get around Paris for 6 days was to buy a week pass. For like $30 per person we were able to use all of the subways, many local trains, and buses. (We never took the bus.) $30 is a great price! We bought our passes at the airport (bring a photo of yourself for the pass-like passport size) and we were able to hop right on the train to the city center. For less than the price of the taxi ride to the city, we bought a week pass to go wherever we wanted. Since I was already a highly experienced subway masterer, I put my school skipping teen in charge of getting some real-life skills. I made her figure out our routes every time we entered the subway station. It was definitely NOT her first time being in a subway in a city, but this time she was in charge. We were feeling so awesome with all of our savings from our public transportation pass that we could splurge on some extra pastry runs. Her favorite thing in all of Paris was NOT the sparkling Eiffel Tower but was éclair framboise. (raspberry eclair) We truly had to avoid having one every chance we got so we could eat real meals. We had dinner 3 nights with friends so between that and the eclair runs we didn’t get to eat nearly enough food of our own choice so I think we will be going back for a do-over.  Using the subway was economical except that we were in Paris during a transportation strike/shut down and after using our own 2 feet the entire day, we thankfully caught a cab to get us back to our hotel. That set us back like $20. You cannot predict where the strike will be if you visit Paris, but you can predict there will be one. Our total transportation costs ended up being around $80 for 2 people for one week. (That does not include the price of good walking shoes. That will cost a lot more.) The day we were forced to walk to reach our destination was priceless since we saw cool streets that we would not have otherwise. On the other hand, we spent a lot of time looking at the Louvre art from the benches due to our fatigue. Good thing we had been there before and children under 18 get in FREE.

Tokyo Olympics 2020

We just spent the weekend in Tokyo. It was our 3rd time going to Tokyo. We had a lot of fun. It is not a cheap destination. The Olympic games are going to be there next summer. Soo cool!!!!!! I have never been to an official Olympic event, but when I was 8+ months pregnant I used to walk around the excitement of it all EVERY day. I worked in downtown Salt Lake City in 2002. The Austrian news set up camp right outside the door of my office building. In my early years, I even raced in a few ski races in Utah in the eighties. Alas, I was not destined to be an Olympic level skier, but I enjoyed the excitement the games brought.

If you want to go to the Tokyo Olympics, DO IT! It will be so awesome. We went to the city in 2014, 2018, and 2019. We are not Tokyo experts by any stretch, but the city is getting ready to host the games. If you are staying at a major hotel, you book an airport limousine (big bus) right after baggage claim and off you go. You get dropped off directly at the entrance. The subways there are crazy, but they take you everywhere. We paid about $5.50  per person for day passes. The subways are so big there though that we felt like we were on an underground mountain hike. (NO JOKE!) Some of the intricate underground passageways have stores with treats that will make your mouths water so be sure to pack your CA$H. (Insider Tip: Brioche cubes!!!)

Things to do in Tokyo if you go to the Olympics or just go cause Tokyo is awesome. 1. EAT 2. SHOP 3. WALK A LOT to see stuff 4. Wake up to see the sunrise in skyscraper land. (We did this on our first trip due to jet lag. It was awesome! 5. EAT 6. REPEAT We probably won’t be going since we will be heading back home to USA in summer 2020, but I know these games are going to be sooooo impressive. If you are planning on going to Tokyo as a mere tourist, I highly recommend a workout routine beforehand because it is exhausting. Try to be at your optimal fitness level. You may not be competing in the games, but you need to be your best YOU. It is so exciting.