If you are returning your rental car to the Bordeaux train station, drive past the main door of the station, turn left over the tracks, then left again on the other side. There. Now somebody told you. Nobody told me and there are no signs. Better yet, if you are traveling with at least one other person, drop them off at the main door with all the luggage–there are no luggage carts to traverse the vast parking lot. Oh, and no elevators inside the train station.
Use your ATM card: my credit card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee vs 1% for the ATM card. Sure $20 on every $1000 isn’t that much but hey–it’s two bottles of Dr Vino picks!
If you’re in Paris during a heatwave, take the bus. No AC in the metro means that it is an odorific, heatastic experience. At least in the bus you can open the window two or three inches. Or better yet, splurge for a taxi (no charge for extra passengers) and get some AC–maybe.
Have a pique-nique on a shady park bench. Any decent boulangerie will have (pre-made) sandwiches that will knock the snot out of any Subway 12 incher. If you’re traveling with kids under 10, the best spot for this pique-nique is the jardin du Luxembourg with its pony rides, playground, puppet shows, and pond with sail boats.
Take a couple of large ziploc bags with you when you go. That way when you buy some yummy, transportable foods to bring home, it won’t get all over your luggage the way my AOC green lentils spilled in mine. My stews this fall will have a nice aroma de luggage.
Drink local. Many local wines offer compelling price to quality ratios. However, many of them stink. Only one way to find out.
If you fly home on American Airlines from CDG, have an e-ticket, and are a US citizen, bypass the check-in lines and head straight for the short self-check-in line in the middle. Nobody knows about it and it’s totally legit. It only took me 45 minutes in the other line to find this out.
And if you’re in Paris, be sure to hit some of the cool wine shops and wine bars I will be posting about over the next few days!