A few overall traveling observations before I get to Angelina.
- Every time I return from a foreign trip, I place my leftover currency and sometimes business cards/notes/receipts in a Ziploc bag. You’d think I would consolidate all my bags of currency, especially when so many countries use the Euro, but no. On one trip to my parents’, I was looking for my stash of old J.Crew catalogs. I found 2006-2007 as well as a Ziploc bag from my first trip to the continent back in November 2005. There was over a hundred Euros! At least the currency rate is still in favor of the Euro. I ended up not having to go to an ATM at all during the trip. I still had a bit leftover too, which came in handy for the unexpected…
- The traffic was horrid during my stay. It took me ages to get into the city. There were also major bus delays on the day I left so I ended up taking a cab. I’d asked the cabbie if he took credit card and he said yes. Well, his story changed when we arrived at the airport. Luckily, I had enough cash! It’s always good to have some local currency with you. After the fact, my friend said the traffic was caused by the local authorities finding an old German bomb from the WW days and having to deactivate it, or something.
- There are a few credit cards that have no foreign transaction fee (which is usually 2-3%). They save you quite a bit! I tried to charge as much as I could while I was there, hence the leftover currency. I did not get any pushback when using the credit card. They even split our bill at a few places and there was no attitude.
- When asked to charge in your home currency or local currency, always side with local or you’ll get hit with fees twice. Typically you’re asked this in hotels or Hermès.
- The metro is somewhat convenient. It really depends on where you are staying and where you are going. I was a homebody for a few days and barely finished my pack of ten tickets. I think that’s the best deal unless you’re taking the metro many times, every day. I also wish there was more integration between the right and left banks.
- I’m a bit slow at technology sometimes, but I just realized I hadn’t been logged into my Blackberry’s Google Maps for ages (I blame restarts). I made a Google Map of all the places I wanted to go and it was so convenient once I realized I could pull that map in as a layer. I have so many places left to go…
- When traveling, connect your smartphone via Wifi only as much as possible.
- Yelp is pretty active in Paris, although most reviews often come from tourists.
On to Angelina! Angelina is one of those rare Parisian tourist attractions that is also loved by the locals. There is a long queue to get in for table service and even though it was chilly, it was bearable. I met a friend of a friend here and we shared a pot of chocolate, a cappuccino, millefeuille, and Mont Blanc. I’m glad we shared the famous hot chocolate, although I could’ve easily downed it myself. (Nothing beats the Barcelona hot chocolate!) The Mont Blanc was really sweet. I’d never had an authentic Mont Blanc before. I liked the millefeuille. There is also a takeout area that you can access sans queue. I was slightly tempted to buy tubes of chestnut cream. See Angelina’s Yelp page here.