I hadn't traveled to Europe in seven years and felt as if I needed to do research about what I was going to see, air travel in general and especially anything about French culture. I did spend way too much time on the internet--no surprise there.
I do wish I had taken some kind of a small computer with me because accessing the computers in the hotel wasn't easy. I did go to an internet cafe in Paris and it was interesting to figure out the French keyboard. Maybe a better description would be extremely frustrating. Then disinfected my hands because the keyboard was filthy. But I was able to send off my very brief email and read some email. I took two "thumb drives" or whatever they're called. One for a Mac and one for a pc but didn't use them.
Even after much study and working out how to unlock my cell phone it was useless in both countries. I'll do something different next time. Actually, I didn't miss using it.
I learned so much about travel, France and myself on this trip. While I was part of a group I spent a fair amount of time on my own because some of the group sites I had seen before especially in London. For example, I spent the whole day at Kew Botanical gardens near Richmond. The weather was mild and a little sunshine. I took the trolley ride around since it's almost 400 acres. I climbed the 218 steps to the tree top feature because the elevator wasn't working. Great views and I saw many planes taking off from Gatwick airport.
I bought three different purses before the trip and had a great purse that was sort of like a messenger bag. I also bought three or four new pairs of shoes to try out before the trip. I walked four or five mornings a week well ahead of the trip and so glad I did because there were miles of stairs and miles and miles of walking.
The other thing I'm so glad I did ahead of time was taking a French language class. It was a short class but I learned what I needed in the way of polite phrases, asking and receiving directions and other tourist related words. I had no trouble with the language at all because so many people spoke some English. It's probably is different outside Paris.
We had wonderful weather the whole time with no rain. The last two days in Paris were colder and I wore my coat rather than carrying it over my arm.
I wish I had taken more photos of the people in the streets and stores, the store fronts and how they merchandize their wares. I took 200 photos. I was impressed with how the men and women dressed.
Two very large (multi-buildings) department stores were such fun to stroll around in one day. The food halls or gourmet areas especially were over flowing with abundance every place I looked. Here is a blog I read about France and especially watch the video at the bottom. When it finishes click on some of the other videos of their animated Christmas windows. Wow! I saw the decorations over the sidewalks but I wasn't there in the evenings.
Do I want to go back to Paris? You bet!