Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paris Weather

From group member Ken Jesse.


You may like to send the following message to all on the tour:

To see the current weather and the 10 day forecast for Paris, go to: www.intellicast.com then enter "cdg" into the search box. "cdg" means Charles De Gaulle airport.


September 22, 2009 ISO Paris Trip Update

Dear Fellow ISO Paris Trip Member:

It is almost here—in just a few days we are off the Paris. I just spoke to one member, and she told me she can hardly wait. I just love the anticipation of getting ready for a trip—especially to Paris! I hope you share my feelings.

Stephanie Chipman and I will be at Froggys restaurant this Thursday, September 24, 2009, from 5 to 7 if you want to stop by and join us. Stephanie will be handing out additional trip information and sharing some of our favorite Paris secrets. Froggys is located at 1975 Wabash Avenue, near the Chatham road intersection, at the former Willie Mac’s Country Café. We will be in the bar section, just on the right as you enter the restaurant. Cash bar, starters are on us.

When we planned this trip we decided to make it as independent as possible. While traveling with friends, making new ones, and supporting the charitable cause of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, you will still enjoy the flexibility and time to discover Paris secrets of your own. The very busy, very helpful Paris tourist office is just a short walk from the hotel. Need to book a show? Want to take a sightseeing tour? The tourist office is a great place to start.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the Rick Steve’s Paris Guide and discover the wealth of information in it, I suggest you give it a read. Very good basic information is included in the guide book, such as how to use the Metro, walks in Paris, and as we have already discovered, it contains the best guide to Versailles. Read it to make sure you get off at the right train station to visit the palace—it is confusing.


Wednesday, September 30:

Most members will be leaving Springfield via Classic Limo from the Crown Plaza on Dirksen Parkway. There is a scheduled stop in Bloomington.

Airline FYI: Ticketing is done via e-tickets. Check in should be available 24 hours in advance. The airlines will allow two checked pieces of luggage for no charge, not to exceed 50 pounds per bag. Extra checked bags are assessed a fee of around $100. So, pack light and leave room for your souvenirs. We always pack an additional folding duffel bag—Walmart sells them for $12.

Thursday, October 1:

When you arrive in Paris you have to clear customs and immigration. We will guide you to the nearest ATM at the airport to procure Euros. ATM machines are universal in Paris, and traveler’s checks are nearly impossible to cash anymore. As you leave the international arrivals exit at Charles De Gaulle, your Planet Travel Rep and Bee shuttle driver will meet you and transport you to your hotel.

FYI: Your passports may be collected by the hotel clerk—this is routine. Some of the travel books I’ve read mention that this is required at European hotels, and explains that American make a bigger issue out of it than it is.

Expect that your room will not be available until 3 p.m. You can store your luggage with the bellman (we suggest a one-euro tip to the bellman). Room keys should be available at 3 p.m.

We are planning a quick meeting at the hotel to pass out additional items, including Metro passes and Museum passes.

It’s my first day in France, I’m jet lagged, what do I do? Explore your neighborhood. Walking shoes on, find the Maille Mustard store, the finest grocery store in all of Paris (some of our most interesting European finds have been in the grocery store), shop the ultra-chic designer stores, or walk to Galleries LaFayette and Printemps department stores, have lunch in an upper-floor cafeteria-style restaurant, and enjoy a panoramic view of the city on the outdoor terrace. Stroll back to the hotel, get your room key, and take a nap—remember Parisians eat dinner later in the evening, so many restaurants do not open until 7 or 8 p.m.

Some group member will be posting their daily plans near the elevator. Feel free to join them. You can also join fellow travelers for breakfast each morning in the breakfast room.

Friday, October 2:

Many members will be taking the D-Day battle tours in Normandy. We have emailed them separate information. For those staying in the city, have fun.

Saturday, October 3:

Get ready for the all-nighter called Nuit Blanche. Museum admissions are free. (Don’t start using your museum pass until Monday.) The free tabloid that’s distributed at all of the Metro stops will have a map and guide, and be sure to inquire at the Paris tourist office for more information.

Sunday, October 4:

If you’re rested from the all-night festivities, join some group members at a 4 p.m. concert at the church Eglise Saint-nerry, located near the contemporary art museum Pompidou. The Metro stop is Hotel de Ville.

Monday, October 5:

The Louvre is open and waiting for you (check Rick Steves’ guide if you want to make sure you see the most famous artwork). Stephanie Chipman is going shopping.

Tuesday, October 6:

To feel positively royal, head to Versailles. We suggest that you plan on spending the day to explore the vast palace and the extensively landscaped grounds, and La Petit Trianon, the private sanctuary that Marie Antoinette used to escape from her queenly life.

Wednesday, October 7:

End your day at the Eiffel tower where you can walk to the Port de la Bourdonnais to board the boat that will transport you down the Seine, while you enjoy a leisurely dinner. Seating opens at 7 p.m. Dress is evening casual—it might get chilly, so be prepared for 50-degree evenings.

Thursday, October 8:

Prepare to leave the hotel at 8 a.m. for the flight home. You will be met at O’Hare by Classic Limousines for the rip to Springfield.

As generally happens, you will be amazed at how quickly the vacation is over. But you can relive it through your pictures, souvenirs, and the stories of your great Parisian adventure. I want to thank you for your support of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and I hope you choose us for future travel needs.

Bon voyage,

Donald C. Fuener

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


    Join Stephanie & Don

    Last Minute Paris Musings & Our Personal Paris Travel Packets Provided


    September 24, 2009

    5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

    Froggys Bar Area

    1975 Wabash

    Springfield, Illinois

    Cash bar.

    Starters are on us.

    Your browser may not support display of this image.

Versailles - Jardins du Château de Versailles - Bassin et parterre de Latone

French Frog Facts

Frenchmen, properly Parisians. So called from their ancient heraldic device, which was three frogs or three toads. “ Qu'en disent les grenouilles? ”—What will the frogs (people of Paris) say?—was in 1791 a common court phrase at Versailles. There was a point in the pleasantry when Paris was a quagmire, called Lutetia (mud-land) because, like frogs or toads, they lived in mud, but now it is quite an anomaly. (See Crapaud.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Paris Dinner Cruise Information

Catching up on some of the activities while on our trip. We will be posting addtional information as well as sending a more detailed itinerary to you this week.

For example:

Here is a link to information about our Paris dinner cruise.

Using the Paris Metro

Dick Cheney asked us to post some information about using the metro while in Paris. Here is a couple of links that will help you navigate the system.

Here is a link to a quick handy guide to using the Paris Metro from Rick Steves.

Another link to using the Paris metro from about.com that includes a downloadable map to the system.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Have you taken a Google City Tour?

The latest experiment (citytours.googlelabs.com) from Google Labs suggests multi day travel itineraries using Google maps.

Google is becoming more involved with travel. If you’re making a trip to Paris France, for instance, you can let City Tours take you from the Pantheon, the Picasso museum, to the La Cinémathèque française and more. All sites are within easy walking distance from our hotel. You can customize your itinerary by adding or removing popular places to visit from its list, or you can type in your own spot. You can also divide a five-day trip into a day-by-day itinerary. It’s a quick and easy primer for those who are first-time visitors to a city.

Here is a link to google city tours.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Eating in Paris

Somehow a stroll down the streets of Paris has a way of revealing just the spot to retreat from a long day of shopping or site seeing. You will find a filling feast with your eyes, as well as your heart, soul and as you pick a place to dine whether you mood calls for a “laid back” open air, bistro to people watch and reflect upon the events of the day s with your closest traveling companion and plan out tomorrow’s adventure over a glass of port accompanied by the finest wine and cheese - or – you wish to follow the back brick road to the oldest restaurant in Paris “A la Petite Chaise” where you might make a little history of your own by dining with artists, politicians, actors, writers and others in the place where, “some very “close” relationship s continued after desserts and Singers poured out their hearts with love ballads under the restaurant windows. You can visit the website where you can take a virtual tour of the restaurant and check out the menu. Most of the site is in French, but you can go to the English page first to read about the history at www.alapetitechaise.fr/english.htm

Mixing up your selection between the higher priced more leisurely, late evening experience that is common to Parisians and the stops at the Bistros or Beautiful Pastry shops during your day trips provides variety and creates a balance in the pocketbook. All the walking also offsets added weight you might think you’ll gain on your “Sweet Paris” side tour, and you may be surprised to find that the portions, ingredients and artistry of the pastries are able to fill you to your hearts content and you actually drop that excess baggage you carried with you as you began your trip. I actually found myself walking into pastry shops, spending 15 minutes walking around as if they were art museums and leaving without tasting one morsel, but feeling incredibly full and enriched because of the aroma and sites I’d experienced. Even the grocery stores, opened wide with the owners waiting eagerly to greet their customers are a treat to just “visit”, but if you’re a gourmet cook, there are many gourmet provisioners with original touches that you’ll want to seek out. Who knew a year-round, boutique could be found that is entirely devoted to apples and apple products and just viewing food and its presentation could be just as satisfying as visiting the Louver and “calorie free”!

A coffee table book, “Gourmet Shops of Paris” by Pierre Rival may be just the thing you want to pick up and view with your friends over a cup of coffee and your choice of a handmade almond crème, chocolate or raspberry, a specialty at the locally owned Incredibly Delicious located at 925 S. 7th St | Springfield, IL 62703 | Phone: (217) 528-8548 | Fax: (217) 528-7355 | Website: www.incrediblydelicious.com.

Or, if you’re so inclined – you can invite your friend(s) in and prepare your own preview delicacy by making one of 50 recipes included in a most delectable, informative and entertaining book which my friend just introduced me to on her face book page. We both agreed that reading “The Sweet Life in Paris” and discovering the writings of David Lebovitz and then going to Paris would be a perfect way to enjoy this book! Check it out for yourself on the author’s website http://www.davidlebovitz.com or the “Fans of The Sweet Life in Paris” http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=96649418593 and read a few pages at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0767928881/davidleboviswebs#reader

Also, as you look over the extensive list of restaurants that Travel Planet has provided, consider where, when and how you’ll be traveling and --the energy you’ll have-- on any given day based on your overall itinerary. There is so much to feast on in Paris, that it’s best just to resolve yourself to become a sampler of the gastronomic delights of Paris and to savor and hope that one day you’ll be able to experience more of when time allows. Before you depart, pick your favorites from the list, talk with the hotel concierge when you arrive and take it all in stride by living in the moment

Bon Appetite!

Stephanie Moore Chipman

August 18, 2009

Shopping in Paris

It’s difficult to know where to begin to share the secrets of shopping on the streets of Paris. It’s not because there’s a lack of options to meet the interests and budgets of all our travelers, but as a professionally schooled and trained fashion merchandiser and coordinator who spent years in the retail and wholesale fashion industry – I’m still mesmerized by the magnitude of creativity, history and impact the French have had on the personal style of so many Americans and others around the world.

Since even the Parisians know style is personal and a philosophy that one develops over time to fit their own lifestyle and personality, I will only share with you the way to “get in the mood” for your own personal shopping experience – for yourself or whoever else you have placed on your “gift” list. But, if you have a special event coming up in the near future or wish to give unique holiday gifts with a Parisian flair – I suggest you prepare in advance with names and addresses so you can ship direct or send home.

One key to shopping in Paris, is to first people watch, look at how the food is being presented and window shop while keeping in mind –simple sophistication laced with a trace of tradition and a pop of creativity gives the Parisian a sense of undisputed taste in fashion. Take a look around and see what the Parisians are wearing today and you‘ll have a good idea of what American’s will be wearing tomorrow. The art of presentation comes through in all they Parisians do and as a result all the sense are stimulated in the lines, textures and colors of the materials they use.

This is why many shoppers look to find the finest fabric houses and stores where fine linens can be purchased. Not only will the memories and stories that go along with these purchases last a lifetime, but also because of the quality, the gifts you give of this nature will last for generations to come. The French word for fabric is “tissus” and it’s very possible that if you have an eye and appreciation of fabric you’ll need some tissues of your own to dab the tears of joy when you discover the Marche St. Pierre (at the foot of Montmartre below the Sacre Coeur Basilica) – the fabric district in Paris. Since this one area of Paris is a “trip in itself”, I suggest pre-exploratory travels on the Internet using the available maps of the district in addition to visiting Ingrid Midi’s bog (June 15, 2009) about shopping for Fabric in Paris. http://fashionismymuse.blogspot.com/2009/06/shopping-for-fabric-in-paris.html.

One of the places you can find more information about the places to shop is at the official website of the Paris Convention and Visitor’s Bureau http://en.parisinfo.com/paris-shopping/. Here you’ll find an array of information that may well tempt you, but also be overwhelming. Thus, I suggest you simply use this as a tool to familiarize yourself with what you’ll encounter and then let your heart and pocketbook draw you closer to the dream purchases. If you’re interested in the “ins & outs” of shopping on a budget, you might want to read what Rachel Kaplan’s has to say about the subject at http://www.parischicshopping.com/guidebook.html. (Order “Best Buys to French Chic” on-line and save on this purchase too). Another book published several years ago by Maribeth Clement has valuable tips and information --The Riches of Paris: A Shopping and Touring Guide By Maribeth Clemente. Her two decades in the travel business and travel writing, in addition to being a “curious shopper“ gives her website a light and informative edge for creating a great precursor experience when planning a trip to address your personal passions. Check out her book at her website www.bonjourtelluride.com.

On the practical side, it pays to take advantage of advertised “tax free shopping”. For example at PRINTEMPS --Department Store in Paris, you can get and complete tax refund forms in store at the day of the purchase (passport must be presented) and 12% of the total amount of your purchase will be reimbursed. These forms are stamped at the customs Service at the airport and then you mail them back in a pre-paid envelope for reimbursement of your taxes on the credit card, which they were charged. Or, in the case of a reimbursement at the airport, 10% will be deducted from the total amount reimbursed. There are conditions, but it’s fairly easy to meet and worth the few extra steps you’ll take to save enough to spend on yourself touring and dining during the rest of your trip. For more information regarding Printemps, go to http://departmentstoreparis.printemps.com/services/easy_shopping/

Although it’s fairly easy to get the available refunds (once you familiarize yourself with the process), it’s really best to “get a handle” on this subject prior to travelling because it’s one of those things you most often have to mention to the shopkeeper. In addition, you’ll want to be organized in advance to make sure you keep track of all of your purchases. I found a couple of articles and sights that explain this process well and recommend you check these out before traveling abroad. Irene Lynn published an article in 2008 that was particularly informative. You can find her article entitled Tips on Getting the VAT Tax Back When Travelling in Europe” at http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/566389/tips_on_getting_the_vat_tax_back_when.html?cat=3.

The same article recommends includes reference to a site that has even more detailed information about the VAT tax. http://www.globalrefund.com/default.asp. Here you’ll find EASY 1-2-3 Steps to shopping and saving money based on the tourist’s entitlement to claim the taxes back in you export your purchases. The basics of this process are as follows:


Ask the shop staff for a Refund Cheque when paying for your purchases.


Show your purchases, receipt and passport to Customs when leaving the country, or at the final point of departure when leaving the European Union, and have your Refund Cheque stamped.


Show the stamped Refund Cheque, passport and credit card at a nearby Refund Office and ask for an Immediate Refund on your credit card. Alternatively the Refund can be paid in cash.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 20, 2009 ISO Paris Trip Update

Plans for your upcoming trip to Paris, France are well underway and we at Planet Travel could not be more excited!

We decided to divide our group into 2 smaller groups, Luc and Amelie, to help us and you orchestrate, excuse the pun, the air transportation just a little better.

The bookings for our ISO Paris trip came in two waves. The first wave started in May with 10 group members signing up, the rest sign up later, in June and July. The Illinois Symphony asked us to book as many members as we could with American Airlines, in order to take advantage of a separate fund raising promotion the Symphony has with that airline.

American’s policy requires a minimum of 10 travelers to qualify as a group. After booking the first wave of members with American Airlines, they refused to honor our initial group rate for the additional members signing up in June and July. As a result, we worked at finding airfares that fit our budget and schedule. Although, the Luc group members will have to change planes, the advantage is that they have a chance to clear customs and immigration on the way back at a much more laid back Charlotte airport.

You will be met in Paris, at the airport, by your Planet Travel team, whether you are flying U.S. or American and escorted to our hotel.

Because we booked in groups, we wanted to enclose individual member of the traveling party their own personal ticketing info and travel itinerary. Additional group information is posted on our web site and blog.

One personal note. I have had some medical problems the last couple of weeks that have caused the delay in posting and mailing our itineraries to group members. On Friday, August 20, 2009 I am scheduled for a CT-scan and do not anticipate to be in the office until next Monday.

If you do have questions I should be attending the Wine and Cheese get together with the Cheneys on Sunday, and will be hopefully be back to full duty next week.


Don Fuener

Paris Greetings

Greetings Fellow Travelers!

Our departure date is now close enough to begin the countdown. As a result, I’ve begun to review the weather in Paris for “clues” as to what my wardrobe should include and pulled out all my brochures, flyers, maps and “keepsakes” I collected on my last trip to Paris and discovered the places and things I missed, the “must see again” sites and the reason I’ll have no problems staying up all night to feast on the gastronomic delights of Paris, shopping until I drop and tour the museums and travel along the Seine during Nuit Nite ---

As they say, pictures are worth a thousand words, and without exception, I agree when it comes to capturing the Paris Experience. Although, for those who haven’t been to Paris, be prepared to immediately recognize that no picture really can capture the beauty, the magnificence and the aura that surrounds the masterpieces in this city! You’ll want to take your digital camera for this very reason, because taking in the sights and sounds in the moment will take your breath away at times and you’ll need proof when you settle into “reality” back at home that “it wasn’t all just a dream” on your Planet Travel Trip!

Seeing Paris through the assistance of the Planet Travel Team will give you what you need the most – time on your own to explore your personal passions – without the dictates of time and constraints of a group itinerary that must be followed by all. If you’re like me, you’ll like to leave yourself enough “free” time to let the city draw you into the possibilities which simply can’t be planned while keeping your personal Paris “bucket list” handy. Looking at maps and brochures of the places you want to go will help you calculate what part of your trip will be walking and when you’ll want to take a faster mode of transportation. Although, I highly recommend you put on your walking shoes today (if you haven’t already) to begin distance “training” because once you hit the streets of Paris you’ll never want to look down or stop!

You’ll soon have an itinerary with the details of your transportation, your hotel accommodations and when you’ll be meeting up as a group. In addition, as promised, your Paris Guidebook, a gift from Planet Travel will be given to you at the Paris Preview Party. This information will compliment the stories you’ve heard, the hours of Internet research and provide updates on activities and places the “seasoned” Paris travelers expect to revisit. In addition, as a self-confessed travel “scout”, I’ve put together a few ideas to help jumpstart you onto a more personal path of discovery through the City of Lights.


Stephanie Moore Chipman

Monday, August 17, 2009

Watch your mail our written itinerary is on the way

We are mailing written itineraries to every group member.

In the meantime we have posted it online at the following link.

Click here to view the ISO Paris trip itinerary.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Here is a link to our hotel in Paris

Received confirmation from our hotel in Paris over the weekend.

It is the Hotel de Casiglione, a contemporary Paris Hotel on the Right Bank. Located on the Faubourg St-Honoré--known for its clothing boutiques, embassies, and art galleries--this Paris hotel is two blocks from the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and the Place de la Concorde.

Click here for information about our hotel in Paris.

Read what other travelers have to say about Hotel de Castiglione

Thursday, August 6, 2009

D Day Battle Tours Confirmation

Please regard this as confirmation of your tour with D-Day Battle Tours –

  • Contact name
Don Feuner
  • Date of tour:
2nd October 2009
  • Number of people:

  • I will meet you at Carentan Rail Station 09.30

  • Duration of tour:
8.5 hours approx
  • The tour is to be conducted in my minibus

  • The fee will be:
600 euros to be paid in euros cash at the end of the tour
  • Museum visits (important but optional) extra at approx €6 per person per museum
  • We can arrange a discounted packed lunch at €6 per person from the C-45 Café.
  • To secure your tour please forward your choice of deposit – see covering letter for options. Please be aware your tour is not reserved until receipt of your deposit.

  • Please forward a mobile or contact phone number in case of emergencies
  • In the unlikely event that for any reason outside of our control circumstances prevent us from undertaking your tour on the agreed date we cannot be held responsible – please see website for full terms and conditions

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any further questions.

I look forward to giving you the military history experience of you life.

Best regards

Ellwood von Seibold

Saturday, August 1, 2009

August 1, 2009 ISO Paris Trip Update

With final payment date for our group trip now here, it is a good time to consider purchasing travel insurance. If some reason you have to cancel your trip between now and September 30 you will forefit close to all of the money you paid for your Paris trip. This is not a good thing and this is why we suggest you purchase travel insurance.

Here is a link to the travel insurance company we prefer, CSA Travel Protection.

CSA is non- AIG owned travel insurane company. They offer simple, straight forward insurance products. We have offered this travel insurance to our clients, for the last ten years and had to even file a claim on behalf of ourselves. We have had little or no problems with their claims department and they have even paid claims to clients that we thought shouldn't have.

Here is a tip. You don't have to purchase the trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance. Remember your health insurance probably doesn't work in Europe. So you need to supplement it.

Just enter zero -0- for trip cost and by our figuring you will save a significant amount of money. For example we priced travel insurance with CSA for a 53 year old couple taking the ISO Paris trip with and without the trip cancellation and interruption coverage. With coverage the premium is $272. Without coverage the premium is $60.

So if you are absolutely sure you traveling with us. Consider this option.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 23, 2009 Illinois Symphony Paris Trip Update

We have tentatively made reservations for eight members of our group to take the Ellwood von Seibold D-Day Battle Tours on October 2, 2009. I say tentatively because Mr. Von Seibold is currently attending the War and Peace show in the UK until July 28. Before he left he emailed me indicating that he had availability on that date only. This tour is highly recommended by Rick Steves.

It appears the cost for group will be 500 Euros (approximately $110.00) for the one day trip split amongst the eight members. He only accepts cash. We will gladly research round trip transportation from Paris to Carantan Normandy if you wish.

Here is a link to Ellwood's web site for more details.

Here is a link to Rick Steve's web site with suggestions about touring the D-Day Beaches.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 16, 2009 Illinois Symphony Trip Update

Thank you for supporting the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

Today tour leader Stephanie Moore-Chipman and I met at the office to catch up on what is going on with our Paris Trip. Both of us had to do some traveling for work the last two weeks. We are both now rested and back at it. We did have some catching up to do.

We are proud to say that we are now 19 strong and have room for just seven more travelers. If you know anyone that is interested in traveling with us, please have them call the office at 217-241-0180. Several potential group members called this week and asked about some flexibility in our trip. One person inquired about the possibility of joining us after they pick up a new car in Sweden. Another asked about extending their stay for several days in order visit some relatives in France. In each case we believe we will be able to accommodate them. And that is a very good thing. Remember July 31, 2009 is our cut off for taking reservations. We also suggest that you target that date for purchasing travel insurance....the final payment date. We will send you a link for our recommended insurance company....CSA Travel Protection, that weekend.

Stephanie is working on getting some answers for cell telephone solutions for those who need to check back home when they are gone.

August 6, 2009 is our target date for finishing up the final details for our trip. On that date Stephanie and I plan on completing the group itinerary and should be able to mail it to you within a couple of days after that.

I have not had a chance to get the information together for the Normandy side trip we talked about at the Springfield meeting last month, but will have it for everyone late next week.

I have two insider guides to Paris on the way for group members August 6, 2009. One deals with good value restaurants in Paris, the second is simply a practical guide to Paris with a great point of view. Contrary to popular belief, there are many free/inexpensive things to do and good buys to be had in Paris; this guide will lead you to them!

Information about the Nuit Blanche....'the mother of ‘all-nighters’....has been published on the paris.fr web site. Here is a link to that web site. Be warned though it is written in French. As we get closer the festival I understand that English information will be available. Many attractions and the métro is open all night for free to the public, featuring concerts, film festivals, art, photography and multi-media installations and every other conceivable form of entertainment and culture. This festival is highly publicized in Paris, and free brochures detailing the huge numbers of events are available everywhere.

Talk to you soon.

Don Fuener
Vice President Planet Travel

Monday, June 15, 2009

Paris trip update June 15, 2009

Thank you for supporting the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

Two more information meetings have been scheduled for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra 2009 for the ISO Paris Trip.

Please join us.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 5:30 p.m. at the Williamsville State Bank

3341 Old Jacksonville Road

Springfield, IL 62711

Click here for a map quest map for this location

The Second meeting is Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 5:30 p.m. at

Jack Lewis Fine Jewelry
1704 Eastland Drive
Bloomington, Illinois 61704

Click here for a map quest map for this location.

It is your chance to meet the Planet Travel staff and go belly to belly with them. Ask any questions you might. You can sign up for the trip and meet fellow group members, as well as our on site Planet Travel in Paris host, Stephanie Moore Chipman.

Light refreshments will be served.

Our plane tickets have been issued for the first ten members of our group.

Here is the details.... All Flights are on American Airlines
Carrier Flight Number Departing Arriving
City Date & Time City Time

5:30 PM

12:15 PM

Your passenger name record for our group is IQDZBC.

For information regarding the flight information please click here .

For information regarding American Airlines checked baggage policies, please visit www.aa.com/baggageinfo.

The American Airlines group meeting desk in Florida handles the ticketing and we expect the balance of the tickets to be issued late next week for those group members who have paid in full.

Behind the scenes we are working to make this a memorable visit to Paris.

What is the number one question we hear from our group members?

Where are we staying? Or, the variation why haven't you told us the name of the hotel yet?

We are choosing our accommodation very carefully. Our philosophy is to get the most hotel we can for the buck. And we do not expect you to be disappointed with our selection. Of course we will are required to review our hotel with our Illinois Symphony Orchestra office liasons to make sure we are on the same page.

With that in mind we do expect to announce our hotel in a few weeks. Currently we are negotiating with two Right Bank four star properties, both with ideal locations. Our group size was down sized today with two cancellations, making our hotel bookings somewhat a moving target. Currently the number of booked and fully paid members is 12. Two group members have made a deposit but have not paid the balance due. This is not a problem, perhaps just an over sight.

We have extended the booking window for our group until July 31, 2009. So if you know someone who has been on the fence as to whether they wanted to join us but missed the initial May deadline, there is still time to book our trip.

As we get closer to our departure date we promise to send all group members an email when the latest update to our blog is posted.

Plans are for a group get together a few weeks before our departure in September.

Here is the link to our web site dedicated to the trip. It will be updated next week with more information.

Click here for the ISO Paris Trip web site.

Finally here is a valuable link to Rick Steve's web site with great traveling to Paris tips.

Click here for Rick Steves France destination information.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Informational meeting set

Questions about our trip?

Go belly to belly with the folks from Planet Travel and the Illinois Symphony.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 @ 5:30 p.m.
Williamsville State Bank
3341 Old Jacksonville Road, Springfield, IL
(217) 698-9728

Refreshments will be served.

See you then.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Be sure to check our blog for the latest news and updates about our Paris 2009 trip.

We have chosen carefully the perfect time to visit Paris. We are traveling in October 2009 in order to take advantage of the great weather, smaller crowds, and a chance to attend a very special musical event.

Although we are traveling as a group, we have designed this trip to be as independent as possible. We have included some group events such as a dinner cruise on the Seine and a special musical event. But, we created this trip to be an independent vacation and have included the tools you need to explore the city on your own. For example, we have included a Paris Visite pass that allows you unlimited passage on Paris’ metro and RER suburban train system including travel to the Château de Versailles. We have also included the Paris Museum pass. A great way to avoid the queues to see the permanent collections of more than 60 museums and monuments in Paris and surrounding region.