Travel 2024

We’ve managed to score tickets to several sessions for the Paris Olympics in 2024, so we’re planning to make the trip (two kids, two parents, two grandparents). We’re trying to scope out lodging, and it’s been 40 years since I was last there. If anybody has advice about arrondissements to prefer (or avoid), or any other tips, I’d love to hear them.


I sounds like a wonderful trip! I have no place to recommend but I would try to secure something soon.

Was thinking of doing that in 2024, had no idea they sell tickets that far out.

There was an email lottery for shots at putting together ticket “packages”: N tickets for 3 different events, N the same for all 3. My wife won an early round, so we got some tickets there, and my daughter won a later round, so we got some more. We’ll be turning in/reselling tickets for one event because the timing doesn’t work.

I think that individual ticket sales start in May (of this year). As you can probably imagine, there’s a wide range of prices depending upon event and day. I think the lowest I saw was 35 euros for something you’d never want to watch, up to something like 900 euros (or maybe higher, I don’t really remember) for the final night of track and field.

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Not the Paris Olympics, but Mrs Hawk and I are planning a trip to Italy in spring 2024.

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Awesome, where in Italy you guys planning on going too. I’ve been twice and gonna try and go back this September.

Probably stick to Florence, Venice, and Rome this trip. We’re approaching like “if this is the only time we ever get to go, what do we want to be sure to see/do”.

That’s a really good plan. Personally Venice isn’t my thing, but absolutely loved Florence and Rome. I will have tons of suggestions for those two spots. One thing I’d add first, my first trip to Rome was in July 2018. It was hotter than houston and super crowded. Second trip was in a September. It was so much better. If ya have to go in the summer make sure to get a place with at least decent AC.

Good choices, but I would still encourage a short side-trip. 50 km or so SW of Florence is the preserved medieval town of San Gimignano. This is a fascinating Time Capsule. A town with a dozen or so towers, ancient architecture, beautiful frescos in the 12th century church, and wonderful historical stories.

Also, it was the setting for the amazing movie, Tea with Mussolini (featuring Maggie Smith in another of her fabulous performances).

*ETA - I stayed at a wonderful B&B across the narrow valley to the west. Il Pescile. Can’t recommend it enough. *

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There are a bunch of cool towns between Florence and Rome. We did Orvieto and loved it. Stayed here.

It was an amazing relaxing 2 day break between big cities.

Orvieto is another great stop. I agree. And they have a wine varietal there - vernacce (probably misspelled) - that is quite nice. The church on the main square is a small, well-preserved exemplar of the stereotypical “Italian striped” churches seen across the northern half of the country.


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This place is near Florence, we rented a car and drove over. There was a table with about 20 people served family style. It was all beef, with everything from a cow but steak, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had at a restaurant.

Ceccini also has a steak place in the same village, which is supposed to be spectacular.

I think there are like 10 hillside towns between Florence and Rome, any of them would be a great stop.

We’ve always stayed near the Rue Cler Market Street, in the 7th. Rue Cler is a magnificent food shopping street, with small shops specializing in cheese or olive oil or wine or meat or bread. There’s also a shop that sells vacuum cleaners if you need one. The 7th is upper middle class I think, and close to the Eiffel Tower, and it’s convenient to everything, but Rue Cler is just the best thing going. I think the hotel we’ve stayed at is the Hotel Muguet, which is nothing extraordinary but very nice.

Eating an egg in gelatin bought at a Rue Cler patisserie while sitting on a park bench in front of the Eiffel Tower is something everyone should do once (but only once, at least for the egg in gelatin part).

You mean variety, as in cultivated variety (cultivar).

More appropriately, a wine may express varietal characteristics, but a wine grape is a variety.

Look that up in your Funk n Wagnall’s

There are so many places to visit in Italy, and one thing I want to make sure is that we don’t try to see them all in one trip. Going to 10 different cities in 12 days is not relaxing for me. I’ve heard mixed reviews of Venice. Some have said it’s spectacular, others say “meh, it’s…fine”. All agree, however, that it’s unique. There’s no other city like it. And it will not be around forever. So some side day trips may be in order, but we’ll probably stick to those big three and surrounding areas. Mrs Hawk’s family is from Genoa and Milan (she’s like third cousin once removed to Yogi Berra), and we’re not even planning either of those this time. Hopefully it won’t be our last to Italy.

We’re planning April/May. It may be crowded, but hopefully won’t be blistering hot.

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I stayed at a decent hotel on Rue Descartes back in 1993.

Don’t remember the name but it was down the street from a Spanish bar called La Casa Pepe.

Hope that helps.

2-3 cities with easy side trips is the absolute best way to do it. We did 4 in 12 days our first time, Bologna then Florence then Orvieto then Rome. By the time we got to Rome we were exhausted and it was 100 degrees outside, totally ruined Rome for us. We went back to Rome 2 thanksgiving ago and absolutely loved it. Got a great bar for you for after dinner drinks that will put the Astros game on.