Monday, July 24, 2017

Paris (July 7 - July 25)

Continuing our adventure that started in Singapore, moved to Copenhagen, on to Hamburg and now, on to Paris...

Our AirBnB was located about halfway between Sacré-Coeur and the Louvre. Great location.


The entrance to 18 Rue Cadet

Inside our AirBnB (1)

Inside our AirBnB (2)

View from our window

Observations on Paris:
  • Rue Cadet was a good place to stay, as it was about equidistant from many of the sites we want to see.
  • Pastries are wonderful
  • A large cup of coffee isn't (see photo below). If you want a large coffee, order an Americano or better still go to Starbucks or McDonalds
  • Good city for walking
  • Crowded with tourists
  • Most French beer is bland
  • People speak English and most restaurants have menus we could read (one exception)
  • Transportation is good. Bus and subway fares are ride-based, not distance-based
  • Mostly we ate in Cafes, Bistros and Brasseries - but food choices were generally similar in each. Spend more, eat better - the 2 places we ate that cost over $60/each were very good. Others, just okay. Exception is bakeries!

Large coffee - untouched

Large coffee - not easy to hold with the tiny handle

Our first full day was topped off with dinner on the Left Bank. We had found a listing for a restaurant we wanted to go to, that didn't open for another hour, and we were hungry. Continued walking to another restaurant that was on our list,  l'Avant Comptoir. This is the place that didn't have an English menu.

It was both crowded and good. One advantage to not having an English translation of the menu - I ordered something I would never have tried had I known the translation. I saw the work "porc" and knew it meant "pork", so I ordered it. Then I got out Google Translate and entered the first 2 words for this item - "pied porc" - which translated to "foot pork". Not what I would have ordered. Pat said she would trade me for her steak tartar, but once I got my order, it was wonderful! I then translated the entire menu entry. What I actually ordered was "Pork loin and panes, potatoe puree". We both enjoyed a glass of white wine (AOC Saumur 2015 from Domaine Bourdin, Th. Chancelle).

The menu

My porc

Pat's steak tartar

A look at the interior and my head

Michelle (daughter) and Claire (15-year old, granddaughter) arrived Sunday, July 9, having ridden the train in from Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). Pat and I met them at the station and walked the short way to our flat.

After a short rest, off we went to  Montmartre and Sacré-Coeur. This is the same walk, Pat and I did the evening we arrived. We thought this would be a good place to go to see an overview of the city.

We also had dinner in a restaurant recommended in a food guide in Paris - the  Café du Théâtre. Recommended for their couscous. We had a very good meal. Worth finding.

Café du Théâtre with Claire

Over the next week that Michelle and Claire were with us we walked over 54 miles!

We visited many of the typical tourist sites, although we didn't go in (or up) in some of them. The major sites we visited the first week:
  • Montmartre and Sacré-Coeur

    Michelle and Claire at the steps up
    to Sacré-Coeur

    What a beautiful sky!


    View from Sacré-Coeur, looking south
    toward the Seine

    Another view toward the Seine

  • Galeries Lafayette - just a short walk from our flat, this department store has a beautiful dome and a roof-top observation area and loads of high-end merchandise. Needless to say we window shopped.




    Michelle and Claire on the roof top

    Paris Opera

    Saving memories from the top of the Galeries Lafayette
  • Jardin du Luxenbourg, one of the most popular parks in Paris.

    Claire in front of the Sorbonne

     Luxembourg Palace



    As we were leaving the gardens, we passed a building where there was a display of Thomas Ostoya's incredible wooden art that could be touched and moved around. So very cool.






  • Notre Dame (inside and up in the towers)



    Waiting in a long line to enter Notre Dame

    This spot in front of Notre Dame is the point
    at which all distances are measured in Paris

    The guy holding his head is St. Denis






    One of the more famous gargoles

    In the door leading up to the bells


    One of the bells being touched by my belle

    There goes Claire up to the bells

    Michelle climbing the stairs in the bell tower

    Looking out over the city

    Sacre-Coeur in the distance

     Looking down on the Seine

  • Shakespeare and Company - While waiting for our time-slot to go up in the towers of Notre Dame, we walked over to this famous bookstore. I went in, but almost immediately turned around and went out - too crowded for me.

    Had to cross the river to get to
    Shakespeare & Company

    The Shakespeare & Company Cafe is on the corner


    See how crowded?

  • Arc de Triomphe



    What a staircase

    So many steps to go to the top






    At the level just below the top is a window looking
    down on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers

    The Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers

  • Eiffel Tower - we didn't go up because the line for security was longer than the line for the elevators. We voted there was more interesting things to see and do then wait in line.





  • Louvre - none of us wanted to join the crowds inside, so we enjoyed the plaza in front



    All of us together


  • Walking tour of the Marias

    Our guide, from the U.S.A.

    In the plaza outside the Pompidou Center,
    where we started the tour

    Outside the Pompidou Center

    Looking down from near the top






    One of the covered areas of the Place des Voges

    We stopped for a macaron


    The park inside the Place des Vosges



    The tour ended on the Left Bank at the
    Place Saint-Michel

  • Versailles (Michelle and Claire, only)
  • Musée d'Orsay (Pat and me, only)
  • Pompidou Center (Michelle and Claire)
  • Sightseeing cruise on the Seine











  • Avenue des Champs-Élysées (way to crowded for any of us to enjoy)
  • Place de la Concorde to watch Bastille Day fireworks at the Eiffel Tower (with our son-in-law, Tom Morgan, and grandson, Drew Morgan)

    Michelle and Claire have found
    a good spot

    Tom is filming Drew for his documentary
    as Pat and Claire look on


    As the sun sets, the Eiffel Tower is lit

    Tom contemplating the Eiffel Tower

    The Eiffel Tower is lit

    As the fireworks light up the sky around the Eiffel Tower

    Tom and Drew had come to Paris from Budapest to attend the Rubik's Cube Convention and meet Erno Rubik. They were filming a documentary about Drew's love of the RC and had arranged to meet the inventor, Erno, at the convention. They stayed three nights in our flat, making it quite crowded, but lots of fun.

  • Michelle and Claire left early on Sunday. Late Sunday evening, Alessia and Ksenia, our Ukranian exchange student and her friend arrived on a flight from Warsaw.

    Pat, Ksenia and Alessia

    While Alessia and Ksenia were with us, we visited many of the same sites we had been to with Michelle and Claire. In addition to those sites, the primary addition was the Paris Catacombs and a walk along one of the canals near the Bastille area. Our pattern with them was to have breakfast, walk to various sites until about noon, then Pat and I would go off together, while the ladies went off on their own. We would then meet for dinner. Below are photos of our times together.

    Alessia gets a kiss from a statue

    A passage in the Catacombs




    Walking along the canal



    The Bastille monument





    Alessia had found this colorful street of
    pastel buildings



    Alessia boarding the bus to the airport
    to head back to Odessa

    While Pat and I were on our own during the two weeks, we did many things we enjoy: lots of additional walking, went to the Orsay Museum and the Pompidou Center and did some geocaching.

    Our second night, we opted for a home picnic

    Love locks on the Pont Nuef

    One of the abandoned railway bridges on a
    section of the Petite Ceinture









    Sign outside Sainte-Chapelle





    Outside the Musée d'Orsay

    Inside Musée d'Orsay (1)

    Inside Musée d'Orsay (2)

    As a child, I remember our having decks of playing cards with this image on the back



    One of the really interesting things we
    stumbled on - the Montmartre Cemetary



    This is the tomb of Emile Zola

    This is the last surviving winery inside Paris




    Inside the Pompidou Center

    The Stravinsky Fountain, next to the Pompidou Center


    One of the covered arcades
    we wandered through

    Another section of the
    Petite Ceinture

    We got a geocache!



    Joan of Arc statue

     Inside Saint-Eustache church to hear organ recital

    Organist has on red socks

    The organ is the largest in France

    Marcel Dupre's Three Preludes
    and Fugues, Op 7


    Reflection of Le Palais Royal

    Geocache near the Bastille monument



    Flight to Charlotte

    Relaxing on our way home

    Iceland is down there

    Approaching the airport in Iceland

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