Our last day… and it was a good one! Here is how we spent it:
Lee spent the morning in le Musee d’Orsay. I spent my morning in the Louvre, in the museum des Arts Decoratifs. Brilliant!
We had lunch in a cafe on rue Rivoli. Delicious!
We staked out our places on a street close to our apartment, and watched the Tour de France come back into Paris. Thrilling!!!
We had dinner in Les Editeurs, a cafe we like in St-Germain des Pres. Relaxing and fun.
After the Louvre (and the D’Orsay for Leo), we found each other somewhere on rue Rivoli, and then found a little cafe for a nice little lunch.
Time to get back to our neighborhood. The Tour de France is on its way!
We went back to our apartment for a little rest, a glass of wine, and a concert by guitarist Anya P., via Skype. (Tyler played for us last night. Wow x2) Then, back out for our final Paris walk, and a nice dinner in St-Germain des Pres.
And that’s it for our 2011 Paris trip. A bientôt!
Lee and I decided to walk from apartment into the 1st today, where Lee would do his thing, and I would do mine. Destination: le musee D’Orsay and le Louvre. At one point it suddenly started to pour, and since we were hungry and it was lunch time, we ducked into a little mom&pop looking cafe for lunch on rue de l’Université. The owner was so nice and friendly, and we had a nice little meal. Nothing fancy, but very good.
So I crossed the street and made my way down Rivoli towards BHV and l’Hotel de Ville, and then towards home. In the meantime, over at le musee D’Orsay, Leo found the same long line ( two hour+ wait), and so he also put that plan on hold.
Over on rue Rivoli, guess what everyone is getting ready for…! Tomorrow is the BIG DAY, when the Tour de France arrives in Paris to end the 2011 tour, after 8 circuits of les Champs Elysees and la Place de la Concorde. Although we will be able to see them pass by from our apartment window, Leo wants more than just a “blink”. We will be finding our spot elsewhere.
I watched one of the petition scams, from beginning to end, on the street across from le Louvre. If you want to know how they do this, I will gladly explain to you what I saw. VERY interesting to watch, and so sad that this guy didn’t have the guts to walk away, in spite of pleas from his wife to walk away. I snapped a shot:
Maybe just a little too much of that very good French VIN ce soir. Friday’s journal postponed until Saturday morning. A Demain!
I’m cheating a little here… it’s early Saturday morning, what can I say… (I already said it above). I’m going to go backwards, and start with last night’s wonderful adventure, meeting up and dining with yet more friends in Paris. Three of my friends and classmates from French class, Bev, Kate, and Sharon, have also been here in Paris for the past week. As I write, they are leaving the city for the second leg of their trip, in other parts of France. Anyway, they are all three francophiles/francophones who travel to France often. After talking to Kate about her travels in France, she will now be one of our main “go to” people for ideas about the countryside of France (along with Dwight and Charee, friends from home who are equally obsessed and knowledgable about towns and villages hors de Paris). She and her husband Steve have made the “tour” of France, and know it very well. Bev, Kate, and Sharon have taken turns this past week choosing restaurants. Last night was Kate’s turn, and WOW. Another meal that we will long remember in a restaurant in the Marais called Pramil. Merci Bev, Kate, and Sharon–we had such a lovely evening with you, first at your lovely apartment for l’heure de l’apero, and then enjoying dinner, wine and an evening of wonderful friendship. See you back in the U.S.
First, some shots of our walk from our apartment to their apartment on rue du Temple, in the Marais:
Sante! To friends!
Earlier in the day… Back to l’eglise St-Severin to start of our day.
After St-Severin, we just wandered in our own neck-of-the-woods, shopped a little, took lots of pictures, had a nice lunch, and people-watched.
In late afternoon, there was about a two-hour period of light but steady showers, so we came back to the apartment for a little rest, before heading over the meet our friends. Another nice day, and sadly, our last full week in Paris. Oh no… it’s coming to an end very soon. Tres triste.
A tout à l’heure! Bonne Journée!
We had another wonderful day today. Once again the forecast called for a rainy day… but that didn’t happen, which helped make a super-good day even better. At one point the skies were bluer than blue. C’était génial!
Lee started out the day the way he starts out every day– off to breakfast, tout seul (all by himself). This is my time for sleeping a little beyond 8, taking my time to get ready, and enjoying Telematin on T.V. Once he came back, we did a Paris Walks Tour, right here on our street and some connecting side streets. The history of this ancient area is fascinating. We had not realized that rue St-Jacques, the main road near our apartment, was the road taken by the Romans to march into Paris in the middle ages. It was also the road used by pilgrims, exiting Paris en route to Spain. We don’t talk much about the “middle ages” in North America! (much? not at all…?)
After the Paris Walks Tour, lunch. Lee cannot get enough of the falafel at Maoz. This place is waaaaay better than Las du Falafel, btw. MUCH better, trust us. I passed on the falafel– I may have reached my falafel max. Well… maybe not. Anyway, a fun lunch time.
Next on the agenda– a very exciting afternoon rendez-vous for me. My French teacher, Thu, has a very close childhood friend, Annie, who lives here in Paris. Thu very much wanted Annie and I to meet, during my time in Paris. Earlier this week I emailed Annie, and we set the date for today, at Cafe O’Jules’, in the 13th, where she lives. We met and spent a few hours together, chatting over coffee. What a charming and delightful lady. I enjoyed every moment of our get-together (we spoke in French… I enjoyed this, of course!) After coffee at the cafe, Annie (who will be leaving for Bretagne in the morning, and STILL generously gave up a good part of her afternoon for us), gave us a tour of the area, which we found to be very charming; she showed us an area called La Butte aux Cailles, which we loved and enjoyed learning about so much. After parting ways, we walked slowly towards home, savoring the lovely 13th. It was so nice to experience this arrondissement, which is very francais with a very non-touristy feel to it. Merci à Annie.
The next group of photos were taken in the 13eme arrondissement. These shots will hopefully help to give you a “feel” for this very diverse and lovely arrondissement. For more information about the 13th, click HERE.
So as you can see, the 13th is a very “real world” and very lovely area of Paris, with a very calm feel to it. We loved it so much.
Now on to our next adventure du jour. Thanks to Barry, who suggested that we visit the Arènes de Lutèce in the 5th, we took a fascinating trip back in history today. This arena is one of the few remains in Paris from the Gallo-Roman era, dating back to the 1st century. The FIRST century!! Read about Arènes de Lutèce, and have a look at our pictures. Merci Barry, we absolutely loved this hidden treasure.
C’est tout pour aujourd’hui. Bonne nuit!
We spent our morning and early to mid-afternoon hours in the elegant and quite upscale 16eme arrondissement. This is an area not close the center, which is very residential, although here you will find some museums and Roland-Garros. We virtually saw not one person today who resembled a tourist (like us…toting cameras). Not much to do here, if you want to do most of the things that visitors to Paris want to do, but if you like beautiful parks, lack of crowds, gorgeous architecture, and want a chance to go into shops, boulangeries, and restaurants where everyone does not necessarily speak English, this is a great area to be. Barry and Anita have often stayed in this arrondissement, in a charming neighborhood known as le Passy. This is also the area which houses le Palais de Tokyo, where Lee and I went to that awesome cooking workshop last year.
We first went to the Musee Marmottan Monet, which houses the world’s largest collection of Monet’s masterpieces, along with collections of Manet, Sisley, Renoir, and Pissarro. What a beautiful museum. Even I, who may not appreciate art as much as I would like to, appreciated beyond words what I saw today. I only wished that Chaya had been with us, because she would have appreciated this more than just about anyone, I am guessing.
After our morning in the museum, we bought our lunch in a boulangerie and enjoyed eating it on a bench right along the street, as many locals were doing. Fun! Then, a long and leisurely stroll along Avenue Mozart and through a few lovely parks. Loved this day.
After Avenue Mozart, we walked over near some little parks in the area. We saw quite a few grandparents with their grandchildren. So cute. There is no way that I can resist taking pictures when I see French children.
Do you have a feel now for the 16th? It’s a great neighborhood. Barry if you are reading… we really wanted to get over to your area in the Passy, too. Never enough time to do it all, it seems.
Time to go home:
One more amusing little thing to add… We have only had one day so far when it has reached 80 degrees here in Paris (loving it!!). It has mostly been in the 70’s during the day, and of course lower at night. In Paris, if you own a dog… this means:
We woke up to a very rainy day this morning. We eagerly invited the excuse to have another lazy day, just hanging out in the apartment, reading, watching French TV and then le Tour, and enjoying every single minute. This is the advantage of a 3-week stay, because there’s no “have-to-hurry-up-and-see-everything” feeling, and lazy, do-nothing days feel good. Around 5 or so, the rain stopped, and the sky began to clear. All day long we had talked about trying another of the restaurants on a list that we like, (we’ve already tried 3/20 on this list) and we had the restaurant in mind for this evening- Chez Dumonet. However, we couldn’t get les Papilles off of our minds, after having one of the best meals EVER there, last year. We were very lucky to get one of the last reservations available, but had to arrive early, at 7 p.m. We were the first to be seated, but by 8, the place was packed. We chose the fixed price four-course menu, which included cream of squash soup, a very slow-cooked veal dish (with a sauce to die for), roquefort cheese with a steamed prune, and for dessert, crême brulée Lee chose our bottle of wine from the wall, and he made a very nice selection. The meal was delicious beyond words. I wrote about Les Papilles on last year’s blog, and explained that it is an épicerie by day, and a bistrot by night. Very highly rated, and so worthy, too. After dinner we strolled slowly home, and enjoyed what turned out to be a gorgeous evening. We made one little stop at one of my favorite bookstores on Boulevard St-Michel, where I bought three books. Photos below of Les Papilles, and a few other random shots.
And that was our day. A demain!
Saw a great exhibit this morning at l’Hotel de Ville, called Paris Au Temps Des Impressionnistes (Paris during the time of the Impressionists). The exhibit was excellent, and we saw some wonderful originals by great masters, including Monet, Degas, and Renoir. Then, across the street to the BHV for a full lunch (avec vin of course) around 2 p.m., followed by our new favorite, grace a Noelle and Armelle: un café noisette. I was hoping that the coffee would give Lee the boost needed to get him over to my next shopping destination in the 8th, Galeries Lafayette. Fait accompli! He sat patiently in the café and read, while I shopped for a few things, including some shoes, just like the ones that Noelle and Armelle wore over the weekend (très français!). There was only one pair left in my size- my lucky day! Metro’d home, stopped by Franprix to pick up a few things, and a nice dinner and a few glasses of wine later, we are contemplating going back out again. It’s chilly out there this evening, and so staying in our apartment where it’s warm and cozy may win out– on verra.
After corresponding via email for many months with my new French friend Noelle, who lives in Evian, France– we finally met in person this weekend. Noelle and her friend Armelle, flew in on Friday evening just to meet Lee and me. (What a gift!) Another of Noelle’s friends, Monique, also joined us for part of the day on Saturday. We all hit it off immediately, and we had the BEST time ever– we chatted (in both languages), laughed, and enjoyed getting to know each other. I can’t wait to tell everyone all of the details about this amazing and fun-filled weekend-long adventure when we get back home. Hopefully you will have the chance to meet Noelle and Armelle (and yet another friend Odile) when they come to Columbia to visit in November!
Some photos of our weekend:
In late afternoon we each went back to our apt./hotel for a little rest. We met up again at 8:30 p.m. at the cafe Montparnasse for wine, and then dinner. A fun and relaxing evening at the end of a super-wonderful day with our new friends.
When we get what we consider a PERFECT weather day back home… low to mid 70’s, blue skies and low humidity, we call it a “San Diego” day, because that’s the kind of weather we had every day when we spent a week in San Diego. We had one of those San Diego days today in Paris. Just gorgeous. Actually, we have had delightfully cool weather every day since we’ve been here (but today was the winner).
We left the apartment mid-morning and made our way to the Marais. Lee spent time in la musée du Carnavalet, while I sat and read in la Place des Vosges. Around 2, we had a great little meal at the Breizh Café– buckwheat galettes and cider from Brittany. It was soooo delicious. Then we wandered around in the Marais, and ducked into a few more parks to sit, relax, and people-watch. As much as we love our apartment this year, we find ourselves always going back to the Marais, with all of its quaint charm, character, lovely little shops, and wonderful “squares”. On the way back home we stopped in at the BHV, a department store that we love. Home by 6, in time for a little Happy Hour, and then dinner.
Then… a slow walk through the Marais on our way to BHV.
Tomorrow will be an exciting day for me and Lee. In early March, I made friends with a wonderful French lady from Evian, France, named Noelle. We met on Babel, a language-learning internet site, and we have been corresponding regularly, ever since. In addition to our love for each other’s language and country, we have many common interests, including talking incessantly about our grandhildren, who are about the same ages. A few months ago, Noelle generously booked tickets to fly into Paris this weekend, with her friend Armelle, just so that we can meet! We will be meeting up mid-morning tomorrow, and oh what an adventure it will be. Full report tomorrow night!
Today was Bastille Day, which the French more commonly refer to as “le 14 Juillet, or just La Fête Nationale. Here’s what happens in Paris (as we saw it) on this day: The night before, les sapeurs-pompiers (firemen) sponsor traditional parties known as Les Grands Bals du 14 Juillet. These are held all over France, and from what we can see here in Paris, are very popular with the young crowd. On the eve of the 14th, there’s lots of activity in the city, because the next day is… a day off. It’s pretty much like at home on the 4th. If you want to see all the festivities, you go down to the mall in DC. Here in Paris, you go to the Champs Elysees to watch the impressive morning-long military parade that begins at the Arc and goes down to la Place de la Concorde. Around noon or so, it’s all over, shops reopen in mid-afternoon, and then in the evening- fireworks at the Eiffel Tower.
Lee and I watched the parade on TV– great coverage and explanations, and we loved the marching band music. Remember the planes that were practicing earlier this week? Well they did it for real today. WOW. We watched on TV as the flew over the Arc, and then two minutes later, we watched them LIVE, from our window. So exciting to see.
Here are some pics, taken from the TV screen:
And then the air show… the shots here are both from the TV as they happened, and then a few minutes later, from my camera, as they flew in front of our apartment window. It was so impressive and exciting to watch.
After watching the parade we decided to take a day off too, and just relax in the apartment.
After dinner in the apartment, we went out to walk and watch the fireworks. We chose le Pont des Arts. Last year we went one bridge closer to the Eiffel Tower, and had a much better view than we did tonight. We enjoyed the festive atmosphere, nonetheless.