We arrived in
For the rest of the 21 days we visited many things and ate at several new restaurants. Here, in no particular order, is where we went and what we did.
The Musee D’Orsay was a real treat. After waiting an hour to get in we were amazed at the variety of impressionist paintings and also at the magnificence of the Museum itself. Spent four hours and could have spent eight. A true “must-see.”
We tried the BateauBus and found it an ideal way to move up and down the river and get from one site to another without listening to annoying commentary. Our suggestion is to take a photo along and buy a one-week pass that only costs 50% more than a one-day pass.
We had heard so much about cemetery Pere Lachaise that we had to go this time. We were not disappointed. The cemetery is enormous and many famous people are buried there with a huge assortment of massive mausoleums on the grounds. We saw the graves of Bizet, Balzac, Simone Signoret and Yves Montand, Maria Callas, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison, to name a few.
a cinema to see “
We had a very enjoyable meal at a bistro called Grizzli in the Les Halles area. It is called Grizzli because it is decorated with bears and therein lies a tale. I’d heard that the restaurant was decorated with bears of all kinds and since we were eating in the sidewalk area, after we finished I went inside to look for the bears. (Speaking no French) I asked the hostess: “Where is the grizzli?” She then handed me a business card with the restaurant’s address on it. Then I asked a man in the back the same question and he pointed upstairs to the left. Up the stairs I found the toilette. So, I assume “grizzli” is toilette? No. There was, however, a wall of teddy bears on the second floor, but no giant grizzly bear.
was overcast and cloudy most days but on one nice day we went to
On one of the rainy days we went to Foire de Paris. We had gone there the previous year and wanted to spend more time at this huge exposition. It is not a fair in the American sense, but an exposition with 7 massive buildings of exhibits. Our big discovery here was the wonders of the Swiss raclette sandwich. We watched as the Swiss cook carefully heated the bread and cheese and scooped the surface of the cheese each time it melted and placed it on the sandwich. The cook included thinly sliced ham and pickles and we ended up with a sandwich that is superb and can’t be found in the states.
We were lucky in picking the
sunniest day of our stay to take a coach tour to the gardens of Giverny. The
magnificent gardens look exactly like the paintings of Monet. The grounds cover several acres and include
the house and studios of the artist, Monet.
Giverny is 60 miles from
The only other tour we took was a combo boat trip at night
followed by a visit to Moulin Rouge. We
used Cityrama and were pleased with the service and
the price. The tour on the river was
very inspiring as we saw the City of
On one of our long walking days we changed our French
francs into Euros at the Bank of France (francs are no longer valid
currency). We found an Elvis memorabilia
shop called “My Happiness”. We visited
“the best ice cream shop in
We heard about the skaters of Paris, who every Friday night go on a four-hour roller blading
tour around the city. So we went to
For the first time in all our visits to Paris Naoma went to the top of the
During our stay there was a lot of political turmoil over the upcoming presidential election. CNN reported “millions in the street demonstrating.” We were in the streets and saw minor demonstrations and certainly no one million people.
For several years the Opera has been under reconstruction. This year there is no scaffolding and the beautiful gold-embossed building stands majestically dominating the top of Rue D’Opera. We visited the inside of the Opera (it is claimed this is the home of the “Phantom”) and were blown away by the opulence inside. The chandelier in the foyer was bigger and better than anything in “The Phantom of the Opera” but it was the same design.
We visited a candle store called Diptyque that Naoma read about in a lot of magazines, but was disappointed in that they had no scents she liked. L’Occitane has better, and less expensive, candles.
A new taste treat for us was crepes. Not the ones you buy on the street, but actual restaurants that specialize in crepe meals. We went to two and were very satisfied with the quality and selection of the main crepes. At one, a quaint place called Le Sarrasin et le Froment on I’sle St. Louis, we enjoyed a complete crepe meal. The waitress told us Jodie Foster has a home nearby. In St. Germain on another day we also had a meal at La Crepe Rit Du Clown. We recommend both restaurants.
On the outskirts of
eating: We discovered Poulaine bread which is a very dense, four-pound loaf of
heavy bread. Tastes great toasted. We remain loyal to Paul’s and its wonderful
croissants, baguettes and banettes. The Mayan chocolate store that we had always
looked at turned out to have chocolate every bit as good as it looked from the
windows. We recommend everything in
there. We were disappointed at the Les
Flores Cafe which did not provide any real non-smoking area and whose prices
were through the roof. It had been
written up as the “best café in
Roger loves mussels and raved about Leon de Bruxelles mussels. He had an outrageously huge portion of mussels that were served in many different styles (he had curry) with unlimited French fries. We had a wonderful breakfast of superb croissant and café au lait at Ladurre on Champs Elysee that was simple, but elegant. We also had several meals at Bofinger, which is now our favorite Parisian restaurant. It has a huge no-smoking dining room also!
As always, the Metro was
interesting. We tipped many musicians on
the trains and in the stations. We
visited the most famous stations such as Louvre,
Sorbonne and Palais Royale. The entrance to Palais
Royale is ornately beaded and looks like something
from the Mardi Gras in
Another day was spent in the Marais
area. Here, La Place De Vosges is certainly a “don’t miss” with a huge garden and
many, many galleries and restaurants. On
one street corner was a 10-piece string orchestra playing Mozart and Chopin
pieces. The Hotel Scully, which is part
of La Place is a huge building and hard to believe was once a private
home. A sad note, given the suicide
bombings, was the visit to the heart of Marais where
the Jewish people gather and happily enjoy falafel sandwiches from the many
little falafel shops crowded together.
That street was totally teeming with people and Roger told me it
reminded him of the main area in
Other things we saw this time were: the Afghanistan outdoor photograph display; The Clignancourt market; Luxembourg Gardens; the roof restaurants of Galeries Lafayette and Printemps; Notre Dame; The George V to see the famous flower displays; the Chernoble photos in the basement of the Pompidou; and Point Neuf with all the pets for sale. What we didn’t see were the “ladies of St. Denis”, who seems to have disappeared.
As usual, the gypsies are out in force near the train stations begging, carrying their children, and sometimes getting rather aggressive. This is a real negative and it’s important to be extra careful to avoid pickpockets and purse snatchers in all the train stations. However, in another area we noticed a huge improvement -- the French are now picking up after their dogs because the dog owners can be fined $180 if they disobey this new law. The streets were definitely cleaner.
We were disappointed that the Internet prices at Easy Everything had risen considerably and now cost about one Euro for 15 minutes. It was a shame that we had not brought our laptop as our apartment had a DSL line and free ISP access provided by Peter, the landlord.
Finally, a few more words about our favorite apartment: Peter had the sofa redone in gray suede with
charcoal cushions. Of course I want one
just like it. And while I’m wishing, I’d like to be 22
years old, live in
Until next time, Roger and Naoma Foreman
Naoma can be reached at email@example.com