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.
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!
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).
Michelle (daughter) and Claire (15-year old, granddaughter) arrived Sunday, July 9, having ridden the train in from Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Gare du Nord. 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.
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
- 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.
- Jardin du Luxenbourg, one of the most popular parks in Paris.
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)
- 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.
- Arc de Triomphe
- 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
- Walking tour of the Marias
- 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). 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.
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.
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.
Flight to Charlotte