Posted by: gardner310 | August 19, 2010

Paris, 2010

Paris, 2010

On my way to a Uniworld river cruise to Normandy I spent the first 2 days in Paris and I have to say I like the city as much as I ever have. We had 2 lovely days to wander around which I did with abandon. I met my friend, Sue, at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe on Friday morning. Located on rue de Courcelles, the hotel is on the right bank not too far from the Arc. This puts it outside the tourist area, which is not all bad. The room was nice, if not a bit small but we were on the concierge floor so we had access to the lounge that provided breakfast, snacks and wine/champagne in the evening. Trust me, we truly got our money’s worth.

We headed out to do some hotel inspections but got sidetracked at Printemps where the entire store was on soldes (sale). What fun that was. Sue is a power shopper but I held my own, got to find the exact earrings for which I went searching. Once we finally got out of there, I broke off to get to my hotel inspections on the left bank. I have a new camera so this was as much a photo safari as an inspection trip. I spent a good deal of time sitting in the Tuileries just watching the people and taking photos. I am learning at 60 that I don’t have to keep moving every minute. I looked like any other French person there just enjoying the sun. In the summer there is a small carnival in the gardens with a huge Ferris wheel, so there were hundreds of people everywhere enjoying the weather.

Finally got to the west bank and the Recamier and Relais Christine. Both are lovely and well located, small and service based. The rain held me up and I will confess I got a bit lost trying to find the Relais Christine so added a few kilometres to my walk.

The evening started well on the executive floor with several glasses of champagne. I toasted my dad, who would have been 88 last Friday. I miss him a lot. After that we wandered down the street to a lovely local bistro.

Day 2
Sue went off to the store and I headed off to visit a few more hotels before meeting at Notre Dame. I ended up on a side trip to Sacre Coeur since it was close to one of the hotels. Unfortunately, it was quite hazy and cloudy so the normal magnificent views were not so magnificent. I tried using my long lens but even that didn’t produce anything interesting. Got my exercise walking up all those steps to the church, though. I got to Notre Dame before Sue and was able to get some good shots of the gargoyles that I like. Sue and I sat in the café across from Saint Chapelle, shared a cheese plate and felt very Parisian. We separated again, me for one other hotel, the Hotel Colbert and to visit Saint Chapelle. Again the clouds made the stained glass windows quite dark and they are also renovating but this was my first inside visit to the chapel and it definitely makes an impression. Amazing windows, a definite must see.

From there I was going to the Moufftard Market but learned it was too late by the time I got out of Saint Chapelle. So plan B was to go to the Musee Rodin and photograph the gardens. I strolled through the busy left bank, past all the bistros and shops and what luck! I found a gelato shop so my afternoon was complete. It is the simple things in life that make us smile.

The Rodin was a good walk to the west but I found it by 5pm and gratefully the sun was out. An hour passed too quickly while I was walking the gardens and taking pictures. I ended up sitting on a bench by le Penseur (the Thinker), thinking. It’s the first time I got thrown out of a museum. A lovely Mademoiselle came by to tell me the museum was closing and it was 6pm. Time stops and the world disappears while you are enjoying the work of August Rodin and the present day gardener. This was a find for me, never having been here before but I will surely return. I decided to walk back to the Hilton and that was probably a little more exercise than I needed because it took me about an hour because, of course, I had to take photos along the way.

Our evening plans were to head to the Eiffel Tower to see it lit up and then to dinner. We decided to take a river cruise so at 9:20pm we hopped on one from Bateaux Parisienne. As a photographer, it was not a good choice because there was no open deck. Everyone was seated under cover so your views were restricted. Next time it will be a Bateaux Mouche boat where is nothing in your way from the top deck. Other than that it was a delightful hour on the river and we could see Paris lighting up for the night. As we headed back toward the Tower, the lights came on so I took about a zillion photos, most of which really did not come out very well between the dark and the shaking that comes from a boat. But I am happy with a couple of them and from what I understand from the real photographers, that’s about the best you can do.

We walked down the Champs Elysees watching them get ready for the arrival of the Tour de France in the morning. Then up George V to our restaurant recommended to me by foodie friend Daniel Ng. The Relais de l’Entrecote was a treat. They only serve steak and fries so the only decisions are
1.How do you want your steak cooked
2. What dessert would you like?

Of course, there is always a choice of what to drink but we tried the house wine, Relais de l’Entrecote and it was quite fine with our meal. It is darling place on Rue de Marbeuf that the locals love. There are no reservations so you just wait in line. The beauty of a simple menu is that the tables turn over quite frequently so you only wait about 20 minutes. There is plenty of food. The steak was cooked to order and with the frites, salade and the best chocolate ice cream I ever ate, so we were two happy campers on our walk home. My dad used to say at times like these, “I wonder what the poor people are doing?” I am a very lucky person to be able to travel and have these experiences for which I am very grateful.

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Responses

  1. Thank you for this mini tour of Paris. I’ve never been there, but dream of going someday.

    • Glad you enjoyed. It is one of those “must see” cities. It never disappoints


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