We arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport on a SmartWings flight from Prague in the early afternoon.
|Charles de Gaulle Airport, Terminal 3|
is rated, by at least one travel writer, as
the 5th worst airport terminal in the world
Collecting our bags, exiting the terminal, and hailing a taxi all went smoothly and quickly ... Gus begs to differ as to the terminal's ranking. Our ride into central Paris took, at most, 45 minutes. Ian and Judy's apartment building is in the 7th arrondissement (Left Bank) ~
|105 Rue de Grenelle|
|Gus, Judy, and Ian|
... yet, waiting was quickly replaced by "let's go pick up a few things" ~
If one were to ask "what is the best cheese shop in Paris?", the simple and convenient answer is to say “whichever one is near your apartment.” For Ian and Judy the answer to both is Barthélemy. The shop has a nostalgic touch that makes you believe that this fromagerie has probably been around since Louis XIV. Once you walk in, you’ll be surprised, too. The shop is so tiny, and so packed with cheese, that a handful of customers already constitutes a crowd here. Judy admitted that she has been a bit intimidated to buy cheese here; if the proprietress, Mme Barthélemy, "doesn’t like your nose, you’d better not provoke her anger." We left the shop with three wonderful cheeses which we would enjoy over the next few days; yet more importantly, we did not suffer the wrath of Mme Barthélemy.
|Ryst - Dupeyron|
Charming wine and liquor store on the posh Rue du Bac provides a range of top quality everyday wines, collectible bottles, and one of the best spirit collections in the city. We picked up 5 or 6 bottles for the upcoming week.
Cheese, wine ... wait a moment, a "few things' must include pastries ~
|La Pâtisserie des Rêves|
Returning to the apartment we quickly put things away, settled in, and cleaned up. Judy had made dinner reservations for 8:00 pm at La Laiterie Sainte-Clotilde. Ian, working from "home", needed to spend some time on a conference call. As 8 o'clock approached, we headed out to the restaurant without Ian ... he would catch up in 10-15 minutes. Ian and Judy had truly become Bobos, in the best since of the word.
|La Laiterie is situated among apartment |
buildings on a quiet part of rue de Bellechasse
The restaurant was quite busy, even though it was still early, making the restaurant feel like some sort of neighborhood hot spot - without the buzz factor of other hip(er) places. After 15 minutes, Ian hadn't caught up with us, we ordered. A short, seasonal menu (three entrees, three plats, three desserts) and easy, affordable wine. We were each pleased with our selections ... Ian joined us and ordered ... La Laiterie was perfect for a first night, cozy and comfortable dinner.
We woke up to a beautiful sunny day. Today we plan to exchange our tourist status for that of Parisian residents ... we are to ride bikes in Bois de Boulogne where Parisians go to breathe and enjoy spacious green surroundings.
|Gus, having just acquired his bike for the day|
Paris isn't known as a city of bicycles ~ or bicyclists ~ but this is changing. The City operates a with thousands of three-speed unisex bikes at hundreds of stations or "service points" around the city. You'll pay €1,70 for a day ticket or €8 for a seven-day ticket, which lets you take an unlimited number of 30-minute journeys. Trips longer than 30 minutes incur small additional "usage charges."
|Bois de Boulogne where Parisians go to |
breathe and enjoy spacious green surroundings.
Cycle paths of nearly 5 miles weave through large lawns and patches of forest.
|Joan and Gus|
standing in Catelan Meadow
|Ian and Judy|
|The lower lake in the Bois de Boulogne|
|Le Chalet des Iles|
Lac Inférieur du Bois de Boulogne - Porte de la Muette
|Fashionably dressed ladies prancing |
about in their La Belle Epoque era
|Ladies could be on their way to join |
Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party
Leaving Bois de Boulogne, we rode our bikes to a Vélib service point conveniently located next to
a metro station. We returned our bikes and boarded the metro for a ride to the general area of Canal Saint-Martin and more specifically Bassin de la Villette ~
|Bassin de la Villette |
connects the Canal de l'Ourcq to the Canal Saint-Martin
and is a component of the network of canals in Paris
|Ian, Judy, and Gus|
on the Quai de Valmy
We walked along the Quai and Boulevard Richard-Lenoir for maybe 2 miles until we reached The Place de la Bastille.
|The Place de la Bastille|
|Third annual Festival Bastille Quartier Libre|
|1940s-era Bistro perfectly preserved with true Parisian vibes|
Presented with a resolutely traditional and no-frills French bistro menu ... Gus ordered "La tentation de St Antoine, pied, groin, oreille et queue de porc panées et grillées" or what only a person, like Saint Anthony, that was mentally and spiritually tormented would choose to eat. Breaded and grilled pigs' feet, groin, ears, and tail ... a dish that should not tempt anyone, anywhere, or at anytime ... now obsolete, groin refers to a ‘pig’s snout’.
Our walk of digestion back to the apartment took us past ~
|North entrance to Les Invalides ...|
|and turning to the west The Eiffel Tower lit up at night and sparkling|
After a short jaunt we were home. We all slept well, awoke, drank coffee, slowly moved about, and by 11 o'clock were out and on our way to Boulevard Raspail Organic Market (Sunday's only).
|Two blocks from the market, we passed by|
Ina Garten's Paris Apartment on the top floor
The visuals at the market are fantastically colorful and delightfully charming as the French make artwork out of all of their displays.
|Bounty of produce|
|First stand on the right.|
Potato Galette (Galette Pomme de Terre) produced as you watch.
There was long line of people patiently waiting to buy theirs.
|Dried fruits and nuts|
|Cape Gooseberry (Physalis)|
|Goat cheese (Chèvre)|
|Boudin blanc de Rethel, Boudin noir, museau, and other charcuterie|
|Succulent roasting chickens|
|Paella Stall |
for vegetarian paella to go
|Canneles de bordeaux, brownies, and cookies|
|Crab legs (Pattes de Crabe)|
|Delightfully crusty, fresh baguettes|
In the middle of the market is a wonderful ménagerie of farm animals.
Upon return to the apartment, we put away the cornucopia of items we procured from the market. At this point we presented ourselves with the question ... what are we going to do with these wonderful ingredients? The answer ~
Poached shrimp with celery root remoulade
Braised chicken legs with pearl onions
Haricots verts with lemon
Herbed mashed potatoes
Dinner was casual yet elegant, simple yet complicated, and most importantly delicious.
We cleaned up. The time was now ... Gus and Joan bid adieu and left the apartment for Pont de l'Archevêché. Our walk took us along the Seine, the air was chilly and crisp, the moon three quarters full ... we were approaching midnight in Paris.
|Institut de France|
|Quai des Grands Augustine and Quai St. Michel|
Cafe Le Depart on the corner
|Notre Dame de Paris|
|The bridge links the 5th Arrondissement|
to the 4th Arrondissement, at the Île de la Cité
|Welcome to the bridge of loving couples!|
A bridge crossing the Seine river in Paris; resplendent with 'love padlocks'. You hang a lock on it with the name of you & your wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, best-friend (an inscription and a date is optional, yet completes the eternal remembrance) then throw the key into the river. So even though the friend/relationship may end, you can’t remove the lock. It stays there forever, as relevance to someone once a part of your life.
|JOAN & BRENT|
I Love You Always Forever, written and performed by Donna Lewis
Monday was to have us leave Paris for the day.
|Foire Nationale aux Antiquités à la Brocante et aux Jambons ile de Chatou|
Goddess of Compassion, Mercy and Kindness
is considered to be a mother-goddess and patron of seamen
Joan, after extensive buyer's contemplation and an intense negotiation with the French vendor purchased this statue of the goddess which now resides in California.
|French Rattan Cane Bistro Chairs|
Although lovely and very tempting, we passed on this fun set of outdoor furniture.
|Côte de Bœuf and frites|
|Domaine Chapelle tasting booth|
|The River Seine at Chatou|
Chatou was a meeting point for Impressionist painters (Monet, Sisley, Morisot, Manet, Pissarro, and Prins) who frequented it in the second half of the 19th century. It was a place where Renoir painted numerous pieces, most notably the Déjeuner des canotiers (Luncheon of the Boating Party) in 1881.
Joan and Gus used the next morning to visit the Musée Rodin, but first passed by these two shops that simply called out for their images to be captured ~
|Café window displaying desserts available for lunch|
|Boutique flower shop|
with a beautiful assortment of hydrangeas
A few blocks later ~
The Musée Rodin contains most of Rodin's significant creations, including The Thinker and The Kiss . Many of his sculptures are displayed in the museum's extensive garden. The museum is one of the most accessible museums in Paris. The gardens around the museum building contain many of the famous sculptures in natural settings. Behind the museum building is a small lake and casual restaurant.
After a wonderful morning at the Musée Rodin we met back up with our friends.
|Judy & Ian, arriving|
Lunch was fabulous ~
|Chez l'Ami Jean|
a Basque bistro
|Chef Stéphane Jégo|
|The Musée de l'Orangerie|
The Musée de l'Orangerie is an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. Though most famous for being the permanent home for eight Water Lilies murals by Monet, the museum also contains works by Cézanne, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Renoir, Rousseau, Sisley, Soutine, and Utrillo, among others. Photographs of the Water Lilies were not permitted, however, most all of the other paintings in the permanent collection were allowed to be photographed.
Leaving the museum we had lunch at ~
|Café Diane in the Tuileries Gardens,|
unfortunately the weather was a bit too cold and we ate inside
|Grande Allée ending at the Louvre|
|Gus standing in front of the Louvre Pyramid |
which serves as the main entrance to the Lourve Museum
This visit to the Louvre took us to Napoleon III's apartments. Napoleon III's reign from 1852 to 1870 goes down in history for considerably changing the face of Paris. The splendor of the apartments cannot be adequately captured in a photograph ... imagine men in costume and women in crinoline gowns entertaining themselves in these luxurious settings with a piano recital as background music.
Devoting only a few hours to certainly one of the world's most magnificent museums we left, met outside by a wet drizzle, and ventured over to one of our favorite Parisian cafés ~
|Café Le Nemours|
We had almost 1½ hours before we were to meet Ian and Judy for dinner. We paid our check, got up, opened our umbrella, and walked to the entrance of Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre metro station. Boarding the line 1 (yellow) and riding to Conncorde, we transferred to the purple line 8 (light purple) and rode to La Motte Picquet Grenelle and exited.
It was a little over a mile to the restaurant and it had stopped raining. Walking northeast along Avenue de la Motte-Piquet we turned left on Avenue de La Bourdonnais and finally right onto Rue de Monttessuy. We were 45 minutes early ~
|The Eiffel Tower,|
view from in front of the restaurant
|Au Bon Accueil, |
our restaurant destination
|The Eiffel Tower,|
view from in front of the restaurant
|Eiffel Tower I|
|Eiffel Tower II,|
when one shot just is not enough
One full day, remains, do not waste it. Lunch at ~
|La Table d’Aki|
Joël Robuchon’s Macaroni with Fresh Truffles
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons sea salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
16 large macaroni, such as zitoni
3 tablespoons Truffle Butter
3/4 cup freshly grated Swiss Gruyère cheese
Freshly ground white pepper
4 fresh black truffles (about 3 ounces total),
cleaned and sliced into thick rounds
Minced fresh chives, for garnish
2 tablespoons minced truffle peelings
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
First stop, yes we know that the beginning of black truffle season is still 2 months away ~