Subject: Paris trip (long)

We just got back from a week in Paris late on Saturday night. We finally made it to Parc Monceau, this trip, and it is wonderful! Gorgeous flowers and a waterfall and bridge. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the nearby Musée Jacquemart-André, as we had reservations for dinner, and had to get back to the hotel. We did walk down there, though, so we know where it is, and that the bus #84 takes us right back to St. Sulpice. So, next year...

We spent the first day, walking from the D'Orsay metro stop, where we'd gone to purchase Carte Orange and Mobilis passes -- we'd arrived on a Saturday, and couldn't start using the Carte Orange until Monday. We walked from the D'Orsay to Rodin's home and walked in the garden for which we paid 1 Euro, as we weren't buying the Carte Musée until Monday. It was a beautiful day, and we walked behind Les Invalides to get to the Avenue Breteuil. What a lovely walk... next time, I'd like to have lunch in the restaurant on the Place de Breteuil.

The next day, we went to the Arene de Lutece and Jardin de Plantes. We got turned around, and a very kind woman, dragging her grocery cart, motioned for us to follow her, and she took us right to Arene de Lutece, pointing out the Jardin des Plantes. I thought that was so kind of her, as we were strangers. After that, we headed for the rue Mouffetard and walked down through the market in front of Eglise St. Medard. It was a wonderful market, and wonderful smells! From there, we headed for Montparnasse, as we had reservations for La Coupole. Well, we got lost and ended up way below Boulevard Montparnasse, but it was beautiful... we walked along a tree lined boulevard -- Boulevard Arago. We kept walking and came to a sculpture of a lion that I recognized. I was giddy! We were at the Place Denfert-Rouchereau, and we walked from there to Boulevard Montparnasse and La Coupole. La Coupole was quite an experience. The food was good, not great, but we loved the restaurant and the waiters :-) We both had the lamb currie that they're well known for. After lunch, we walked to the Cemetery Montparnasse, which was lovely. That night, we had dinner at Brasserie Balzar -- poulet roti and frites, with tarte tatin for dessert.

On Monday, we met friends for breakfast at La Carette, and then headed for the Batobus, a good value, with our Carte Orange, at 9 Euros. Without the Carte Orange, it's 12 Euros. We got off at Hotel de Ville and spent hours, walking the streets of the Marais. We spent some time sitting in Place des Vosges and finally saw the Hotel de Sens and Village St. Paul. We rested our feet and had tea at Epices et Délices at 53 rue Vieille du Temple. It was a welcome stop, and we were eating dinner soon or we would have had a piece of that delicious looking chocolate cake, loaded with cream, that the children sitting at the table next to us were eating. We headed back to the Batobus and rode it to the Saint Germain stop, where we got off to walk back to our hotel. We had dinner that night at Fontaine de Mars. They'd lost our reservation, which I'd made by phone, but they found a table for us, as long as we would be out by 9:15 -- we assured them we would, as our reservation was for 7:30. The meal was good, and the restaurant attractive, with its red and white checked tablecloths.

The next day, we took the Eurostar to London. We didn't get to see nearly as much as we'd planned, but we enjoyed it very much. We'd booked a tour bus, but ended up taking the London taxis 5 times. We loved them, and next time would probably not book a tour. We missed the changing of the guard, but did get to see the Guard in front of Buckingham Palace, and spent some time in Hyde Park. It was a gorgeous day for walking in Hyde Park! We had lunch at the Sherlock Homes Pub and tea and a scone with clotted cream at the Quod in Piccadilly. We took a taxi out to Harrod's and spent awhile, walking through the food section. We bought some hard candy in lovely cans, with pictures of Harrods on them, to take back to the kids. The trip there was without incident, but on the way back, we were stopped on the tracks, just before we were to enter the Chunnel, for almost 2 hours.... they were having signaling problems, so we got back very late.

On Wednesday, we spent the morning in Montmartre, taking the Paris Walks tour. Our guide, Malcolm, was wonderful! He took us to places we'd never have found on our own. We'd planned on going to a museum in the 9th, and going back up to Montmartre in the evening, as we had reservations at Lapin Agile, but both of us were so tired, we decided to cancel our reservations. Instead, we had dinner at Restaurant Perraudin, and we had a lovely experience, talking to a Franco/American couple -- he from Boston, and she from Paris. They were retired Sorbonne professors and very warm and entertaining. She was an English professor, and he a French professor. We were glad we'd cancelled Lapin Agile, though we'd enjoyed it very much the year before. Our evening was much more relaxing at Perraudin... the welcome is very warm there, and the food simple, but good. I had roast chicken and fried potatoes, and Bob had roast lamb with potatoes au gratin. They were delicious, and loaded with gruyère cheese. Our salad had chopped garlic on it. Mmmmm...

The rest of our trip, we tried to relax a little and spent time at places in the area around our hotel, such as Jardin du Luxembourg and St. Sulpice. Bob and our sons have just finished DaVinci Code, so he was looking for the rose quartz line :-) He didn't find it..... of course, there was a church service going on when we were there. We spent one evening, sitting at the Café de la Mairie, which is located right across from St. Sulpice, drinking a Kronenbourg. What a view at night!

We spent a lot of time looking at baby clothes, as we're to be grandparents in July. We bought a darling red and white checked dress, with matching hat at Le Petite Faune, located on the corner of the rue Saint Benoît and the rue Jacob. We'd spotted it the night before, so went back in the morning to purchase it. The sales lady, whom I think may have been the owner of the shop, wrapped it for us beautifully. We bought some other baby clothes later, and my husband picked out a darling velvet bunny hand puppet, with floppy ears, and a smaller pocket version, somewhat like a kangaroo pouch.

On Thursday night, we went to Le Bilboquet to listen to Jazz... it couldn't have been more convenient, as it was just a few steps from our hotel. We arrived at about 10:30 PM, and we were seated way down in front by the stage, as we were just having drinks -- 18 Euros for the first drink, in lieu of a cover charge. The group that was playing was excellent, and I bought a CD. Next time, we would have dinner there, though, as the people having dinner were seated at tables further away from the stage. We were so close that I could have put my feet on the stage, but we loved it anyway :-)

The night before we left, we went to L'Opera Garnier -- a perfect last night. It was wonderful, and it turned out that we had box seats up very close, so we had a good view. We bought them through Mosaico World, and they arrived by DHL, just 2 days before we were to leave. I was beginning to worry, but they came through. I had contacted them, and it seems the Opera Garnier had been slow about sending them the tickets.

After a last walk through Luxembourg and Saint Sulpice, we left on the shuttle for CDG, at around 10:20 Am. We hated to say goodbye to Paris, as always, but we missed the kids and our dogs and cat, so it was good to get home.

Best, Sandy in Illinois