Subject: Paris: Marais hotel & Basque restaurant
Hello fellow travelziners!

I thought I would post a few paragraphs from a journal I kept from a wonderful trip to Paris my wife and I made to Paris in November of 2002. We stayed in a hotel the first two days and a romantic fourth floor garret for the remainder.

After taking the metro from the airport to the Hotel de Ville stop, we made our way to the tiny Hotel Jeanne de Arc, at 3 rue de Jarente, a charming one block, one way street that, to us, seemed narrow enough to be an alley. It is located in the heart of the Marais. It is between rue de Sevigne on the west and rue de Turenne on the east, only one block from the Place des Vosges! The hotel was built in 1786, three years before the French Revolution. It has been a hotel for over 100 years. The façade is adorned with lanterns. It has wide vertical windows that open easily to let in fresh air and light. Our room over looked the street, but other rooms offer a view on paved courtyards filled with flowers and greenery. The style of decoration is a somewhat eccentric, the mirror in reception is truly bizarre, but the rooms are comfortable and good-sized. Ancient iron banisters lead the way up ancient stairs but a plus was the elevator with a sign advising it was good only for two guests or one guest and their luggage!

Around the corner, just off the Place du Marché Saint- Catherine, is a large open area surrounded by a few cafes and shops that used to be the general market. Across the street from the hotel, is a U shaped open area that was the fish market. The fountain that was used to use to wash down the area is still present.

Everyone was bundled up in scarves, but they still were sitting outside of those great coffee shops and restaurants all over the place complete with propane radiation heaters that look like pedestal lamps!

For dinner we walked a few door west of the hotel to the Auberge de Jarente at 7 Rue de Jarente.

We ate salad and a Basque cassoulet of leg of lamb and pork sausage in white beans and a fully flavored sauce. It was excellent! Reminded me of the hearty meals I shared at Basque restaurants in San Francisco in the mid #70 that no longer exist. We shared a very light and flakey slice of Basque Gateau pie with a thin filling. Since we hardly speak a word of French the waiter had some fun at our expense.

So much for our first day in Paris!

Stef cool & sunny Chicago