Saturday, May 4, 2019

Cafe en Paris Week 1 Recap

May 2019 - Paris France
Please note that we are travelling this month so I will not always have access to reply to your comments.

Saturday Apr 27 - Paris

Our flight to Paris was scheduled for 7:30 PM. I had checked in online but then we had to use a kiosk to print our baggage tags, our machine went into a loop and then we had to use a clerk. We then headed to the lounge.

Typical flight, food was better than average.

Sunday Apr 28 - Paris

Click here for our day details and more photos.
STEPS 19,131 DISTANCE 14.5 km or 9 miles
Not bad for our first day after an overnight flight.

We arrived in Paris on a gloomy rainy day.

Our driver was waiting for us and took us to the hotel. She didn't say a word!

The plan was have lunch and wander for a while as we assumed our room wouldn't be ready, but oh bliss, it was. So we quickly dropped our stuff and headed out for coffee and croissants.

The Effiel Tower is within view as we step out as are many cafes.

Fortified we turned the corner for this view but it looked like rain so we headed back for a nap.

We headed back out at 3 PM.

My idea of walking along the Seine.

Inaugurated on the occasion of the 1900 Universal Exhibition and classed as a historic monument, the Pont Alexandre III is one of the most emblematic bridges in Paris because of its architecture and location. At its four extremities are huge 17 metre-high pylons crowned with gilt bronze sculptures of winged horses representing the illustrious Arts, Sciences, Commerce and Industry.


Into the Latin quarter and it looks as it did in 1992 when we first came to Paris.
We didn't come here in 2012 as we didn't have much time before our river cruise.

It started raining and we were hungry, time difference and jet lag were playing a part.

John ordered the set menu for 18.50 euros, mussels, steak and frites and dessert. Not a bad deal at all even in a touristy setting.

These frites may look ordinary but the were delicious. I only ordered the leg of lamb for 15.50 euros.

Dessert included in John's.

Locksmith shop on our way back to the hotel.

A relaxing drink and movie and bed at 11.

Monday Apr 29 - Paris

Steps 24,973 18.8 km 11.7 miles
Click here for the details of our day.

We had picked up bananas and smoothies to have before we headed out.
I was up by 8 and typing this. John slept until I woke him at 11:15.

The forecast looks decent until we leave on Saturday. 10 C is 50 F.

We stopped for coffee and crepes at the Cafe des Officiers. John's with caramel mine butter and sugar.

In front of the Military School, between the Invalides and the Eiffel Tower,is the Café des Officiers. This famous café was where officers had a coffee with their lovers, when they had free time from the School.

We are always in the shadow of the Tower and it doesn't matter how often you see it, you are struck.

Les Invalides

Still lots of fencing up from the races on the weekend. We go through security, it is everywhere.

Napoleon's tomb, inside the Dome Church, is the crowd magnet here; but while in Les Invalides (a former hospital complex commissioned by Louis XIV for wounded soldiers) don't miss the Musée de l'Armée, Paris's military museum, which contains one of Europe's largest collections of weaponry.

Across the Seine on the Pont Alexandre III bridge.

Place de la Concorde

Incredible traffic looking towards the Arch de Triomphe.

Then we went through the Jardins Tuileries and the Louvre before we stopped for libations at the bridge to Ile de la Cite.

The Parisii tribe who inhabited Ile de la Cité built the first bridges in Paris, the Petit Pont and the Grand Pont, in 52 BC. Today there are 37 bridges spanning the Seine, which flows for 13 km through Paris. They make for an exceptional heritage and are a magnificent sight, by day as by night.

Where we had dinner last night and didn't take a picture. Closed on a Monday,

Back in our neighbourhood, we decided we would be best having dinner close to our hotel.

I've eaten steak tartare before but this was the most blatantly raw presentation I have had. It was good, but not sure I'd do it again.

John had the lamb.

Tuesday Apr 30  - Paris
STEPS  23,646  18 km   11.2 miles
Click here for the details of our day.

We had 10 AM tickets for Atelier des Lumieres and we took a cab at 8:30 which was a good thing based on the traffic.

This was a great discovery. A blogger friend had also recently visited and recommended staying downstairs which we did.

WE walked over to the Pere Lachaise cemetery which was on my list. But to be honest it got cold and I decided I wasn't that keen on searching for famous graves.

Instead a nice hot coffee was a better choice.

There were all kinds of local shops on our walk to Place de Batilles.

The daily recap will take us passed Victor Hugo's house, some churches and other interesting buildings.

A stop for lunch with cheeses, ham, salami, pork pate (meh) and potted goose meat (good).

Aux Merveilleux de Fred is recommended by no less than David Lebovitz! I have heard there are lineups out the door on weekends.
A contemporary take (and a very successful one, at that) of a classic pastry from Lille, the Merveilleux is composed of meringues layered with whipped cream, flavored with coffee, vanilla or speculoos (spice cookie). While all are fabulous, the ones crusted with caramelized crunchy bits of coffee meringue, and filled with coffee cream, are hard to beat. Tip: The bite-size individual miniatures ones don’t have the same ratio of crunch-to-cream, so I recommend the softball-sided pastries, which you’ll have no trouble finishing off on your own.

Trust me it wasn't all cakes, there was some history thrown in asll well.

Spring is definitely in the air at the Tour Saint Jacques.

The only remaining element of a church that once stood in central Paris and a former starting point for Christian pilgrimages southward, the St-Jacques Tower dates to the 16th century-- and recently underwent a dramatic restoration.

The belltower, which had become a public danger due to unstable stone elements, was hidden under heavy scaffolding for years before being unveiled in all of its revamped glory in early 2009.

It wasn't all drooling, there was Hotel de Ville.

Sitting at a cafe across from this building and I hear a couple of Americans say " is that a Target?".

The Opera House and a few churches thrown in.

John really wanted to try French macarons, I was skeptic as I had eaten the coconut macaroons at home and wasn't that impressed.

The only similarity between the two is their gluten-free mutual ingredients of egg whites and sugar; a macaron includes ground almonds (almond flour), whilst a macaroon is made with coconut.

I am now a believer in the macaron, with one o!!!

Perfect macarons have shiny, slightly domed tops with a crinkled “foot” around the bottom edge. And then, of course, the cookies are paired with a flavored buttercream filling and formed into elegant little sandwiches.

Yikes and those fillings!
We bought ours ar Pierre Herme which turns out to be one of the best in town and also mentioned in the David Lebovitz post I linked to above,

When we finally got back to the hotel I'll admit we were zonked. In fact I took a nap and then we ate the macarons we bought for dinner.

The news was all about May 1 and the possible riots. Some subway stations are closed and some buses will not run. Stores are boarding up their windows in case of riots.
There will not be any street parking allowed.

Our movie was The Children Act.

One more photo from our room before we sleep.

Gate 1 Day 1 Wednesday May 1 - Paris

STEPS 17,077 13 km 8.1 miles
How were the protests?
Click here for the details of our day.

Gate 1 considers this be Day 1 of our 14 Day Classic France tour. But in reality, it is the day that "you" depart home and fly overnight so we have the day to ourselves.

We got a really good long sleep and only headed out at 11:30 for brunch.
There is a block of restaurants steps from the hotel. We're tried two of them and went back to the one we had dinner at for omelets.

Can't help it!

Being May Day, International Workers' Day the city was on full alert. As per any holiday the stores and museums were closed. But there was a big police presence around. So we basically spent the day wandering and enjoying the fine weather.

Beaupassage is the name of the new food and wellness temple opened in 2018. Initiated by Emerige real estate group, this spot is set in the passage that links rue de Grenelle to rue du Bac and boulevard Raspail. Instead of creating a 60-flat private residence, Emerige has decided to turn the 10,000-sqm inner courtyard into a shopping arcade with green areas and beautiful living places!

May Day is also called the Fête du Muguet.

On the first of May in 1561, France’s King Charles IX was given a muguetflower, or lily of the valley in English, as a lucky charm and liked it so much that he decided to offer them each year to the ladies of the court.

These days, the flowers are sold in bouquets on the street around France and people offer them to friends or family members for good luck.

Nice to see our schedule for the next few days posted.

We decided on ham and cheese with a baguette for dinner in our room.

Gate 1 Day 2 Thursday May 2 - Paris

STEPS 14,369 10.9 km 6.8 miles
Click here for the details of our day.

We had most of the day to ourselves. We decided to just stop for a coffee before heading to the Rodin Museum.

The gardens are gorgeous especially because the roses are in bloom.

It started to drizzle as we headed into the museum itself.

Moving day in Paris, the furniture is hoisted up using a type of escalator.

We went back to a restaurant near our hotel that we liked to have a large meal mid afternoon. It is also raining quite heavily now.

John's mixes salad and my oeuf avec mayonnaise.

We both had the steak frites.

John's ice cream and my crepes for dessert. Three courses 19 euros, not bad in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

We relaxed for an hour before heading to the 5 PM welcome drink with the tour group.
The guide is Laura, she gives us an overview and the group introduces themselves. All Americans, mostly California. We represent the Commonwealth along with two women from Australia, Barbara and Sue.

At 6 PM we boarded the bus for the included a boat ride along the River Seine. We could have easily have walked to the dock at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower.
It is an hour cruise and the weather was nice. If you've never been to Paris it is a good overview, would I recommend it, not really. Gate 1 touted it as an evening tour to see the lights but it wasn't even dark when we got back.

From the bus.

Notre Dame.

Gate 1 Day 3 Friday May 3 - Paris
STEPS 17,101 12.9 km 8 miles
Click here for the details of our day.

Our breakfast is included as part of the tour. Finally as much coffee as we want without thinking of the 7 euros per cup we've been spending!
Good buffet and we chat with Lydia and Phyllis.

The elevator system is a source of great mystery to most. This happened in Spain as well. We have this system in Toronto in office buildings, but it works well in a hotel. You select your floor and it directs you to an elevator. Simple and safe.

After breakfast we left for the city tour at 8:15. We've done most of this on our own but we figure we'd go along and get dropped off somewhere convenient..

A foggy start as we snap yet another photo of the Eiffel Tower, where we didn't bother getting off the bus. Then the Arc.

Giant tennis ball at Place de la Concorde for the upcoming tournaments.

Notre Dame.

We get dropped off at Musee d'Orsay and stop for coffee at Les Deux Magots, famous literary landmark.

We then had the afternoon and evening to ourselves as we had done both of the optional tours offered.

Walked up to the Pantheon and were lucky there wasn't a lineup.

Looking down from the Pantheon.

Always a fascination to me since seeing one at the Museum of History (?) in Washington DC way back in 1980!!!

In 1851, physicist Léon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the Earth with an experiment conducted in the Paris Panthéon.

By constructing a fixed 67-meter swinging lead bob beneath the central dome, Foucault was able to prove that the earth was in fact in rotation at all times, as the plane of the pendulum never changed, yet it seemed to move with earth’s rotation.

Oyster bar as we walked by.

One glass of wine turned into two as we sat in the gorgeous hot sun, just up from Notre Dame. At the end of the street is still blocked with police.

Another literary landmark.

Fun souvenirs.

We again opted for the late lunch as our main meal. We had been seated in another restaurant but we waited so long we left. INDIAN! Yes! And it was delicious.

Onion pakoras were great.

Lamb curry and aloo gobi was served in these bronze containers.

Yet another literary landmark on the way back.

Once back we settled in and relaxed, packed our suitcases and ate macarons!

We head out on our bus tour in the morning.

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  1. Oh My GOSH. Loved living vicariously through your photos. Now I want some good pastries, good coffee, and good wine. How great that were drinking champagne in the Champagne region! Can't wait to follow your newest travels.

  2. We used to spend 3 weeks to a month in Paris every year but haven't been back for awhile. Your photos remind me of what we're missing.

  3. The city of dreams. Beautiful shots!

  4. What a spectacular holiday, thanks for sharing it with us. Enjoy the rest of your trip :)


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