Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thoughts on Paris

Shakespeare and Company ....we could have spend hours in this place. It's been around since 1951.

Would I go back? a heartbeat. In fact I already told Lou that we are going back next year. Six days was not enough to see all the things on my list and didn't give us the time to really relax. Still to see...Sainte Chapelle, Musee Rodin, Musee Picasso, the Pompidou Center,'s a long list....Marais district, Marche de la Porte de Vanves (another flea market), the Crazy Horse (Lou's choice...but it is the original), more time to window shop and cafe hop. In the spring of 2008, Continental is going to fly a non-stop from Cleveland to Paris!!!

The view out our hotel window

Are the French rude?....not at all. We did learn a few key French phrases so we could be functional in shops and restaurants. I think being polite is key. I like to think that you get what you give. We did have what I refer to as two rude moments. The first was in a cafe. We had just come up from the Metro after travelling all over the city. Lou wanted to stop for a beer and I was hot and needed a break. We sat down so that we both could face the street to people watch. There was an older gentleman and his wife sitting next to us. He was facing in towards the cafe... and me. I noticed that he was looking at us so I nodded and smiled at response. But that was no problem. But everytime I looked in his direction he was glaring at me. I wasn't talking loud....just drinking my Coca Light (what they call Diet Coke) and talking to Lou....but still he glared. Even as we got up to leave he was glaring. I should have flashed him a big smile and bid him "Au revoir"...but I let him be.

The second instance was in a restaurant...and we should have learned our lesson about restaurant bars in Amsterdam. It seems that in restaurants (at least Amsterdam and France), the bar is not for drinking. It is there for looks, paperwork, and for the waiters to pour drinks for their customers. So we went into a very nice restaurant and was told we should come back in 30 minutes and they would have a table for us. That was fine with me but Lou asked if we could sit at the bar....big faux pas. Of course the hostess said yes and asked what we wanted to drink...and then ignored us for 10 minutes. That's not the rude part. One waiter went back behind the bar and poured 4 glasses of wine. He then walked around to the front of the bar where Lou and I were sitting with our heads together talking quietly.... and reached in between us to pick up his glasses of wine and place them on his tray. That was RUDE. So I learned my lesson. Unless they invite you to sit at the bar for a few moments while they prepare your table....never ask if you can sit at the bar for a drink while you wait. We did have a similar experience in Amsterdam....they were flustered when we asked to sit at the bar and they had to clear away paperwork....but the owner made us drinks right away and without asking for it...prepared us an appetizer on the house. That man was the epitome of hospitality.

View down the Champs Elysees...taken in the middle of the street. The sky was amazing that day

Ironwork on the Eiffel Tower

Are all French women thin?....yes. At least thinner than the average American women. If you lined up 10 average French women and 10 average American women....the French would be thinner. I only saw one person I would have classified as morbidly obese. I see them every day in Cleveland.

View up through the pyramid at the Louvre

Do all French women wear scarfs? But I did see more than you see in the US and they know how to tie them so they look so chic. I have a few scarfs and have never been able to make them look good. I guess I expected all the women to be dressed to the hilt walking around on 4" heels with beautiful scarfs wrapped around them. I remember reading that you don't wear tennis shoes in I made a point of going out to get a pair of nice walking shoes. What I found is that they dress pretty much like us. Jeans and tennis shoes were everywhere. But that may be because we were close to the University and in areas where tourists frequent.

~2700BC Cycldic Figures...these are so old it is hard to fathom. I can grasp a couple hundered years ago....but 5000??

How was the food?.....everyone is asking about the food. We had great food. What I really like was the lack of fast food restaurants!! It was so nice to stop into a sidewalk cafe for the Croque Monsieur's (ham and cheese). Amy at C'est la me...provided us with restaurant recommendations. Le Coup Chou on rue de Lennau was so charming and was just a short walk from our hotel ....over by the Sorbonne it was hidden away up a side street. We had a table outside on this little street that went up a small hill. I didn't think that cars would use the one-lane street at night since the restaurant had tables on both sides. But both a cab and police car came through....but they did so very very slowly. At one point I thought the table next to us was going to get knocked over by the police came that close. But it was a beautiful night and the restaurant was great. Boullion Racine was a couple blocks down from our hotel. The interior is art nouveau...bevelled mirrors, painted opalines, stained glass, carved woodworks, marble was lovely. The manager/owner (don't know which) was very nice to us and the food was excellent. One other restaurant of note was the La Mediterranee. This was literally steps from the hotel door. It was also the place were we mistakenly sat at the bar. But once we had a table things were good. We both had bouillabaisse (Provencal fish soup). Lou said it was the best he has ever had. For dessert I had the poach pear which was by far the best dessert I have ever had. It was lying in the most wonderful chocolate sauce with a thick vanilla cream (or ice cream) on top. It was amazing.

An ancient asian bronze statue and the glyphs next to her....Cris...take a look at this....we can turn this into a tear-a-way for PMC.

Did I buy a lot of clothes?: No. They don't regularly carry my size. But I did get a purse...actually Lou bought it for me as a birthday present. A Francesca Biasia...a beautiful green leather. I have this thing for just started a few years ago. And I've managed to have Lou buy them all :)) Usually for an anniversary or birthday I pick one out and have him get it for me. He doesn't have to rack his brain about what to get me and it feeds my's win-win.

Odeon Theatre de l'Europe...this was right next door to our hotel

Memorable moments.....after being up for ~20 hours to get to Paris, the taxi taking us to the hotel went over a bridge on the Seine and we caught our first glimpse of Notre Dame......sitting at Bouillion Racine for dinner the second night and hearing Louis Armstrong sing La Vie en Rose in the background....seeing Botticelli's frescos in the Louvre.....standing under the Eiffel Tower


cristina Leonard said...

OK, that's all very nice. But on to important stuff. Let's see the purse!

Girl and the City said...

Sounds like you had a great trip to Paris! Its good to defy some of the common misconceptions - yes the French can be brusque, which can sometimes seem extremely rude. Not everyone wears scarves, but I do (not French) and love it! Food? Yum! The best thing about living in Paris!! :-)

xox Girl and the City (in Paris)

Misplaced said...

You need to come back and stay longer.

tongue in cheek said...

Good answers, I agree with you. These are the most asked questions and you answered them perfectly ture. When someone asks me I'm sending them here to you!