May 27, Arrival

The 9 1 / 2 hour flight was relatively painless, the extra hundred dollars for a seat with extra legroom at the front of the cabin was well worth the cost. Immigration and Customs at Charles de Gaulle airport were efficient and our longest wait was at the vending machines to buy tickets for the train to Paris. We managed to get the last two seats in the car but had to carry our luggage on our laps. At Gare du Nord, our train ticket was also valid for the Metro ride to Place de la Bastille. A five minute walk brought us to a 17 th century Manoir converted to apartments, one of which was to be home for the next two weeks. Stone staircases rise from a central courtyard to the first floor, the treads so worn with centuries of traffic as to be difficult to navigate. From there, narrow and worn oaken timbers replaced stone as the staircase spiralled upwards to a tiny vertigo-inducing landing providing access to our suite. Inside the fully updated suite, little remained of the original character except exposed portions of the timber beams. Our host’s garrulous partner gave us a run-down on the facilities and local services (they don’t use the Chinese bakery because they may not know how to bake French bread or Le Notre patisserie because it is too pretentious), but short on details of the operation of kitchen appliances. Neither large nor luxurious, it was none-the-less clean, quiet, comfortable, and in a wonderful location on the eastern edge of the Marais. We had lunched on a marvellous Croque Monsieur (very different from at home), a small glass of wine at Bistrot d’Antoine opposite the Temple du Marais, before buying a few supplies at the Monoprix Supermarché and returning to the apartment to sleep for two hours before dinner and heading off to explore the neighbourhood. We were mostly trying to stay awake until Paris bedtime in an attempt to mitigate jet lag. First Night Revived by an afternoon nap and dinner, we wandered off to explore our neighbourhood, down Rue des Tournelles, across Rue de la Bastille, right past Bistrot d’Antoine, and along Rue Saint-Antoine. At the end of Rue de Birague, an arched carriageway led to Place des Vosges, Paris’s oldest public square, a lovely, symmetrical garden surrounded by elegant 17 th century apartments built to a like symmetry atop arched pedestrian arcades. People strolled the gravel pathways, read, or conversed sitting on benches or the grassed area surrounding the central fountain. Returning to Rue Saint-Antoine modern sculptures decorated walls and restaurants and cafes spilled their tables and chairs onto the sidewalk and customers relaxed over wine, beer, and snacks. Along Rue Beautreillis wall art, graffiti, and posters decorated/defaced some of the walls and an incongruous portal (circa 1800) is all that remains of a once grand residence. The imposing neo-baroque Hôtel Fieubet loomed as we approached the river on the Quai des Célestins. Young and old strolled along the walkways enjoying the warm pleasant evening, groups of friends ate and drank at picnic tables, and others just sat, legs dangling over the banks, watching the river cruises pass up and down in the fading light. Across Pont Marie on Ile Saint-Louis a souvenir/ice-cream shop, l’Ile Flottante, displayed models of Paris residences in the window creating realistic streetscapes (we would eventually return to buy one). Most of the shops were closed, but upscale galleries, souvenir shops, restaurants, clothing stores, patisseries, and even a green grocer lined Rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île as we strolled towards Île de la Cité home to Notre-Dame Cathedral. Sadly, much of the island is off-limits since the fire and we were forced to cross Pont de l’Archeveche to the Left Bank. The police had cordoned off the next two bridges and we were forced down to Pont Saint Michel before crossing Île de la Cité to the Right Bank again. The sun was low and the city lights just beginning to come on, but the long day was catching up to us and we returned, via le Pick-Clops for coffee and ice-cream, to our apartment for the night.
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© David E. Moon, 2019 All rights reserved

May 27, Arrival

The 9 1 / 2 hour flight was relatively painless, the extra hundred dollars for a seat with extra legroom at the front of the cabin was well worth the cost. Immigration and Customs at Charles de Gaulle airport were efficient and our longest wait was at the vending machines to buy tickets for the train to Paris. We managed to get the last two seats in the car but had to carry our luggage on our laps. At Gare du Nord, our train ticket was also valid for the Metro ride to Place de la Bastille. A five minute walk brought us to a 17 th century Manoir converted to apartments, one of which was to be home for the next two weeks. Stone staircases rise from a central courtyard to the first floor, the treads so worn with centuries of traffic as to be difficult to navigate. From there, narrow and worn oaken timbers replaced stone as the staircase spiralled upwards to a tiny vertigo-inducing landing providing access to our suite. Inside the fully updated suite, little remained of the original character except exposed portions of the timber beams. Our host’s garrulous partner gave us a run-down on the facilities and local services (they don’t use the Chinese bakery because they may not know how to bake French bread or Le Notre patisserie because it is too pretentious), but short on details of the operation of kitchen appliances. Neither large nor luxurious, it was none-the- less clean, quiet, comfortable, and in a wonderful location on the eastern edge of the Marais. We had lunched on a marvellous Croque Monsieur (very different from at home), a small glass of wine at Bistrot d’Antoine opposite the Temple du Marais, before buying a few supplies at the Monoprix Supermarché and returning to the apartment to sleep for two hours before dinner and heading off to explore the neighbourhood. We were mostly trying to stay awake until Paris bedtime in an attempt to mitigate jet lag. First Night Revived by an afternoon nap and dinner, we wandered off to explore our neighbourhood, down Rue des Tournelles, across Rue de la Bastille, right past Bistrot d’Antoine, and along Rue Saint-Antoine. At the end of Rue de Birague, an arched carriageway led to Place des Vosges, Paris’s oldest public square, a lovely, symmetrical garden surrounded by elegant 17 th century apartments built to a like symmetry atop arched pedestrian arcades. People strolled the gravel pathways, read, or conversed sitting on benches or the grassed area surrounding the central fountain. Returning to Rue Saint-Antoine modern sculptures decorated walls and restaurants and cafes spilled their tables and chairs onto the sidewalk and customers relaxed over wine, beer, and snacks. Along Rue Beautreillis wall art, graffiti, and posters decorated/defaced some of the walls and an incongruous portal (circa 1800) is all that remains of a once grand residence. The imposing neo-baroque Hôtel Fieubet loomed as we approached the river on the Quai des Célestins. Young and old strolled along the walkways enjoying the warm pleasant evening, groups of friends ate and drank at picnic tables, and others just sat, legs dangling over the banks, watching the river cruises pass up and down in the fading light. Across Pont Marie on Ile Saint-Louis a souvenir/ice-cream shop, l’Ile Flottante, displayed models of Paris residences in the window creating realistic streetscapes (we would eventually return to buy one). Most of the shops were closed, but upscale galleries, souvenir shops, restaurants, clothing stores, patisseries, and even a green grocer lined Rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île as we strolled towards Île de la Cité home to Notre-Dame Cathedral. Sadly, much of the island is off-limits since the fire and we were forced to cross Pont de l’Archeveche to the Left Bank. The police had cordoned off the next two bridges and we were forced down to Pont Saint Michel before crossing Île de la Cité to the Right Bank again. The sun was low and the city lights just beginning to come on, but the long day was catching up to us and we returned, via le Pick- Clops for coffee and ice-cream, to our apartment for the night.
Tap/Click to begin slide show
© David E. Moon, 2014 All rights reserved