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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report A Very Brief Report of My Recent Trip to Paris

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I've been back for awhile now and as with most trips you don't do most of the things you put on your list. The day we planned to go to the races at St. Cloud it rained all day so scratch that for another time. The highlight of this trip was our Sunday afternoon/evening spent at La Chope des Puces out at Clingnancourt. We've been a few times before but this time we had so much fun.

We go to listen to Ninine Garcia, a great and well known guitarist of gypsy jazz and modern jazz as well. This time we stood as usual at the bar near the front to see and hear the music. My husband surprised me and asked if Ninine would allow us to take his picture with us. He was very nice and accomodated us. And then the fun began, the music was great the people standing around were friendly and after a few beers adopted us and started buying us beers and in broken english and our broken french we established that they were gypsies with the real gypsy heart and that "fun and friends were everything in life". At that point we wholeheartedly agreed and began with the group selfies that one can only take after several beers. With friendly au revoirs all around we left the bar and managed to make it back to the metro and safely back to our apartment in the marais with a great memory of Paris. I don't know if I can top this one.

We stayed at an apartment that we had stayed in before on rue d'ormesson diagonal to Place du Marche Ste. Catherine. We rented from vacationinparis.com which allows you the convenience of receiving the key at home before you travel. It's a very comfortable apartment in a great location in the 4th.

The weather was typical Paris March weather; one day cold and damp, the next sunny and beautiful. My husband developed a fairly bad cold during the course of the trip, which did mean more hanging out at the apartment, but only when it was really cold and rainy. We didn't eat out as often, but we also don't do much of that. We tend to buy cheese, wine, a baguette and some pate to munch on. On our first day there, a Saturday we stocked up for the apartment and then sat out front at "La Tartine" on rue de rivoli and enjoyed a charcuterie and fromage platter and an icy cold beer. It was so nice to just sit back, relax and people watch. We did notice that all of the women, except for me, sat with their backs to the street and the men the opposite looking out over the sidewalk, as did I.

I had three photo exhibits that I wanted to see and got to two, which was fine. The first being "Paris Magnum" at the Hotel de Ville. It was ok but didn't compare to the small but really cleverly presented exhibit at the CROUS Cultural Center on the left bank. It was the last day and the entry was 1 euro. The title, "Deja Stars" the photographer, Marcel Thomas, considered to the the first french paparazzi, an amateur. Glad we didn't miss it.

I always try to bring back something interesting for family. This trip I wanted to get an apron from Dehillerin, the kitchen supply store, for my daughter and while there picked up two small Eiffel Tower cookie cutters; one for me one for my granddaughter. I already used mine and iced the cookies in the colors of the French flag. I was impressed with them.

While in that area which is over by St. Eustache we stopped in to listen to an organ audition that had been announced and was open to the public. It was actually interesting. You were told that you couldn't make a single sound and of course all cell phones off. You sat facing a draped off area and the different organists auditioning to be the official St. Eustache organist were being judged in a "blind" fashion. Meaning of course that the judges didn't know who they were listening to and scoring. We left after about 20 minutes, but the following day I read that they had a tie and chose two organists to share the post. The retiring organist had held that position for 52 years, so it was a big thing for the church and organ fans, of which there were many in attendance.

Every morning we had our petit dejeuner at Au Bouquet de St. Paul on rue Ste. Antoine. Friendly service and good coffee. At breakfast I go for a grand creme and my husband a double espresso. They brought you a tartine and a croissant as well as fresh squeezed OJ. If staying in that neighborhood I would recommend it.

We did a lot of walking just all over the place. I finally got up to the street in Belleville of graffiti, Rue Dénoyez. It was fun to look at but I think I prefer the "found" piece of graffiti art that feels like a discovery. I take their photos and add them to my collection. I especially love to spot "M. Chat". I found three new ones this trip to add to the ones I found on my trip to Lisbon.

I traipsed in and out of souvenir and gift shops to find items with the girl's name Elodie or Eva on them. My granddaughter's names which are not on anything in the U.S. I always find something new and different on each trip. They get a kick out of it.

Favorite neighborhood patisserie this trip, Miss Manon on rue Ste. Antoine. We've been there on other Paris trips. It kind of depends on where we are staying to purchase the eclair or macaron. One of my favorite places Andre Cleret in the 1st is no longer there! They had the nicest pastries and sandwiches. The owners were also very nice and old school seeming. Now it's some modern looking place and kind of reminded me of a Panera, but smaller. Too bad, but everything changes.

So, it was basically a trip to relax and wander and listen to music and drink wine and eat cheese and drink beer and eat charcuterie plates. It was way too short, 5 nights and a cold got in the way. That sounds like a good excuse to plan another trip. This time I'd like to go in the early fall. I love the weather then, it's milder and the trees still have some foliage. Hopefully, we'll be back.

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