Europe Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

Trip Report The Last Gasp ? Nukesafe in Paris Again

Jump to last reply

After our last trip to France a couple of years ago I did a rather long trip report called “Nukesafe's Last (?) Huzzah”. http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/nukesafes-final-french-huzzah.cfm which detailed our two week stay in Paris and a overnight trip to Besancon. I chose that title as I figured, being in my 80's, it might really be the last such trip we might be able to make together.

Well, we have now managed yet another trip; so there, old age!

After all the unselfish help and encouragement I received on line, it would be ungrateful of me not to post a trip report, if only so those kind souls can see how I either missed or ignored their advice.

We are a retired couple. I'm now 83, retired from the US Federal government some time ago, having worked for a number of Government agencies, the U.N. and private industry in the nuclear safety sciences; hence my web name. Annette, my lovely wife, retired from teaching chemistry, and is now a recognized glass artist in the Pacific Northwest. http://www.lumenaeries.com/ She is much, much, younger than me. Prettier, too.

Having had a lifelong interest in art and, given Annette’s growing involvement in the arts, much of our two weeks were spent in art galleries and studios. The fact that we are both pack rats, and spend a lot of weekend time at yard sales, flea markets and auctions, explains why we spent a lot of time visiting similar venues in Paris.

Our last two time to Paris we have flown Icelandair from Seattle. It is the least expensive and also the shortest duration flight. With one stop in Reykjavik, it takes about ten and a half hours. Miserable hours because of the hard seats and lack of any amenities. This time we flew Air France (Delta operated) nonstop. That flight takes about ten hours fifteen minutes, but is much more comfortable in an Airbus 300. Costs more, but on this trip we chose a bit of comfort.

We stayed in an Airbnb apartment in the 10th, very near the Canal St. Martin. The apartment was not as advertized and we would not recommend it to others. Here is a link to the apartment so you can see our long review. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1225356 Being Airbnb hosts for a guest room in our home in Anacortes, Washington, we were reluctant to leave a negative review, but if the Airbnb, or any booking system is to work the reviews have to be honest.

The area near the Canal where the apartment is located, only a block from the Pont Dieu, is really lively and fun. We would stay in the area again, but perhaps a bit further up into Belleville-Menilmontant. I also would look for a place nearer a Metro station and/or a bus route. We were about a 10 minute walk from Republique, and though a bus stop was only a block or two away, the line didn't go anywhere we wanted to go or make good connections. More planning is called for.

BTW, since we had to walk to Republique several times each day, I should comment on how vibrant the place has become since the renovation. Something is always happening. Almost every day there would be new activities, from demonstrations, to rock concerts, from bicycle rallies, to poster
displays. Some sort of interesting stuff was coming down. We did not try the small cafe at one end, but the wide flowing water pool, only a centimeter or so deep was fascinating on warm days when the children would romp through, getting wet and laughing.
I found one of the most interesting things was the erection and taking down of exhibits and venues. Teams of people would be there early in the morning, putting together a sound stage, for example; hammers and staple guns going at a great rate and folks laying cable and mounting speakers. The stage would be full of bands belting out music, sometimes different ones at opposite ends of the square, by afternoon. In the morning the stages would be gone, and something else going up in the space. A real marvel of well organized chaos.

I have some lung problems and have difficulty with stairs, hills or walking too fast, but we had few problems getting about, mostly by bus. Annette could have visited twice the number of galleries as she did if she had not had the patience of Job while waiting for me to catch my breath. We did use the Metro on occasion and took a couple of cabs, but walking at a measured pace, and frequent stops for refreshment, made for trouble free transport. We walked a lot. I mean a LOT! Slowly, it is true, but a lot. I had a favorite pair of Mephisto shoes I wore this time and I wore them out. The heels were worn over and the seams in the uppers started splitting toward the end of the week. I threw them away after we got home. We had Navigos, took RER-B to and from CDG, and the train to Chartres.

I will do my best to keep this report short by just listing, in no particular order, the things we saw and did during out two weeks in mid May and add a separate list of some of the places at which we ate. I'll add links when I can find them. My plan is to post those lists at the beginning of the report. Further in the report I'll write a short (or long) description of that particular adventure. If you have an interest in any of them you can skip through the stuff that doesn't turn you on and only read those. I'll be happy to answer questions.






Destinations/Excursion List:

Chartres.
Paris Greeters Stroll. http://www.parisgreeters.fr/rencontrer-un-greeter/?lang=en
Saint Sulpice.
Art Galleries. (numbers beyond counting)
Marais Annual Flea Market.
Druout Auction House. http://www.drouot.com/
Petit Palais. http://www.petitpalais.paris.fr/en/collections/paris-1900
Richard Lenoir Saturday Art Market. http://en.parisinfo.com/shopping-paris/73904/March%C3%A9-de-la-Cr%C3%A9ation-Paris-Bastille
Canal St. Martin/Bassin Villette.
Salon Antiqites Brocante at Bastille.
Ave. President Wilson Market. http://www.parismarkets.net/PresWilson.html
Buttes Chaumont.
Paris Fan Museum. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mus%C3%A9e_de_l'%C3%89ventail
Musee de la Armee. http://www.musee-armee.fr/en/english-version.html
Jacques Borker Studio. http://www.borkerjacques.fr/
Movie (v.o.)
Bercy Village.
Paris By Mouth Cheese Tour. http://parisbymouth.com/paris-food-tasting-tours/tour-de-fromage-exploring-the-exceptional-cheeses-of-france/
Musee de Erotisme. http://www.musee-erotisme.com/en/
Baccarat Museum. http://www.baccarat.fr/on/demandware.store/Sites-bct_fr-Site/fr_FR/HubPage-WOB?cid=Mus%C3%A9es
Albert Kahn Museum and Gardens. http://albert-kahn.hauts-de-seine.net/english/
Museum of the 1930's Boulogne-Billancourt http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mus%C3%A9e_des_Ann%C3%A9es_Trente
25th Des Ateliers d'Artists de Belleville Studio Tour http://ateliers-artistes-belleville.fr/en/les-portes-ouvertes/edition/
Hammam Pacha. http://www.hammampacha.com/accueil.htm
Musee Arts Decoratif. http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/
Rue Montorguiel.
Fashion Saturday at the Bristol Hotel. http://www.lebristolparis.com/eng/news/fashion-saturdays/

Eating List:
Comptoir de Relais http://www.hotel-paris-relais-saint-germain.com/
Le Marine, 55 Bis Quai de Valmy
Vielle Maison, Chartres http://www.lavieillemaison.fr/
Le Grand Vefour http://www.grand-vefour.com/
Le Cafe de l'Industrie 16 Rue Saint-Sabin 75011 with Claude.
Le Saint M' Bercy Village http://www.lesaintm.com/
Le Centenaire 104 Rue Amelot, corner of Rue Oberkamph.
Brasserie Jean-Baptiste, Boulogne-Billancourt http://www.jeanbaptiste-restaurant.com/
The Crystal Room. http://www.cristalroom.com/
Le Saint Marthe http://www.lesaintemarthe.fr/
Le Verre Vole 67 rue de Lancry
Jacques Genin. http://jacquesgenin.fr/
Chez Adel. 67 rue Bicha


Comments:

Chartres. Up early one rainy/blowy Friday morning and off to Gare Montparnasse to catch the 9:06 train. Easy as pie to get tickets and catch the train that got us to Chartres shortly after 10:00. That was good because we had time to stroll around the town a bit and to visit a “Glass Museum”. It was actually a shop that had some reproduction stained glass (probably Chinese), the usual tourist schlock, but also some interesting original works by local artists. Our early arrival also gave us time to walk the Labyrinth in the Cathedral. They move the chairs out of that area of the nave on Fridays. We were able to walk the walk almost alone, as the cathedral was practically deserted. Later, the crowds arrived and turned the walk into what appeared to be rush hour on the Metro at Chatelet. Ours was a rather moving experience in that vast space. Theirs must have been like Bumper Cars.

We met Malcolm Miller at the gift shop where he appeared promptly at 12:00, took our €10, led us to the headphone stand, and started the tour after making sure we could all hear him. That was a really good thing because I'm a bit hard of hearing and his Bluetooth microphone made every one of his plumy upper class British accented words understandable, even with a group that approached 30 people.

The tour/lecture was fascinating, as you might expect, but I found the man equally so. If you don't know about him, he wrote a paper on Chartres while in university, became fascinated with the Cathedral, kept coming back, and then started giving tours. He has been doing that for 57 years, now, and swears he will continue until they bury him. I think that won't be for a long time as he is still a young man – several years younger than me, actually. I noticed a couple of those meaningful colored threads that some accomplished Frenchmen wear on their coat lapels, and after the tour asked him what his represented. They are two of the highest French civilian honors; Knight of the National Order of Merit, and Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.

I also asked him for a recommendation for a nice place for lunch and he suggested the Vielle Maison where I had a quite nice piece of Guinea Hen, and Annette enjoyed some rosy duck.

Paris Greeters Stroll. This is our second time taking a stroll with the Paris Greeters, the first being of Belleville/Menilmontant with a charming lady, Claude, who later became President of the organization for a few years. In any case we put in a request that asked if one of their (over 400) volunteers might be familiar with the art scene and arrange a stroll that might look at glass art by French artists. We had tried a few years earlier on our own, and had come up dry. This time the most charming of all French women, Marie-Claire, took up this challenge and heroically researched the glass art available in Paris and came up with the same conclusion we had reached, i.e., almost nobody in Paris does any sort of art glass, and the only place in France much is done is in the South of the country. None the less, she managed to find the single gallery in all of Paris that showed any serious pieces, and found a few other artists in Paris whom we could contact on our own. We began our stroll with another American couple from Michigan at the “Galerie Class 41” http://www.class41.com/ where there were a number of pieces shown by Yves Trucchi. Coincidentally, we had purchased one of his pieces at an auction at Drouot a couple of years before.

We then continued through the Marais, where Marie-Claire took us to see things and explain the intimate history of the area that very few tourists usually see, much less understand the significance. She obviously loves her city, and her enthusiasm made for a wonderful tour for all of us. We also took a bus to the Promenade Plantee, where we walked a short part of it before exploring the artisan workshops in the arches beneath.

As you know, the Paris Greeters will accept no tips; we could not even get our first stroll guide, Claude, to even accept a drink. One can make a donation directly to the organization, however. Marie-Claire did one better by ending her tour at the shop of the exceptional chocolatier, Jacques Genin, where she treated all of us to hot chocolate, tea, coffee and pastries. I made a pig of myself with one of those sinful Paris-Brest artery cloggers. Oh Bliss, Oh Joy!

We HIGHLY recommend the Paris Greeters!

That's enough for today. More later.

64 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

  • Announcements:
  • Writers Needed for Mexico
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jul 24, 14 at 12:19 PM
  • Writers Needed for Georgia Coast
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jul 18, 14 at 03:12 PM
  • Writers Needed for Rwanda and Uganda
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jul 18, 14 at 03:12 PM
View all Europe activity »
  1. 1 Tour Group Operators
  2. 2 Dress Code for the Vatican
  3. 3 I give up!!! Need some itinerary help please!!
  4. 4 Does this sound feasible?
  5. 5 I'm in a funk
  6. 6 Trip Report Middle Aged Regular American Guy Review of the Amalfi Coast
  7. 7 Where to stay in Naples, Italy
  8. 8 One week in Ireland itinerary
  9. 9 Lake Como in October- when does season change
  10. 10 Hotel Millesime or Hotel des Marronniers or Hotel du Danube
  11. 11 8 Days in Spain - leaving in one week!!
  12. 12 Anyone familiar with Villa Treville?
  13. 13 Greek Itinerary advice needed, please.
  14. 14 One Town on the Amalfi Coast
  15. 15 Trip Report Italy Trip: Another Scrap With Friction
  16. 16 Trip Report Music, Hippos, Alchemists and More: A Berlin/Prague Trip Report
  17. 17 Trip Report Sirop and Sandwiches, Normandy, Loire and Paris with our grandsons
  18. 18 Recs for Dublin B&B?
  19. 19 BMW European Delivery program
  20. 20 Trip Report IRELAND - the driving is great: east to west, south to north!
  21. 21 18 DAYS IN VIENNA, 7 DAYS WITH A 4-YEAR-OLD
  22. 22 Eating in University cafeterias
  23. 23 your favorite coasts/shores, lake or sea
  24. 24 travel to western Europe from India
  25. 25 Good Flamenco in Seville
View next 25 » Back to the top