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5 Days in Paris and 1 Day Trip to Troyes over Thanksgiving

5 Days in Paris and 1 Day Trip to Troyes over Thanksgiving

Dec 8th, 2005, 02:44 PM
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5 Days in Paris and 1 Day Trip to Troyes over Thanksgiving

For the 3rd year in a row I've been able to swing Thanksgiving in France. The first two times I took a 10 day vacation so I went to the hinterlands. This year I wanted to try a short trip to see if I'd like it. Leave Tuesday night, 6 full days, then fly back Tuesday morning.

Being a short trip I booked the direct flight from Cincinnati to CDG. It was a little more expensive then connecting flights but I decided the extra $100 would be worth it. I made the decision to stay in Paris to get more out of my 6 days. Having spent a few weeks in Paris spread over the last 4 years, this was to be an off-the-beaten-path trip.

While on our last trip my TC (Traveling Companion), the friend I'd gone to Italy with in October, decided to go with me to Pairs. Excellent news! I changed to a bigger room in the hotel, shuffled the itinerary to suit his tastes a little more and was ready to go.

I must say that riding the RER or cabbing into Paris from CDG, I've always been fascinated by the outskirts. With the 20 arrondissements having a population of 2 million in a metro area of 11 million, there are 9 million "Parisians" that do not live in the center of Paris. When people ask about seeing the "real" Paris like the locals I'm tempted to tell them to stay outside the peripherique as about 9 out of 10 people in the metro area live there.

One of my planned excursions was to be a Metro ride to St Denis to see the basilica and crypt. A tram ride around to Bobigny with maybe a random stop or two, then a Metro ride back to my hotel. Paris only has two trams. I like the views they afford. Then the riots started. It honestly never crossed my mind to cancel the trip. Following the news it was pretty apparent where the problems were. I did however, change my itinerary. I was disappointed but decided to do my suburbia experience on a later trip.

Flight Over

I really like the direct flights. It's so nice not to hang out killing time at a connecting airport. It also eliminates missed connections due to delays, weather, whatever. This was a Delta 777 from CVG to DDG. Nice compared to the older 767 I’d flown to Italy. Individual TV’s at each seat. There seemed to be a better ratio of bathrooms too.


Arrived at Terminal 2C. Right next to the train station it's easy to take the RER into Paris. After years of hassling with the machines that don't take bills or chip-less credit cards and waiting in lines for ticket agents this time I was prepared. I had enough 2 euro coins from my last trip to purchase two tickets.

Just when I thought everything was going to be just right the ugly specter of the French rail strike appeared. It took 70 minutes for the first RER into Paris to arrive. They usually run every 15. The automatic announcement would say 30 minutes to the next train. Then 15 minutes later it would say 25 minutes. I decided not to bail in favor of a taxi. I figured they’d be swamped with all the extra people using them.

I had no qualms about taking the RER into Paris though I'd read the official notices. Didn't the officials realize that all the violence happened after dark? I'd be going through the outskirts at 10 in the morning during rush hour. It was a typical ride into the city. I didn’t see a single burned out automobile anywhere.

At Gare du Nord I decided to walk to the hotel. At 800 meters it was a pretty straight shot. Again I didn’t want to risk the (imagined?) wait for a taxi. Besides the walk was good for me.


In the 2nd near the corner with the 9th and 10th it was a nice hotel on a quiet street just off one of the Haussman Grand Boulevards. A tiny staircase without an elevator it was fine with me. I need to climb more stairs.

There were two, I mean two!, trashcans in this little one star. A small one in the bathroom and a larger one in the room itself. Talk about luxury. I could throw things away endlessly while my friend took his turn occupying the bathroom. Two twin beds that were comfortable. A view on the street it was pretty quiet since it sat off the boulevard 75 yards.

It did have a couple of hiccups. One morning the hot water ran out. It only happened the one time. The other 5 mornings there were acres of hot water whether showering early or late. They never could get the credit card machine to take either of our credit cards for payment though the cards worked all over the rest of Paris. At 56euro a night, it wasn’t any problem to pay cash.


Cold as expected. Below freezing at night. Low 40’s at best during the day. Most days started sunny then clouded over by noon. Showers in the afternoon. One afternoon it snowed. Very, very pretty. It made the window sill of my hotel room a perfect mini-fridge. I was able to store beer and bottled water on the ledge.

Day 1

I purchased a carnet of Metro tickets. Being the first day I wanted to stay outside to absorb what little daylight there would be. We walked down the gorgeous Montorgueil market street. Cheeses, and fresh seafood, butcher shops and little gourmet shops, it’s always a pleasure to walk. I like the black and white tiled street.

Through Les Halles, across then along the Seine to the Rodin Museum. It was a brisk and pretty afternoon. We saw the sculpture garden first to stay outside longer. Through the entrance was "The Gates of Hell.” I'd first seen this bronze in an outdoor park at Stanford in California. It's intricate. It has a mini "Thinker" top center too. There were still geraniums and roses blooming in the garden. Looking at so many of his large bronzes at a single time I wondered why so many of them had their shoulders hunched over and were staring at the ground.

In the museum proper there were many more bronzes as well as items from Rodin's personal collection. A Monet and a Van Gogh painting.

We walked to the Eiffel Tower. After rounding Les Invalides the tower came into view. Being dusk it was lit. Walking closer it got bigger and bigger until I walked underneath it overwhelmed again at its size. It's so unusual looking. Hard to imagine many Parisians at the time it was built didn't like it.

Walking over to the Bir Hakeim metro stop, we stopped. It was time for a pick-me-up. Realizing that "It's Beaujolais Nouveau Time" that's what I had. Nice, fruity a pleasant enough drink before riding the Metro.

Went to the Petit Picardy in the Marais for dinner. I had my first foie gras of the trip. Buttery goodness with hot toast points as always. I had the same lady wait on me that waited on me my last visit 4 years ago. The foie melted in my mouth as I melted into enjoying my trip to Paris. For a main I choose the steak in green peppercorn sauce. Creamy with a tinge of piquant from the green peppercorns the steak was a beautiful medium rare. It came with an au gratin potato side that helped to soak up all the sauce. I had cheeses for dessert.

We walked past Place Beaubourg and Les Halles on the way back to the hotel. Strolling along in a satiated and jetlagged stupor, I noticed a gentleman in a familiar pose at the entrance to a narrow alley. He hadn't bothered to go into the alley to whiz. I heard a friend of his asking why he was doing that there. He responded he had to go now.

What a great first day in France: a market street, a beautiful walk, the Rodin museum, an excellent dinner and a pee-pee story.

Day 2

Traveling Sot see post:

indytravel is offline  
Dec 8th, 2005, 04:55 PM
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Oh good, a trip report. I have to admit that I see things differently since I started reading about your trips. For instance, I now count trash cans in hotel rooms. And you do seem to encounter more than your share of guys marking their territory.
Nikki is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 05:44 AM
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OK, it's Saturday... get to typing!
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 06:22 AM
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OK, Travelnut, where do you live that it's Saturday?
Nikki is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 03:27 PM
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It's not Saturday, but I did have a little time today.

Day 3

Having slept in late after our day of walking the city, it was a Metro ride to the Cite stop and a short walk to lunch.

Tour d'Argent

Yes in hindsight it was crazy to book this lunch after the "Traveling Sot."

Rather than my translation of "Silver Tower" I prefer my friend's "Tower of Money."

This was to be a splash out meal. Let's face it a Michelin 2 star with a view of Notre Dame's butt, it has all three rules of real estate going for it: location, location, location.

My TC wanted originally to have a dinner there. Having read some of the reviews and costs I suggested the more reasonable lunch option. That is "reasonable" on a relative scale of things. It's like saying the Ritz is more reasonable then the Waldorf-Astoria. Sak's is more reasonable then Neiman-Marcus. Piper-Heidsieck is more reasonable then Moet Chandon.

We arrived on the ground floor appropriately jacketed and tied at the appointed hour of noon. Surrounded by men in tuxedos and women in little black dresses our coats were graciously closeted. We were led to the lounge where but did I immediately spy a bottle of Seagram's VO. Resisting the urge to drop to me knees and thank the heavens above I ordered a VO Manhattan. 2 stars? Give these people another star for a properly stocked bar I thought to myself.

TC ordered a pastis. It was his turn to drop to his knees stunned by being told that they did not carry a pastis. A restaurant in the land of pastis-swillin' maniacs and they didn't have one? That will shave 2/3 of a star off your rating in a heartbeat. Having never before been denied a pastis in all of France he floundered like the proverbial poisson sans eau and ordered a cognac. Not exactly an aperitif in my book but what do you do when gobsmacked?

Enjoying the old pictures on the wall, antique grandfather clock and heirloom stocked display cases I was handed my Manhattan…in a stemware water glass? Are you kidding? I thought those star thingy's were for attention to detail. Where was my pony glass? I'm endlessly served Manhattans in a martini glass. I wanted a pony. Time to take back a 1/4 star.

Glancing around I saw a father daughter couple come in behind us. He around 60 she around 35, I thought it wonderful that this man would take his daughter to such a fun lunch.

We were given a bowl of Cajun spiced cashews and an olive tapenade with little breadstick twists. The cool, salty smoothness of olive paste alternated well with the fiery crunch of the rich nuts. After munching and sipping for a while we were asked if we'd like to finish our drinks upstairs at our table with a view. Certainement.

Seated right on the edge it was a gorgeous view to the north with Notre Dame in the northwest. There were no reflections in the glass due to the daylight outside. Yellow linens, fresh daisies, silver logo-embossed charger plates it was a beautiful setting. Offered an aperitif I decided on a decadent kir royale.

Crisply handed menus we started to peruse our choices. "There are no prices on my menu," said my friend. Hmmm. There were prices on mine. Though I'm slightly the younger of the two of us I do look older and I daresay more prosperous in a gourmet-gone-to-excess way. I guess that meant I was the one in charge. Damn.

All of my lunch-time bargain "le menu" wrangling went completely out that beautiful view-filled window as my friend was intrigued by the numbered pressed duck. He said the pressed duck is supposed to be out of this world. I asked if the duck was dead or alive when pressed at your table. You'd not believe the sounds a duck can make when you pick it up and give it just a gentle squeeze.

Next up was the wine list. List did I say? Tome, epic novel, brickbat maybe? This thing was easily 6 inches thick. Isn't that big, la, la, la look at a couple of pages and where is that sommelier dude? Ah, there he is. I said I liked a sauterne with my foie. We settled on a demi bottle as the TC doesn't like sweet wines. I don't much either but there is something about sweetness that flows with a super-fatty foie. Next a Loire Valley red to go with the hearty duck. I'm partial to the Chinon reds and Saumur champignies. The sommelier quickly recommend a bottle of '89 J.P. Druet.

Finally. Choices had been made. Place settings were shuffled. Amusee bouche was consumed. (Puff pastries and soft-boiled quail eggs in a clear sauce.) Kir royale was sipped. The view was enjoyed. All before the parade of extravagance was to commence.

A waiter presented a demi of a sauterne and stated what it was. I looked down at the eroded label and wanted to ask, "vraiment?" Really? The label was illegible. Almost completely worn away it could have been a half bottle of anything with a honey color. That bible of a wine list yet you can't manage to keep the wine stored so a label stays on? 1/4 star gone.

Suddenly a waiter appeared and asked who had the smoked salmon. Are you people out of your minds? Two guests at a table and you can't write the order down so as not to ask a question like that? I know waiters at Outback who can count around a table for heaven's sake. 3/5 of a star slipped away just like that.

A gracious gesture and my friend received his smoked salmon. I had an empty plate placed in front of me. Then from behind me came the most marvelous looking scoop of foie I've ever seen. Delicately placed he went back to the well for a second scoop that as well looked like a serving of the creamiest ice cream ever. This was to be the "foie gras of three emperors."

Packed with pieces of truffle and slathered on a hot, light roll this was amazing. Break the bread, slather the bread, pop it in my mouth. Melt. Slowly, slowly chew and swallow. Follow with a sip of sauterne. Again and again I did this. I was in foie gras heaven. This is the best I've ever had of the terrine style. Gasping for breath and wiping a tear from my eye it had ended all too soon. This one ecstasy of a dish easily returned 5/8 of a star.

The red was presented. I could at least read the year on the label '89 but much of it was worn away. Asked about decanting I said breathing in the bottle would be fine.

A silver dome was brought table side. The roasted, soon-to-be-pressed, duck for two was un-domed. Yep, that's a roasted duck I thought. Re-domed and whisked away I was relieved it wouldn't be pressed alive.

Soon two plates were brought. Each had slices of duck breast in the sauce pressed from the carcass. It's an unusual sauce, grainy almost gritty. With the juices of the organs and bone marrow, it had a liver-like earthy taste to it. Delicious. It was served with super thin, crispy potato puffs deep fried to a golden brown. They worked well with the sauce. The hearty red wine was amazing with it.

Having a break the waiter brought our complimentary numbered duck post cards. We'd consumed duck number 1,037,575. Thinking it was over I was surprised when two more plates of duck arrived. It was the thigh quarters. I really prefer the fattier, moister dark meat. This was excellent served with a bearnaise and frisee of salad greens.

Having a breather moment I looked around some. The man and his daughter were near us. As was a French speaking couple, she in a dress he in blue jeans, a sweater and bowling shoes. I guess standards are a little lax at lunch.

For dessert TC had 4 light sorbets, one in grapefruit a favorite of his. I had the peach flambe. The flaming liqueur sauce was scooped over the peeled and poached peach upon my plate. There was a doughnut holding a scoop of smooth vanilla ice cream.

Finally there was an assortment of sweets, chocolate truffle candies, jells and the like.

Overall a delicious and outstanding meal. Now let's do the math, 2 stars…- this... + that… carry the one (I've not really totaled my star calculations. ) I give it a 1.15 stars. For the most expensive meal in my life I loved it. I'm sure I won't do it again. I'll try somewhere else for the variety. Though if the Tour d'Argent served appetizers in the bar I would sit there and have just the break-the-bank truffled foie gras. That dish alone was 95euro. Oh my goodness.

At the end of the meal I glanced over and the father/daughter were holding hands and staring into each others eyes in a way that a father and daughter should not. Uh-oh, this wasn't May/September this was April/late October maybe into November. I guess I don't have to get more handsome as I mature. I just need to make sure my bank account matures…

Rolling out into the street it was time for walking. Though my shins hurt a little from the 12 miles the day before it was good to move around. We walked over bridges on the Seine taking photos of Notre Dame and boats and stuff.

Ending in the Marais we stopped for a drink, some techno and a potty break. Ended up in this little bar with a DJ where we could still talk and hear each other. Pretty amazing actually.

After that lunch there was no dinner, I was stuffed.

My TC had complained he'd done very little cultural in Paris. Au contraire mon ami, what about French poetry reading and the acapella triplets at Au Limonaire 2 years prior? Hmmm?

To make up for this lack we rode the subway to see Cirque d'Hiver for a slice of French culture like no other.

A fair sized space it was slightly hazy inside to give it that circus feel. It wasn't cigarette smoke. It was that misty stuff that makes lasers and light beams more visible. We saw trained horses, camels, and a tiger that could roll upon a ball up a ramp. Then the lady trainer put a piece of meat in her teeth and the tiger licked it off her face. Yuck. Cat spit.

We saw a lady shot out of a cannon, dangling trapeze artists and the Hiver Octet. That was the group of dancing girls in various costumes through the show. There was a couple who did the comic relief. He was a big man, she was a lady who walked funny and did a trapeze parady an amazing number of inches off the ground.

The crowd was almost all French with lots of kids. I thought it was an enjoyable experience for a 25 euro ticket with a decent seat half way up the side.
indytravel is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 04:33 PM
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i just went to cirque d'hiver, too, on 11/26. what a place! we were third row from the ring (paid WAY too much), and were rather shocked when that tiger came out on just a leash.

i thought the clowns with the bar setup was tres french, along with the dancing girls.

we loved it!
melissa19 is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 04:35 PM
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Too funny melissa19! You were there the day after my friend and I went.

I did think it was really cool, but weird. The tiger was just on a leash with a little bit-o-lady that I could drag across the ring.

I read on-line that the lady shot out of the cannon is from the US. How do I get that job?
indytravel is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 06:26 PM
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I just came back to this... It's FRIDAY, and has been all day long. I took a day off and it 'felt' like Saturday..
Anyway, my exhortation worked, there's more report to be read!
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 10th, 2005, 05:44 AM
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Hi indy,

Thanks for the report on TdA and the circus.

I've put the latter in my "to do" file.

No Pastis? Sacre bleu!

ira is offline  
Dec 10th, 2005, 12:12 PM
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Years ago a neighbor told us that La Tour d'argent was not what it used to be, which was his form of one upsmanship since it indicated that he had gone to La Tour d'argent twice.

There is a very good bistro near the cirque d'hiver called Le Clown Bar.
Michael is online now  
Dec 10th, 2005, 03:59 PM
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I'm SO enjoying your report, Indy. I really look forward to your trips! My mouth is still watering after reading about that foie gras! Can't wait for the rest of report, (and don't scrimp on the food descriptions, please).
Sue4 is offline  
Dec 10th, 2005, 10:28 PM
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Ditto, Sue! I'm salivating at the memory of foie gras with a wonderful Pineau de Charente...superbe!

Great read, Indy. Merci bien...et ensuite???
klondike is offline  
Dec 11th, 2005, 04:18 PM
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Day 4

This was to be another suburban excursion day. I'd liked the looks of St Germain-en-Laye. Maybe another trip. I decided on Troyes. I'd been there almost 4 years ago and thought it a great little city. At a 1.5 hour one way trip it's about the farthest I like to go for a day trip.

We caught the 9:45 train as the snow started coming down. It was very pretty in the train station watching the snow. There was very little snow accumulation and it had stopped by the time we reached Troyes. One tourist office is right outside the train station. I got a map.

We walked the old town looking at the half-timbered buildings. The city has been trying to restore more of the original facades. There were a lot more then I remember from 4 years ago.

The first church we entered was Madeleine. It wasn't open on my last trip. This church has a jubé. It's a bridge from one side of the church to the other just in front of the choir. The signs said they used to be common in the area but that very few remained now. I'd never seen one. It was intricately carved of stone and had all sorts of images on it. Originally used to further separate the clergy from the people this is one of the few Catholic churches I've seen with the altar still up in the choir.

Lunch was at Le Gaulois. They're way too trusting. Stuff came out on skewers like swords. I had the horse. A little too rare for my tastes it was icy cold inside with that glossy look. It came with a sweet & tangy beet soup and a little dressed salad. My TC decided he likes andouilette sausage. I tried it again to be sure. I still don't like it. Enough mustard doesn't exist to get it down.

Next was the tool museum I'd missed before. Hammers in cases laid out in patterns, then saws, then planes, then you name it. Tools for leather working, shoe making, wood cutting, weaving, it's all there. 3 floors of tools that were mostly handmade by the original owners. I found it fascinating, but I like mechanical, technical things.

Went through the hosiery and city of Troyes museum which I'd seen before. I love the Jacquard loom. It's a primitive, programmable computer. Fascinating to see what are literally punch cards that control it. Incredible patterns of hosiery from the early 1900's on display. Racy fishnets and funky patters like dominos and birds. My TC asked where the women are who wear those kind of hose. Rue St Denis in the 3rd in Paris?

It rained in the afternoon a while.

Made it into the St Pantaleon Church and St Urbain basilica. More great signs in French and English to explain features.

Checked out the little pharmacy museum. Lots of faience pottery jars with letters in the glaze for the contents. Outside is a very nice sundial, too bad no sun to use it with.

Had few minutes to go through the art museum. Lots of Marinet glass and paintings as he's a native son. A few impressionist paintings like a Seurat and a Monet. I think it's a nice size and has a good collection.

Finally dinner at Hotel Royal. I'd stayed at the hotel and eaten there on my previous trip. I had a nice terrine foie gras. It was served with cold corn and sauerkraut. I had a small entrecote steak in a spicy, creamy pepper sauce. My steak fries were beautiful and stacked up like a little game of Jengo. It was very precise. Next came my favorite part. They have a real cheese cart. You can pick from 20 cheeses and have a little sliver of several. I had the Langres as this was the first place I'd ever had it, a Cantal and a forme d'Ambert bleu. All were fully ripe and bursting with cheese goodness. Then was the dessert cart. Another real cart with 10 or 12 items to choose from. I had a tiny wedge of a chocolate tart and a mini creme brulee. We consumed a great bottle of Cote du Rhone red. All of this came at 1/5 the cost of Tour d'Argent. I really do love the provinces.

I have to give Troyes a lot of credit. They've done a great job putting up lots of signs in French and English. They have people staffing the churches so more are open too. For example the Madeleine Church had more signs explaining its features and stained glass then any other church I've seen. The whole town appears to be embracing tourism and trying to draw people in. They've made several more streets one way leaving room for bigger sidewalks on each side.
indytravel is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 08:53 AM
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I believe that Ste. Geneviève, the church behind the Panthéon, has a jubé.
Michael is online now  
Dec 12th, 2005, 09:15 AM
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sheez.... I come back from a crappy "diet at lunch during the Holidays" thing, blech, salad with more vinegar than oil...to read this !!YUUUUUMMMMMMM....
I don't like sweet wines either but now, next time, with that gorgeous fois gras, I'll give it a try.
I look forward to Day 5 ...
Thanks Indy
SuzieC is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 11:09 AM
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I am really enjoying your report. You have a great writing style-- very entertaining!
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 05:21 PM
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Day 5

Being a Sunday after Thanksgiving I had planned a few things to do. First up was to duck into the church Bonne Nouvelle right around the corner from the hotel. About 45 minutes before Mass was to begin it was open. I was immediately accosted by a little man who introduced himself. He asked if I spoke French and I said very, very little. Never mind that. He complimented me on my French and started us on a person narrated tour. Wow could he rattle on.

Luckily though the words are technical I'm fairly familiar with the Christian religion. Stuff like choir, baptisme, font, croix, etc. I was able to get something out of it. The most fascinating thing of all was the full immersion baptismal in the church, front and center. I've never seen one in a Catholic church. He explained where the warm water came in (Bunch of pansies. You should try getting dunked in an icy tank in the dead of winter in a Baptist church. ) He was able to show us pictures of the priest in the tank up to his with a happy baby drenched and dripping from his outstretched arms.

Next he hauled us up behind the altar to show us the paintings close up. I was getting nervous as by now Mass was starting to form. People were coming in, the guitar player was setting up, people were taking seats. Guitar Mass? No way. I'm much too traditional for that. We said our "merci's" and "au revoir's" and departed.

We stopped at Le Defenseur du Temps just off Place Beaubourg. Precisely at noon the music started, the dragon breathed, then nothing happened. No swords, no crab, no rooster. Failing in his defense of time, time itself ground to an agonizing crawl while waiting for nothing to happen.

I've wanted to see the Metro stop and the Museum Arts & Metiers ever since "FamousUncleArt" here on Fodor's mentioned it. The subway stop makes you feel as if you're on the set of "20,000 Leagues under the Sea." It's all coppery lined and has "port holes" that contain exhibits like the museum above.

I did not realize I was going into the Louvre of technology museum. This is a meaty museum as we say in the bid-ness. It's 3 huge floors filled with technology: bridge modes, building models, computers, electricity, telecom, telephone. It has it all. Everything from a Commodore 64 to a Cray supercomputer. Pascal calculation machines, mini-tels, movie cameras and TVs. Surprise, surprise it was mostly filled with geeky men. What can I say? I fit the mold.

One really cool part was an old decommissioned church that is now part of the museum. The original "Hey! Look! The world is spinning!" Foucault pendulum hangs in the choir. There's a metal and glass scaffolding built that you can climb. As you climb and continuously shock the crap out of yourself from static electricity you see antique cars and airplanes suspended from the ceiling. At the top you get a really good view of the underside of the roof and around at the windows. I'm rarely that high up in a church (active or not) and enjoyed the views.

Late lunch was at a Doner Kabap. It was past 3 and I was getting cranky. The TC tried to get me to stop and look at an antique forced steam iron in a shop window. Hadn't we seen enough technology? The TC was thrilled with his 3 freshly grilled lamp chops for 7 euros served with a salad and couscous. He was in heaven. I had the classic pita for 4 euros. Sliced just then on a warm pita, it was served with a mass of hot, crisp, hot French fries. The only kind of fry to have.

Hit a Virgin Mega store. For 280 euros I can have 23 albums and 42 cd's in the complete retrospective of Johnny Hallyday. Though a Johnny fan that's a little steep.

Walked down the rue Montorgrueil market street again just browsing. Happened to notice a bakery that said it did a second baking from 5-7pm for fresher baguettes at dinner. Went over to the Left Bank to stroll and watch the people. It was cold but fun.

Had a late dinner at a little restaurant close to the hotel. Good French onion soup, then a chicken gizzard salad. My friend had never had the reddish, grilled gizzards before. He was amazed at how good they are. He swore it was really ham.
indytravel is offline  
Dec 13th, 2005, 06:50 AM
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I must know the address of that Doner kabop place, as close as you can get it!

We ate at one in Cologne and it was totally delicious - I admit I'm hesitant to try another place without a reference.
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 14th, 2005, 06:21 PM
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Hey Travelnut. Just not getting around to answering. Busy at work with typical computer disasters.

The kebap was at the intersection of r. du Fauburg/St Denis and blvd Bonne Nouvelle/blvd St Denis. The streets all change names here. It was on the north side of the arch, the west side of the street.

Not on the curved part around the arch, but the second kebap place on the straight part of Fauburg.

"Restaurantation Delices" around 11 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis.

As you know having eaten at one, no atmosphere, casual service, but killer fries and gyros.
indytravel is offline  
Dec 14th, 2005, 06:53 PM
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Day 6

My last day in Paris this trip. A Monday. What to do? How about the Cluny? Works for me.

What a nifty museum. I like the gardens out back. I like the collection. The Unicorn Lady tapestries are fascinating and well displayed. There are many other excellent tapestries too.

I was careful to keep ahead and/or behind the school and tour groups. I was very surprised. One tour group came from behind at a brisk pace, hit the unicorn tapestries, and completely missed the next huge room filled with stuff. I'm glad I could go at my own pace.

A nice little pizza reine for lunch with more of the Beaujolais Nouvelle. A walk to Notre Dame. TC had never been in Notre Dame. How does that happen in 6 trips? In we went and enjoyed it. Paid to go in the treasury museum. It's a nice little collection of sacred clothes, chalices, some reliquaries and books. More stained glass too.

Next it was time to climb to the roof. Luckily we were in the next group as the line was very short. For no reason other then the Disney reason you climb to a gift shop where you're corralled for 10 minutes, then up to the top. Walking along the base of the towers the views are pretty incredible. It was fun to see some of the gargoyles up close too. Climbed the south tower for the panoramic view. More incredible view from there.

We walked by the Hotel de Ville. The ice rink wasn't quite set up. I do like the igloo that is at one end of the rink. Around dusk we walked up r. St Denis. How very odd it always strikes me. Businesses and shops open, couples with little kids coming in and out of apartments and ladies for rent standing in doorways. One man walked up to a lady as I walked by. He said, "Bonjour." She said in English, "Second floor."

Walked the Grand Boulevards to the Hard Rock. Not exactly an icon of French culture, but I can count on them to have Canadian whiskey and to know what to do with it. Refreshed by one of my few Manhattans of the trip, we walked down the street to look at the Galleries Lafayette and Printemps windows decorated for Christmas. There was some crazy hair at GL. A hair artist was credited. At least he didn't get his mitts on Santa.

My last dinner in Paris was at the Vaudeville across from the new Bourse. I'd eaten lunch there almost 3 years ago with my Dad and loved it.

We started with an icy plateau of various raw and cooked sea things: whelks, oysters, crab, scallops and lobster. Great shallot vinegar dipping sauce and a buttery sauce too. A demi of pouilly-fume to wash it all down.

I had an onglet steak with onions for a main. It was a perfect medium rare and the onions had been cooked almost to a sauce. We had one cheese plate to split of gouda, bleu, camembert and something else delicious. Then we split a dessert sampler of crème brulee , pudding, fruit cup, profiteroles and chocolates. With a bottle of splurge Chateauneuf du Pape it was heaven.


I knew I should have bought the RER tix the day before at a manned subway stop. Had to buy 2 Metro tickets at the unmanned Bonne Nouvelle stop. At Gare du Nord, it took me a while to find the sole RER manned ticket window. All the machines won't take US credit cars so I had to have a person. After a few minutes I had two tix.

We walked through the unmanned handicap gate to the RER side. I then had my friend watch the baggage while I went back through the gate then came through a turnstile validating my ticket. I had him do the same while I watched the baggage.

Confused he asked if this was the French way. I said no. It's the honest way. Many people wouldn't have hassled with validating a ticket. They'd have just ridden the RER to the airport.

At the airport all went smoothly in 2E until they loaded us on the bus to the plane too soon. Patrick the gate manager told us his name and apologized. The crew was stuck in security and not on the plane. We had to wait. No big deal.

As always a long flight home.
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