Back from Paris, notes available

Old Oct 11th, 1999, 03:08 PM
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Back from Paris, notes available

Hi, Iím just back from Paris. Iíve been there quite a few times, but this time was after a hiatus of 3 1/2 years, so I was eager to renew my acquaintance with this city I love so much.

Here are some random thoughts.

1. I didnít observe any bands of gypsies, obvious pickpockets, or other
prospective criminals. I took the metro, walked through parks, and visited many of the usual tourist sites such as the Louvre. I am not saying the criminals donít exist, just that I didnít notice any, nor did I feel uneasy or unsafe. I did take a walk through the ninth one afternoon, and I thought the area was seedy, so I didnít linger.I am happy (and lucky) to say that my record of not becoming the victim of a crime while traveling remains intact.

I donít use fanny packs or money belts or hidden wallets, never have.
I use a totebag with many internal zippered compartments, and I carry it over my shoulder and close to my body, with my arm over it. I live in a large city and perhaps those of us who do are unfortunately more used to daily caution and awareness of our surroundings, developing more of a 6th sense without walking around feeling scared or paranoid. I think people should take whatever precautions they feel are necessary for their well-being and enjoyment.

2. I stayed once again on the right bank, as I most often (but not exclusively) do. It is not as interesting for strolling in the neighborhood at night as the left bank is, nor is there as large a selection of moderately-priced restaurants and hotels. However, perhaps because of long-standing familiarity, the right bank feels more convenient and accessible for me. I realize this is a minority opinion.

3. I went to one fabulous restaurant for the first time, and found one I would recommend against. The hit, and hard to get a reservation at,
is Le Violon díIngres, 135 rue Saint-Dominique, in the 7th, metro Ecole Militaire. Telephone 01 45 55 15 05, fax 01 45 55 48 42.
Dinner for two 825 F which included two glasses of wine.
Beautiful room, both French and American clientele. A place to dress,
jacket and tie for men. Chef is Christian Constant, formerly of Les Ambassadeurs in the Crillon Hotel, and formerly of an outstanding pastry shop on the left bank which is no more.

The disappointment is also a new but casual place called Le Totem. Its advantage is that it offers a stunning close-up view of the Eiffel Tower, and it is open on Sundays.
The disadvantage is that the food is overpriced and mediocre, both of which are completely unnecessary in the food heaven that is Paris.

4. Regarding that controversial topic of appropriate dress for tourists, I will say that I saw many many people of all ages and nationalities (Australian senior citizens, German teens, for example) dressed in jeans, large sneakers, fanny packs, etc. Do I dress that way myself, no. Do I manage to dress up a bit more while comfortably walking miles and still feeling that Iím on vacation, yes. Again, to each her/his own.

5. Because I had booked it originally but changed my plans, I went to check out the Hotel des Tuileries on the right bank at 10 rue Saint-Hyacinthe in the first. For those of you who were wondering, the hotel has a great right bank location, very pretty, newly-renovated decor, and among the smallest rooms and narrowest corridors I have seen. Two people could literally not stand next to each other in two of the three bathrooms I saw. Two people cannot pass each other in any of the public corridors. As it happened the elevator was out of service the day I was there, I donít know if this happens often or hardly ever. However, given the room sizes and the prices, currently 790-890 francs for the smallest doubles, up to 1200 francs for slightly larger doubles, you can do better for the money in many left bank hotels.

6. I have some notes on Paris, compiled from this trip, previous trips, and hints from other sources like this forum. The notes are on practical topics like transportation, museums, sightseeing and general restaurant tips (including some memorable restaurant comments once posted by, and duly credited to, Elvira, who participates so wonderfully in this forum). I donít have notes on particular hotels and restaurants because Iíve found that tastes and budgets vary so much. I do also have a pretty long list of websites for Paris and France.

If anyone wants a copy of the above (Paris notes, Paris websites), email me, please donít post it here.
Old Oct 12th, 1999, 08:44 AM
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Please be patient, those who have emailed, I'm doing my best to keep up.
Old Oct 12th, 1999, 09:40 AM
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Elaine, thanks for jogging my memory. Cousins of mine in Paris took us to Le Totem in 1995. At the time, the food was very good. Sorry to hear that it was only mediocre for you. The view of the Eiffel Tower, however, was magnificent!
Old Oct 13th, 1999, 05:34 AM
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Hi ilisa,
Your worthwhile comments are exactly why I always hesitate to offer opinions on hotels and especially restaurants. People's budgets, expectations, and tastes are so different, and even a great restaurant
can have an off-day, it's just unfortunate when that off-day happens to be the day I'm there. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed your meal there.
I'll not soon forget that view, though, so the evening wasn't a failure.
Old Oct 13th, 1999, 05:56 AM
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You should never hesitate to offer your opinions about where you stay, eat, etc. regardless of your experience. The only way we can make informed choices is if we hear all sides of the story. I, too, will never forget the view.

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