Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Indytravel's Alsatian Adventure in France - March 2005

Indytravel's Alsatian Adventure in France - March 2005

Apr 5th, 2005, 02:03 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 609
David, reading your report at the 5:00 cocktail hour hits the spot very nicely, thank you very much! I'm in for an Indianapolis GT, too. We can all talk travel and food and adventures.
mermaid_ is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 06:37 PM
  #42  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,765
This report has me drooling! You really do know how to travel right. And your descriptions are priceless. I went to Alsace in October, and almost included Nancy and Reims, but didn't. Instead I went to Lyon. Now I have something to look forward to one of these next trips.
Thanks for this report!
Sue4 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 03:07 AM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,461
I was doing all right until I came to the mirabelle. I'm feeling sheltered (or deprived) but I don't know what that is.
Nikki is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 05:43 AM
  #44  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,330
It's a small plum of the region. Being a fruit it comes in many forms, canned, distilled, candied, dried, as a jam, etc.

It's about an inch in diameter with a sweetish plum taste. I thought the skin was a little tough on the ones that came with the skin on.
indytravel is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 06:11 AM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 199
Just a detail about David's following remark :

"I watched a gentleman order a draft beer and soda water mixed 50/50. I thought a rather unusual combination"

This "mélange"/mixture is called "un panaché" and can be asked for in any "café" or "brasserie". You can even buy it already made but I don't know if the taste is the same as the one of the original "panaché" :

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/les.archers/...esHeineken.htm

- "Panach' " : panaché sans alcool, à moins de 0,1 d'alcool, "panaché". C'est en 1979 à la brasserie Heineken de Marseille que le panaché, mélange de bière et de limonade, est mis en bouteille pour la première fois."

Here is the "recipe" :
http://www.1001cocktails.com/cocktai...=Panache%0D%0A

- "Le cocktail "Panaché"

Ingrédients : - bière
- 10 cl d'eau gazeuse aromatisée (limonade, soda)

Préparation dans un verre à mélange :

Préparez la recette du cocktail "Panaché" pour 1 personne:

Servir la limonade sur des glaçons,

allonger de Bière...
boire très frais.

Servir dans un verre de type "tumbler" Aucune décoration

Ingrédients: bière. eau gazeuse aromatisée (limonade, soda)."

Apart from this, compliments pour votre récit de voyage, David, c'est très vivant et sympa à lire Marie


Marie007 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 08:42 AM
  #46  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 41,718
David, you didn't tell me you got to the Excelsior. I hope I didn't exaggerate its beauty.
Marie, there's a drink here called a shant that is like that also a beer mixed with a strawberry type syrop. They are popular after a day of tennis, running or other exercise.
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 11:00 AM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 199
Thanks, Mimi, for the info ;-) Marie
Marie007 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 11:28 AM
  #48  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,419
Similar to the Radler in Germany. Half beer and half lemon-lime soda or half lemonade.
kybourbon is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 01:03 PM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 438
Dave, if the Indy GTG is a go, I'll provide the kir.
If the GTG is held in Louisville, I'll offer to host it and I will provide the kir AND the champers AND maybe a bottle or two of limoncello.

Lara,
Then a Radler is the same concoction as a 'shandy' in England... quite tasty and refreshing.
I think I'd like to try the version Mimi mentioned, the one made with strawberry syrup.
starspinners is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 01:43 PM
  #50  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,419
Hi Judy! - Wow what an offer! Either city is fine with me but of course Louisville is much closer.

My daughter is the Radler drinker not me. Now prosecco and strawberry might be tempting. I had that a few weeks ago at prosecco tasting. Yum.

Marcy - Did you start a new gtg thread so we won't be interrupting David's trip report?

Sorry David.
kybourbon is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 02:47 PM
  #51  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 199
Here is a pic of "mirabelles" :

http://www.photo-alsace.com/2_photo/...000/n17392.htm

and the etymology provided by "Le Grand Robert" dictionary :

- "1628; prune de mirabel, 1649; plutôt d'un nom de lieu Mirabel, qu'altér. de l'ital. mirobolano (- Myrobolan)."

"Mirabel" being rather the name of a place than a variation on the Italian term "mirobolano"...
Marie007 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 10:23 AM
  #52  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,330

Metz

Pronounced like the US version of the word "mess." I didn't really plan my trip around cities that aren't pronounced like they're spelled.

Thursday

It was the first time for me to ride one of the new double-decker TER trains. They are very comfortable with lots of room downstairs. There are great views from the top level but not as much luggage space. I left Nancy with the sun shining. By the time I was 100km north in Metz the sky had become overcast. By the afternoon it did clear off.

My hotel the Metropole was across the plaza from the train station. It was the best hotel of my trip. A 2 star with a huge non-smoking room, an elevator, toilet in its own closet and large shower & sink in another, it had 2 count 'em 2 trash cans. One of the trash cans was almost big! Done in local colors of red & yellow it looked like a Mastercard advert but was pretty nonetheless. I think the colors are from the regional or maybe city flag but I'm not sure. The hotel was a lovely place for all of 48euros a night. I did notice a 50euro cleaning charge for smoking in the non-smoking room an excellent idea actually.

I startled the maid as I dropped off my suitcase. You'd think they'd be used to the idea of unknown people and hotel rooms. She flew into a panic as the room was not quite finished. I told her I was leaving the suitcase and heading into the city to settle her down.

Much of Metz is laid out in the Middle Ages style. Roads that never lead straight to anywhere. I first managed to find the Place St Louis beautifully lined on one side with arcades. Much of the stone used to build the city is a golden yellow sandstone. One person explained to me that it unfortunately became dirty very easily. I found much of it to be clean and beautiful.

I next made it to Place Jeanne d'Arc. (All right I was really trying to find the main Place des Armes with the tourist office but it didn't seem to be where I thought it should be.) I admired the church, walked along a rampart with pretty views then finally found the Place des Armes.

It is gorgeous. Much of the sandstone of the plaza is scrubbed. There's some arcading, a magnificent yellow cathedral, the Hôtel de Ville and the tourist office. At the tourist office I inquired about a transportation pass, they only had a carnet of six. Nothing else package wise struck my fancy as there's only one museum in town. I don't care for audio tours and a bicycle rental didn't interest me either.

Right off the plaza is the U-shaped covered market made of the same stone. It too is lovely inside and out. I roamed the halls looking at everything from pasta dishes to dressed rabbits. I always think "dressed rabbits" should have on cute little tuxedos and gowns when actually they're quite naked without their skin.

Walking across the street in front of the cathedral I plopped into a café. I had a ham, butter and gherkin baguette with a beer for an early lunch. While lunching I studied my map carefully trying to get a grip on "which way was up" in Metz. I did rather successfully make it back to my hotel.

Startling the maid again, this time in the hall, I picked up my laundry and headed to the closest laundromat. My first attempt at getting soap failed. Dang 2euros wasted. My second attempt worked just fine. I loaded the beast up, plugged in all the coins and watched my laundry 'til I was feeling dizzy.

Staring out the laundromat door I noticed the "PMU" sign just a couple of doors down. Though I've long since realized it does not stand for "Purdue Memorial Union" I do know it stands for off-track betting and a bar. Knowing I had at least 30 minutes left on my wash cycle I strolled down for a kir.

The places are always interesting to me. People yelling at horses on TV that can't possibly hear them, lots of smoke and much muttering at the end of a race. People? Sure they're people but it's almost always men in the OTB facilities. The only woman in this one was the bartender that served my kir.

I noticed a restaurant that looked interesting on my way back to the laundromat. With minutes to spare I waited until it was time to put the wets into the dryer. Once the clothes were tumbling I walked back to closely check the restaurant's menu. It looked imminently serviceable so I made a mental note to stop by later for dinner.

With a stack of clean, dry and folded clothes I headed back to the hotel. Once again I startled the maid. She was closing the windows in my room.

At 19:00 I interrupted the Restaurant L'Aloyau staff having their dinner. I made a reservation for 20:00 and went to take some night shots of Metz.

Metz billed as a "city of lights" was gloriously illuminated after dark. Lights shine on the train station, the opera house, cathedral, hôtel de ville, churches, under arcades and on all sorts of buildings public and private. I walked the streets looking up and enjoying the play of shadows and lights on buildings' facades.

I stumbled upon an Irish Pub in full swing for St Patrick's Day. It was packed with people. The Irish band playing was very loud. I decided I wouldn't drop by later.

Returning to the L'Aloyau for dinner I sipped a kir and settled on having the menu.

As I glanced around I noticed two televisions with no sound in the corners of the restaurant playing a French "Cuisine TV." This is the first time I've ever seen anything like that. You rarely see a TV at a French bar unlike the US where TV's in bars seem to be required by law. I'm not so sure I like TV in a restaurant.

My starter had red peppercorns sprinkled on the slice of foie gras. Tomato slices, agar bits and warm toast made it seem like I was in foie gras heaven again.

I ordered a 1/2 bottle of Alsace Pinot Noir that was very good.

My main was a magret du canard au poivre. The duck had been sliced and spun into a filet like tournado so that it was juicy and rare inside. The spicy brown pepper sauce was an excellent foil for the duck. Zucchini was the lightly steamed vegetable. The potato was home fries pan fried with butter and lardons. For once I didn't need a baguette to finish off the sauce, the home fries did nicely. I wasn't too sure of the garnish though. It was a ribbon of duck fat that zigzagged across the plate. It looked a little worm-like. Though I love duck fat (well who doesn't?) it didn't visually enhance the dish.

Dessert was a perfect crème brulée. An extra firm custard texture with a hot freshly browned sugar crust. Thank goodness I don't know (and refuse to learn) how to make them at home. My waistline couldn't take any more punishment.

The menu was 35euros, the kir was 3.05 and the 1/2 bottle pinot noir was 12 for a total of 50.05

Friday

Friday was a day of clear, bright blue skies.

I went through the St Nicholas church. It has an unusual continuous frieze of the 14 Stations of the Cross.

I walked into the cathedral. My guidebook's description as "veritable sheets of stained glass" didn't do it justice. I don't think I've ever seen such huge expanses of beautiful stained glass anywhere. Make sure you see it on a sunny day. Being a city of lights they went to the unusual length of illuminating the stained glass from the inside at night.

It was a little slow at the entrance to the crypt so I chatted with the ticket lady for a bit. The crypt had some interesting artifacts, reliquaries and models of other cathedrals. They also had a model that showed how the main plaza used to look and how it looks today.

On the way out the ticket lady and I chatted (in English) for 15 minutes as it was still slow: the US, her sister in England, food and small talk. She was just a super nice lady.

Out of the cathedral I went down to the Moselle canal. I walked around the early 1900's reform church of gray, blocky stone that sat next to the yellow stone opera house. France's oldest operating theater it was built in the 1700's.

One branch of the canal went into a little cove that looked like buildings from Amsterdam. In this cove was a Relais & Chateau hotel property that had a pool almost hanging over the canal.

I walked farther north to a park with a bell tower. Children were playing obliviously in juxtaposition to the fenced-off, disused WWI bunker next to them. I caught a glimpse of the Moselle River then headed back to the pedestrian shopping section of the old town.

I visited the main bus station and bought a VisiPass. 3euros and good for all day on the Metz bus system. Much more convenient than Nancy. I hopped the little downtown looping bus and took a lap to see where it went. I ended up back at the opera.

From there I walked back towards the cathedral and ducked into a pizza place for lunch. Though the sign said "pizza" it was more upscale than that. Filled with business people on lunch I had a great pizza staring into the flames of the wood-fired oven.

I'd noticed the Gargouille restaurant earlier at the foot of the cathedral. Liking its menu I stepped inside to make a reservation for dinner. After pleasanteries and a request for dinner she said they had space available. I expected to be asked a time and my name but it didn't happen. As I "au revoir'ed" I left hoping I had a reservation.

I walked over to St. Pierre aux Nonains claimed to be France's oldest church. No longer a church it had a modern art exhibit in it. The exhibit was modern painting interpretations of Bible stories. Not the prettiest art I'd ever seen.

Next to St Pierre is the Templars church. No access allowed. A group of three 15 year old boys tried to get my attention. Generally I try to avoid children but they were persistent. When I finally acknowledged them I said I didn't speak French.

It often freaks people out when I say "I don't speak French" in French. The same reaction came from the kids. One asked in slow English if I knew if this building was the Templars. I said it was and showed them the plaque on the other side. He thanked me and said I spoke very good English. Now that doesn't happen every day, my English getting complimented in France. I replied that his English was very good too.

As it was another beautiful day I again postponed a museum visit to later in the afternoon. I went back to the front of the cathedral and sat outdoors at the western end of it. It was the little café where I'd had a sandwich for lunch the day before.
The sun sparkled off the cathedral making it dazzle in a contrast of golden stone and azure sky. I sat sipping a couple of beers for almost 2 hours watching the light change as the shadows moved along the church's stone carvings.

I finally pried myself away from the view. I walked through the Place des Armes to the Museum of Arts and History. It is a veritable rabbits' warren of hallways, galleries and stairways. It meanders through several former mansions and around a nice courtyard. Stuff from Roman times all the way to the present. I'd get lost and a guard would ask from where I'd come. I'd point then she would point the right way to follow.

After viewing some cool old stuff I went down the street to the FRAC, Fonds Regional d'Art Contemporain. Liking to be cutting edge they usually work it pretty hard. The performance art video clip of "Wonder Woman" was playing in the lobby. I saw it in A'dam in 2001. I think it's silly, funny, it makes me laugh. I like it.

The clerk manning the desk then told me the exhibit contained some disturbing images. Uh-oh. I was afraid my happy moments with Wonder Woman were going to rapidly end.

Gee which video performance art grossed me out the most? Was it the nude lady on the beach doing the hula-hoop with barbed wire? Or was it a lady using a safety razor blade to carve a Star of David in her flesh with her navel as the focal point? Ack!

Averting my eyes I made it to the upstairs gallery. A cavernous room with a "do not touch the exhibit" sign in three languages was on the way in. Also posted in French was an explanation of the exhibit. Thank God I read French. I discovered that a huge 55 gallon plastic drum was suspended from the ceiling and slowly dripping fluid collected from a Mexican morgue onto the floor where it would move towards the drain. To slow to actually make the drain it dried onto the concrete floor. Touch?!?! Good heavens I wouldn't even enter the room!

If that hadn't have been the last exhibit I would have made it the last one for me to see. I can only take so much. Back outside in the glorious sunshine I worked my way back to the hotel enjoying the sight of pretty things.

I happened to be standing outside my hotel when the straight light poles in front of the train station turned on. I thought the light was to shine on the buildings. As they lit the top portion of the pole spun down so that the lights were pointing at the ground. An odd touch as you'd think they'd have expensive mechanical problems with the lights on occasion.

A little too early for my dinner I walked around. It must have been the night of the animals. I saw a man with his dog on a leash and his cat perched on his shoulders. Later I saw a man with an albino ferret in his arms. I guess animals like walks too.

I stopped for a pre-dinner kir. In the bar I spoke with a young twenty something lady with very good English. Though less then 50 miles to Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany she'd not been to any. She'd only visited Nancy once and didn't care for it as it was too big. Sigh.

More walking through the pedestrian zone and I arrived at the Gargoumille for my 20:30 dinner. Well I hoped 20:30 was OK as we never set a time. The gargoumille is some ancient dragon thing that was supposed to have terrorized Metz in the Middle Ages. I'm not sure who but I'd bet money somebody became a saint for ridding the town of the dragon.

The same lady I spoke with earlier greeted me at the door like a long lost friend. I was given a choice of two tables with excellent views of the sidewalk and restaurant. A very nice thing when dining alone. As I dined people came in without reservations. They were put in the back dining room. I guess it can pay to perform the small courtesy of making a reservation.

My amusée bouche was olives, sausages slices and hot puff pastry pizzas the size of half-dollars.

I went with the 38 euro menu that had a 2.50euro supplement for the foie gras. This included two glasses of wine. 40.50 total.

The foie came with its own glass of a sweet Alsatian wine. Two thick slices graced my plate. Placed around the main event were melon balls, grape halves, a spoonful of homemade applesauce and a small salad of greens. The greens had been dressed then artfully placed in a hollowed-out ring of a thick baguette slice and stood upright on the plate.

Cleverly served in a demitasse an intermezzo of soup appeared. Heavy cream with hints of rosemary and cardamom it looked like "un café" served in the small coffee cup.

To assist my main course I chose the local Alsatian wine. It complemented my stew of roasted mutton eggplant slices, carrots, potatoes and chives. It was a hearty dish tugging at the heartstrings of my German heritage. The cheese plate had chèvre, brie, cantal and langres cheeses. They were properly aged and served at room temperature to bring out the most flavor.

Mirabelle plum ice cream was for dessert. Served in a couple of slices it came with flower-shaped chocolates, grapes, mirabelle plums and its sauce; kiwi, apple and strawberry slices.
indytravel is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 11:59 AM
  #53  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,360
Hi indytravel,
Thanks for the heaps of information on Nancy. It's definitely on my must-see-someday list, as Art Nouveau is one of the ongoing pleasures of life for me. You are making my liver ache with all your gustatory memories - but don't stop, please don't stop.
dovima is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 06:18 PM
  #54  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,765
I'm still enjoying every word - Metz sounds lovely. Please don't stop!
Sue4 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 07:03 PM
  #55  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,205
Gasp! I've gained ten pounds just reading this super trip report. I'm of Alsatian descent but have only briefly visited the area. Your report certainly has heightened my interest in getting to know it better, if primarily to dine there. Thanks so much!
Betsy is offline  
Apr 8th, 2005, 09:54 AM
  #56  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,330


Paris

Saturday

I awoke to a thick fog. "Le brouillard" as I learned from the hotel clerk when I checked out. It made my train trip to Paris rather boring as it didn't lift until the Parisian suburbs. Oh well, at least I wasn't driving in it. I used a 20euro Prem fare I'd purchase 2 months prior.

I bought a single Metro ticket to take the Metro from Gare de l'Est to the Chatelet Metro stop. I checked into my 1st arrondissement Hotel Flor-Rivoli. I received the same room I had when I last used them in spring of '02. It had new carpet but the same tiny trash can. A, shall we say, "compact" bathroom, and a double bed. It has an elevator and is decent enough for 65euro a night.

I strolled the "old neighborhood" where I'd stayed in the springs of '01 & '02. The internet café was gone, a new mini-mart had arrived. The art squat was still there but having troubles with the law as I'd read on the internet. The Pizza Pino whose pizza I like over by Les Halles had become a Pizza Enio. The skateboarders are still swarming Fontaine des Innocents. Same old, same old really but comfortably familiar.

I walked around Place Beauborg. As the weather had turned pretty I opted out of the Pompidou Center. I walked into the Marais a ways to see if Le Petit Picardy restaurant was still there and it was. I looped around and walked by the Hotel de Ville and that tall tower that is near it. That thing has been solidly wrapped in scaffolding for the four years that I've gone past it. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever get to see it like the Orangerie which is still closed.

I crossed the Seine on the Pont Neuf bridge. I stopped for views of boats & barges and the Eiffel Tower. I walked down the Ile de la Cite to gaze at Notre Dame. This was the least amount of scaffolding I've seen upon it in 4 years. Just a little on the north side of the left tower as you face it.

I wound my way through the 5th along r. Huchette. Thanks to my LP guidebook not an area where I'd consider stopping for a meal.

A little too early for the 16:30 GTG at Les Editeurs I nevertheless found the place so I'd know exactly how to get there. I went around the corner a few blocks and walked through St Sulpice for the first time. I paid particular attention to the Delacroix frescoes. Very interesting as I've only seen his oil paintings before.

Just a few minutes after 16:00 (I'm almost always early) I plopped down at a sidewalk table to the left of Les Editeurs' as you face the building. A few minutes later SharonG recognized me from my online photo and joined me. Her traveling companions (the other 2/3's of the Tennessee Trio) were still in the Musee d'Orsay and would be along in awhile. Right after that Dave_in_Paris joined SharonG and me.

We laughed and chatted and told stories. SharonG had just been in Italy so I enjoyed hearing her tales as it's been a decade since I was last in Italy. Dave_in_Paris (surprise, surprise) is an ex-pat living in Paris. His stories of everyday life in Paris are excellent to hear.

A little after 17:00 the rest of the Tenn. Trio arrived. As there was no room at our little sidewalk table the host moved us to a table indoors. The 5 of us had a wonderful time telling travel stories. We broke up just before 19:00 I think. A couple of kirs and I just didn't seem to care about the time anymore.

As this was my last day in Paris I didn't go to bed as early as I should have. Especially considering I had to leave the hotel at 6:00 to catch the RER to CDG. I really dislike that alarm going off at 5:30.

Sunday Bonus Day

I'd paid the hotel bill the night before as I knew 6:00 was too early to be up on a Sunday. I woke the poor clerk up so that I could be let out. I stepped down into the Metro stop around the corner from the hotel and followed the maze that is Chatelet/Les Halles to the RER B platform.

I caught a 6:10 local to CDG. I arrived at CDG at 6:45. From Terminal 2C I waited in line at Air France to be told I didn't have a seat assignment and the aircraft was overbooked. I was sent to another ticket counter where all the problems were being handled. There were at least 25 of us there on the flight to New York.

There were no negotiations we were just denied boarding. For our trouble each person (again at least 25) was given 600euro cash or 800euro Air France travel vouchers, a night in an airport hotel, vouchers for 3 meals that day and breakfast the next day. I was re-booked on the direct CDG to Cincinnati AF flight the next morning. Wow no wonder airlines have financial problems!

Woohoo! Bonus day in Paris!

I ate my breakfast in the airport as the Campanile Hotel couldn't accept me until 10:00. Next I went to redeem my voucher for 600euros. I was trying to find out from the people what would happen if I only used 550euros of my 800euro voucher when buying an AF ticket. Things were getting a little vague so I told Monty I'd keep what I had (600euro cash) rather than trade for the box Carol Merrill was standing next to.

The Air France desk was out of cash, no surprise there. They said they would credit my credit card account with the money. I preferred that anyway. 600euro cash is way too much money to be dragging around. I did receive the money in my credit card account. Let me tell you 800USD credit for a vacation is quite a savings. If only I could do that every time!

The hotel was the airport Campanile so a shuttle bus was involved. I went out there to dump my stuff. A typical, boxy airport hotel, scads of tour groups checking in and out, twin beds, one trash can, a view of the boxy airport hotel across the street.

I took the shuttle back to the RER station. I purchased a 1 day Paris Visite pass zones 1-5 as I had to go into the city and come back. The pass was 1 euro more than two round trips and let me use the entire RER/Metro system.

It is a pain as you don't really get a full day. I didn't get into Paris until noon and left at 20:00 to get back to the hotel. However it was worth the effort. After all it is Paris.

With an open, unplanned day and a travel pass I did more scooting around than I ordinarily would.

I arrived at the Grand Boulevard Metro stop and went to an internet café I'd used before. I e-mailed work and told them Air France was paying me more money to stay in Paris then they would pay me to go to work on Monday so I was staying. I informed them that I would be on my knees begging to get the same deal the next day if at all possible.

Next up was the Passage Jouffrey. I love to look in the window of the walking cane store. I went through the Passage Panorama too.

A subway ride to Les Halles where I walked through Place Beaubourg and into the clock quarter. I watched "The Defender of Time" do his defense from a café next to it. Kir in hand, mais oui.

I rode the swishy Metro Line 14 out to the Mitterand Library for a look-see. Super deep courtyard filled with coniferous trees surround by 4 tall modern buildings with interesting solid, blond wood panels to adjust for light levels. I found out I had incorrectly thought there was an observation deck on the roof of one of the buildings.

Off to Gare de Lyon for the most expensive beer of my trip, probably of my life: 10euro for a 1/2 liter at Le Train Bleu. Beautiful, beautiful murals, gilded mouldings and deep red leather chairs. Had a non-smoking section too. In front of the train station I watched a roller hockey match for a while. Wouldn't catch me without proper protective clothing and gear rollerblading on concrete. I saw a couple of serious cases of road rash.

Another metro ride over to the Montparnasse Tower. 8.50euro and I was on top of Paris. I walked around the enclosed part looking at photos of the building's construction as well as the city. Then I climbed the stairs to the flat, open top of the building. Great views, especially of the Eiffel Tower. I think I like this view better then the Eiffel's. For one you can actually see the Eiffel Tower. Another reason it was much, much less crowded and had more viewing space. I saw the twinkle show on the Eiffel tower at dusk and Sacre Coeur in an orange sunset glow.

From here I took the Metro/RER back to CDG. It was a very crowded RER for some reason at 20:00 on a Sunday.

Dinner was at the airport Campanille Hotel. A very good omelet, light and fluffy with Cantal cheese, but the first time I've ever thought anything in France was way over-salted.


Monday

Another shuttle bus ride back to T2. The lady doing pre-screenings in the AF line thought I was flying stand-by and sent me to the employee stand-by line. The lady asked why I hadn't filled out an employee stand-by form. She gave me one and I obligingly filled it out. She then discovered that I was already checked in, I was not flying stand-by and she asked why I was in that line. I told her the screening lady sent me there. She apologized for the screening lady and finished my paper work.

There was really no need to apologize. Her line was much shorter than the real one I would have had to wait in. A long uneventful flight though very nice straight to Cincinnati where my father picked me up.
indytravel is offline  
Apr 8th, 2005, 05:09 PM
  #57  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,765
Nice bonus from AF, Indy. Wish that would happen to me! I'll be going to France in May on American. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
Sue4 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2005, 05:16 PM
  #58  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,601
And what happened to the Alsace part of the trip?
Michael is online now  
Apr 8th, 2005, 07:45 PM
  #59  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,330
Sorry Michael. I guess I should have been more specific. It was the Alsace region of France I visited, the Metz region stretching it to Nancy. My guide book classes Alsace/Lorrain together. And Reims is really in Champagne.

I didn't go to the Alsace part of Germany this time around.
indytravel is offline  
Apr 8th, 2005, 09:42 PM
  #60  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,592
Indy.. That Air France serendipity could not have happened to a nicer guy. Thanks for the report.
Treesa is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:18 PM.