Live from Paris (currently)

Dec 13th, 2012, 07:52 AM
  #41  
 
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Marvelous trip report!!

I was just there in October and cant wait to go back. Your photos were delightful!!
annesherrod is offline  
Dec 13th, 2012, 08:10 AM
  #42  
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ps. Love Marc Chagall. I have a lithograph of the study for his Jerusalem windows that I bought in Amsterdam last year...
flygirl is offline  
Dec 13th, 2012, 08:11 AM
  #43  
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Thanks Anne!
flygirl is offline  
Dec 13th, 2012, 10:16 AM
  #44  
 
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Always post the shoe photos....important as the Medici fountain!
denisea is offline  
Dec 14th, 2012, 07:06 AM
  #45  
 
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A galaxy of marvelous photos! They were a big treat!
taconictraveler is offline  
Dec 15th, 2012, 08:10 PM
  #46  
 
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Love the Audrey Hepburn billboard from the movie Charade. It's one of my favorite movies. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is online now  
Dec 17th, 2012, 04:16 AM
  #47  
 
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I wasn't able to access the photos on my phone in Paris.....they are amazing, flygirl!
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Dec 17th, 2012, 06:14 AM
  #48  
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Thank you everyone! So tickled that you like my photos.

I'm not done writing or putting up photos, honest! I just got done unpacking yesterday so this is a sloooow roll. I did put up a few more photos though...
flygirl is offline  
Dec 17th, 2012, 08:50 AM
  #49  
 
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Thanks for posting the shoes! Hard to beat a classic.

So of all those pretty pictures, I think I liked the one of the chairs at Reims the most. Very unique and artistic. And it really shows the orderliness of the French - I don't think any of them are a hair out of place.
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Dec 23rd, 2012, 06:31 AM
  #50  
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Thank you YankyGal! I go for patterns sometimes... I have taken many a "French Church Chairs" photo in my day.

OK, I am going to start writing up some details! Still chipping away at photos but at this point, if you are looking, may as well wait until they are all up and also I will post a "top photos" link so that you have an option to not look at 100+ photos.

As some of you might have picked up, I met Judy and her family from Fodors. Last September I was planning yet another destination from my bucket list: Annecy/Mont Blanc (flying into Geneva) and then Paris at the end of my 8 nights. I added Lyon after some thought. When I started asking questions on Fodors, Judy realized that our dates roughly coincided and even funnier, I was kind of drafting them (although they do trips up right: 3 weeks at a time, not a week here and there like I do). We coincided in all three places. So we emailed and said "why not meet for dinner".

Even funnier, after all my research I decided on the Hotel Splendid (which was a SPLENDID choice in Annecy). They did as well! So I think it was my first night in town when I was talking to the front desk about dining options when a couple came off the elevator speaking English. I was pretty sure it was Judy so I said "Hi, is your name Judy"? So, long and short, we met for several meals during that trip. I'm more than happy to follow Judy's restaurant recommendations - just say "yes" when she picks a restaurant. Later in Paris I met their daughters who had just flown in that morning. So fun to have family trips like that!

So at any rate Judy let me know they were planning a Xmas trip to Paris, this past June. I hemmed and hawed for maybe a day. Should I do a weekend? I've got that trip to Croatia in September, do I even have any vacation time left (with Italy, etc too)? Well I'll be darned, I can actually come the whole week. Judy really likes Paris Vacation Apartments and when I looked at the flats I realized the studio in St Germain was a good price, airfare was "reasonable" and I just jumped.

So, on our arrival day (a Saturday) I met Judy's friends. Her daughter was to arrive on Wednesday and her husband the following Saturday. We went to our flats and agreed to meet at Les Deux Magots for lunch. I've never been there before, despite having walked by numerous times. Nor Cafe de Flore nor Brasserie Lipp. It was so bright and sunny inside, somehow I can't picture philosophers holed up in a corner, puffing Gitanes and arguing dark and heavy thoughts until the wee hours.

After lunch we walked to Bon Marche, thinking that we could get our tickets from FNAC for the various museum exhibits. Along the way there were several stalls set up street side which had wine, foie gras, olive oil, soap, etc. I don't know if that was for the Xmas season or was a regular market. When we got to Bon Marche we were unsuccessful in finding the FNAC (it was near it, not inside, but we didn't know that and no one at Bon Marche apparently knew either) but at least we saw the Xmas decorations.

We still had a full dance card! I was hoping to see the Hotel de Ville exhibit on "Paris vu par Hollywood" and Judy and her friends wanted to visit the David Lebovitz book signing which was conveniently very nearby that. I had met David Lebovitz at a book signing the previous April and was happy to go along.

Quick note: I highly recommend you follow David's blog. He is a former pastry chef for Chez Panisse in California who moved to Paris some years ago and his blog has a lot of "pulse of Paris" kind of information on it. Great restaurant and cooking tips - be sure to read his FAQ first.

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/

One note: everywhere we went was incredibly crowded, including the streets, on this Saturday - although it did thin out on our others days there. It was fairly pleasant weather for a December day, but I suppose being a Saturday in December was the biggest reason for this. December is not low season in Paris! Is there a low season in Paris?

So, when we got to the Hotel de Ville the line was outta sight. We simply would not have made the book signing and I'm just as glad because while I did enjoy the exhibit (I went a different day) I did not at all feel it was worth watiting hours for.

We went to the address of his book signing at La Cuisine de Paris, a cooking school on the Quai de Hotel de Ville, and were too early. So we wandered into a dive bar a few doors down and had some fortifications. We then went to the signing and sampled some of the school's goodies on display in their teaching-kitchen (including macarons, which is the subject of one of their classes). David signed everyone's books and then we went on our merry way to O Chateau to meet Michael and Scott, tour guides extraordinaires. Old friends. Many of you reading this right now are nodding and smiling.

I love O Chateau. It is a wine bar very near Rue Montorgueil. I believe I have written about it before. I found out about it last year from, I believe, David Lebovitz's blog and met yet another Fodorite for some flights of wine there. CUTE owners. The one guy, Olivier Magny, is quite a mover and shaker. He has written a book, he has made documentaries on wine, and this wine bar has regular wine tasting classes. And an awful lot of really good wines on offer, sizing from a wee taste, to a slightly less wee taste, to a full glass. The other owner (on whom I crushed terribly last fall) was not there this time around. Not that I was looking for him or anything. There was a Ryan Gosling lookalike who worked there, so that made up for it.

http://www.o-chateau.com/

We had plenty of wine as well as a number of plates (charcuterie and cheeses) which were excellent and the staff gave us tips on pairing wines from the list. We had so much fun, and enough food and wine, that we forwent dinner. This was enough, on our first day.

After that we went our merry way home (flat, sweet flat) and that was our first day.

I guess I am writing a lot, given that this was only day one! I'll try to be more succinct...
flygirl is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2012, 07:23 AM
  #51  
 
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Nice shoes--nothing like a pair of classic shoes.
Still enjoying your report. Did u write about your time in Lyon? We're going there this winter and there is so little written on it so would love to hear about it & missed it if you wrote it up.
yestravel is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2012, 07:28 AM
  #52  
 
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Great memories...the first place I ever went in Paris was Les Deux Magot. And, I was fortunate to get a waiter who was kind about my French! Very encouraging and the he lied after I ordered and said "Parfait!"... The greatest lie anyone ever told me!

J'adore David L....have read all his books and follow him on Twitter! ��
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Dec 23rd, 2012, 07:34 AM
  #53  
 
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Great way to relive our trip....thanks, flygirl!! I AM nodding and smiling! Speaking of nodding, with this amount of detail, Jim wants to know if he'll get to read about falling asleep at lunch.
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Dec 24th, 2012, 06:13 AM
  #54  
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Good morning everyone!

Dona, I don't think I wrote about Lyon - or much of it. I was there for less than 24 hours. Judy picked the restaurant and the name escapes me but it was really good, and near the large park. We wandered the park after our meal. When I was researching Lyon, I wrote a few threads asking about restaurants and got some good responses. I will find those later and top them (or you could click my name, they would come up eventually - I would have written them in August 2011.)

Denise, David is delightful, isn't he?

Judy, if Jim doesn't mind, sure I'll write about that.

Day two.

Sunday morning I had slept off jet lag and since I had always wanted to check out the Raspail market, and, it was near my flat, I went out early to investigate. I also hadn't wandered in my 'hood much yet other than pointing myself in the directions needed to meet up with my friends.

It was this morning that I realized, wow, I really am one block away from the gates of Luxembourg Gardens. Nice!

The Raspail market is not so huge so it did not take me long to go through it. Judy and I communicated each morning (before I left wifi zone) about times to meet up and we had an 1130 Jacques Genin reservation. Initially I thought I could walk most of the way there, but since I lingered over photos, wandering, looking around, I finally gave up and hailed a cab on the other side of the Luxembourg Gardens (I made it that far). I had also stopped at Gerard Mulot. Of course, you need to get goodies before you stop to get more goodies.

I also, during my walk, passed a lot of tempting store fronts of stores that were not open. So I took a number of photos of things I wanted to find again once they did open. I even posted a photo of one sweater find (actually bought three sweaters at that store, Autre Chose, not far from my flat).

On to Jacques Genin.

Judy had already visited J-G at least once, and I had heard about his creations from one of the blogs I follow (I follow a ton of Paris blogs, if anyone is interested I'll post a listing later). Not a difficult decision for a Sunday morning treat. Jacques Genin used to be a provider for some high end restaurants and hotels and at some point decided to open his own storefront. His lemon tart is legendary - you can even buy a book at his store that is just about that.

I'm not a food critic, I don't have flowery phrases, so all I can say is just "go". Don't miss his chocolat chaud, and be sure to get some whipped cream to go with it. Judy and I each got the lemon tart and we all dug in.

I have photos of the store itself, but any photos of the chocolat/presentation are on my iPhone and I might or might not get around to posting them into flickr. If anyone knows a way to put iPhone photos up on the internet (easily) please advise. Can you make an online iPhoto website with a few clicks?

We also loaded up on goodies before wandering out. His caramels will make you gasp (my favorites were the cinnamon, and don't bypass the "pate de fruit". These are NOT gummi bears, they are sublime.

We then wandered through the Marais and the Place des Vosges. I got some interested photos of some buskers and we visited a number of stores. But I was good - I didn't buy anything yet. That was to change as the week wore on...

Around 4 o'clock or so we decided it was time to actually eat real food and not just goodies (which I guess means we had breakfast after 4 PM). First visit to Cafe les Editeurs for me! Judy had mentioned she heard good things about it so off we went.

Cafe les Editeurs was delightful! Red leather seating and books piled to the ceilings. It was very crowded when we got there and we were finally directed to a seat in the corner. The onion soup was the best I've had yet. We had a professor type sitting next to us, reading and scribbling, and I so wanted to take his photo. Finally Judy said "take one of me, leaning in, and you can crop me out later". Hahaha.

http://www.lesediteurs.fr/

The rest of the evening was uneventful. We went back to our respective flats to rest up, and decided to meet for dinner at Fish, not far from their flat. Three courses (de rigeur) and wine and cute Canadians sitting next to us talking about their film production - they flew into town for a long weekend to make a pitch. Finally, we turned in for the night.

http://parisbymouth.com/our-guide-to...-boissonnerie/

I put up the photos from this day's adventure...
flygirl is offline  
Dec 24th, 2012, 07:36 AM
  #55  
 
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Thanks -- I found the thread on your restaurant recs in Lyon.

Have you had onion soup at Au Pied de Cochon? That's my favorite and wondered how it compared to Cafe les Editeurs'. Will definitely have to seek out Jacques Genin. Did you need a reservation there or did I misunderstand what you wrote? Sounds like a wonderful place to drop into on a cold winter day to warm up.

I would love to have a listing of the Paris blogs you follow.
yestravel is offline  
Dec 24th, 2012, 07:49 AM
  #56  
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Dona

I have had Au Pied de Cochon onion soup. That was good too! You can't go wrong with either.

We did make a reservation at J-G, but at 1130 on that particular Sunday we didn't need it. But it's not a bad idea to make one.

I will compile the list before I'm done writing the whole thread.
flygirl is offline  
Dec 24th, 2012, 07:53 AM
  #57  
 
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With 18 days in Paris i can certainly manage 2 onion soups if not more.
Looking forward to reading more and your blog listings.
yestravel is offline  
Dec 25th, 2012, 05:56 AM
  #58  
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Merry Xmas everyone!

Dona, 18 days - plenty of time for onion soup!

Here is one blog which has been incredibly helpful. This woman is an American and her husband is Swiss, I believe. She loves to research and she loves to get out there and do and see things. She also has a facebook page which not only links her blog articles but also random photos she will put up, etc.

http://www.outandaboutinparis.com/

Here is another one, another American who lived in Paris with her family for about four years, give or take. They moved home to DC about a year ago I think it was, and she doesn't blog anymore, but, this blog has lots of little gems here and there. Look down the right side for her "labels" which will lead you to some treasures, also, she lists some of her favorite Paris blogs too.

http://justanotheramericaninparis.blogspot.com/

I already mentioned David Lebovitz... definitely follow him!

More blogs to follow... on with the report (is anyone else amazed that I am actually writing a full trip report not only in the same year as my travel, but the same month?)

Day 3. Monday.

This was the first day we had any rain (and luckily only the morning). It was a fairly gentle rain, so, I decided that I would walk to the Grand Palais from Rue Madame to meet Judy for the Edward Hopper exhibit.

If I had completely unlimited time, I would walk EVERYWHERE I go in Paris, as it is, I still make a good effort of it - walking is most of the fun!

So I set out from the flat and walked along the various side streets until I reached Les Invalides and the Pont Alexandre III. The timing worked out perfectly and we both went into the exhibit. For anyone who is going soon and wants to see Les Bohemes, it's also in the Grand Palais but a completely separate entrance. We didn't have time to do both before lunch.

There was an absolute crush of people waiting to get in, and once inside, hovering over every exhibit, but Judy had purchased the Carte Sesame and we waltzed straight in. I posted a photo of the snaking line, full of umbrellas. I guess they don't advertise the annual pass very well?

If I manage to learn a few new things from any exhibit I visit I am very pleased - even if I don't linger over every piece. The two big things I learned were:

1. Hopper was a contemporary of Monet and Manet! And Rodin for that matter. Granted, a much younger contemporary, but their lives coincided quite a bit. Hopper's first paintings reflected that time period. When I think of Hopper, of course I always think of "Nighthawks" and some of his more mid-20th-century works. I didn't realize that many of those famous pieces were done later in his life.
2. A lesser note than the above, but he also illustrated many trade magazines and advertisements. They had a large slide show of these efforts and many of them reminded me of, for instance, the posters you can get along the Seine at the bouquinistes.

After the exhibit we wandered to the FNAC on the Champs Elysees to finally get our Carte Blanche/Musee d'Orsay tickets. We passed some sad Xmas market stalls along the way (I really hope they are not all like that) and once we got our tickets we cabbed to meet the rest of the crew at Willi's Wine Bar.

Since we were still somewhat early for our 130 rez, we walked through the Palais Royal. We peeked in the window of Didier Ludot (is his store ever open? I've never seen it open) and tried on sunglasses at Gabrielle Geppert.

http://www.gabriellegeppert.com/

I had walked past Willi's Wine Bar a few times before but never dined there. They expanded the restaurant and now it's easily twice the size and very bright in the new room. The old part is still snug, cozy, and somewhat dark.

More of the recurring "eating and drinking, and eating and drinking some more" theme... then we parted company and I decided to walk along Rue St Honore and on to home. We were to meet at Opera Garnier before the 730 ballet.

I took my time along this walk - so many storefronts to admire! Finally I made it to the Place de la Concorde and the Grande Roue, and then I started strolling back through the Tuileries as I had greatly overshot my destination at that point. I made it pretty darn close to home before I looked at the time and realized I needed time to get ready so maybe I should get a cab.

Opera Garnier
I have always wanted to see a production under the Marc Chagall ceiling. I didn't even care what it was, I just wanted to people watch and sit in that glorious theatre. I had visited the Opera last year during the day time and got a glimpse of the ceiling then. Did you know that the Arch of Triumph would fit inside the theatre? It sounds almost too good to be true, but it is true. And the photos I took of the stage show that to be believable - and we were in the middle tier, not the top tier.

We all dressed up and showed up early for our coupe de champagne and people watching. And strolled all over to take photos and ogle the magnificent architecture. I posted a few photos but pictures do not do it justice, you really have to see it in person. Funny note: for all that we dressed up, when we finally got around to taking a group photo we already had our coats and scarves back on. Who'da known if we had on jammies under there, for all that.

The ballet that night (William Forsyth and Trisha Brown) was actually more of a modern dance production.

The music in the second piece was rather jarring (I think Laurie Anderson?) and the clothing worn was very sleek and athletic. This was not all frilly and frou-frou. Very spare stage - nothing at all in the first production, no props, nothing - and in the second as well. It reminded me of a Mark Morris production I saw many many years ago - spare music, no props, and some astounding gymnastic feats.

http://www.operadeparis.fr/en/saison...-brown/detail/

When we left, we were hungry so off to Cafe de la Paix we went. The meal was uninspiring but it didn't matter, we were starving at that point. It was interesting to see the inside of this 150 year old cafe - I had never been inside it before.
flygirl is offline  
Dec 26th, 2012, 08:56 AM
  #59  
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Day 4.

Paris vu par Hollywood
Philou (lunch)
Galeries Lafayette
FRENCHIES


Tuesday morning dawned bright and sunny. More walking! I strolled with frequent photo stops from the flat, wending my way through the back streets of the 6th, across the Ile de la Cite, over to the Hotel de Ville where the Paris-Hollywood exhibit was being held. There was no line at all.

As I mentioned in another thread, I enjoyed the exhibit but wouldn't have felt a 2 hour line was worth it, so I'm lucky I walked straight in. This was, for the most part, Hollywood's nexus with Paris so I don't recall Amelie or Sarah's Key or other movies like that being in the exhibit (not that I lingered over every single exhibit). This mostly hit on old movies, for example, a few of those with Audrey Hepburn, or An American in Paris, etc. I walked out thinking "more Audrey, please". They had a number of costumes through the years (including a few belonging to Audrey) and a fair number of film clips at different stops. A large screen overhead ran a loop of different scenes from different movies - for instance, those I noted above. There were photos of the large movie sets being built in Culver City, California, back in the day (no, say it ain't so - many movies were not on site in Paris?).

I walked through part of the Marais after that before hailing a cab.

Our group plans started at 1 PM at Philou, which was another David Lebovitz reco'd restaurant we found shortly before leaving for Paris.

http://parisbymouth.com/philou/

Philou is in the tenth, and apparently is still somewhat of a local secret although it certainly has writeups from some names I recognize (David L, Patricia Wells, and Alexander Lobrano). This is a small place and I was told it's a good idea to get a reservation, even for lunch. I got there a little early ahead of the group and it was still empty, but sure enough it filled up pretty quickly.

What did I eat? You would ask. Oh wait, I took a photo of the blackboard.

I had the foie gras (with chutney) - I always get this, if it is available - each time - and the joue de boeuf avec legumes anciens. Excellent, excellent. I'm completely partial to foie gras and would have been happy to have that twice in lieu of the main course. I can't remember what everyone else had but we had no complaints!

We had carafes of wine brought to the table (keep 'em coming) split a few desserts, and before we knew it, we looked at the time and said "wow, dinner's in a few hours, we should get moving". Rough life.

Before we left I got a good photo of the owner, Philippe Damas, in front of his original "Les Enfants du Paradis" movie poster.

On to Galeries Lafayette.

We wandered through the perfume section, snapping photos of the huge Swarovski Xmas tree, but other than that, more or less made a beeline for the champagne bar on the second floor. We ended up parking there with our hot chocolate (Angelina's or champagne until the time came to hail a cab for Frenchie. A few of us made forays into the shoe section and the bathroom (very clean and large - so definitely use it while you are there - my rule is to take advantage of a clean bathroom every time the opportunity presents itself) but otherwise just hung out until it was time for dinner.

So off we cabbed to Rue Montorgueil. This street is delightful for wandering. Lots of restaurants and patisseries and food purveyors. Frenchie is at the far end of the main pedestrian area, on Rue de Nil.

Again, not a food critic, but I will say the meal was excellent. Was it better than our other meals? Well, that's hard to say. We had some fantastic meals that did not require a long and frustrating course of phone calls to finally secure a reservation. I'd surely go back and I would not dissuade anyone from putting this on your list, but if you can't get in, I wouldn't lose sleep over it.

What did I have? Foie gras (again) with quince. An app of oxtail/butternut squash/mushrooms. Scallops as the main course. There were a lot of opportunities for scallops this week. Is that more of a winter dish? I believe we saw it at least once a day and in fact could have had them at Philou if we wanted (one of us may have done so). For dessert, some Stichelton blue cheese with speculos and pear. Mmmmmmmm, I speculos.

When we were done, I had the bright idea to walk home. It was cold, but not so cold, and little wind. And who doesn't like walking in Paris at night? We walked the two-ish miles home and stopped on the Pont Neuf to get some good shots of the riverfront and the Eiffel Tower (posted).

Are you seeing a theme for the day? Wander a little, eat and drink, move on, drink some more, move on, then wander a little more before eating and drinking again? Now that's a vacation.
flygirl is offline  
Dec 26th, 2012, 10:21 AM
  #60  
 
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flygirl...

This report is killing me...in a good way though! I am loving every minute of it and it is definitely the kind of trip I Love! Good food, good wine (and champagne!) and good company. If you all ever need a another travel companion feel free to ring me up!
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