Much Delayed Paris in Feb. Report

Old May 15th, 2005, 01:52 PM
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Much Delayed Paris in Feb. Report

Since I noticed it took another poster over a year to get his report up..I don't feel toobad. This trip was a little extra..actuially my DH didn't feel like christmas shopping so told me to book a week in Paris!

Our friend John picked us up and got us to MCO in plenty of time for our 2:25 flight to Miami, got thru security with a minimum of undressing and then we had lunch in the departure area. Flight to MIA was on time and the 2 hour layover passed quickly.

We had side by side aisle seats and when the plane was fully boarded I had 2 empties beside me in the center section!!! WOO HOO.. D moved over with me, much to his relief and that of the heavy set man he was sitting beside. Flight was uneventful, though I did not sleep for even 10 minutes. Landed a bit early and we were in a cab going into Paris in less than a half hour.,.our 1 checked bag was one of the first off.

Our room at the Danube was not ready , they said about 45 minutes, so we went off to PAUL for some croissants and real coffee! It was nice to be so warmly greeted by old friends at the hotel where we’ve stayed many times.

Back to the hotel and our room was set to go . In an effort to save some money , since this was an little “extra” Christmas present trip,I’d booked a standard at the Danube . We’d always stayed in the superiors and now I know why. The room was VERY small..too small for 2 larger people..We decided to stay there for the night then ask to be changed to a superior room, money be damned! They were in the process of installing double windows on all the streetside rooms, so we ended up spending 2 nights in our cell. But the wait was worth it. The double glazing is amazing..we heard not one sound. Funnily enough we had the same room friends had in November when we were there together.

D hit the bed as soon as we got to the room and I went shopping! First to Cite pharmacy for hand cream and my favorite Gingembre cologne, then down to Le Grand Epicerie and Bon Marche,picked up some wine for the room , stopped in Monoprix on the way back to check out the undies! After a short nap for me , we dressed and walked up to L’Ecluse for a welcome glass of Bourdeaux and a view of ND! We had dinner reservations at Chez Fernand for 7:30 to make it an early night.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 01:54 PM
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The waiter who looks like Hugh Grant recognized us from previous visits and brought along 2 flutes of champagne to welcome us back..nice touch for your first night in Paris. D had their tomato-mozzarella and basil oil tart and I had chevre chaud on pain grille on a bed of mache for starters , followed by magret du Canard with honey and sesame for D and an Estouffade de boeuf for me…skipped dessert and finished off the Clos Luberon before heading back to bed.

Did I mention it was COLD!!

Thus….still cold and windy to boot. Had my 7AM espresso at the bar on the corner while waiting for D to get up, shave and dress, then headed off to PAUL for breakfast. The we picked up 2 carnets and headed off to the Jardin Atlantique atop Gare Montparnasse and the Jean Moulin Museum there. It is mainly pictures and memorabilia from the resistance movement with a panoramic film of the liberation of Paris . It really was interesting if you are into recent history. I wanted to take the bus back but D insisted the metro would be faster> RIGHT! You only have to walk about 2 miles to get from Gare MontP. to Montparnasse Bienvenue metro station all underground! Made it back to the hotel by noon when we met Michael Osman and our friend,A. . Her husband got turned around somehow and ended up taking a cab to meet us. We went to lunch at a café down the street that had been recommended to us on the last trip by another guest at the Danube..I think it’s called Le Escapade on Rue de la Universitie ( Rue Jacob changes names at rue de St Peres). Over several pichets of wine and tarts avec oeufs, omelets and salads we all got caught up with the news before heading off to the 16th. A. had wanted to visit that neighborhood and there were 2 museums there we hadn’t seen. Wandered around the streets checking out the high price spreads and the market street before going to Maison de Balzac. It contains a bit of his original writings and some drawings and paintings. Especially interesting were the many carved blocks used for printing all the characters of Le Comedie Humaine. We took a few pictures in the garden before heading off to the Musee du Vin.
The museum is in vaulted limestone (?) cellars underneath ..for want of a better word..Passy..lots of wine making equipment, interesting glassware and the caveau itself is interesting. Your ticket includes a wine tasting at the end. Actually their wine is pretty good and you can buy it at a reasonable price…So We did!!As it was getting dark and colder we headed back by bus and walked back to the hotel from the Louvre. Annette ,Dale and Michael went on to the Marais after we made plans to meet in front of Notre Dame later in the evening for dinner. It was cold cold cold so we headed to the nearest brasserie on Isle de St Louis for food and warmth. We really enjoyed seeing A. and meeting her DH. He is a great size and personality! And it was so great to see and visit with Michael again. Sorry I can’t remember the name of the place!

PArt 2


After I don’t know how many trips to Paris we’d never been inside either the Madeline or Palais ( Opera) now was the time! First though we walked around the Aguesseau market on the side of the Madeline , mostly flowers the day we were there and not that interesting. The Madeline’s position is arresting , standing astride all the boulevards! The main altar was covered with a huge, I think modern painting, I’m sure obscuring something much grander . I was a bit disappointed and would go again just to see what was behind it! After a stroll around looking into all the gourmet food shops and exhausting our supply of drool we headed off to the Palais Garnier.

The interior was dimly lighted and at the ticket booth we were told a rehearsal was in progress so there was no entrance to the auditorium but that didn’t matter. The whole place is glorious!! The staircases alone are worth the trip and the dim chandelier lighting only adds to the beauty. We managed to glance thru a window and could see and vaguely hear the rehearsal! There was a wonderful exhibition of photos of various operatic events in the lower level. I’d include this as a must see in Paris!!

We then headed off to Musee de la Vie Romantique . It’s located near the base of Montmarte and was an interesting section to walk thru on our way. The museum enters thru an long alle from the street which must be lovely when it is leafy ! The house itself is lovely and the George Sand mementos very interesting but the high point was the Ary Scheffer paintings. He was a Dutch born painter and a prominent member of the Romantics . We both enjoyed his works. There is a café there but it is only open in season but would be a nice spot for lunch or a coffee. I’d put this on my to do list too!

By now we were ready for lunch and found a neat brasserie across from the Eglise de la Trinitie..I had the best croque, grilled Poilaine bread topped with camembert and tomato on top of the gruyere! D kept eyeing it for bites! With a pichet of vin rouge and the accompanying salad it was just right!

Now most people would be museumed out by now but not the intrepid deM‘s!!David had noticed there was an Inuit exhibition at the Musee de le Homme at the Palais Chaillot so we hopped a bus to the Trocadero and spent another hour or so ! If it is still on when you go to Paris ..I’d recommend it! One of the neatest things then end of the galleries, I noticed a large open area with a little hand lettered sign…Sensibilation de la culture de Inuit pour ecoles primarie, or some such spelling! Naturally I peeked in ..It was a large area where children from the primary schools were taken thru the exhibition and then were allowed to draw and hear stories about the Inuit and that area of the world. It was so neat to see their drawings and their serious little faces learning of another totally different culture.

Decided to walk from Trocadero over the bridge to the Eiffel Tower and wend our way back to the hotel . After taking a few pictures and finding rue de le Universitie we started home only to run into a demonstration near the National Assembly and the streets blocked.After walking a few blocks out of our way we finally hailed a taxi because I needed a soak in a hot tub to thaw my toes!!

Dinner that night was at Fish on Rue de Seine. This is mainly a wine ( and Scotch whiskey) bar and can be a bit noisy if you are sitting in the front but the food is very good. I had “dix legumes” ..10 different veggies braised and dressed with peppered olive oil and attractively arranged into a tower shape..D had a terrine of foie gras with lentils and raisins..followed by guinea fowl and I had rouget with gambas and tomatoes . We shared the cheese plate for dessert! Shared a nice light red too..but I forgot to write what it was. Off to bed for an early start tomorrow.

Saturday.. We’d planned to be up early to get to the flea market at Vanves but when I got up it was raining and windy so I let D sleep while I had my morning espresso. They still set up even in the rain but it is miserable walking from stall to stall dodging umbrellas.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 01:56 PM
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After breakfast at Paul, we decided to see how long the lines were at the D’Orsay. Needless to say they were at least a block long so we decided to walk over to the Rodin, stopping off at St Clothilde on the way. No lines at the Rodin and the garden , while not in flower, still looked green and lovely. We both commented that the interior has either been rearranged or spruced up in some way. It certainly was especially pleasing.

Seeing the great dome of Dome Church from the garden decided us on a return visit to Napoleon’s tomb and the Invalides. After a quick but good lunch in the café at the Rodin , we bought tickets and started with the DOME and tomb. We both especially like the memorial to Foch and someday I am going to get a good picture of it! After a quick stop in the book shop, I sent David off to the army museum and I went wandering around the 7th , peering in shop windows and walking thru the grounds around the Invalides.

Walked back to the hotel for a nap and a warm-up glass of wine before dinner at Allard.

We’d heard good things about Allard and they were all true! I started with their signature salad of mache and beets with a really good dressing that I’d like to duplicate! D decided to be absolutely sinful and had a huge slab of foie gras with an apple garnish, followed by scallops in a white wine light cream sauce. I had the plat du jour of braised beef shank. The portions were enormous! I don’t know where people get the idea that the French are skimpy..not at the places we’ve visited. David finished with an apple tart and I had the cheese board…about 7 cheeses and they just left it on the table until I was finished! We had a bottle of Givry , another light red , and were just able to waddle back to the hotel.

Sunday.. We were up early , Paul was closed so stopped at au Pres Clerc for croissants and coffee before heading to the Richard Lenoir market at Bastille. This is a large open market and filled with local shoppers stocking up for Sunday lunch! Nibbled on some African things that looked like ravioli but were filled with a spicy crab good I could have eaten about 6 more! Along with the Saxe breuteil market I’d put this one near the top of any list! Picked up some cans of foie gras and wished I could have brought home some of the beautiful leeks we saw.

Back into the metro to head toward the Jacquemart Andre for the special Napoleon exhibit> If you’re in Paris and it’s still on, make a point of seeing it. The house itself is so lovely and the permanent collection is grand so we do like to go there every other trip or so. I’d planned on making a lunch reservation when we first arrived but got carried away and forgot. The line to the café was very long when we finished so we headed out to look for some other place for lunch.

It seemed very quiet in Paris, even for a Sunday the only groups we saw were around the Arc. There was a bus waiting as we passed the bus stop so we hopped on and ended up at the Louvre. Went into Louvre de Antiquaries and found the café on the top floor for a bit of wine and food. I should have known not to let David in there. I think he was in every single shop . I was getting cabin fever so went over to the Palais Royal and walked around taking pictures. After a short visit to the carousel de Louvre , we met up and headed back to the hotel.

Dinner that night was again at Chez Fernand, which I knew for sure was open on Sundays. A yummy rack of lamb for me and kidneys for David. It was kind of funny, when I ordered my lamb, the waiter said,”medium”? I replied no Rare! Ah, bon!!he said! When D ordered the rognon de veau..he said that’s kidney..D said he knew ..”medium” he asked..No, RARE.. AH BON!!!! With a beaming smile!

Finished up with a tarte almande and headed back to bed!

Monday.. COLD COLD COLD !!! But that doesn’t stop us from heading to the Chateau de Vincennes..very easy to get to and as you come up out of the metro stop you are right in front of the huge portals. The guide book s said it is open daily…BUT they didn’t mention that a major portion is undergoing restoration and is closed! Nor did they mention that sometimes the beautiful chapel is closed for special events. Guess what? At least we could wander around the courtyards and see the outside. It was way too cold to walk thru the zoological park and floral gardens nearby. After a short visit, we headed back to the metro getting off at Saint-Paul, for a wander thru Le Marais before heading off to the Ile St Louis. I love the shops along there and had wanted to finally see St Louis en l’Ile after many trips without going inside. Foiled again! FERME.

Decided that surely we could warm up in Notre Dame and it was a relief to sit down near the warm air registers. There were either a lot or worshipers that day or everyone else had the same idea..never saw so many people sitting around in there before.

By now the stomach was making it’s voice heard so we decided to head to La Pomme on Pl. Dauphine for some lunch. As we were passing Hotel Dieu , I mentioned I’d like to see inside after passing the outside for years. It has a beautiful interior courtyard and several nice memorial plaques to hospital staff who served in the wars. Worth a pop inside the doors. I heard they have rooms in an annex that they rent out as hotel space , mainly for visiting family but open to all. It might be a budget suggestion for someone. .you certainly can’t fault it , location-wise.

Walked along the Seine to Pl Dauphine and , you guessed it…La Pomme is closed and the building for rent!

David now decided that he needed pasta for a change ,so headed over the bridge to Boul Mich and Café Manzaro(?) for a yummy pancetta-gorgonzola papparadelle for him and a salad with fresh mozzarella and cipolline for me.

We ended up the day walking around the Sorbonne area and poking in various shops before making one last stop at Le Grand Epicerie for one last drool!!!Replenished our room’s wine and goody supply before walking back to the hotel.

We’d planned on dining at the newly re-opened La Reine Blanche but as we came out of the hotel the cold and wind had added sleet and rain to the mix and there was no way I was walking all the way to Ile St Louis and back. We tried to go to the Petit Benoit but they were already filled up at 7:30! What the heck..we went to our favorite Chez Fernand again! One nice thing about it, is every night the menu changes so you don’t have to worry about duplicating !
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Old May 15th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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D started off with a Ravioli stuffed with gambas in a vegetable boullion , that he said was spicy and delicious. I had a crosstillant (sp) of cervettes that had a mild curry flavor to the filling,, served with salad. D repeated his favorite duck…since his mean wife does not cook it for him… and I had another lamb dish that was excellent . Lots of cheeses to finish off the wine and then the manager brought over some after dinner drinks for us. It wasn’t Calvados but had a distinct apple flavor , very good, served with ice!

After much hand shaking and kissing we started back into the storm to head for home!

In talking to Francois when we got back, I found out that it had been a holiday today so that explained some closures we had encountered. He asked if we wanted a shuttle booked..we’d planned on taking a taxi..but decided to give the shuttle a try. It really isn’t that much less than a cab so arriving I don’t think I’d bother but it was okay for a departure. Turned out to be the famous Paris Shuttle ! Nice van and got us to CDG in loads of time for our flight to Chicago.

I have only one thing to say about O’Hare!!! Didn’t they have enough tax money to put in moving walkways? It must be just short of a mile from the plane to the passport control area and only one short stretch has the walkway! Made it home finally about 11 PM! LONG DAY but great trip!
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Old May 15th, 2005, 03:46 PM
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Be sure not to lock or cable tie your luggage when checking into CDG..they were inspecting about every 3rd piece of baggage before you got to the ticket counter. Fortunately we have a very French name which interested the girl checking passports and assigning people to be searched! Tie it up or lock it after your get your boarding pass if you are checking it thru!
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Old May 15th, 2005, 04:03 PM
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Hi jody,

Thanks for a very interesting report.

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Old May 15th, 2005, 04:25 PM
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Thanks for the report, I have reservations at Chez Fernand June 11, counting the days! I was just in Paris in March and it was cold then too. I always stay at the Danube, do you want me to say hi to Francois? Loved the pictures also!
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Old May 15th, 2005, 04:30 PM
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Hi Jody-
Thanks for reporting! Better late than never

I can't believe I don't remember ever hearing about Chez Fernand before! And we always stay in the 6th! Is it right by the Relais Christine?
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Old May 15th, 2005, 04:50 PM
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MArcy! yes it's about 4 doors away from Relais Christine..same side of the street.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 04:52 PM
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PJsparlor! yes please say hello to Francois and Estelle for us! Tell's his disney world friend from Orlando!
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Old May 15th, 2005, 04:53 PM
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Bravo jody!
"exhausting our supply of drool "..LOL and I do know what you mean

Isn't Allard lovely? I enjoy it so much there and the waiters are always nice to us and the food is never bad.

Lucky you to meet A & D

I guess we were pretty lucky, getting the weather we did in March after your getting such cold weather.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 06:08 PM
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jody, that's terrible news about La Pomme being closed! The food was superb, the fixed-price lunch was a great value, and the place had a nice family feel to it. (I remember eating lunch there one rainy Saturday afternoon, listening to the owners' children playing upstairs). I never understood why it wasn't mentioned in any of the guidebooks, unless it was because the other restaurants on Place Dauphine are better-known. I hope the owners have landed on their feet somewhere else.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 08:00 PM
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LOL Jody, I brought Disney world glasses for him as a present last time! I will say hello! I think Estelle is very sweet also, but Francois is such a hoot!
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Old May 15th, 2005, 08:20 PM
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jody, as usual you always have a nice post. This trip report(or any one's other) is never too late. I like hearing different slants on places, in all the other months.
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Old May 16th, 2005, 01:39 AM
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pj..make sure you ask Estelle about her new baby! She is so proud of him..she lights up all over!
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Old May 16th, 2005, 03:30 AM
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Nice Christmas present! That's the kind I like to receive. Thanks kindly for the report and photos!

Old May 30th, 2005, 11:06 AM
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Topping for Beatchick!

Nice to hear your news ,M ! Exciting!!!
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Old May 30th, 2005, 11:57 AM
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Excellent report! What an awesome Christmas present from your DH, JOjo, a trip to Paris! I'm glad to finally get to read this report; and better late than never.

got thru security with a minimum of undressing
LOL – the horrors that await us in security!

I've added Chez Fernand to my itinerary based solely upon your recommendation, Jody, and have added it to my inexpensive restaurant list. According to Reserve the Best, a la carte pricing is around 30€, which is not bad at all. The website mentions, too, that the wine list is "well-chosen" and states they have the "best Limousin beef". Sounds perfect! Your particular dinner sounds divine, but what, pray tell, is an "estouffade"? I tried the Sancerre (at every opportunity) last trip to Paris because you recommended it so highly to me. It was great advice so I feel happy in following some of your other recs as well.

I'll be going in February, too, so it's nice to read your perspective of the City of Light during that month.

Tammy Smith recommended La Maison de Balzac to me a few years back & I've been intending to go since my 2nd trip but never seem to manage. I'll make sure I get there next time as I love Balzac's short stories.

Oh, you met up with Annette & Dale – how exciting!

I'm weighing whether or not I should reserve Michael Osman as guide. If the budget permits I will do so. I haven't yet decided where I'd like to hang out with him, though. He's especially knowledgeable concerning art so I'm thinking perhaps the Louvre or the d’Orsay; I bet the Louvre will win out, though, as I'm not quite as well-versed in those periods/styles of art.

Dix legumes sounds amazing. Mmmm, a peppered olive oil. The French do wonderful things with vegetables, don't they?

Funny you mention the café in the jardin at the Musée Rodin as I plan for that to be my first meal in Paris with the Rodin being my first stop. I enjoyed it greatly last trip and it's luring me back.

Geez, Madame deM, I wonder why you love the Marais so much?!?

I popped into the Relais Christine once & still have their brochure I picked up. A beautiful & expensive hôtel! Visited the same day I checked out one of Gertrude Stein's residences at 5 rue Christine (not where she held her famous salons, an earlier home).

I'm glad you shared your trip with us! Sounds like you had a divine time.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 03:34 PM
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Posts: 4,247 estouffade is a braised beef marinated and cooked in red wine in the oven , covered for hours! similiar but even tastier than Beef Bourg!If you go to CF try their Clos Luberon!!Wiwi had recommended their other bistro on rue Vavin, but after a 10 hr day of walking we don't venture far out of the 6th!

Save some extra and hire Michael! You and he would be a perfect match! He'll walk your feet right off for hours and tell you all sorts of funny details. With your literary knowledge and his artistic I'd like to tag along! We have him booked for a day in Oct. with BA and her husband!

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Old May 30th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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Oh, Jody, an estouffade does sound lovely! I will check that wine out next trip.

I do think Michael would be so interesting to hang out with! I'll do my best to save up the dough.
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