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Paris trip report, Feb 7-14, '09 (they danced; we ate)

Paris trip report, Feb 7-14, '09 (they danced; we ate)

Mar 26th, 2009, 01:28 PM
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Paris trip report, Feb 7-14, '09 (they danced; we ate)

When I broke my feet on December 10, one of the first things I thought about was my tickets to Paris on February 7. I neglected to buy trip insurance, but had 2 award tickets (35K each), a deposit on an apartment, and two ballet tickets. Despite pain and inconvenience, I was determined to go from just about the first minute I realized it would be an issue.

We usually use public transport in Paris and most places we visit, but made a decision, based on reality, that we needed to not do that this time. We booked a shuttle recommended by gracejoan here on Fodors. They arrived a few minutes after we emerged from customs, which was slightly irritating, but something I could live with. We went straight to our apartment, where the guy with the keys was also a little late, and that too was slightly irritating. But he was all smiles and had champagne, and I was intimidated into forgiving him. However, when I asked how the washing machine worked, he suggested I read the book. Again, slightly irritating.

But we did have a good time in Paris. The highlight beyond all else was Jose Martinez dancing the lead in Bejart's Bolero at the Opera Garnier. Dear lord, it knocked my socks off. Like some of you, I am a big dance fan, and I haven't seen anything so exciting in years. I tried to find a youtube video of Martinez/Bolero, and found a lot of other people dancing the lead. I watched some of them, and none had the power or excitement of Jose Martinez.

There was a bit of humor, in our eyes, anyway. The stage was surrounded with half naked male dancers, each gradually entering the action until all were undulating to the pulse of the driving music. What we realized, in the last moments of the piece, was that all the guys with bad bodies (bad is strictly relative; these guys didn't look like drunken Steelers fans with their shirts off, just that they had sloping shoulders or skinny chests or undefined torsos) were in the far back row with very little to do, other than be on their feet for the final few moments. All the hot guys were up front.

Sight lines in the Opera Garnier were great for us, sitting center, but I'm glad I spent on the best seats. Being on the high sides of the small theater might not have been as much fun. The theater was beautiful as expected. The ushers were great about my feet, as were most attendants in Paris. The crowd was rude, not bothering to ever make way, or slow down. (I encountered that a lot. People in stores, museums, etc. were great, but in a crowd, I got jostled a bit. A weird thing was that young women on the Metro consistently gave me their seats, but men, never did.)

There were two other ballets. I don't recall the names, but one was some goofy thing about Van Gogh. Most of that was indeed goofy, but the final scene, in which VG goes mad, and dances around powerfully and again, half naked, was pretty good. The other ballet was good, well done with some very athletic, graceful, lovely. and strong dancing by the females, and some stupid leaping about by the men.

We ate everything. If you know anyone going to Paris (I wrote this weeks ago) tell them to hold off for a couple of weeks, until food supplies can be replenished. Especially bread, chocolate and cream. Or cheese. Ah, a diet of bread, chocolate, cream and cheese is delightful. I did feel pretty guilty eating like a little cochon, but such quality piggy foods are not available in Pittsburgh, so I had to fill up.

I think Christophe was my favorite meal, but they were all pretty good. The ratio of chocolate to other foods was high at Christophe, so I'm giving it a plus. We also ate at La Gaigne, across the street from our apartment, Chez l'Ami Jean, and La Ferrandaise. We had one picnic supper in the apartment, and the rest of our meals were either on the trotter (substitute for hoof) or in a cafe. Or bakery. Or chocolate shop. Or cheese shop.

The apartment was cute, small and cheap, which was its most attractive quality. A great location. The two blocks of rue Rambuteau to the east of the Pompidou are pretty much solidly paved with food shops and cafes. The apartment was very quiet and had lots of light. One flight of stairs, which was nothing after trotting in and out of a million metro stations. We had a little trouble with the television, and a little with power switches, but all in all the apartment was a great bargain, quite comfortable if small, very clean, nice big shower and good hot water and water pressure. Beause there was a great yard behind the place, it was very quiet and sunny. You can see it at rentparis.com. It is at 6 rue Rambuteau in the 4th eme.

We took some taxis, because of my feet, but I could have been happy with many more taxis and buses. At times my feet were killing me; I don't think going to Paris was the best thing for two broken feet, but c'est la vie.

Art: mostly photography, of course (DH is a photographer and photo editor at a newspaper). But we also went to the Musee Marmottan, where we had never been. Quite enjoyable and I am now a convert to Berthe Morisot. The other non-photo show was the Berardo collection of 20th century art at the Musee Luxembourg. Standout in photography, to me, anyway, was David LaChapelle, whom we christened Dave Chapelle after the American comedian who had a television program called Chapelle Show that was funny. Anyway, LaChapelle often strikes me as a sexist pig, but this retrospective at the Musee Monnaie was striking.

We saw a quite fun cartoon at the Andre Prevert career retrospective at the Hotel de Ville. I didn't get most of that show, not having been exposed to this part of French culture, but the cartoon feature about wind up toys was amusing and clever and arty.

Rentparis.com called a taxi for us to get back to the airport, which was quite smooth sailing on Saturday morning. CDG still stinks, especially for post-security shopping, eating, and waiting, but we were able to buy decent sandwiches to get on the plane with.

That's my brief report, but it is longer than most of my trip reports, so I'm happy.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 02:26 PM
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I love your reporting style.

jetsetj is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 02:29 PM
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oops forgot to ask..
Where is Christophe ?
jetsetj is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 03:31 PM
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Hi tuscan,

I'm so glad you had a good time! I hope your feet are feeling better very soon. It sounds like you did a lot and I think it takes a lot of guts to go ahead with your trip despite your injuries. I smashed up my foot a few years ago and I was a huge baby about it for months.

It's funny what you said about the women always offering you a seat on the train, but not the men. I witness that every single day on the subway here at home. It's almost always a woman who jumps up first. Interesting to learn it isn't just a local phenomenon, and more than a little depressing.

Bolero must have been spectacular. That is definitely a ballet that needs to be seen live! How was the audience?
Apres_Londee is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 04:04 PM
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I am so glad to read this... thank you so much for sharing!!! I dream of the day I can return but for now will live through reports like yours!
MomDDTravel is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 04:59 PM
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jetsetj: Merci. Christophe is in the 5th, on a cute street near university buildings. It is a charming place with nice service and great food. Here is a link:


Apres: oh that Bolero! I remember you saying on the First Ballet thread that it would be the one to see on that program and you were right. The audience? I usually notice, but I was kind of transported. I think they were appreciative; I heard Bravo! quite a bit.

Yep, the girls on the Metro surprised me. I am surprised that it isn't just Paris.

I don't know if I was brave or greedy. I wasn't going to miss my trip, but I don't think it was a genius decision. I had to do a ton more PT after the trip.

My feet are healing; thank you for asking.

MomDD: Remember that girls' trip to Paris I suggested? Maybe it is in our future! You are so very welcome, my dear.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 05:04 PM
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Going to have to wait a while but I would LOVE that... I so dream to return. I really want to take my Mom... Thank you again for taking the time to share about your trip Tuscan. I understand about going. Come hell or highwater I was going to Paris last December... so I do get that.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 05:18 PM
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Thanks for the trip report. Love the little studio, especially the red kitchen. I've added it to my favorites.
starrs is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 06:58 PM
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On rentparis.com where do you find the map as to where the apartments are located?

I looked at the one you stayed in and a few others but cant find the map.

jetsetj is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 07:25 PM
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Jet: if you click on the apartment, then click on the video, it pinpoints the location of the particular apartment. I'm not sure if there is a map for the entire range of their rentals; maybe just the video with map at the beginning, for each separate apartment.

Starrs: the little kitchen was fine except for the corner sink. I now know that I never want a corner sink; it hurt my back to work in it.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 07:30 PM
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I'm glad you wrote the report, Deb; I've been looking forward to it! And so glad you had a super trip despite the poor little footies.
Will Kurt post some of his pictures?
grandmere is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 08:18 PM
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wow tuscan... im dizzy now.
I wish there was a regular map showing their properties.
I will email them.
jetsetj is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 10:49 PM
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how fabulous that in spite of your broken feet you managed to have a grand time in paris.
very nice trip report.
abranz is offline  
Mar 27th, 2009, 02:43 AM
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Hi Tuscan, are you still in plaster? I really admire your courage, it is a big undertaking with any sort of injury at all.

Loved your comment about other travellers waiting until food supplies are replenished - LOL!!
cathies is online now  
Mar 27th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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Thanks, tuscan, I like your brief and semi-irritated report. I had put both Christophe and Le Gaigne on my restaurant list for May--Le Gaigne because it'll be in my neighbrhood too--so I'm happy to hear you liked them both. I'm kinda bummed that I have "high side" seats at Palais Garnier, but oh well, I'm not a huge dance fan anyway.

FYI, I see women (including myself) get up for people on the bus here in SF all the time while the able-bodied men star intently at their iPhones.
Leely2 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2009, 10:11 AM
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Art, dance, food, an apartment in Paris, my favorite kind of trip. Thanks for sharing.

I found people on the bus very helpful; men and women alike gave me a seat when they saw me trying to balance on my shaky knees.
Nikki is online now  
Mar 27th, 2009, 12:38 PM
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Sue: I don't think I'll ever get Kurt to post pictures online, but I will ask. He took a great picture of marshmallows.

cathies: I was never in plaster. Instead, I was wearing those things that look like ski boots for robots. Now I have two soft braces.

Leely: you will like both of those restaurants. They are informal and warm, but with very sophisticated food.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Mar 27th, 2009, 07:58 PM
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Tip for those ladies who give up their seats for the infirmed-perhaps you should carry a large purse and every time you round a corner your purse could accidentally smack the self-important blackberrier up side the side follow by a nice smile and a "sorry". Years ago I rode a bus to work and a very elderly gentleman would always offer his seat, for which I thanked him but declined. Chivalry is dead.
bluzmama is offline  
Mar 27th, 2009, 08:28 PM
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Hello Tuscan, I so enjoyed your trip report and so admire your taking your trip to Paris inspite of broken feet. When I broke my left foot I was the biggest baby in the world, lol.
LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Hi tuscan - finally got around to read your trip report! I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself in Paris despite the 2 broken feet! I remember you had terrible cabin fever over the winter when you couldn't even leave the house. Thanks again for sharing your trip with us.
yk is offline  

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