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Return to Paris - Trip Report and Photos - A Lesson in Manners - May 2006

Return to Paris - Trip Report and Photos - A Lesson in Manners - May 2006

Old Mar 11th, 2007, 09:13 AM
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Return to Paris - Trip Report and Photos - A Lesson in Manners - May 2006

Sunday May 21 2006 - Return to Paris –
A lesson in manners

We planned our return to Paris from the Loire on a Sunday. We had three more days before having to fly home. Our destination was Gare de Lyon where we would return our rental car.
The trip from Amboise was pleasant and uneventful, until we arrived in Paris. We had researched our route and had the maps and directions at the ready. Unfortunately all this depends on everything going like clockwork. Somehow we made an incorrect turn and combined with the one way streets and the Sunday morning traffic we were in a mess. (I know there isn’t any traffic on a Sunday morning but don’t believe it – there may be less but there was a lot.)
We kept looking for anything familiar, any street sign that we recognized, and all the time keeping up with the traffic. By the time you do recognize something, you are past it.
After about 30 minutes of pure frustration we finally came to a stop light and there was a cab behind us. I through the car into neutral and applied tha parking brake and rushed back to the taxi. The driver rolled down the window.
“Ou est le Gare de Lyon?” I asked.
“Bonjour monsieur,” he replied.
He obviously hadn’t heard me over the traffic noise. “Ou est le Gare de Lyon?” I repeated, a little louder this time.
Once again he replied, “Bonjour monsieur.”
Like a sledgehammer it struck me. I was in Paris not Toronto. I repeated my question with the requisite niceties this time and we got along fine. As luck would have it, he was heading there with his fare and his direction, “Suivez moi,” was the most welcome thing that I had heard all morning. There were many turns and it took us about 10 minutes to get there so we were well lost.
In returning the rental car we had the usual experience of asking the agent to come out with us and inspect the car. She replied that she was alone and couldn’t leave the kiosk. When I insisted that she sign off on the car she reluctantly put the “Back in 10 minutes” sign up and went with us to check over the car. Insisting avoids any possible repercussions later when you are home and it is difficult to manage.
Back in our hotel we were eager to get out and walk the familiar streets around Residence Monge. We wandered over to St Jacques to Mouffetard to enjoy the market atmosphere. We had a quiche in one of the cafes there.
That evening we walked down to Avenue Goblins to and dug into two heaping pots of mussels at Lyon de Bruxelles. This is one of our favorite casual meals with a choice of many different ways of preparation.

Monday May 22 2006
We took the Metro to Opera Garnier and spent the morning walking around the area. We fell into the usual trap of picking up last minute souvenirs. We returned to the hotel for a pique nique in the arenes behind Hotel Residence Monge.
Taking the Metro to Place de la Concorde we walked over to L’Orangerie which had just recently reopened. The line snaked down the ramp, past the barricades (see photo) so we decided that the only recourse was to forget for this time and to plan to return to Paris soon to visit this museum. We returned to the hotel by walking all the way along Saint Germain passing the church, wandering through parks being planted with summer flowers, and stopping for café visits.
That evening we went to Perraudin for dinner. We had heard a lot about this restaurant and had it on our list to try so we arrived very early at 7:30. The place was nearly full and by the conversation around us it was obvious that this restaurant has been mentioned in too many American guidebooks. At the table beside us we struck up a conversation with a couple from Orangeville, Ontario, for whom this was a regular visit. The meal was paced much as they are at home and by 8:30 it was obvious that we were through and expected to vacate the premises so that the table could be turned.
We left the restaurant and hailed a taxi on the street (despite what you read it was a very easy thing to do and not the first time for us) and headed back to a movie theater on Saint Germain to see “The DaVinci Code”. What fun to watch a movie subtitled in French where most of the audience was French! We laughed at the wrong place and sat wondering why they were laughing at other times. The audience was very well-mannered, chattering through the previews and then becoming attentive and quiet during the show.
As we walked back to our hotel we considered stopping at Deux Magots for a drink but it was a bit intimidating as most of the patrons were eating dinner.

Tuesday May 23 2006
This was our last full day in Paris. We walked to the Maubert market but we were disappointed with this one as it seemed to be predominantly clothing, jewelry and purses.
Quickly we walked over to Jardin des Plantes, one of our favorite places, to look at the flowers, gaze at the animals and mingle with the people. Although the entrance is a little tricky to find we walked through the tunnel to the Alpine garden which is spectacular with its regions from different parts of the world. We are both fond of rock gardens so this was great.
We stopped for mint tea at one of the Arab tea gardens in the area. It was like an oasis of green in the concrete but I didn’t really care for the overly sweet drink.
Having saved one of our choice restaurants for the last we went to Moissonnier – 28, rue des Fosses St. Bernard. The French cuisine is described as Jura. The salad bar containing about a dozen items that they roll up to your table is unique in our experience. However we passed on this and split a white asparagus encroute. We both succumbed to the bar special served with boiled potatoes and creamed leeks. Amazing. My fig ice cream swimming in Armagnac was overshadowed by Sandra’s floating island (a portion large enough for me to share and I must have forgotten that she doesn’t like figs when I ordered mine so I had to eat it all by myself).

This ended our trip to France in a fitting way. Our general impressions are as follows:
Paris we love. We feel so at home in this city and never wonder what to do.
Lyon was great and two days was not long enough. We shall (hopefully) return.
We are glad to have visited the St Remy area of Provence but at this time have no desire to go back.
Three days through the Lot/Languedoc area was not enough. Renting a gite and doing this region more thoroughly would seem sensible. Millau is a city that caught our fancy.
The Dordogne was magical and we have arranged to spend a month there this year.
The Loire was fun but as someone on the forum says there are only so many chateaux you can take.
We have been to Holland, Belgium, UK, and France. We keep returning to France. I am almost afraid to try another country as we like France so much.

The other portions of this trip report and links to photos can be found at
Paris - http://tinyurl.com/2lljlk

Lyon - http://tinyurl.com/386esd
Provence - http://tinyurl.com/35rmd2
Provence to Dordogne - http://tinyurl.com/36o64d
Dordogne - http://tinyurl.com/3dqbt6
Loire - http://tinyurl.com/2lea9x


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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 11:40 AM
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Sorry - Forgot the photo link
http://tinyurl.com/2pm6o9
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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Hi robjame,

I had fallen a bit behind in your postings, but I just spent a very pleasant hour catching up on your Dordogne, Loire, and now this final Paris report.

All were wonderful, but I was most intrigued with the Dordogne section; your passion for the region truly showed, and it has confirmed in my mind that Margriet and I will have to make it our destination in 2008.

Above all, thanks for taking the time to write these up and for posting the wonderful photos.

Anselm
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 09:37 AM
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Anselm - Thanks for your kind comments. I think you would love the Doedogne area.
Let me know of your plans for 2008 - maybe our dates and location would overlap somewhat.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 05:29 PM
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I missed your response, robjame. I will indeed keep you posted on our dates. It would be great if we crossed paths in Paris or the Dordogne. Margriet says that we want you to pick the restaurant.

Anselm
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 05:50 PM
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robjame,
Thanks for the lovely photos of Paris! I especially loved the ones on the rue Mouffetard. I remember buying some hand cream from that L'Occitane. Was that the Lenotre in the 7th?

Sandy
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 06:23 PM
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Hi Sandy
There are several LeNotre locations - this one was the school, restaurant, 10 Champs-Elysees in the 8th.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 05:01 AM
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Greetings robjame. Or should I say, Bonjour monsieur robjame. Lovely report and photos. With whom - you can tell I had an old-fashioned grammar teacher - with whom did you take your Seine cruise? (I mean the company, not your personal companion of course.) Were those photos taken from a top outside deck, or inside through a window (latter seems hard to believe...)?
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 07:15 AM
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Bonjour Sue. Ca va?
We always take the Vedettes du Pont Neuf and this is the company with whom we prefer to take our cruise. LOL

We always sit outside (I am trying to recall if they even have an inside). Not a dinner cruise, it is pretty basic but lovely at dusk with a bottle of wine, some cheese and the one you love.

They offer €2 off with an internet coupon and €4 off if you prepay. Regular price is €11.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 07:16 AM
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robjame,
Thanks! That one looks like a very nice place from the website, with a cafe and a restaurant. I think the others are smaller, with some only having a botique, not a cafe. Not sure about the one in the 7th, but it's not too far from where we'll be staying so I imagine we'll be checking it out

Sandy
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 08:31 AM
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robjame - I thoroughly enjoyed your report and the photos were terrific!
The luminous green of the new leaves on the trees, that wonderful shot of Sandra underneath an umbrella of pink blossoms in Square Jean XXIII behind Notre Dame, the fellows in their office suits having a quick game of boules.
I could comment on just about every one!
Glad to hear the trip was great and the eating too!
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