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Schnauzer, live from Paris, Lyon, Nice, Averyon and Dordogne, join me

Schnauzer, live from Paris, Lyon, Nice, Averyon and Dordogne, join me

Old Jun 10th, 2013, 12:24 PM
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Glad you are all joining me.... Too late for today's news, will post later, but had a really good day!
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 05:04 PM
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Along for the ride as well, Schnauzer, and looking forward to more and more.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 07:47 AM
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Sunday 9th June and Monday 10th

Denise arrived right on schedule and she hasn't changed a bit in 5 years, so good to see her. Immediately opened a bottle of red from Cahors which proved a big success, add some of the cheese Sue had given us and the fresh baguette and all was good with the world. Chatted for a while catching up on all the news and then Sue arrived and we all went off for dinner at Al Caratello in rue Audan in Montmartre. Absolutely great Italian food. A lot of the smaller restaurants were closed on Sunday but as I had eaten here before and knew their food to be good it worked well. I had a fabulous linguine with mushrooms and fresh thinly sliced prosciutto placed attractively over the top, Denise had the seafood linguine with heaps of mussels and Sue enjoyed her rigatoni limone. Huge serves, piping hot and just what we needed, along with the Sangiovese wine...

Monday 10th June

"It will burn off", says Denise when she saw the mist again this morning.... It certainly wasn't anywhere near as cold as yesterday which was a great start. I needed to do a load of washing and it took two of us to figure out the machine. Surprisingly for Paris the machine was a top loader, Georges Pompidou sprang to mind as the inside of the machine appeared to be on the outside, hard to explain but soon enough the two mechanically minded heroines had the thing up and running.

Breakfast was next on the agenda, my favourite Coquelicot is closed on a Monday so a rethink was in order. However the grocery shop was also closed so I purchased the world's most expensive jam at the green grocer along with some delicious looking apricots. Next was a selection of bakery items from our local boulangerie which happens to have won the "best" prize three years in row. Croissants of course, both butter and almond and also a brioche for good measure. The shop assistant told me there were only two brioches left so the idea that everyone else was enjoying these delights and I may miss out forced the purchase.

I had written a Montmartre Walking Tour for some friends ages ago and thought it could be a good idea to follow it myself. Many times I have picked up those self guided walking tours from the Tourist Info and halfway through having been lost or completely stumped wondered if the writer had ever actually done them themselves. So paper in hand we set off.... first though we had to try and find an adapter for Denise, she had grabbed the wrong one when packing, having recently been to N.Z. she had brought that one, we found one quickly enough in a high quality gift shop in Pigalle! we back tracked along the seedy Bvld Clichy to the start of our Tour which was at the gorgeous entrance to the Abesses metro, one of only two original Hector Guimard metro entrances remaining in Paris.

We hoofed it up those hilly streets assuaging our guilt at so many pastries eaten earlier. And yes, the idiot who had written the tour had made some critical errors, oops. We circled the Sacre Coeur, both having been inside previously but made a point of going into the "oldest" church in Paris (one of three to make this claim) St-Pierre-de-Montmartre. It is a beautiful church and our timing was perfect, just as we were coming out a large group of young school kiddies were going in. Around Place duTertre the tourists were out in force and I have to admit this is not the best part of Montmartre. Eager to exit this bun fight we continued on down rue Norvins stopping first though at a cafe for a coffee. On previous occasions it had proved most pleasant but they had now followed Starbucks' lead, who are opposite and were using plastic cups, so this cute cafe is now off my list. I don't do plastic cups.....

The weather was lovely today, ideal for walking around, however Denise and I did look like we were in different climes, she being a hardy Scot had on a sleeveless light top, I had on the cami, the shirt, the jacket and had donned the silk scarf, I wasn't making the same mistake as yesterday,! We completed our tour, seeing the Man Who Walks Through Walls, the last remaining vineyard and other highlights and ended up back on rue Abbessess ready for some lunch. We chose the very buzzy Cafe Bruant and had the formule lunch at 12.50euros. We shared a Goose Leever (liver) entre, both had the rabbit leg in mustard sauce and potatoes Dauphinoise, and shared a creme caramel washing it down with a pitcher of Sancere Rosé. Very pleasant indeed. We sat chatting and resting our feet until gone three, watching the endless parade of folk passing by - chic ladies with their shopping carts, young girls made up to the nines, tour groups, large men walking tiny dogs, tiny ladies walking huge dogs and finally we made our move.

Back to the apartment for a cuppa and the next plan of action.

The next piece of action proved to be at Bon Marche, easy to get to as it is on "our" metro line, we checked out the handbags. Gratefully nothing leapt off the shelves at us so we moved on to the Grand Epicerie where Denise was blown away with the choice of terrific foodstuffs.

The Chagall exhibition was open until 10 this evening so we walked to the museum through the gorgeous old streets of the 6th, some so quiet and narrow you were escorted back through time. Soon we were at the Luxembourg Museum which was so completely different to Sunday I was a bit confused (nothing new). We just walked straight through the front door, no queue to be seen. What an amazing exhibition, if you are in Paris whilst it is on please go. The museum had set the whole thing out so well, each phase of his painting grouped together, the English booklet giving plenty of detailed information really enhancing the experience. I was right to think that many of the works normally in Nice were here, so glad I didn't rely on just seeing his work in Nice.

As we exited the museum the sun was shining making the gardens so different to the last time, we had a wander around and then I had the bright idea to find the Cour de Rohan, again somewhere I had previously seen but thought it was worth a revisit. I couldn't find the entrance and all the gates we did come across were closed, it felt a bit like Brigadoon I knew it had been there but it seemed to have disappeared. Shame cos it was a pretty spot. We were getting very foot sore by this stage and starting to do the Schnauzer switchback, 100 metres forward, oops, 100 backwards. Home time....

No bread to be found at 9pm... But got some crackers and finished up the wine and cheese for a very late supper.

All in all a lovely long day and I did try to let Denise get a word in occasionally.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 09:13 AM
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I love your writing style - what a delightful report.

A few weeks ago, we ate some very good pizza at the sister restaurant to Al Caratello (I assume they're related, but maybe not) right across the street. There's so many little corners of Montmartre I'm still discovering.

Place du Tertre. Ugh. Most definitely one of my least favorite places in Paris.

Keep the reports coming, please!
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 11:57 AM
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Yanky, thanks, glad you are enjoying my story so far.... Yes the pizza place is owned by the same people.

Still working on today's goings on, feet and previously stubbed toe are sore not to mention the legs. However since I don't use either to write with that doesn't sound like much of an excuse does it?
Was awake at 5 this morning so fading fast. Train to Lyon tomorrow so shall work on next episode then.

Schnauzer
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 07:04 AM
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Enjoying this and looking forward to Lyon.
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 09:33 AM
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11th June Tuesday

Another misty start to the day. Sue was leaving this morning so I went to say goodbye and waited with her until the taxi came. Maybe I shall see her In the States, change my usual M.O. and go and visit different shores.

Passed the boulangerie to pick up breakfast, trying to make a decision between all those yummy selections is just so hard for me. Les croissants bien sure, but the Viennese mini loaf looks good, are those choc chips or raisins? I asked if there was any fruit and nut bread and the lady showed me this enormous loaf, ouf, couldn't get through that in a week, pas de problem, she just cut off a thick slice, merci Madame, who says the french aren't helpful?

Today was Bastille/Marais area. We had two changes of metro to get to Bastille, the first change worked well but the second not quite so smoothly as the train was so full. I pushed on, but Denise got left behind, yikes, hadn't worked out an emergency plan.... I gesticulated madly for Denise to stay put and that I would come back. Marcel Marceau eat your heart out... Of course it would have been far more expeditious for me to get off at the next stop and wait for Denise, but try communicating that in 5 seconds from a moving train. I truly can't remember a trip with so much back tracking. This is my version of Sliding Doors.

Arrived at Bastille, an enormous intersection, we needed rue st. Antoine, peering across the wide road Denise spots what she thinks is the right road, up we walk for a while, not long before we get the "feeling", yup we've done it again, this is rue du Faubourg St Antoine, not just plan old St Antoine, that "f" sure made an effing difference. Back on track we found Place des Vosges which is just beautiful, very quiet this morning, enjoyed the lack of crowds but then you miss out on the buzzy atmosphere that is there on a weekend when there is often music.

It was quite warm this morning but the rain was trying, spitting every so often. No need for brollies or anything. We walked up rue des Franc Bourgeois looking in the great shop windows, my favourite Rayure shop appeared to have gone but I wasn't planning on any more purchases so not to worry. We walked up to the National Archive Museum set in the glorious Hotel Soubise. Admired the fabulous architecture and then wandered down the rue des Rosiers, heart of the Jewish food shops and the well known L'as du Falafel, but since Denise didn't like falafel we kept going. I had seen a great photo taken in the St Paul Village so that was our next stop. Sue had said she didn't "get" the village but we weren't far so we thought we would see for ourselves. First though a coffee pit stop was in order and on the corner of rue St Paul and rue St Antoine we found a great place, coffee in real cups and the most amazing looking tarts. Choosing a rhubarb tart ( which I reluctantly shared) we ate, drank and rested our feet.

On to the village, yup Sue was right, not much there at all to see. I think it comes to life on occasion but today wasn't one of them. The beautiful Hotel de Sully was next to check out, another fantastic piece of architecture, they sure knew how to build houses in those days. Even though the day hadn't really improved weather wise we decided to walk a bit down the Promenade Plantee. I had done this walk to the very end a few years ago and was interested to see how the garden had progressed. It had certainly matured but I wish they had planted perfumed roses, they were so gorgeous to look at but no smell, shame.

We walked for a kilometre or so then turned back and went down to the street level to look inside the shops in the viaduct. They were mostly home designer type shops but two were absolute standouts. One restored antique umbrellas and parasols. You should have seen the handles..... Silver animal heads, wooden shapes, bronze do dads and so many of them. You could choose the old handles and they re did them still using the original frames. Both Denise and I were in awe, never seen anything like it. Terrific gift for someone who has everything. Only a couple of doors down was the other absolute winner, a map shop, not only did they restore old maps but they hand drew original copies of old maps, if that makes. They had a huge one in the window of Paris and surrounds from about 300/400 years ago perhaps. They had pen and ink washed it using turquoise and pale pinks in other areas. It was about 1.5m x 1m and it was all yours for about 3500 euros. Perfect for another gift, you know how some things just REALLY take your fancy well this was one of them. I want one..... My birthday is in October and they will ship to Australia I am sure!

It was getting on now and the tart had worn off, we wanted to go for a nice dinner tonight and since it was about three we looked for a snacky place. I don't know the Bastille area at all, it was certainly different to anywhere else I had been in Paris. Not sure I am that keen to be honest. I have booked a hotel in this area for my last night before I fly home.... Oh well only one night. Anyway we found a patisserie that sold ready made baguettes and we sat at the counter and shared a ham and cheese one with a cool drink. Perfect. Our feet and legs were getting really sore, my previously stubbed toe was giving me gyp and my arthritis was making my legs very sore. Enough for today we decided and got home about 4ish for a cuppa and communication checking.

I wanted to take Denise to one of my favourite restaurants, Cafe qui Parle, I have been there several times and never had a bad meal, their fois gras is a highlight. Fortunately it is only a few minutes walk as we were both struggling with sore feet and legs. We shared the fois gras and Denise ordered the special fish of the day with veges and I had the steak. The menu had changed and a lot of the essential ingredients were a bit too "tricky" for me so the choices were quite limited. I always like rabbit but not when it is stuffed with snails... You get the idea. We shared a pleasant 1/2 bottle of Rosé and resisted dessert.

All went well until about 2am and then..... I feel sick..... Lying there hoping it will pass..... I am going to be sick..........and was. So much for the most expensive meal so far. Denise was fine so it wasn't the entree, how do you get sick from steak and potatoes? Not happy Jan.
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 11:07 AM
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Oh, so sorry to read you had a bad time with some food. I do hope it didn't last too long and you are feeling better today.

Being sick in Paris is no fun (I got food poisoning from steak tartare last October), but at least you managed to avoid doing what I had to in the gutter!
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 02:50 PM
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Not happy Jan, indeed! That's a pretty radical way to work off the pastries & cheeses, Schnauzer.

Fascinating read. The Umbrella & Map shops were a real find. I'd just love one of those unique umbrellas. Wouldn't that just be a treasure? I'd have to have a safety chain on it so I didn't leave it somewhere!

Hope you're hale & hearty by now. Another foggy morning disrupting flights in our town - but not up here, of course.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 08:25 AM
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Hope folk are still reading along.... We have arrived in the beautiful city of Lyon.

12th June Wednesday

Woke up after a very disturbed night feeling a bit precious, but not so much I couldn't manage a cuppa and then a plain Viennese roll. Leaving the apartment this morning so everything was packed up. Off to Lyon.... Got a taxi to Gare du Nord as we needed to change if we took the metro and there were just too many stairs to contend with lugging our bags. RER to Gare de Lyon easy done at least the RER seems to have escalators and lifts. Caught the train with no hitches, sat back and relaxed in our first class seats, when you book so far in advance it is really reasonable. Lesley writes up blog, Denise "rests her eyes". Didn't our mothers used to say that?

Within a quick two hours we are in Lyon and are met with SUN, yay. What a beautiful city. It has been many years since I was last here and can't remember too much. We are staying in an apartment in a really old building, (aren't they all) La Loge des Advocats. Here is the link if you are interested. www.lalogedesadvocats.com. We were hungry by now, well past lunchtime so before we did a recce of the area some nourishment was in order. And right on the corner of our street is a delightful patisserie come lunch spot, tables out side in the sun and then a very pleasant busking band arrived to entertain us. Lyon is renowned for its food and our quiches, warmed and browned under a grill didn't disappoint, what amazing pastry. Fortified we did a complete circuit of the old town from one end to the other, this time we couldn't really lost as every little street you ducked down proved a delight. Buildings from 1300 etc. there are these covered passageways called Traboules which run all through the town, linking many of the streets, we discovered the Long Traboule in rue de Boeuf and popped back out 5 mins later back in rue St Jean. We worked our way eventually back along the river's edge and ended up at somewhere I definitely remembered from last time Rene Nardone's ice cream parlour. We sat, rested our legs and I had Cassis and salted caramel, both very good and Denise had mango and raspberry and I didn't see her leave any!

As it was a lovely evening Denise sat downstairs in the courtyard with a glass of red and I, a slave to my journal sat and typed.

We headed out quite late for dinner, I didn't feel like a really heavy meal, which can be the norm in Lyon, we wandered around a bit as most of the restaurants were very busy. Many of them serve exactly the same menu, tripe, sausages, head of calf etc and don't really appeal, we finally opted for a simple crepe which seemed to fit the bill. Whilst walking back we dropped into a few restaurants to get their cards I then did a search when I got home and of course they all have such mixed reviews I was left feeling none the wiser as to where to go tomorrow night.

Off to bed as I was so tired after such a great day. Lyon is just beautiful and much bigger than I had remembered. It has that "feel".
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 04:03 PM
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Your very good report paints word pictures for me. I was once in Lyon so very long ago, I hardly remember it either. So, I'll be anxious to hear more from you.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 06:20 PM
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Schnauzer, glad you are back on your feet. Waiting for more…
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 06:54 PM
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Wonderful, schnauzer. I am toasting you with a glass of Sancerre as I cook my dinner right now. Here's to your health and a settled stomach.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 07:30 PM
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Hi schnauzer, I'm glad your tummy bug was short lived. Looking forward to the next instalment.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 07:49 PM
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Enjoying your TR. I hope u enjoy the apt in Lyon as much as we did.
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 12:48 PM
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Toasting right back at you Leely.... Really enjoying Lyon, what a buzzy little city, love it. Well it isn't really little at all, quite big in fact.

13th June Thursday

A rude awakening from the garbage men at about 5am.... Whaaat? It sounded like they were rolling the bins down the stone steps from the third floor and then dragging them back up again 10 mins later. Zut alors! Managed to get back to sleep again and didn't surface until gone 8.30. The jet lag has worn off I am guessing.

Another gloriously sunny day, being a Scot, and not seeing the sun too often Denise donned her shorts but I held back and put on a summer skirt and we both put on the sunscreen. So different to Paris weather wise.

Off to the Presqu'ile today. This is the area between the two rivers, more modern than where we currently are staying. Being an Aussie had to laugh at their idea of 'modern', beautiful old buildings in my opinion. Found Place Bellecour and the T.I. What a magnificent square, gardens, fountains and surrounded by gorgeous buildings. Lyon is similar to Paris but it feels like all the rush has been taken away and all the best bits put together. Really loving the city, so much for going off France, the love affair is still going strong. It turned into a bit of a shopping trip to start with, me ogling and drooling over some cute shoes... Do I need them, really? Buuut, haven't ever seen anything like this in my local shops. Ok, will think about it and go back if I can't live without them.

Denise bought some gifts and we wandered about, had a coffee break and then went against my long time rule of never eating around the "squares". We were heading up the hill to Croix-Rousse by metro and wanted to eat before it got too late. My instincts were right and my salad more than ordinary, if it was a school report I would say, could do better. The poached egg was watery and the rest was only passable at best. Denise's salad looked and tasted much better. However the beautiful square with its magnificent fountain, rather strangely placed, mushed up to one end, of four horses was worth the crappy lunch. The square is flanked by the Hotel de Ville on one side and the Musee de Beaux Arts on another, both very imposing buildings. We took the metro which was very discreet, so discreet in fact we only found it as we were looking at the strange opera house. They have tried to do a Louvre and tack a modern bit on top of the old building. Not sure it works quite as well.

Croix-Rousse is on the hill and the advice I had read said metro up and walk down, sound advice as the day was steadily getter hotter. On the pharmacy temperature reading it was an incredible 36oC. We visited the silk museum but decided against the hour long tour. Croix-Rousse is like a whole different town by itself, lots of interesting streets but a lot spoilt by graffiti, why, we kept asking ourselves.

We meandered down through some parks and gardens which offered great views of the city, we tried to see a couple of traboules but as we had been told a lot of them are closed in the afternoon and some really didn't warrant the effort. Back on flat ground we saw the amazing Les Frescoes de Lyonnaise, depicting 31 dead and alive famous people. Across the bridge, a quick stop to pick up a boule of ice-cream, this time orange and ginger...one not to be repeated and back home for tea.

The day was now getting cooler, clouds were rolling in and the sky becoming a threatening black. Soon the heavens opened and we could see from our windows folk ducking for cover. The storm didn't last but the rain has continued on and off.

We decided to try and get into Restaurant les Retrouvailles without a reservation. Many people had recommended it and best of all it was a 30 metre walk. We don't have a phone at the apartment which is a shame so we wandered around knowing we would be early but perhaps they could squeeze us in. However as it was only 7pm they weren't even open, they were still preparing and we peered longingly through the window. It looked lovely, homey and just perfect. They ignored us and we finally found the opening times.... Denise read 7.15, well that wasn't long to wait. But it was raining, we didn't feel like walking around for 15 mins, apartment 2 secs away, easy choice. Not wanting to appear too eager we waited until 7.30 before going back. Still not open...re read sign, oops 7.45 even with the glasses on we had misread. This time they couldn't resist the doleful looks and noses pressed eagerly against the window. Madame very kindly let us in, she explained she was still prepping the desserts but to make our selves welcome and perhaps think about an eye test.

We chose the 24euro menu which seemed a good choice, the more expensive one had far too much food and the a la carte mains weren't much cheaper than the whole formule menu. An amuse bouche of snail velouté arrived, fortunately in a tiny little dish, we managed to eat it to show our gratitude but can't say it was a real winner for either of us. We both chose the same: home made turkey terrine and soufflé of guinea fowl. We were trying to imagine what this would look like. It wasn't a fluffy soufflé as we know them but more a moussey thing but hot and very tasty indeed. We had a choice of all the desserts and after giving all of them due consideration we chose the fresh fruit bowl. Plump raspberries, strawberries, cherries and fresh figs. Tres simple and served with only sugar which we didn't even need. A perfect end to a delicious meal. The restaurant was completely full so we were lucky to get in.

Back to the apartment and off to sleep....
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 01:35 PM
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Delightful report, schnauzer!
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 09:00 AM
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Okay a bit shorter today....


14th June Friday

Another sunny day, this time I dared to put on the (long) shorts and cap sleeve top (getting daring now) as we were planning on walking up to the Notre Dame of Lyon and the Gallo ruins on the hill behind us. It is one heck of a walk so we wanted to look the part. However after a brief visit into the T.I. We were convinced to take the funicular up, okay so we didn't need that much convincing!

The Basilica is over the top from the outside and equally over the top on the inside. Incredible is one word you could use to describe it. Amazing mosaics all over the walls and yet not excessive. Well worth the visit. On to the ruins where they were setting up for a festival, they still use the amphitheatres for concerts. We spent quite a long time in the informative museum, free audio guides in English and also a lot of the signage was translated which was handy.

We then walked back down the very steep hill coming out from a set of perilous stairs right by our apartment, how handy was that? Back to the "A la Marquise" patisserie for another quiche and piece of tart and a great coffee.

I was keen to look at the antique shops for an original door knocker and thought I may find something between Perruche and place Bellecour. We caught the metro to the end of the line and started our mission. (Spectacularly unsuccessful). Oh well, not to be. We mooched about the shops and under strict orders from some friends back home I went and bought THE shoes. In need of the loo we stopped for a quick drink and then just as we were heading over the river we saw the Lyon City Boat ticket booth. This was something we had thought of doing and as it was such a lovely evening and a cruise was leaving in 10mins we bought our tickets and boarded the boat. We did the one hour tour up to l'ile Barbe and back. Very enjoyable indeed and a great way to spend an hour.

It was now 7pm and as it was Denise's last evening we wanted to get it right. Back for a quick wash and brush up and then we headed in the other direction to the crowds. We found a perfect spot called La P'tite Ardoise at 12 rue Monseigneur Lavarennene near St George's church. The waiters were on fire and totally hilarious. We laughed a lot and had some great food. I ordered what I thought was a terrine of smoked fish and tuna sauce, sounded good, but when it turned up in a glass I knew I had got it wrong. It was a verrine of...... The waiter did apologise for the bad handwriting on the 'ardoise' however it was just delightful, so no problems. I had the ling for next course and the choc pud with bits and pieces for dessert. Yummo. We waddled back home.


Hope you are all still reading....
Schnauzer
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 10:19 AM
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Yes, still reading and loving it!
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 10:25 AM
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I am still here, too, Schnauzer, and enjoying following along with you. Lovely trip report!
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