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Seeing a different side of PARIS - Trip Report

Seeing a different side of PARIS - Trip Report

Jun 22nd, 2009, 02:05 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Lovely report and I have saved L'Entredgeu, 83 rue Laugier for our fall trip. I've often looked at the Hotel dieu website and was happy to hear you were satisfied.

I can't get your last 2 picture links to open tough but will keep trying
avalon is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 06:05 AM
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Just a few personal replies first:

frenchwow - GTG is short for a Get To Gether. If you ever see an opportunity, do give it a try - I've done 4 now.

ggnga - Hi there! Thanks for the nice and very encouraging comments. So very much appreciated!

avalon - you will really enjoy the typical French atmosphere and the excellent food at L'Entredgeu.
For the price and position, Hotel Hospitel Dieu is terrific.
You must remember as you come and go you won't feel you are in a hotel until you get to your room. The staff are terrific - especially the breakfast maker/room cleaner ! Always smiling.

The sun is out but the wind is freezing. We are unsure about using the metro for our move to the next hotel tomorrow. Just too many steps and with Peter not 100% decide to give the bus a try.
Le Petit Plan Parisien comes in real handy here.
We just want to be sure the bus stops are close enough otherwise we will get a taxi.
So, we set off for 'a dry run' to the 17th. May seem like a complete waste of time but the busride in itself was very enjoyable.
It works out perfectly!

There was something on UTube ( I think) about a large creperie in Beaubourg near Centre Pompidou which served every conceivable crepe available.
We find it off Place Stravinsky. It's not quite on lunchtime yet and they are not busy. We sit outside under a nice overhead heater. I order a savoury crepe with a side salad & Peter decides on the sweet lemon & sugar crepes.
My crepe is particularly 'lacey' and I detect a hint of cheese. The little birds are intent on sharing and we have fun feeding them titbits.

Leaving Creperie Beaubourg we visit the church of St Merri next door. This is the church that has part of it's building in the hotel next door. One of the flying buttresses crosses room 9 which also has Gothic-style furnishings.

The church itself dates from 1520 which accounts for it's flambouyant Gothic style but over the years has undergone many alterations. In the Revolution it was turned into a gunpowder factory so we can be thankful it survived!
The pulpit was designed by the Stodtz brothers in the mid-18th century and is supported by a pair of carved palm trees on either side.

Last year we were unable to really see anything of Tour St Jacques because of the scaffolding, so go and have a look at the new cleaned up tower.
The carvings are beautiful in their new creamy-white appearance. There is small playground in the garden surrounding the Tour and children are enjoying themselves while nanny or maybe mom, looks on from the comfort of a park bench.
Strolling back I notice Le Bearn on the corner of Place Saint-Opportune. This little cafe/bistro/bar is mentioned in the little pocket book called 'Authentic Bistros of Paris'. It's also next door to the famous Rat Exterminator's Shop.
Formerly a butcher's shop coverted into a cafe just after WWII it has attractive immitation Art-Nouveau tiles in the entranceway and behind the old zinc bar.
We settle outside for a drink as the day has got a little warmer. Before we leave I get permission to take a few photos.

Taking a bus for a few stops down Rue de Rivoli we hop off nearest the golden statue of Jeanne D'Arc standing in Place de Pyramides.
I love seeing her appear on the big overhead camera, which I think is mounted somewhere on the roof of the Hotel Regina, during the Tour de France. Her challenging stance faces the riders as they exit the tunnel of Avenue du Gl. Lemmonier, but I bet they don't notice a thing!

Walking down underneath the archways of rue de Rivoli one is launched into another onslaught of kitchy souvenir shops but oh how necessary they have become. I buy a half a dozen silky scarves for friends, an apron for my mum & myself and yet another fidge magnet.

Our last night on L'Ile de la Cite` and we have accomplished a lot of walking today so aren't going far for dinner.
One of the places that was up for a choice as a GTG venue was Au Bougnat. Well Monica I think this is the one you mentioned?!
So that was our choice this evening - just to see what we may have missed out on.
It's very cosy inside with shiny wooden tables all down the oneside of the room and a few towards the middle.
The Onglet was a dish I had wanted to try this trip so that was my choice. Peter just felt like a nice decent hamburger with chunky french fries.
Before our main courses the waitress very kindly placed two little glasses filled with babbaganoush?(eggplant puree`) in front of us as she lit the candles. It was delicious and I suppose while we woofed it down gave them time to prepare our dinner.
As a venue for a GTG I'm not sure. I think the atmosphere of Perraudin was perfect.

Next will be our move and experiences in the 17th with photos.
tod is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 10:06 AM
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You make me want to visit Paris, tod.
kerouac is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 10:12 AM
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Keep em coming! Very enjoyable.
TDudette is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 07:46 AM
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Kerouac - I'll take that as a great compliment!Merci!
TDudette - Heres more................

I have a few photos ready for this part of my report so will put them here:


The Hotel Hospitel has very kindly let us store our cases for the day. Saying goodbye to "Twiggy" who has watched our every move from above our bed ( her children were at Marlborough at the same time as the sons of friends of ours), we hand back the keys and bid farewell to the reception lady & the cleaner.
We are off to see the Cluny Museum or if you prefer, the remarkable Musee National du Moyen Age.

But wait! First I want to show Peter a building across the Seine next to the Petit Pont Cafe`.
Millions of visitors dawdle past this very special but unnoticed structure, number 39 rue de la Bucherie. I've read two slightly different versions of the name 'bucherie': One book says it's a storehouse for wood, the other says it's name comes from the medieval harbour where the logs of wood (buches) were off-loaded.`

Anyway, rue Bucherie runs parallel to Quai Montebello, past Square Rene` Viviani and Shakespeare & Co., at no.37.
The little building, number 39, is architecturally interesting for several reasons.
Built in the early 16th Century, a small two storey wooden structure, the kind that was typical about 500 years ago and can still be seen in towns like Conques, Southern France or Riquewihr in Alsace.
The building called Le Petit Chatelet once served as an inn and was hidden from sight for most of it's long history It has survived whereas almost no wooden structures in Paris have.

We look at the large dormer windows that jut out from the steep roofline and the smaller windows on the attic floor above. On the exposed righthand side of the building you can see coming out from the exterior wall, the ends of beams used in it's construction hundreds of years ago. These are the wooden joists, half of which one sometimes sees as exposed rafters in a ceiling.
Looking at the buildings left side we can see one of only three open staircases (escalier a` claire voie) left in Paris. This was the typical staircase of the 16th C., and was replaced in the 17th C., by the closed corkscrew staircases ( escalir a` vis).
So next time you are strolling past Les Bouquinistes, look across and admire ' the 'ol gal' who's seen more happenings in Paris than all of us put together!

Before going in we get a coffee at Starbucks on the corner and go and sit in the Cluny museum gardens. We did not feel like eating our baguettes at breakfast so wrapped them up and brought them along. This is such a lovely spot and we enjoy the birds as well.
I have been to this museum once many trips ago but Peter has not and I must admit this visit was far different to the one I experienced.
First of all I've done a lot more research into what I found interesting - you just can't take it all in so every other trip to Paris might be a good time to see more. They change the exhibits all the time anyway so there is always something new.

Everyone heads for The Lady and The Unicorn tapestry, and the Kings Gallery. In the latter 21 of 28 stone carved heads of The Merovingian Kings are displayed. Here again I find two conflicting reports:
One book says they turned up in 1977 during excavations underneath a bank in the 9th Arr.
The other guide book says they were found buried in a basement of an apartment house in the 17th Arr.

We spend two wonderful hours looking at the rare objects and even got treated to a rehearsal by a choir.
Leaving the museum we make for our new home, The Hotel Eldorado in the 17th.

The bus trip is a cinch and we find Rue des Dames is on a downhill slant from the bus route.
Our room is through the courtyard and in an annexe of the hotel. Up the narrow winding stairs to the first floor we are put into room 3. The room couldn't be more different to our last one at Hotel Hospitel!
Bits 'n bobs of an arty nature decorate the room. Looking out of the window we have a lovely view of the courtyard and find it's to become even lovlier once night falls.

Next- Foot Patrol into the 17th!
tod is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 08:24 AM
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Glad to hear your report on Au Bougnat - yet, this was one of my choices for the GTG. I think Perraudin was perfect too!

monicapileggi is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 10:18 AM
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Thanks Monica - I think it's nice for a casual dinner and would certainly seat the number of people at our GTG. It was nice having the two tables next to each other at Perraudin though. Maybe give it a try next trip?
tod is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 07:49 AM
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After a quick freshen up in our new hotel, we are off down Rue Des Dames. The Hotel Eldorado is near the Avenue de Clichy end of rue des Dames and I suppose you can say at the top of the hill. We head all the way down walking towards Rue de Levis soaking up our new neighborhood.

At the bottom on a corner is one of the largest Monoprix's I've ever seen. It takes up a big chunk of the corner and is a foodstore, then it carries on over the road and houses clothes, toiletries and the like.
I dash into the foodstore first and imagine what it would be like shopping here everyday. Crossing Rue de Levis I enter the clothing section and remember to find a new shower cap. I must have left my other one behind at the Hotel Ibis and its such a nuisance trying not to get my hair wet.


What a fabulous market street! It's late afternoon and there a numerous people probably making their way home with their bags of shopping. The colourful food displays are just begging to be photographed. There are sections with clothing out on rails, fabics out on the road in front of the shop, flowers and plants and far too much to absorb in one visit.

My Thirza Vallois guide on the 13th-20th Arr., reveals that Rue de Levis is one of the most ancient routes of the arrondissement, believed to date back to Roman days, when it led in a straight line to Clichy.
After the Romans left it was abandoned and not used again until Medieval times, then a dirt road winding its way through the thick forest of Rouvray which covered practically the whole area.
The interesting thing is, THIS was the road taken by Jeanne d'Arc and her army of 12,000 men in 1429 when, following the coronation of Charles VII in Reims, she headed for the gate of Saint-Honore`, hoping to take Paris.

I did a print our of a restaurant I found on the internet called Au Petit Chavignol, 78 re de Tocqueville, 17eme.
They professed to serve the 'real' Salade Rouergate.
We strolled along from rue de Levis until we found this unobtrusive little bistro with it's faded awning and chairs & tables out on the sidewalk.


We are greeted warmly by a nice young waiter who brings us our drinks outside. While we peruse the menu he teaches us how to pronounce the word 'rouergate' - I do quite well with the pronunciation, getting the air trapped between my pallet and tongue, and trying to clear my throat at the same time as saying the word! Yeah, it's complicated!

We are seated inside for dinner and start with sharing this 'rrrrrooooorrrrrggggaaarrrttt' salade.
To be honest, I didn't see much difference between it and my Salade Boyarde at Chez Papa only this time they put a softly fried egg on top.
My main course was Cuisse Canard, which was Ok but not great.
Peter went for Filet de Dorade. It wasn't dorado as we know it but rather a softer white fish. I chose a 25cl Chateau Bibian to go with my duck - Peter a Heineken.
The total bill was 72.40 including a Kir Royale & beer on the terrace. Can't say it was memorable especially at the price.

Here are some photos

Tomorrow, our last day in Paris with a lovely walk through Square des Batignolles.
tod is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 09:10 AM
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Tod, rue de Levis was my first market street and that Monoprix was my first Monoprix. I lived on rue Dulong, just two streets over, for 2 years. But I never thought of that store as a particularly large Monoprix. On your next visit, I will direct you to some really impressive ones, if you want.

Yes, I always loved rue de Levis.
kerouac is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 09:24 AM
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Funny, people here frequently argue against moving hotels mid-trip but it seems to work very well for you and Peter. Maybe the two weeks in Ireland relaxed you sufficiently. (Trying desperately to find a reason why I'm so lazy and you're so energetic.)
Leely2 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 09:54 AM
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Hi Kerouac & Leely2 -
About Monoprix: I see them all over Paris as do we all, but they seem to be just big enough for the immediate neighborhood. This one, I'm pretty sure, had a front and back entrance. Not sure now if that was the food store or the other, but I went in search of everything!
I think I am totally overwhelmed with shelf upon shelf of unrecognisable products. The food store was incredible - as a matter of fact thinking back now, that's where I photographed the duck breasts & cheese. Oh, if only we had that here in just ONE of my 4 big supermarket chains in my city. We have a Super SPAR, a Pick 'n Pay, A Shoprite/Checkers, and the one I shop at for most food stuffs, Woolworths.
We can get French goats cheese in various forms, but NOTHING like the little mounds they offer in the cheese shops in Paris!

Moving around is all very well Leely but I mostly started doing that when I travelled alone and met up with folks.
I seem to have perpetuated the theme somewhere along the road.
We both now feel we are ready for an apartment or just maybe two hotels?! You know what they say - they mind is willing, but the flesh is weak!'
tod is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 10:06 AM
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Sorry - I did mean THE mind is willing.........
tod is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 06:52 AM
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We spent a comfortable first night at this quirky & somewhat bohemian hotel. There are no modern touches here. The room is furnished with a mishmash of odd lamps, lights and pictures.
Hanging from the ceiling in the centre of the room is a twisty metalic lightpiece - not ununattractive I might add.
Above our beds in the centre - the only reading light. It was a cute bunch of highly coloured glass grapes but so dim you wouldn't even attempt a few lines of your travelguide.

Across the room in one corner a large old fashioned wooden wardrobe - the kind my grandmother had in her house and which I am told was brought over from Scotland by ship. In the other a little table and fancy chairs.
The wooden floorboards creaked unmercifully everytime you crossed the room. A sisal or grasslike ropey carpet was unfortunately very threadbare just where the bathroom door and the bedroom meet. In fact I thought it could become darnright dangerous and catch onto your feet if you weren't looking. Being launched into the handbasin would certainly have woken up anyone half asleep!

As I sat leaning on the windowsill watching the crowds below in the courtyard, I noticed the tie-back on the curtains was handbeaded in beautiful black glass beads. So personal were the furnishings in this room.
Across this lovely fairylike Garden of Eden was the building of the main hotel. A balcony ran along some of the building and had tables and chairs on it. This I was told is room 8 if you want your own little patio.

In the morning I get up first and go downstairs to the dininroom - which also happens to be the Bistro des Dames by night, and grab a coffee. When Peter joins me, and has had a cup as well, we start off for the Square des Batignolles.
Down rue des Dames and into rue des Batignolles. This was the street of Edouard Manet throughout his career. Like Renoir, he kept his home seperated from his studio.

Straight ahead is the little white provincial church of Sainte-Marie, so called because of the bronze statue of Virgin & Child unearthed here. The church was built in 1828 but unforunately the stauette was stolen in 1888 and never found.
A new Mary now radiates down from above the alter and is particularly beautiful in rays of sunlight.
In front of the church are some cafe`s, a florist, among other buildings, surrounding this cresent with it's benches under the shady trees.

We go inside the church and are quite taken with the lovely interior. Much more beautiful than one would imagine in this simple building.
Square Batignolles is much grander than a mere Square. I rather like to call it a park.
The main pathway meanders through green lawns (untrimmed for sometime) trees and little flowerbeds.
The pond has the most beautiful ducks I've ever seen. So colourful as they attend to their feathers or just stand on the grass waiting to be captured on camera. A magnificent black swan emerges and swims into the sunlight.
We sit on a bench for a while and watch the nannies with the children. It seems they also find this a good time to catch up on the latest " nanny" gossip as the little ones enjoy themselves.

The morning has flown by and by not having had any real breakfast we are ready to make our way to a highly recommended and favourite of mine, Le Bistrot du Pentre, 116 Ave Ledru-Rollin, in the 11th.
Last year we arrived here to find it closed for renovations and were relieved to find it back in business.

Seated outside because it's such a wonderful sunny day we order my favourite Leffe beer and a coke.
Here there is no English menu. The blackboard gives the daily specials but quite frankly we are more than slightly mistified by the description of what's on offer.
With a bit of help, we finally decide. Peter will have the Lasagnes d'Aubergines and I order what I thought was lamb chops.
The food looks lovely and Peter takes a quick photo.
One bite and I know this is not lamb meat but lamb liver!
Oh well, I like that too so all is not lost.
When we pay the bill the headwaiter/manager/owner - I don't really know - does not want us to have the cashslip printout.
No, we can't have it! Then, he actually asks what we want it for?! 'For a rememberance' I tell him. Oh, in that case he'll make me a duplicate, and that's what I've got here - Duplicata Note! Never experienced something like that before.

It's been years and years of longing to see the magnificent Cirque d'Hiver but never finds enough time on my long list of 'must sees' in Paris. Well now it's time!
A bus back to Bastille and we decide to go in search of another Fodorite, ggnga or Glenda. Travgina & I met her at a small GTG in 2006? & Peter & I in 2008.
I go to Passage du Chantier and have no luck there. Walking up Rue du Faubourg St Antoine we head for Okey, restaurant Italiene recommended as a good inexpensive place to eat by Glenda. I have kept the Okey business card she gave me ever we had dinner at L'Insulaire.
I find it and approach a young woman busy dusting and wiping down the surfaces. With a little English here and there I take it she does not know if Glenda is still in Paris. It was a longshot but I was guessing when someone stays in Paris for any length of time, you tend to go to the same places quite often.
On the way down again I find a shop with dishtowels stacked up on the sidewalk - they are the best I've seen in ages and even though our cases are about to split I get 12 for 10euros.

We find another couple of buses and eventually get off near rue Oberkampf.
I am more than pleased to see the beautifully maintained round building of Cirque d'Hiver. It's closed of course, but we spend a good long while admiring the decorative frescos around the walls.
I remember reading somewhere that Hemmingway would come here to box a few rounds with his friends and where young Maurice Chevalier began to dream about going on the stage. He would buy a cheap 'standing room only' ticket and after the performance go to the stage door on rue Crussol where his favourite performers would come out in ordinary street clothes. He and his friends would then follow them on foot, thrilled to be near them, until they entered a little tavern where they went to eat after their show.
Next door is the Clown Bar and we thought we may have a drink here but as we enter a middle-aged man comes over and says they are closing. We ask permission to take photos and he says 'yes, but not of this side of the room'. Well, that's the only part worth a photo ( clown drawings )so we sadly leave.

What to do with this gloriously hot sunny afternoon? "Did you say you've been to Pere Lachaise"? Peter asks me.
"No, I've never been but always wanted to". - He says "C'mon let's go!"

All the advice Fodorites have given is 'start at the top, and work down'. I forget this good advice and we jump off the metro at Pere Lachaise stop.
Here to my relief is an icecream vendor with a good measure of people lining up to get something icy cold in the late afternoon heat. He is generous with his scoop - so generous in fact it's three times the size of anything offered by icecream parlours on L'Ile St Louis!
The young lady standing nearby selling maps tells us to walk down to the main entrance which will give us enough time to finish our icecreams. No eating inside the gates is permissable due to people resorting on having full-on picnics. This is disrespectful to the funerals taking place everyday, she tells us.

Oh dear, I realise we are in for a mountain of a climb and it's fiercly hot.
What do we want to see? We only have an hour before the cemetery closes some other visitors tell us, so it's a rush to find Abelard & Eloise ( under renovation), then Edith Piaf.
Lots more I would like to have stumbled across but after negotiating little steps leading onto terrace after terrace we pass through The Columbarium where Isadore Duncan's ashes are kept and leave this enormous place of unusual sculptures and tombs.

We wander down rue des Dames after catching a bus home and decide on one last Chinese dinner.
The inviting lights of Sinotak, 39 rue des Dames, beckons us inside.
They have a set menu which gives you a bit of everything from mini sprigrolls to a main dish like boeuf aux oignons.
I get a Cotes du Rhone instead of Chines beer which Peter is having.
The food is gorgeous and we are pleased we chose to come here. The service is very friendly and we feel most welcome.
I also noted the spic 'n span interior especially the toilettes.
Time to pack - the bill comes to 42.80 and the hostess gives me two sets of chopsticks as a souvenir.

As we stroll slowly up to the Eldorado we peek in at an open cafe` window where a young girl strumming a guitar.
The Bistrot des Dames is packed as it was the night before.
We pass between the tables in the courtyard full of merry people having drinks and dinner.

The fairylights strung from tree to tree, through tall bamboo and back again give an atmosphere nearer a tropical island than somewhere in Paris.
Peter packs - I stare down out the window at the people below.
Finally, time to put the light out but I don't want to shut the windows - I want to go to sleep with the sounds of conversation interjected now and then by a high giggly laugh!

Before I fall asleep I'm already planning our next rendevous in Paris..............the city who truly has my heart.


Next: Ending our three weeks holiday with a lovely day in Munich
tod is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 10:01 AM
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Tod, you remind me how much I enjoyed my two years living at Batignolles. On of my favorite things every morning was going to metro Rome, where there is a spectacular view of Sacré Coeur at the end of the boulevard.
kerouac is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 11:05 AM
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I really liked the Batignolles neighborhood also. I stayed in an apartment there for two weeks. Totally agree about the beautiful ducks in the Square des Batignolles.
Nikki is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 11:38 AM
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We will not, however, mention what goes on in the Square des Batignolles in the middle of the night (yes, they have to climb over the fence to do it).
kerouac is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 10:40 PM
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Thanks for the tip on the Rome metro Kerouac! We never took a metro from there as by now we had decided buses were the mode of transport we LOVED! I will most definitely take a walk to that metro next time - maybe as soon as next year.

I'm a bit surprised by Sq Batignolles being a naughty place by night! I saw lots of evidence of the goings on in the Bois de Boulogne when I was forced to go behind a clump of bushes to spend a penny. Everything the guide books tell you is true!

Nikki - Could you be so kind as to give me the link for that apartment.
tod is offline  
Jun 27th, 2009, 09:36 AM
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Nikki: Thanks a ton!

We left in the morning and took a bus to Gare de L'Est to catch the TGV to Stuttghart, changing to the ICE for our onward journey to Munich.
I have posted photos under a new heading -

MUNICH FOR A DAY - How we had the best time!
tod is offline  
Jun 28th, 2009, 06:16 AM
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Hey tod - Really enjoyed your trip report! I am finally able to be writing my 'first visit to Paris' type report, and I am inspired by your repeat visits. I love your observations and pace.
Canada_V is offline  

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