Paris Journals

Paris in the Springtime

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A March 2000 trip to Paris by phileasfogg

Quote: Paris, said friends, is pretty- but the people are unfriendly, they don't speak English. The weather's awful, tap water's unsafe- and lots more. Just 4 days, and we discovered to the contrary...

Paris in the Springtime

Overview

Quote:
Going on a river cruise down the Seine; seeing the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo in the flesh (or the stone, canvas, whatever); eating a no-frills (but extremely delicious) meal at a local cafe which was jam-packed with French workmen; strolling down the Champs-Elysees at night. And too many more experiences to actually list- Paris is, and will always remain, one of the most memorable cities I've ever visited.Quick Tips: For those who don't know French: learn two words: `Excusez moi'before you go. It's a very handy little phrase if you're looking for help, asking for directions, and so on. `Excusez moi'- and then, when whoever you're talking to looks glad that you're trying to use their lan...Read More

Avalon Hotel (Hotel Londres & Anvers)

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Hotel | "Hotel de Londres et D'Anvers"

Quote:
The Londres et D'Anvers is one of the many small, unpretentious hotels which line the streets around the Gare du Nord. A friendly and fairly comfortable 2-star hotel, it's a good budget option- and the best thing about it is its location- within 2 minutes' walk from one of Paris' biggest train stations- particularly good as we'd travelled here through the Chunnel from London- all we had to do was walk down from the train station to the hotel- very convenient! We'd booked a double room- fortunately enough we were given one on the 4th floor (fortunate, because the lift doesn't go beyond the 5th floor). A small room overlooking the street, it had a rather cramped bed, but with the deepest, softest mat...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 17, 2002

Avalon Hotel (Hotel Londres & Anvers)
133, Boulevard Magenta (opposite Gare Du Nord)
Paris, France
412 60 15 62

Bertholli

Restaurant

Quote:
Bertholli's makes the most luscious ice cream this side of paradise. If you're walking down the Champs-Elysees (another activity I'd recommend), you mustn't miss out on this treat. The Bertholli ice cream parlour is on the left, looking down the Champs-Elysees towards l'Arc du Triomphe, and though the stuff's somewhat expensive, it's absolutely divine. There isn't any place to sit, so you'll have to take your ice cream cone and walk out, but that's fine- the Champs-Elysees is great, anyway! Recommended flavour: Creole ice cream- a lovely coconut, pineapple and rum flavour. So completely luscious that it can be addictive.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 17, 2002

Bertholli
Champs-Elysees
Paris, France

Paris Cafes

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Restaurant | "The Cafes of Paris"

Quote:
Our Paris budget was too meagre to be even called shoestring- but one temptation we succumbed to was that of the cafés. I mean, we couldn’t go to Paris and not eat at a café, could we? They stand along every street, usually spilling onto the street itself, with neat little tables covered with checked tablecloths; a tantalising aroma of coffee and freshly baked bread; a warm and very inviting friendliness, and the most stunning of food. We’d been told by everybody we’d asked that the cafés to look out for were the ones which had Parisians in them, not tourists- and the result of that was some of the best dining experiences ever. Not Michelin, but good, wholesome food which was utterly delectable...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 21, 2002

Paris Cafes
Throughout Paris
Paris, France

Musee d'Orsay

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Attraction

Quote:
Outside it, the Musée D’Orsay has five female figures carved from stone, representing the continents- Asia, Africa, Oceania, the Americas and Europe. Quite good. Inside, it looks almost exactly like what it is- a railway station, although it’s been spruced up and decorated a bit (there’s carving along the ceiling, and there’s a huge gilded clock at the main entrance). The collection inside is large, almost overbearingly so, and good. It's also very varied- there's exquisite sculpture (there’s a lot of stuff by Rodin, and even a piece by Sarah Bernhardt- I thought she was just an actress); furniture (some beautiful carved wooden cabinets, chairs, etc), tapestry, utensils, glassware, ceramics, pa...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 17, 2002

Musee d'Orsay
62, Rue De Lille
Paris, France 75343
+33 (1) 4049-4994

Musée du Vin

Attraction | "Musee du Vin"

Quote:
The Musee du Vin is in the old 14th century wine cellar of the Abbey of Passy (like all monastic establishments, these guys too decided wine-making was a good way of serving the Lord). Somewhat dimly-lit collection which lies spread out across a convoluted maze-like corridor, which is pretty narrow and a bit of a problem if you run into a big group. Although all the signages and explanations are only in French, it’s all pretty interesting. The exhibits run the gamut of everything (and I mean everything!) connected to wine and wine-making. the equipment itself is a huge collection- there are wine presses, corkscrews, grape baskets (to store picked grapes), barrels, decanters, glasses, bottles of...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 17, 2002

Musée du Vin
rue des Eaux
Paris, France 75016
+33 1 45 25 63 26

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

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Attraction | "Cathedrale de Nôtre Dame de Paris"

Quote:
Standing beside the Seine, the imposing Cathedrale de Nôtre Dame de Paris (to give it its full name) is quite literally the centre of Paris - the city’s `zero kilometre’ stone is right outside the cathedral. Even otherwise, this beautiful old church is worth a visit - not just for its lovely architecture, but also for its history and the fact that it has a certain calm grandeur about it which manages to survive the hordes of tourists who descend upon it every day. Seen from the front, Nôtre Dame presents a façade of square twin steeples with a huge 12-mt diameter rose window between them. In front of the cathedral is a large bronze statue, green with age, of the emperor Charlemagne. Stand next...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 2, 2002

Cathédrale Notre-Dame
6, place du Parvis-de-Notre-Dame
Paris, France 75004
+33 (1) 42 34 56 10

Seine Boat Tours / Dinner Cruise

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Attraction | "Cruising down the Seine"

Quote:
780 km long, the Seine measures a mere 13 km in Paris - but that 13 km is truly amazing. The best of Paris - from nightlife to the arts, religion to commerce - line the banks of the river, and the 36 bridges which span it are a vital part of Paris. We hadn’t thought of booking ourselves a cruise down the Seine, but a trip to the Eiffel Tower, at the foot of which most cruises start, tempted us. Many river-cruise companies have set up shop here; and we bought tickets (50 francs each) from one called `Vedette de Paris’, for an hour’s cruise, passing below 21 of the 36 bridges. The cruise we took began at the ultimate in Paris’ sights, La Tour Eiffel itself. A quick glance up at the tower (which we’d...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 2, 2002

Seine Boat Tours / Dinner Cruise
Seine River
Paris, France

Basilica du Sacre Coeur

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Attraction | "Montmartre and Sacré Coeur"

Quote:
Someone- I don’t know who- described Le Basilique du Sacré Coeur as `divinity amidst profanity’- and really hit the nail on the head. Bang on! Looming incongruously over one of Paris’ loudest, most risqué localities, this is one church which manages to remain pretty aloof from it all. We visited Sacré Coeur and Montmartre on a sunny spring morning, beginning with a long- and very interesting- walk through Place Pigalle, the really raunchy district which sprawls below the church. Morning was, now that I come to think of it, probably the wrong time to visit Place Pigalle - I mean, this is the place for nightlife, so morning saw it pretty deserted. But a stroll down a cobbled paveme...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 6, 2002

Basilica du Sacre Coeur
35, Rue Du Chevalier-de-la-barre Rue De La Bonne
Paris, France 75018
+33 (1) 53 41 89 00

Musée du Louvre

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Attraction

Quote:
To come to Paris and not see the Musée du Louvre would probably have been the ultimate faux pas for art-and-history enthusiasts as devoted as us. So the Louvre it was- on the very first day we reached Paris. It was also the place our camera got stolen ( Big Tip : watch your belongings here!), which meant that our four-day trip in Paris ended up having no photographs at all. Anyway, despite the loss: the Louvre is worth a visit- and the experience starts right from the time you step off the train at the Palais Royale- the Metro station which is almost a wing of the Louvre in its own right, with amazing artifacts and sculpture, in carefully-labelled glass display cases down the length of pla...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 1, 2002

Musée du Louvre
99, rue de Rivoli
Paris, France 75001
+33 (1) 40 20 51 51

Les Invalides/L'Hôtel National des Invalides

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Attraction | "The Tomb of Bonaparte and Musée de L’Armée"

Quote:
Built in 1670 by Louis XIV, L’Hôtel des Invalides was actually built as a home for war veterans- especially those who had been wounded in battle (hence `invalides’); today this ornate golden-domed building houses two of Paris’ major sights: the Tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Musée de L’Armée. Entering des Invalides, we first went to Napoleon’s tomb- a fairly imposing structure housed in a (to me, at least) rather dingy hall. Set in red porphyry, laid on a slab of green granite and consisting of seven coffins set one inside the other, the tomb’s at the centre of the room, atop a high pedestal which stands in a well. All around the room- on its walls- are friezes depicting Napoleon’s many deeds...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 1, 2002

Les Invalides/L'Hôtel National des Invalides
Esplanade Des Invalides
Paris, France 75007
+33 1 44 42 37 70