Paris Journals

The City of Lights

A May 2004 trip to Paris by Laalasa

Centre Pompidou Photo, Paris, France More Photos
Quote: Always say, "Bonjour," go in the off-season, buy a museum pass, check the attraction's times and take advantage of late/early hours, ask for a carafe of water, and use cabs only during off-peak hours for short distances.

Angelina

Restaurant

Quote:
Angelina's is a grand old tearoom renowned for its hot chocolate. The house special, Chocolat Africain, is divine-liquid fudge, but not sickeningly sweet. However, one rich cup of this is more than enough (one order has two cups), and it was the best hot chocolate we had so far.

Another Angelina specialty, Mont Blanc, prepared with chestnut paste, sugar, milk, and butter, looks like a muffin, but tastes out of this world.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

Angelina
226 rue de Rivoli
Paris, France 75001
01 42 60 82 00

Laduree

Restaurant

Quote:
On Champs Elysees, do stop for some macaroons at Laduree, a well-established and long-standing bakery and restaurant. These macaroons are nothing like the lumps of coconut-something available in the United States, but heavenly melt-in-your-mouth concoctions of soft cookies held together by flavored cream. Although most bakeries in Paris make these macaroons, it is generally accepted that Laduree makes them the best. The original Laduree on Rue Royale (16 Rue Royale, 75001 ) off Place de la Concorde offers a breakfast buffet, which is outstanding, BUT when we were there, none of the staff understood even rudimentary English. Since we couldn't figure out how the breakfast buffet worked (you never...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

Laduree
75, Avenue Des Champs-elysées
Paris 75008
+33 1 40 75 08 75

Goumard-Prunier

Restaurant

Quote:
The decor was grand (all lighting by Lalique), bathrooms listed as historic monuments(!), the service was impeccable (in service since 1872), and the drinks were superb, but the food was saw dust (was the chef having a bad day?).

Maybe we were there at a bad time or ordered the wrong dishes, and I feel bad putting down one of Paris's bastions of fine dining, but the only thing we liked was PART of ONE appetizer. We had the full range: appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts (come on -- how did they get a dessert in Paris wrong??), and I don't think it was a fluke that none of them impressed us.

http://www.goumard.com/page5.html

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

Goumard-Prunier
9, rue Duphot
Paris, France 75001
+33 1 42 60 36 07

Fauchon

Restaurant

Quote:

Check out Fauchon and Hediard, both gourmet grocery and food stores, behind La Madeleine. The desserts in Fauchon are to die for. Seriously, if you have a sweet tooth and happen to be in Paris, it is absolutely worth the trip. If not, it has three branches in New York City, which fly in all the ingredients (including water!) from France several times a week.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

Fauchon
42, place du marché Saint-Honoré
Paris, France 75001

Gerard Mulot

Restaurant

Quote:
This is a must if you are in the Latin Quarter. Gerard Mulot is considered one of the best bakeries in Paris, and the desserts are little mounds of perfection.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

Gerard Mulot
76 Rue de Seine
Paris, France 75006
33 01 46 33 49 27

Arc de Triomphe

Attraction

Arc de Triomphe Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by Napolean in 1806 to commemorate all his victories. It is nearly 50 meters tall and has 12 streets radiating from around it, where traffic follows the law of the jungle.

At the base is the Grave of the Unknown Soldier, symbolizing the millions of soldiers who died in World War I.

There is an elevator, but it was closed when we were there. The stairs are an endless spiral, but eventually you'll get there. The view from the top gives you some idea of how big Paris is. In every direction, stretching into the horizon, is the endless city, with over 2,000 years of history.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

Arc de Triomphe
Place Charles-de-gaulle
Paris, France 75008
+33 (1) 55 37 73 77

Quote:
Our Paris walkathon started with the Place de la Concorde. During the French Revolution, this 20-acre cobblestone square was where they set up the guillotine and beheaded thousands, including King Louis XVI and Marie-Antionette (she of let-them-eat-cake fame).

For a sheer sense of open space in the middle of a bustling megapolis, from the Obelisk of Luxor, a pink granite monolith in the center, you can see a mile up the Champs-Elysees and a mile through the Jardin des Tuileries to the Musee du Louvre. La Madeline is a half-mile away on Rue Royale, and the Assemblée Nationale is another half-mile across the river Seine.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

Place de la Concorde
Avenue Gabriel
Paris, France 75008
Aucun téléphone disp

Eiffel Tower

Attraction

Eiffel Tower Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
The Eiffel Tower is open from early in the morning to midnight -- if you can, do take advantage of the late hours to beat the crowds. There are stairs to the first and second levels and elevators to all three levels.

The top level, at 280 meters, offers spectacular views of the area for miles, with panorama indicators of the landmarks and viewpoint indicators of distances to various major cities around the world. The first and second floors have several exhibits, restaurants, souvenir shops, restrooms, telephones, and even Internet stations.

Note: The museum pass does not cover the Eiffel Tower.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

Eiffel Tower
Champ De Mars
Paris 75007

Place Vendôme

Attraction | "Place Vendome"

Quote:
Place Vendome has the Paris Ritz and numerous high-end jewelers and watchmakers.

The Ministry of Justice occupies other buildings in the ‘square’ -- which is actually octagonal in shape -- and dates back to the early 1700s.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

Place Vendôme
rue de la Paix
Paris, France 75001
Aucun téléphone disp

Centre Pompidou

Attraction | "Center Pompidou"

Centre Pompidou Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
The National Museum of Modern Art occupies three floors of the Center Pompidou. The top floor has the restaurant, Georges. There are also cafes on levels one and two. The ground floor is a hub of activity, with a post office, cloak rooms, ATMs, public telephones, restrooms.... Completed in 1978, the building was built ‘inside-out.’ All the plumbing, HVAC, water mains, elevators, and escalators were built outside and color-coded, making it look like a futuristic building from a science fiction movie. Unverified tip: There is an elevator to the left of the main entrance to access the restaurant Georges. Might help skipping the lines to the museum, but you've gotta look super-cool and de...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

Centre Pompidou
Place Georges Pompidou
Paris 75004
+33 (1) 44 78 12 33

Sainte-Chapelle

Attraction | "Saint Chapelle"

Sainte-Chapelle Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Saint Chappell is situated in the Palais du Justice complex on Ile de la Cite. After a five-minute queue for security check (note: lines to St. Chappell and Palais du Justice are different, and the latter tends to be shorter, but once inside, both merge), we were in. The chapel itself is small and is passed on by tourists heading across to Notre Dame. It was built around 1245 AD to house, among other things, Christ’s Crown of Thorns, and is celebrated for its stained glass windows. When you remind yourself that they are not merely sheets of painted glass, but thousands of pieces of different-colored glass cut into shapes and fitted into lead strips, it will make you truly appreciate the amount ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

Sainte-Chapelle
4 boulevard du Palais
Paris, France 75001
+33 (1) 5340 6080

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

Attraction | "Cathedral of Notre Dame"

Cathédrale Notre-Dame Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
After the views from the Arc de Triumph and Eiffel Tower, the views from atop Notre Dame weren’t that impressive. The famed gargoyles were eroded and not that fearsome either.

Walk to the back of the cathedral for the best views of Notre Dame, the Seine River, and a peaceful little garden.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

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

Musée du Louvre

Attraction | "Musee du Louvre"

Musée du Louvre Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Louvre - spread over a 100 acres, with 300,000 pieces of art, the building started as a fortress in 1190 AD. With 15 acres of exhibit rooms, it is the biggest museum in the world, displaying art from antiquities to the 19th century. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays and so stays open till 9:45pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. There was no queue since it was around 6pm, and we breezed right in. We saw some of the musts: Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, Cupid and the Swan, and of course, the Mona Lisa. The crown jewels section was closed, which was disappointing. The Louvre website lists the galleries and the days they are open, so check that out if you want to see something specific. Unverifi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

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

Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles) Photo, Versailles, France
Quote:
Versailles, with its 700 rooms and 26 acres of roof, is gargantuan, and this is not including the Grand and Petit trianons. Add 2000 acres of grounds, 200,000+ trees, and 50 fountains, and even then, the scale is hard to grasp.

Versailles is a whole day trip -- trying to do it in half a day might leave you feeling you missed out.

Tip: This is one place where you will kiss your museum pass. There is actually a separate entrance for museum pass holders, and we walked right past the long line stretching to the gate and beyond.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2004

Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles)
20 Km Sw Of Paris
Versailles, France
01 30 83 78 00