Paris Journals

The "looking down" city - Ordinary Paris

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An October 2001 trip to Paris by travelprone

Cathédrale Notre-Dame Photo, Paris, France More Photos
Quote: Our week in Paris turned sour when we accidentally learned all public museum workers were on strike indefinitely. Already disappointed by discovering the rare second bathroom in our rental apartment we'd searched months for, was disabled and not repairable ,we were further depressed by our having to watch for dog-doo below everywhere we went - return of security deposits depend on leaving apartments clean. Already depressed as most Americans were by September 11th's horrors,we adapted to experiencing what "ordinary" Paris has to offer.French officials are now cracking down on dog owners who will be fined up to 1500 euros if they don't clean up their dogs' deposits. Hooray! Paris is too beautiful a city to allow this problem to go unchecked. There's so much to see looking up in it.

The "looking down" city - Ordinary Paris

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Overview

Paris for picnickers Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Salvaging our vacation despite obstacles, we daytripped to Versailles and Chartres. We never expect to see stained glass windows as beautiful as those at Chartres-incredible, vivid colors. Only some rooms were open at Versailles and we were surprised to see how much deterioration the interior exibits despite massive money the French government has spent there recently. The gardens even in fall are magnificent in expanse and views. We still saw the outside of the Louvre - grandiose - and the Eiffel Tower is much more massive than any photo indicates. Notre Dame is beautiful and the private Musee Marmatton is a delight for Monet lovers. And the Champs Elysses MCDonald's for lunch p...Read More

apartment in Montparnasse

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Hotel

Paris Apartment Photo, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Quote:
The apartment was informally furnished; the TV got only French channels. Fortunately in our down time, we watched James Bond movie tapes and read some English books, all on tap in the apartment,unusual, but suddenly important in an almost museumless Paris. We cooked all but the first night and ate by candlelight by choice. We learned to hang clothes on hangars to speed up inside drying and to regret that in limiting our search to apartments with two showers (rare in Paris), we had overlooked the need for a dryer in a rainy city. We had needlessly feared we wouldn't be near food stores; we did learn we had to check what days they closed as every store varied in policy. We came to like being in a le...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 13, 2001

Café Marly

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Restaurant | "Cafe Marly"

Café Marly Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Our lunch here got off to a bad start, as we first sat at an outdoor table that, according to our rather formal black pant, fancy white shirted waiter, was reserved although there was no sign to indicate it was. As we were moved to another table, by luck I struck up a conversation with the hostess who was escorting us. In excellent English she kindly informed me ALL public museums were closed indefinitely because the museum workers were on strike. But for her warning we would have proceeded to the Orsay after lunch, only to be disappointed again, as we had just been, when we had arrived at the Louvre and found it closed to visitors. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch of haricots verts salade, marvello...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 6, 2002

Café Marly
93 rue de Rivoli
Paris, France 75001
+33 (1) 49 26 06 60

Assanabel

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Restaurant

Assanabel Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Best fattayah and tabbouleh we've ever had (we have been fans of Lebanese food for over 30 years)! For first night a very pleasant surprise. The restaurant was very busy, but service was very good-leisurely but not prolonged. All our faves were on the menu; we chose ones we've cooked ourselves with less than ideal results. Wished we could snag the tabbouleh recipe. Decor here was a bit formal and there were a lot of groups celebrating special occasions, so it wasn't quiet. We were glad for the restaurant's menu left in our apartment which steered us to Assaabel on a rainy night as it was 6 blocks from our apartment. My husband and son both had Lebanese beer which they said was excellent. Also ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 6, 2002

Assanabel
6 Rue Alesia
Paris, France
01 42 79 87 00

McDonald''s

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Restaurant

McDonald''s Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Yes, I confess. We went to the McDonald’s on the Champs Elysees for lunch. Curiosity, as well as hunger, compelled us. The place was very busy, both levels of it, so I secured two stools at a counter off to the side of the first-floor ordering lines. We both decided to order vanilla shakes and their version of a croque monsieur. As I waited for my husband to return, I tried to recollect when I had last gone to a McDonald’s at home. Typical mother that I am, I recall years in terms of how old my son was at the time and realized that it had been 16 years--about that time when our teenager eschewed being seen with parents and was hardly ever home. The interior of this McDonald’s was much larger than...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 6, 2003

McDonald''s
Champs Elysees, 140
Paris, France
_33 01 5377 2106

Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles)

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Attraction | "Versailles"

Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles) Photo, Versailles, France
Quote:
At the risk of noting the obvious, Versailles, like the Louvre, is colossal, ornate, and intimidating, which it was meant to be in order to keep all of le roi soliel's courtiers in line, not plotting, but distracted by fun & games. The sheer size of this place, not only the interiors but the exteriors (extensive panorama of gardens stretching as far as eye can see), would and do make a person feel very small. Leaving Denfert-Rochereau RER station, we hoped Versailles would be open. When we arrived and walked from the station and turned left, there it was - a tremendous hulk behind golden gates. After 10 minutes of searching for a ticket place, we found one and learned we were in luck for ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 2, 2002

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

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

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Attraction | "Notre Dame Cathedral"

Cathédrale Notre-Dame Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
I love Gothic and Notre Dame is the epitome of it. The stained glass windows are the main attraction, especially the rose windows, but Gothic is more than just stained glass. What interested me most after looking awestruck at the windows was the marvelous carved woodwork and the historical relics of past clerics who were associated with the illustrious cathedral. Even this marvel was assaulted by overzealous revolutionaries and then seriously neglected during the first half of the 19th century. How could they? We need to be reminded that, indeed, many sites like this and the Parthenon in Athens, have at times not been treasured but abused and used for mundane purposes like sheltering animals,as No...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 18, 2001

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

Marché Daguerre

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Attraction | "Marche Daguerre"

Marché Daguerre Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
On Sunday, when many of the shops were closed, we found shopping in the Marche Daguerre a godsend, as, like the Parisians, we shopped each day, limited by what we three could carry back to our apartment. The upside of this necessary limitation was we enjoyed fresh food. In our apartment former renters had left several bags in which to tote our purchases- a real plus. We made sure we did the same before our departure. The Marche Daguerre was full of several stalls full of outstanding produce at very reasonable prices. My chef husband was able to pick out all the accompaniments to our Veal Orloff which we had previously gotten at the triperie. We also secured some wine and some beautiful flowers t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 18, 2002

Marché Daguerre
Rue Daguerre at Ave. du General Leclerc
Paris, France

Eiffel Tower

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Attraction

Eiffel Tower Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Yes, the symbol of Paris. We've all seen umpteenth pictures of it; many of us cannot (or refuse) to believe that , when it was first completed, it was criticized as ugly, not fitting to adorn the city of light, not French. It was meant to be temporary for the Exhibition of 1889. It was not torn down because it was seen as useful as a radio and telegraph broadcasting installation! What I will remember most was my astonishment at how huge it is. Photos do not capture this most important characteristic of the tower; it dwarfs everything and everyone around it. It defies the photographer to capture its immense solidity. It dominates by the sheer force of size. As my husband has a fear of heig...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 18, 2002

Eiffel Tower
Champ De Mars
Paris 75007

Musée Marmottan Monet

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Attraction | "If you love Monet . . .Marmottan Museum"

Musée Marmottan Monet Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Wooden floored, white walled, aesthetically spare, in the Monet section; in the Marmottan, very Napoleonic & ornate - a definite contrast. We were most enthralled by the Monet; we were also grateful it was open, as it is a private museum. There was a line to get in at opening time, as other museum-starved tourists joined us in this somewhat out-of-the-way location, a lovely area near the Champs Elysses which we explored afterwards. It's a must for Monet lovers because it has examples from most periods of his long life. A treat! I should explain this is really 2 museums in one; the Marmottan section is devoted to Napoleanic era treasures ; I'm an ardent lover of Monet so I emphasize seeing that c...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 22, 2002

Musée Marmottan Monet
2, rue Louis-Boilly
Paris, France 75016
+33 1 44 96 50 33

Chartres Cathedral/Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres

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Attraction | "Chartres Cathedral"

Chartres Cathedral/Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres Photo, Chartres, France
Quote:
We saw Chartres Cathedral after we had seen Notre-Dame-de-Paris and,although Notre Dame's stained glass is marvellous,to us those of Chartres are miraculous.Modern-day experts in the art of stained-glass can't determine conclusively how "they" did it- the "they" being "ordinary" craftsmen of medieval Chartres. Chartres was an easy day trip for us from Paris via Gare Montparnasse, as we were so close to the RER at Denfert-Rochereau. To describe the indescribable is difficult; the wondrous colors of Chartres' windows must truly be seen to be appreciated; the most expert photographs of them do not do justice to their glorious impact on their viewers. My expectations were high; therefore, I braced ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 25, 2002

Chartres Cathedral/Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres
Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres
Chartres, France

Not all bad-ordinary Paris

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Story/Tip

Paris Butcher Shop Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Despite an inoperative shower in our apartment, and intermittent rain that made clothes drying on a rack outside impossible, we discovered the exquisite pastry and real bread at our local boulangerie and a butcher who was expert at preparing veal orloff for us. On our walks, we discovered benches in mini-parks throughout the city that helped us maintain our stamina. Our kitchen was equipped for culinary success and stores abounded in the neighborhood so we could carry a tolerable load. It was pleasant to live for a week in an apartment. With most of the museums and tourist sites closed , if we had been staying in a hotel we would not have experienced the "ordinary" Paris of shopping at small b...Read More

Next time, we'll be

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Story/Tip

Paris - 11th Arrondissement Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Next time, we'll try for a small hotel in the 11th arrondissement. We explored the area around the Bastille and found it exciting -- filled with quaint little alleys and posters everywhere for off-beat concerts. It's an area in transition with evidence of cranes for reconstruction everywhere. Ethnically diverse and filled with young people, the area seemed to be filled with cafes where everyone seemed to be people watching. People, not dogs, seemed to reign here. The Opera House gleamed as people streamed in and out of what was a busy place. An ambiance of revival prevailed. Paris is old, but,like other great cities, it is also embracing the future and renewing itself in the 11th. Others may ...Read More

Apartment Search on the Net -Tips

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Story/Tip

In Paris neighborhood stores can provide you Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Having literally spent two months searching for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom rental apartment for the three of us on our Paris jaunt, I not only learned by doing to search the net but also formed some definite judgments on what to look for in a site to make the search less frustrating than it was for me. First of all, search early and NEVER try to book in August; replies to your availability inquiries will dribble in or not materialize. Better yet, prioritize- look first for sites by owner direct which have a recently updated availability calendar and e-mail address to owner. These direct from owner sites will usually be cheaper, often smaller, and a bit riskier, some contend, but I prefer them ...Read More

Some Useful URL's for Paris Rentals

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Story/Tip

Throughout Paris plaques identify and give the  Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
If you are looking for an unusual or economical apartment,you can get exhausted quickly. I'd like to share some URL's of sites I found especially commendable as web sites with clear description,pictures, variety of areas and navigational ease. Since I didn't book with them,I can neither recommend them or make comments about their actual booking procedures.First of all, there's a useful list by Locaflat,one of the biggest apartment agencies in Paris. You access it by using Google Search for "france apartment." It's NOT available at www.localflat.com. Here are the URL's of sites I found the most "together." NYHabitat.com. This site offers lots of apartments in varied sizes with various amenities.It...Read More

Metro Pickpocket?

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Story/Tip

The Arc de Triumphe- erected to celebrate victory- Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Maybe I'm naive,over-confident or just too plainly American,but,when I travel,I keep my Le Sac compartments unzippered for quick draws-map,guidebook pages,reading/sun glasses,just as I do at home. As it is,I'm burdened with neck pouch and waist wallet,at which my hubby and son laugh or just merely chuckle(if they're being kind). Having been to Europe three times,I also "almost always" carry my shoulder purse bandolier-style, across my bosom,and,long ago,discarded my fanny packs-too sophisticated for 'em. My Le sac's only valuable contents are my prescription glasses, but I've been too blase to consider how I would cope if I lost them while I was in a foreign country. But, an incident in the Paris Metr...Read More