Wow, has Paris changed in the past 25 years! However it is still beautiful!
We walked most of time, although we metro'ed to the part of town we wanted to walk in. We stayed in the Quartier Latin at the Hotel Vendome St. Germaine on Rue D'Arras. I highly recommend it, and the location. We had access to the metro (a quiet station, that linked to the major lines), a Pastisserie, Brasseries, and some great pubs!
We were also introduced to the Maubion area by NATHY-PARIS and her friends. There were some terrifice restaurants an d pubs there too!
One we went back to was Frog and Princess on Rue Princess! Although it was American Speaking, they had great belgium beer. Also, they turned us on to a great Irish pub down the road called FUBAR.
Of course you have the wonderful sights of Paris, the Eiffel Tower is stunning at night. The best vantage is from Trocadero/Palais de Chaillot.
Paris (Not Hilton)
"Still wondering after all these years..."
I have a question for you French people: What is a tarte tatin? I always thought it was a kind of pie. I mean I do know a few words of high school and college French. Of course, when I got to France, I couldn?t communicate at all. I understood the signs more or less, but when it came to actually putting those French verbs together in a sentence?oh well.
So we were just a bunch of English-speaking tourists making funny motions with our hands, spending a weekend in Paris without having planned a thing (this was long ago, in pre-computer, pre-VT days).
It wasn?t the best way to see Paris: We were a motley crew of seven ? four adults and three children ? just off a transatlantic flight, trying to find a hotel in late April. As we dragged our suitcases and knapsacks through the streets of Paris, a freezing drizzle seeped into our collars. At the airport, a tourism official assured us there were two rooms to be had in little hotel near the Seine. By the time we got there, the clerk informed us that one of those rooms was no longer available.
So we went on, shuffling through the streets with our luggage (no wheels in those days). We inched our way through a colorful market on the banks of the Seine where the kids kept stopping to ogle the caged mice and birds. We tried our luck at every hotel we encountered, but two vacant rooms? Non, non. It seemed there wasn?t such a thing in all of Paris.
One of the kids still bore signs of chickenpox (although more than a week had gone by since the first pock mark blossomed on the back of his neck in Boston) and my foot, recently broken (in a deli in New York) was swathed in a bulky elastic bandage.
We did find rooms in the end, in Hotel Vendome St. Germain, a shabby little 2-star in the Latin Quarter that charged us an arm and a leg. But we would have paid anything at that point. The rooms were dimly lit with what I?m sure is the tiniest bulb the proprietors could find, and the mattresses sagged in the middle. But ah, a place to lay our weary heads.
Starving, we stumbled across the street to a nearby cafe.
The waiter, a surly looking fellow with a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, took our order. OK, it took a while for us to figure out what we wanted. I mean, the menu was in French, right? And no waiters in the middle of Paris have ever served a bunch of Americans, right? So we saw ?tarte tatin? on the menu. Visions of a lovely apple tart rose before my eyes.
What the waiter brought to the table was a baguette. Now, baguettes are very nice (we had ? a baguette for breakfast every morning at Hotel Vendome, with a cup of hot cocoa ? that was the entire repast, doled out very carefully so that no one should get a crumb more). But we didn?t want a baguette. We wanted tarte tatin. The waiter insisted that this was tarte tatin and cursed us loudly when we sent it back.
So, madames et monseiurs, please solve this riddle for me. What is tarte tatin???
"Turner-Whistler-Monet at the Grand Palais"
I don't usually write about things I haven't seen, but my next door neighbor came back from Paris this morning raving about the new Turner-Whistler-Monet exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris, open until January 17, 2005.
The Grand Palais houses traveling shows, and this one - so says my neighbor - is worth running to. Her advice, if you don't want to wait on line for hours, is to call up FNAC, a media center with several branches in Paris, to make a reservation. Then pick up your ticket and head for the Grand Palais, making sure you are there at least a quarter of an hour before the time you've booked.
On show are 100 paintings, watercolors, pastels, and prints by J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), and Claude Monet (1840-1926), many of them masterpieces on loan from public and private collections in Britain, Europe and North America.
Whistler and Monet were close friends and shared an admiration for Turner. This exhibit explores the extraordinary artistic dialogue between their work. All three worked from nature, painting some of the most poetic landscapes of the 19th century. Particularly interesting is the way they handled water, whether it was the Thames, the Seine or a Venetian lagoon.
If you do miss this show, it will be moving to the Tate in London (February 12-May 15, 2005). I wish it would come my way?
Update: THIS SHOW HAS CLOSED, BUT MY NEIGHBOR'S TIP FOR BUYING TICKETS IS STILL USEFUL FOR OTHER CULTURAL EVENTS IN PARIS.