Good day friends, I hope this post finds you all in a good place and bearing the chilly fall temperatures (or the warmer spring temperatures for my friends down under). As promised this is the final installment for my vacation photos and it’s Paris! We traveled to Paris from Lyon via the TGV which is their high speed train. Four years ago we went from Avignon to Paris on the TGV and enjoyed it so much, we thought we’d do it again! Normally this trip would have taken an entire day, but on the TGV it’s only three hours — that’s how fast it goes! Here is a little movie to show the speed.
The trip itself was quiet and uneventful and we arrived at the main train station in Paris on time. Because JT was still hobbling so we took a cab to our apartment which seemed to be on the complete opposite side of town, and was expensive. They have a direct train to the airport but it was a 30 minute walk to the apartment and considering our situation, we decided against it.
The apartment was on the fourth floor, fifth if you count the ground floor as one (Europeans count it as zero). 88 steps up. 22kg (50lbs) of luggage EACH! Fortunately, our lovely host Jean-François bolted both of our bags up the 88 steps to our beautiful flat. I’ll be the first person to admit it, seven pairs of shoes seemed like a good idea at the time I selected my outfits for the trip, but from here on in, I will change my packing MO, for sure! I will limit myself to three pairs of shoes (knowing full well that I will likely buy a pair or two while away!) Now I just need a long trip to test myself!
Our flat was in the Montmartre district, not very touristy, but that’s a good thing. I like having a simple breakfast because it’s an easy way to control the calories particularly on vacation so we bought some provisions for breakfasts and cocktails and we were good to go!
We didn’t have great weather, these things happen, so we stayed close to home for dinners but we explored like crazy during the daytime — rain or no rain, it’s Paris! In fact, the weather made us choose activities we might not have normally chosen. For example, the Pompidou Centre which is apparently the largest collection of modern art. Not sure about you, but I just don’t get the large rock on a 1970’s fridge as art. Really? But they also have some more interesting pieces that I can relate to. The Pompidou centre has a lovely lookout at the top and if you don’t wish to subject yourself to art: pile of bricks on the floor, you can pay only for the lookout. They also have a restaurant up there too which is supposed to be pretty good bit it was expensive and it was overcast; had it been a sunny day, we would have splurged! Musée de l’Orangerie is another gallery that we visited, it’s not expensive and it’s quite manageable in a couple of hours. It has Monet’s Water Lilies, the really huge paintings — they have two or three large rooms dedicated to 4 works each…they are HUGE!
We also did some old favorites, like the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which gives you a gorgeous view of the Champs Elleyse, the top of Montmartre with the beautiful Sacré-Cœur Bascilica and the lively artists selling their art in the square. We were also up close to the Obelisque in the Place de la Concorde. We tried to get into the crypts at Notre Dame Cathedral but the line up was bad, so we passed; it wasn’t our first trip to Paris and I’m sure it won’t be our last, so it’s on the list for next time.
Food was as good as ever; we had some lovely meals at little ma and pa restaurants in our direct hood! I had a lot of steak tartare…and Caprese salads. One meal in particular was at a place called Le Bistrot Pappillon where I had a tuna tartare, but I loved the crispy rosette of Phylo pastry they garnished the dish with. I snapped a pic to make sure I don’t forget…you’ll be seeing that technique sometime soon!
And last but not least, on our final day in Paris, we had the opportunity to meet up for lunch with fellow blogger Charles, of Five Euro Foods. Charles is gracious, kind, generous and charming…exactly what you would expect from reading his blog. Charles generously treated us to a Korean BBQ luncheon at one of his favourite spots. Neither JT nor I had experienced this wonderful and tasty food before so it seemed apropos to experience it first with Charles. We had a delicious beef BBQ with a variety of toppings and sauces, Shiso leaves or lettuce leaves and steamed rice; he also ordered an interesting soup with tofu. We were very well fed! Thank you Charles for a memorable lunch, it was so lovely to meet you.
Charles recently became a Dad to a lovely young man named William. If you pop over to his blog you can see a photo of William sporting a very chic jumper (if I do say so myself)! You will also see my friend Barb’s (Profiteroles and Ponytails) very first guest post successfully making non-other than the famed Macarons. Barb had asked me to pick up some Macarons for Charles and I to munch on while JT took our photos; what can I say, it’s a tough job, but someone had to do it! We found a perfect little specialty shop in Montmartre called Christophe Roussel (recommended by a blog called Madaboutmacarons that claimed it was the best in Paris and boy, they were TASTY — wish I had bought more of them! Particularly the salted caramel … YUM). Fortunately, our last day in Paris was perfect with warm temperatures and sunny – just right for the photo opp!
So that concludes our European Adventure for 2012. Thank you so much for joining us on our little journey and now we’ll get back into regular programming. Blog on!