A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

The Petit Palais and Berges of the Seine

Saturday, June 28, 2014

large_032_Day_Ti..lais_Berges.jpg

Exercise class at the Berges of the Seine

Exercise class at the Berges of the Seine

Woke to a misty rain. We took our umbrellas and walked over to Pl. de la Concorde to start “Paris Walk #27.” We walked through the new Les Berges de la Seine where a few brave souls were taking a fitness class in the rain. We crossed at the Passerelle Léopold Sedar Senghor that used to be called Passarelle de Solferino being annoyed by the “love locks” ruining both bridge and view. Then some stupid woman tried the gold ring scam on us in the rain. We laughed at her. She actually faked picking up a ring at a place ahead of us to ask if it was “our” ring. How could it be? We hadn’t been there yet. Not a great day for scams and not a great scammer working the area. She needs more practice and I'm sure she'll get it.

*****

Walking around the Place de la Concorde in the rain

Walking around the Place de la Concorde in the rain

Enjoyed a damp walk through the very uncrowded Tuileries to Pl. de la Concorde where we started our walk that led through the gardens along the Champs Elysées. At the Grand Palais we cut along ave. du General Eisenhower to ave. Franklin D. Roosevelt where we started the search for lunch. It’s a very pricey neighborhood so we finally decided to use the Salon de Thé at the Petit Palais. That turned out to be a mistake. The club sandwich and salad were mediocre although the le Notre chocolate dessert was spectacular. However, although they tried all the tricks, our credit card wouldn’t work so we had to pay cash and it was nearly as expensive as the local (expensive) restaurants. We would have gotten better food for our money at those too. Live and learn.

Allée Marcel Proust in the gardens along the Champs-Elysées

Allée Marcel Proust in the gardens along the Champs-Elysées

Flowers along Allée Marcel Proust

Flowers along Allée Marcel Proust

Sculptures along the Allée Marcel Proust

Sculptures along the Allée Marcel Proust

Sculpture along the Allée Marcel Proust

Sculpture along the Allée Marcel Proust

Slightly tipsy Grand Palais in Paris

Slightly tipsy Grand Palais in Paris

*****

Lunch at the Petit Palais Tea Room

Lunch at the Petit Palais Tea Room


While waiting for our food, I got chilly and reached for my jacket and it was gone. It must have disappeared at the Security check so when we finished our meal, we walked back to Security to see about my jacket. The lady called a man who called another man who knew the jacket and took us to the coat check/lost-and-found and retrieved it for me. He spoke perfect French and perfect English so we asked him about it. He is French but grew up in Ireland so knows both languages. I was delighted to have my favorite jacket back. All these security checks are a bit much but I guess they are necessary although one can't help wonder if there are a great number of grey-haired little old ladies who are a major threat.

*****

Monet's Painting equipment on exhibit

Monet's Painting equipment on exhibit


At that point we headed into the collection and it was much larger than we had expected. It’s very well displayed and very few people were there so we had it to ourselves. The Petit Palais holds the City of Paris art collection and it is excellent. They have a very diverse and thorough collection including a large number of Impressionists so it's a good place to combine with a visit to the Musée d'Orsay across the river. One of the best things about it is that it is free unless you are attending one of their special exhibits. When we left, there was a huge long line of people under umbrellas waiting to get into the special exhibit “Paris 1900" that we saw June 8th. They looked very wet and obviously hadn't discovered the secret door we had found earlier on the trip. Petit Palais web site

Sunset On The Seine At Lavacourt, Winter Effect by Claude Monet

Sunset On The Seine At Lavacourt, Winter Effect by Claude Monet

Some of the exhibits in the Petit Palais

Some of the exhibits in the Petit Palais

Funeral for Charles Le Bon, Count of Flanders by Jan Van Beers

Funeral for Charles Le Bon, Count of Flanders by Jan Van Beers

Art is in the Architecture . . . Petit Palais

Art is in the Architecture . . . Petit Palais

Staircase inside the Petit Palais

Staircase inside the Petit Palais

Waiting in the Rain

Waiting in the Rain

The hidden entrance to the Petit Palais

The hidden entrance to the Petit Palais

*****

We cut along a line of tour buses walking home and suddenly found ourselves trapped in an area fenced off for bleachers along the Champs Elysées, probably for upcoming Bastille Day parades. We had no choice but to circle back to the Petit Palais so decided to take the Metro home from there. Got out at rue de Bac, our stop, and discovered blvd. St. Germain closed to traffic from rue de Bac into town with a policeman guarding it. We’re not sure if it’s part of the Paris Gay Pride celebration today or not, but it certainly made it easy to cross the street.

Posted by Beausoleil 09:10 Archived in France Tagged paris petit_palais Comments (1)

St. Sulpice, another Paris Walk and lost photos . . .

Sunday, June 29, 2014

large_033_Day_Title.jpg

Strange day. We woke to a light rain and walked to Paul’s for breakfast but due to a mix-up, the maitre seated ahead of us a family who had just entered, and we had waited long enough that it annoyed Ed so we walked out. So . . . we started looking for breakfast. I knew a patisserie across from St. Germain market so we walked over, but it was closed. We wandered on and ended up in Café de la Mairie by St. Sulpice and shared an omelet and each got a hot chocolate. It was okay but nothing special. We started having breakfast at Paul's many years ago and it was just local folks. Unfortunately it has turned into a major tourist trap at this point and while it seems to be good for Paul's bottom line, it hasn't done much for its charm.

*****

2009 photo of the Fountain of the Orators in front of St. Sulpice Church

2009 photo of the Fountain of the Orators in front of St. Sulpice Church

Got seats in St. Sulpice for the fifteen-minute pre-Mass organ performance, the Mass and a wonderful but too-short recital after Mass. We took the Metro out to Pl. d’Italie to start “Paris Walk #34, Le Butte aux Cailles.”

With the Paris Walk card and my map, we managed to find everything. Of all the restaurants recommended by Paris Walks, they either didn't look particularly good, were out of business or were closed on Sunday. We climbed up and down a few hills and found the Ville Daviel, a small cul-de-sac of quaint single-family homes set in a very industrial looking part of Paris. It was quaint and we were glad we found it, but the walk to get there was not particularly inspiring.

*****

2003 photo of a Paris Street Market in November

2003 photo of a Paris Street Market in November


We followed the card to a very long market on blvd. Auguste Blanqui but it was late and they were closing and washing down the streets so we continued back to the Metro at Pl. d’Italie. We took the Metro back to our apartment and refreshed a bit before going out window shopping in our neighborhood. If I were to live in Paris, I would love to live right here. It's pretty, picturesque and close to all the things we enjoy. Walked up to the Seine and turned right where we walked down to rue des Sts. Pères where we turned south to rue Université and back to L’Empire on our corner for an early dinner/late lunch.

*****

2003 photo of my favorite bust of George Washington in the Louvre

2003 photo of my favorite bust of George Washington in the Louvre


They weren’t busy but seemed somehow distracted. She gave us the English menu but by this time, we have it memorized so didn’t even notice. We both had the excellent chicken and got the nougat ice cream with very dark chocolate sauce. It was great, as usual.

*****

1996 photo of the Luxembourg Gardens Statue of Liberty

1996 photo of the Luxembourg Gardens Statue of Liberty


Tomorrow is our last day and we're meeting friends from Virtual Tourist for lunch. Kate and I have been coordinating this and we came home to an e-mail from her to discover they were planning to meet us at a different Luxembourg Garden restaurant that Ed swears is not in the Luxembourg. It is; I saw it on a Google walk, but tomorrow may be a disaster if we all end up in different places.

*****

To top it off, I accidentally deleted all of my photos and videos in one simple, irreparable click so no pictures from all our walking today either. Not our best day . . .

Posted by Beausoleil 15:43 Archived in France Tagged paris Comments (1)

Lunch with Friends, a Paris Walk and souvenir shopping

Monday, June 30, 2014 Our last day in Paris

L'Embacle Fountain at Place du Quebec near Eglise St. Germain des Pres

L'Embacle Fountain at Place du Quebec near Eglise St. Germain des Pres


Much better day today. We took bottles up to recycling on rue de Bac and then started a leisurely stroll down blvd. St. Germain. The July soldes (sales) have started early so shops all had sale displays. Ed needed cash for our trip next September so we stopped at Barclays and BNP Paribas ATMs to get it.

Walking along rue Monsieur le Prince

Walking along rue Monsieur le Prince

*****

In need of hunting attire?

In need of hunting attire?


We continued toward the Odeon Metro station where we turned south following part of a “Paris Walk” card. We found the San Francisco Book Store and looked through but didn’t buy anything. The gentleman, obviously American, was very pleasant but it’s mostly paperbacks and not much of interest to us.

We were intrigued by a shop selling hunting clothes. We both play French horn originally derived from the hunting horn or Cor de Chasse and that was the name of the shop. Of course I had to get a photo.

au nom de la rose on rue de Tournon

au nom de la rose on rue de Tournon

*****

The famous Odeon Theater in Paris

The famous Odeon Theater in Paris


Walked on to the Odeon Theatre and around the neighborhood discovering a music conservatory near the Sénat and the house where John Paul Jones died in Paris, a bit of American history we didn't know. Lots of interesting things.

Paris house where John Paul Jones, American Naval Hero, died in 1792

Paris house where John Paul Jones, American Naval Hero, died in 1792

*****

Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens

Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens


Moved on to the Luxembourg Gardens and claimed a seat to wait for Kate and Mike and his wife, Jill . . . a mini Virtual Tourist Meet. Mike and Jill soon showed up and a bit later Kate arrived. It was fun to meet them and we immediately liked all of them. A brief discussion and I led the parade down the street to La Bastide d’Opio where a table for five and our favorite waiter were waiting for us. Mike and Ed got sea bass; Kate and Jill got the magret de canard and I got the beef broquettes. It was all wonderful. Mike and I got the hot chocolate cake with ice cream; Jill a strawberry parfait and Ed the caramelized apricots and Kate passed on dessert. It was a really fun three-hour meal with very interesting people. They’re all from Australia and incredibly well traveled, but nice and normal. Had a great time!

The Pantheon from the Luxembourg Gardens

The Pantheon from the Luxembourg Gardens

Café in the Luxembourg Gardens

Café in the Luxembourg Gardens

Our mini-VT meet in Paris

Our mini-VT meet in Paris

034d1_La_Bastide_d_Opio.jpg

*****

Place Saint-André des Arts in Paris

Place Saint-André des Arts in Paris


The party finally broke up and they headed to St. Sulpice to find the Gnomon while we walked down to Place St. Andre-des-Arts to explore. We found an apartment we didn’t rent and were glad we hadn’t. When we discovered it was directly above an Irish Pub, we decided it would be too noisy! Good choice.

Got scarves for the girls at Diwali and an apron for me in a souvenir store. Found an arcade and the Le Procope Restaurant and then the Delacroix Museum on its lovely quiet square.

Corcoran's Irish Pub on rue Saint-André-des-Arts

Corcoran's Irish Pub on rue Saint-André-des-Arts

Diwali's Scarves, Hats, Accessories . . . great souvenirs

Diwali's Scarves, Hats, Accessories . . . great souvenirs

[

Carré d'Artistes . . . and yes, it is in Paris and they do speak French

Carré d'Artistes . . . and yes, it is in Paris and they do speak French

Gallery entered by a door between 59 and 61 rue Saint-André-des-Arts

Gallery entered by a door between 59 and 61 rue Saint-André-des-Arts

Café Procope, the oldest restaurant in Paris

Café Procope, the oldest restaurant in Paris

Three seminarians crossing to the Cour des Halles on rue de Seine and rue de Buci

Three seminarians crossing to the Cour des Halles on rue de Seine and rue de Buci

La Dernière Goutte, a wine tasting shop

La Dernière Goutte, a wine tasting shop

*****

Hotel des Marronniers courtyard looked very peaceful

Hotel des Marronniers courtyard looked very peaceful


Finally ended up on rue Jacob and walked on home where we have to clean and pack for tomorrow.

Posted by Beausoleil 11:27 Archived in France Tagged paris luxembourg_gardens Comments (1)

The Trip Home

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 Despite the colds, it was a great trip.

Pont Alexandre III and Invalides

Pont Alexandre III and Invalides


Up early for a change. We finished packing and set about cleaning the apartment. It hadn’t been dusted for far longer than the month we were there. Ed made several trips to garbage and recycling and we were done. Aiko actually showed up on time to check us out and proclaimed it perfect. We again reminded her about the short in the lamp cord and then went downstairs to wait for our shuttle. The street was blocked off for “works” so the shuttle driver had to back up to our house from the corner. Because of this, he was late so I telephoned and was reassured. He arrived within minutes and we were off on a mini-tour of Paris so I got out my phone and took some pictures.

*****

Arc de Triomphe from the Shuttle

Arc de Triomphe from the Shuttle


We picked up one more couple and headed for the major traffic jam on the Peripherique. Arrived at CDG to an airport nightmare . . . people everywhere. It’s July! Bonnes vacances . . .

*****

Arc de Triomphe with a distant Eiffel Tower

Arc de Triomphe with a distant Eiffel Tower


Ed got in line while I attacked Delta's blue automatic ticketing machines. The machine had no trouble reading his passport but refused mine. Back to the line. We finally got to the point where we were separated into either a very long line to the left or an equally long line to the right. We were sent left and spent the next hour in the line. Finally got boarding passes and bags checked. After that, it went fairly quickly. They herd you to a train and then through duty-free shopping before your gate. Of course you’ve stood in line so long that you don’t have time to shop!

At the gate I got some water and we waited a few minutes before being herded into another line where a couple young, polite blondes and little old ladies were pulled for an extra bag check and pat down. Somehow both of us escaped. Hooray!

*****

Later:
Arrived in Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), went through passport check and Customs, rechecked our bags and went to our gate. We got bulkhead seats to Sacramento (SMF) so had some extra space. The First Class seats ahead of the bulkhead couldn’t recline into our faces. We loved it!

Home safe and sound and a very nice shuttle driver. Tired . . . but what a fun month. We may do this again on our sixtieth anniversary!

If you have questions about traveling in France, you may find some answers here. Check the table of contents. FeeI free to ask questions in the comment section and I'll see if I can answer them. Click here: Questions about France

Planning a trip to Provence? You may find useful information on my Provence blog. Click here:
Provence in September

Want to see all of France in one trip? We tried it once and here's the story. Click here: France in Thirty Days

Curious about the Christmas Markets? Here is our visit to the Christmas Markets. Click here: Christmas Markets in Paris and Strasbourg

Posted by Beausoleil 12:58 Archived in France Tagged paris flight airport Comments (4)

Learn the Paris Metro for easy transportation

The Paris Metro (subway) is great transportation. You can walk most places, but if you're tired or it's a bit far, take the Metro. It is very easy to learn how.


View Dordogne and Occitanie & Around France and through Switzerland 1998 & Provence 2014 & Pays de la Loire & Around France with Jean 2000 on Beausoleil's travel map.

Cité Metro Stop near Notre Dame Cathedral

Cité Metro Stop near Notre Dame Cathedral

Lots of strikes in France right now. Download the following app to see if your Metro line is running. The app is available for both Mac and Android and I wouldn’t leave home without it, strikes or not. You can find your route, see where there are problems and get times and prices.
Click here to go to the RATP app web site

The Metro system has set up an information web site where you can find alternate routes to your destination. Here it is in French: Click here to go to the RATP Information web site in French
Here it is in English: Click here to go to the RATP Information web site in English

Abbesses Metro Station in Montmartre

Abbesses Metro Station in Montmartre

Note:If you don't have a Metro map current as of February or March 2013, you need to get a new map. Many of the maps in guidebooks are now incorrect because four of the Metro lines have been extended. After you read the following directions, you will know you need the name of the last station on the line to find the train. The last station has changed for these four lines. Click here for a new Metro map: Paris Metro Map

Don't be shy about using the Metro (subway) in Paris. It is incredibly easy to navigate. They have set it up so you can go anyplace and not get lost. Get a free Metro map at any ticket window. They are usually sitting on a shelf at the ticket window and you don't even have to ask.

That said, I much prefer my map booklet Paris Pratique par Arrondissement that has each arrondissement (district) of Paris on a separate page with the Metro stops marked. There is a full Metro map so you can put it all together. You can buy it at a news stand, tabac or bookstore and lately even in the souvenir shops. It is also incredibly useful as you walk around Paris. It lists every street and alley in Paris and everything is indexed. There are also bus, tram and RER maps to go with the Metro map. All the parks are mapped. Not only do you get all this; it is in a very small booklet form that fits easily in purse or pocket. When you get home, it's a great souvenir.

*****

Gare de Lyon in Paris

Gare de Lyon in Paris

After you get your map, follow these directions.

You know the Metro station where you are. You know which Metro station you want. The other information you need is the name of the station at the end of the line in the direction you want to go. Example: You are Jussieu Metro station in the Latin Quarter and you want to visit the Louvre. You look at your map and find Jussieu and notice lines #10 and #7 go through there. You want to go to the Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre stop and that is line #7 (pink on most maps). Follow line #7 past the Louvre to the end and you will see the last stop is La Courneuve. That is your magic key. Go into the Metro and follow signs pointing to La Courneuve until you get to the tracks. The rest is easy. When the train arrives, hop on and relax. The line is on a map above the doors so you can watch where you are and see where you are going. Each station is very well marked so you can tick them off in your mind. Make a note of the station right before your Louvre station and start to get ready to get off. (Pont Neuf is right before Louvre). When you see the signs for Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre, get off and follow exit signs (and all the other people) to the Louvre. You can go into the museum right from the station and skip most of the lines!

*****

Château de Vincennes Metro Station

Château de Vincennes Metro Station

It gets more complicated if you have to change trains, but as long as you remember to look for the last station on your line, you are okay.

Example of a Change (called a Correspondence): Let's say you are at La Tour Maubourg station and you want to go to the Louvre. You will take line #8 (the only one available at Maubourg) and go in the direction of Creteil-Pointe du Lac but you will get off at the Concorde station to change trains. (That is the 2nd stop for you.) You now want the #1 line in the direcion of Château de Vincennes so you stay underground and simply follow signs to Château de Vincennes (line #1) to get to your next train. You will go up and down stairs and have lots of company but every time there is a turn or stair, you will see signs. Keep following Château de Vincennes until you come to the train tracks. Wait for your train, get on and go to the Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre stop (the stop before it is Tuileries) and get off and you are at the Louvre.

As long as you know the last station in the direction you are going, you can't get lost. If you go the wrong direction, simply get off at the next station and follow signs to that last station again and you'll be fine.

*****

Gare Saint-Lazare

Gare Saint-Lazare

Keep in mind there are often several ways to get from one place to another. You can use your Metro tickets on the Metro, RER within the Peripherique, trams, buses and the Montmartre funicular. We buy a carnet of 10 Metro tickets for 16.90 euros and share the tickets. BTW, you can buy tickets on the bus, but they cost more and you cannot use them to transfer. You also cannot buy carnets of 10 tickets on the bus. Much better to get your tickets at a local tabac, news stand or in the Metro station. Prices tend to change nearly every year and this is valid Winter 2019. Check the web site for price changes. Prices for the T-ticket on the Paris Metro Starting June, 2019 there is a new card pass called Navigo Easy that does not require a photo, costs 2 euros and gives you a 2 euro discount on the carnet of 10 tickets. The carnet costs 14.90 euros when put on your Navigo Easy Pass. You can also load Roissybus and other fees onto the Easy card. The paper tickets are being phased out to help the environment. Click here for the Navigo Easy Pass information

You may want to download a Metro map at the website below. Print it out and practice a few trips before you go. You will be addicted to the fast, easy train system in Paris. Paris Metro, Train and Bus Maps

Download a Metro app for your smart phone. Scroll down for 10 language choices. Smart Phone Paris Metro app

Here is a web site for trip planning that is in English. Planning your Metro trip in English

Paris Metro Website: Paris Metro web site in French

Posted by Beausoleil 12:58 Archived in France Tagged paris bus train metro transportation subway tram funicular Comments (2)

(Entries 26 - 30 of 67) « Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 9 10 .. »