Paris Vacation, Day 7   17 comments

Laundry, Marais Walking Tour, and Dinner
Photo of a street sign for Rue Cler

Rue Cler street sign.

Photo of Lydia with a fountain in the background

A fountain makes for a background behind Lydia.

Photo of detail on a fountain in Place des Vosges

Detail on a fountain in Place des Vosges.

Photo of children playing in a park

Children playing in a park.

Photo of Lydia and Grant reflected in a mirror

Um, the mirror makes me look fat. Yeah, that’s it.

Grant’s Flickr page

Friday, October 21

We ended the previous day with a picnic supper on the bed, a simple yet yummy meal of baguette, cheese, pesto, and wine. We also bought some olive oil at the shop where we picked up the pesto. While we shopped for supper, we had a photo developer burn our two 512 MB (megabyte) memory cards to a couple CDs, since I had filled them with pictures. It took less than twenty minutes—Très rapidement.

As planned, we slept in before breakfast in another (that is, different from yesterday) café. It was on the way to a laundromat, where we were going to give our clothes a well-earned wash. At that moment, the only other thing we had planned was dinner that evening.

While we waited for our laundry, we wrote some postcards and I strolled around the block to take a few pictures. I thought it was interesting that the laundromat had a do-it-yourself dry cleaning machine. One, if they wished, could clean 6 kilograms (about 13 pounds) of clothes for €12… not bad, I thought, a little more than a buck a pound. We didn’t take advantage, however, since we didn’t pack any dry clean only articles. Also during our laundry, we decided that we would take another Rick Steves walking tour. This time we would head to the Marais neighborhood on the Rive Gauche (Right Bank,) across the Seine from Ile Saint Louis.

We took—get this—the Metro (I know, you’re shocked) from Ecole Militaire station all the way to Bastille station, a big, u-shaped trip. We could have transferred, instead, to another line and saved two stops, but we were interested in seeing the stations along the way. In fact, the trip as we took it may have been faster anyway, when you factor in the time it takes to transfer from one line to another at some of the stations.

Our walking tour started at the site of the Bastille. This is the Bastille Day bastille, the 1789 French Revolution bastille. This is the bastille that symbolizes the beginning of the end of the French aristocracy and nobility and the beginning of the modern nation of France.

It’s not here, though.

Rick Steves calls the Bastille Paris’s most famous non-site. Yes, the building has been long demolished, but the events of that day are etched into the French psyche.

Along our walk, we stopped in at the Victor Hugo museum in the apartment where he lived in Paris. It overlooks a beautiful park in the square, Place des Vosges (formerly called Place Royal when built by Henry IV in 1605.) All four fountains in the park, unlike those at Versailles, were a-squirt.

I love that children play here. It bestows the city with a vibrant, living personality. It is this single characteristic, over all others, that draws me to the city, that makes Paris a place in which I could live.

We then made a jaunt over to the Musée Carnavalet. This museum chronicles the history of Paris from royalty to revolution to modern times. Our visit there just about topped up my “museum meter.” From the museum, we ambled over to the Jewish Quarter for falafel sandwiches and an Israeli beer, called “Maccabees.” Interestingly, Jews and Muslims live together peacefully in this neighborhood. It was nice to see that it can be done.

After our snack, we finished the walking tour by the Pompidou Center, which is an exoskeleton building (as is Notre Dame Cathedral, actually.) By putting all of its structural, electrical, and mechanical bits around the outside of the building, designers have left a large, unbroken space for the modern art inside. The container compliments the content.

We didn’t want to pay the admission and our museum passes had expired, so we just pressed our noses to the windows and moved on. As such, we have an excuse to return to Paris, not that I needed one.

There was an Internet café nearby (€1.50 for ½ hour.) We took advantage to get caught up as best we could struggling with the French version of Windows and Internet Explorer as well as a maddening french keyboard (yes, the layout is different from a U.S. English one.) Being pooped (and having had no nap, if you can believe it,) we commuted back to our hotel to freshen up for dinner.

Dinner was at L’Affriolé, a place that Martine had recommended to us, and it was fabulous. I started with a Heineken beer as an aperitif and an appetizer of minced salmon with dill. My main course was whitefish on a mashed potato foundation paired with a superb white wine. Then came dessert, a murderous chocolate soufflé, followed by an herbal (peppermint) tea. The pace was slow and the food was dreamy. The bill came to €114, all tolled, for both of us. Certainly not an everyday meal, but one must have such a meal on one’s Paris vacation and I was not disappointed that this had been ours.

The experience had got me thinking that I might openly sob the next time I ate a meal back in the States. I didn’t, though.

A little Paris drizzle accompanied us back to the hotel, where we settled in to retire.

Read more about day 7 on Lydia’s blog.

< Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 >

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Posted Monday, December 12, 2005 by Grant in Myself, Travel

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17 responses to “Paris Vacation, Day 7

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  1. ohhhhh how lucky you guys are, i work so much the only place i travel to is the post office to do my shipping!!!!

  2. Cute “fat” pic and nice storytelling about the Paris trip!

  3. I enjoyed the pics and story too…….I agree with judy…….not much traveling here either!! Dang!!

  4. @ judybunz: Sounds like you are working too much. When is judybunz-time, huh?

    @ Joy: Glad you focused on the “fat” pic. ~eye roll~ Still, I’m the one who posted it, right? 🙂

    @ Kim: I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t travel. I’d whither. But, that’s me.

    — Grant

  5. I don’t think you would whither…I think we learn to bloom where we are planted….and some of us have roots very deep, so deep we rarely leave a place….ahh, but life goes on!!

  6. The year was 1994, early spring. I arrived from Brussel on a fast train. And Paris was standing still. The public transport people went on strike, no city busses, no metro, no nothing. Oooh there were taxis … but of course I ended up walking in the rain, from North Station to a youth hostel I was to stay in, for a week. On the way, I stopped at a laundromat, to dry my soaking wet huge sleeping bag like coat. Your laundry day, and Lydia’s, certainly brought back many details of Paris that I’ve forgotten. That include the Pompidou Center; There is one painting I remember most, a walking map of Paris, with foodsteps and drawings. I took pictures, but those were predegitals days, some pictures did not get to stay put in any album. Thank you again for the wonderful visit of Paris Grant.

  7. Great photo’s, sounds like you had a wonderful trip. I’m one of those that “dreams” of forgein travel, maybe when the kids are all grown and gone and I win the Lottery.. lol. Thanks for sharing…

    Penny

  8. @ Kim: I guess what I meant was, if I was unable to travel, I would miss it terribly. (btw, I removed the duplicate entry.)

    @ Maayan: I’m glad our trip has brought back memories, even wet ones.

    @ Penny: You’re welcome. I hope that you do get to travel one day… keep thinking about it and desiring it. Our hearts have of a way of getting us stuff it wants.

    — Grant

  9. Grant- It’s great you and Lydia were able to go to Paris. It looks like you had a wonderful time. You really did a lot. How long did you stay? I’ll be checking out Lydia’s blog for stuff too.

  10. Melissa, we stayed 10 days. I have a few days more to post, but Lydia is all up to date.

    — Grant

  11. Wonderful photos, thanks for letting us come along on your trip!

  12. Hey Grant…ty for removing the duplicate…I am a bit new to this…so I appreciate any help…..and I would love to travel…just not able to at this time in my life. I understand that you would miss it terribly. I am just jealous!! Enjoy!!

  13. That’s awesome. I was able to read a good portion of hers. It sounds like you had an unbelievable time.

  14. ho,Paris is a famous city full of romance.In my memory, lovers kiss each other in public is a common thing. It is so facinating. Many buldings ,such as effel tower,make paris more charming. Grant, your writtings are very good. I think they can be publised in some tourism tour magzine.

  15. Pingback: Paris Vacation, Day 6 « Nothing to See Here

  16. Pingback: Paris Vacation, Day 8 « Nothing to See Here

  17. Pingback: Paris Vacation, Day 0 « Nothing to See Here

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