FRANCE 2009: PARIS
September 22 - October 6, 2009
We were delighted with our VROB Apartment rental at Montmorency and Beaubourg and were
quickly installed in our one bedroom unit on the fourth level. Our host made us at home and we enjoyed the apartment near the Pompidou Center on the edge
of the trendy Marais district.
After settling in we walked east towards Las Halles and St. Eustache Church. The new mall was built on the site of the old central market.
Jim posed by a Moore sculpture beside St. Eustache before touring this beautiful church. Later we had genuine French Onion Soup at the famous Le Pied du Couchon restaurant.
The famed Tour de St. Jacques on Rue Rivoli was just a few blocks from the apartment. Our next walk was on the Champs Elysées from the Arc de Triomphe
to the Louvre at the Tuilieres. Veterans from World War I were placing flowers at the memorial located at the Arch.
Jim climbed the 284 steps to the top to take pictures while I waited on a bench surrounded by gypsies.
Jim got great photos in all directions from the top of the Arch including of the Eiffel Tower and the new Grand Arch in the La Défense area of high rises.
After strolling half way down the Champs Elysées we had lunch at La Dorré. Then we continued our walk on through the Place Concorde
to the Tuilieres gardens and almost to the Louvre.
Our next excursion was to the Paris Opera House which had been beautifully restored since our last visit in 2001.
The Opera district also contains some of the grandest and oldest department stores in Paris including Gallerias Lafayette and Printemps.
On the way back to the apartment we explored the famous Madeleine Church, walked along fashionable Rue Sainte Honoré and through the ritzy Place Vendome
with its grand Column and the Ritz Hotel.
Paris is of course known for its wonderful food markets. On our first Saturday we headed for Rue Le Cler in the Eiffel Tower area to sample the shops.
Then on Sunday we headed to the Bastille area for the weekly Beaumarchaise Market.
After the Sunday Market we headed into Marais and the famous Place Vosage, the oldest and most visited square in Paris. Then on a few blocks to tour the
Museum Carnavalet featuring the history of interior design in Paris.
On the Isle de la Cité near Notre Dame is perhaps the most beautiful stain glass church windows in the world. Sainte Chapelle is one of the most popular tourist stops in Paris.
The Chapel also contains the oldest fresco painting in the city.
Crossing the Seine to the Left Bank, we first stopped at a sidewalk café on Rue San Michel, then visited the Museum of Medieval Art with its world famous Cluny
lady and the unicorn tapestries.
The next venture was to famed Montmartre. After taking the incline rail to visit Sacre Coeur, we wandered the colorful side streets of this old artists' colony.
After lunch at sidewalk café, we strolled some more, passing the local museum and heading down the hill to the old Moulin a Vent Radet and finally to the famed Moulin Rouge
Back to the Left Bank again, another day we next visited Luxembourg Palace and Gardens and strolled along Rue Sainte Germaine, site of many old
Cafés made popular by famous writers in the 1920s such as Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
On our last Saturday we took the Metro to the old Canal Saint Martin area, beginning at the old Toll House and following the old canal banks with historic locks.
Then on Sunday we headed out to the end of the Number 1 Metro line to the La Défense area where the city has developed all its modern high rise buildings, thus saving
the more historic areas. Here too is the Grand Arch built on a line with the Place Concorde, Champs Elysées, and Arc de Triomphe. We took the glass elevator up the
35 stories to the roof with views south east to the Eiffel Tower and the orginal Arch.
On our last couple of nights, we sampled a couple of excellent restaurants in our neigborhood. The Ambassade d’Avergne featured food from one of the most remote regions in
France. And on our own street the Auberge Nicholas Flamel is housed in the oldest private home in Paris, built in 1407. Both were great meals and
an excellent way to end our two week stay in Paris.
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