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Paris Paris - Spring/Summer 2015


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I have been debating whether to do a report or not, and decided to give it a go.

In March 2014, we decided to return to Paris in late April for three months after almost five years. We used to visit every year. So I sent out an email to book the same apartment we have rented thrice before in the 3rd arrondissement - http://www.vrbo.com/79965. Once the booking was confirmed (with only 250 euro deposit), planning was put in the back burner.

When late September came, we decided to shorten the Paris visit by 2 weeks and add London for 15 days. We also decided to do two week-long side-trips to Sevilla in mid-May and Bruges in the first week of June. I proceeded to book these apartments:
Plane tickets were purchased in January, flying British Airways SFO-LHR-CDG/LHR-CDG.
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Additional bookings made were Vueling return flights CDG/Seville; Thalys return tickets Paris/Brussels; and Eurostar tickets to London.

Our flight out of SFO to LHR last Tuesday afternoon was uneventful but long (it seems to get longer as we get older). We could never sleep even though we fly business class. My husband watched movies continuously; and I watched a couple of movies, walked and stood around in the galley, laid down and closed my eyes hoping to sleep but.......

I opted for the two-hour and 40-minute layover instead of a shorter one; I don't like hurrying and stressing over making the connection. We had time to enjoy something warm to eat at the BA lounge before catching our flight to Paris CDG.

We were met by Ajith of InterShuttle Prestige just outside customs. I can highly recommend them.

We were met by our landlady like "old friends". La madame est très gentille. She provided us with two bottles of wine, some bottled water, milk, orange juice, a couple of Lindt chocolates bars, a packet of cookies and various fruit. She also told us that she and her husband (they live upstairs) are leaving for Florida the following day for work for a month.

And so our life here in Paris for the next two and half months started.......
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As soon as our landlady left, we went out to do some shopping before the shops close. It was just before 6 pm. First, to the artisan boulangerie across the street for une baguette aux céréales; to the Bien, a bio market half a block from our main door, for some muesli, rice, spring mix green, carrot, and tomatoes; andto the G20 grocery store a couple of doors farther down for some mineral water and yogurt.

After dropping off the groceries at the apartment, we went out again towards Place des Vosges. There were a lot of people enjoying the warm sunny evening at Place des Vosges but we continued on to rue St-Antoine to get some comte, goat cheese, eggs and butter from Beillevaire and a bottle of red wine from Julien de Savignac. Then a stop at the Monoprix just to check it out.

Supper that evening was after 8 pm consisting of the whole baguette with butter and goat cheese and cut-up fruit.

We finally went to bed at about 11:30. Husband slept really well until 9 am, but I was up by 5:30 unable to get any more sleep.

On to our first full day........
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I am looking forward to all of the installments of your trip report! It sounds like you are off to a good start! Hopefully, you will be sleeping better soon.
Just Travel,
Thank you for writing this. I love trip reports. It's amzing that you returned to the same apt after a year hiatus. I love returning to the same places. that's why I never seem to go anywhere new. I also like your choices of other cities. S great time of the year. Look forward to reading more.

That Paris apt looks lovely but I see it is pretty booked up.
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Our first full day was mostly spent shopping -

Bastille market on Thursday on Blvd. Richard Lenoir was not as good as we remembered it. But I still managed to buy a lot of fruit and veggies. The white asparagus that we had for dinner that night were very good paired with aiguillettes, blck rice, and green salad.

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(I am still not used to taking out my camera, so we started eating before I can take the picture - the black rice was almost gone by that time.)

Again, to G20 for more mineral water, milk plus a few more things. So convenient as it is only half a block away to buy the heavy stuff.

To Au Levain du Marais, the bakery on Blvd. Beaumarchais, for une baguette des prés (our favorite multi-grain baguette).

Gèrald Mulot for une tarte citron -

Another goat cheese from Beillevaire on rue St-Antoine

We also stopped in at the Monoprix on the same block for some necessary essentials like laundry detergent, dishwashing tablets for the dishwasher, TP, kleenex, dinner napkins, foil, etc., etc.

After the morning shopping, we returned home for lunch and some rest but did not nap. We went out again in late afternoon for a walk all the way to BHV where I found a pair of Mephisto sandals (probably my eighth pair of the same style in the last dozen years or so; I like them that much!) and some underwear for my husband.

We got back to the apartment from all the shopping and walking rather late for our first home cooked meal in the apartment this time around.
More shopping on Friday with a bit of sightseeing......
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Friday morning, I was up just after five. I made some hot chocolate (low-fat milk with 85% Lindt chocolate on the stove top, what's not to like?) instead of coffee, so that I don't wake my husband with the smell of coffee.

By the way, I ordered from Amazon.fr a Delonghi espresso machine a couple of weeks before our arrival, so it was waiting for us when we arrived. Our nice landlady even provided us with some very nice coffee from Guatemala. I have never really appreciated french coffee and altho, a lot of good coffee bars have opened in the last few years, I am just not willing to pay more than four euro for a cappuccino each day (times two) for a coffee I may or may not like.

We left the apartment at around ten, and started our walk towards the Aligre market. On the way, I stopped in at the Bouygues Telecom shop (the Orange shop was still close) and bought a simcard for 10 euro plus another 10 euro credit for 26 minutes of calling and unlimited SMS in France good for three months (I can top up if needed). I use Skype, Viber and Google Talk for my long distance calls. (I did order a Lebara simcard a couple of weeks before we arrived to be delivered to our apartment but it never arrived.)

Aligre market was bustling and we loved it - so much better than the Bastille market. I didn't buy any produce since I bought quite a bit the day before but found a fish market with really fresh looking fish and seafood. I bought five large scallops with equally large corals which we had for dinner that night (real good!) and some monkfish cheeks which we will have for dinner the following night. We also picked up a couple of bottles of wine from the Nysa wine shop. On the way home, we picked up another baguette des près from Au Levain du Marais.

After lunch and a rest in the apartment, I decided to go out again to walk and pick a few more things - a bigger mug for my morning caffè latte, a red wine glass (the ones in the apartment are too small), and a paring knife from a shop on St-Atoine; a small universal lid (there are several pots provided but hardly any lids) from Monoprix; and another tarte citron from Gèrald Mulot.

I finally took a few pictures -

Place des Vosges

L'église St-Paul St-Louis

In St-Paul Village
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We woke this morning and the pavements were wet. So, we took our time getting ready and didn't get out until after 10 o'clock. First to G20 for more water, milk, EVOO, and balsamic vinegar.

Then we took the metro (the Chemin Vert station is only a short block away) to the Opera stop. Our goal was to check out Lafayette Gourmet. (Noticed the theme of our stay so far?)

We pass by Opera Garnier, stopping to take a picture of this interesting lamp -

Then on to check out the dome and some detailing of Galeries Lafayette -

....and was impressed with some of their offerings

....that's a huge bottle for 7,000 euro. And no, we didn't buy it.

We did, however, buy a piece of pate de campagne, foie grass de canard, un pigeon and a piece of pork ready for roasting.

On the way home, we stopped by the bakery for our daily baguette and pâtisserie for another tarte citron. Later, we went out again to get more cheese from Beillevaire and to Monoprix for more stuff and also, to apply for a loyalty card. It started raining just as we were entering the Monoprix but stopped on our way out.

So to date (all of four days), we have been to the bakery, pâtisserie, fromagerie, Monoprix and G20 every single day. Tomorrow, we will break the streak except for the bakery and pâtisserie - baguette and dessert essential to good living.
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Sunday: some warm light rain. We almost didn't make it out as we were moving so slowly this morning and the weather wasn't encouraging. But out we went at half pass eleven with our umbrellas.

We walked past Place de Bastille, towards the Seine.

We crossed the Seine for the first time and walked the length of Île St-Louis to the back of Notre Dame and it's garden

The line into Notre Dame was real long, so we contented ourselves by looking at it from the outside

We continued our walk thru the latin quarter, through the pedestrian zone with restaurants after restaurants along with souvenirs shops. We kept on walking to Rue de Buci, a familiar place from many years ago when we stayed in the area.

Walking farther, we arrived at the bio market on Blvd Raspail. We were so late, that many of the vendors were starting to close up. We walked up and down the length of the market and there were some very nice looking produce; but we didn't need any, so we left empty handed.

We were going to check out Le Bon Marché which was close by, specifically La Grand Épicerie, but it was close. So we headed home, stopping at Gérald Mulot for another tarte citron with a small variation -

.....and it was yummy!

It's a good thing we did that three-hour walk!
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I did not sleep well at all last night, jet lag is still a problem. In fact, I got up just after three o'clock from tossing and turning. I finally slept after I returned to bed just before five and didn't wake until after nine. Another late start. And it has turned cold but dry.

Our first order of the day was to go to a pharmacy to get a couple of knee sleeves or socks as the pharmacist called them. My knees have been paining me. And then a stop at the bakery for a couple of baguettes before returning to the apartment to put the "knee socks" on. And they did help.

We were off again to La Cave at Lafayette Gourmet and went away with four reds. I think they are all from Bordeaux -

After lunch, we went out for a walk and came home with another box -

and inside -

.......a lemon tart, a chocolate tart and a piece of almond tart with pear. The chocolate and lemon tarts were very good; the almond tart will be breakfast tomorrow.

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After shopping at the Aligre market this morning, I checked out the hidden garden about a block and a half from our apartment. It is still pretty green, the daffodils are spent and the roses are not blooming quite yet.

After lunch, we walked to Rue de Bretagne to check out a few more shops - a bakery, a chocolate shop, a deli, a cheese shop, the Marché des Enfants-Rouge but didn't buy anything except for 250 grams of coffee from a specialty coffee/tea shop.

We also checked out the small park at the end of the street. The park is beautiful with lots of children playing in the playground.

There was a memorial in the park for the many children deported and killed at Auschwitz - some 11,000 children of which more than 500 are from the third arrondissement. The board listed the names of 87 children ages 1 - 6 years old. So sad..........

On the way home we stopped in at Au Petit Versailles du Marais again to pick up the dessert for the evening: a chocolate tart, a lemon tart and an opera.

More walking tomorrow!

By the way, I ordered from Amazon.fr a Delonghi espresso machine a couple of weeks before our arrival, so it was waiting for us when we arrived.
You really are settling in! The thing I miss the most when I travel is my morning routine - coffee from our Delonghi machine and raisin toast that I make in my breadmaker. Although going to a cafe in France is my second favorite breakfast.

Fabulous photos and details!!

Wednesday, almost a week ago, was a cool, sunny day - a great day for a walk, a very much needed walk after indulging in too much cheese and desserts.

We decided to take the metro to the 7th arrondissement. Getting off at Ecole Militaire, we walked toward Rue Cler. When we first visited Paris back in October 1995, we stayed on this street. The planned seven-day stay turned into twelve days - we loved Paris.

At 10:30 a.m., Rue Cler was still deserted but the shops were open with abundant display -

We had no plans to buy anything, so we continued on towards Tour Eiffel. The trees are blooming and beautiful -


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