Thursday, May 29, 2008

Paris 2008 - 28 Mai

Mercredi - At last!

The sun came out and lasted most of the day. I could breathe sufficiently to do something beside sit around the apartment.

After sitting around the apartment for the past three days (going for groceries doesn't count), we finally got out and did something. Of course, hanging around the apartment did afford me the opportunity to wash the jeans I had worn for the karaoke drama. But, because of the tiny size of the washer, they were barely cleaner than when I put them in, so they're going to have to go to a real laundry facility as soon as we get around to it.

We walked to the bus stop to take the bus down to Place Léon Blum to get the métro to Franklin D. Roosevelt. I've been wanting to go to the top of l'Arc de Triomphe and today seemed like the perfect day for it. I checked the bus schedules but we would have to have taken at least different busses to get there, so I opted for the métro with only one train all the way over. I did miscalculate the vicinity. I thought FDR was one of the streets radiating from l'Arc de Triomphe. It isn't. It's off the Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées. So we ended up walking the rest of the way to the Arc. Passed a lot of neat stuff, of course, including the Renault showroom where I saw this beauty. We also passed Ladurée, but decided we would stop on our return to the métro. Then we passed a theater where people were lined up in what would have been about two blocks if the line had been straight. Today was the first showing of Sex and the City, Le Film.

Upon arriving at l'Arc, I began looking for the tunnel that takes you under the traffic swirling crazily around it. It's possible some brave souls might be able to somehow get through all those vehicles, but I didn't want to even think about trying it. It's much easier and safer to use the tunnel, which brings you right into the ticket office if you want to go to the top, and that was our goal. I have been putting it off for years, thinking it would just be too difficult for me. Then, after all these years of visiting Paris, I only recently discovered that there is an elevator to the top of l'Arc de Triomphe, well, almost to the top. You still have to climb stairs for the last few feet, but it's nothing daunting.

It's worth the trip no matter whether you climb to the top or take the elevator. What a gorgeous view. And what a gorgeous day it was for us on which to finally make this trip. I really don't think it could have been any better. Of course, I took the obligatory pictures; La Defense, Sacre Coeur, Tour Montparnasse and la Tour Eiffel. It was so beautiful, we didnt want to leave, but it was getting late and we wanted to stop at Ladurée.

Ladurée was great. We each had an éclair café, followed by a café. Then I purchased a box of 15 mini-maccarons, while Robb bought a couple of croissants and a couple of strawberry tartes. I had wanted the regular size, but remembered how long it took me to eat the one we got about a week or so ago, and figured the minis would be just right.

We left there with the idea of getting the métro back, but I thought that since we were so close, we should check out the Petit Palais to which entrance is always free. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong street. So close and yet so far, we were only a couple of streets off. I knew we were close but I couldn't remember which street it was. Oh well, next time.

Since we couldn't go to the Petit Palais, we went down to get the métro. Every one that pulled into the station was overflowing with passengers. We waited. And waited. And waited. Finally jumping onto one that wasn't quite so crowded.

Back at the apartment, we indulged with a framboise mini-maccaron. Now we understand how Ladurée got their reputation.

Around nine-ish, we decided to go out for dinner. Robb wanted to go to a place we've passed several times in our travels about the area, Le Rey, so we walked down to Boulevard Voltaire, taking a bit of a different route so that we could check out some new things.

Once at the restaurant, we wanted to sit inside, but Robb wanted to sit all the way in the back, where we couldn't see the street or any of the other customers, but we did find these signs of the new times in Parisian dining. I would have preferred sitting a little closer to the action, mais c'est la vie. We started with a Kir Maison, which was champagne, Mandarine and Grand Marnier, that was served with a plate of sliced ham of a kind with which I am not familiar but it was a bit like hard salami. Then Robb ordered his salad, which for anyone else would have been a meal. For our main courses, I ordered Duo de Côte et Selle d'Agneau Grille (lamb chops) and Robb had Cou de Canard Farci Maison Lentilles du Pay (duck with lentils). I like lentils and tasted his; they were really good. After we got our main courses, the place started filling up and became somewhat lively. Because of all the food, and the snack at Ladurée, we passed on desert and just had coffee.

After dinner, we went for a short walk down to rue de Charonne for a look around. It was quite nice. We are, if you haven't guessed yet, looking for a place we can afford in a section of Paris we find attractive (which is most all of the city).

Plus à venir, mes amis.

No comments: