27 Juin (Lundi) - I took a pill last night and slept a little better, but still not great.
Robb wanted to go to the banque today. We got ourselves dressed and walked down Boulevard Beaumarchais towards Place de la République in the hope of finding a taxi. As we walked, we tried to flag one down but, except late at night when they're begging for riders, it's almost impossible to do that, and today was no different. In case you don't remember, I really HATE French taxi drivers, and that opinion was stoutly renewed today. We found the taxi stand and there were three taxis there, but no drivers and they never did appear in the entire twenty to thirty minutes we stood there trying to get a passing driver to stop. None did.
We walked down to Place de la République (if you can see the little blue 'TAXI' sign, that's where I was standing when I got one guy to stop) to see if we could get one there. We found the taxi stand and I could see several taxis parked about half-block away. But, again, no drivers. Finally, after standing there waving at passing taxis for ten or fifteen minutes, one actually stopped and picked us up.
I suppose I should mention that it was extremely warm in Paris today. The World Weather site online showed the temp to be in the high 90's. I've never been here when it was that hot. In fact, I didn't really believe it ever got that hot in Paris after being here in July one year when I had to buy a leather jacket because it was so cold!
We got to the banque only to find, once again, it was a wasted trip. The Carte Bleu that was supposed to be waiting for Robb, was not there. You know that list of things I HATE about Paris? Add banques. Supposedly, he has an appointment to pick it up on Wednesday, but I will be greatly surprised if it's actually there.
Just to be certain it wasn't a totally wasted trip, we walked down to the métro station a Place de l'Opéra to get our Navigo passes. Robb needed a new one, and I just had to rechargement mine. We each got a carnet de billets (ten tickets) to use until Vendredi (Friday) when our passes will be good. I have to say, it was much easier this time than last time. The clerk had everything ready and we simply told him what we wanted and handed him the euros. Afterward, we stopped at the 'Paul' café. I got un pain au choclat and une bouteille de l'eau (a chocolat filled brioche and a bottle of water). Robb got an apricot tarte and a can of Minute Maid Jus de l'Orange.
Back at the apartment, we were happy to find that the interesting temperature thing was still true - it was at least fifteen to twenty degrees cooler in the apartment. We each had a dish of Menthe Glace (mint ice cream), then rested until dinner time.
A few minutes after 21h00, we went out ostensibly to go to an Italian restaurant I had seen down the street. But we walked a block down Boulevard Beaumarchais, when I spotted a little place on the other side of the boulevard, down a little side street (rue Amelot). I loved the name of the place: La Vache Acrobate (the Acrobatic Cow). I suggested we try it. What a great find it turned out to be. In spite of the heat (surprise Paris is HOT!) we had to sit inside, but at least, we were next to the open window. We both had the Noix Saint Jacques (scallops). They were served with the best risotto I have EVER eaten. We ordered une bouteille du Val de Loire (an excellent white wine). We skipped dessert and finished with un café.
After dinner, we walked a bit down the street and discovered a few more restaurants. They were all closed and I hope it was only because it's Lundi (Monday) and it's their usual day to be closed.
28 Juin (Mardi) - Did I mention that we got here the day after the start of les soldes d'été (summer sales) Période des soldes d'été : du mercredi 22 juin 2011 au mardi 26 juillet 2011 inclus (they last from 22 June to 26 July). Les soldes d'été, for those who aren't familiar, are the summer sales. In France, store 'sales' are regulated by the state. Supposedly, the stores can only have 'sales' at certain times of the year. Of course, that does not include 'specials' or 'going out of business sales'.
The other day when we were walking down rue de Turenne and were checking out all the men's stores, we also noticed that the prices were really low. Normally, clothing in Paris is quite expensive. Robb had seen several shirts he wanted, so off we went on a shopping spree. We passed several stores before he finally saw something he had to buy. He bought three shirts. Then he took them back to the apartment while I waited just outside Hôtel de Grand Veneur, where there was a photo exhibit of some sort. I took a picture of the main entrance with the "flags", and a picture of a couple of pieces of sculpture in the courtyard. I think one is King Louis 'the Sun King, but I'm not certain.'
We walked a little further, than caught the 96 bus to BHV. While we were in the store, it rained a little bit. We both bought some nice T-shirts because we hadn't brought enough (I only had one with me). After, we walked down by Hôtel de Ville, thinking we might have time to check out the free Impressionist exhibit, but it was too late. Apparently, most of the art is on loan from the Musée d'Orsay. The exhibit is on until the end of July, so we will have the chance to check it out. Since we couldn't do the HdV exhibit, we walked over to Place de Saint-Gervais and down rue François Miron to the bus stop and caught the 96 bus back to rue Saint-Claude. It was good to get back to our nice, cool apartment for a while.
A little after 21h00, we went looking for a place to eat. This time we tried rue de Turenne and found a little place on rue de Parc Royal named Café des Musées (probably because the Picasso Musée is just down the street). We were seated next to two American girls who were living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Next to them were two (I think, because they were speaking English to the girls) French guys. At any rate, everyone was very friendly and we had a very good time. The waiters were also very friendly, cheerful and helpful. We both had Canard Roti (roasted duck) with a medley of vegetables. It was excellent. Dessert was a créme tarte with cranberries. We drank a bottle of beaujolais. During the time we were there, it rained lightly, but the temperature cooled down significantly.
29 Juin (Mercredi) - The Paris heat wave is over and I'm back to wearing my leather jacket. Today, also, is Robb's appointment at the banque. I'm curious to see how that goes. Around 13h00, we walked up and got the 20 Bus. We arrived at the BNP Paribas about a half-hour early, so we just hung around outside, then went in. We only had to wait a few minutes util Robb's conseiller. She was very pleasant (as usual) and she actually had Robb's card ready and waiting. After getting the formalities out of the way, we chatted for several minutes; mostly about politics and the "war on terror". She's very knowledgeable about world happenings, and we found that we pretty much agreed on everything.
We left, stopping for a café at Bistro Romain. Just across the street was a Pizza Hut, so I had to take a picture.
Then we walked over to rue de Quatre Septembre, where we just missed the 29 bus, but only waited a few minutes for the 20. There is a beautiful church between the Bourse (which used to be the Paris stock exchange) and Square du Temple. I tried to take a picture of it, but my phone was turned off and by the time it re-booted, we were already too far past. But since I had it ready, I took a shot of the Temple métro station and the statue named 'Republique' in the middle of Place de la République.
Dinner at Le Repaire de Cartouche. There is an entrance on Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire which is really Blvd Beaumarchais, but changes names about a block from the restaurant like so may streets in Paris. We actually entered from rue Amelot, after stopping at two other "restaurants" that have menus but don't serve food. That now makes three of those we've found in this area. I don't mind if a place wants to be only a bar, but at least they shouldn't advertise themselves as a café/brasserie. Le Repaire de Cartouche is a split-level place, and I suspect the locals eat downstairs, while the tourists are shuffled off to the hinterland. We both had the Pavé de St. Pierre (a white fish) served over delicious wax beans (like haricots vert, except yellow). Dessert, which was ordered by Robb, was supposed to be white chocolate cake with strawberries, but there was little, if any, white chocolate in it. It was good but... The waiters, in contrast to reviews I read after getting back to the apartment, were pleasant and friendly. When reading about the restaurant, they presented the hours thusly; "Closed Sun., Mon., and Aug." I found that to be quite funny. If you know anything about Paris, you know that most Parisians leave the city in August.
30 Juin (Jeudi) - Another terrible night. I was reading the entries from our last trip to Europe because I was looking for the name of a store (which I found) and I saw that it was a week or more before I could get into going places and doing things. I'm hoping that's the case this time, but I don't remember it being this bad.
Dinner tonight at a really nice place on rue Amelot, which although it's just across the street, is in the 11e (11th arrondissement) La CuiZine. It's apparently run by a husband and wife team. We both had gambas (huge shellfish served whole) which came with a side of risoto. Very messy, but very good, and our waitress Delphine brought us finger bowls. We drank a nice Macon Village white wine. Dessert for me was a raspberry Tiramisu. Neither of us can remember what Robb had, but it was good and looked beautiful. This is a great restaurant and we hope to return before we leave for Madrid in a couple of weeks. Oh, and La CuiZine is one of the restaurants we saw the other day that was closed because (I think) it was their regular day to be closed.