[MAD] Mary Ann & Don

Archive for March, 2010

France Days 10 – 14: Paris! The grande finale!

Posted by madkingblog on March 6, 2010

So on Dec 1st, our 4 year anniversary of meeting, we turned in our rental car, and hopped on a train for Paris. When we got there our fist afternoon/evening was getting settled in our hotel and looking for fondue since that is our traditional dinner for celebrating the day we met. We learned a big lesson right away, it is hard to find fondue in Paris!!

Starting with what Don remembers… I can’t help but find it super cool the differences in what stands out to each of us (i.e. I would not have remembered the ballast tanks)

Don:We get to Paris and check into our hotel. Sounds simple till I fill you in on how we had to carry our luggage up and down 12 flights of stairs in the metro system. Then there was the 8 block walk to the hotel from the metro station. After checking into our hotel and taking a nap we head out and walk past the Eiffel tower headed along the river. I get tired and we jump on the metro and head to the Isle De La Cite. When we get there we find the underground is water tight, there are ballast tanks to retain leaks behind steel walls, extremely cool old technology. We walk around the island and then towards Notre Dame on our search for fondue. We head back across the river to the Latin quarter where we finally find a Swiss fondue restaurant. Its an old meat locker with the actual hanging tracks and built in hooks!  We eat there and their credit card machine would not work, so I played the hero because I wasn’t going to be able to sit there while MA was out getting money and took the metro back to the hotel to get my ATM card.  When I get to the hotel I have the concierge call a taxi that spoke English to take me back to the restaurant via an ATM machine. Finally we paid and left the restaurant at the same time a girl is screaming ‘I’m pissed! they wouldn’t take my card!’ Se la vie.

Like Don explains, this restaurant was a Swiss place and the cheese was strong! I like strong cheese and it still took me the first 10 or 15 minutes to acclimate to the smell before it no longer smelled bad to me. Also, of all the places we could have gone, this restaurant happens to be where Ratatouille is now working…

We didn’t really think to take pictures of our hotel room in Paris (although we took a ton of the tippy top of the eiffel tower that we could see), so we don’t have any of the inside of our room except for this super cool pic Don got of my reflection in the mantle on the door to our “Victor Hugo” room (which coincidentally is one of my favorite authors, although I’m sure that is the case for many haha)…

Our Eiffel Tower view (don’t laugh but we paid a higher room rate for this, I have to admit I was certainly expecting more, but it was still cool to come back to the room each night and see this)…

So the next day, starting with Don first…

Don:We slept in too long! It was raining and sleeping through the rain is our weakness. We ate at the cafe near the hotel, Constant, that had awesome food, we both had a rocket salad with delectably fried shrimp. Then we went to the metro to go to the Arc De Triomphe.  It was closed because a labor strike but it was awesome to see up close and the strike probably prevented a big crowd. We jumped back on the metro to go to the Eiffel tower, the 2 hour line was gone and we were at the top of the tower in about 25 minutes! We took our time up there and took in the view before heading down and back to the hotel to make dinner reservations. Before dinner we walked around the Christmas markets.  We went to dinner at the Laduree resturant and this is literally the longest I have ever waited for food in my life. 2 hours and counting for my main plate and I still had coffee icecream coming after that! They finally explained what happened, a group of 30 people were seated together and they get their food at the same time causing a delay for everyone else. We could see that other people that showed up at the same time were having the same wait. Our main course came soon after they explained and it was really great tasting. MA had a succulent steak and I had a wonderful sole filet. Dessert was iced macaroons for MA and I had icecream.

I LOVED LOVED LOVED the iced Macaroons (I’m not crazy about the non iced ones though) and my steak was great but like Don said, it was the longest wait ever.  Anyway, it was a really cool restaurant on Champs-Elysees which was all decked out for Christmas… gorgeous!

And the Eiffel Tower from the top…

The Eiffel Tower from the other side of the river at night!

On Thur, we first went to the Lovre but it was closed!! So we switched up our plans and headed for Montmarte instead. We went straight for a Dali museum that someone had tipped us off to. It is down a LOT of little side alleys, very tucked away, but Dali is worth any search. We finally found it, and it was so cool, it was mostly his sculptures.  We had lunch at a little place also tucked away in Montmarte and as usual, SO GOOD. Then we hit the Christmas markets for that night buying dinner, Christmas gifts, and souvenirs.  Then we headed to the hotel early for wine and relaxation. We watched TV in French for a while and saw some of the funniest stuff I think we’ve ever seen on TV, we were laughing so hard we were crying at one point.

Below we were looking down on Paris from Montmarte. Notice the foreboding clouds! We got poured on on the way back downtown, but it was cool, we were dressed for it with boots, wool jackets, scarfs, and umbrellas.  We didn’t let it stop us.  And because it drizzled most the evening, the Christmas markets were not as crowded!

Fri, we finally got into the LOVRE and it did not diappoint! I’m not a big museum person, and neither is Don, but the Lovre is in a class all it’s own, it’s AWESOME. I’m posting just a few of the best pics we got below (I’d love to post more, but wordpress makes if far too cumbersome).  This was our last day in Paris.  We hit the Christmas markets again, and then had dinner at Constant, a great little place right by our hotel.

Paris turned out great! It is no southern France, but the urban experience can be great in its own right. My favorite part of the urban experience has always been and continues to be, sitting in little hole in the wall cafes sipping on espresso and just taking in the world around me. Paris is so wonderful for this.

So FINALLY, that was FRANCE!

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