May 04, 2009

Paris in spring

Still sounds good, that.
And there were flowers everywhere. Beautiful.

But it started a bit...awkward.

Paris, here we come!
On our way from the airport our driver got some serious trouble with the car.
First the gearbox didn't work properly.
Then it started to smell funny and smoke from the engine.
So we had to stop right in the motorway with heavy weekend traffic.
As the engine still was smoking we didn't mind getting out. At all.
We managed to haul another taxi, and this one got us safely to the hotel in Montparnasse.

We stayed at the hotel Lenox Montparnasse, and it was a very nice hotel.
They helped us with recommendations on restaurants twice and both suggestions were very good. The rooms were rather small (as normal in France) but nicely decorated.
We got a good price on the rooms through
We packed up, changed clothes and out we went for dinner.
Around the corner we had a renown seafood restaurant, so to Le Dome we went.

Le Dome is an Art Deco brasserie, which opened in 1898.
It later became the gathering place of the American literary colony and a focal point for artists residing in Paris' Left bank.
The interior still is 1930's Art Déco period, beautiful, and it creates that special atmosphere.
(Unfortunately I forgot to bring my Marlene Dietrich outfit)

Many of the French seafood restaurants have a display of the goods outside, kind of like a candy shelf for grown ups...

Nice, huh?
We had oysters as a starter. We really had to feel that we were in France.
I had a fantastic main course: Coquilles Saint Jacques, risotto avec truffles blancs
(Yes, I am a foodie. I still get happy when I think of it!)

After a dessert and some coffee we rolled the 50 m to the hotel.
The following two days we walked all over Paris from early morning to evening, so even if I had my share of food & wine, I believe that I could eat with a good conscience.
(Bah, would have done anyway!)

Latin quarter

The medieval museum, a 15th century Gothic mansion

Yes, there are still some of them left!


Hey Quasimodo, where are you?
He had a lot to climb on, that guy...

Inside Notre-Dame there is a miniature so you can see the whole church and its proportions.
During the French revolution many of its treasures disappeared.
When Victor Hugo wrote the "Hunchback of Notre-Dame" the church was in a tragic condition, and it was contemplated to tear it down completely. (What a tradgedy that would have been!)
Hugo's book sparked a renewed interest in the church, and a restoration project was started in 1845.

The church is as beautiful inside as it is on the outside.
Construction begun in 1163, and was completed in 1345.
What a project, and what an achievement taken into consideration what tools and instruments that were available!
I find it a paradox that in those days, when the life span of people were shorter, they took on such a gigantic project. Could you imagine something similar nowadays?
Come to think of it, there is actually an ongoing project in "La Sagrada Familia" in Barcelone.
Construction started in 1882 by Antoni Gaudí, but the fantastic church is still not finished (planned to be in 2026).

Notre Dame is placed on one of the two isles in Seine, Île de-la-cité.
The other one is the
smaller Île Saint-Louis.
Passing the small bridge between the two, a jazz band was playing. They played well too!

The Louvre.
We did not enter - huge queues...
The building is incredably large, you just see one side of it here.

The assortment in French boulangeries is REALLY mouthwatering!

Aux Champs-Elysées, aux Champs-Elysées
Au soleil, sous la pluie, à midi ou à minuit
Il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs-Elysées

(Joe Dassin)
Want a touch of Paris? Listen to the real thing here

Yes, it is huge!

And even more impressive as you get closer.
I feel the Eiffel tower is really the quintessence of Paris.
It was marvellous to see it in real life.

Saturday evening we ate at "La closerie des Lilas"
And it was a marvellous meal!
I can highly recommend this restaurant.
It has since the late 19th century been the home to many artists and authors.
The interior, the service and the food & wine made this a memorable evening.

“The only decent café in our neighborhood was La Closerie des Lilas, and it was one of the best cafés in Paris. It was warm in the winter and the terrace was lovely in the spring and fall…” (Hemingway)

Saturday morning started out with a visit to Sacre Coeur.
It was Sunday Mass, and it was beautiful to hear the chorus and the organ.

The view from Sacre-Coeur over Paris - c'est magnifique!

Bye Paris!
I hope I will return some day!

We will watch over the city until you return...whenever that will be


Irene said...

Vilken härlig resa! Tack för bilder, kul att se. Fin mat, man blir hungrig...

Anne i Hannover said...

Now I really want to go to Paris:D Good to hear that you had a great trip!

Once Upon an Equine said...

Looks like a wonderful trip. That picture of the break down isn't a good product review for Mercedes Benz, tee hee. Looks like you had lovely weather and good food. Glad you enjoyed it.

mocharocks said...

I love your travel posts! Sounds like a wonderful and relaxing trip!

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks all!
Yes, it was a nice trip.
When I grow up and get to be a billionaire, I will travel a lot.
That is, if I can manage to leave my GP horses of course.

Unfortunately I discovered the disadvantage of being away for a couple of days when I rode Fame yesterday.
She had completely forgotten that she had two hindlegs, and used my hands as a fifth leg instead.
I am sure she has had a super fun time of tricking all the nice girls that took care of her while I was away.
But not me.
Actually I had to be a bit firm with her (that is called an euphorism, I believe). We both got a bit upset, but after a while we agreed that the boss was the one on the top, and things worked better...
Luckily today she worked fine, I took a short bareback session. I just had to have a short reminder in the start, and then everything went OK.

Le vieux said...

Je ténvie. D´être a Paris en primtemps... Des images tres bon, comme toujours.
Ton pêre

HorseOfCourse said...

Way, fattern! And in French too. Love the alias :-D
As I was the only one in the party to speak a wee bit French, I had to work hard (and not always with the best of results, lol!).
Like trying to translate menues.
When we came to dish #36 both my friends and I had forgotten what was in the beginning...

RuckusButt said...

Ha ha, I have similar "when I grow up" plans! Looks like a lovely trip. It's nice that you give some background/history. I always love that part of travel but I am terrible at remembering!

Pony Girl said...

Thanks for sharing great pictures of your wonderful trip! I have never been to Paris...or Europe, for that matter. I would love to go! I took french as a language in high school...not sure it would help me now, that was 20 years ago! ;)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Paris looks wonderful in the Spring. The flowers, architecture and food seem grand. Glad you enjoyed your trip and hope you get to go back soon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for helping to re-live my trip to Paris. Since I have an adversion to most cites, I was surprised at how beautiful it is.

The highlight of my trip was the Le Grande Ecuyer in Versailles...the equestrian spectacle was truly exquisite. I watched the morning practice, and the evening spectacle and spent the day looking around the stable and the carriages. On the itinerary for your next trip...

Esther Garvi said...

Hej! Halkade in här från Pony Girl's länk. Paris är verkligen en underbar stad! Och jag håller med Irene, man blir hungrig av sitta vid datorn i Västafrika och titta på mumsig latte & kaka från det franska gourmet köket!

Hälsningar från Niger,

Misfit in Paradise said...

I never wanted to go to Paris. Until now.

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks all for your comments!

Pony Girl - I too did French in school, but that is now 26 yrs ago, so you might say I'm a bit rusty...

Anon - I will definately include Le Grand Ecuyer next time (if I am so fortunate to go once again)! Thanks for your info, I hadn't heard of it before.

And Esther, how lovely to get a greeting all the way from Niger! I really do love how internet can bring people together from all over the world!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for blogging on your trip to Paris! It sounded and looked like you had a wonderful time! Now I must add Paris to my wish list :)

HorseOfCourse said...

Yes, do that Stephanie!
And add Rome too.
A fascinating and marvellous mixture of antique, medieval and present, and a small centre with all the main things to see within walking distance.

The sad thing is that with all the low fare flights, the European main cities are crowded with tourists. Queues are long to the main attractions. It is a large difference if you compare it to 10-15 years ago.
I sigh, but in the same time I benefit from it myself. The low fares, I mean.