Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 789: Laurie & Daniel's June 2005 Trip to Paris
By Daniel from New York, Summer 2005
Trip Description: These pages contain the tale of our terrific trip to Paris in 2005 that occurred from June 13th through the 21st.
Destinations: Countries - France; Regions/Cities - Paris
Categories: Vacation Rentals; Art Trip; Foodie Trip; Shopping; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People
Page 1 of 9: Day Zero and Day One - First Moments
A Cafe Close to Our Apartment
Day Zero - June 12, 2005
Our flight over on KLM was actually quite pleasant. The food was better than usual, and they had an unbelievable amount of choices for movies (over 100 I think, both recent films and classics). Also, we had the good fortune to have non-animals sit in front of us who had the decency to lift their seat backs up during meal times.
The one unpleasant bit of business was the blood sugar drop I experienced. However, even that wasn't so dramatic because it's happened to me a couple of times before and so I know what I have to do. I think those poor flight attendants almost spit their food out when I walked into the galley, requested orange juice then proceeded to lay down on the floor and prop my legs up on the wall. Laurie (my wife) followed me in and explained everything to these ladies who were 100% understanding and even offered me oxygen. In about five minutes all was back to normal, but the flight attendants regularly came by our row during the rest of the flight to "check-up" on me.
Day One - June 13, 2005
We made our connecting flight from Amsterdam to Paris with time to spare, and by 11:00 AM or so we were on the RER headed to the Chatalet metro station. I had a hard time getting my rent-a-cell from Cellular Abroad to work until I realized there is such a thing as a SIM card, which had not yet been installed. That taken care of, I called John at @homeAbroad:Paris Apartments to let him know that we were on time for our 1:00 PM "check-in" at our vacation rental on rue Mazarine. We arrived at Chatalet and switched to the number four metro which dropped us off at the Odeon station. Called our friends, Sandy and Martin, who were also renting an apartment on Mazarine from the same firm; catching them during their first visit to the Samaritaine roof top. Sandy said they'd come over to our place at around 2:00 or so.
Since we were a little early, we just rolled ourselves over to Le Relais Odeon, a typical cafe on the corner of Rue de L'Ancienne Comedie and Boulevard St. Germain. The folks there were very friendly and even helped us stow our bags under a section of the bar. We then enjoyed our first Parisian meal which consisted of a perfectly fine croque monsieur & 1664 beer for me, and an onion soup and glass of chablis for Laurie. A few sips into my beer I relaxed a bit, checked out the people walking by, and really felt for the first time that I was indeed in Paris. Laurie gave me a kiss and thanked me for planning the trip. Everybody was happy.
After lunch, we went to the building and schleped our bags up the two flights of stairs and were greeted at our new home by John. The place was small, but was nicely decorated and had windows in the living room, bedroom and kitchen so it felt bright and appealing. Ideal for a couple, and perhaps OK for a couple with one or two small children (the sofa in the living room had a fold out bed). Our check-in had some minor glitches (bed was made up as two singles instead of one queen sized bed as requested, there were bed linens still spinning in the dryer, and the dishwasher still had clean dishes inside that needed unloading) but nothing that would qualify as Earth shattering. John thoroughly explained how everything in the apartment worked, re-made the bed as a Queen, and made sure that we had his contact numbers. Very nice guy.
Sandy and Martin arrived shortly thereafter, and we sat and chatted for a while, but I was aching to hit the streets so we did. Since the Musee Cluny was so close by, we decided to do that first. S&M (how I will refer to our friends from now on) decided at the last minute that they were really not interested in the middle ages, so they said they would take a stroll in the neighborhood and we agreed to give them a call on the cell when we were done. The Cluny was, of course, a pleasure. Laurie and I admired the unicorn tapestries for what seemed to be a lifetime. Quite beautiful.
When we stepped out of the Cluny, S&M were waiting for us and we all decided to go to a little square that they had "discovered" called Place de la Contrescarpe. We went to a cafe there where it was noisettes (espresso with a small splash of milk) all around. Ah, French coffee. We hung out there for a while, then shortly it was time to get back to the apartment, unpack and get ready for dinner.
While Laurie was doing her thing, I slipped out to Rue de Buci for some essentials. I went to Kayser for some madelines & croissants for the following morning. Champion supermarket for OJ, cream, coffee, two terrific cheeses, beer & yogurt. Picked up some roses for my better half at a stand in front of the Champion. Then it was on to Nicholas for Champagne and a pinot grigio. Then...I saw it. Seven beautiful letters: A-M-O-R-I-N-O. Although I knew I was having dinner soon, I figured life's too short to act sensible. I ordered a double: stracciatella et pistache. Between this delicious gelato and the garden of earthly delights that I was carrying in several bags, it occurred to me that life really couldn't get much better. On my way back to the apartment, I noticed S&M coming at me on the sidewalk. They've immediately spotted the cone in my hand and started giving me a good-natured hard time about it.
Dinner this evening was at Allard. The four of us actually walked right by the main entrance on Rue de L'Eperon because it looked like a staff or back entrance. Finally we made it inside to this slightly cramped but charming place. The staff was quite jovial, and the food was superb. I forget what the others had, but I enjoyed my first foie gras of the trip, and followed that with a savory roasted lamb dish. For dessert, we all shared a creme caramel and a Paris-brest (I think this is where Martin and I started our immature "yes, I'd like two Paris-brests please" joke - it's so much fun traveling with a male friend).
After dinner (at about 11:00 PM), we decided to just hit the hay because we wanted to be fresh for our "Montmartre Day". The bed at the apartment was very comfortable, and the sheets were cool and soft. As we fell asleep, I heard the thing I most love to hear coming from the window at bedtime: nothing.
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