S: Paris 2011
BC: It was a wonderful trip-eating, drinking, walking, and laughing our way through Paris and Belgium with great friends.
FC: Paris 2011
1: Don, Lisa, Barry, Tina | ...via Amsterdam | On our way to Paris
2: 15 Quai aux Fleurs, Ile de la Cite
5: After a morning at the Flea Market, we wandered up to Montmartre, had an amazing lunch, and took in the sights.
9: The day we didn't get to the top of the Montparnasse Tower
20: Touring the King's Gardens with Yanis & Nancy
21: Line | Niels
24: bon appetit
25: Insanely beautiful Seine
26: Emails sent home.... Day 1 Bonjour mes amis, We arrived safe and sound yesterday around 3:30 and successfully navigated the train into town. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, Palm Sunday as it were, and the crowd in front of Notre Dame was lined up to go inside as well as mill around. We were of course wheeling luggage...mine totalling 60 pounds between my big suitcase and my carryon...but it was just 4 blocks or so to our amazing little pied a terre. The windows of our apt. open wide onto the Seine...the boatloads of happy tourists floating down the Seine, couples strolling, it's very picturesque. Across the Seine from us we see the Hotel de Ville (old city hall). Barry and Tina had a lovely spread of cheeses and baguettes, wine and champagne waiting for us...hmm just the typing about the cheese makes me want a bite more. Then we wandered back over to the Notre Dame in the late afternoon sunlight...so pretty. Tina peaked inside and said it was packed with probably over 1,000 people, standing room only, for the evening mass...then we wandered over to Ile St. Louis, and had a late dinner. Back home and in bed...11:30...after sleeping maybe 1 1/2 hrs. on the plane...the bed was crazily comfy. Today our plan is to head to Monmartre, Sacre Coeur etc... We made reservations at a little restaurant around the corner from us for 8pm tonight...we walked in and it was packed last night (the apartment greeter had recommended it) so we'll give it a try. Au revoir, Lisa and Don Bonjour mes enfants, Today we majorly lucked into a fabulous beginning to our day....we were putzing around, deciding what to do when Don found out out the Flea Mkt. was only open Sat. Sun, Mon....so today was our only opportunity. We took the Metro and wandered around for a couple of hours checking out fun antique stores and junk galore. T ina and Barry were curiously interested in purchasing a) 4 limestone statues ...6+ feet tall...8,000 euros including shipping...b) various marble mantle clocks....1,800-4,000 euros...but we walked away without either...I bought a sweet little gemstone necklace and a Limoges pillbox...tres mignon. Then we walked to Montmartre...checked out Sacre Coeur...had our most amazing meal so far for lunch...btw I did go out and get croissants and coffee this morning, yum. Our apartment is so perfect...location, views, etc. We wandered thru the Montmartre, checked out Moulin Rouge, etc...then metro'ed home We had the most amazing dinner at a restaurant around the block from our flat...it was perfect. I had cassoulet of duck with white beans...to die for. Followed by creme brulee... Then we walked a block to Notre Dame...how full is the moon these days..? some performance artist juggling fire of some sort.... balmy evening...not even needing a sweater... and the whole week is supposed to be like this...I need to go shopping for cooler clothes. A bientot, Lisa and Don Ah oui, > Even tho none of you responded to my last email, I will have to assume you are all alive and enjoying my 'blogging'. boohoo! I got up at 7am and went for un petit jog along the Seine, thru the Louvre courtyard, Jardin des Tuileries, and up to the Place de la Concorde, then home...about 4 miles. Picked up a coffee and chocolate almond croissant on the way home. Couldn't get my key to work to reenter the apt, but finally muscled my way in. We set out to climb to the top of Notre Dame...got there at 9:40 for the 10:00 opening, but alas the line was probably 150 people long, and they let in 20 people every 10 minutes... we walked thru the church itself...then wandered over to Sainte Chapelle...same long line...so we set off for the left bank. We were a bit map challenged, Don and Tina are battling iphone apps to see which can get us places...but we had no tourist info, so we didn't really know where we wanted to go. We ended up taking a coffee alongside the Sorbonne, then walked over to the monstrosity Montparnasse Tower..ate some amazing baguette sandwiches along side the Galeries Lafayeete....long lineto go up to the tower...so we set out for the Cemetery of Montparnasse, very picturesque...no one really 'good' buried there...but it was interesting. Then we walked back toward home thru the St. Germain des Pres district...moderate shopping opportunities...no purchases. We did buy some bread and snacks to take back to our flat...felt pretty amazing to sit down and regroup.
27: I had early on developed a slight blister where the top of my boot rubbed my shin, so I bought a bandage early in the day...thank goodness...made a huge difference. ..stopped the blister from occurring. We walked into St. Severin church...but there was a funeral in progress, so we left. We did get into St. Suplice cathedral...impressive, and finally not crowded. > Tonight we plan to hobble to another restaurant nearby...Barry has a sore ankle, Don's knee perodically bothers him, my dogs were barking (no offense Izzy and Bones) and Tina was pretty pooped. > Oh my, a huge dinner cruise boat just stopped traffic on the Seine...the biggest one we have seen so far...it seemed to have sleeping facilities...looked as long as a football field. Tina got them to wave at her from our window... > Bon nuit mes cheres, > Lisa Bon soir, We have made it thru another amazing day....I was the advance scout for the am...got up and out on time and purchased 4 2-day Paris museum passes and got in line (1st, by the way) at Sainte Chapelle...My friends were supposed to join me at 9:15 for the opening at 9:30...Tina, bless her heart, arrived by 9:15, but the boys straggled in after the line moved ahead of me...boohoo...but it was still majorly amazing...and not too crowded. Then we headed on the Metro to Musee D'Orsay. Unfortunately, they were doing some reconstruction and the main parts were kinda crammed and crowded, but whatever, it was still amazing. Then we walked over to Tuileries gardens along the Louvre, had a delightful lunch in one of those outdoor cafes...with little green chairs, under broad=leafed mulberry trees...orange umbrellas...you get the picture..Great photos of the Tour d'Eiffel, Place de la Concorde...(actually the first time I have seen more than the top part of the Eiffel Tower).We went to the Orangerie Museum...some pretty amazing Monet Water Lily paintings that curved along walls that were maybe 30 feet long...as well as many other impressionist paintings from some art dealers private collection...then we strolled along toward the Louvre...still a line to get in...maybe try tomorrow to blast thru I had made a miscalculation on the location of an allegedly amazing spot for hot chocolate...so Barry bailed, and headed back toward the apt....but Tina, Don and I backtracked to Angelina's...way amazing...thick, rich, velvety..intense, unstoppable chocolate goodness, with a side bowl of luscious whipped cream...ah, me...then we headed back on a rush-hour crowded metro toward home. got off and toured just one more church, and got some treats at an outdoor market.... It's now about 9pm, soft breeze, probably 65-70 degrees still...it is amazing weather...we plan to head to some cute streets we saw yesterday to get something to eat...Metro over..maybe walk back...it is waaay warmer than I expected....predictions are 78 degrees in Brussels on Friday... Well, bon nuit, Lisa Hi Guys, This morning I slipped on my worn out flip flops and set out for a quick cup of coffee...but then I started wandering, and before I knew it I had ended up in Les Halles shopping center before it opened....a labyrinth of shops and levels...but I knew I had to make it back to the flat...it was getting close to 10am...so I hopped on the Metro and got back to the rest of my flatmates just getting ready to embrace the day. Tina and I headed over to Ile St. Louis...the other small island in the Seine, and did some shopping...I actually bought a pair of shoes to wear to the royal wedding...not at all what I had in mind, but totally cool...and more expensive than my dress, but, whatever. They are vintage (used) Louis Vuiton silver pumps...pointed toe, not peeptoe...3 inch heel, kind of a swath cut out of the instep...just very elegant and comfortable, actually.
28: Had some cookies and croissants, then headed back to the flat...empty of menfolk. We met up with them in the Latin Quarter, toured a church...St. Severin, then headed along a bunch of narrow streets with food, beverages, shops galore. Barry peeled off early again and Don, Tina and I meandered home, stopping at the Conciergerie...where M. Antoinette and others were imprisoned and beheaded...remember that Hil...from when we were with Yanis in 2000? We took a bottle of champagne to the Eiffel tower, found the absolute perfect viewing spot bench and sat enjoying an unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower until the lights went on around 9. Then we headed to an amazing restaurant that Tina had heard of via Anthony Bourdain...lived up to the rep. Made our way home on the Metro...first creepy late night incident on the subway...some icky man was lurking and making odd eye contact with us....fortunately he didn't board our train and we are obviously safely home and preparing to head to Brussels tomorrow. The plan is to leave here at 8am...haven't seen any of my flatmates up and about by that time yet, but I have high hopes. Love and kisses to you all. I know you will have a fabulous time at the Easter festivities...the photos I have seen of the preparations are breathtaking. Lisa We have just arrived back home from Belgium. That tgv high-speed train is a wonderful way to go...hope we get one in CA soon. It was a lot of fun to see Nancy, Yanis, Niels, and Line...as well as Ghent, Brugge and Brussels. Ghent and Brugge were both really cute little towns, but very crowded with people...duh. We still had fun, wandering along cobbled streets and popping into churches and restaurants, etc. Today we started out with a tour of the King's garden in Brussels - it's only open to the public for 3 weeks during the year, and this was in it. Beautiful greenhouses and expansive grounds...not on the scale of Versailles, but still...Then we toured a small brewery in Brussels with very odd tasting beer. After that we walked around the old city part...didn't get to see Mannequin Pis, but not such a pity. Let me just tell you there is some question about whether I will fit into any clothes tomorrow...here is what I ate today: one raisin croissant, a square of delicious Belgian chocolate, coffee, orange juice, grapes for breakfast...after the garden we stopped at a french fry truck (they strangely just call it a fry truck) where I had a garlic sausage and some fries...a Kriek (cherry beer) then when we got back to Paris (after accidentally sneaking thru the Metro pay stiles without paying) we had some pizza in the Latin Quarter...Believe it or not, Barry and Tina just headed out for ice cream! I'm looking forward to getting home and seeing all of you...at least those in California first. Love, Lisa