Sunday, October 23, 2016

~Our 2016 Paris Holiday~

Our 8th trip to Paris began in Orlando; taking Icelandair to Reykjavik, Iceland for a brief stop before continuing to Charles DeGaulle Airport (CDG) in Paris.

Our plane in Orlando
The airport in Reykjavik is very small and does not have enough gates or jetways yet to accommodate the increased traffic.  When we arrived, we had to de-plane on the tarmac and were then transported to the terminal by bus.   When we reboarded, we followed the same routine.  On arrival, it was cold and raining. Since Iceland was the first stop out of the country, we went through customs there.

We arrived in Paris at Terminal 1 which we hadn't done before. We found the taxi stand eventually.  It was quite a surprise to see that the fare to Paris was a set fee (55 euros). The result of Uber competition.

Our apartment was located on Avenue de La Bourdonnais, in the 7th arr. This was the view from our 6th  floor apt window; as you can see we were quite close to the Eiffel Tower.  We stayed in this same area the last time we were here, so everything was quite familiar.
We were so fortunate to find this apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower.  Usually the apartments with a view of the ET are booked way in advance.

We have apt hunting down to a science now.  Having a set criteria is the most important aspect in the apartment search.  For us, #1 is an elevator.  The closer you are to the central part of the city, which is the oldest, the harder it is to find apartments with elevators.   Then we want to be close to transportation.  We no longer use the Metro because I have difficulty climbing stairs.  Using the buses is so easy; being in the vicinity of a larger correspondence makes traveling to various parts of the city convenient.

The first surprise when we arrived was finding the elevator landing between floors.  We try to avoid stairs.Christophe, the landlord, greeted us at the apt and showed us around and answered all of our questions.  He lives above us and was available if there were any problems. (There were a few.)The apartment was full of light.  The living room faced the street which was only a problem when the windows were open.  The double-paned windows really reduce the street noise.   The owner of this apartment probably lives here at times because it was filled with personal and family possessions.  The furniture was a bit 'tired' but certainly adequate.   I loved the small roll top desk.  I hooked up to WiFi right away.

The kitchen was narrow but well equipped with a full refrigerator and freezer, dishwasher (which we did not use), stove, oven and microwave.  It was well stocked with pots, dishes, glasses and utensils as well.

Woody spent more time in the kitchen than I did.  My job was to wash the dishes.
French bathrooms are not the same as American bathrooms.  This room which included, tub/shower, sink, bidet and washing machine was connected to the bedroom.  The toilet is in a separate room, the water closet (WC).  It was adjacent to the bedroom.
I'm not including a photo of the bedroom because it was a bit 'messy', but there was SO MUCH storage!  More than we've ever had in any previous apartment.  They are quite resourceful when creating storage space.  The bed was queen sized but the pillows were flat, hard and square; very awkward and uncomfortable.  I bring my own little memory foam pillow so I wasn't as uncomfortable as Woody.
View looking South towards the Champs de Mars
Walking along Avenue de La Bourdonnais.

You are going to see many photos of the Eiffel Tower, it seemed to be everywhere.  Even after 8 visits, I do not tire of looking at it.

After arrival, our first task was buying some staples (eggs, milk, bread, raspberry preserves,paper towels and Coke).  The Franprix, the local supermarche, was only 2 doors from the apt...very convenient.  Since it is on 2 floors, it seemed very roomy.  There was an elevator to the lower level, which I never saw.  My job was to get the items on the upper floor and Woody went down.   We have our own tote bags for carrying the groceries to the apt.
After Franprix, it was off to Rue Cler for the fruit and pastries.

I love the produce stands. Everything is arranged so creatively.  We got some fresh squeezed orange juice and bananas.  Then bought our pastries across the way at the boulangerie.  I eat Pain au Chocolat (flaky pastry with bits of chocolate inside) and Woody usually gets Chaussons aux pommes (an apple filled beignet).

Having our chores done, we rested a bit before going out for dinner. Our routine includes a walk after dinner, usually down to the river.
This is the view of the  Eiffel Tower from the promenade along Quai Branly; the perfect ending to our first day in Paris.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

~ Paris 7.0 ~ Rue Cler

Rue Cler is a pedestrian only open-air market street located in the heart of the 7th arr.  Unlike other pedestrian-only streets i.e.Rue Mouffetard, Rue Buci & Rue Montorgueil, Rue Cler is wide with a very relaxed village-like feel.

Since Rue Cler was a block from our apt., we frequented it often.
  Just about everything we needed could be found there.

The street is cobbled.  The only vehicles are delivery vans/trucks.
The post office is the first building on the street; that was my first stop to buy stamps.

There are a variety of specialty shops; chocolate, honey, wine and imported salmon.  I think you'd really have to love salmon to pay those prices.

What you notice most, though, are the colorful produce markets. Most were "help yourself".  Below are blackberries, blueberries, red currants and raspberries; I had to look up groseille because I had no idea what those little round berries (red currants) were.

Inside there were nuts and oils.

Shopping here for the evening meal would not bother me at all.  No crowds, no cars or parking lots and really fresh produce.
That's Woody shopping for oranges to make freshed squeezed orange juice.  There's a juicer in the apt.

Flowers~one of the things I love about Paris.This was a very large flower shop.

Further down the street are two charcuteries (delicatessen). Both offer a wide variety of pre-prepared meals.  The spaghetti bolognese (below) is 4.5 euros; across the street at the cafe it's 12.95 euros.  As you can see, there is a large selection of vegetables and roasted meats and chickens.
Love the green beans (haricots vert).

The tray on the left is a tangine.

The choices change daily.

There are a handful of restaurants on the street.  Cafe Central, is where we would go if I wanted Spaghetti Bolognese.
I loved that large antique cash register.

Amuse bouche (hors d'oeuvres).  The marinated olives were very tasty.

The patisserie where we bought our daily pain au chocolat is marked by the purple awning.
Pain au chocolat is a sweet roll made with the same dough as a croissant, it is a chubby little pillow filled with pieces of dark chocolate.
The outside counter is supposed to be for convenience, but the yellow jackets were all over the sweets.


melt in your mouth meringues
Only one small souvenir shop on Rue Cler~a real plus!

But there were two fromageries (cheese), which I suppose the French love.  The smell was really awful walking by these shops.

There were also two grocery stores.  We shopped in the Franprix, which is a chain grocery.  You can find just about everything you need, but be careful how much you buy because you will have to carry it home.

The very first thing I did when we booked our apartment, was to search for the closest ice cream shop.  Lucky for me there's an Amorino on Rue Cler.

I did a little research and found this old photo from circa 1900 of Rue Cler.

a bientot~~

Thursday, October 8, 2015

~Paris 7.0~ First Days Settling In

 The agency we used to find the apt was Lodgis.  They were very friendly and fast to respond to any of our questions.  The apt managers were friendly and quite helpful.  Benjamin spoke very good English.

 Our apartment building was located at 7, Ave de la Motte-Picquet in the 7th arr.  The little green door between Max's Restaurant and the auto repair shop is the entrance.
They were doing construction on the street; Woody watched the daily progress and was amazed at the efficiency of the workers.  It was completed before we left.

The building's elevator was certified for 3 persons.
This photo shows Woody and I in the elevator.  We were always coming up with scenarios for fitting in a 3rd person.   We could barely fit in if we had a bag                          of groceries.  

We were thankful for the elevator since our apt was on the 4th floor.

The apt was quite roomy.  There was a living room with a dining area and kitchen in the front facing the street.

The bedroom which you could walk around, had a chest of drawers and closet space.  They really know how to utilize the limited space available.

The bathroom was also in the back of the apt.   It, too, could accommodate all of our 'paraphenalia" and had a spa tub.  When I saw the apt on-line I thought this was terrific~something that would be great for a sore body at the end of the day.   But in reality, I could not justify using the amount of water needed to fill it.

There was a large screen TV with several English speaking stations...mostly news.  Woody was able to watch Ohio State Football on the computer and I listened to the Federer/Djokavic final of the US Open tennis tournament.

The kitchen was laid out quite efficiently.  I loved working in the kitchen (though that was rare ).  We (Woody) used the coffee maker, orange juicer and microwave all the time.  Woody also figured out the cook top and made french toast for breakfast several times.   There was a washer in the kitchen, which we did not use. No dryer though.

                                                   The dining table became the 
                                     computer work station and general "catch-all"

If you stood in one exact spot in the living room, there was a view (glimpse) of the Eiffel Tower.  And, we were able to see it 'twinkle' on the hour.

The neighborhood was wonderful.  The pedestrian market street ~Rue Cler (there will be a blog post highlighting rue Cler)~ was 2 blocks away.  The apt was located between the Eiffel Tower and the Invalides.   These were the tourist areas.  (Rick Steve's loves Rue Cler.)
We had lots of choices of restaurants and each one that we chose was good.
There was access to about 6 bus lines and 2 Metro stops.  

 This is the large intersection at the Ecole Militaire Metro stop.  Lots of restaurants here and it's where most of the bus stops were located.

  At the other end of the street was this little park.  So quiet, relaxing and just beautiful.

This is the Invalides that houses the superb Musee de l'Armee.  We've been here twice.   The Medieval exhibits and World War I & II exhibits are great.

  Just past the Ecole Militaire intersection is the 
Champs du Mars and the Eiffel Tower.

Woody ,on Rue Cler, buying oranges for my fresh squeezed OJ.

Next time we'll take a closer look at Rue Cler.       ~a bientot.