Europe, North America · 7 Days · 79 Moments · February 2019

Paris Feb 2019

1 March 2019

British Airways parters with American in the miles program. The BA lounge is over the top amazing. There is actual food and lots of options. They offer soda, coffee, several types of water and four juices. I will enjoy the 2 hours in this lounge.
Museum of Natural history was a short Tube ride from Victoria station. This was my first time there. Only had an hour so walked the Dinosaur exhibit. This museum requires a full day.
Harrods department store food hall is a fine stop. Good bread and sandwiches.
Flight home left at 7:45 am for Orly France (for the first time) to London City Airport (for the first time). Flight from Heathrow airport is not until 4:00 pm. Took Tube (Subway) to London to walk around for 4 hours. Victoria station has a place to check luggage.

28 February 2019

Ritz Paris is the best 5 star hotel in Paris. They have staff just inside the door to ensure only guests and those going to the restaurant/bar enter. There are two chairs between the door and the staff they are ok with non-guests sitting. There is a nice map of Paris and rose flower display to look at from the chairs. Drinks are the bar at $35 (I did not go inside). It is fun to sit and watch people coming and going. The Vendome structure is just outside the Ritz entrance. I called the front desk and got the WiFi password (paris1898).
Maif Sociel Club opened May 2017 in the Marais District. The space is a common work space, sitting area and 3 story kids tree house. I walked into an open door and found the place. There are comfortable chairs to sit with free WiFi. They have a small cafe and free MAC computer access. There are meeting room to encourage people to work together on ideas. Kids have a three story indoor tree house to explore and play. Nice place to take a break from walking around.
My rule in Paris is walk into any open door. Paris is not good with signs along the street. Sometimes you find interesting places. This open door was to The Hotel Lamolgnon or the Historical Library of Paris. It is free and open to the public. There are books with pictures going back 150 years, comfortable chairs, computer access, toilets and free WIFI. It was built in 1559. The courtyard is stone with benches to sit outside. I spent an hour here relaxing.

27 February 2019

Le Pavillion de la Reine is a boutique hotel just off the Place de Vogues. The rooms are $350 to $600. There is a nice garden area outside the front entrance. The lobby is beautiful with several seating areas. WiFi access only requires an email address (no password or room requirement). Nice place to seat and read.
Place des Vosges is a great square/park in the Marais district. The square was built in 1605 and was the first public square in France. The apartments around the square are identical by order of the king. This is great place to spend a day. The weather is a little chilly today (60 and cloudy). Yesterday it was 67 and sunny.
Paris bakeries are always trying new ideas. This bakery was offering chocolate chip bread and strawberry bread (I think). The chocolate chip bread looked like a giant scone. I may go back and buy one to eat in the plane.
Claus has sandwich and pastries for takeout.
Claus is rated one of the best breakfast places in Paris. I have a tradition of eating breakfast at Claus the day before leaving. It is hard to eat the day I leave because of flight times. They have an al cart menu or combo options. The combo I get includes bread basket, jams, orange juice, coffee, yogurt, fruit, house made granola, scrambled eggs and bacon. The bacon is made American style. It is A LOT of food but so good. I generally do not eat again until dinner.
Most Paris bakeries have their own ovens in the store. Bread is baked throughout the day. Bread picked up for dinner will have been baked within an hour or two. Parisians purchase bread throughout the day. The bread on the counter just came for the oven in back.
Paris bakeries have cakes as well as bread. The cakes in this window included carrot cake, pistachio cake, crumb cake and and several more.
Paris temp is 67. I decided to sit in a chair around the fountain in the Tuileries Gardens. There are regular sitting chairs and ones the lean back. The lean back chairs makes it easy to take a nap. The Tuileries Garden is located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde. It is a very relaxing place. There are great view of buildings and people.
Boutique Agrimalin is a France “County Fair” with livestock, food, games and more. The fair is all indoors at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles. This is a complacencies of 6 very larger halls. I was here on a last trip for the France houseware show. Each building has a theme. This building was livestock.
La Felicita is the latest restaurant in Europe with over 1,000 seats. I was built in an old train station (Station F) in May 2018. It is open 8:00 am to 2:00 am. There are stations throughout to get food. All the stations are owned by the restaurant (so not a food court). You can get pizza, burger/fries, Italian dishes, large sandwiches and fresh made ice cream. Most food is $8 to $12 with large portions. I waited 45 min to get in at 9:00 pm on a Wednesday night.
La Felicita (see other post for description) I had the BBQ sandwich and fresh made ice cream. I might have gotten fries before the ice cream. Prices are very reasonable. My large sandwich was $10. Very fun place and open until 2:00 am.

26 February 2019

Inside pictures of Au Pied de Cochon. Never closed since 1947.
Boutique Agrimalin fair grounds. The place is so big there are moving sidewalks.
Lunch at the Boutique Agrimalin fair was a baguette with sausage, brown onions and bacon. I could only eat half after earlier snacks at the fair.
Farmers were at the Boutique Agrimalin fair offering potatoes, apples, cheese, mushrooms and lots more. Most offered free samples.
Boutique Agrimalin fair snack before lunch. Had cured meat and hard cheese. There were a lot of places selling cured meats.
The Peninsula Hotel is one of the nicest (and most expensive) in Paris. Rooms are $1,500 and up a night. The lobby and hallways have great seating areas. There is a roof deck bar and restaurant. Lauren, Maddy (her friend) and I had a soda on the roof deck when they traveled with me to Paris. The views are amazing.
Late afternoon coffee and snack at cafe across the street from my hotel. I had a cappuccino and fries. I have NEVER had bad fries in France. I sat at the cafe for several hours watching people and reading. The waiter never asked if I wanted the check. French waiters will let you sit as long as you want regardless of if you are done or how crowded the place becomes. It is very relaxing.
Dinner was late (10:30 pm) since had a late afternoon snack. I went to Au Pied de Cochon for their Onion soup. Their soup is rating ranges from 4th to 7th in Paris. I also had pig based sausage with delicious boiled potatoes. This restaurant is famous for NEVER closing. They have been open 24 hours a day 7 days a week since 1947. Many famous people come to the restaurant. It is a large restaurant with seating inside and outside.

25 February 2019

Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss were at the Evian Water Fashion Show party I “crashed”. Gigi is one of the biggest models currently working and both are Victoria Secrets models. They have several large (somewhat mean) bodyguards. The bodyguards told me to stop taking pictures and get out of the way as they were leaving the party. Lauren was jealous I got to see them and get brushed into by them (as they left the party).
Lunch today was a baguette with turkey and pickles sandwich, brownie and Coke Zero. It was great
I “crashed” an Evian Water Fashion Week party. It was an invitation only party at the Trocadero Hall for new and up and coming music artists. I found an entrance bracelet at the service entrance. I put on the bracelet and walked in the back door when a large group of smokers were going back in. It was easy. There was free food, drinks and bottled water. There were several hundred under 30’s having a great time. The DJ was playing dance music all night. I stayed from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am.
Hotel 4th night is the Hotel Troyon. The hotel cost $92. The location is just 1 and half blocks from the Are de Triumph. The $92 reflects more the location then the quality of the room. The room at the Best Western was better but not as close to the center of Paris. The room is fine with large comfortable Ed and modern bathroom.
Evian Water Fashion party I crashed “stars” entering.
Evian Water Fashion party I crashed “stars” entering picture set two.
It is Fashion Week in Paris (my 2nd or 3rd) and the designers are going all out. Yves Saint Laurent built a giant glass/mirror structure around an event tent for their show. The structure and tent are in the very large fountain area at the Trocadero Hall. The Trocadero is across from the Eiffel Tower. I want to the location to try and get in but was to late. The show was over when I arrived.
Motorized Scooters have become very popular in Paris. I have been using them a little each day. I scootered around the Arc De Triumph with its 10 roads coming off the circle and NO lanes. Because I have been using it Google Maps now offers it as a travel option in the directions.
Sacre-Coeur from different points going up the large hill.

24 February 2019

Shakespeare Book store and related Cafe next door are great places to visit. The book store is the last english language location in Paris. It has narrow wood shelves and a very wide selection. I always find a good Paris/France history book at the store. The cafe is a perfect place to sit and eat/read. There is a nice view of Notre-Dame from the cafe. I generally spend a few hours at the cafe eating lunch and reading.
Norte Dame is a large church in the middle of the Seine river. The church was started on 1160 and completed in 1260. The church is built on an island called lle de la Cite (the place Paris started). Outside Norte Dame is a point that all French roads start. There is a nice view of the Seine from the bridge near the church.
Le Clo Montmartre is the last wine vineyard in Paris. It produces only a few hundred bottles of wine each year. The bottles are auctioned off with the money going to local charities. They say because the field faces north the grapes produce a poor quality of wine.
Dalida square is named for French music icon Dalida. It is located in the Montmartre district. She died in 1987 after selling over 140 million albums. The French added a bust of her to the square in 1997. Enlarge the bust photo and you will see the area of the bust must touched by people.
Le Moulin de la galette is a famous restaurant in the Montmartre District (near Sacre-coeur). It is famous for having a windmill on the roof and being the basis for a Renoir painting. Renoir’s painting titled “Dance at Le moulin de la Galette” was done at the restaurant. Renoir based the painting on wealthy families that visited the restaurant every Sunday to dance. The painting is one of the impressionist most celebrated.
Petanque is the French version of bocce ball. Each player gets three balls and throws them underhanded with the hand on the top of the ball. The balls are metal and heavier then a bocce ball. The goal is to get close to the small (golf ball size) ball. Just a reminder Melissa and I were West Windsor Bocce ball champions about ten years ago.
La Passé-Muraille is small park with several sculptures that look like they are coming out of the a stone wall. This park is along a side street around Sacre-Coeur
L’as de falafel is the best in Paris. They are located in the Jewish Quarter. The line for a table is always 20 to 30 people and moves slowly. The line for takeout is 25+ but moves faster. On the takeout line you place your order and pay when waiting on line. At the window you just hand them the paid ticket order. There are lots of options but the basic vegetarian is the most popular.
Grenouilles is a sandwich place on a street around the side of Sacre-Coeur. Most people do not explore the streets around the church. I had a great cured meat on a fresh baguette. They also offer a melted cheese sandwich. The cheese is cut/melted using a hot knife.
Sacre-Coeur church side view is impressive with gargoyles used to drain water. There are artists that will sketch your picture for $6.
Sacre-coeur church is made of stone with a very high center. There are stained glass windows throughout the church
Pizzeria Popoare has several locations around Paris. The line outside can be up to an hour. The pizza is amazing and very fresh. They have colorful bottles with lights behind me them throughout the place.
Sacre-Coeur has many ways to get to the top. You can walk (most people do this), taxi/Uber, bus, road train, cable car (takes Metro ticket), bike and motor scooter.
Sacre-Coeur is a very large church started in 1875 and completed in 1914. It is on the highest point in Paris. There are great views of Paris from the top. The areas around it have many benches, stone steps and grass areas to sit.
Lea Meilleures crepes & gaufres de Paris is a very popular crepe and waffle shop. The line is long but they have faster takeout. Everything is made fresh.
Nice candy store across from my hotel.
Hotel the 3rd night is the Best Western de Montmartre locates 2 blocks from Sacre-Coeur. The hotel cost $98. This is more than I generally spend but wanted a little upgrade after the past two hotels. This is a modern hotel with a nice room and bathroom. One funny thing is the shower is open to the room. The toilet has a separate door.
Paris bakeries are amazing. They have many types of bread that are baked throughout the day. Sandwiches have made fresh throughout the day with many options.
Paris Metro system is easy to learn and allows you to get to any part of the city in under 25 min. I use Google Maps most of the time. Occasionally I leave my phone in the hotel to force myself to learn the Metro using a paper map (not easy). The system is clean and very safe. I generally buy 10 tickets at a time ($1.49 each). There are daily and weekly passes but unless you use the Metro several times in a day the 10 ticket purchase is best.
Jeff Hotel was my 2nd night in Paris. I change hotels every night to learn more areas of Paris and experience different hotels. Sometimes the hotel is a step down but that is a risk I take. In addition, you can get the best price when searching for a new hotel each day. I generally book the next hotel the night before or when I wake up. Not having a hotel booked gives me the maximum flexibility to plan the day. There have been times I wake up and leave the City I am in. I pack very light for my trios.
Nespresso is a popular coffee maker with endless pods. It is like the Keurig in the USA. The stores are high end and trending looking. They have a consult table to discuss the machines and coffee options. George Clooney does commercials for Nespresso in France and the USA.
Lunch at Galleries Lafayette Food Hall Chinese place. They have 40 different options ranging in price from $1 to $5. There are great creations of egg rolls and dumplings.
Galleries Lafayette Food Hall has a salt and spice stall. There are 15 different salts. Some salts are a mixture of several different ones.
Lindt chocolate store is large and impressive. I stop there several times on trips to Paris.
Paris Opera house took 14 years to built and was completed on 1875. The building is made of stone and cost 375 million (in 2019 dollars). The hall seats 1,900 compared to 3,800 at the NYC MET Opera.
Paris Opera pictures from second level.
Paris Opera house has a hall modeled after the hall of mirrors at Versailles. This hall is used during intermissions for rich to drink and eat together. The view from the Opera outside balconies are toward the Louvre. At the time the Louvre the home of the Emperor.
Paris Opera house ceiling originally was of heaven and religion. In 1964 Marc Chagall was hired to paint a new ceiling. The old ceiling (protected) remains behind the new painting. The new ceiling is more colorful and whimsical.
Paris Opera house seating area is very ornate. The only colors are red and gold. The seating along the sides and back are only boxes. The rich wanted to be seen more than to watch the Opera.
Paris Opera house has an impressive entrance staircase. The staircase is made of stone and marble.
Paris Opera house entrance is along a stone hallway. Currently there is new age artist light exhibition in the entrance area.

23 February 2019

Airport to Paris is very easy. There is an express train for $12 that takes 35 min. You buy the tickets from a ticket machine (that can be changed to english). The vending machine is easy to use. The rain is more like a nice subway then a train.
Dinner the 1st night was at OBU - Organisation des Burgers Unis. This is a highly rated burger place and was only 3 blocks from my hotel. The burger and bacon truffle cheese fries were both amazing. They grill the burgers using conveyer belt broiler. The staff is very friendly.

22 February 2019

Paris Feb 2109 trip. American Airlines Admirals club is a great way to start a trip. They have WIFI, comfortable chairs and food. The food includes fresh made guacamole and good soup. Generally I true to get to the airport extra early for the club.
Hotel at Gare Du Nord was the 1st night hotel. The room cost $70. I booked it on train from the airport. The hotel is 2 blocks from the 1st stop in Paris on the airport train. The area (near Gare Du Nord train station) is a short Metro ride to any part of the city. The room was basic with several outlets.
Paris riot police blocked off several major streets around the city. This was to control the Yellow Vest demonstrators. The demonstrations (on Saturdays) have reduced from 50,000/75,000 to 5,000 after 12 weeks. I did not see any demonstrations but say some on the news.
Paris has luxury sports car rentals on the street. You book, pay and pickup the car on the street. The cost is a few hundred $.
The Four Seasons George V is at top of luxury hotels in Paris. There are comfortable chairs in the lobby and courtyards. The 245 regular rooms cost $1,500 a night. The 60 suites cost $2,500 and up. There are banks of roses throughout the hotel.
Four Seasons Pairs has a great lobby, hall ways, meeting rooms and restaurants.
Four Seasons has amazing Sculptures and courtyards.
Galleries Lafayette Food Hall has amazing lunch options. I had a fresh hand cut cured meat sandwich on great bread. There are several dessert stands with unique French pastries.
Galleries Lafayette Food Hall has a new Bakery stall. They have three types of Baguettes (including black). There is cheesy bread, cured meat bread, cake type bread and lots more.
Galleries Lafayette is a large and famous department store in Paris. There are two stores each covering most a block connected by a passageway. The store is very hip with lots of designers. The bottom floor (bathrooms located there) is all ladies shoes.
Apple Pairs (Opera) store is crazy nice. The store is in a stone a marble building with 3 floors. The staff is very nice and helpful. You can charge you phone and use free WIFI.