This post covers Monday – Thursday 14 – 17 Oct which was our time in Paris. We had a very very nice breakfast Monday morning in Bordeaux and had a chance to spend a few minutes with Daniel and his wife prior to leaving. They only opened their home approximately 18 months ago to B&B guests and are still trying to make the experience better for guests. That’s always a positive when owners continue to make improvements. We were going to take the tram to the train station but it was a nice morning so we decided to walk the two miles to the train station. We arrived about 20 minutes early which is plenty when traveling by train in Europe. The only exceptions would be the larger stations such as in Paris.
Once we arrived in Paris we were quickly reminded that we “weren’t in Kansas” any longer. After having been in the smaller communities of Tour, St. Emilion and Bordeaux over the past week and the casualness and friendliness of the people and culture, Paris is a bit of a shock to the system. It’s a beautiful city with an incredible amount of history but it’s big and very busy.
Out train from Bordeaux to took about 3 hours and 20 minutes and arrived in Montparnasse where we transferred to the Metro to get to our hotel. One thing I will say is that that the Paris transit system is incredible…as long as you stay away during the peak rush hour times. You can go any where at any time although in most case we will walk if possible. Walking gives you the ability to see things you’ll never see on the subway.
Everyone raves about the food in Paris and although we know first hand it is very good we believe the food we ate in Tours and Bordeaux was actually better overall. An exception to this statement was the dinner we had Tuesday evening at Les Rillettes near the area of Saint-George’s. The reviews we read were good but this place was incredible. We ate early this night and actually were able to get an early dinner at 7pm. We arrived to an empty restaurant thinking we had made the reservation for the wrong night. The hostess who turned out to be the owners’s wife spoke very little English, however, enough English to check us in. We were seated and another couple sat down beside us and started speaking in French and we’re thinking this is going to be an interesting evening. The wine was served and it was almost like magic because the gentleman next to us did speak some English and told us he had been to Seattle working as a defense contractor with Boeing. He then told us the owner of the restaurant is their son and after that it was the best evening of drinking wine and sharing stories and eating the best cassoulet I’ve ever had. It was made with Duck confit and a duck and pork sausage and I would go back to Paris just for that.
We also found a great creperie in the Montmartre district called Creperie Broceliande. The owner is Celtic and uses Buckwheat for the creeps. We ducked in here during a rain storm and wow was it a good find. I probably should make a statement that we don’t just happen upon these places most of the time. We use the Trip Advisor app on our iPhone which can be filtered by location, distance from our current location, ranked by order, etc. We have found though to find the really good spots you have to be willing to be a bit adventurous. Sometimes I’m accused of being too much of an explorer but I’ve never got us truly lost…or if I did I would never admit it! 🙂
Anyway we spent the rest of our time in Paris walking in and around the Tuileries Gardens, D’orsay Museum, Luxemburg Gardens, Notre Dame through the Latin Quarter up to Montparnasse to buy someone a pair of Mephisto’s and no they were not for me! The weather ranged from sunny and very pleasant to rainy and windy and reminded me of Seattle’s weather a few weeks back. Overall it was great weather for walking and we managed to put around 6 – 8 miles a day on the feet. With the way we had been eating we figured walking was a must.
Thursday morning we decided to take a cab to the airport rather than the train. We normally avoid taxis but the metro/train connection wasn’t working with our time requirements so a cab made it much easier. We did find out that Paris cab drivers are just as crazy as NYC cab drivers and make for an entertaining ride! We’ll worth the 50 Euros.
Some of you may be wondering why we didn’t see the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Versailles, etc, while in Paris. We were here about three years ago with Andy and Sara and saw those at that time and this time we just wanted to go where the wind took us and that’s what we did. Now it’s off to New York to visit Andy!