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Published: September 11th 2009
A Few French Wines
My friends, join us for a good french wine.
It is dusk, we are in Paris, the city of lights, love, romance and fashion…we find ourselves sitting in a French café watching the world walk by. Traveling rejuvenates our soul so we had to come. Life is not about the number of years that you live but the amount of life you experience in those years. We have come to live, share and experience the beauty that Paris has to offer.
You have to love a country that produces 7 to 8 million bottles of wine each year. You also must love a country that makes as many cheeses as France and 56 of them are classified, protected, and regulated under French law!! And….. we must not forget those incredible croissants. We have always known or thought that the French were proud of their pastries and it turns out that they have reason to be. We enjoyed a chocolate éclair that was as good as it looked.
Check this out and see how much you really know about French cheese.
We’ve heard that the right bank and the left bank have their own personalities. We wanted to experience that so we are
A Few French Cheeses
We will need to cheese with our wine!
staying in a hotel in each location for a few days so we can explore and feel the differences in these neighborhoods.
Even after all that is said, you depart the plane, get transportation and set off to explore one of the great cities of the world. And it does not disappoint. A cloudy and rainy day greeted us on arrival, but a harbinger of good things to come happened as we traveled past the L’Arc de Triomph, the sun suddenly appeared and lit the entire area with a ray of sunshine on this glorious monument. This monument is grand and the photos do not do it justice.
We arrived at our hotel which is located a brisk walk from the Eiffel Tower on a cute side street. Our room was not available for check in so we wandered down the street to explore our neighborhood and immediately found a venue worth a look, the Hopital d’Invalides, which is a military museum and also houses some older soldiers from past campaigns and Napoleon’s tomb. We headed back to our hotel for a much needed nap.
From there it was quite easy
A Nice French Meal
Would you like some fish?
to discover what we had dreamed of…..a corner café, in the Rue Cler market district, where we could sit and watch a French neighborhood as it became increasingly busy as its denizens came home from work and looked to find drink and food. Just like any other night…
Our hotel may sit on a small street, but there were several restaurants and we dined at two of them and thoroughly enjoyed both meals. There are restaurants and cafés on many corners and in neighborhoods where one may indulge in fine culinary delights.
Our first night in Paris we ate at a French restaurant and in honor of the movie Julia and Julie we ate French onion soup and beef bourguignon.
The following is a brief summation of our wanderings and likes….
Our recommendation is that you arrive early at the Eiffel tower so you can be in one of the first elevators to the top. It was a wonderful view and we felt we were up there with a small group of friends because the crowds had not arrived yet. As we left it was getting busy.
After reading an article
about the 9 best chocolate shops in Paris, we came armed with a list. So far we have only managed to find one of the famous chocolatiers but what I have learned is that there are many chocolatiers that may be worthy of their own lists. We have decided to save my list for my next trip to Paris and will have a scavenger hunt at that time.
Paris offers an amazing number of churches and museum’s to explore. We wanted to be outside as much as possible watching people, absorbing the French lifestyle and talking to the locals so we limited ourselves to one museum a day.
The Louvre is an amazing blend of old and new architecture. It was fun watching people from all around the world come to see one of the most famous paintings in the world, the Mona Lisa. The look on their faces and the fun they had taking photos of it and with it. It is great that one painting can draw a good number of people who might not spend time in an art museum and introduce them to some of the great artistic masters of the world.
Built in 1889 for an exposition. It was not intended to be a permanent structure.
We believe you could easily spend a week in the Louvre if you had the desire.
We enjoyed the collection of art at the Musée de Orsey as much or more than we did the collection at the Louvre. It displays the great impressionists of all times. It is a stunning collection of artwork. Surprisingly, I loved the Museum de Rodin. We entered the museum with a desire to see “The Thinker” but were surprised by the great number of sculptures he created in his lifetime. MJ is beginning to have a real affection for sculpture.
Notre Dame is one of the great catholic cathedrals in the world. It has a lovely setting along the Seine. We enjoyed the architecture along with peaceful and lovely setting. We trekked up to the Sacré Couer (Sacred Heart) which has a stunning location high on the hill over looking the city of lights. We had been told to go check this out in the evening but that didn’t fit into our plans but we can tell you that the view from there on a bright sunny day is well worth the trip. The architecture of the churches in this time period
has so much to offer.
One day, we decided to venture 30 minutes out of Paris to Versailles. We wanted to experience the Palace in all its grandeur. The French Royalty certainly understood opulence!!!!
We had both labored under the impression that for many years the French people did not particularly care for Americans. We did not find that to be the case. Paris has many friendly people!
Our last night in Paris we took the recommendation of our friends Chuck and Birdie and dined at the Café Marley in front of the Louvre. As darkness came the fountains and street lamps came alive around the courtyard. It was a must do, must see. Although at one point I was expecting Tom Hanks to come insanely driving through the courtyard….he did not and it remained peaceful.
France has been a major power for many centuries with strong economic, cultural, military and political influence. It is the most visited country in the world, receiving 82 million foreign tourists annually. We are certainly happy to have increased that number by two. Au revoir for now as we head to Giverny and the works of Claude
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