Paris provided a nice change of pace from the smaller towns visited on our journey across southern France.
We had spent a week in Paris about ten years ago, so we knew what to expect – crowds and culture, large boulevards and small bistros.
This time a friend, who lives and works in Paris, joined us one evening.
We climbed the 284 steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which provides a wonderful view of Paris, without the long lines at the Eiffel Tower. Carole gave us the informed native’s rundown on all the highlights. She surprised us when she told us the current mayor seems inclined to do away with the new building height restrictions that make the Paris skyline so unique. Say it ain’t so!
Then, to celebrate this epic climb, we found a bistro off the Champs Elysee and Carole introduced us to “Kir”, a white wine and creme de cassis (black currant liquer) drink, which soon became Celia’s favorite. At dinner we loved the way Carole could interpret the menu and interact with the waiters. After two weeks we still struggled with some of the menu choices. Next time we will come with a bit more French fluency.
After dinner, the three of us strolled down Rue Huchette in the Latin Quarter. This is sort of the Paris version of Bourbon Street – lively bars and restaurants, but with quite a bit more class. We landed in a piano bar and had a fun evening, especially Greg.
As we left, the piano singer said to us: “You’re not leaving already?” On Rue Huchette “already” means 1:30 AM.
The next day was more cultured. We had missed the Centre Pompidou last time and looked forward to seeing its collection of modern art. We are big fans of MoMA in NYCity, but the Pompidou has a marvelous collection of it’s own. However, I’m still not sure whether that piece of high tech glass and metal architecture, which looks to me like an oil refinery, belongs in Paris.
As we finished our last bottle of wine at dinner in a little bistro in the Bastille arrondissement, we had bittersweet feelings. We were a bit sad to bid adieu to all the tasty food, fine wine, and delicious pastries we had enjoyed for the past two weeks, but we were also thankful we had been able to do this trip, and look forward to next time.
out for a stroll on the champs elysees