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.

trois amis at top of Arc de Triomphe

trois amis at top of Arc de Triomphe

exterior of Arc de Triomphe

exterior of Arc de Triomphe

interior of Arc de Triomphe

interior of Arc de Triomphe

obligatory leaning tower photo

obligatory leaning tower photo

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

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outside the Louvre

outside the Louvre

i hope that's not low tide on the seine.

i hope that’s not low tide on the seine.

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you know you are in the paris metro, when the subway buskers are an 8 member classical group

you know you are in the paris metro, when the subway buskers are an 8 member classical group

in nycity police are on horseback, here on rollerblades

in nycity police are on horseback, here on rollerblades

friday food market on the streets of our neighborhood near gare lyon

friday food market on the streets of our neighborhood near gare lyon

chief poissonner

with the chief poissonner

check out the foie gras @ 189E per kilo - for you gringos is $113/lb. pretty rich any way you look at it (but it's pretty darn tasty)

check out the foie gras @ 189E per kilo – for you gringos that’s $113/lb. pretty rich any way you look at it (but it’s so darn tasty)

we are in a sidewalk cafe sipping a cup of cafe, she is out for a stroll - it wasn't that cold

we are at a sidewalk cafe sipping a cup of cafe, she is out for a stroll – it wasn’t that cold

centre pompidou with 2 bike share folks riding by. every town we were in had bike sharing already. let's go nycity!

centre pompidou with 2 bike share folks riding by the oil refinery. every town we were in had bike sharing already. let’s go nycity!

the picasso we all know

the picasso style we all know

the picasso we don't know

the picasso style we don’t know

from inside the pompidou

from inside the pompidou

our final bottle of vin on this trip - good to the last drop

our final bottle of vin on this trip – good to the last drop

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out for a stroll on the champs elysees

late friday nite a chantreuse sings in a bar in the Latin quarter

late friday nite a chanteuse sings in a piano bar in the Latin quarter

later friday, she sings to an american visitor

later friday nite, she sings to an american visitor

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