Saturday, July 26, 2008


Sunset over the Seine

I was in Paris from Monday, July 7 to Monday July 21... which means I was there for Bastille Day. Every visit I make to Paris just confirms my love affair with the most wonderful city in the world... well at least for me.

At the bottom of this post I will list what helped me, what suggestions I would give and my do's and don'ts of Paris.

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A little history about Paris.
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Its earliest inhabitants are from around 4200 BC and mostly on the Ile de la Cite. A sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones called the Parisii lived here. The Romans came and conquered Paris in 55 BC due to the river Seine, which had deep waters that could carry very heavy loads, not too swift currents and stable banks supported by hard turf or stone. This made Paris an ideal place for fishing and for armies since the only way to get to it was via the river Seine.

The Romans loved their Lutetia (as they called Paris) and wanted to make it the Rome of the west. But in the 5th century AD the Franks showed up and kicked out the Romans and named it Paris after the early tribes known as the Parisii, then Atilla the Hun arrived and was purported to have murdered 11,000 virgins on their way to Paris, but by a change of plans, Atilla went to Orleans to deal with the Visigoths and spared Paris. This was envisioned by a young girl name Genevieve, who later became the patroness of Paris, St. Genevieve.

In 1,100 AD the first King Dynasty was created by King Philippe Auguste and his families reign lasted until 1314.

2nd Age arrived with Henri IV and his families dynasty lasted until 1643.

3d Age arrived with Louis XIV and his families reign lasted until the 1789 revolution and returned until 1795

4th Age arrived with Napolean from 1795 to 1815 with his banishment to Elba. He returned only to be banished once more... this time beyond his life.

The 5th Age was the Paris Commune, a powerful group of men who ran the city/country from 1815 to 1871. With the 3rd revolution they were gone and followed was a more democratically elected group of governors and leaders.

6th Age was the Treaty of Versailles after WWI, which, as we know, catapulted the world into WWII and in 1940, the de Gualle years began, albeit as a General, and then he disappeared until one falling government after the other (dozens in less years) and until the people called for his service to his beloved country. de Gualle was in power until the 1969 student riots from the Sarbonne (as student riots around the world proved to be a potent change in national/international politics). de Gualle just didn't want to do it anymore, and the new age came with Mitterand and others.

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Les Marais

Les Marais is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Paris and was for the Aristocracy for many years until the move west left Les Marais less than ideal. It became a home for the less fortunate and even Place des Vosges, the quintessential Parisian square was slated for destruction at one time.

Since the 1970's les Marais has had a kind of renaissance of its own and it has become the place to live again. It is away from the throngs of tourists that you find in other parts of Paris and you are so close to the river, to public transit, great parks, wonderful museums and little pockets of lovely neighborhoods that it is surprising it ever became an undesirable place to live. Rue de Rosiers is a wonderful Jewish community that is quiet on Saturdays but thriving on Sundays. Les Marais is also the unofficial gay neighborhood of Paris with many clubs, shops and restaurants catering to the gay clientele.

Les Marais was perfect for us, we loved every minute of it. I would stay in Les Marais when I return... and I WILL return.

Our Life in Paris

Our apartment in Les Marais was wonderful with 2 bedrooms, a shower/bath, washer and dryer and wonderful windows that opened into the garden courtyard.

We spent many an evening in the living room talking about our day and/or planning for tomorrow. I would usually sit by the window and download my photos on my laptop on the small table between the two lovely windows. We had great breakfasts of delicious fresh fruit, baguettes and brie (Brillet Savarin). I miss it so much!

Fromager - ask for the Comte (18 months) and Brie called Brillet Savarin (like butter only better)

On our way to the Cafe Musee in Les Marais we saw this cat sitting on a scooter

Cafe in les Marais

Cycling in Paris

Interior of the Metro

Interior of the Metro

Interior of the Metro

Buildings in Les Marais

Some of the rarest buildings in paris from Medieval time, 1400's. Most of these buildings were torn down to make way for wide streets and to prevent the ever-present fires

Old city wall in Les Marais, built in the 1200's

Buildings in Les Marais

Buildings in Les Marais. I liked this building near our apartment for two reasons. One: the unique idea for hanging planter boxes by putting a rod across their courtyard. The other is you can trace the track of the chimney's to their ultimate destination, the smoke stack

Buildings in Les Marais

Buildings in Les Marais. This is a great example of Haussmann's grand renovation of Paris in the mid to late 1800's (1852 to 1870). Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann worked for Napolean III, Napolean I's nephew.

Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges has existed for more than 400 years. It has a symmetry that is unmatched almost anywhere in the world. Its 36 house (9 on each side) has a beautiful garden in the middle surrounded by stately homes all with the same style roof, stone and brick, but each has its own wrought iron style and may have different decorations on the outside of their windows and archways. It was built from 1605 to 1612 by Henri IV and was the first royal city planning of its kind. Henri II was killed during a tournament at the Tournelles (jousting) and through their grief families tore down their stately homes and moved to what is now the Louvre. At its inaugural it was named Place Royale and was used to celebrate the wedding of Louis XIII to Anne of Austria. The Arcades are used for shops and eating. Even though it was called the Place Royale, no royal ever lived at Place des Vosges.

This is a lovely restaurant where we often ate breakfast, Ma Bagnogne. Their petit dejeuner is scrumptious with their buttery-good croissants and hot chocolate.

People eat their lunch here and bring their children to play (there are seesaws and dirt boxes). We noticed during the week it is mothers who tend to the children, but on the week-ends it is a veritable father's park... as well as many tourists walking through

One of four Cortot's fountains, from 1825

Hotel de Sens

Hotel de Sens has a storied past. It is a Medieval structure, meaning built in the 1400-1500's (1475-1507 to be exact) and it is a private residence (Hotel refers more to a private mansion than a place to crash after a long trip), originally for the Archbishop of Sens (Paris was a part of Sens at this time) and then through its history Nostradamus lived here, as did one of Henry IV's wives, Marguerite de Navarre (known as Margot and she looked into the courtyard, in amusement, as her new younger lover slayed her older lover - not the King). During the 1830 revolution a cannonball was shot at the Hotel and you can still see it in the wall (see photo below). There are interesting protective barriers, including chutes that allowed for scalding hot water to be poured down on intruders and there is a dungeon to hold prisoners.

See the cannonball, it is over 170 years old and still embedded into the Hotel.

Balcony in the courtyard of the Hotel de Sens

The gardens to the back of the Hotel de Sens

A tiny dragon above the back door of the Hotel de Sens, that opens onto the lovely gardens

St Paul St Louis Church

This church is from 1627 with a 180 foot dome. Delacroix's Christ in the Garden of Olives can still be found in this Jesuit Church. It is on St. Antoine in Les Marais.

Izrael - spice shop

A wonderful spice shop in the Marais called Izrael at 30 Rue Francois Miron +33 1 42 72 66 23. They also sell great meat/cheese/spinach pockets and seasoned artichokes for a nice appetizer.

Inside Izrael, an awesome spice shop, and more! Located at 30 Rue Francois Miron +33 1 42 72 66 23 in the Marais

St. Gervais - St. Protais

This lovely church, located in Les Marais is from the 6th century! It is named after two Roman martyrs (killed by Nero),

St Gervais St Protais stained glass

Musee Carnavalet

Musee Carnavalet is one of the state run museums, which means it is free admission. What is unique about this museum is in encompasses two beautiful buildings that were stately homes and they have recreated many of the rooms as well as other unique rooms/stores from various periods of Paris' past.

The museum occupies two adjoining mansions (the Hotel Le Peletier de St-Fargeau and the Hotel Carnavalet). The main building, The Hôtel Carnavalet, was built as a town house in 1548 by Nicolas Dupuis. The Hotel Carnavalet is a Renaissance jewel that in the mid-1600s became the home of writer Madame de Sevigne. The 17th century Hotel le Peletier was added to the museum in 1989 to contain the larger part of the museum's 20th century interiors.

Elegant staircase

Louis XV room contains art from the Bouvier collection and paneling from the Hotel de Broglie

Detail of the wall panelling in a music room

Musee Carnavalet window overlooking garden

Ballroom of the Hotel de Wendel

Ballroom of the Hotel de Wendel

Signs used by shops through various centuries

Musee Carnavalet Fouquet Jewelry Boutique from 1900 is an Art Nouveau decor from Rue Royale and is by A. Moucha

Musee Carnavalet Fouquet Jewelry Boutique from 1900 is an Art Nouveau decor from Rue Royale and is by A. Moucha

Musee Carnavalet Fouquet Jewelry Boutique from 1900 is an Art Nouveau decor from Rue Royale and is by A. Moucha

Seine at Dusk on a River Cruise

Grand Palais at dusk

Notre Dame at dusk

Seine at dusk

Eiffel at dusk

Seine at dusk

14th of July - Bastille

Bastille 14 July - part of the military procession

Bastille at Place des Vosges - military fighter jets in procession flying overhead

Bastille 14 July - waiting at the Place de la Concorde for fireworks

Bastille 14 July - waiting at the Place de la Concorde for fireworks

14th of July Fireworks!Bastile 14 July - fireworks!

lle St. Louis

Waterspout found on Ile St. Louis

Marionette store in Ile St. Louis

Passerelle des Arts is near Ile St. Louis and people hang out on this bridge to play music, have picnics and meet friends, family and people anew

Palais Royal

Palais Royal, next to the Louvre, has an interesting courtyard with modern art.

Jardin du Palais Royal


The Louvre started as a Medieval Palace back in 1165 AD and over time buildings have been added, edifices have been stripped and resurfaced with more current design qualities, with the end result culminating in the current structure we see today, begun by Napolean III and ending in 1873 with the fire of the Palais des Tuileries.

Louvre with glass pyramid designed by I. M Pei and is the new entrance and opened in 1989. I. M. Pei also was the architect for the Boston skyscraper, Hancock Tower as well as the JFK Library in South Boston.

Louvre with glass pyramid and horse statue

Louvre glass pyramid with fountain

Louvre glass pyramid with fountain

Louvre pyramid within a pyramid

Inside the Louvre under the glass pyramid. This is the entrance.

Louvre - Spiral staircase with a tube used as a lift

Louvre - Spiral staircase with a tube used as a lift - people coming off

Louvre Cour Marly French sculpture

Louvre Apollo Gallery

Louvre - Winged Victory

Louvre glass pyramid at dusk

Louvre glass pyramid at dusk

Louvre glass pyramid at dusk

Louvre glass pyramid at night

Louvre glass pyramid at night

Louvre glass pyramid at night

Jardin des Tuileries

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel was built from the orders of Napolean I from 1806-1808 as an entrance to the former Palais des Tuileries, which burned during the third revolution of 1871 by the Paris Commune (some call it an uprising) and their is now talk of rebuilding it at a cost of $380 million dollars! It was originally built in 1564 for Catherine de Medici (yes THAT Medici family from Italy) and it linked the North and South wings of the Louvre. The gardens beyond this Arc run parallel to the Seine and run straight through the Place de la Concorde and are in even line with the great Arc de Triomphe celebrating Napolean's conquests, which you can see them both within the arch of the Arc

Jardin des Tuileries with their statuary amongst their shrubbery with the southern section of the Louvre with its western most outer reaches ending. This is where the Palais des Tuileries would have begun and connected to the northern section of the Louvre.

Jardin des Tuileries were constructed originally in the 1600s as part of the grand Palais des Tuileries

Jardin des Tuileries provides wooden sailboats for children to push around the pond. It is around 1 euro per 1/2 hour or so.

Here they are with the sticks and their wooden sailboats

Jardin des Tuileries - A funny sign that was found in translation

Jardin des Tuileries statue and the ferris wheel

This statue is Riviere by Aristide Maillol done in 1943 and is part of the statuary in the Jardin des Tuileries. I thought it looked a lot like the statue of the lady (representing oppression) being run over by the carriage of Freedom above the Grand Palais

I just thought the reaction of this statue said it all when it came to the fact that he had a pigeon on his head and poop running down his arm... but the more I think about it... maybe it's a reaction to the size of his family jewels... hmmm.

Ferris Wheel at the funfair in the Jardin des Tuileries. I am petrified of heights and I will NEVER get up in that thing... the pin holding the seat could easily fall out and you tip over and fall out. What? That's rationale thinking!

Another view of this 10 story ferris wheel.

OK, remember when I said NEVER?

Get me off this thing!

Trampoline at the funfair in the Jardin des Tuileries. Notice what the kids are jumping next to, right in the trampoline itself... a priceless statue... only in Paris!

Looking at the Louvre from the ferris wheel. Notice the pattern of the cut shrubbery that has the statuary strewn throughout

Right Bank from the Jardin des Tuileries on the ferris wheel

On the left with the green dome is the Opera National des Paris Garnier built from 1862 to 1875 (in the baroque and classical styles) and part of the 2nd Empires' opulent times, Napolean III - Napolean's nephew. Funny enough Ballet is now performed here, whereas opera is mostly performed at the new Opera Nationale de Paris Bastille (which is voted as the 2nd ugliest building in Paris after the Pompidou). On the right upon the hill is Sacre-Coeur basilica (Sacred Heart - specifically Christ's) began in 1875 but was not completed until 1914 but even then its consecration did not happen until 1919, obviously due to the first world war. The Bell Tower is 252 feet high with a bell weighing 18 1/2 tons and the clanger itself weighing 1,900 pounds!

Check out the little kid climbing up this rock-climbing wall

He reaches the top!

A proud poppa as his sun talks to the rock-climbing attendant

One of the crazy rides at the funfair

Jardin des Tuileries funfair funhouse. It kind of looks like the Pompidou in a strange way. As you might have heard, Parisians believe that if they had a choice as to which building gets torn down first it would be the Pompidou. The Opera house in the Bastille would be their second choice... you decide.

The Pompidou... kind of looks like the funhouse, no?

Musee d'Orsay

Musee d'Orsay from the river Seine on an evening cruise

The Musee d'Orsay, in 1986, was converted from a railroad station (closed in 1939 - see photo below) into the museum it is today. As a railroad station it officially opened on the 14th of April 1900 (Bastille) and was part of the Great Exhibition that includes the Petit Palais, Grand Palais and the Pont Alexandre III. Its collection covers the artistic period of 1848 to 1914, which includes Impressionism, Art Nouveau, Naturalism, Symbolism, Neo-Impressionism, Sculptures from that time period as well as furniture

Musee d"Orsay when it was Gare d"Orsay from 1900 to 1939

Musee d'Orsay's great clock in the great hall, which they call the center aisle.

Musee d'Orsay - some of the inner construction of this previous railroad station

Musee d'Orsay - some of the inner construction of this previous railroad station

This is looking from the wall of the Musee d'Orsay towards the curving ceiling above

Musee d'Orsay

Musee d'Orsay

A close-up to all the tile work on the walls and ceiling of the Musee d'Orsay

Musee d'Orsay

I loved this room in the d'Orsay. I actually gasped when I turned into the door and saw this room for the first time. It is just an amazing space with amazing statuary

Musee d'Orsay's great room for statuary

Musee d'Orsay sculpture by Jean-Joseph Perraud - Le Despesoir 1861 to 1869

Musee d'Orsay sculpture by Ernest Christophe - Le Comedie Humaine ou Le Masque 1857 to 1859

Musee d'Orsay sculpture by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux - Woman Bitten by a Snake 1847

Musee d'Orsay sculpture by Edgar Degas - Little Dancer Aged Fourteen 1879 to 1881 - being at Boston Ballet for 4 years, I can truly appreciate the position of the feet, her stature and the expression on her face... over 100 years later and it is completely recognizable for me

Musee d'Orsay sculpture by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux The 4 Parts of the World Holding up a Celestial Sphere 1867 to 1872

Musee d'Orsay sculpture by Emile Antoine Bourdelle - Hercules the Archer 1909 to 1923

Musee d'Orsay's Rodin's Gates of Hell

Musee d'Orsay's Rodin's Gates of Hell


Pantheon (All Gods) was built as a dedication to the one and only patron St. Genevieve by King Louis XV after he survived from a very serious illness. Due to money issues, it was not completed until 1789. It is in the shape of a Greek cross and was a return to the Neoclassical style

Pantheon columns at its outer entrance

Pantheon ceiling in the outside entrance

This massive structure is 110 meters long, 84 meters wide and 83 meters high (360 feet by 275 feet by 273 feet), giving it a very balanced feel since the width and height are almost identical.

Pantheon Ceiling with the great dome

Pantheon with its huge frescoes, beautifully done

More of the Pantheon's huge frescoes

Pantheon's major dome, which is iron-framed and is 272 feet high and weighs 10,000 tons, was modeled after St. Paul's of London

Known as the Foucault pendulum, physicist Leon Faucault, in 1851, demonstrated the rotation of the Early with his pendulum, which is 67 meters high (almost 220 feet high)

Pantheon Crypte to hold France's great men per the French Revolution of 1789. These include: Voltaire, Rousseau, Marat, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, and Louis Braille

St. Etienne du Mont

This is the church that the Parisian's have flocked to during times of war, especially when it was knocking on the Parisian's fortified walls. This is St. Etienne du Mont, but really should be called St. Genevieve, who is the patron saint of Paris. Inside is the shrine to St. Genevieve, and many years past her remains were held here. She is the patron saint due to the fact the city was ready to be invaded in 451 by Attila the Hun and his army but Genevieve had a premonition this would not happen, and it did not (they went to Orleans instead). In 464 during a siege by Childeric, Genevieve snuck past the line of defense and smuggled in grain for the starving city.

The rood screen is the walk above from the two spiraling staircases, very rare in Parisian churches

The church was begun in 1492 (yes, sailed the ocean blue) and was completed in 1626. The wooden pulpit is held up by Samson, clutching a bone in one hand and a slain lion at his feet.

Kneeling/prayer chairs at St. Etienne du Mont

St. Chapelle

St. Chapelle is inside the Palais de Justice which is the seat of the French judicial system. St. Chapelle was built in 1248, by King Louis IX to house Christ's crown of thorns (now at the Louvre) and its architecture allows for blazing light to enter through its large stained glass windows which depict over 1,000 religious scenes. It has a two-tier structure, one for royalty, the lower for commoners. The spire rises 245 feet above and was erected, for a 5th time (previous ones burned) in 1853

St. Sulpice

St. Sulpice and Fontaine des Quatre Points Cardinaux - St. Sulpice is near the Jardin du Luxembourg, which is one of the loveliest spots in all of Paris. The church was begun in 1646 and took more than 100 years to complete.

Latin Quarter

Old Wall in the Latin Quarter, built in the 1200's

Latin Quarter Shop


Built by architect Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Universal Exhibition, it was meant to be a temporary exhibit but remained and was the tallest structure until the Empire State Building in NYC in 1931. It is 1,063 feet high and has 3 levels. The first is 187 feet high, the second is 376 feet high and the third is 905 feet up. You can either take the double decker elevators or you can actually walk up Eiffel, all 1,665 steps. It is 10,100 tons of weight and it takes 60 tons of paint to paint it every 7 years.

Some people love it, others, like myself, are less enthralled by it. I found the paint color makes it look like an elongated rusted bird cage, but I can appreciate the design and the artistry involved.

That's Eiffel in all its brown glory

See the double decker elevator in the leg on the right?

You can see people climbing the stairs in the leg of the best


l'Ecoute is located in Les Halles area and it just outside the grand church of St Eustache

Alexandre III and Petit and Grand Palais with Invalides in View

Probably one of my favorite spots in all of Paris is the Pont Alexandre III with the Grand Palais and Petit Palais on the Right Bank and Invalides and the Dome Church on the Left Bank. It is one of the most beautiful spots in all of the world's cities. The bridge and two Palais were built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The bridge was named after Tsar Alexander III (father of the ill-fated Nicholas II) who laid the first stone in 1896.

Signage on the Pont Alexandre III

Pont Alexandre III and the Dome Church, part of Invalides. The bridge is in the style of Art Nouveau and was designed not to obscure various views from around the city.

Pont Alexandre III with Grand Palais.

There were wedding photos being taken on the Pont Alexandre III

Pont Alexandre III with the Grand Palais

One of my favorite views over the bridge looking into the river and seeing Eiffel (looks better from afar).

Grand Palais is also in the Art Nouveau style and the enormous glass roof (with beautiful ironwork) is 160,000 square feet! The structure weighs 8,500 tons, actually 500 tons more than Eiffel Tower.

Petit Palais was built at the same time as Pont Alexandre III and the Grand Palais and currently houses the Musee de Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris.

Close-up of the sculpture work on the Petit Palais

The grand door of the Petit Palais

Invalides and the Dome Church

Invalides is for military refuge, those who need medical attention or those in declining years. The Dome Church was completed in 1676 with the request from the Sun King, Louis XIV (who commissioned so much building in his time). The Church was to house the Royal Family, but hat was abandoned. In 1840 King Louis_Philippe installed Napolean's remains. It has now become a French military memorial with other important military figures entombed here.

Dome Church which was first gilded in 1715

Dome Church statue

The Dome Church Altar

Looking down at the tomb from the Church's altar area.

The tomb and its lovely sculptures

Napolean's tomb is surrounded by exquisite sculptures.

Dome Church - Napolean's Tomb

Musee Rodin

Auguste Rodin

Gates of Hell

Musee Rodin

The Thinker

Musee Rodin is the only museum where I have seen this happen. Don't know how or who started it, but everyone who comes out of the museum takes their sticker pass (that you wear on your clothes) and puts them on the railing and street lights along the street just outside the entrance of the Rodin Museum.

Jardin du Luxembourg

OK, if anyone wonders what makes you feel like you are truly in Paris, I would say, go to the Seine, go to Eiffel (although I would not) and eat at cafes and daily have bread, cheese and wine. But also, I would suggest anyone who is in Paris during the warmer months to visit this unbelievably beautiful, 60 acre park. It has it all. It has fountains, sculpture, wooden sail boats, carrousel, pony rides, comfy chairs to sit and enjoy as well as concerts, a Marionette theater and next door a really delicious luncheon place. Just to the north of the jardin is St. Sulpice.

Many of the sculptures within the park were erected in the 1800's and are of many of France's queens. There is even a bee-keeper school in this park.

Wooden sail boats for rent

This girl was the most stylish of the bunch and seemed to have fun pushing the boats around the pool

These guys came over and started singing various songs, some in English, others in Spanish but then security came over and told them to leave.

They were filming in Jardin du Luxembourg

Can you see the people they are filming or the guy with the microphone?

Carousels are at almost every large park in Paris. We even had one just outside our Metro stop at St. Paul in Les Marais

Each child had a stick and tried to place the stick on the next available ring to try to capture the most rings per ride

This was an American band from New Hampshire. They were traveling to France, Germany, Italy, Austria and England

Pantheon is in the background

Flower and Bird Market on Ile de la Cite - Sundays only

Take the Metro to the Cite stop (Ile de la Cite) and come up the stairs to a unique flower and bird market, one of the last in all of Paris. Once you have had your fill of birds and flowers, take a quick walk over to Notre Dame.

Metro stop Cite


Dove and parakeets

Chipmunks... yes, chipmunks.


Fancy hens



Beautiful birds

Notre Dame

Notre Dame's first stone was laid in 1163 and was completed 170 years later in 1330. The Church is so associated with Paris' history that it is hard to associate one without the other. Its gargoyles are famous as are the North and South Rose Windows.

Notre Dame massive Nave

Side of Notre Dame's Nave

Notre Dames Altar

Notre Dame stained glass windows

South Rose Window is 43 feet wide and retains some of the 13th century stained glass work.

Notre Dame back of altar

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Books that I found helpful and/or interesting

* The Rough Guide Phrasebook - French - This little book is English to French, French to English, a menu section as well as a section on cursing.

* DK Eyewitness Travel - Paris - This book breaks Paris down by neighborhoods and gives wonderful historical significance to all that you see. This book also gives wonderfully visual street maps, building cut-outs as well as great self-guided walking tours throughout the city. By far the best travel books out there.

* City Walks 50 Cards for Paris called Adventures on Foot by Chronicle Books. Great walks in various places all around the city and each one gives you information on what you are walking by and why it is significant.

* Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne - published by Viking Books. This book travels through the history of Paris from a small fishing village to the world-class powerhouse city that it is today. Reading this book while in Paris made me enjoy this lovely city on an entirely new level.

French or no French?

I survive quite well with knowing almost no French, but you may be able to enjoy Paris on a different level by knowing the following:

* Menu/restaurant items
* Numbers for pricing when buying gifts/souvenir
* Military time
* Days of the week
* Torresse for outside (to eat outside the restaurant on their outside tables)


* Cheeses: comte, brie brillat savarin
* Find a neighborhood Brasserie and Patisserie and Fromager (cheese shop). Also go to local grocery stores for great wines. The wine shops will have unique wines but a cheap way to try new wines is to: 1) get the house wine at the restaurants you visit and 2) go to Monoprix and other grocery stores to try other wines. We found an 8 euro bottle of wine that we just loved.
* In Paris the concern for the French culture has dragged the idea of culinary experimentation buried into the ground miles thick. In other words, most French restaurants have the same menus with only a slight variation. Tradition has prevented culinary wonder, but, truly, Paris menus and restaurants and food, in general, are better than anywhere else in the world. Let's hope their love for food will propel them into the 21st century and they can start to experiment again and grow like those in California, New York and London.

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