By Judy Berman
We were looking for that Goldilocks’ travel experience – where everything is “just right,” and you don’t wind up in a stranger’s bed.
On our first night in Paris, however, we came uncomfortably close to the latter. Or so a hotel guest thought when he heard us try to unlock our hotel door, which was next to his. He kept saying: “You have the wrong door.”
The confusion was quickly resolved … but, poor guy! I think my husband and I woke him up.
The next morning, we were ready to do some leche-vitrines (“lick the windows” or “window shop”). We’d bid the merchants “Bonjour” (Good Day) – although, they often were the first to greet us warmly and wish us the same as we entered their shops.
Our French is minimal, but any language barrier we encountered was easily overcome by a little patience. Also, many Parisians we met spoke English as well as French. (At Hotel des Grandes Ecoles, where we stayed, their staff is fluent in six languages.)
Breakfast and lunch was easy, tasty – and inexpensive. We just went to La Parisienne. It is a Boulanger Patissier (a bakery where master craftsmen are inside) down the street. “Café” (coffee) is understood in many languages, and the display case made it easy to point to what we wanted. The problem was we wanted it all – croque monsieur (a grilled ham and cheese, with the cheese outside the bread), quiche, baguette and pain du chocolat (a lighter-than-air croissant with chocolate).
Our dining experiences in the City of Lights have ruined me for all other food – forever. I swear!
It can be a challenge to please the palates of eight people. But our daughters, sons-in-law, and our two grandchildren were each delighted with the menu choices, prices, presentation and service where we ate.
We’d no sooner stop swooning over Le Volcan restaurant’s excellent blend of flavors in its Boeuf Bourguignon than we’d be wowed by our next meal at Bistrot l’Epoque. My chicken with carmelized onions and apples was delicious, but I couldn’t wait to try their crème brûlée. The rich custard with its carmelized top was decadently creamy. These were just two of the many excellent restaurants right near our hotel.
After all that scrumptious food, you’d think we’d be ready for a weight-loss program. Parisians have one built right in. It’s called walking, and we did a lot of that. We hoofed it to and from the Metro or just meandered to sites around the city. For miles. Every day.
And, at night, we had an excellent view of the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) from the front of the Pantheon near our hotel. Our six-day stay went by too fast.
“A bientôt,” Paris, which means “see you soon”.. (I hope.)
(Coming June 29, Part 2, a photo essay)
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original
Main photo: La Parisienne – is a Boulanger Patissier (a bakery where master craftsmen are inside, there are no premade goods). It is where we got many of our breakfasts, lunches and wonderful desserts
Photo: Hotel des Grandes Ecoles
Photo: Dinner at Bistrot l’Epoque. Every place we ate at was just excellent
Photo: Connor over the moon about dessert at Bistrot l’Epoque
Photo: Danielle and Connor viewing the Eiffel Tower
Photo: View of Eiffel Tower from the Pantheon, near our hotel
Video: Patricia Kaas – Les Moulins de Mon Coeur (The Windmills of Your Mind) – lyrics in French and in English – song is from the 1968 film “The Thomas Crown Affair.”