Posts Tagged ‘notre dame’

Paris by boat

October 12, 2010

One view from the Seine, with the Grand Palais in the distance

When Experienced Travellers yearn for something nautical, they buy a one-day ticket on the Batobus, Paris’ water-taxi.  You can ride the circuit, or get on and off at different stops and sightsee.  Batobus gives you city transport while you rest and admire Paris from the river.  How splendid!

The romantic Pont Neuf, near the tip of the Ile de la Cite

There are 37 bridges in Paris spanning the Seine.  The oldest of them is the Pont Neuf.  Completed in 1607 during the reign of Henry IV, it has a reputation as the most romantic bridge in Paris.   But before it became a romantic venue, it was a center of petty criminal and commercial activity.   

In this century, the artist Christo wrapped the Pont Neuf in sand-colored fabric.  This might qualify as either criminal or commercial activity, depending on your point of view. 

An address to admire: the Ile St.-Louis in the center of Paris

The Ile St.-Louis is a most prestigious address, and a very good retirement plan if you’re lucky enough to call it home.  At one time, it was used to graze cattle.  Today the most popular grazing is at Berthillion – arguably the best ice cream in Paris. 

Why do I think George Clooney has a home in the Ile?  Well if he does, he is in stellar company. Baudelaire, French poet, essayist and notable laudanum addict was briefly a resident here.  And Proust placed Charles Swann’s home on the Ile.

In addition to quiet wealth and aristocracy, there’s also shopping.  The Rue St. Louis-en-Ile is lined with boutiques, food stores and small designer clothing shops. 

Shopping on the Rue St. Louis-en-Ile

Our Batobus comes upon Notre Dame from the west, where the Ile St. Louis almost nudges the Ile de la Cite.

This makes anyone a photographer. You can't get a bad picture with this kind of material

The banks of the Seine are justly famous as the perfect  place for a rendez-vous with a certain someone.  As always in France, the tradition continues.  This couple was occupied with La Gloire  as we waited for the next Batobus.

With the Louvre as their backdrop, this couple carries on a deep intellectual conversation

As the boat pulled alongside the Eiffel Tower stop, we were glad we remembered the Batobus and had a day of riparian delights on the banks of the Seine. 

The trinket sellers will drive you made, but a view of the Eiffel Tower is on every ET's list.

You don’t have to take an expensive Bateau Mouche dinner cruise to enjoy Paris from the Seine.  I feel in my bones that this is somehow “found money”, but I need to make a few calculations to confirm this.   

From my archives - The Concergierie towers on the Ile de al Cite

Advertisements

Feet on the street – Part 1

October 11, 2010

 
 
 

Cheese ladies chatting with passing neighbors

Nurse was resting her back today, so I revisited some neighborhoods that I know and love. 

 

Experienced Travellers always devise routes ahead of time that balance historical sights with local interest – and of course, food.  A walk  from the Latin Quarter to St.-Germain, through Embassy Row, past Les Invalides and back to the Ecole Militaire sounded just right.  Part I will focus on the Latin Quarter to  Place St. Michel. 

Reliable #82 dropped me near the Rue St. Jacques to begin my trek. I will never fear Parisian busses again.  It’s far superior to taking the metro, unless you’re in a hurry.

Riding the #82 bus through Montparnasse

The Latin Quarter has teemed with students, tourists, nightclubs and fast-food since the Collège de Sorbonne was established in 1253.  Would Abelard and Heloise be surprised by the Greek take-away and post-card vendors?  Perhaps our friendly Medievalist can weigh in on 13th century student life?  

The 5th is where you go when you need a gyro in Paris

Gyros on the Rue de la Huchette

For years, I’ve heard about an eccentric Latin Quarter hotel with a devoted clientel,  that has cheap rooms and unparallelled views of Notre Dame. (J-P A. may know of it)  Well here I was on the doorstep, so I asked to see a room.  Now, bear in mind this is 75 euros with no view – about the price of a Holiday Inn Express – and the maid was cleaning it.

A little too “La Boheme” for the ETs

I suppose it works if you’re young, tormented and writing quatrains about man’s inhumanity to man.  I didn’t inquire about availability.

But if you’re past the prime of youth, don’t despair.  Enjoy this memorable view of Notre Dame from the Place St Julien le Pauvre.  
This view doesn’t cost anything – found money!

Lovely old streets surround the church of St. Julien le Pauvre

Pondering medieval fast-food and tormented poetics gave me an appetite.  Much to my delight, I enjoyed the perfect omlette.  Lightly crusted on the outside, slightly runny on the inside, and filled with ham and cheese.   The new gold standard. 

The best omlette I have ever eaten. Thank you, La Fontaine St. Michel

Rested and restored, I set out to explore the 6th between Place St Michel and the Place St. Germain.  And an eerie experience on the Rue Grenelle in Embassy Row.  Watch for Part 2!

There’s going to be a transport strike here on Tuesday to protest the Government’s move to raise the retirement age to 62.  Limited train, metro and bus service will be fun to negotiate!

Ladies who Lunch at the Fontaine St. Michel


%d bloggers like this: