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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Traveling – Paris France

The next stop on our Fall 2007 European adventure was Paris France.  My wife and I were in Frankfurt Germany on business for my former employer and we drove with Stefan (my work colleague) to Karlsruhe German, which is situated near the German/France border.  In Karlsruhe, Stefan and I visited some customers then Stefan drove us to the train station where we said our goodbyes and my wife and I boarded the train and were headed to Paris.

When we arrived in Paris we took the metro (subway) to our stop near the Eiffel tower, our hotel the Royal Phare is a small, but nice, budget hotel about a block from the Ecole Militare metro stop.  We carried our bags up the stairs to our sixth floor room (always travel light).  The hotel does have an elevator which is about as big as a coffin.  I could stand inside with a bag, but I had trouble getting the door closed.  Not a place for someone who is claustrophobic.

And speaking of claustrophobic, we had selected a room on the courtyard on the recommendation of Rick Steves travel information so that we would not get the early morning street noises.  This room was a little small, as you had to scoot sideways between the end of the bed and the wall to get to the bathroom.  It did have one nice feature that we enjoyed; we could lay in bed and see the top third of the Eiffel tower.  What a view to watch as you drift off to sleep.

In the morning we moved to a larger room with a nice balcony overlooking the street, we could look out over the area, but it did not have a view of the Eiffel tower.

There is so much I could write about Paris and pictures that I could show, but I will concentrate primarily on the food that we experienced.

We had never visited the Jewish Quarter of Paris and were surprised to find a large number of ethnic food shops.  We stopped and purchased a Falafel that was very tasty; we enjoyed the cucumber sauce on top.  Down the street were several pastry stores where they had all kinds of different chocolate desserts.  I was surprised to learn (once we started eating the pastries) that it was not chocolate, but poppy seeds.  I learned a lot about pastries and that I don’t really like large amounts of poppy seeds in my pastries.

In the Latin Quarter, we watched the  maitre d' standing in the doorways of their restaurant’s occasionally smashing cheap white plates on the ground to attract diners.  There were large piles of broken plates on the ground.  It didn’t attract us to eat there, but we did enjoy the show.

From our hotel, it was a quick walk to the Rue Cler, which is a traffic free shopping street.  One block down on the right is the Boulangerie where over the days we were in Paris, we purchased several pastries.  On Saturday to service all the shoppers, the Boulangerie expands into the street.  On one of our trips, we purchased some interesting chocolate muffins.  Only later did we learn they were chocolate lava muffins.

When we were walking to the Tuileries (large gardens in front of the Louvre), we came across a galette stand.  Galettes are a type of crepe and a typical French fast food.  We ordered our warmed with Gran Marnier in it’s folds.  It was very flavorful and on a cold day, the Gran Marnier added a little warmth to our walk.

We enjoyed several nice meal while we walked around Paris, we would decided it was time to eat and pick one of the first restaurants we saw and go for the experience.  At the Brasserie Le Deux Palais (near the Notre Dame cathedral), we had a pleasant meal and enjoyed the ambiance of old Paris.

One of our highlights was during out walk from the Bastille Metro station to the Carnavalet Museum, we could hear orchestra music being played.  We followed the sound of the music and walked through an opening into the Place des Vosges which is a large park square surrounded by buildings   Underneath one of the buildings there is a large open area (think of a very wide garage without any doors) and in this area there was a musical group: Le Marais Performers playing Canon J.Pachelbel.  We stopped to listen and take some video with our camera.  I purchased one of their audio CD’s: Classique Metropolitain, a great album, and I still enjoy listening to the music.

After a few fast moving days, we boarded the train to travel through the Chunnel to London to experience some of the British foods.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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