There is so much to say and there are so many beautiful views of Paris that I thought I would put it into two parts. 

We got to the Gare du Nord in Paris at 10am on the 18th July and made our way to our small studio appartment in the 9th arrondissement. Francoise who owns “le Papilles Gourmandes” (the gourmet taste”which has delicious meats and cheeses gave us the key.

The appartment is just down the hill from Sacre Coeur church to the right. Although it is very small it is well located just up the road from the metro station of Notre Dame de Lorette. There is also a piano in the appartment. It belongs to a friend of a friend and he lets it out when he is not in Paris – Roy Howat is an acclaimed pianist specializing in French music and plays all over the world.

There are many wonderful bakeries, cafes and delicatessen shops and restaurants nearby.

We wanted a French meal the first night we were there so we walked the streets and could only find Italian, Indian, Asian and a Hungarian restaurant so we opted for that as they had some French food!

We wandered around the streets the first afternoon and ended up at the Galleries Lafayette where there were people everywhere. It is sale time in Paris until the 31st July and the “soldes” (sales) are in every shop so Maurice and I picked up a couple of bargains and shed a couple of older things when we got back.

There seem to be more beggars and homeless people on the streets here than we have seen previously. There were a few in Bucharest in the main city area and more in Budapest but even more in Paris with many sleeping in the metro and in sleeping bags on the pavements and in the parks which is sad to see. There is also an enormous amount of graffiti everywhere even on some of the monuments. Every underground tunnel is full of it.

We next day we hiked up the hill early to Sacre Coeur before the crowds set in to have a look at the city from there and there was a camera crew there and actors having their faces painted.

We caught the metro to near the Luxembourg Gardens and had a lovely lunch that we had packed in the gardens before wandering over to the Pantheon which is a very impressive building and then to the Rue Mouffetard, one of Paris’s oldest merchant streets in the Latin Quarter.

I had booked us to go on a recommended dinner cruise on the Seine aboard the “Calife” so we caught the metro and walked down to the Seine at the Quai Malaquais. We had pre dinner drinks and then the boat left at 9pm. It was wonderful seeing Paris with it’s beautiful architecture all lit up and the Eiffel Tower which at 10pm everynight turns on it’s sparkling lights .

We sat next to a lovely couple Bill and Nancy from Buffalo, New York State and we had a delicious three course meal with decent red wine. It was very well organized and was more like a meal at a restaurant with each table served separately and the food was delicious and piping hot. We found our way back to the metro and got home about 1am.

My French has been coming back to me and I can understand almost all everyday things and the vocabulary is returning from the depths of the brain! but Maurice has found that a lot of people speak enough English to help him out.

Having been in Paris a couple of times we had seen a lot of main attractions and opted this time to do something different so I booked us into the “Cordon Bleu” cooking school for a “fish part 2” demonstration by a top French chef. There were only 3 “lay” people there. Maurice, me and another girl. The rest were budding young chefs. It was extremely professionally conducted with an American chef doing the translating for everything the French chef said and with a large mirror to show what the chef was doing and three large screens to watch the proceedings as well.

We learnt some good tips and got to taste the food after it was prepared. The chef did three fish dishes and they were all delicious. It didn’t finish until about 2.30pm and by this time we were ravenous so we went nearby to a great little cafe with the freshest salads and delicious four cheese quiche and excellent coffee.

We then walked to the “Tour Montparnasse” where we went up to the 56th floor to get a wonderful view of Paris.

We have been stopping by at another great little cafe for morning coffee before we get on the metro and it is good coffee and only about $2.50 for a good sized cup. There were some there having a beer at 7.30am! We just managed coffee and croissants which were delicious and put out in baskets only on Sundays. If you want one the barman gives you a plate and you chose your own croissant – very civilized.

The little fruit shops have very reasonably priced raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and delicious nectarines so we bought some for our breakfast.

We went to Francoise’s shop and bought some delicious terrine, ham, morbier cheese and next door to the bakery with with the best selection of bread. We bought a bottle of red and had dinner in the courtyard. It is just as well there is a small courtyard for our use as there is nowhere in the studio appartment to eat! The kitchen is behind cupboard doors and the bathroom is as small as our toilet back home. It doesn’t bother us as we spend little time here. The metro is just down the street and very handy.

The local little supermarket also had a good selection of everything especially upstairs which is like a coolroom but not closed off. You go up the stairs and it is really cold and all the milk, meat etc is on the shelves.

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