Adventures and Misadventures in Paris

We’ve been in France for a week now …well, almost. We landed one week ago tomorrow morning. And our flight over was a sleepless, and uncomfortable night. I used to be able to sleep on a plane, not anymore.
Somewhere over the Atlantic… Hello moon. We’re on our way to Paris!

Morning brought our minuscule “cup” of coffee and a slice of … cake? Huh? What happened to sausages and eggs? Ah well, we’re on our way to Paris. How bad can it be with such a spectacular view of the French countryside?
We booked a “Zip” transfer from the airport and were glad we did. Our apartment was on a small street,several blocks from a Metro stop, and we were glad not to be negotiating the RER train from the airport, and then the Metro for the first time ever, and lugging our bags, and trying NOT to get lost.
This is the winding stairs up to our third floor flat. So old and so atmospheric. The barred window and door at the bottom of the stairs, no longer lead into the concierge’s quarters, but to the tiny cafe Strada with coffee and wonderful food. I came to know their latte very well over the week.
Home sweet home for the next six days.
The apartment was lovely, all wood beams and hardwood floors. Maybe the pumbing could do with an update. But, what the heck, we’re in Paris. Only thing I struggled with was trying to find somewhere with enough light to put my makeup on. I’m certain that I ventured out on several occasions with my eyebrows on crooked.
Our apartment was in the Marais, very central with small winding streets and we walked everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. To the Arc du Triomphe.
Where the view was fantastic.

To the Eiffel Tower.

Where we bought our ticket to go to the top and stood in a very, very long line. And then it started to rain. And then to blow and rain harder. And then it hailed. And what can you do at a moment like that except laugh ruefully and say… ah well, it’s Paris. It’s not like we have to paddle back to our campsite and sleep in a wet tent, is it? You see, those Algonquin Park adventures come in real handy sometimes.

See we’re wet, and freezing, but still smiling. Sunglasses are a great hair flattener when the natural curl and frizz kicks in.

While we were waiting in line they closed the top of the tower due to the strong winds, saying we would only be able to go to the second level. But, not to worry, we would get a refund, for which we would have to stand in line when we came back down. Great. But…. by the time we reached the front of the line, the sun was out and we were able to go right to the top. Once up there, though, it was still unnervingly windy, so we stayed in the extremely crowded plexiglass enclosure, getting in line again to go back down. So all my pictures are from the second level.

But the view from the top looked just like this, except smaller. But, hey, it’s the Eiffel Tower. You gotta do it once, eh? And never, ever do it again.

We spent a fabulous day walking all over the left bank. Aka Hemingway territory. Mecca for us literary nerds. I spent many years talking about A Moveable Feast in my writing classes. So we needed to track down Hemingway’s old apartment, at 74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine. I know, I know…it’s just a blue door. But it’s a very special blue door.

And visit Shakespeare and Company. I know it’s not the same one that Sylvia Beach ran, where Hemingway used to visit to borrow books, but it is still a landmark. There were no pictures allowed inside, but I wandered around, sitting on the cots tucked into alcoves where impoverished visiting writers used to spend the night, looking at the new books and the old books and the resident cat. You gotta love a bookstore that has a cat, don’t you? And I bought a couple of souvenir book marks and a postcard that came in the best bag ever!

And we had to stroll through Hemingway’s old neighbourhood. Past the cafes, and squares. Through the Jardin du Luxembourg which he loved.

I could tell that Hubby is thinking he has had his fill of Hemingway shrines for today.

But I wanted to see one more. The Closerie des Lilas where he used to drink cold white wine and write stories. Maybe we could sit and have a coffee and a croissant?

Okay. Maybe not. This establishment is definitely not a simple cafe anymore. And it charges prices Hemingway never saw, or paid, even when he was much older and very much richer. Ah well. It’s still Paris. And it’s a beautiful sunny day.

So we ambled on and found a simpler cafe. You might even quote Hemingway and say a clean, well-lighted cafe, if you wanted to be really pretentious. Where we ordered a glass of wine and watched Paris walk by.

We had lots of other adventures (and misadventures) before we left Paris. A visit with old friends, shopping, watching Paris street fashion, getting lost, and even following a French accordion player around on the Metro. But those are all stories for another post.

So…. watch this space. Bonne nuit… mes amies.


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25 thoughts on “Adventures and Misadventures in Paris”

  1. I hope you are enjoying the adventures and the misadventures both. And doing some things that are not Big Endeavours, just sitting on a sidewalk, and watching the world go by.

  2. Thank you for the update – how nice that you could do a kind of literary tour of Paris. I hope, though, that the weather improves for the next part of your trip – it looks pretty windy there!

  3. What a great travel report . We all know holidays are never perfect – it's still the real world after all . The trick is to keep your sense of humour , which you obviously did . More please .
    Wendy in York

  4. Looks like you're having a wonderful time Susan. Love the pictures! An apartment in Le Marais sounds just prefect … especially with a cafe at the bottom of the stairs! Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

    1. Thanks Rosie. That cafe made the best lattes I have ever tasted. If I can't get a good cup of tea…a great latte is a welcome treat.

  5. It's fine for me to just see the pictures from up there on the Eiffel Tower: there is no way in the world I would ever, ever go up! Same for the Arc de Triomphe. But, of course, there is so much more to see in Paris for the height-challenged. Cant wait to see more!!

    1. Hubby wasn't too keen about the height either. Funny that feeling of vertigo that some people get when they are way up in the air. And you're right, Libby, there's lots more to do on the ground.

  6. It sounds like you've had a wonderful trip – I used to go to Paris every single year as a child, and it's where my husband proposed, so a special place indeed.
    Thanks for linking up to #AllAboutYou

  7. Sounds like you're having fun in and managing to incorporate your various interests. Love the photos. Wonder how you found the local femmes in terms of remaining chic in inclement weather. Hope your trip continues to go well Iris

  8. It sonnds and looks like you are having an amazing time. You look like you're having a blast too! I love that part best. And what is it with that lousy lighting?? I think all hotels and rentals use dim bulbs to save on their electric bill!

  9. Love your post, and your attitude, had to laugh at the comment about lighting and makeup. You sure covered some ground! Will look forward to more posts on the city of light. xx Nancy

  10. It sounds like you're having a great time, despite the 'challenges'. Funny, I knew from the first photo you posted of the apartment that you were in the Marais; it is the most charming part of Paris (I'm biased, that's where we are too) but the 17th century wood-beamed spaces are nothing like what you find in the less charming but more spacious 16th arrondissement. I'll have to look up your coffee joint. I always trek to Coutume for coffee, as most what I find in the 3rd is awful! I look forward to reading your next instalment! xx

  11. So glad you loved Paris too! (We went up the Tour Eiffel and to the top of the Arc de Triomphe with the kids some 25 years ago, and feel no need ever to do that again! Lovely to catch the tower sparkling, though, when walking back from dinner at night. . .

  12. Loved your Paris adventures. I had to laugh because when my husband and I went to Paris May 2014, we had bought tickets on line for the Eiffel Tower and it was only raining for the time we had selected in advance. And the day we went to the Arc of Triumph it was closed. We walked a lot too and even got to go inside the American Embassy, because my husband found an American passport in our room in Vincennes. And French bread is fabulous and your clothes selection great. One day I wore 7 layers to keep warm and glad I threw my Sketchers in at the last minute, they saved my feet.

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