Monday, April 07, 2003

Well, so here we are back at home after our Parisian jaunt. What a fine time
we had. First thing that I should say, is that if anyone wants to have a
real Parisian experience rather than the usual overpriced small hotel room
that most of normally end up with then I would really recommend the great
place on the Rue De Rome that we stayed in. It was so great to be able wake up at what ever
time you want to (no one knocking on the door, to see if they can clean your
room at 9am!). Even better was that most mornings Petunia went off to the
local shops, to get in out breakfast goodies. The croissants, pan au
chocolate, brioche, baguettes, fresh eggs, cheese, ham and yoghurt all
flowed. The area was packed with all sorts of food related places, a
brilliant daily food market, any number of restaurants and more wine and
champagne then you can imagine. The property is located on a fairly busy
main road, but as you enter through the huge wooden double doors which all
these marvellous old apartment buildings have, you enter the tilled hallway
before walking through to inner courtyard, where this ground floor apartment
is located. Consequently the setting is incredibly quiet and peaceful. In
the same way that our stay in the New York apartment benefited by being in
Chelsea, a residential area rather than a tourist one, the same can be said
for the area around this part of the Rue de Rome.

So what did we get up to? Well as mentioned earlier, lots of leisurely
breakfast's where the plans for the day were decided. Then around noon we
head off to our destinations. These included the amazing market at Porte De
Clignacourt (so many wonderful pieces of Art Deco furniture, if only we
could afford to ship it home!), the high rise glory of La Defense (with it
breathtaking view back towards central Paris, along the Champs Elysees), an
interesting walk from the apartment to Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur (which
gave us all the chance to pretend that we were part of the film Amelie,
which we watched on DVD in the apartment later that night), the incredible
Philippe Starck exhibition at the Pompidou centre, The best free view in
Paris from the top the Samarataine depart store, a visit to the slightly
neglected feeling Modern Art Museum in the fading Art Deco beauty of the
Palais De Tokyo, finally managed a boat trip along the river, a visit to the
great market at Place de Batignolles, seeing some inspiring artwork in the
exhibition of advertising from 1920 -1950 including some fascinating world
war two material and lots and lots of sitting around with a glass of Pastis!

And the food, a great meal at the resonant next door to the apartment, a
spectacular 8 course chief choice meal to celebrate Orynthia's birthday at
the tres chic l'impatant, an enormous cassoulat in a hale and hearty
restaurant celebrating the regional cuisine of south west France, hot roast
Chicken & vegetables from the market eaten with amazing bread and a
sumptuous prune tart.

We love the way that a city that can be so manic, can be so relaxed as you
turn the corner into a tree lined side street, with cute cafes and bars.
Also love, the way the market stall holders, take time out to sit down and
eat lovely looking meals from fine China, rather than just grab a sandwich
as they would do in England. Sitting on the steps of a church in the
sunshine watching the world go by. The incredible array of food and drink
that is available, the good grace of the Parisian's who helped us around
their gorgeous city. Never having to wait for more than about 3 minutes for
a metro train to come along. The fact that I could buy a CD by Bristol band
Alpha more easily there than I could here.

Along with New York, it is a place that I feel instantly at home in, it's
safe to say that we will return again.

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