Paris Journal 2006

Saturday, September 16

Sign my guestbook. View my guestbook.                <Previous     Next> 


This time when we went by the fountain at Place Ernest Denis in the Jardin Marco Polo (in the avenue de l’Observatoire extension of the Luxembourg Gardens), the water was actually flowing!  So I took some more photos of this great collection of sculpture, where Hemingway liked to stare at the horses glistening in the water.

The Place Saint Sulpice is now the site of a Thai fair that will continue through this next week and weekend.  So, from 11AM to 8PM every day, eerie Thai music drifts into the apartment from the outdoor speakers on the square, around the corner.  It is not bad, just a little strange.


We walked through the fair yesterday and were mildly interested in all the goods on display, but frankly we’ve seen all these things before, and we’ve seen them at much more reasonable prices.  There is a stage set up, and if there is going to be some Thai dancing, I think we’ll go back.  But otherwise, we’re done with the fair.


When we were out walking a couple days ago, we stumbled upon a place that Tom vaguely recalled and has been trying to find ever since.  He normally relies upon my sense of geography to remember where places are, but I didn’t have this location logged away in my geographic brain.  Suddenly, when we were looking at places where Hemingway and Joyce lived on rue Cardinal Lemoine in the 5th arrondissement, there it was:  the Hotel des Grandes Ecoles!


It is like a country estate in the middle of Paris.  Now a three star hotel, it is situated at the end of a narrow lane off of rue Cardinal Lemoine (number 75).  At the end of the lane, by the hotel, is a bit of a green grassy lawn, trees, flowerbeds, and a lovely patio.  The hotel takes up three buildings, I think, and each looks like a country house with wooden shutters on all the windows.


Even though it is a three-star hotel, prices are very reasonable – from 105 to 130 euros per room per night.  If you are crazy enough to drive a car into Paris, you can park it for 30 euros a day if you are a guest at this quaint hotel.


Something we’ve been meaning to do for some time is visit BHV, the home store in a Haussmannian building right across rue de Rivoli from Paris’s city hall, the Hotel de Ville.  Finally, we did it, a couple days ago.


First we explored the legendary basement.  This is Tom’s idea of heaven.  All the power tools a man could want are there, as well as everything from plywood to fancy shower fixtures.  It is a Lowes right in the middle of Paris!


The upper floors have all the nicer things for the home.  There were all kinds of dishes, bathroom accessories, small kitchen appliances, etc., of the very latest design.  Really cool.


The furniture floor was disappointing – mostly cheap modern stuff made out of particle board with veneer on top.


On the whole, prices were high.  But not in the cafeteria!


The cafeteria, on the 5th floor, was very good.  We each had tortellini Bolognaise that was assembled and cooked to order for us as we waited.  I was lucky enough to get a table for us by the window, with a spectacular, sweeping view of the beautiful Hotel de Ville, the Seine, and much more.


The apartment where we are staying has a wonderful espresso machine that uses the Nespresso system.  Maybe you’ve seen the George Clooney ads for Nespresso?  If not, here’s the Nespresso web site.


Tom has become an expert in the use of this machine.  He makes me a cappucino every morning!  He also makes himself two or three cups of espresso every day.  So we visited the Nespresso store across the street from Bon Marché (7th arrondissement) to buy more Nespresso cartridges.


We thought they would probably be rather expensive, but there were so many people in the shop when we arrived, I knew that was not the case.  Eventually we figured out which kinds of cartridges we wanted to order, and Tom bought several boxes of them.  It works out to around 30 cents a cartridge.  Not bad for really top-notch coffee.


It looked like they were offering free sample cups of espresso down at one end of the store.  We didn’t attempt to get through that little mob since we already knew we liked the goods.  But it is a lively little shop.


By the way, I wanted to let you know that Bridget Bardot has spoken out publicly in defense of the horses of the Republican Guard.  It seems that she thinks it would be cruel to make them wear sacks on their rumps to collect the “crottin” as they tromp through the streets of Paris.  Here is Bridget’s web site for her foundation for the welfare and protection of animals.  Did you know Bridget was fined in 2000 for making anti-Muslim remarks?  Click here for more.




Sign my guestbook. View my guestbook.       <Previous       Next>