December 23 to December 26 - 2006
First four days.


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Our friend Ken had done an apartment exchange with some Parisiennes and he invited us to share the apartment with him and his fifteen-year-old daughter Elise. We accepted with alacrity and Donna was finally going to realize her dream of visiting Paris. Norbert was returning after having lived there for a year almost thirty years previously. As is our wont we waited until the last moment to buy plane tickets and paid a premium of $1350 each…but more of THAT later.

Paris is well north of the latitude of New York City and during our stay the days were short (sunrise 9AM to 5PM sunset) and damp cold (seldom higher than 40 degrees) and never any sun. .

Day One: We arrive at the apartment in the very fashionable Sixtheenth Arrondissement at 9:30. After a brief rest we all took off to…where else but Cathedral of Notre Dame. Snack at local restaurant. Shakespeare and Company. Jardin de Luxumbourg and Montparnasse for a crepe. Return to apartment to recover from jet lag.

Day Two: We survey the beautiful apartment. Metro to Gare St. Lazare to gape at the Grands Magazins (the big stores) Au Printemps Gallerie Lafayette. A long walk through Place de l'Opera to Place de la Republique where we took a welcome chocolate because the weather was brutally cold. Then we met Ken and Elise for dinner at a restaurant in Place de la Contrascarpe. We end the day with a Christmas Eve musical mass at La Madeleine.

Day Three: We attend a Christmas Day performance of Giselle at the opulent Opera Garnier. Afterwards we walked to Place Vendôme Place de la Concorde and up the Champs Elysee where we met Ken and Elise for dinner an upscale restaurant. .

Day Four: Ste. Chappelle and the Conciergerie where those to be guillotined during the terror were held. A walk through Chatelet to Centre Pompidou which was closed and then through the Marais (the old Jewish Quarter where there are still Jews) to Opera Bastille where we unsuccessfully tried to get tickets for Der Rosencavalier. We finished the evening with dinner at a restaurant at Les Halles.

Click individual pictures OR... Slide Show


Our first day leaving from RER station President John F. Kennedy. The French have a tendency to name things after heroes...and they dont seem to care much whose. At the Seine. Where all tourist head first.
Not exactly made of toothpics. A candle lit for Grace who used to work with Donna. Cafe near Notre Dame. View from the window of apartment where we stayed. And this is where it was located...a little fuzzy.
The modest apartment in the 16th arrondissement. The owners of the apartment had an atonishing collection of music and books...to be envied. Ken and kitchen
Dining room. If you look very carefully under the table you will see the foot button to summon the maid. Le monsieurs workspace. The start of Start of our waking tour on day 2. LOpera Garnier. Window display of au Printemps...something like Lord and Taylor.
It was cold...but we always knew where we were. A crepe Indiana is a cafe chain. Chez Julien where Norbert used to eat when it was a cheap workers joint. Marianne in Place de la Republique.
Another Indiana...for a chocolate. We have dinner at Place de la Contrascarpe on Christmas Eve. On the way to Madeleine for Christmas Eve mass and musicale.
Still on the way...the transfers are called Day 3. Christmas Day. On the way to LOpera for performance of Giselle. THIS is a chandalier. Sometimes Norbert does not take such good pictures.
Place Vendome where the really, really rich folks stay. She knows exactly where she is. We walk to Place de la Concorde for a walk up Champs Elysée. A ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde...this is the culture of Paris?
Merry Christmas Champs Elysee Day 4. Ile St. Louis.
Ste. Chapelle. Every panel is supposed to tell a famous bible story... ...but no one we know was able to find one. Outside Centre Pompidou...which was closed that day.