Who doesn't love Paris? Actually, when I first went there as a child, I wasn't captivated by the City of Light -- I liked London a whole lot more. But Paris has certainly grown on me over the years.
I'm not a Paris insider, by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a few favorite places to go when I'm there, touristy and non-touristy. There are also many Paris insider websites out there to help you do some research. One I like to check is Paris Notebook.
Car head trip
The guy at the car rental agency had a sick sense of humor, I'll give him that.
On one of those "pouring rain, now it's not, now it's pouring" days, we decided we would stay on plan and brave the drive out to Chartres. None of us had ever driven an automobile in Paris before (you can hear the gods cackling already) but we scurried gamely across the river and swam toward the Carrousel du Louvre and shook ourselves out like wet Labradors in front of the rental office.
The car transaction went well. Check. Got directions on how to get to the highway. Check. Found car in the garage. Check. Car turns on, heat on, windshield wipers in order. Check, check, check.
C'est bien. So far.
My husband sets the car in motion and we make the turn out of the garage and left, as the man told us. Left turn puts us on the Rue du Rivoli. Nice man said "Make next left." (Those of you who know Paris know where we're going with this.) Next left puts you onto the Place de la Concorde.
I think I saw this in a movie once. It was called "Ben Hur."
Round the Obélisque, the rain is slapping against the windshield, our reins are swinging wildly. "Which way? Which way?!" shouts my husband.
I still assert that I answered quite calmly, "Follow that van across the bridge."
Well, perhaps it was a little more terse than that.
Now, a year later, we can look back and agree how nice it is that drivers in Paris are decisive. It makes you a bit quicker on your feet. Or wheels.
Driving tips from Petite Anglaise.
Some of the places we like to eat at in Paris:
L'Ardoise, 28 rue Mont Thabor, 1st., 011-33-1-42-96-28-18. Fabulous market menu concoctions from PIerre Jay. Michelin star quality, without the Michelin star attitude or pricetag.
Marche Bastille Farmers Market, Richard Lenoir at Place Bastille Thursday and Sunday from 9-1 pm. A fantastic place for produce, meat, cheese and bread, plus random household items.
L'Ami Jean, 27 rue Malar, 7th, 011-33-1-47-05-86-89, a Basque/French style menu offering imaginative 30 Euro prix fixe meals. Now run by Stephane Jego of La Regalade.
Taillevent (Wine tastings) 199 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré Métro Charles de Gaulle Etoile, 8th Arrondissement, 011-33-01 45 61 14 09. Sure we eat there all the time. Not. but you can do their free Saturday tastings from the legendary wine cellar from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Visit the website and click on (in French only) “Les Caves Taillevent,” then “Nos Prestations” and then “Les Degustations" for the schedule.
The Métro shuffle:
Personally, I find the combinations of options and passes and hoohah for getting around Paris and seeing some sights just dizzying. Here is some info that may help clarify: