01-01 to 01-08 The Last Days in Paris

After the New Year, we relaxed and just enjoyed being together. On Tuesday, the 2nd, Claudia left to return to Morro Bay and we continued to enjoy the apartment. While there are LOTS of things left to do in Paris, we took in only a few more sites during our last week.

Pantheon – rather large building for sure.

One morning, we decided to take in The Pantheon.

Here we are getting ready to go inside the Pantheon.

This is located in the Latin Quarter and was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve (patron saint of Paris) but later became a tribute to the secular as well as religious leaders of Paris after the Revolution.

Inside the Pantheon looking at one of the side areas.
A view of the center part of the Pantheon.
Voltaire’s crypt and statue
La Convention Nationale Memorial inside the Pantheon.

In the Crypt are the remains of Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo,  Marie Curie, Louis Braille and a number of other significant people. It is a very large marble building and COLD inside. No heat to the place (big surprise) and it retained the cold long after it started to warm up outside. A lot of interesting French history depicted in murals on the walls and in the various displays throughout the building. French schoolchildren encounter these murals in their history books.

 

Arènes de Lutèce – A roman amphitheater which originally held 15,000 spectators.

 

 

 

 

 

After the Pantheon, we headed out to visit the Arènes de Lutèce. This is the most important ruin from the Gallo-Roman era in Paris. Lying in what is now the Latin Quarter, this amphitheater originally could seat 15,000 people and was used to present gladiatorial combats. Constructed in the 1st century AD, much of the original structure has been destroyed with the exception of some of the terraces, cubbyholes situated beneath the lower terraces and some other structures remain.

 

After visiting the Pantheon and other sites we made our way to a nice fondue spot for lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For lunch Ryan took us to a Fondue spot not far away where we enjoyed a lovely lunch. I don’t recall when I have had fondue and it was a neat way to enjoy some mushrooms with cheese and a trio of meats (chicken, beef and duck we cooked in the boiling oil).

Lunch on a wet afternoon after visiting where Chris will be going to school.
Chris in front of his school.
I am certain there was a group just like this on this corner when we visited 10 years ago! Nice tunes.
I could live in the apartments above this row of shops!
A very inviting shop for sure.
Cheese – just a small portion of what they had available.
There were so many to choose from it was difficult to decided what to pick up!
There were samples, thankfully, so you could get some idea of what was available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During last couple of days, we ventured out to the cheese shop of Laurent Dubois – considered to be one of the best chesemongers in Paris. He holds the highest designation for a cheesemonger and affineur in France. The shop had a strong selection of aged cheeses and small producers from around the country. Below the shop, in caves, he ages a few cheeses well beyond what others might but seems to have the ability to know when to release them. We picked up a few nice selections including a Mont D’ Or. This is only produced during the months between October and February and I have learned to bake it with garlic and wine ; delicious on a fresh baguette. When I said I was taking it with me on my flight the next day the vacuum sealed it! Wish I had done that with several other cheeses to bring back.

 

Owner, Madame Saadia Abhari was very helpful – she was closing early to visit with friends but opened just for us.
Ryan and Janeen are surrounded by various music boxes and toys.
Janeen checking out some of the interesting items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also visited the music box store (again) – Avanti la Musica is a small shop jammed to the rafters and beyond with music boxes, interesting toys and fine gifts.

On our last evening we stopped at Berthillon for some hot chocolate and ice cream. This is a MUST stop for anyone coming to Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Champagne prior to take off on our flight back to the US was a delight.

On Monday we four trekked out to Charles de Gaulle airports and Janeen and I boarded our flight back to the US of A .

We landed safely in Virginia and are now settled in with our son, Jason, daughter-in-law, Terri and grand daughter for a while. Not sure when the next post will happen so check back every so often to find out as we have a LOT more travelling to do before we settle down.

12-31 New Year’s Eve

The decision on what to do for New Years Eve was actually quite difficult and easy at the same time. Paris – lots of different places we could have gone, parities, fancy dining, and restaurants with fantastic views abound. However, we decided to return to Le Réminet and booked a table for the 7:30. This place, which we have already been to on this trip and reported earlier, is only a few steps from Norte-Dame and Ile Saint Louis.   This place is a semi-gastromic bistro with chic seating serving gourmet meals in a candlelit-vaulted room.

Just a few steps away from the restaurant is a cute music box store we stopped into prior to going into the restaurant. Avanti la Musica was filled with different music boxes and beautiful toys. Claudia picked out a lovely little gift for herself and we all enjoyed the place. 

Chris and Claudia in a little shop by the Restaurant that had LOTS of music boxes and interesting toys.

Music boxes everywhere.
The shop was filled with interesting items for sure.

 

 

Now for the main event of the evening.

Getting ready to go in for dinner

Le Réminet is really a small place with maybe 30 seats and we had the table of honor (being the biggest party) at the round table in the corner of the place. Over the course of the next FIVE HOURS we were served a delightful dinner of maybe 8 courses. I did get a little carried away and ordered four bottles of wines during the evening.

Soy marinated sashimi tuna coated in sesame seeds on a bed of red cabbage
Fine brioche tart with foie gras, crunchy vegetables with lemon caviar and creamy Jerusalem artichokes
Ravioli of scallops with porcini mushrooms, eaten with hazelnut oil, seafood toast in marinade
Smoked mustard line caught sea bass, mashed siphon mashed potatoes, ripe seawater oysters
Venison fillet lacquered with maple syrup and truffle, cranberry condiments, pumpkin chips and forgotten vegetables
Our group on New Years Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The selection of cheeses available was impressive.
Chris seemed to be very happy.
Dessert was an assortment of New Year’s delicacies
Here we are with the Chef, Eric Ponchet

At midnight we all rang in the New Year with Bonne Année and had a moment with the Chef to thank him for a lovely evening.

 

12-28 Paris Opera House and Lunch at Galeries Lafayette

December 28th – three days after Christmas and 3 days before the New Year starts and we found ourselves taking a tour of the Paris Opera House.

Outside and main entrance of the Paris Opera House

The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. It’s called Palais Garnier in recognition of the opulence created by the architect, Charles Garnier. Historically known as the Opéra de Paris or simply the Opéra it is the primary home of the Paris Opera and it’s associated ballet until the Opera moved into a new building Opéra Bastille in 1989. The Palais Garnier has been called one of the most famous opera houses in the world and is the setting for the novel The Phantom of the Opera and the subsequent plan by the same name.

This is the Grand Staircase into the Opera House – I cheated and downloaded this picture.

The interior of the building is filled with gold leaf, statues, decorative ceilings, huge entrance stairs and lots of other stuff that will impress the visitor. Our audio guide tour was well worth the cost and very informative.

 

 

 

Janeen on the stairs
Ryan, Chris and Claudia at one of the overlook areas of the grand stair case
David and Janeen
Lovely statue greeting you as you come into the place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ceilings and walls were amazing. This is where the folks came to be “seen” during the intermission.
Just amazing beauty throughout the place.
Opera seating and boxes
Box 5 of the Opera House – think Phantom of the Opera…

We have been in several opera houses during our various adventures (Budapest, Venice and Prague over the last few years) and this is one of the most impressive ones we have seen.

After our tour it was time for lunch and we went to the Dome at the Galeries Lafayette.

Christmas inside Galeries Lafayette
The display of Christmas was really amazing. There was also a “show” every so often.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, while we were there, we did stop and look at the decorations on the inside of the building and particularly the fancy ceiling. Always an treat to visit and take a gander at beautiful art.

Here we are waiting (Ryan on the right side) for our table inside the Dome.

The Dome Restaurant is exactly that – plastic domes on the roof of the building. While there we of course had to take several pictures of the buildings around us. Lunch was actually quite good – given there really isn’t a kitchen on the roof and the hot stuff came from down stairs – a lovely way to spend the afternoon as the rain passed by.

 

Again, pictures had to be taken – Janeen and Claudia share a moment.
Everyone had to have a picture with the Tower.
On the roof at Galeries Lafayette
With the Opera House in the background, Janeen and Claudia
Nice lunch inside the Dome

After lunch we headed back to the apartment to rest up for the next adventure.