Paris Visit: Random thoughts

 

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We visited my very favorite city last week. It was basically a business trip to see an American/French lawyer on wills – very important.

The trip got off to a rocky start. I lost my iPhone. I realized the loss while still in the airport, before boarding our RER train to Paris. Panic of course. On the train I had the bright idea to call the phone. I was shocked. Someone answered – lost and found at terminal 2D. They had my phone. It would have been too time consuming and complicated to reverse course and go back to the airport. I would have to wait to recover it two days later en route back home.

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Day 1: no sun

We would have to do Paris without an iPhone, without GPS, without the phone camera. But, at least the phone lived, and I had my Olympus.

From the airport, the RER took us directly to Châtelet, very near where I had booked an airbnb apartment. Châtelet is a major transportation hub in the city. For me, it’s the dreaded metro stop where you too often need to change lines and walk for kilometers underground. Since our visit was short, just 2 ½ days, I was determined not to spend half the time in those depressing underground passages: A Paris visit without the metro. I almost succeeded. We did take the metro once to see a movie, “The Green Book,” which we loved.

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Pompidou Center

We walked and walked, the very best way to experience Paris. The first day of our visit was gray and grim, but the sun came out on day 2. At popular attractions, such as Louvre and at the Pompidou Center, there were long lines. However, there were no lines at Notre Dame, which I had not entered in years, nor at La Chapelle. Notre Dame was dark and intriguing. I tired capturing the mystical ambience with the Olympus, but I fear my limited skills were not up to the task.

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Interior Notre Dame

On the short walk to our apartment, we passed a frequent shopping stop from bygone days: E. Dehillerin. In my younger days, inspired by Julia Child, I was heavy into gourmet cooking. Over the years I spent big bucks on shiny copper pots purchased there. They graced the kitchen walls in our house, but had to go when we moved. I was very pleased that their new owner, the professional chef who purchased our house, will put them to good use.

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Some folks go to Paris to buy chic clothes.  I spent my money here on pots and pans.

The old world interior of the 19thcentury store with wooden plank floors and tall, tall open shelves filled to the brim with all manner of kitchen paraphernalia is still the same. The neighborhood, which used to be on the rundown side, is now upmarket spiffy.

But, so is much of Paris – far different than the way I remember the city on my very first visit, long, long ago as a student. That’s another story…

A more recent change: E-scooters everywhere. There are rental depots throughout the city. We felt safer on foot.

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The phone…Fortunately we allowed extra time for the rescue task on the way home. There was no lost and found in terminal 2D. We were directed to Easy Jet customer service in terminal 2D – not easy to find. They had had the phone, but since it was not claimed within 24 hours it had been sent to terminal 2A. I think we walked more in Charles de Gaulle airport than all of Paris. Once we finally reached 2A, we had to find the right place. Another challenge. But, we conquered. The iPhone is home with me.

It is good to have, of course.  But, you can survive without the phone, without GPS. Remember maps?  I used mine in Paris.

Although I was not lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young woman, I did visit. It has stayed with me.  Yes, it is a “moveable feast.”

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Lunch in Paris with former Stars and Stripes colleague Leonard Hill, right, and Claudine (not in photo, sorry Claudine)is a Paris must and always fun.

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26 thoughts on “Paris Visit: Random thoughts”

  1. You can survive without an I-phone. More time in life to stop and smell the roses. I live in a city addicted to their i-phones, San Francisco. Regret that I never made it to Paris and Notre Dame.

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  2. Leah, We love Paris and especially Dehillerin .I taught French cooking and bought every kind of copper there. Our kitchen looked great with the pans hanging , just like a French Country farm house. I know you felt sorry to part with the copper. We still have ours. Ole and I love reading about your travels. Your photos are beautiful.
    Joan

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    1. Hello Joan, So good to hear from you. Of course, Dehillerin was your Mecca,too. It was good to see that it has not changed a bit inside. I’m gad you are still enjoying your copper pots. Mine had to go, but they have a good home.

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  3. Dear Leah .
    Thank you for Tales and Travel ,As always you transport us away from everyday and we love to hear your “tales ” This time Paris ,a favourite City for us , .but many years ago .
    Miraculous that you recovered the phone ,Love to you both .
    Tony & Hazel

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    1. I fear I have become too dependent. In addition to missing the phone camera, I missed Pacer to count my steps and tell me how far we walked. Lots of steps, for sure. Thanks for the reply. I love reading your blog and following your adventures.

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  4. Hi Leah,Wrote a comment and then tried to post it…made me sign in but wouldn’t take my yahoo nor my gmail account…oh well, gotta scoot now.But THANK YOU for the Paris update–we really do need to go, as it’s been way too long.Thank goodness you got your phone back–must be a miracle!Love, Gayle PS. pool is still green…bet you don’t miss having to deal with that! Gayle Smith PadgettPassion for Provence: 22 Keys to La Belle Vie

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  5. Great picture of you and Bob with Leonard! It truly is a special place. I loved all the walking I did when there by myself, just soaking it all in, stopping at a whim, sitting and observing, so thankful for the experience. I know why you love it so much, Leah! Love to you both!!

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  6. Thank you for sharing this sweet Paris interlude and nice photos that (almost) rekindle a love affair with this city. Used to LOVE le métro, now I hate it and prefer the bus. An age thing surely! Scooter have taken over the world (witness my recent trips to Austin, Lisbon). They are extremely dangerous and this too shall pass.

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    1. I did not miss the metro. It is a pity to be underground when there is so much beauty above ground. I agree. Those scooters have to be dangerous…Definitely not for old folks.

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  7. Leah: Yes, Paris is lovely – we were in the 4th in 2017 in a very nice Airbnb apartment and walked most of the time around town – I don’t think we ever took the Metro but we did use Uber! (German name for French service?) We arrived at 3 p.m. on Pentecost Sunday and walked to Notre Dame and took the “Mass” line instead of the “tourist” line to see the High-Mass service – I was able to tape part of it until I was tapped on the shoulder and told to stop recording! Paris is always a treat….

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    1. Always something fun to do in Paris. We kind of enjoy the metro. A few years back, I found kids staring at me. Finally realized it was my long white. Then I noticed that (then at least) it is rare not to color gray hair.

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      1. Hard to believe…the bit about your beautiful hair. Today you could have chartreuse hair and no one would take notice. Yes, lots of fun things to do and see in this magnificent city.

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    2. For me too, Paris is always a treat. I love going back to the landmarks, like Notre Dame. I love exploring neighborhoods. This time we were in the first, but at the edge of the second where all the amazing kitchen stores are, as well as tempting food shops..

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  8. Great photo of the Cite Metro station. I loved Paris even when I had a raging sinus infection. Next time I want to go to the cooking store. Glad you found your iPhone. I hope cities don’t abandon those free tourist maps now that the world has gone to GPS. I rely on them.

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  9. I haven’t been to Paris in years. Your article has put it back on my short list. I too hate subterranean travel, so perhaps escooters are the answer!

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