Shopping and the Open Tour

August 12, 2015 - Paris, France

Breakfast is a very crowded affair at the Relais-Hotel du Vieux Paris. Not with people, although there are only four tables for two, but the tables are a very small place for all the breakfast things for two. A cup and saucer and sideplate, a dish of fruit, a glass of fresh presed orange juice, and a pot of coffee each along with a jug of hot milk, a dish of cheeses and a basket of bread, croissants and brioche to share. There is still a little space to move things around as long as you are careful. If you availed yourself of the cereal and a boiled egg the space would be very limited. It is a good breakfast and an enjoyable way to start the day. Everything is brought to you at the table and placed precisely and the only waitress on weekdays speaks very little English so that is enough to kick start your brain.


This day was clear and was warm quite early and we thought we would walk to Galeries Lafayette for a look and to do some shopping so after a quick glance at the map we crossed Pont Neuf and made our way toward the Opera House. We stopped on the way so that I could buy some T-shirts and socks. I think you were supposed to be a member of their Store group to get the special two for one price but the cashier took pity on us and gave us the discount anyway.

We continued up to Place de l'Opera where we took a few photographs before heading across to the more select shopping of Galeries Lafayette. We were amazed by the building itself let alone the glitzy array of fashion and accessories. The place was alive with tourists; more tourists than real shoppers I think so the chic Parisians must get peeved to have to share their once exclusive store. Margaret and I lost ourselves on the first floor while gawking about, descended a different set of stairs and, lost in the depths of the glitter, made a part circuit of the central are before catching a glimpse of some daylight a discovering the exit. Inside was warm with the mass of people but outside was now verging on hot. We chose the shadier side of the street to join the busloads of tourists being disgorged on the footpaths and walked back past the Paris Opera where we found a Hop-on Hop-off bus tour. Not a Big Red Bus; this time it was a green l'Open Tour and we grabbed some tickets from the driver and went upstairs to enjoy the sights of Paris as they came and went. Sometimes the sights went almost too fast while at other times we seemed to wait forever. At Place de la Concorde the bus stop was almost at the traffic lights and I postulated that while the lights were red the intending passengers crossed the road, then when the lights were green the driver was too busy dealing with tickets to pull out before the next red light brought more passengers. Perhaps it was only when the bus was full that he closed the doors and we moved on.

We did the usual range of tourist spots; from the Palais Royal and the Louvre to the Left Bank, Notre Dame, Place de la Concorde, Trocadero, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysee, Arc de Triomphe and Les Invalides. By the finish of the full round we had taken many photographs and sat for many hot minutes in the sun on the upper deck and therefore decided to get off near Pont Neuf and walk back to our hotel with a stop for a Guinness on the way. Yes I know this is not Ireland but I still haven't found anywhere to get an Abbey or Trappist beer so in preference (by far) to a Fosters it would have to be a Guinness.

Our Guinness went down very well and it was pleasant to sit in the pub for a while and process the day on our way back to the 

hotel to have a quiet zzzz.... before walking up to the little restaurant where we had hoped to eat last night. Tonight we had left it late enough for them to be open (after 7pm) and we were given the last table available downstairs. Margaret ordered Noisettes d'Agneau while I settled on Pave Bouef from a very tempting menu. We were a bit disappointed that the onion soup was not on the summer menu but that was only for old time's sake rather than need.

Our table gave me a view into the street through the doorway and while we were eating I watched a little 'city' car manouver into a space that was probably not more than 40cm longer than the car. He had to have a second attempt to change the angle of approach but it was still a mighty effort. And all without touching at front or back. The spot was so tight that we only saw one pedestrian attempt to walk through the gap at either front or back. The spot was directly in front of the alley where people come down from Boulevarde St Germain past le Procope restaurant and into Rue St Andre des Arts so we saw many people consider squeezing through but think better of it.

Our meals were excellent, the carafe of Vin Rouge went a long way and we felt the need of a creme brulee and coffee to round off our evening. The cremee brulee was brought to the table with brandy flaming on top to caramelise the sugar to a crunchy crust. Magnificent, and without a blowtorch! Before we left we had been hoping to see one of the parked cars leaving and we were disappointed when it was the car at the back to leave first as he had ample room to reverse. Our meals were not a disappointment though and we thanked our host profusely and pressed a little extra into his hand before walking home to our hotel via St Germain just to settle our meal and enjoy being in Paris.


Our chambre
la Plage du Seine
Inside Galeries Lafayette
The streets of Paris


Judy Crewe:
August 17, 2015
Lovely, I want to go back there already!
August 18, 2015
Sounds like a perfect day! I'd love to go back one day. I appreciate the effort you're going to to satiate my (vicarious)travel craving.
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