As I write this we are back at home after an enjoyable visit to Paris, the third for myself and the fourth for Pat, along with our first trip to Normandy. As readers know, it was a different kind of trip in that it was largely a family vacation. We traveled with Pat’s mother and we were joined later by her sister Michelle and her husband Guy Lebo. The rationale was that it was the birthday of their daughter, Casey Lebo, during the visit.
It was as good an excuse as any to pay another visit to Paris, though once again we didn’t do a lot of the typical things tourists do. We did make it to the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay, and as described in earlier posts, the Musee d’Orsay was definitely one of our favorite parts of the trip, along with the tour of the D-Day invasion sites in Normandy. We wish we had more time to explore some of the museums in Normandy focused on the Allies’ efforts. A second day would have been useful.
And for the third time I did not make it to the actual site of the Eiffel Tower. Obviously you can see it from everywhere, and I wasn’t planning to go up in the tower. If you do want to go up in the tower itself, you really need to book the tickets well in advance, which we had not done. Oddly, it is also one of the few major sites that is not particularly well served by the Metro, at least not from where we were staying. We could have used the RER, which is a regional train service, but by the last day we had had enough of trains and really didn’t want to get tied up in afternoon traffic by grabbing an Uber or a cab.
Pat and I wrapped up our visit with a dinner on our own at a nice little bistro called Vins & Terroirs. The food was traditional French, which we were looking for after several simple meals with the family. We each had duck, Pat opted for a duck breast while I went for the leg confit. The restaurant was a short walk from our hotel on Rue St. Andre des Arts in the Saint Germain des Pres area. We were given the window table as it wasn’t busy on a Tuesday night, but it was a very cozy place. Maybe 10 tables on the ground floor, but likely others upstairs. We didn’t go up to look so we can’t say that positively. But it’s on a busy with a lot of good people watching, and was quite reasonable. With two starters, the main courses and bottle of bourdeaux that was only 21 euros, we got out for 71 euros, or $88 at the then exchange rate. Given that includes the service charge, it was a good value for an urban restaurant.
Our Paris hotel was part of the French Citadines chain and in a good location, on the Seine on the Left Bank, but only a 15 minute walk to the Louvre and five minutes to Notre Dame. The area is very hopping and we found ourselves kind of hanging in the area. It was an apartment-style hotel, so each room had a small kitchette with a refrigerator, two-burner stove and microwave. I had no intention of cooking anything, but we did pick up some cheese and salami at a local stand, plus some yogurts to have for breakfast. And wine, suffice it to say. So it’s a hotel and location we would recommend.
We would also recommend our hotel in Bayeux, Normandy, the Hotel Poppa. This was a very different experience than the Citadines, being an artfully redesigned former manor house in a quiet corner of Bayeux. Everything is quiet in Bayeux in March, but the hotel was slightly outside of the main part of town, overlooking a lovely park and garden, so we felt like locals returning to it our two nights there.
Here’s some additional photos.