Six days in Paris ~ Part 1
Getting started is always the most difficult part of writing these travelogues, especially when I've still got two unfinished ones hanging over my head; our Mediterranean Cruse last August, and our trip to Sint Maarten the last week of April and first week of May this year. I will finish them, but I think I should do the most recent adventure first, while it is still relatively fresh in my mind.
We had fairly good connections on the flights to Paris, with the longest layover of 7 hours being in Miami, but fortunately they have a great Admiral's Club. Having Platinum status now with American Airlines has given us a whole lot of perks we've never had before.
As you can see, the chairs in the Admiral's Club are much more conducive to sleeping than the
hard bench type seats at the terminal gates. Plus, there are free snacks and they give
you one free drink coupon. In Buenos Aires it's an open bar.
From Miami we flew to JFK in New York and from there we had a direct flight to Charles de Gaulle. We left Buenos Aires at 7:55 PM Saturday evening and arrived at Charles de Gaulle at 6:45 AM two days later on Monday morning. We would be spending 6 nights in Paris before we could board our Viking River Cruise boat, the Viking Spirit, on Sunday, the 10th of June. We planned to stay with Nacho and Mauricio for the first three nights, so I had written to Nacho, asking what the best means was to get from the airport to his apartment. Nacho & Mauricio in Paris are like Pete & I in Buenos Aires, no need for a car, so why have one. He gave us several options, but since we don't know Paris all that well, I emailed his suggestions to Bruce, and asked him for his opinion on what was the best option for us. Bruce, our New Zealand friend for ever so many years, and with whom we would spend the second three nights, turned out to be our guardian angel. He said that he was looking forward to being our chauffeur for the duration of our stay in Paris. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders because that was my one concern, how we would get from the airport to Nacho's. A million thanks Bruce.
As we left baggage claim, there was Bruce waiting for us. We decided to go to Bruce's place in Montreuil before dropping us off at Nachos, which would give Nacho the morning for his work. He said it was only a 7 minute walk from his apartment. How convenient is that? We would meet him at his apartment during his lunch break.
Pete and I were both pretty tired from being on a plane for nearly twenty hours, combined with layovers of over ten hours, so we found the bed Nacho had waiting for us to be a very welcome sight. We were too tired to eat anything for lunch, and besides, Nacho had to get back to his office, and Bruce had already left for an appointment with a client, so that left Pete and I alone, and we went straight to bed for a long nap, trying to shake the jet lag from our foggy brains. It was wonderful to be able to lay flat once again.
This is the spare room, where Pete and I slept. The bed was extremely comfortable, I slept like a baby.
An artist friend of Mauricio's paints in just dots, and did this portrait of him.
That evening Nacho was going to prepare dinner for us, and we invited Bruce as well. Getting across Paris from Bruce's place in Montreuil can be tedious at times. MapQuest says it will take 20 minutes, but it's actually closer to 45 minutes, as we discovered when Bruce drove us there earlier in the day.
Paris is divided into 20 different neighborhoods (quarters) called arrondissements. They are arranged in a spiral fashion going from the center outward in a clockwise direction. Nacho's apartment is in neighborhood #8 (the white diamond). Bruce's home is just outside neighborhood #20, in Montreuil (the orange diamond). Our ship, the Viking Spirit, will be docked on the Seine between neighborhoods 16 & 15 (the lavender diamond).
Bruce did the smart thing when he came for dinner. He took the Metro and saved a ton of time, not to mention the frustration of Parisian rush hour traffic.
Bruce and Pete comfortably enjoying Nacho & Mauricio's living room while Nacho slaves away in the kitchen
I knew that Nacho was an excellent cook, as I had visited him at his apartment in
Buenos Aires several years ago, and his culinary skills were immediately obvious.
The first course was a delicious soup, and if my memory serves me right, it was a miso soup
The main course was this masterpiece of chicken, rice and I believe the greens were green beans. All were excellent
Left to right: Bruce Pete Mauricio and Nacho. As tired as I was from the long flight, I was thoroughly enjoying myself
We all had a great time talking over dinner. I was glad that Bruce got to meet Nacho and Mauricio Nacho is an attorney, working for a firm based in Germany, and he is doing corporate law. Mauricio, who is a designer, and he is quite an excellent one as well. Bruce works with wood, creating not only art pieces, but large furniture items as well. It is possible that he and Mauricio may have formed a business relationship over dinner. Mauricio has an irregularly shaped table top which needs an irregularly shaped wood base & legs to match. At least that is what I got from their conversations.
This is the view from the kitchen window, a beautiful courtyard, and they are growing
fresh herbs in a planter box. That's a great way to get your fresh herbs for cooking.
Nacho told us about this large building with the glass roof, and said we should check out the museums inside. The
building itself was quite impressive. The French seem to love large bronze statues on the tops of their buildings.
Inside we saw lots of cool art. I suppose a French Poodle qualifies as art.
I've always been fascinated with the art of creating large bronze statues. The "lost wax" method intrigues me.
Many years ago (circa 1959) while serving in the U. S. Navy in Japan, I bought a pair of bronze lion bookends.
The artist signed each one on the base. These are only 7½ inches high while the massive museum
piece is probably 4 feet in height. Regardless of size, polishing them and etching in the details must
require a huge amount of time and effort. The most outstanding trait of an artist must be patience.
Those lion bookends are probably my most treasured art objects I own, perhaps more for the memories they conjure up than for any actual intrinsic value.
Paris if famous for her huge buildings, and this one is small in comparison to the Palais du Louvre. The Louvre Palace was the actual seat of power in France until Louis XIV moved to Versailles in 1682, bringing the government perforce with him. The Louvre Palace occupies 40 hectares (92.84 acres), while the Palace of Versailles occupies some 8,012 hectares (19,800 acres). Louis XIV certainly went supersize on his sandbox. If anyone has visited Versailles, you know that part of the grounds were flooded, and actual naval battles were fought there.
Beautiful bronze statues adorn te tops of many of the magnificent buildings in Paris.
Part 2 will follow shortly.