Paris Notes

MUSEUMS and MORE

And for the Louvre: I highly recommend that you do one of the 90-minute English-language tours to orient yourself, then go back and cover what you want to see. To purchase tickets for the tours, which are given several times daily: when you come into the Louvre main lobby from the metro, go stand in front of the information desk. Then look straight ahead and a little to your right, and carved in the marble wall you will see a sign that says "Accueil des groupes." Go down the hall behind that sign, and you will come to ticket windows. Clerk there can tell you the time of the next English-language tour, and sell you tickets. I think you can also call 40 20 52 09 and get the times for the tours. You'll be glad you did this tour, I promise!

By the way, there are three way to get into the museum, so don't get confused. One is from...lobby level. Another, the Porte aux Lions, is from the street between the Seine and Carrousel du Louvre. And finally, you can enter via the metro, coming in on the lobby level through the Carrousel du Louvre, a wonderful shopping mall. I recommend one of the latter two entranceas usually less crowded.

PASTRIES, HOT CHOCOLATE, A BAR, PLACES TO REST WEARY FEET

Coffee tips: coffee is "industrial strength" in Paris. If you want just a bit of milk mixed in, ask for a café noisette. What we would call "café au lait" the French also call "café crème." Decaffeinated coffee is available all over Paris - GOOD decaf. Ask for "un decaffeine," or just "un deca" and they will know what you mean.

Do enjoy Blvd. St Germain, especially if you're staying on the Left Bank. Go to Café Deux Maggots (across the street from St Germain des Pres church) and order hot chocolate. Trust me on this.

A favorite tearoom in Paris is Le Loir dans le Theiere, on Rue des Rosiers in the Old Jewish Quarter. The street itself is fun, too. (I changed the first of this sentence)

Do you like tea? Mariage Freres is a tea shop that has been selling tea since the 18th century; the store is fragrant with fruity, smoky, floral and spicy aromas. The current store in the Marais opened in 1854, and includes a tearoom. Over 400 varieties of tea, from 32 countries; I know there are about 20 varieties of Assam alone! In the front room shelves are stacked with glowing dark tins and boxes; in the tearoom, avoid the sandwiches, get the scones, with the tea jelly. For lunch or brunch, reservations are needed - call 42 72 28 11; open daily 112N-6:30 PM, 30 Rue du Bourg-Tibourg, 4e (Metro:Hotel de Ville). There is a branch, shop only, on the Left Bank, at 13 rue des Grand-Augustins (don't confuse, as I did, with street that runs along the Seine and is QUAI des Grand Augustins).

Most famous ice cream in Paris is from Berthillon, 31 rue Saint-Louis-en-I'lle, 4e, Metro: Pont-Marie. Often lines of devotees down the block. Try the chocolat amer (dark bitter chocolate) or the tangy cassis. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Haven't gotten to try it myself, but have been told that "the best bread" in Paris is from the bakery Poilane, on rue de Cherche-Midi, and that you can get great sandwiches made from it at La Croix rouge on Carrefour de la Croix Rouge in the 6th eme.

Angelina's, 226 rue Rivoli, is the old Rumplemeyer's and a story-book kind of place. Classy looks straight out of the movies. Go for tea or, the hot chocolate is pretty much a chocolate bar melted in a cup, with a small pitcher of warm milk on the side. Metro: Tuilleries. Dalloyau, 101 rue Faubourg Saint-Honore, 8e, Metro: Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, supplies pastries to the Elysee Palace and many Rothschild mansions. The specialty is Le Dalloyau, a praline cake filled with almond meringue; or, try the famous Mogador of chocolate, chocolate cake and raspberry jam. There is a tea room open daily 8:30-7:30 one floor above street level.

DINING

Drinking water is not routinely put on the table as in the USA, and if you ask for water, you are apt to be brought bottled water and charged for it. To avoid that, ask for "une carafe d'eau," or "l'eau robinet" (tap water). (I mande changes here)
Your waiter will almost never bring your check ("l'addition") until you ask for it. Remember that the bill will already include tax and tip, though leaving some coins is considered appropriate. And don't say "Garcon," but "Monsieur" when trying to attract your waiter's attention. (Last sentence added)

At most cafes, it's cheaper to have coffee and croissant standing or sitting at the bar rather than at a table.

Moderate dining suggestion: Café des Hauteurs, the restaurant at the Orsay Museum is very good. On the fifth floor, with sweeping views. Drinks, platters of various sorts.

Good for kids, restaurant on the fifth floor of La Samaritaine Department Store, 75 rue de Rivoli, Metro: Pont-Neuf. Take children here for ice cream at tea time, 3:15-6. And remember the panoramic view of the city from the 9th floor.

The small bistro Au Bon Accueil is a favorite for quality of food, good service, reasonable prices and outside tables with a view of the Eiffel Tower. 155FF for prix fix dinner in June 1999. 14 rue de Monttessuy, 7th (01.47.05.46.11). Metro: Alma-Marceau Open noon-2.30pm, 7.30-10.15pm Mon-Fri; 7.30-10.15pm Sat. Closed Aug and one week in Jan. Reservations needed.

LA ROSE DE FRANCE, 24 place Dauphine, 1er, Metro: Cite or Pont-Neuf. Located in the old section of Ile de la Cite, near Notre-Dame and just around the corner from Pont-Neuf. Fresh food, reasonable prices, friendly atmosphere, frequented by young Parisians. Sidewalk tables in the summer. Open Monday-Friday 12-2, 7-10. Closed 3 weeks in August and latter half of December.

Lescure, 7 rue de Mondovi, 1er, Metro: Concorde. Small, inexpensive restaurant in an elegant area near Place de la Concorde just off rue de Rivoli, serving simple French cuisine since 1919 in a lively atmosphere. Have the fruit tart for dessert. Open Monday-Friday 12-2, 7-10, closed two weeks in August.

WALKING TOUR:

Siren's Song Tours offers great walking tours of "Bohemian Paris," visiting the sites frequented by the "Lost Generation" of the 1920's. Contact in Paris at Siren Song Tours 8 rue Brea, 75006 PARIS, tel. +011.33.1.56.24.36.00; on line at http://www.onecity.com/paris/intro.htm.

ANTIQUES:
Great on Sundays particularly. Village St. Paul, 23-27 rue St-Paul, 4er, Thursday-Monday, Metro: St-Paul. Cluster of individual dealers in tiny shops. The whole street is lined with dealers, in fact, but only Village St. Paul is open on Sundays. Bring your camera because inside the courtyards are alleys that are dream visions of hidden Paris.

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