Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A bit more about Paris, even after making it back to the Hub

How time flies! And how much I fly! Here I am at 63,785 flown miles for 2011, and it is just March 2. I made it back home on Monday night, after another pleasant (=Business Class) flight across the Atlantic.

The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles

The last blog update was made before Jenny and I looked around Versailles and the Trianon Palace, a smaller chateau on the grounds of the vast Versailles complex. No wonder the French Revolution had to happen: When one sees the opulence and sheer magnitude of this place one can understand the uprising of the people. I'll try to later post two short videos that show both the interior of the main palace as well as the gardens. Bummer that the weather wasn't much better.

After our day in Versailles we moved back into the city, where the Hilton Arc de Triomphe treated us to another upgrade, another suite. Boy oh boy, sometimes I feel like Luis XIV myself! We spent our remaining time in Paris doing more sightseeing (the Rodin Museum, Napoleon's tomb, the Military Museum with all its medieval armors, etc., etc.), but we also enjoyed window shopping and people watching. Saturday afternoon we found a small sidewalk restaurant where we spent some money eating super-fresh oysters (actually, at about a euro a pop they were not expensive) and moules marinières and drinking 9-euro-per-pint Grimbergens. Now, that's high priced, but that seems to be the going rate in Paris.

Well, there had to be a pic of La Tour Eiffel

Lunch on the Left Bank

On our last day in the City of Lights, Sunday, we went for the obligatory lunch at the Bouillon Chartier restaurant, a place that seems to be stuck in the late 19th/early 20th century. The gruff waiters write your order (and the final bill) on the paper tablecloth, the food is tasty and inexpensive, and the general noise level is a few decibel higher than in the otherwise quiet and quaint French restaurants. One rubs shoulders with the other guests and hopes not to piss off one of those waiters, many of whom must have lived back in 1920! We ordered a dozen escargot, a slice of terrine the campagne (a type of paté), lamb cutlets for Jenny and a very nice rumpsteak with pepper sauce for me plus a bottle and a half of St. Emilion—and surprisingly enough, the total bill stayed just under 50 euro (or about $67). The same meal in most other restaurants would be twice as much.

Les Champs Elysées...

... home of the fabled George V

So, overall, despite the so-so weather, this was a really nice trip. But then, what trip have I taken to Paris that hasn't been nice? It's a town that has a certain appeal, and the more often I travel to that city, the more I enjoy it. The fact that I know so many neighborhoods and rarely, if ever, need a map to find my way is icing on the cake.

And now I'm back in Lubbock, trying to mop up the remnants of last week's fierce winds (60+ mph!) and nursing a cold that manifested itself on Monday night with a scratchy throat. Well, maybe I need a bit of rest after these almost non-stop rambles to Europe. Good thing that I won't leave town again until next Thursday when my first UCI race of the season beckons in California.



  1. I'm so jealous! I *love* Paris! Lubbock on the other hand? Well, I suppose it has its own charms. Although, I have to say, having been to both Paris and Lubbock without a map, Paris is easier for me to navigate -- ha! ha!


  2. Paris is a breeze to get around. Metro and bus are easy to figure out. We didn't use the Vélibs this time (b/c of weather), but those (almost) free bikes are fabulous.