New Notes on Paris

So the moms and the stepdad took off this morning from the Gare de Lyon for Provence with their friends C + R. They've rented a little house down there and plan to spend a lot of time basking in the 70-something degree weather and, I suspect, partaking of the local beverages.

Their visit was great, not least of which because it prompted me to do the museum thing, the eating-at-cafés thing, and the other touristy things that I feel ridiculous doing by myself (and, hence, haven't done since I came here in August.)

Our touristic exploits resulted in several surprises as well as a handful of unsurprising confirmations of suppositions already supposed:
  1. The Musée D'Orsay is easily the best museum in Paris. It's large but not overwhelming, packed with famous art but also equipped with a host of lesser-known works of equal quality, and the café there is really good.
  2. The Eiffel Tower is, in fact, really fun. The views are amazing and the crowds (at least when we went, mid-afternoon on a Tuesday) were totally manageable.
  3. It's really hard to go wrong with any café in or near central Paris, especially if you're wise enough to get a croque madame for lunch (that's kind of a grilled-cheese sandwich with ham inside and an egg on top.)
  4. Versailles, on the other hand, is a load of bullshit. It's so crowded you'll wish you were dead and the chateau is kind of "meh" after seeing everything in Paris proper. The gardens, however, are really neat, so if you go there, just get the 13.50 ticket for them and skip the gilded crap inside.
  5. The trick with the Louvre is going to the Sully or Richelieu wings; all of the most famous stuff is in the Denon wing and the crowds are easily twice as big there. It's like being on a bus to campus in Santa Cruz at the start of the term.
  6. You have to use your RER ticket to get out of the stations as well as in, so don't throw it away once you're on the train.
  7. Beef tartare is goooooooooood.
That's all I've got for the moment. Far too many pictures on my flickr site.


noncoupable said...

Musee Marmottan is my favorite little hidden museum.


Musee Rodin is alright too, not sure it's worth the $.

One of my French friends from Taiwan just moved to Paris from Vichy. I'm putting him in contact with you. He's lived there before and did a master's in philosophy I believe. He will know some good spots I hope...

Dolce Vita said...

I'm so glad you got to do touristy things. It all looks like great fun - and I cannot believe the crowds in October! (When B comes in December, and if it isn't too cold when you visit Versailles, I recommend renting bicycles to tour around the gardens. You're right these are the best part, and bicycles help get you away from the flocks of tourists.)