Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Paris, Finally. Et Viva la France!

There's a bit of history to the Astrals and Paris. I had planned a trip a few years back for Astral Wendy's birthday and the morning of our scheduled departure, as I was attempting to download our boarding passes, I realized that my passport was expired. Ooops! So I owed this trip to Wendy big time.

Paris is so beautiful that it's difficult to put into words, but I will try: It has this uniform palatial grandiosity that is unlike any city I have ever seen. The architecture is united in its sense of being over the top with gold-leaf and statuary and friezes and monuments everywhere. Add to that the river Seine winding through the city over ancient bridges and the cerulean blue skies overhead and you've got yourself a masterpiece.

I am a huge fan of Marcel Proust, too, so that added to my sense of wonder. And the gardens and public spaces are unequaled in any other city that I've been in. 

We stayed at the Hotel du Lourve, a five star hotel
right across the street from the famous museum. A slight
upgrade from the Eurovan camper. Our lobby had a
copy of the Venus de Milo. I don't know why people say
the Parisians are rude. We found them to be pretty friendly.
Of course, we're used to New York City, where rudeness
is an art form.

Here's the hotel. Pretty swank for a couple of nomad bumpkins.

In the courtyard next to our hotel, this guy created a chalk masterpiece 
every day. I love the celebration of the ephemeral.

The Louvre is gigantic. That is not an understatement. It's also crazy 
crowded and mostly focused on older art. The Musee D'Orsay is 
a better go in my opinion in terms of the quality of the collection but
the Louvre does have a couple of must sees: Mona, Venus, and Nike.
Since we never plan anything, the Louvre was closed the day we walked
over so look for interior photos in a subsequent post

This type of facade is everywhere.

Speaking of gardens, this shot is from the Tuileries. Central Park,
hang your head in shame.

Just a little arch in the Tuileries. And it's pretty damn big.
And over the top, The Arc de Triomph is yet to come.

The controversial I.M. Pei pyramid in the Louvre courtyard.

Typical and mind-blowing. 

A view down the Seine with Notre Dame towers in the background.

From the excesses of the royals back to the people!

How can one city have so many monumental streets?

Show me a NYC subway entrance even remotely close to this Metro entrance.

Viva la difference! A very chic Astral Wendy.

After the original birthday snafu, I think I've been forgiven,

This was our first day in Paris so we just dined at the hotel
brasserie. This is my braised pork short ribs. Yummy. Since we're 
gluten-free, we didn't touch the bread that night. More about the
baguette and croissant break-down in a later post.

In an insightful move, Astral Wendy went for the chicken draped
with mushrooms, tarragon and a white sauce. I grabbed some and,
as good as my pork was, I think Wendy won the night.

This is my quizzical look at the monster chocolate dessert
(foreground) that Astral Wendy went for. And she never eats dessert.
Of course I shared. It was the gentlemanly thing to do.

I forgot that it did rain a little. Just made Paris more beautiful in my opinion.

Interior of our hotel.

We never drink spirits but after that meal, it seemed like
a spot of Armagnac was in order.

This is right outside the front of our hotel looking up the Avenue de l'Opera.
This is our view when we stood outside to smoke. Unlike in America, you
don't feel like a pariah in Paris when you light up. Seems like everybody smokes.


  1. Envious! As I sit in Frenchtown! Not many Mona's here!

  2. Did the Little Sparrow chirp "La Chaise en Rose" for you? I've never been to Paris so I am enjoying seeing it through your eyes.

  3. Splendid!
    I’m loving the rain!
    Excessive enjoyment is so important as you two are also experiencing Paris for us as well!

  4. Gerry,

    It seems that without a doubt, you both had a magnificent time in Paris.
    Your report and superb photographs have reminded me that it is eight years since my last visit, except for a hurried connection at Gare du Nord and Eurostar.
    I have explored beyond the city of Paris and lost my heart to the Loire Valley area and The French Haute Savoie region.
    Perhaps it is time to revisit Paris:)

  5. @Sandra: Well, you are in 'French'town! GEt it?
    @Debra: No it was 'Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien'. This little sparrow was an expert at nicking sugar packets from the table and was smart enough to only take the brown sugar.
    @Michael: Excess was part o' the plan.
    @Eileen: Manifique indeed!

  6. Comments sent from Gerry to Wendy's laptop. He is the blog administrator and yet cannot post his own comments. Tres Weird!

  7. Wonderful photos.... You really managed to grasp the real essence of the city..Watching them made me feel nostalgic as I've been living there for around 20 years...Thanks a lot for sharing your beautiful trip...and so glad you enjoyed Paris..

  8. @Danielle: Merci. I thought you lived north of Paris. Otherwise, we would have loved to meet you for dinner or something.

  9. De rien Gerry. In fact I live South of the center area of France, but I've grown up in Paris and its suburb..It would have been great to meet you and Wendy for dinner..Next time, maybe...:)

  10. Lovely pictures especially the last one. You are having a great time.

  11. Thanks Star! Paris IS the most romantic city in the world! It was just fabulous all around!