Friday, September 9th–Paris

Slippery shower; taking the morning off; the Open Tour hop on, hop off bus tour; out on the Seine with the Vedettes de Pont Neuf; Orange vacation French cell phone SIM package; a quick stop at FranPrix; dinner and cider at the Cidrerie du Marais; Paris festivals & ClassicTic

Grand Hotel Malher



I was planning on having an early evening but although I've been back here in my room since around 8:30 PM I'm just now getting around to typing up my notes from today. I stretched out to watch something streaming on my Kindle Fire and seem to have fallen asleep for a bit but it feels like that very short nap won't interfere with my getting to sleep tonight.

As I said last night, this room has a wheelchair accessible shower which I'm still trying to figure out where is the best place to put the bath mat/rug to keep it driest so I have somewhere to stand to dry off without making all the floor wet. It also has a nozzle directly overhead and a hand held one that doesn't have anything to keep it at shower height but by using the two of them I got thoroughly rinsed off after having a very nice shower.

I booked my room here with breakfast included. This morning I went down the slightly worn and slightly scary steps from the ground floor to the breakfast room (which charmingly looks like a very pleasant catacomb) and that's the last time I'll do so unless the elevator is out. They are as bad as I remember them being two years ago. I had a croissant, pain chocolat, and remembered they have yogurt as well. It was plain yogurt but I stirred my jam into it instead of putting it on either of my breads.

I was still kind of tired and not feeling very well rested so I came back here to my room to hang out and rest for a bit. When I checked in yesterday I had a question about whether the AC was working correctly since there didn't seem to be much air circulation and I couldn't hear a fan working. The controls would make it warmer or colder, though. This morning the younger owner (last time it was owned by a father and son) came by and got a ladder. He stood on top of the ladder and I switched the fan from high to low and so on, and he said that he could hear it and definitely feel it. Fortunately I have my little USB powered fan for background noise (I had lost one somewhere in Ireland but ordered one online from Amazon UK while I was in Galway or Dublin, where I was long enough for something from Amazon to be delivered. I did the same when I was in London; the belt clasp on the only pocket watch I had with me is too small to fit on the belt loop of my shorts, and I was hoping the weather here in Paris would continue to be warm enough for shorts, so I found another 25 GBP pocket watch with a better belt clasp and ordered it.)

I hung out here until shortly before noon. I had decided that I'd walk down to the far end of the Louvre instead of going on over to Notre Dame and hope that the new Open Tour tour buses also stopped there. I've already been on several of the Big Bus tours and red City Sightseeing tours in other cities and thought I'd give Open Tours a try. One of their routes does go by that end of the Louvre. I heard that they had a couple of other routes (total of four, actually) so I bought a 48 hour ticket.

I should have had lunch somewhere along the way but wasn't hungry.

The route I was on lasted well over an hour, and I still wasn't very hungry although it was after 3:30 PM when I got off the bus back at the Louvre. We had driven past the Vedettes de Pont Neuf which I remembered from my last trip here to Paris is the boat tour company that leaves from and comes back to a location nearer to my hotel so that's where I went after the tour. If there had been somewhere along the way I could have bought a light snack I'd have done so but all I passed were larger restaurants and cafes and I didn't want a full meal. For some reason I wasn't very hungry yet. When I got to the pier and ticket office for the tour I did something Mom sometimes did when she needed something to prevent low blood sugar when she didn't have time for or feel like having a meal and had a can of Coke and that seemed to help.

The weather today got very warm, what I would consider shorts weather, even up on the open top deck of the tour bus or out on the Seine. This time when you were in the shade or a breeze was blowing it was quite a pleasant relief instead of making you put on and zip up whatever sweatshirt or rain gear you had with you. You can tell it's Fall, though, since it was below 70 F earlier this morning and it was starting to get chilly after the sun went down.

Our boat was one of the Vedette's smaller ones, with only one level that was open the entire length of the boat. Our guide was a lovely young brunette named Chloe who spoke pretty good English and was very charming and informative.

Even though I hadn't eaten since breakfast I still felt quite well, in fact much better than I did most of the time I was in London. Although I still have a slight background level of congestion it's not much different than I often have from allergies back home, and the residual dizziness that had been bothering me is mostly gone, so I wound up walking more today than I had in a couple of weeks.

I walked back to the St Paul area from the Vedettes du Pont Neuf since it was still such a lovely day.

Not only did I pass the office of the Orange cell phone carrier around the corner from my hotel earlier this morning, but I also passed one on the Rue de Rivoli on the way to the Louvre, and since I passed it again on my way back here from the Vedettes I stopped in. The guys who helped me were very good and spoke quite good English so I was able to buy their package designed for tourists–a French SIM card with two weeks worth of credit, which I can top up at the store on the corner–so I bought one and had it installed and everything including Google Maps seems to be working fine.

Along the way back here I spotted two buses on one of the Open Tour's other routes so I know I can catch that one within a few blocks of my hotel, and will probably do so tomorrow before my 48 hour ticket runs out.

I also stopped at the smaller but still very nice and very convenient FranPrix near the Metro station to pick up a couple of things including the smallest bottle of rum they had (which isn't that small and not the smaller flask-size ones I usually buy when I travel), some juice to mix with it, and a melon/watermelon salad for later. And I also went to the lovely little bakery near there as well and got two pastries I'm going to have as soon as I finish these notes from today.

I dropped my stuff off here in my room and went back out for dinner. It was still warm if cooler than it had been. Tonight I went around the corner, up the street, and around that corner to the very nice Cidrerie du Marais which doesn't seem to have their own Web page but which I remembered with great fondness from the two times I went when I was last here in Paris two Christmases & New Years ago. The restaurant features their own hard ciders from their own orchards as well as crepes and galettes, the Breton version of a crepe made with buckwheat flower. I had one of their special galettes of the day for dinner, a demi jug of one of their ciders which held about three average coffee cups of cider, and a caramel crepe for dessert. Everything was very good, the restaurant wasn't crowded, and the weather was still so nice they had the front open.

I had thought the Vivaldi concert at St Paul was tonight, so I hung around outside until around 8:40 and since nothing was still happening yet I came back here. When I checked the flier I found in the lobby I noticed the concert is actually tomorrow night, which is OK since I have no other plans.

I'm still trying to find out the best ways of learning what concerts and recitals etc are going to happen while I'm here. The best source still seems to be the one I've been using for years since way back when a trip to Paris was only a dream, the official Paris visitors office.

I was thinking of catching a production at the Paris Opera but the cheapest seat they have for "Tosca", the opera that is being performed while I'm here, is over 100 Euros so forget that.

There are I think three festivals taking place about now–Festival of the Ile de France which is basically Paris and the area around it; the Festival d'Automne a Paris starts soon; and something called Les Traversees du Marais, with the theme of Carnival, is taking place in the direct neighborhood this weekend.

I still haven't been able to find out anything about organ recitals while I'm here in Paris, but ClassicTic is a service I've used before, I think either here in Paris two years ago or in London last year. I just used it to book tickets for four different classical concerts here in Paris.

It's now about 1 AM, and I really hadn't intended to stay up quite this late. I'm going to close this up for tonight, have my two small pastries as a midnight snack and get to bed.

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