Arrival in the city of lights

Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
Trip End May 01, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Friday, April 29, 2011

Let me start today by thanking those of you who are following this blog for the kind comments you have been leaving. I read them all, and do appreciate your feedback and encouragement. I'm pleased to know that readers are finding this account interesting and positive. I wish you could all make one of these trips and meet the people I go to serve; they would like to meet you too. Since that is not possible as things stand today, I try to share the experiences with you through this blog. We make these services possible by working together. Thank you.

Today I was up early for my flight to Paris. Since I was already in France there were no formalities to clear so I arrived at the hotel by mid-morning. This trip, I had bid on a hotel on, with which I have had good results for Paris. I have several regular hotels that I use, that are moderately priced (at least for Paris) and in locations I like. They were fully booked this trip. I often use them because it's convenient for me to know the neighborhoods. I know where shops are, post offices, business I might need, inexpensive restaurants and so on. There are at least two neighborhoods in Paris that I think of as "mine," almost as if I lived there. But this time I got a good deal on Priceline, where one names a price one is willing to pay for a certain number of hotel stars, and selects which parts of the city are acceptable. One doesn’t get to choose the specific hotel, that’s the surprise at the end.

I ended up with the Hotel du Bois, just a few hundred meters from the Arc de Triomphe.   One of the very first French ministerial conferences my wife and attended in the 1980s was in a hotel nearby on the Avenue Victor Hugo. Time flies. This is in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, an upscale neighborhood on the right bank of the Seine.

My room wasn’t ready when I arrived, so I dropped my luggage at the hotel and took the metro to Bouillon Chartier, a restaurant about which I’ve written in the past. It’s always crowded, because the food is straight forward and the prices are very good. They will every seat, so I was seated at the same table as two young French businessmen discussing the power-dynamics at their place of employment. Based on what I overheard (it was impossible not to overhear) politics and maneuvering in the workplace seems to be the same the world over; they must stem from our common human nature.

After lunch I took the metro back to the hotel where I was able to check in and get to work. I prepared the weekly French member newsletters, including news of my trip, news from the ongoing program in Jordan and news of members affected by the recent storms in the US. There is always “office work” with which to keep up even while traveling, and I was able to get quite a bit done during the afternoon.

In the evening I went to another inexpensive restaurant well known in Paris, the Café du Commerce. The building was originally constructed to be a fabric store, but was then converted to a bouillon type restaurant for common laborers who needed inexpensive, hearty meals. There were many bouillon restaurants in Paris in the latter part of the 1800s, by 1900 there were more than 200, offering a piece of beef and broth (bouillon) for a set price.

The decor is unique, the food is up to French-standards which means it’s good, and it is quite inexpensive by Parisian standards. For the appetizer I had a very nice mesclun salad with dried fruit and toasted goat cheese. I regretted my wife couldn’t be with me, Marjolaine loves such salads. The photo is for her.

The sun was setting and the lights of Paris, sometimes called the city of lights were winkling on as I made my way back to the hotel. It is truly a beautiful city. At the hotel I called home, but couldn't get through, I'll try again tomorrow, and did a bit more work in preparation for getting together tomorrow with our few members in Paris. Tomorrow will be my last full day in France, and then Sunday I'll be homeward bound.
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Jack Hendren on

Greetings Joel,
Thanks for your service to the many scattered members and sharing these events with us. I counted 15 baptisms (perhaps more), wonderful news. Have a refreshing Sabbath and a peaceful journey home.
All the best, Jack

William/Barbara Anderson on

Thank you for sharing your trips with us, They are so informative and help us get to know our brethren in these far off countries.
We appreciate you and the families sacrifice to serve the brethren.
May God bless you and future trips.

Ronda on

Hi Joel, Thanks so much for sharing your blog! You make us all feel we are right there with you. Please wish all the French brethren in Paris a very Happy Sabbath from their American brethren. Safe travels home!

Judy Dane on

Thank you so much for making your trip so alive for us. I am glad to be able to meet the brethren, my newest sisters and brothers, from around the world. I love the sights and 'tastes' of the areas that you picture. Thanks for taking us with you.

hervedubois on

Hi Mr.Meeker,

You must have for years a very good knowledge of Paris with some interesting databases such as "Le Guide du Routard" which gives the best quality/price rate when it comes to pick a hotel or a restaurant. Your experience in the Bouillon close to businessmen reminds me the day when we visited with Helen a "Bouchon" in Lyon (it maybe the Restaurant des Marroniers) same situation as tables are so close to one another.

Tess Washington on

Once again, you made us a part of your trip...I love that salad picture you took just for your wife! With words and pictures, you made your trip to these places come alive...thank you and have a wonderful Sabbath with our French brethrens!

Ted Franek on

Hello Mr Meeker,
Thanks again for all you are doing for our brethren there. It's wonderful to see so many baptisms . We are blessed to have you there to serve and to share it all with us. The photos are great as they really bring it up close and personal.

Herve Irion on

Bonjour Mr. Meeker, merci pour les nouvelles. Transmettez s'il vous plait nos amities a tous nos amis en France. A la prochaine!

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