Trip Start Apr 14, 2006
Trip End May 14, 2006

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Where I stayed

Flag of France  ,
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

It's time for some non-disaster news from the front.

My hotel, the St. Merry, is the former presbytery of a Gothic church. Some of the furnishings (but none of the plumbing) are original. VERY atmospheric.

My neighborhood cafe - two doors from the hotel - is the Grizzli. It's in all the guide books; deservedly so. For 18 Euros (less than soup elsewhere for lunch) I had rack of lamb and the best roasted potatoes I've ever eaten. 'Hard not to dine there every night, but last night I tried a recommended sushi place. Everybody has her own idea of comfort food ....

It's cold in Paris, so I bought a scarf. Une etole tres chic, and I let the shopowner tied it for me. Since I put on the scarf, four (4!) people have stopped me and asked in French for directions. No lie; four different folks. I contend that I look Parisienne, not eccentric. And I'm wearing the scarf again today (g).

Did I mention that the scarf was expensive? EVERYthing in Paris is expensive. What do the Parisians earn to be able to afford $6 US for an ordinary coup of coffee? And that's not even Starbucks - which have proliferated like kudzo. Two scoops of ice cream (you can't buy just one) for $10; $16 Euro ($20 US) for a plain green salad. And I'm not staying in the high rent district, folks.

What's more, the French don't use cash. They pay by debit card for everything. My mid-day restaurant on the Left Bank sent the manager to apologize, but they had no cash and couldn't give me change. Could I please pay by credit card?

So I bought my week-long metro pass, and I'll be doing a lot more sightseeing than shopping for the remainder of my trip. I breakfast in my room (the cheese gets nicely ripe-smelling by the time morning comes), and have my chocolat chaud mid-morning in a cafe. Since the hotel changed my room to the top floor (no elevator, of course), I usually don't return to home base until late afternoon. And once I climb the stairs after dinner, I have to be seriously motivated to go out again in the evening.

But hey, IT'S PARIS. In the springtime. I'm the luckiest lady in the world, and I'm loving every minute of it.

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