One of the quiet joys of renting an apartment instead of staying in a hotel in Paris is the ability to be immersed in a neighborhood, as well as being able to control things such as food, washing, and other small comforts. Our apartment on rue Herald was much quieter and significantly more comfortable than any hotel room I’ve ever stayed in. While our refrigerator was the size of a hotel refrigerator (albeit with better freezer), we had a stove top and oven setup which meant we didn’t have to eat out.
Meanwhile, we shopped at the neighborhood markets. Not even necessarily the fruit/veggie markets as well as boulangeries (off limits for me and DS because of wheat allergies) but the little neighborhood general markets had small meat and veggie departments. And Beaujolais. We settled on this little market at one end of our street after several trials at other neighborhood markets:
We bought meat and other staples here just about every other day.
Most of the time we ate two meals in the apartment, and one time we actually ate all three meals in. We still had the Paris food experience because OMG, the bacon. Actually, OMG, the meat. Even wrapped in plastic in a little supermarket instead of directly from the butcher, it was wonderful.
Our approach to the Louvre was that there was no way we could see it all, so we weren’t even going to try. We went on Wednesday afternoon, to short lines. Went back to the apartment, ate dinner, then went back (Wednesday the Louvre is open late). What I noticed was that Wednesday night was clearly a locals night, with much fewer tourists and more art students as well as Parisians themselves avoiding the tourist hordes.
Yes, we did see the Mona Lisa.
I suspect the lady in the painting is prettier than the flesh-and-blood lady. Plus I was tired so the smile wasn’t particularly enigmatic, anyway.
But the other things I took away from the Louvre was an understanding of some European visual themes that a girl raised in backwoods North America wouldn’t necessarily understand. Heck, that’s what I brought away from Paris in general.
We did a lot of walking and used various forms of transit. The Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris, which was quite comfortable. We had reserved seats but had to roust one person out of one of our seats. He moved, and we soon noted the phenomenon continuing with other folks in our particular compartment.
Around Paris, we tended to prefer the RER trains over the Metro itself, but also used the Metro. We also used the Batobus (water taxi). But, mostly, we walked. The Louvre was less than ten minutes away, so that was a walk.
The view from our window was directly into the back office of a bank. I suspect from the big piles of files that it might have been the litigation department. Nonetheless, they were quiet and we were quiet. There was some sort of gallery opening down the street on Thursday night that had an actual Red Carpet rolled out, bouncers, and all sorts of clearly Beautiful People thronging to get in (look, when you look out the window and see a Full. Length. Sable. Fur. Coat, that makes it a crowd of the 1% in my book). I’m not sure what the place was, because except for that evening, it was mostly about young children coming and going. If I get time I’ll Google it.
But most of the time, this is what it was like:
Just another quiet little street with some shops and apartments.
I’ll try to write a bit more about Paris over the next week. It all depends on how crazy work is. Overall, it was a very thoughtful and pleasant time.