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Paris Again

September 9-13 , 2009

Written September 20

Friends and Families,


A week after a conference in Manchester, England I had another one in Paris; same topic, overlapping audience. But, most importantly, Marianne was still traveling with me, so this Paris visit had a vacation feel.

Our first hurdle was a flight from Manchester to Paris on "Fly.be" airlines, the British Airways venture into creating a low-cost subsidiary. I suppose it's OK, but the rules and conditions were unlike any other airline: pay for ALL checked bags; strict limit on carry-on; smallish airplanes. But, once past check-in, the flight was pretty standard. They even gave us a little cheese sandwich on board - at least as good as those from United Airlines. For 69 British Pounds, not a bad deal overall.

Marianne had done her normal internet research to find us a hotel. Our "normal" places were full, so she found the Port Royal Hotel in the 5th Arrondissement. When the taxi let us off and we saw that is was a One-star hotel, we were worried. Our normal standards are three stars most places and no lower than two stars in Paris. Oh well, the entrance looked nice and it was recommended by Rick Steves, after all.

In fact, the Port Royal turned out fine. No television and no Wifi, but we can live without them. The room was big enough. The breakfast room was quite pleasant and the staff was friendly, especially by Paris standards



While I was at my conference, Marianne killed time. Killing time this week in Paris has a completely different meaning than last week's killing in Manchester. She started with the Louvre. In the evening, she told me of the interesting look at antiquities, the hall of immense paintings from the Peter Paul Rubens factory and a nice Rembrandt. She even ventured to see the Mona Lisa but mostly saw instead crowds around the small portrait.

Marianne's pictures of Napoleon III's apartment showed what a real emperor treats himself to.


For Saturday, our one free day, we had wonderful weather and no ambition to do anything but walk around. It turned out to be one of our best days in Paris. We went to a market to drool over all the fresh produce, fish, cheese, bread, etc that one can find in an authentic Parisian street market. They really do markets better than elsewhere in Europe.

Crowds of the Latin Quarter
We continued to wander through the Latin Quarter, and on to St. Germain. We stopped for a bistro lunch, one of the best meals of the trip

Bistro menu


Bistro meal.

Sunday morning quite near our hotel.

During our Saturday walk, we did manage two tourist stops: St. Severin church and the Delacroix museum.

The church of Saint Severin is one of the oldest in Paris, with parts dating from the 11th Century. The tradition is that Saint Severin himself was a hermit on this location in the 5th Century when the local settlement was first called Paris.

We found the old church to be a very peaceful refuge from the throngs outside in the Latin Quarter.

The Delacroix Museum is in the art studio that he had built in 1857. It is a wonderful space, hidden off a rather nondescript street we were strolling.

Portrait of Jenny Le Guillou, Delacroix' faithful servant.

Studio as gallery.

Interesting display of stone etching.



Even the artist's pallet seemed creative.

Without pictures, we do need to record that we had a couple good meals based on the hotel's recommendation. The first was at the restaurant Languedoc where we had a very authentic meal from the French countryside. The next night, we enjoyed excellent cous cous and tagines at "Au Royal Maroc", a nearby Moroccan restaurant. No question, Paris does have good food.

That was it, our visit from Manchester to Paris was over. We took a Sunday afternoon flight back to Frankfurt, drove two hours to Pommersfelden, and couldn't wait to settle back into our small village routine.

Overall, an interesting, if tiring, trip. Plenty of highlights and few at the why-are-we-doing-this end of the traveling experience spectrum. We are ready to settle in, however, even if I still have to go up to Frankfurt every week for work.

Of course, all this food means we must diet for the rest of the year!


John and Marianne


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