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by Fred Melnick

Trip Report 11/07

After 27 trips we mostly just stroll - markets, shops, little streets. Haven't entered a museum or church or anything like that in years. Just like to breathe in the ambiance of the city.

Happy to report that some things never change. The metro accordionists still play Besame Mucho.

The bicycles provided for all who want them to use and drop off at another station appear to be successful. We saw them all over Paris. They have distictive plastic covers on the handlebars.

The Carte Orange lives. A sign said they've been "modernized." Something about zone changes which I didn't catch.

Saw "White Night" for the first time. All museums are open all night, the Tuileries had fires burning from one end to the other - beautiful. Unfortunately, someone went into the Dorsay and slashed a Monet.

Saw huge crowds, police, photographers in front of the Ritz in Place Vendom. Last time this happened Maddona was staying there. This time the jury from the Fayed trial was reviewing the scene. Whenever someone asks me where we stay, I always say "at the Mansart, around the corner from the Ritz and $500 a night cheaper." P.S. - as of January or February, the Mansart goes 4 star.

Our favorite bus ride is the 27 from Opera, through the Louvre, along the Seine, through St Germain.

We no longer go to museums. Actually, I look at Paris as a museum - a living museum. I try to live in it, not just see it.

Went to see Thomas (from Cote Seine) at Cafe Creme and had drinks with him. He's doing really well and is very happy. About 6 months ago he was off and browsing the BHV department store and walking through the art supply department. He decided to fool around with painting and bought some stuff. Turns out he really has talent. Modern stuff but not far out modern like a black dot on white canvas. He displays them in Cafe Creme and has sold many and is having a showing.

According to reliable sources (Thomas), as of Feb 1 no more smoking in restaurants in Paris.

Hotel de Ville had a magnificent show about Rugby. Films, photos, stories - just great and free. You do check out the Hotel de Ville for shows, don't you?

It was the end of the fashion shows and we saw many models walking around near our hotel, the Louvre, the Ritz. They appear to be six feet tall with 5 foot long legs, and what legs! I know that's not possible but that's how they look.

We didn't go to fancy restautants - only went twice in all our trips. Don't find it necessary in order to have wonderful meals and great experiences. Ate dinners at Le Bistro du 17th, Auberge de Jarente, A L'Impasse, Auberge de la Reine Blanche, La Frigate, L'Ardoise, P'tit Troquet. P'tit Troquet was particularly great. It's always been very good but this time it was really wonderful. Saw Dominique - she's still talking about selling and moving south. Their daughter Virgine was there. She has changed. Used to be a beautiful young girl. Now she's an exquisite young woman. She does all the pastries for the restaurant and plans to move south and be a pastry chef at some restaurant.

That's all I remember. Another great trip.