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These are all original articles written by various people. The latest appears below. For the others, click on the article you wish to read.

Click here for "TRIP REPORT-OCTOBER 2000"
Click here for "TRIP TO GIVERNY "
Click here for "HANDICAPPED TRAVEL "
Click here for "TRIP REPORT FEBRUARY 2001 "
Click here for "DRESS IN PARIS "
Click here for "ONE DAY IN PARIS "
Click here for "ONE WEEK IN NORMANDY "
Click here for "SOUTHERN FRANCE "
Click here for "A NEW YEAR'S EVE TO REMEMBER "
Click here for "TRIP REPORT MARCH 2004 PART 1 "
Click here for "TRIP REPORT MARCH 2005 "
Click here for "TRIP REPORT MARCH 2006 " Click here for "TRIP REPORT NOVEMBER 2007 " .


by........FRED MELNICK

Checked in our hotel, dropped the car off at Avis in Place de la Madeleine, went to Isle St Louis for lunch of a wonderful galette at Cafe Med, a flat crepe with various additions - this one had egg, ham, cheese and mushrooms. With a light wine you can't ask for anything better.

Stopped in the new Hyatt Vendome on rue de la Paix which opened a couple of months ago around the corner from our hotel. It's very contemporary - you could be anyplace in the world. Large open spaces with a lounge, the desk area, dining area, bar, all separated by columns rather than walls. Pretty, not schmaltzy, the antithesis of the Meurice which is so glitzy. All done in natural stone, bone color. Very plain. Beautiful paintings.
Went upstairs to see a room. Again very plain, not large at all, sparse in furniture. The bathroom was open to the room completely but could be closed off by sliding two wooden doors out to close off a corner. I didn't understand the design at all. It was obviously a businessman's hotel, not a place I would choose to stay in if I was in Paris on vacation. It was filled with Japanese businessmen. Figure about $600 a night for a double.

At Cote Seine for dinner we had the joy of once again seeing a very sweet, elderly Paris couple who eat there every other Sunday and we've been meeting them there for as many years as I can remember and say hello. The monsieur had a heart attack last year - we didn't know if we would see them again but there they were, looking elegant.

Today was "Amelie" day. I had decided to trace the movements of Amelie as she had done in the movie. We started by taking the metro to Lamark-Caulaincourt. In the movie they put up a sign "Abbesses" but it was really L-C where the scenes were shot. Walked up past the Vignes de Montmartre, the vineyard in Paris. We had to stop in Place de Tertre since we were there already. There didn't seem to be nearly as many artists as previously - a lot more of the square was taken up by tables. The restaurants seemed to be taking over. We continued our walk to Le Marche de la Butte, the grocery store of a different name in the movie, which was now covered with articles, pictures of making the movie, all kinds of memorobilia. The movie really brought back this area with people coming here and stopping in to buy something. We walked past the restaurant/bar/tabac where Amelie worked and where the scene in the bathroom took place. When first approached, the owner didn't want anything to do with the film but then relented and ended up postponing his retirement because the film gave it a tremendous boost and so many people were coming to eat there. Across the street was the sex shop in the film and down a bit the park. So ended our journey to "Amelieland."

If you like MacDonald's you'll love France. Almost every town we entered while driving had a MacDonald's and in Paris it seems like almost every street has one.

Went into Tuileries and had tea outside, then sat and relaxed at the pond. The expanse, the quiet, the whole scene never ceases to thrill me.

Met an interesting group of people. Well, I don't know if the people were interesting but the conception of the group was interesting. It's a travel group from around the Boston area, I would assume 1,000 or more members. They own their own plane and every week or two there's a trip somewhere and members can sign up for the trip they want, assuming there's space. Everything is taken care of for them - flights, transfers, sightseeing, most restaurants - which could be a turn-off to some but it makes it very easy for them. All they have to do is show up.

Saw ballet, "Swan Lake," at the Opera Bastille. Not nearly as good as at the Garnier a few years ago. Disappointing.

Took the metro to station Diderot. In the train heard the worst rendition of Ochichonya (sp?) and Besame Mucho that I've ever heard. It was truly painful to listen to this guy. Obviously never attended the School for Accordionist Metro Musicians.We went to see the Viaduct des Arts. This was a railroad station which is now sort of a very long outdoor mall built into the arches of the viaduct - a series of artisan shops, one after the other, all along it. There are some really beautiful shops. Then we climbed the steps to the top and walked back on the roof in a beautiful garden with trees, shrubs, flowers which covered the whole top.

At the Bastille walked the market there. We decided to eat lunch differently so we went to a stand and bought a sandwich - falafel, vegetable sandwich on pita - delicious. Then, for the first time in over 20 years, we went into a Greek restaurant and bought a sandwich from that vertical column of lamb they slice off. With frites it was great.

Fannie and her sister Patricia from Catherine really know their makeup. We watched them do makeovers on some women and the difference was astounding.

I always tell people to check out the exhibits at the Hotel de Ville on rue de Rivoli. They're free and we've seen some really wonderful ones. OK, so the one last year on "The Lawyers of Paris" was not a highlight. This year was the best ever, a "don't-miss" exhibit, and it's been extended to the beginning of January. It's all on Yves Montand. There's a huge amount of terrific photos and one room is set up like a cabaret with chairs and tables you can sit at while watching him on a large television. They have tapes of him from concerts, television appearances, rehearsals, and they're marvelous. We sat for well over an hour mesmerized by this tremendous entertainer - singer, dancer, actor - a terrific personality. Just walk in the front door on rue de Rivoli.

Went to La Samaritaine for the fantastic view from the roof. However it was closed. They also started charging 2euro to go up to the Panorama - that's the circular tower all the way up. It's free if you show receipts of 30 euro spent that day. If you go up to the 9th floor roof check out the beautiful dioramas in the walls opposite the elevators.

In one lovely, fine restaurant, Paul Chene, three people sat down next to us, one of whom was a young pretty blond around 25 years old. From their conversation we knew they were staying at the Ritz. She was the most obnoxious, spoiled, ill mannered person ever, a real brat in spite of her age. At one point she complained to the guy (about the waiter) - "Why is he speaking French to me?" She must have spent 15 minutes trying to decide. The waiter said "Tell me what you want - we'll make it for you." She just gave him a look and sulked. As we were leaving I said to the waiter how great he had been with her, the patience he had. He said that if she was his daughter he'd give her a good spanking.

Biggest change I saw in Paris was the plumbing. It's been much improved with most places having nice bathrooms now, new tile, sinks, didn't see one hole-in-the-ground toilet.

Everytime we cross Pont Marie on our way to Ile St Louis we have to stop for a few moments and look at the scene of the Seine, the river banks, the boats, the buildings. We were going back to Cafe Med for another Gallette; they really are a delicious lunch.

One nasty day our friend Veronique took Bobbi to their apartment and made what we and all our friends now know as "Veronique's Soup." It takes 30 minutes to make, is fat free, chock full of nutrients, very, very low calorie, and delicious. Bobbi always has a pot made in the refrigerator so it's always available. I just heat it and eat it. Here's the recipe if you're interested. All you need is a pot that holds more than 5 cups, the ingredients, and a hand blender with the metal blade on bottom that you can use to mix in a large glass, bowl, pot. You can use a cuisinart but then you have much more cleanup.

Veronique's Soup:
1 pkg soup stew greens or soup greens
1 or 2 more carrots
1 onion or leek
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 small tomato
any vegetables you have to throw in (zuchini, mushrooms, anything (but not necessary)
5 cups water

cut up vegetables into chunks
put water in pot
put in bouillon cube and cut up vegetables
cover and bring to boil, then simmer covered for about 20 min-1/2 hour until veggies softish
take off heat and use the hand blender right in the pot to puree soup
you're finished (can add a little fresh pepper if you want).
Bobbi uses Corningware and leaves the soup in pot, puts it in fridge. I just take some, heat it and eat it.

Walking in Paris is so wonderful. It doesn't matter where you are or which direction you take. As we used to say in motorcycling - "You ain't lost if you don't care where you are." That's how I like to walk Paris. Pick a direction and start walking. At an intersection just turn - doesn't matter which way. I always look on Paris as a living museum. That's why I love to sit at a caf and watch the world go by. In a museum you do the walking - everything else stays put. In Paris you can sit and watch the life pass by. But all life stops by when a delivery truck stops in the middle of a small street to deliver meat or whatever else. The cars line up and everything comes to a standstill while the delivery is made.

Here are a bunch of restaurants we ate at, in no particular order. Not all, some I didn't make notes on. Some we had lunch at, some dinner.

Cote Seine (dinner)
45, quai des Grands Augustins
75006 Paris
Tel: 01-43-54-49-73
Fax: 01-43-26-43-80
Our favorite. Wonderful dining. New owner, new menu, very, very good. Nice casual, good ambiance, very pleasant dining. Say hello to Thomas, a terrific young man who helps manage it, the owner Remus and waiters Jean Philippe and Lauren. Menu at 29 euro for 3 courses, less with 2 courses, plus wine.

Paul Chene (dinner)
123, rue Lauriston
75116 Paris
Tel: 01-47-27-63-17
Fax: 01-47-27-53-18
Upscale, fine restaurant. Not Michelin but as close as you could get without the star. Excellent food, presentation, service. Say Bonjour to David the owner and Mario. David is Paul Chene's brother-in-law. Paul died about 10 years ago. Mario a really great waiter who speaks perfect English. Figure around 140-150 euro with wine per couple.

Auberge de la Reine Blanche (dinner)
30, rue St Louis en l'Ile
75004 Paris
Tel: 01-46-33-07-87
A warm, friendly restaurant. Homey. Food used to be just OK, now very good. Good atmosphere with miniature furniture on the walls, hanging copper pots, bar with wine bottles. Francoise has been there as long as I remember, Cedric now there also. Say hello. She doesn't speak English but he does. 30 euro menu plus wine.

Petit Yvan (lunch)
1 Bis, rue Jean Mermoz
75008 Paris
Tel: 01-42-89-49-65
Fine restaurant, wonderful food. At lunch mainly business people due to location off the Champs Elysees. It's a bit too crowded in, busy, noisy for me for dinner but very good food if you want a "better" place for lunch, though not if you want a quiet lunch. Lunch menu of 3 courses at 23 euro. We ordered one menu and one extra plat and it was more than enough.

Le Petit Troquet (dinner)
28, rue de l' Exposition
75007 Paris
Tel: 01-47-05-80-39
Simply wonderful. Very small (about 8 tables), warm, gentle, quiet, soft. Very good food. Just lovely to be in. Say bonjour to sweet Dominique who will take care of you. She owns it along with her husband who is the chef. Their lovely daughter Virginie helps out also. Three course menu at about 28 euro

Wadja (lunch)
10, rue Grande Chaumire
75006 Paris
Tel: 01-46-33-02-02
Very good lunch place. Three course menu at about 13 euro but only two choices of each course. Very French, no English spoken.

Le Bistrot du 7e (dinner)
56, bd La Tour Maubourg
75007 Paris
Tel: 01-45-51-93-08
Very pleasant, good food, good atmosphere. Run by Marianna. I don't remember the menu but it was cheap, maybe around 15 euro.

La Croque de Sel (lunch)
131, rue St Dominique
75007 Paris
Tel: 01-47-05-23-53
A real find. We had lunch here but would be happy to go for dinner also. Very good food, pretty room. Set off in a little courtyard on rue St Dominique. Spiral staircase from the time of Napoleon, carved out of a single block of wood. Lunch menus at 12 and 15. Dinner at 15 euro. Say hi to Thierry and Alda who own it.

Cafe Med (lunch)
77, rue St Louis-en-Lille
great lunch delicious soup, crepes, galettes

Bistrot de Breteuil (dinner)
3, place Breteuil
75007 Paris
Tel: 01-45-67-07-27
Fax: 01-42-73-11-08
Very enjoyable, pretty room (further back). Part of a group of 6 bistros (Bistro des Deux Theatres, Bistro du 17e are two others) with similar menus and prices about 27 euro menu.

Nos Ancestres les Ancestres (dinner)
39, rue St Louis en l'Ile
75004 Paris
Tel: 01-46-33-66-07
Fax: 01-46-33-66-12
Go for fun with a group the larger the better - otherwise don't bother. Crowded, noisy, boisterous. Food? Well, it's food but that's about all. Menu at 33 euro for all you can eat fruits, vegetables, sausage. Then a portion of ummmm meat? All the wine you can drink.

Chez Clement (dinner)
Food is really quite good now and dining there very pleasant. Good oyster tray, terrific grill with salad, choice of several meats, potatoes. Menu at $16-20 depending on grill combination plus a la carte. Many locations all around Paris.

If you would like to have an article of yours appear here, send it along to me. The standard incredible offer remains. If chosen, your name will be entered in a lottery to win 50 used and utterly useless metro tickets.
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