A brief stay in Paris - Reaching New Heights - CycleBlaze

September 6, 2021 to September 9, 2021

A brief stay in Paris

My European bike tours alway seem to start and end in Paris. It made sense when I was touring in France, but seems a little less reasonable when cycling a loop between Munich and Bologna. The truth is, I just can't quit Paris. Since living here for 6 months in 2015, I've returned for extended stays every year but 2020 - always to the same neighborhood and the same AirBnb. It seems like a second home. So much so that the few days I've been here were spent just hanging around and doing errands.  But there was one day that stood out.

I arrived in Paris on Monday and, as noted in my previous post, successfully obtained my Pass Sanitaire.  The highlight Tuesday was a trip my HSBC branch and discovering that my debit/credit card had been blocked due to too many attempts using the wrong pin - ooops, I'm getting too old to rely on memory alone. I'll be on my way before a replacement card arrives so will rely on my US cards and their unfavorable exchange rates. 

I also visited my favorite neighborhood shops - heartened by the big smile of recognition at the Fromagerie but shocked to learn that my favorite boulangerie closed after the owner and his son were charged with sexual abuse and harrassment. On the bright side the new owner is renowned in his own right, and lines for the still-warm baguettes form every morning and evening. 

By Wednesday I was ready for some  excitement! The first order of the day was meeting Kevin and Sunyoung Stevens at the 15th Marie where they would try to get a Pass Sanitaire before heading off on their own French adventure.  Although they were not successful (the bad fortune of getting a French bureaucrat to process the paperwork), we had a delightful picnic in the nearby park where we talked about all things France and  bike tours-it was a real CycleBlaze bonding experience. I look forward to following their journey and spending some time together at the end of October, when we all will be back in Paris.

Marie of 15th Arrondissement - a vaccine and covid testing site where, if you're lucky, you just might get the coveted Pass Sanitaire
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A large crowd was forming outside the main entrance to the Marie - no doubt waiting for a newlywed couple to emerge. Three young girls that hung around at the edge of the group could barely contain their excitement.
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Waiting for the bride
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Here comes the newlyweds! I'm so excited!!!
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In nearby Square Jean Cherioux, two uncredited statues reflect common activities of park visitors - readers/writers....
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....and mothers with small children. So far, there is no statue of picnickers.
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Kevin and Sunyoung on our picnic bench, enjoying the provisions from a nearby bakery
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Sunyoung and Kevin ready to head out for Versailles
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After seeing Kevin and Sunyoung off, I headed up to central Paris to stroll through Tuileries Garden and check out how Notre Dame restoration was progressing. These areas of Paris are usually teeming with tourists and street vendors, but not today. A few young men were peddling water and Eiffel Tower trinkets to small clusters of tourists, whom I judged by their accents to be from other countries in the EU. Notably absent were American tourists - not that I missed them!.

I made my way to the Louvre, past the Pyramid and across Pont Neuf, intending to approach Notre Dame via the bird and flower markets of Ile de la Cité. However, the route seemed to be barricaded and guarded by armed police. I was trying to figure out what was going on when I fell - misjudging one of those steps that curve, flattens and eventually disappears. I lay on the sprawled on the ground for a few moments, helped to my feet by a passerby and one of the gendarmes, both anxious to see if I was okay. My right foot was a bit sore, but I was able to gingerly walk on it. All seemed good, though not great. 

When asked if the street was open to pedestrians, the gendarme said no - the trial, terrorist. It turns out this was the first day of the trial for 20 jihadists responsible for the Nov 13, 2015 terrorist attack in Paris. In total, 130 people were killed in six co-ordinated attacks across Paris that targeted bars, cafés, Stade de France, and the Bataclan music venue. Today, security was understandably tight in the area around the Palais de Justice. I was forced to cross over to the Left Bank where I headed east along Quai St-Michael toward Notre Dame. After a few hundred yards, I realized that I needed to get home to elevate and ice my foot. I took a single pboto of the towers of Notre Dame and hopped on the metro, stopping only to buy some frozen broccoli for my now throbbing foot.

Luxor Obelisk at Place de La Concorde marks the site of the guillotine used to behead Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette during the French Revolution. The Arc de Triomphe is seen in the distance, at the end of the tree-lined Champs-Elysees
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Jardin des Tuileries
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Jardin des Tuileries
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I just love these little trees? bushes - they seem so French
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The expanse of the Napoleon Courtyard at the Louvre Museum, site of the IM Pei designed Louvre Pyramid
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Workers "cleaning up" the outer walls of the Louvre
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The offending staircase - maybe it was those white things that I tripped on???
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The towers of Notre Dame - a full survey of restoration progress must wait until October
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Once home, I was able to take a good look at my foot and assess any outward signs of damage. Thankfully, there was no bruising or swelling, I kept it elevated and iced and then got ready for the big event of the day- a dinner celebrating my birthday with my friend Carla and her boyfriend Alexander, whom I'd not met. The venue was Kigawi, a small Mchelin Guide restaurant that serves classic French cuisine with a Japanese sensibility. The six course tasting menu included 2 appetizers, 2 fish courses, a meat course and a desert - followed by a surprise birthday desert. Each course was a complex of tastes and texture that defy description. Not adept at food photography, I offer just a couple of photos. In any case, it was a grand evening of delicious food and outstanding company. 

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Tempura wrapped langostino with almond sauce
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Mushrooms and monkfish with peas and saffron curry sauce
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Keith KleinHi Susan,
A mushroom to be sure, but not just any old mushroom but a truffle! Looks good, I hope it tasted good!
Cheers,
Keith
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1 month ago
Entrecôte with vegetables and kumquat
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Surprise birthday desert
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Alexander and Carla
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A birthday dinner extraordinaire!
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Today I was back to the routine of pre-tour preparation - resorting my luggage and decide what stays in Paris, what I will store in Munich, and what I will take on the road. I've packed expecting some colder weather than I normally encounter, so pannier space is at a premium.

The big event of the day was my booster shot this morning - my third jab with the Pfizer vaccine. I've been a little tired all day but so far no side effects to note. I leave for CDG in the morning - next update from Munich. 

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Lucy MartinIā€™m glad your injuries were minor. No more falls this fall šŸ‚
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1 month ago
Paul MulveyI think you're right about Paris - there's something about it that draws one back and feels "comfortable" - especially when you travel through the less-touristy enclaves. Not that the grand sights of Paris are anything to shun - it's just the daily that makes it special to me. Glad you have your travel documents and permissions in order - Avez une bon voyage!
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1 month ago
Betsy WestDo hope the foot is back to normal. Such adventures ahead!!!!!
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1 month ago