A Couple of Days in Paris

This week, I am back in Paris, a city that I like to think of as a second home, as I have been coming here regularly since my collegiate days.

I first came to Paris over thirty years ago and then starting in the ’90s, I spent at least a week or so in the city every summer. The aughts saw fewer trips to my favorite city, perhaps every other year, but the visits were regular enough to provide a “fix” of Parisien life that would hold me over until the next.

This last decade, though, the visits became even scarcer for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was this blog. As I started to travel to more wine regions, by necessity my trips here to the city bisected by the Seine. The fact that I had two growing boys and a move down to Texas also played roles in limiting my time in France in general and Paris in particular.

For almost every visit to Paris, my “home” in the city was le Quartier Montorgueil, in the 2nd Arrondissement, on the Right Bank, roughly equidistant between the Louvre and Beaubourg. It’s a beautiful part of Paris, one that, until recently, was were Parisiens lived–it was away from the glitz and glamor of the Ile-de-la-cité and other landmarks–a healthy walk from any souvenir shop or building that required a ticket or a handful of Euros to enter.

At the bottom of Rue Montorgueil.

Like most neighborhoods in the city, there is no need to venture outside on Montorgueil for every need or want can be sated with a five (or maybe ten) minute walk: boulanger, boucher, pâtissier, marché, marchand à vins, and countless quaint restaurants and street-food vendors. I call it home since it is also home to the main office for the European bike tour company for which I have worked on and off for nearly the last thirty years, and where I would stay in between trips to the various bike trips I led in the country.

In the vibrant Rue Montorgueil there is one of the best cheese shops you will ever see.

Even though my time in Paris has decreased, my affinity for “my” neighborhood in particular and the French capital, in general, has not waned.

I had this fabulous bottle of champagne with a glorious sandwich on the Place des Vosges.

Thus, like many, when I saw the heartbreaking footage last month of Notre Dame Cathédral on fire, I felt the need to return. There was no way for me to help, of course, and the pain I felt was but a fraction of what most of the year-round residents experienced. Still, I needed to return, to pass by the cathedral that is but a 15-minute walk from “my” neighborhood.

Even though I normally stay in the 2nd, this time I am in the 4th, not far from La Place des Vosges.

This week I am in Paris again, as a time to see some friends, taste through some champagne, and pass by Notre Dame, if only to pay my respects in an odd way.

Here are a few of the photos I took these past couple of days, something that was actually difficult since I normally don’t think to take photos while I am in Paris, since, even though I am far from a native, I like to also think that I am almost as far from a tourist.

Food is a big part of any trip to Paris and this steak was tasty, but the wine was phenomenal.

I rarely make it over to the Left Bank, but I got to wandering a bit, which is a perfect thing to do in Paris.

Some “random” buildings in the city are striking.

While some spots are just delightfully quirky.

Hôtel de Ville is the largest masonry municipal building in the world. Any guesses as to what is the second?

Place des Vosges never gets old.

I should know what this is, but I don’t.

Louis XIII in the middle of Place des Vosges.

Notre Dame seems. naked without its spire.

It was impossible to get close at all, as the police presence was very heavy.

And they were everywhere.

The damage was noticeable.

Still awe-inspiring, though.

This was as close as I could get to the façade.

Cleanup still going on.

I really didn’t understand the smiling portraits with NOtre Dame in the background. And there were a ton of them being taken.

Sigh.

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About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
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15 Responses to A Couple of Days in Paris

  1. Janie Brooks Heuck says:

    Want to meet pascal? He lives there!

    Janie Brooks Heuck Managing Director, Brooks Winery

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fiona says:

    Oh, my heart breaks looking at those photographs. Just today I was hearing that there’s a huge debate about restoring her to her former glory or replacing her with a modern monstrocity. My word, I suppose. Based on that, you know where my sentiments lie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m generally not one for big cities, but I love Paris. I haven’t spent nearly the time there that you have, but I never tire of just going out and walking…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Can’t WAIT!! In route in a few weeks! We spend three days there before heading to Lyon. We don’t want to get bogged down in too touristy stuff. Must sees?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sheree says:

    I love every sq metre of Paris and my heart sank looking at your photos of Notre Dame but I know it’ll be back.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How’s the weather? Will be there next week.

    Liked by 1 person

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