Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We begin our Cruise

After five days in Paris, we're over our jet lag and ready to begin our cruise down the Rhone.
Unfortunately, with all the rains, our original itinerary needed to be altered, and not necessarily for the best.
Dijon is out and they've decided to TGV us straight to Lyon where we board our river boat.

Vantage has built a brand new ship, the Vantage Discovery II (the largest cruising the Rhone).

Cabins are nicely decorated and surprisingly roomy.

So we embark on nine days down the river with our group of eight.
Also in our broader group are six Malaysian friends, traveling loosely with us.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Patisseries, a good reason to visit France

We don't usually eat a lot of desserts but with a culture of baking like France has, how can one resist.

All lovely to look at. We need a pastry chef like him in Palm Springs.

And of course there's bread. and really really great bread at that.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Around Paris

Place De Vogues

Lunch with great friends at Ma Bourgogne.

Yummy poached leeks with a light mustard herb sauce and grilled goat cheese.

Steak Tartare is a specialty at Ma Bourgogne. Served with fries, it was perfect.

Loud shirts seem to be the current fashion.

Scents never seem to have gone out of fashion.

Chilling out at our B&B in the Marais. Small but beautifully decorated, and spotless.

A night out with "bad boys".

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A day in the Louvre

The Louvre hasn't changed much over the years. Yes a pyramid was added years ago and the old palace has been cleaned and restored over the years but pretty much the same inside.
However, the crowds are massive. Best to go early or late. Mid-day swells to unpleasant proportions.

So we trek through on an abbreviated five hour visit.

Alan's favorite Vermeers.

Your guess is a good as mine.

All in all, a pleasant visit to the Louvre. Especially since it was damp and cold outside most of the day.

Monjul in Paris' Marais

Our friends Ben and Ken arrived today, and of course they want to go out and eat.
On the recommendation of our hosts at Hotel du Haut Marais we went out to Monjul.

"Mr. Rabbit" Rabbit terrine gears scone with sage, shypon of mustard, quince confit.

"Cylindrical Paella" chicken stuffed with paella flavors of ice juice of chicken parmesan risotto, shellfish emulsion, saffron tile.


...and for dessert - Black Forest in a glass and Mon Cheri: whipped cream to popcorn, chocolate kirsch cherries way Mon Cheri.

You read it right. Popcorn flavored whipped cream.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A chilly day of qualifying at the French

We were last at the French Open in 2001. It was warm and sunny then.
So we return in 2013 and a couple of days before the tournament begins we take in a couple of rounds of qualifying. It's usually fun watching the qualifying players up close and it's quite evident why some players need to play qualifying rounds.

On this particular day, we were occasionally pelted with corn-sized hail and freezing rain showers.
Luckily they were quick to pass.

We didn't make it into the main rounds this year but it was great to be back at Roland Garros.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Paris, It's still here (as we knew it would be), and yes, it's pretty much the same.

It's been a decade since we've been to Europe and what better time for a re-visit, a week after the passing of marriage equality in France.

The flight(s) over were a bit of a headache with a delay on the first leg and probably the worst meal on an international flight we've ever had.

We're staying in the 3rd arrondissement for the first time since all of our favorites in the 5th and 6th are now well over $400.00 a night. The Hotel Du Haut Marais is a great find on the northern border of the Marais. We were well taken care of by Didier and Marc in their renovated B&B. Keep it in mind on your next trip to Paris.

It's cool and a bit damp in Paris. Unusual for this time of year but it's not stopping us from doing what we need to do here.