Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Paris: Bastille & Le Marais

We left for the airport at the ungodly hour of 5:00 a.m., and walked into the Hotel Lancaster lobby at something like 8:45 a.m. The concierge told us that we had been upgraded to a one-bedroom suite (YES!), but it wasn't ready yet. We told him that it was absolutely not a problem, we dropped off our bags, had a cup of coffee in the "living room", walked out the front door, and walked on over toward the Métro for a quick ride to the Bastille stop.

When we emerged from underground, we were greeted by clear blue skies and set about exploring the Bastille area on foot using our City Walks: Paris index cards. We walked down a few streets, checked out a few shops, explored the covered market and outdoor morning market at place d'Aligre, and then moved on to Le Marais.

Le Marais is, according to the index card, "...rich with history and specialty boutiques...full of attractions." And, I'd say that this was an accurate description. I mean, I guess a store selling Absinthe and Absinthe supplies would qualify as a "specialty boutique.

After wandering under the arcades at place des Vosges (galleries, cafés, and more shops), we rested a bit on one of the park benches and soaked up the sun for about half an hour. Heck, we had been up for about eight hours already, and we needed a bit of a rest. Plus, we were getting pretty hungry. So, it was time to head off to lunch.

One of our Paris guidebooks recommended a brasserie called Bofinger, and I was able to conveniently make a reservation online. Also, it just so happened to be described on one of our cards as "...one of the most sublime French brasseries, with a stained-glass dome, high ceilings, and a vibrant ambience." [Note: Mrs. TBF hates this picture. However, I like it, and I'm doing the bloggin here. So...tough!] I ordered my steak saignant (bloody), which caused the "American ex-pat" seated next to me to feel the need to butt in with an "Excuse me, but do you realize that you ordered your steak rare?" "Why, yes," I told him. "I want it bloody...but thank you for pointing it out to me." Obviously insulted by the fact that his "Frenchness" had not come to my rescue, he and his wife said not one more word to us, and left a few minutes later. They ended up being replaced by a German couple who were so interested in what we were eating that Mrs. TBF ended up telling the Frau in a rather interesting combination of German and French that "...das ist rognons de veau." That, of course, opened up the German flood gates, and we ended up carrying on a "Germlish" conversation with them for the rest of the meal. Normally, unless the mood is right, I abhor intrusions from people at neighboring tables while dining with Mrs. TBF (I want her all to myself), but the Germans ended up being pretty nice and I enjoyed speaking with them (even though they did feel the need to correct every single mistake...there were many...I made while speaking German).

Our tummies were now full of onion soup, meat, potatoes, and wine. Full bellies and an early wakeup where taking their toll, and we were feeling the need for a little afternoon nap. It was time to head back to the hotel.

1 comment:

CanadianSwiss said...

I've been to the Bofinger a few years ago, but honestly, I found that the food was just so, so and the service not very friendly, but I must admit that the brasserie is quite a beautiful.