Snippets Of Paris

Looking up steps toward Pont Alexandre III, Paris. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Due to the heat wave in Paris during our visit, we didn’t spend a lot of time roaming around outdoors in the middle of the day. So I didn’t take as many photos, and most of the good shots we did get were at dusk.

Above, Pont Alexandre III. It’s probably one of the most photographed bridges in the world, with good reason. Getting a clear shot like this with (almost) no people takes patience.

Front view of Notre Dame, Paris, now cordoned off after fire. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I’d promised to take some photos of Notre Dame and report back. This was as close we (or anyone) were able to get. Apparently there are still concerns about the integrity of the remaining structure, so they are not taking any chances.

Here’s a fascinating article about the fire: how the delays in locating and reporting the fire made the damage so much worse, and how a group of firefighters risked their lives to prevent the structure from collapsing entirely.

View of Notre Dame from left bank, post-fire, with scaffolding in place. Details at une femme d'un certain age.
View of Notre Dame after fire from Left Bank. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

It’s quite sad to see the damage. I really hope they are able to preserve what remains and rebuild. Even if one isn’t religious, Notre Dame holds such historical and cultural significance.

This geographical marker outside Notre Dame Cathedral designates "Paris Point Zero," the heart and center of Paris.

This marker embedded in the public square just outside Notre Dame designates “Paris Point Zero,” the geographical heart of the city. (Photo taken last year.)

Looking westward along the Seine in Paris at dusk. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Where We Stayed & Ate In Paris

Room in Hotel Castille Paris. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

We stayed this time at the Hotel Castille, on rue Cambon. Yes, right next door to Chanel (which is undergoing major renovations, and is temporarily located just down the street). The hotel was lovely and quite comfortable, and fortunately had working air conditioning!

Room at Hotel Castille Paris. Details at une femme d'un certain age.
Bathroom at Hotel Castille Paris. Details at une femme d'un certain age

Getting in and out of the high and narrow tub/shower wasn’t for the faint of heart, but there were lovely Etro toiletries (the hotel is part of StarHotels Group, an Italian company).

We enjoyed some splendid meals too:

Chez Monsieur. We’d eaten here last year, and liked it so much we made a point to come back. Traditional French bistro food, well prepared. Great service and atmosphere too.

Drawing room at Le Clarence Paris. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Le Clarence. This was one of our two “fancy” meals on the trip, and was exquisite, from start to finish. We enjoyed a 5-course tasting menu, and fortunately most of the courses were small portions. Above, the “drawing room” where we enjoyed our after dinner coffee and sweets.

Baieta. The food was absolutely wonderful, but in larger portions than we’d been expecting. Small place, casual ambience. Great seafood, creatively prepared. Book in advance and come hungry!

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  1. Great photos. And thanks for the recommendations. Even though I have my favorites, places come and go, and it’s good to have a list of new options that have been vetted by someone with similar values.

  2. What’s with those bath tubs? Our Hotel, Prince De Galles , had that same issue. Plus it was slippery as heck.
    Glad you survivied it!

    1. I had the same experience with a bathtub, to the point where I requested an extra small towel to use as a bath mat to prevent slipping. I never noticed that before in all my travels. (Could it be I’m less secure on my feet now that I’m older? Hmmm…)

      1. Probably yes, but all people of any age deserve bath safety, even if they don’t require disability suites. They should all have grab poles (these can be discreet) and surfaces that are not slippery where one has to alight.

    2. My young (24), tall, long legged daughter slipped getting out of one of those tall tub/showers in Salzburg last month. She scraped her foot badly and whacked her knee, which was swollen for a couple of days. So it’s not just us older people who need to be extra careful with those tubs!

      1. They are much better for soaking in an actual bath though, unlike what is usually found in modern baths in North America. Our old bath here in Montréal was like that. Now one of those low ones: I only shower in it, useless for baths. Many people in Paris only have shower stalls due to the small size of most Parisian flats.

        Accidents in the bath are common everywhere. Slippery surfaces and exposed skin…

  3. Oh my…A heat wave, eek. Anither terrific post, Susan. You’ve captured such wonderful light on Notre Dame….and quiet moments in a crowded city. Looks like Paris was just for the two of you!

    PS — I’ve booked my Paris trip for May 2020! One week in Paris and 2 weeks in the country — Oui!

  4. Splendid shots!! A great city worth visiting.,The French excelled in past centuries and then succumbed suddenly! No longer great things coming out of France, currently mediocre at best. Sad but true. The Notre Dame affair is typical now of the current, brainless attitude! I wonder what the Germans would have done if the great Koln cathedral(just there a few weeks ago) were on fire!! Though I have no love for them for obvious reasons, their Teutonic might would have served them well. Oh, well. The most amazing cities nowadays, and most progressive, Prague and Budapest! Bucharest, (just there last week) once called the Paris of the East for obvious reasons is finally waking up after a 60 yrs communist rule. Spectacular houses, from the sublime to the ridiculous. It might take another generation or two before the old saying will once again apply.
    Have fun with your new colors!!

    1. I am curious about what you understand by great things? And Communism in Easter Europe lasted about 42 years not 60. In Russia it was, of course, different.

      1. No worthy French 20th century architecture, fine art, music or great literature , to name just a few. Mostly Boulot, metro, dodo!! Ludicrous bureaucracy, inane laws, strikes, general apathy. Franglais rules! Lived there and speak the language. Some pockets of loveliness in the country side. Even their wine/ cheese production is being challenged by other Euro countries including USA!
        As for communism, in Romania took hold in 1947 and supposedly collapsed in 1989. However let’s not forget that the same old communists continued to rule for a least another generation (ie 20 years) and only now some 20 plus years later things appear to have somewhat changed. Hope this clarifies my statements.

        1. We were just at the Fondation Louis Vuitton on this last trip, and I found the architecture to be stunning. Great, even. I also think that a lot of what music, art and literature eventually gets flagged as “great” only happens in retrospect. I do applaud that the French, along with some other EU countries have lately taken the lead in combatting climate change.

        2. I lived in France and went to school there. I think that from Proust, Picasso, Eluard to the latest two Nobel prizes for literature , Le Clezio and Modiano the 20 century was culturally very rich in France. I want to mention just two philosophers, Foucault and Derrida who influenced Western philosophy and are widely taught in US universities but I can also give you examples of widely influential historians, anthropologists and scientists. I observed , however, that there is a kind of French bashing attitude, probably from people who are not at ease with the French culture..
          It happens that I am Romanian and I can tell you that even if the children of former Communists are present in the power circles, what it is in Romania nowadays has nothing, but absolutely nothing to do with the Communist regime. Maybe one could call it a kind of wild and corrupt Capitalism.

          1. Mea culpa. I should have been more specific regarding the French culture in the 20th century. My less than complimentary opinions reference the French from the 2nd world war onwards. As a retired scientist and diplomat I stick to that.

    2. That is a very offensive post. I don’t know where you come from to make such judgements of other peoples. We all have things we have to work on. Many in the west have to find more sustainable solutions than lethal car-centric planning – just an example. To be more positive, people around the world have rallied to save Notre-Dame. You don’t have to be Muslim or South Asian to save the Taj Majal. These are universal human heritage.

  5. My husband and I discovered the Castille several years ago and it is now our go-to hotel in Paris. We love the location and often saw Karl Lagerfeld coming and going next door in the evening.

  6. Wonderful pictures!! I would definitely need a bar on the wall to steady myself to get out (or in for that matter). Those pictures of Notre Dame just break my heart; it is such a beautiful building along with all the priceless art inside. I’m SO glad the Louvre could take many of the art pieces. I’m glad you had a good trip, update us on where you stayed in London & where you ate! I’m interested in what new things I can discover in London!! Cheers!

  7. Working air conditioning was a lucky break!
    I went to Switzerland with Hubs on a conference one summer and they had unusually hot weather.
    Hubs is a cheapskate, always looking to stretch his expense monies so he didn’t book into the hotel the conference was in, we stayed at a Pension halfway up a mountain — a long uphill walk with my suitcase!
    As things turned out we were lucky. It was hot and while the conference rooms had air conditioning, the hotel rooms relied on breezes from Lake Geneva for cooling. The people staying there were hot all night. Our mountainside pension was built in front of a stream, which provided more than adequate cooling.

  8. So heartbreaking what happened to Notre Dame. i am however confident they will rebuild it and it will be beautiful again. Thank you for the beautiful pictures.

  9. Your hotel looks divine – however have you thought about having an apartment? Could be through an agency or AirBnB. It’s a nice change from a hotel – I’ve done both and am seduced by the opportunity to spread out and feel a bit native with an apartment.
    Your restaurants sound wonderful. I hadn’t hear of Le Clarence and will put it on my list for our next visit

    1. Hi bonnie, we generally don’t stay in one spot long enough to make an apartment a workable option. But if we schedule a longer visit in the future, it’s definitely something we’d consider. Le Clarence is so worth a visit. The food, the decor, everything is just so special.

  10. There are also residence hotels such as Les Citadines, with small kitchens (which is what most Parisians have at home). I don’t like eating out three times a day. I don’t expect that you’d do much actual cooking, but there are so many lovely foods to take away. I’d be using the sink to wash fruits and salad from street markets more than anything else.

  11. Love the update, we enjoyed our visit last year. I’m still mad that I did not bring home a remembrance candle from the church. My Vail of sand from Omaha beach looks lonely. But, I enjoy my photos of 4 day in Paris.