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A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 27: Saint Genevieve/My Jenevieve

I named my daughter Jenevieve long before I knew that Saint Genevieve was the patron saint of Paris. I changed the G to J to keep the initials of my three children the same. I agonized over what to name her, but the fact was that I had two boys already. There had not been a girl on my then-husband's side of the family for fifty years. My chances for a daughter were slim. I heard the name on the radio one day in my car and I loved it. I knew if I was fortunate enough to have a girl she would be my only daughter, so her name had to be perfect. Jenevieve hated her name when she was young. I think she was eight before she could spell it. The name was so long, it didn't fit on computer forms with those tiny squares that you had fill in all through school. She grew into it and now uses her full name professionally.
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Saint Genevieve is credited with protecting Paris from barbarians in the 500s AD. The national Pantheon in the Latin Quarter in Paris was built as a dedication by Louis XV after he prayed to Saint Genevieve for recovery from a serious illness. For a while, the Pantheon was a religious monument, but then it became a civic building. I didn't realize until I visited, the Pantheon houses Foucault's pendulum which demonstrates the rotation of the earth. The inside is adorned with murals depicting the life of Genevieve, from her childhood through her miracles.
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Standing on the steps, the view across the city is a straight shot to the Eiffel Tower.
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The Pantheon is surrounded by a beautiful square with the Saint Genevieve library to your right, the intricate St. Etienne du Mont church to the rear, where there is a shrine to Saint Genevieve. You are also directly across from the Mayor's and other municipal offices, and opposite the University of Paris.

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The Pantheon, Saint Genevieve Place, and the surrounding buildings are an enjoyable part of the Latin Quarter to visit, even if you don't have a personal connection to Genevieve as I do. Little did I know when I chose my daughter's name, I was naming her after this impressive woman; a woman who would be sainted after performing miracles. I adore all my children. But my Jenevieve, my only girl, is my personal miracle.
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Posted by teethetrav 02:23 Archived in France Tagged paris france pantheon latin_quarter saint_genevieve louis_xv patron_saint_of_paris foucault's_pendulum Comments (0)

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 26: Opera, Style, and the End of My Bucket List

I can see the sun setting in front of me, through my large windows which open onto my terrace. As I reflect on my day, I'm eating French olives, bread and brie, and drinking Cotes du Rhone. Don't hate me. It was really icky outside earlier. Wet snow and rain, but I persevered and stuck to my plan. Remember: there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. 5767EFE2BC1631F795716C9893B8DFF7.jpg5766D48DF8A1C4222ECCF90FB7CCE45D.jpg57658B7AF697DF79E936DC831BBC39D7.jpg57642156CBDEB85AB011D257A4F4D209.jpg5762CEEBF0540418D827227D8165C996.jpg

My final "must see" on this trip's bucket list was the Garnier Opera House. I am a bit of an opera house junkie. I like the houses better than I like opera. I've been to the Metropolitan in NYC, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Teatro alla Fenice in Venice (read John Berendt's book before you go: "Beware of Falling Angels.")

I am not a huge fan of opera. Just opera houses. Architecture, if you will. And the history of these spectacular places.

The Opera de Paris at the Palais Garnier is the opera house that "The Phantom of the Opera" was based on. There actually is a small lake that flows under the structure. The Opera house is stunning. It is a MUST SEE in Paris, even if you never go to an opera, ever. A spectacle of staircase, gold leaf, red velvet, plaster putti, costume displays, tiny sets, and echoes of magical voices who have performed here through the centuries will astonish and overwhelm even the most blase. You can stand at the bottom of the marble stairs and imagine yourself here, dressed to impress. The show was important, but so was being seen. People knew how to party and dress back in the day. 56DE6CC3E81930AC46FF119BF2DBA438.jpg56E00887BB8AD6B1CF5B3E652E31D523.jpg56DD65F5C05A78A06917D301E0AD8F13.jpg56DC4568E0A4CEF298BFB001B3A59197.jpg
Sorry the photos aren't better. Photography is not allowed. Oops.

On Monday afternoons, cheap tickets go up for grabs. I'm going to try to get one.

Posted by teethetrav 09:44 Archived in France Tagged paris france opera phantom_of_the_opera palais_garnier Comments (0)

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 25: Un Melange des Chosen Bizarres a Paris

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Posted by teethetrav 09:33 Archived in France Tagged paris france scenes melange bizarres Comments (0)

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 23: Eating in Montmartre

II believe it is truly hard to have a bad meal in Paris. Whether you are going for a quick petite baguette sandwich or a meal in a brasserie, or a fine dining experience, there are endless choices in Paris about where to eat. That seems especially true in my neighborhood of Montmartre.

I have eaten in many of the restaurants and have some favorites. Some meals were outstanding, and some were merely fabulous. Here are a melange of the great meals and restaurants I've eaten in so far. All are in Montmartre.
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The above is the "Charlie Special" at Coryllis on Rue des Martyrs. All of Paris was Charlie crazed after the attacks.
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An amazing, tiny, French, non-tourist restaurant is Le Jardin d"en Face on the Rue des Trois Freres. The menu changes daily with a few exceptions. The foie gras with egg appetizer is a staple and is to die for. It is dishes like this that make me want to stay forever.

Al Caratello is Italian owned and has three locations on Rue Audran. The menu is the same at all three ristorantes. The food and service are reliable and you can linger for hours. House wines are good and so are prices.

Another tiny, French treasure isLe Grande 8 on a small street to the right of the Sacre Coeur. The menu changes nightly depending on what is available in the market. This is your go-to Sunday dinner place. They don't speak much English and there are only about twelve tables. You can (and we did) linger here for hours. People bring their dogs who hang out under the table and are a part of the ambience and scenery. This is a mere walk up the stone steps for me and so it has become a true local favorite I will dream about and yearn for when I leave.
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Posted by teethetrav 09:18 Archived in France Tagged paris montmartre rue_des_martyrs coryllis le_jardin_d'en_face rue_des_trois_freres al_caratello le_grand_8 Comments (0)

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 22: Six Reasons Why You Need a SIM Card

REASON 1: Finding the people you are with.

The girls wanted to go to the top of the Arch d'Triumph and I didn't, so I told them I'd wait for them in the Orange store. I was going to see how my data was doing & if I needed to top it off. As I started walking, a million police and wagons pull up and park under the Arch. I had no way to contact the girls who did not get a SIM card. To make matters worse, the Orange store was closed and there were security people inside!!! All the workers were outside so I asked what happened. They smelled gas inside the store so the guards were checking. Unrelated to the police. A woman from the store checked my data as we stood freezing on the street. It was fine. 7E28BA9FD9FD8F7D3C05844579989A18.jpg 76CB2E129C985E3F34EEF3F6F8B3C5E2.jpg

I ended up going inside the restaurant next door, Chez Clement, where I could watch for the girls. I had a glass a wine with a woman from India who is in Paris studying finance. We had a great chat.

I asked my waiter about the police activity. It turned out the police were just there in case of a soccer-related frenzy. Algeria was playing against Ghana. Crazy soccer fans. But I still wished the girls had a SIM card so I could tell them where I was.

By the way, since I was on the Champs, I did drop in and visit Louis Vuitton. Turns out that Poppy has a big sister named Dora. She is a signed, limited edition made from the archives. The euro is still dropping, so I have time to make my decision. But now I have four possibilities, Dora, Poppy, Pallas, and Alma. Too many women.

REASON 2: Getting and giving directions

We were getting on the Metro to go home. I got on. The doors closed behind me. I turned and saw my daughter and her friend waving goodbye to me from the platform. Talk about an OMG moment. Did they know our exit? Should I get off on the next stop and turn around and go back? Should get off at our exit? I decided these were smart, competant young women. I rode on, cursing them for not having a SIM card. I waited at our home stop and sure enough; five minutes later, there they were.

REASON 3: Getting directions for Metro stops and walking

With a SIM card, you have data. That means you can google where you are and what Metro you should take to get to your next destination. Or, how you should walk to get wherever you are going. Very useful.

REASON 4: Making reservations.

A SIM card allow you to make local calls without the astronomical roaming fees your local carrier would charge you. Many restaurants in Paris are tiny and require reservations. You can also reserve tickets to events, cruises on the Seine, and other activities you will want to pursue.
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REASON 5: UBER

There are times when the Metro just won't do. Downloading the UBER Paris APP will enable you to order a taxi from anywhere to anywhere. It tells you in advance how much you will pay, who your driver is, and how soon he/she will be there.

REASON 6: Your flight gets canceled and you need to reschedule

There is a huge blizzard coming in the New York/New Jersey area and my daughter's flight leaving Paris was just canceled. Because I had a SIM card, we have rescheduled her flight and taxi with a minimum of fuss.

HOW TO GET A SIM CARD:

You can buy an inexpensive SIM at a store such as the ORANGE store. They will do the rest. One note of caution before you leave home, though. Make sure you call your carrier and see if you can "unlock" your phone in order to switch to a local SIM card. Many phones, such as the DROID are already unlocked.

If you have questions, put them in the comments section and I will try to help you.
Merci Jaime!!! for showing me how to buy and use a SIM card!!!

Posted by teethetrav 01:14 Archived in France Tagged paris france ny metro blizzard nj reservations sim_cards uber Comments (0)

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