Scouring Paris continues…Early morning train to Versailles on Wednesday…Tomorrow’s post will be 4 to 6 hours later than usual…

This is a typical Parisian scene of a French Balcony which has no room for sitting, but offers a view and often room for flowers, such as these.

Yesterday, was a quieter day than the prior days. Twice, we went out walking to check out a few areas we’d never tried. On the first time out we looked for a coop or health food grocer where we could buy raw nuts which we found within the first a half-hour, returning on the return walk when we didn’t want to carry anything.

Wherever we may walk, we can find our way back for two reasons; one, Tom’s excellent sense of direction and two, spotting the Eiffel Tower.

After spending US $47, EU $35 for the equivalent of two pounds of raw nuts, we continued on looking for new restaurants to try. We were in luck when we stumbled upon a brasserie, cozy-looking restaurant with casual seating that we decided we’d return for dinner later in the evening.

This is the famous Pont Alexandre III bridge and visitors area which we visited.  The top of the pillars are gold and the street lamps are made of crystal.

When dining in French restaurants, it’s a different experience than in the US and in some other parts of the world. Nothing is quite the same as it appears on the menu and thus one must be diligent in asking questions and being prepared for the end result, at times less than expected, at other times, more than expected. The service can be slow at times.

A closer view of Pont Alexandre III.

Of course, one can become easily startled when seeing the breakdown of the bill when as much as 40% is included in the food costs considering all the taxes and service charges (gratuities are included as service charges). It’s no wonder that the items on the menu seem higher than one might experience elsewhere in the world. 

Having seen this and other areas in photos over the years, it was exciting to visit them in person.

French law requires that tips and taxes be included in the price. The intent in part was to avoid tourists from the confusion of tipping when VAT tax was included in the food cost. All of the service charges may be kept by the owner or, the owner may dole it out to the employees as tips which is expected.

The expanse of the River Seine and its many bridges attracts many tourists.

In cases when the service is over the top, it is suggested on various online site to pay EU $1 per EU $20 of purchases, a reasonable plan in the event the gratuities don’t go directly to the service staff or, as a special token of appreciation of a job well done. 

A bell tower on a church.

It’s highly entertaining walking the streets of Paris. Having walked a considerable distance from our hotel we’ve been able to investigate totally different neighborhoods, each with its own flair and personality. 

Shopping for food and cooking meals in Paris would definitely be an experience with a variety of ingredients and options of less common ingredients.

However, we can only get so far on foot when faced with the return walk. As a result, we’ll be taking the subway, train, and bus for some of our upcoming venues. Of course, we won’t miss any of the popular venues due to the fact that they are too far to walk, using public transportation as needed. 

“Knock off” designer bags, shoes and clothing are commonly found for sale on the streets.

Tonight, we have a reservation at Les Ombres, a restaurant we’d investigated on foot several days ago. Only a 15-minute walk from our hotel, the setting near the Eiffel Tower, packed during the day was situated on exquisite grounds. Both the menu and ambiance appealed to us.  

Even fine French cheeses were for sale in refrigerated cases at the Farmer’s Market.

Although the restaurant is only rate #3657 out of 15,585 in TripAdvisor, we felt that with the difficulty of getting a reservation, it must be something special in addition to its ambiance when seeing it was packed in the afternoon when we walked by. 

These mushrooms caught my eye.  Wouldn’t these be lovely to cook?

Considering that this rating puts it in the top 24% in Paris, we felt it was worth a try. One can assume that the difficulty of getting a reservation may be a good indicator of reasonably good food.

Beautiful flower shops can be found every few blocks.

We’ll report back tomorrow as to our first fine dining experience in Paris, hopefully with rave reviews and more good photos of today’s adventures when we use to the metro to seek an exciting venue.

On Sunday, we stumbled up a Farmer’s Market along the boulevard that was winding down in the afternoon after an early morning start.

Tomorrow, we’ll be on the train to Versailles in the early morning and won’t be posting until later in the day upon our return. Thus, our post will be available approximately eight hours later than usual.  

This venue celebrated architectural shows and conferences from what we could tell.
We laughed when we noticed this old fashioned “iron” used as a door handle at a laundry service. Walking the neighborhood we’ve found a nearby self-serve laundry which we’ll use the day before leaving for London on the 16th. By hand washing our underwear, we can get by for the two-plus weeks in Paris.

Most likely late tomorrow, in order to remain in the order of our activities, we’ll post the exciting venue we plan to visit today and photos of tonight’s dinner at Les Ombres restaurant. 

Flowers lining the walking paths.
There are flower gardens throughout the city, this one close to the River Seine and Eiffel Tower.
More flower gardens growing at the foot of the Eiffel Tower where there’s a huge park where many visitors lounge and enjoy the view.
The following day, on Thursday, we’ll be posting photos of Versailles sharing what hopefully will be another extraordinary experience as we make our way through the City of Lights.
Tom said this was the best dinner he’d had since we arrived in Paris. The total for last night’s dinner was US $57.72, EU $43.10. Tom had one large beer and I had a large bottle of sparkling water. Had the waiter requested the small sparkling water I requested, as opposed to the large, the total bill would have been comparable to the last two nights.
My dinner was mediocre last night when there were few items on the menu that worked for me. I’ve never been a fan of those tiny shrimp, although the cod in the salad was good. When we returned to our hotel, I dug into the nuts, still hungry after dinner.
Tom’s meal included a dessert. He selected the crème Brulee. After eating it, he told me that he prefers when I’ve made it. Tres Bon!

Photo from one year ago today, August 5, 2013:

Pescia, Italy was the town we drove to for grocery shopping, via the steep and winding hairpin turns of the mountains of Tuscany. The meat department in the grocery store was the best we’ve seen anywhere with the finest deli meats, bacon, and cheeses. For details for that date, please click here.