After some coffee and a little "on the fly" planning, we decided to knock out the big three of the Paris tourist trail. The Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and a Seine River boat cruise.
First, the Arc - What's to say? It's massive, impressive and beautiful. We hit this spot first and the lines were pretty limited. It was built to honor those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and also contains the French tomb of the unknown soldier.
|Inside the Arc de Triomphe|
|View of Eiffel Tower from Top of Arc de Triomphe|
|Arc from Middle of Champs-Elysées|
Anyhoo, we made it to the Eiffel Tower in no time and found that the rest of the tourists in Paris were also there. After taking lots of pictures and being awed by the sight, your Ramblers decided to pass on the extremely long lines (especially on a hot day) and settle for the ground view. It is quite a view. And to think, the thing was going to be torn down after the 1889 World's Fair.
|See, Not So big (view from Arc de Triomphe)|
|Crossing the Bridge over the Seine|
|French Russian Friendship Bridge|
|Notre Dame behind the River Wall|
After a busy morning of monument stalking and floating down the Seine we were famished. We decided to try and walk to a nearly cafe recommended by two travel and foodie FORs (friend of the Ramblers) - Cafe Constant owned by Chef Christian Constant. We made it in a few minutes with no navigation errors and there were still tables available. It was hot day and we got seated upstairs which was a little stuffy but we opened one of the windows further and settled in to an hour of simple, yet exquisite goodness. We started with a couple of entrees and then even though it was a hot day we ordered the beef stew because we had heard it was exceptional. Awesome does not describe the food in this place. The only thing that would have made the stew better if it was 45 outside instead of 85. Here is the view from the cheap seats.
A salmon appetizer
An artichoke and mushroom appetizer
Yummy beef stew
|The Gates of Hell|
It was time to catch a cab and head home. Luckily the former was rather quick and we arrived back at our hotel tout de suite. We decided to go have a quick drink before dinner and hit up another local cafe with an American name.
We returned to the hotel to catch up on blogging, take a quick nap, shower and make dinner plans. We decided to try and eat at Zinc Caius, listed on one of the food blogs recommended by a FOR and got the hotel to make reservations. We set out a little after 8pm to find the establishment. When we arrived on the street at the address, it wasn't there. We asked a nearly local and they pointed back up the street from whence we came. ???? We spied a sign that had a big C that looked like the Caius portion of the establishment we were looking for and in our pigeon French asked about our intended destination. The staff said it had closed and been turned into an Italian restaurant. Well, your Ramblers did not come to Paris to eat I-talian. So in a reverse Seinfeld move, we made the reservation, but did not hold the reservation. We were coaxed into trying what turned out to be Caius. Long story short, the food was excellent, it was the larger and more expensive sibling of our original destination, and why the hotel did not figure out that the place we asked them to make reservations for no longer existed, we are not sure. The hotel is 0 for 2 on the dinner thing and your Ramblers think they will go it alone from now on. The food was excellent and our waiter Jen (he said "Yen") was the best yet in France. He also helped us find some strategic Tour de France viewing sites. He was so helpful and friendly that we left our first tip since the Coke guy in the bar in Vouvray, when did not know any better.
Our waiter at Casius
Until then, au revoir and keep rambling.