Paris was only meant to be a landing point in Europe for me. I debated whether to stay there at all. Paris is a city I have been to before, twice, and I loved it, but it is the kind of place you want to be able to take your time exploring, checking out all the nooks and crannies of it.
When I was there last, I was with my husband, Mike, while he was on a business trip. The company paid for a very luxurious room at a beautiful, old hotel. While he worked in the daytime, I would go off on my own, taking the Metro to a different spot every day. I loved it. There was a bistro across the street from the hotel that we frequented. Red wine on red-and-white checkered table cloths.
After a week, he was due to go on to Germany for the company, and I was going to fly home. Long story short, I missed my flight. There wasn’t another one for four days on my airline, so I stayed on in Paris and found a small inexpensive Pension (hotel) to stay in. Not unlike this one:
Four more days of wandering and exploring on my own! Whoo hoo! No I didn’t miss the plane on purpose. Blame it on Paris traffic!
Anyway, I decided to stay a couple of days this time after finding a “foodie” tour online that I just had to experience. Here is a link to it: http://parisbymouth.com/taste-of-the-marais. Le Marais (The Marsh) is a historically aristocratic section of Paris, and architecturally beautiful. Around the end of the 19th Century, here was an influx of Eastern European Jews that were largely involved with tailoring and clothing industry. Today, the area is known for the art galleries and trendy restaurants.
It was a small group of six women – all the rest were from New York, in Paris for one of their 60th birthdays. The guide was also a woman, an American young woman who had moved to Paris a few years before.
The tour involved going to specialty food shops, choosing a few items while the guide told us some history and other interesting information about Marais, and at the end we took all of it (the purchases were included in the cost of the tour) to a specialty wine shop that had tables and stools for sitting and sampling wine. Each food item was brought out individually and shared around while the guide told us more about them and how to properly taste them. Each food group was accompanied by a new wine to taste.
What more could you ask for? Fun, food, wine, female companionship and chatting in an old section of Paris!
Here are a few pictures I took while on the tour.
Hand-made chocolates to die for.
The rest of my time in Paris was spent wandering mainly the Latin Quarter and riding the Metro around to a few other landmarks. And sitting in cafes and brasseries, sipping wine or coffee with a little nibble of something. It was wet and rainy off and on, and chilly. But the restaurants just hang a clear plastic curtain over the outdoor tables and chairs so that people can still sit outside. I don’t think I sat inside anywhere once.
I had elected to book a cheap flight on Ryanair from Paris to Malaga, but when I looked at a map for where the little airport was, I was shocked. I found a shared van service through Ryanair’s website to pick me up at my hotel in order to be there 3 hours early as recommended by them. The van was right on time, but I couldn’t believe how long it took to get there. Over an hour – way out in the countryside.
Next time, I will look at other small airlines that are operating in Europe. They seem to have better airport locations.
My flight was scheduled to arrive in Malaga at 12 am. Another bad planning choice, but I was able to make arrangements to be met at little later than that outside the Airbnb apartment I booked in historic Centro for a small extra fee.
But Malaga is another story for next time!