That wasn't a ramble. It was The Future.
\me puts on straitjacket of favorite color.
> Um... all I said Adam is all he is talking about is OpenDoc. I
> didn't say it was going to save the world or that it was even worth
> a shit.
All I'm saying is that we should figure out where OpenDoc went wrong and
proceed from there.
> read the lines Adam...
Can't. Clinton's sniffing them right now. Notice how red his nose is
> there were lines on the mirror
> and lines on her face
> she pretended not to notice
> she was caught up in the race
Ah, cocaine -- the thinking man's Aspirin. You know, Don Henley has
really lost his edge since he stopped using drugs so heavily. He hasn't
had a new album out in what, 7 years?
This time we'll do Paris nuggets.
I happened on probably the only heavy metal bar in Paris, called
Ministry Hardcore Cafe in Pigalle, and I must say it was quite an
experience. The decor was wierd: you step into what looks like a Lon
Chaney movie, a macabre graveyard complete with cadavers and giant
skulls. The definately hardcore beat gets an enthusiastic response from
the French (and quite a number of english-speaking) afficianados who
pack the place. And word is that - due to its reputation - the bands
coming through Paris make a bee line for their home away from home. The
owner of the place - a young American/French girl - livens up the place
with creative "theme" evenings, still relatively rare in Paris. The beer
selection was a real turn-on for me, a lover of the brew. They had
fruit, chilli and exotic Israeli concoctions as well as the more
traditional European draft. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I
certainly wasn't (I've been back quite a number of times). It's found
at: 1 rue Mansart, Paris 9eme, metro: Blanche, tel. 42-82-08-88, Good
luck! Howard Silverfarb (03/96)
Alright, you are now in Paris and need to see all the sights as quickly
as possible. This walking tour can be split up any way you want. What I
have done is broken things up into relative areas that hits on the major
A few things to keep in mind before heading out sight seeing. Dress for
the season. Springtime in Paris can be cold and rainy. Take a bottle of
water with you no matter where you go. Stopping at a supermarche costs
about 2-4F per 1.5 litre bottle. A can of Coca-Cola can easily run over
10F ($2US) from a street vendor. Remember to take your camera and plenty
of film. Most sites being tourist sites will overcharge on film. Bring
as much film as you can from your home country. If you carry a wallet
keep it in your front pocket. Women are discouraged from carrying purses
and are better off using a fanny pack or the like. Leave your passport
behind. A simple drivers license is adequate identification should you
need it (unless you are cashing travellers checks then you may need a
passport). Speaking of cash, if you have an bank ATM card carry that
instead of cash. Most cash machines in France work with bank ATMs (at
least from the states they do). Visa debit cards will be accepted
everywhere and is my #1 recommendation.
Champs Elysees - Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre
The famous Champs Elysees is probably one of the most trendy parts of
Paris to get initiated at. You need to take the #1 metro (La
Defense/Chateau Vincennes). There are number of stops here starting with
le Arc de Triomphe at Charles de Gaulle-Etoile. You can get out here to
see the famous Arc de Triomphe. If you get a chance schedule your trip
around VE day. After the ceremonies the Arc is surrounded by flags of
many countries with a huge French flag hanging in the Arc. A tremendous
sight. From here walk away from the Arc down Champs Elysees (east). You
will see many shops that you can purchase goods at. The Disney store is
here too (for the tykes).
Waking EAST from the Arc de Triomphe you will come across a large needle
type Egyptian statue in the center of a roundabout. This is Place de
Concorde or the Concorde metro stop. The needle marks the site where
Marie Antoinette was beheaded. An excellent picture taking opportunity
lies here for both the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower (beyond the
water fountain). Just beyond the needle is
Jardin de Tuileries (same metro stop) further EAST. This is a large
garden that famous Kings of France used to call their backyard
(including Napolean). Now a public place. While walking around imagine
how the French revolution started in this area with the peasants killing
about 600 Swiss guards that guarded the French palace. This is a dusty
place due to the use of a sandy surface for the walkways. Be careful not
to walk on the grass. Sometimes there is a fair including ferris wheels
and the like here. Statues grace the gardens and Paris is constently in
the process of keeping this place looking nice. Stay away on windy days
though. Bring bottled water if it is a hot day.
Just a little further from the Tuileries is the famous Louvre. You can
enter from the surface which is the best way. You will find an entrance
marked Carousel which takes you below the street level. As you descend
you will find excavations of ancient Roman walls that were built
hundreds of years ago. Otherwise by metro get off at the Louvre stop
(same #1 metro). Some warnings about the Louvre. While the Mona Lisa you
see is a fake (and not a good one at that) the Milo de Venus is
authentic and an excellent picture opportunity. While you are not
allowed to take flash pictures in the Louvre, in some spots it is ok but
in others museum employees will yell at you so watch before you shoot.
Starting January 1996 visitors can enter the Louvre free of charge the
first Sunday of the month. The French ministry restored the practise
after a six year hiatus where the Sunday entrance fee was half the
normal weekday price. On France 2 television minister Douste-Blazy said
one reason he was bringing back the practise was so that everyone in
France would have the chance to see the extensive artwork available in
the Louvre. Many exhibits that used to languish in the basement are now
available for viewing. The minister's first memory of going to the
Louvre was with his family. He hopes many more people can now share a
A little further east and you will need to detour to Quai de Louvre
along the river Seine. You are looking for the Samaritane Department
store. And no, you are not here to shop unless you want to. The goal is
to go to the top floor and then take the stairs to the very top to the
panorama where you get the best view of Paris for FREE. From here you
can see all around what Paris looks like and if you feel like it eat at
the bistro on the floor right below.
Now that you have walked about 5km take a break and head to the hotel
Eiffel Tower and Statue de Liberte
Next stop is la Tour Eiffel. Here you want to take the #6
(Nation/Charles de Gaulle-Etoile) metro. Get off at the stop Trocadero.
When you exit head for the large structure and view the most incredible
sight of the Eiffel Tower you can imagine.
Walk down the stairs past the fountains and cross the streets with care
and go up the Eiffel Tower. Do this once during the daylight hours and
once at night. The French are experts at the night time lighting of
buildings/monuments and the sights of Paris are extrodinaire at any time
of night. You can also walk to the other side of the Champs de Mars (the
park at the base of the Eiffel Tower) to Ecole Militaire. Again, do not
walk on the grass. Be sure to order a 'crepe au chocolat' a delight to
eat while walking. Take napkins for the kids (very messy).
in the Africa's during WWII) and keep going past it along the Seine
River. You will notice a small island in the middle of the Seine, Alles
de Cygnees, where you will find the original Statue de Liberte. The
smaller prototype of the same statue sent to the Americas. After you see
the statue and are walking back take an opportunity to take really
excellent pictures of the Eiffel tower of your loved ones in front of
it. This is the best stop for really romantic pictures. Plus the walk
under the tree covered path is romantic in itself. Pleasantly, this is
not a touristy spot for some reason.
Now you head off and take the metro to Pigalle to see Sacre Coeur
(Sacred Heart Church) on top of the hill which is a structure you have
seen from every point that you have visited so far. A great place to
relax, drink a bottle of excellent French wine and eat a sandwich.
There is an incline tram here that travels up the hill. You can use one
of your metro passes to take it either up or down.
Near the church at the top of the hill is a place (plaza) where street
artists of all kinds sell nice paintings. Haggle, the artists expect you
to. If you don't, you have overpaid. A good technique is to see
something you like and inquire to it's price. Then walk away. Fork out
the Francs you're willing to pay into your back pocket and go back. Then
simply present the artist with the Francs and more likely than not
he/she will take it.
The Grateful Dead
You may think I am crazy about this next attraction but it is by far one
of the more bizarre places I have ever been. Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise
(same metro exit). Here you will find such notables as Fredrick Chopin
(!), Edith Piaf, and Jim Morrison who, by the way, has a full time
guard. But not only are the residents here of note but also the entire
atmosphere and uniqueness of the cemetary and it's architecture of the
mausoleums. Put this place on your list. There are maps for 10F at the
flower shop at the metro exit . None of the maps are accurate to the
exact location so expect to spend some time finding your idol's grave.
A similar experience can be had at the catacombs. You need to exit the
Denfert-Rochereau metro. The entrance to the catacombs is in a small
green building in the place. Open only during certain hours and closed
at lunch time.
Shopping at La Defence
La Defense is a shopping area so if you are interested in that then this
is the place to go. Not only that but this area, right outside of Paris,
is also the only area where large building are allowed to be built. The
Grande Arc La Defense is here and lined up perfectly with the Arc de
Triomphe. Grab some food from the Auchat supermarket in La Defense and
eat on the stairs. On a nice day you can see quite far. La Defence is
named after a French defense against the Prussians a long time ago, it
is not a defense area. You will see buildings named after well known
companies like Fiat, Renault, Elf, etc. here.
The Samaritaine mentioned above is also good shopping.
Time for break, go home and relax.
Now to see another famous site, Notre Dame. Take the metro #4 to Cite
stop. Exit here and you will be at Notre Dame.
area of Paris. You will find lots of Greek restaurants here amongst
others. The small streets can take you back in time if there are not too
many people there.
[weekender] Britain, and primarily London, is easily accessible from
Paris. The Eurostar (soon to be renamed) trains run constantly between
the two cities. Reasonably priced and usually efficient service for a
3-4 hour journey.
Word of warning for those travelling with youngsters and trying to find
authentic fish and chips. Pubs in London do not allow children. Wierd
but true. Ergo, my kids had to wait until we got back to Paris to do the
fish and chips thing.
[daytrip] Probably alot of information exists on this so I'll just go
over some highlights.
The RER to Disneyland is a short one half hour journey and is priced at
34F each way for adults.
You can take food/drinks into Disneyland. I recommend taking a bottle to
hold water. There is very little shade in this place and you will find
yourself standing in long lines for some very short experiences.
Restaraunt prices are reasonable so you may just want to save yourself
the trouble of carrying food around.
You will get guides to the park when you enter. Make sure to purchase
your tickets in the language you are most comfortable. Asking for the
tickets in French will get you the guides in French, heh. Tickets are
expensive. If you go by the standard pricing you can easily pay over
200F per adult. Fortunately, the place isn't doing well so prices are
Souvenirs here are expensive but no where else will you be able to
purchase clothing that says 'Disneyland Paris' so if you want it, buy it
here. Otherwise, many of the toys, stuffed animals, etc are available at
the Disney store in Paris on the Champs-Elysesses.
There is a parade both mid-day and in the evening. If the kids have the
energy then the evening parade is worth seeing.
[daytrip] Just north of Paris. Based on the french Asterix comics Parc
Asterix was opened probably to compete against the American based
La Villette/Cite de Sciences
[daytrip] A hands on science exihibit. Very large place. Good for the
kids. You will find that french children are very agressive and not used
to getting in a line. You'll have to watch the kids carefully.
Restaurants in Paris
I suppose no guide to Paris is worth anything without a listing of
restaurants to visit. One thing I found out is that most restaurants do
not open for dinner until 20h00.
To the uninitiated french restaurants have a thing on the menu called a
menu. It is a predetermined set of entre, plate and desert. Depending on
the restaurant you will pay anywhere from 45F on up per person. While
your selection isn't as varied as the ala carte choices it will usually
be adequate enough and less expensive than ala carte, generally.
Aux Deux Canard
(ask at your hotel to look it up in the Minitel). Recommended by Mike
Thompson, and seconded by Jon Ryan, for a business dinner this place is
absolutely one of the best restaurants in Paris. After you are seated
the owner of the restaurant will come out and give you not only the
history of the place but some more showmanship that I won't go into so
as to not spoil the surprise! By the way, the owner speaks several
different languages so don't be intimidated to come to this restaurant.
The menu is exquisite and as the name implies the orange duck is worth
the visit. The menu is also incredibly reasonably priced! Reservations
are recommended. Major credit cards accepted.
La Bouteille d'Or
9 quai Montebello, metro St. Michel or Maubert-Mutualite, Tel:
(1)184.108.40.206 or (1)220.127.116.11. Very french, very good, very nice
view, very well priced! When calling for a reservation request a table
by the window. The view of Notre Dame, at night, makes this a unique
dining experience at an unbelievably reasonable price. The staff speaks
English too. Our dinner tab for four was 1045F (~$200US) which was
incredible considering we all had entrees, plat and dessert including
two bottles of Medoc and 6 bottles of Evian.
22 rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare, Tel: (1)18.104.22.168. Featuring cuisine
and wines from the Auvergne region of France. Also one of the better
restaurants in Paris for reasonably priced, delicious food. The decor is
posh, but not ugly, and the staff is extremely efficient. Unlike other
french restaraunts you actually have some room here. People are not
packed up against each other like sardines. Our dinner tab here for four
was only 988F including two bottle of wine and apertifs. This restaurant
has been recently written up in several magazines and reservations are
probably a necessity.
Le Persil Fleur
8 rue Boudreau, metro Opera, Tel: (1)22.214.171.124. Nothing very special
about this place. The escargo is served cold in a salad. The food
otherwise is adequate but a bit overpriced in my opinion.
102 Blvd du Montparnasse; metro Vavin; Tel (1)126.96.36.199. Reservations
recommended as this place "seems to be in" at the moment.
108 Blvd du Montparnasse; Tel (1)188.8.131.52
located at the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) a very trendy and upscale
restaurant. Prices are in proportion to it's upscale clientele. Bring
lots of francs if you decide to eat here. It is not at the top of the
Eiffel but at the first level. Reservations are recommended.
I have been telling people it would come to this for a LONG time. Of
course everyone thought I was 1) nuts, or 2) an asshole, but again as
usual I'm right.
-- Tim Byars