Paris Journal: Day Two (Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe and Le Marais)

We started the day with a wonderful breakfast buffet in the hotel… lox, fresh bread, croissants, and a very odd hard boiled egg that couldn’t possibly have been from a chicken. We took the Metro to the Arc de Triumph and took the elevator to the top for a great view of Paris, the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower.

We walked down the Champs Elysees (with the song in our head the whole time) and stopped at some of the stores of the Paris fashion houses: Louis Vuitton, Peugeot (a car showroom) and others.Abercrombie and Fitch was pretty amazing… they have a golden gate at the opening of an alley from the main street. We thought it was some kind of embassy at first, but there was a big A&F sign and two young guys wearing matching outfits out front. To enter the store, you walk through the alley, which is lined with 10-foot tall manicured hedges, around a corner, past some square trimmed bushes and into the store itself. The entrance to the store featured paintings of guys with no shirts on and a real guy wearing only jeans… standing in the doorway so that visitors could take photos with him and his chest. As you enter the darkened store, you hear loud dance music and come to the middle of the store which is an open atrium. On each level of the atrium there’s a pair of salespeople who just stand and dance to the music. Pretty amazing sight.

We continued walking past the area where the stores are, and the avenue widens. We tried a cheese crepe from a crepe stand on the side of the road, walked through a garden where dozens of people were picnicking, and eventually back to the hotel where we rested for an hour or so. Rachel continued napping while I met with hotel staff.

We took the Metro to the Marais neighborhood and visited the BHV department store, which is enormous. The level we entered on was hardware and crafts, and there seemed to be an entire floor of just purses. The store was closing soon so we decided to plan to return another day next week. We headed out to walk through the neighborhood, which has small, local shops instead of chain stores and the people who live in the area seem to be mostly younger and dressed more casually. There’s also a large gay population there, evidenced by the many gay cafes and bars that we passed along the way.

We headed for the Jewish neighborhood and although many of the shops were closed, we were able to stop into a Kosher bakery for a few pastries for dessert later (cinnamon roll, apple strudel and some kind of date pastry). We had dinner at L’As du Fallafel, which claims to have the best falafel in the world. It’s Israeli owned and Kosher as well. The food was pretty great but the mayo in the cabbage in the sandwich was a little odd. The sandwich did include eggplant which was really delicious.

We continued walking through the Marais area and eventually took the Metro back to our hotel.

They sell these macarons everywhere in lots of flavors!

Cool theater poster for in the Metro
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