Paris – Part One

Paris is beautiful, sprawling, elegant, dirty, busy, loaded with history and covered in graffiti. Everything I like in a city. My french is embarrassingly bad – I felt too ashamed in most instances to attempt to speak it. However, people were very kind and only laughed at us a little while helping us out a lot.

Yup. I’m a tourist.

We took the Eurostar over from the UK, checked into our hotel and then hit the streets in search of a vegetarian restaurant. They do exist in France, promise. We stayed at Mama Shelter, near the Gambetta Metro stop, it’s a terrific hotel and I recommend it highly. Very cool modern interiors (with a black wall!), free Wifi in the rooms, flat screen tv, and high quality complimentary soaps in the bathrooms. The building is made of concrete and our room was the quietest hotel room I’ve ever had. If you’re a light sleeper such as myself, you understand what a blessing this is while traveling.

Click below for more Paris travel porn…

On the way to dinner we passed by Notre Dame just in time for the beginning of evening mass. We wandered in with the rest of the crowd, only to be startled when the enormous pipe organ behind us began to play. I’ve never seen a more beautiful cathedral.


I’m lucky to travel with someone possessing an uncanny sense of direction. David successfully navigated us to Le Grenier de Notre-Dame after I got us completely lost. We had an amazing meal along with the first of many carafes of red wine.

The next day we decided to do the most touristy thing imaginable and buy tickets for one of those ‘hop-on, hop-off bus tours’. It wound up being a great idea as we saw all the big monuments and got a sense of what we wanted to go back and see. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the Louvre. With only three days to spend in the France, it didn’t feel like we’d have time to really invest in a visit. Next time, for sure.

Inevitably I fall in love with the fantasy of moving to wherever I’m traveling. I have a million photos of apartments in other places I daydream about renting. Check out that iron-work balcony! And that beautiful/dangerous looking thing on the side! Is it to keep someone out, or someone in? No idea! I’d just love to live there in a romantic rooftop apartment full of flowers.

Later on we had dinner with a friend of a friend. He brought us to one of the best Italian restaurant I’ve ever eaten at, and then back to his apartment for more wine. His place actually is one of those rooftop apartments – formerly the maids quarters, and is accessible through what used to be the back staircase, which was used only by servants. Climbing up seven flights of steep stairs was a nice dose of reality, but I’d be willing to make the sacrifice. It’d burn off all the butter and cheese I’d consume.

More Eiffel tower shots. I was unprepared for how incredible this monument is in person, and how it changes over the course of the day according to the light. In retrospect, I wished I had brought a more casual point and shoot camera. There were a number of places where lugging the DSLR was cumbersome, and I’d like to have had the option to be a little less formal with my shooting.

The next day we took the train out to Versaille, which is a whole separate post. Hope you enjoyed this one.

Where we stayed – Mama Shelter

Where we ate – Le Grenier de Notre-Dame, numerous small cafes, sidewalk crepe stands, boulangeries – great sources for pre-made sandwiches and the most mind-blowingly delicious fruit tarts in creation.

Other vegetarian food links I found useful –


Dave Leibovitz

Paris Vegetarian

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