Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Déjeuner De Triomphe

Before I left for Paris, I had arranged a lunch date with fellow American ex-pat blogger, l'Etrangère Americaine. We were to meet at 12:30 on Thursday over near her office, just off the Champs-Elysées, and go from there. So I left the Jardin des Plantes, walked over to the Gare d'Austerlitz, hopped on the métro to Bastille and transferred to head out to the Champs-Elysées.

On the left, the Champs-Elysées. On the right, Avenue Marceau.
Casa Luca is where you see the orange awning on the lower right.

I was a bit early, so I got off the métro one stop before mine and walked the rest of the way. The day had turned sunny and the temperature was incredibly pleasant. Of course, I was wearing my winter coat and scarf and it was more like jacket weather.

Place de la Concorde and the Louvre at the foot of the Champs-Elysées.

I met l'Etrangère Americaine at the agreed-upon rendez-vous point and we headed to lunch. The place she had in mind had a line out the door (I'll have to try to go there some time), so we engaged Plan B and got a table at Casa Luca at the top of Avenue Marceau, almost at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe. We had a great time getting to know each other a little, exchanging expat stories, and enjoying a delicious lunch. I had a plate of gnocci in a cream sauce with halved cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and shaved parmesan, and L'Etrangère had a mini pizza.

The basilica of Sacré Cœur in Montmartre.

Lunch went by too quickly and L'Etrangère needed to head back to work. We said good-bye and promised to meet up again, either in Paris or in the Loire Valley, and I walked over to Arc de Triomphe. I still had this valid museum pass burning a hole in my pocket, so I figured that, given the beauty of the day, a trip up to the top of the Arc was in order.

Eiffel Tower on the left, le Front-de-Seine on the right.

As I made may way through the tunnel under the Place de l'Etoile, my hopes were a bit dashed by the lengthening line of people waiting for access; it stretched halfway through the tunnel. I continued walking, past the ticket windows and up onto the Place at the foot of the Arc. I noticed that there was no line at the entrance to the Arc itself, so I walked in, flashed my pass and was welcomed in. No waiting!

Notre Dame on the left, le Panthéon on the right. The spectacular glass roof of the Grand Palais is in the foreground.

Of course, I had walked into the entrance for the stair instead of the elevator, so I climbed up the 247 steps to the top. I only had to stop for a rest once on the way up. My effort was rewarded with some of the best views of Paris you can get. I must have taken about twenty photos of the view, but curiously, I took none of the Arc itself.

Le quartier de La Défense and the Grande Arche.

After walking around the roof at least twice, I had to stop and figure out what to do next. My train was at six, and I needed to get back to the hotel and pick up my bag before going to the train station. I decided that, given how the weather was getting better and better, I would walk back to my Latin Quarter hotel. I took the stairs back down to street level, ducked into the métro, and rode the few stops to the Place de La Concorde.

My walk would take me through the Tuileries garden to the Louvre, then over the Pont des Arts to the left bank. More tomorrow...


  1. my fav activity in Paris is walking........2 yrs ago when i was there, all I did was walk in different areas of the city.....heaven ....save the museums for rainy days

  2. Great pics Walt. My favorite view in all of Paris is atop the Arc de Triomphe followed by the view from my office terrasse.

    It was great meeting up and I look forward to planning a trip to the Loire Valley.

  3. I last visited Paris in 1973 and I didn't realise it now has all that modern high rise shown in your photograph.

    I love the broad leafy avenues; so different from Sydney's narrow winding streets.

  4. melinda, walking is wonderful in Paris, sometimes even when the weather is bad.

    l'EA, thanks. Had a wonderful time, too!

    victor, yes, many high-rises! And there are plenty of narrow winding streets, too!

  5. We were surprised at the high-rises you could see from the top of the arc too. We couldn't work out what that strange upside-down U shaped building is?


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