Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Colonne Vendôme

Here's a view from the Place de l'Opéra, looking down the rue de la Paix toward the Place Vendôme and the monument at its center, the Vendôme column. The column was made to commemorate Napoléon's victory in the Battle of Austerlitz (1805).

The rue de la Paix was quite peaceful on this Sunday morning. A statue of Napoléon is perched at the top of the column.

The column was fabricated from the melted cannons captured during the battle. It's been restored a couple of times, apparently. The place where it sits is the center of Paris' diamond and precious jewel trade. Very swank, very high-end. It's also the home of the famed hotel, Le Ritz.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Opéra

My walk took me through the Place de l'Opéra and by the opera house for which it's named. There are two operas in Paris. This one is the original, designed by Charles Garnier and opened in 1875. A new modern opera house was built in the 1980s on the Place de la Bastille.

Approaching the Place de l'Opéra from the rue du Quatre Septembre.

Unless you have a lot of time and are very patient, it's hard to get a good clear shot of the Opéra building from the place. Traffic moves through from all directions, including tall trucks and tour buses. On this day, there was a construction vehicle parked in the middle. I have to keep reminding myself that Paris is real city, not some Disney-esque attraction with built-in photo spots. Reality is a much better place, so I happily (most of the time) accept the cars, trucks, and buses as part of the landscape.

The main entrance to the Opéra. One day I'd like to go inside.

I walked through the place just after ten o'clock and started thinking about lunch. I was on my own, not scheduled to meet up with my friends until after two. Hmmm... where to go?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Show me the way to the next pizza bar

Oh, don't ask why. There seems to be a proliferation of pizza places in Paris. I don't remember seeing so many, everywhere. Maybe I just wasn't looking, but I don't think that's the case.

This pizza bar is on the rue du Quatre Septembre.

It wasn't lunch time yet and I didn't eat here. I continued my Sunday morning walk westerly, toward the Opéra, humming a Doors tune.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Le Vaudeville

Here's a restaurant that Ken and I have actually eaten in. It was back in the '90s after going to see Véronique Sanson give a concert at the Olympia. We were looking for a place to eat that was open late, after-hours. We found this place on the rue Vivienne across from the Bourse (the Paris stock exchange) and it was bustling. In fact, the restaurant was packed to the rafters.

Le Vaudeville in the morning. It opens at 8:00am, seven days a week.

It's a big place, but the only tables available, two of them, were in the "non-smoking" section. Ha! Those two tables were completely surrounded by the rest of the restaurant. One didn't need to "light up" to smoke at those tables. Smoke hung thick in the entire dining room. That didn't bother us much, as we had a habit of enjoying cigarettes while on vacation in France (not any more). Since then the law has changed to prohibit smoking inside restaurants. That's a good thing.

Here's a photo that Ken took showing Le Vaudeville as it looked when we ate there in the late '90s.

The restaurant is a full-service brasserie that specializes in fruits de mer (shellfish) and other seafood, but I don't remember what we ate. I do remember that it was good and we had a great experience.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Another restaurant

Still in the same neighborhood, on the rue Vivienne. This is an Italian restaurant called Daroco. It fronts the street, but also has windows into the Galerie Vivienne. Passages and galeries in Paris are the 19th century precursors to shopping malls. They're glass-covered passageways, often between buildings, lined with shops. Their translucent roofs bring light into the galerie while protecting shoppers from the weather.

Part of Daroco's dining room seen through the windows inside the Galerie Vivienne.

I passed by in the morning before the restaurant opened for lunch. I could see the staff inside busily preparing for the day and getting the wood-fired oven ready for pizza making. Yum. But I would not eat here this day.

Friday, June 15, 2018

La rue Vivienne

Running north from the Palais Royal is the rue Vivienne. Along its western side is the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (the French National Library). The old one. The new site over on the eastern end of the city is often called the TGB, or Très Grande Bibliothèque (the Very Big Library), a play on words with the TGV, France's high-speed rail train.

Looking up the rue Vivienne from the Palais Royal.

Opposite from the old library, which is undergoing renovations right now, is this restaurant, Le Grand Colbert. It's named for the finance minister who served under King Louis XIV. I walked up the street and liked the contrast between the building's art-deco façade and the scaffolding on the old library.

Le Grand Colbert, open "non-stop" from noon until midnight.

I don't know anything about this restaurant, other than it's famous. I don't know whether it's good, or expensive, or not. Oh well. Something to research, maybe, one day. Let me know if you've been there!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Le Grand Véfour

Here's a restaurant that I'll probably never dine in (too rich for my blood). It's called Le Grand Véfour, located on the northern end of the Palais Royal. It was established in 1784 by a man named Jean Véfour. In 1953, the restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars under chef Raymond Olivier. After thirty years with three stars, the Véfour was reduced to two stars, but in 2000 chef Guy Martin got the third star back.

Le Grand Véfour, with the garden of the Palais Royal in the background.

The third star was taken away again in 2008. Guy Martin, now quite a celebrity, bought the restaurant in 2011 and remains the Véfour's chef. He hosted a television series on food called Epicerie Fine that ran for 35 episodes, most of which we've seen over the years.