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Abbesses (Métro Line 12)

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Abbesses is the deepest metro station in Paris
38 meters (118 feet) up from the tracks to the foot of Sacre Couer

Which compares to . . .
Paris Catacombs: 20 meters down (65 feet)
Arc de Triomphe: 60 meters up (197 feet)
Notre Dame Tower: 69 meters up (226 feet)

On my very first visit to Paris, I insisted that we climb up and out of the Abbeses Metro
(instead of waiting for the elevator, to “best experience” Paris’s deepest Metro)
Then, there is the walk up another some 270 stairs to Sacre Couer
(so many steps that there is a finicular “tram” up the “Mont” to the Basilica at the price of another Metro Ticket)
Again I insisted that we hike-up to Sacre Couer to “best experience” Paris
This seriously damaged the relationship with my companion
(she had a different concept of the Paris experience)
After a wonderful lunch (where they didn’t accept credit cards, and I asked her for cash) the trip suffered a devastating first day and never really recovered)

Abbesses: Paris Métro Station for Montmartre and Amélie Fans

Instant Coffee (and 1st Class)

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I drink instant coffee, the dry powder (“freeze-dried”) like the astronauts drink
The reasoning is, to drink generic coffee on a daily basis, so that when you can have a premium coffee drink, that it can truly be appreciated. Keep your standards and expectations low, so that you can appreciate the extraodinary.
The new guy at work, shared that it is the same way as flying 1st Class.
You can easily slip into flying 1st Class.
Flying economy is increasingly a real challenge: the cramped quarters, the seat in front of you reclined so that it is practically in your chin, the portly lady across from you who crashes into you with her buttock every time she leaves her seat, the restricted movement which put pressure on your tail-bone . . .
So in 2021 there were two trips abroad (making up for 2020 trips)
The first trip was very challenging, as travel started to resume, with major staffing challenges at airports
(there was a minor skirmish with an elderly French couple on the plane, just like you hear on social media)
Then when checking COVID credentials on the second trip, my seat was changed – moved forward four rows into business class, and I discovered a whole new world.

You board the jet first,
No problem with earphone jacks (there are headphones) and a bottle of water.
There are upscale movies (even a remote control) your legs extend all the way (almost fully reclined like a lazy-boy)
You are provided with a tooth brush, sleeping mask, ear plugs and even a pair of socks (thin and breathable) to wear during the flight.
Before the inflight meal, they spread a white table cloth over the larger than standard seat table.
The meal had many courses and choices
(when I inquired about this cheesy soft custard pudding, she asked if I wanted another)
We were first on – and first off
How can I ever go back, if I can afford it

(although reviewing my spending – can I afford it?)

Croissants

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Croissants (and Baguettes) are one of a few things that are extraordinary in Paris (despite our “small world” global economy)
My favorite Croissant (chocolate) at McDonald’s near Le Louvre, called a Pan au Chocolate (Chocolate Bread) is my favorite
The Croissant at this bar that serves Mussels and Pizza (where I had a petit dejeuner “breakfast” before watching the Spiderman movie) – I can still remember that Croissant
So . . .
Why do they serve that chewy, rubbery, gummy croissant on Air France on the overnight trip to Paris?
(Answer: probably, so there are not a million flaky croissant crumbs and the seats and floor to clean-up)

Pan au Chcolate

Chocolate

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Chocolate in not my priority. I like dark chocolate, but I am not “Wowed” by a box of Chocolates

Our favor Paris Chocolate Experiences include:

The Chocolate Croissant (at McDonald’s by the Louvre, before visiting the musee)
It’s fresh and it’s Paris (technically it’s called a Pan au Chocolate)

Chocolate Squares with Cocoa Bean Pieces (Maxim’s of Paris – boutique Carrousel du Louvre
(Yes, you can can buy these on Amazon)
But these are nice pieces of Dark Chocolate textured with bits of Cocoa Beans – I am easily impressed
Maybe I should expend my Paris Chocolate Horizons

I imagine you could buy some great Hot Chocolate in Paris

My Tour at Centre Pompidou

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This year I wisely chose a English Language Tour of the Baselitz Exhibition at Centre Pompidou
Pompidou
We assembled for the English Language Tour, and it turns out, I was the only participant
I had expected to let the lecture flow over me, where I picked up what was interesting, but otherwise a passive experience
This turned out to be a more demanding hour-and-one-half, where the leader spoke only to me, and being me, I felt obliged to ask questions and listen more actively.
As the leader stated, this was like a V.I.P.
Baselitz is not one of the top 50 Modern Art Artists, but maybe quite close

Here are some Observations
(it is obvious that I love Paris, Centre Pompidou, the things that make Paris different)

Tickets and Entry: During COVID, lines are shorter, more people buy tickets in advance
(the result is the the line people without tickets is very short, no wait – this who buy tickets in advance wait in a long line) Extraordinary

At Le Louvre there are several kiosks with Museum Maps for every imaginable language (actually all-but-one kiosk is open during COVID, and many Gift Shop Kiosks are also closed) At Centre Pompidou, when I asked for an English Language Map, the attendant said “No” and pointed me to a image I could scan to view the map on my 6″ phone screen

MONUMENTAL
The scope of the exhibition was massive. Works from his early days, through his whole life, large paintings exhibited in huge galleries
I’d seen this with exhibits for Toulouse La Trec (and El Greco) at the Grand Palais
I also saw this at a Soutine/De Kooning exhibit at L’Orangerie this year
That (and the Bread) are reasons to visit Paris – even with the COVID, even with the airlines and airports

Homme au verre de vin

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Man with Wine Glass (Anonyme)
(with Wine Bread and Cheese)

Man with a Glass of Wine

This French Painting from the Louvre, dated from the late 15th century, epitomizes my visits to Paris.
Bring home a different bottle of Wine or Champagne with a new loaf of bread and a cheese variety.

The parameters: I don’t go into Wine Shops (“cave à vins”) or Cheese Shops (“fromageries”)
I do shop bakeries (boulangerie) but most grocery stores have good bread (and most of them have prepacked sliced round loafs of Poilâne)

THE BEST
Wine and Champaign: was not well known champagnes which came in a thermal sleeve
but a clean easy bottle that you could drink all day and brush your teeth with
Bread: will always be from my favorite Montmartre Boulangerie
(although accessible Poilane loafs (as David Lebowitz sez is a reason to live in Paris) needs to be mentioned
Cheese: Lots of good wine, bread and Cheese in Paris, but my favorite was a fermented goat cheese, a relatively thin-wide round, which was slightly greyed and didn’t have much structural integrity.
Displayed on a styrofoam tray, in plastic wrap, qs it warms it spreads out (SOOO GOOD)

Paris 2021

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December in Paris
Mona Lisa Police
Catacombs
Hotel 3 Colleges
D’Orsay
Spiderman
Hidden Hotel
Pompidou Baselitz Tour (One-on-One)
l-Orangerie Tour
COVID Test (get a negative test within 24 hours, or don’t come home)
Business Class
Health Card (“pass sanitaire”)
Man with Wine Glass
Bread
Cheese
Wine
Versailles Run
Eiffel Tower Run
The Producers
Romeo & Juliet, Wine and Cheese
The Louvre during COVID
Josephine Baker at the Pantheon
CDG Airport
Tete du Veal
An American Breakfast
Four Hotels
A Good Hotel Breakfast
The Bidet Experience

COVID Symptoms

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Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Where to obtain Health Pass (CGD)

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Health Pass Pass-sanitaire
I obtained my Health Pass at my favorite Pharmacy (“pharmacie”) in Montmartre
They asked for my Passport and White U.S. COVID Vaccine Card

It was 30-40 euros, I could have picked it up at “CDG”
but now-a-days I want nothing to do with that airport
(it has been the source of so much delay and frustration recently)

I received a scannable OR code which was required at restaurants, movie theaters, museums
Although Le Louvre was accepting U.S. COVID Vaccine Cards
(maybe the Louvre is so empty they can’t afford to turn anyone away)
Vaccination Card

How to obtain a health pass (“pass sanitaire“) in case of vaccination abroad?
CDG (Charles de Gaule International Airport)

Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Terminal 2 AC
AC connection
Public area
Open from 8:00 am to 21:00 pm 7j/7

Terminal 2E
Public area, departures Level
Open from 6:00 am to 20:00 pm 7j/7

Terminal 2F
Public area, departures Level
Open from 6:00 am to 20:00 pm 7j/7

https://www.parisaeroport.fr/en/passengers/services/pharmacies

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How to obtain a health pass (“pass sanitaire“) in case of vaccination abroad?
CDG (Charles de Gaule International Airport)

Pharmacie Lepic-Blanche
11 Rue Lepic 75018 Paris

Grande Pharmacie De La Place Blanche
5 Place Blanche 75009 Paris

Pharmacie Européene
6 Place de Clichy 75009 Paris

https://www.sante.fr/how-to-obtain-a-french-health-pass

Pharmacies which provide Health Pass (Montmartre)

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How to obtain a health pass (“pass sanitaire“) in case of vaccination abroad?
Montmartre

Pharmacie Lepic-Blanche
11 Rue Lepic 75018 Paris

Grande Pharmacie De La Place Blanche
5 Place Blanche 75009 Paris

Pharmacie Européene
6 Place de Clichy 75009 Paris

https://www.sante.fr/how-to-obtain-a-french-health-pass

Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Terminal 2 AC
AC connection
Public area
Open from 8:00 am to 21:00 pm 7j/7

Terminal 2E
Public area, departures Level
Open from 6:00 am to 20:00 pm 7j/7

Terminal 2F
Public area, departures Level
Open from 6:00 am to 20:00 pm 7j/7