A Travellerspoint blog

Chinese Restaurant - Q-TEA restaurant Paris

sunny 21 °C

I wasn't going to eat dinner but was feeling quite hungry. Starving actually. I walked a lot more yesterday but maybe it was just catching up with me.

Many if not most restaurants are closed on Sunday. When I was by the Opera House I saw that the famous Olympia was open and quite busy.

Chinese restaurant right by hotel called Q-TEA restaurant Paris was open and I did have a craving for some kind of Asian food. Thought about sushi as there were a few sushi restaurants in the area. More than I expected and they would certainly not live up to the ones I am used to in Vancouver.

Girl working there speaks a little Cantonese and is fluent in Mandarin as she was born in China. She was watching a show in Mandarin off of a laptop.

There were a couple of guys playing cards and a couple eating hot pot at another table. I ordered a vegetable dish which was simple but hit the spot. Definitely more expensive to eat Chinese food in Paris. This place was just a little greasy spoon but decent. Chinese Mushrooms, straw mushrooms and shanghai bok choy in oyster sauce. In Richmond you would get 3 and probably 4 times this for the same price. Ordered 5 wor tip, shanghai dumplings and they were cooked from fresh. Only 5 tables and small.

Excellent wor tip. Doughy but not too much. Cooked perfectly. No soy on the side or on table but chili sauce. Bright red, not oil based. Nice and full as it was the right amount.

Got back to my room shortly after 8:00 pm and then started to watch a funny french film which I am sure I have seen the American version of or if not I have seen this French movie before. Most enjoyable. Then went down to the lobby and blogged about today.

Quite a few tv channels here and they do get CSI LA dubbed in French.

Posted by Sydney324 14:35 Archived in France Tagged food Comments (0)

Day 1 Paris, Samedi 7 Août 2010 - Illuminations of Paris

21 °C

On Saturday evening, August 7 I did my bits of shopping along Rue de Rivoli (I can't help but remember it by thinking Ravioli. Somehow I think that might be just a bit disrespectful.) and then it was time to go to the Cityrama to see Paris all lit up. I had bought this tour as part of a package deal that included this Illuminations of Paris Tour, Cityrama Tour and 4 nights at a nice hotel that included a continental breakfast. I had to decide what day I was to see everything when I booked my trip. Even if I was tired on my first day in Paris I thought it would be a good way in which to start my trip.

The night tour was fine. It was nice to get some explanations for many of the various monuments and they were definitely beautiful when all lit up. They were also lit up in such a way that it really enhanced the architecture. Saw Concorde Square, Champs Elysees Avenue, Arch of Triumph, Eiffel Tower, Invalides, Louvre Museum,and Notre-Dame Cathedral. The driver circled around many of the monuments so that you got to view it from all directions.

The Eiffel Tower was the highlight and at precisely 10:00 pm it's lights did a cascade and so the Eiffel Tower was all sparkly. I learned on the day tour a couple of days later that the Eiffel Tower is a she and she does get repainted on a regular basis. They said that she gets her makeup redone.

It was the usual type of bus tour in any city. You get a headset and then you chose the appropriate button for the channel that will be your language. At the right angle you can take some successful pictures and it was enjoyable but not spectacular.

Going home we had the option of being dropped off at our pick up point of Pyramides Street or getting dropped off at the Opera station.

I chose to get off at Opera as it was a main station and I would be able to get back to my hotel quicker. I caught the correct train and got off at Saint Lazare and then I transferred to the No. 12 line and got myself back to the hotel by getting off at Saint Georges. I know it might be silly but I was pretty darned happy that I was understanding this train system. Very similar to the one in New York, the names have been changed that's all. As long as you study the map and see which stations intersect with which lines it is not hard to get around.

Proud and giddy like I had just learned how to button a shirt. By the way I am actually old enough to not remember how that felt.

Posted by Sydney324 14:35 Archived in France Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Too Chic - Outlet Store

sunny

I got on the Metro closest to the L'Orangerie, which was perhaps half a block away. There were a few stands just outside the Jardins des Tuileries. One sold souvenirs at a much higher price than on the Rue de Rivoli. There was another stand and this one sold waffles, sandwiches and ice cream. 4 euro for one and as much as I would have loved one I couldn't quite justify the price, at least not that day.

I went one stop on the Metro and got off at Madelaine.

I started to simply walk. Immediately after getting off at Madeline, I saw both Fauchon stores and Hediard. Both were closed. It might just have been the time of day as it was after 6 pm and it was a Sunday. I started to walk and about 2 blocks away were a string of sex shops, then some nicer stores and the Opera house. It seemed odd that they would be in this area. I did however, notice a sign on one of them with a Japanese flag. I guess you could get a little Prada and then wander over for a little something else.

I often like to wander and not have a destination as often times that is when I find something interesting. My logic didn't fail me. I found an outlet store called Too Chic.

Mommy was pretty happy.

The store had 2 floors. The main floor had clothes and accessories for women. The second, up a winding flight of stairs was for men.

They carried Ed Hardy and it wasn't love so I didn't buy. Tried to even convince myself but it wouldn't work. One very pretty flower bag or a leather embossed purse with leopard. Love Ed Hardy but latter was even too loud for me. Price was right even 89 euro but not love. :(. No luck on clothes either. Did find a Balenciaga blouse to love but 229 euro is too rich for me.

They also carried Parasuco, D and G, Ralph Lauren, Guess, American Eagle, Balman or Baltman of Paris. Prada shoes, Miu Miu and D and G. Something called Car shoes and Maria Christina.

Mommy was even happier when I eyed the perfect pair of red patent leather slingbacks. Peep toe. Have been searching for the perfect red shoes for about two years now. Miu Miu. Shoes were 150 Euro. Never spent this kind of money on shoes or even a piece of clothing unless it was leather. Will wear them at Jason and Karen's nuptials. I have been lucky enough to own a few pairs of Guess but Miu Miu is in a totally different category. They are up there with Prada and D & G. I think I just had a Sex and the City moment. They are so beautiful that I contemplated looking at them all night. Only one pair and in my size. Thank you shopping goddess.

I also found gifts for both my sons here as well.

I spent probably 30 minutes in the store and then it was really time to call it a night. I had been more than pleased with my finds. Also passed a store in my travels called Yumi Mazao which looked interesting. Will hope to check it out when it is open. Also passed a Nine West store.

I got back on the Metro at the Opera station, transferred at Saint Lazare and back to Saint Georges. Left around 7:15 pm.

Posted by Sydney324 23:57 Archived in France Tagged shopping Comments (0)

Day 2, Dimanche, 8 Août, 2010 - Musée Dorsay and L'Orangerie

23 °C

Had a wonderful and restful sleep. I woke up and forgot where I was. I know, how could one possibly forget they were in Paris. It was actually just seconds, and I am still feeling a lot of "You are really here, it's a dream come true."

I had a really good stretch as my right side was quite sore. Probably a combination of walking too much and with flip flops no less.

Woke up to my alarm at 8:30 am and I could have probably slept another couple of hours but I had too much to see and so little time. Around 9:00 am Margy called and we had a giddy and gigglely chit chat. I would see her tomorrow sometime after I get back from my Cityrama Tour which leaves from Rues de Pyramides.

Got myself organized with snacks, another Larabar, Cliff bar and a bottle of Vitamin water. In the end I just bought another yummy baguette, this time Poulet from the stand at the Musée d'Orsay.

Had a nice breakfast at the hotel which is included as part of my stay. More than enough choices and unlimited. I had fresh yogurt and it was thick and very fresh. No additives in this. I had it with some granola. I had the toast which is like real toast but smaller and not as dried out as melba toast. Peach jam, a glass of orange juice and two cups of tea. Also had a mini croissant and a pain de chocolat. Good filling breakfast to start the day off right.

Did a little research on the internet as I wanted to see the Musée d'Orsay today. I just wasn't sure about the museum pass. I kept toggling between yes or no and then how many days should I buy for was the other dilemma.

Anyways left the hotel around 11:00 am and took the Metro to Solférino and walked to the Musee d'Orsay. I purchased 10 metro tickets. Buying it that way I saved 5 euro. Single tickets sell for 1.70 euro and a set of 10 tickets, which I was able to buy at the machine, the tickets just come out individually work out to 1.20 euro each trip. So thanks Margy. I guess it was fear of committment as I did know about buying a book of 10. I was anxious about getting on the Metro but it is quite similar to New York with the various lines intersecting. The names are just different, that's all.

The lineups for the Musée d'Orsay were pretty long and by the time I arrived it was just after noon. The sun was shining nice and hot. East Indian men were selling cold bottles of water for 1 euro just in front of the line ups. They were also selling Eiffel Towers in a variety of sizes and colours.

I ended up being lined up for about 40 minutes which was good, considering the crowd. Lines moved fairly quickly and it was all well organised. I think they have done this before.

While waiting, I started to think about how much time I would have left in Paris. A full day tomorrow and then just the morning on both Tuesday and Wednesday. In the end I didn't buy the pass but paid 13 euro today to see both L'Orangerie and Musée d'Orsay as that was a combo that they offered. It was a passport and you could go in and out as much as you wanted for the day so a good deal all in all, as both museums are not too far from each other.

I was so excited about being at the Musee d'Orsay, but I was still never really prepared for just how beautiful the museum and all the works of art were going to be. I have rarely felt that expression about crying because it is so beautiful. I felt extremely emotional. I wanted to cry and thought if I did, the gendarme would whisk me away and I'd never see the museum so I got a grip on myself pretty quick.

The artists were so very talented and there were so many. That is what I had a hard time grasping as well that there was so much talent. Some of the artists I saw and liked were Elie Delaunay, Xavier Winterhalter, Jacques-Emile Blanche (portraits of women. Pastels. Subtlty brought out skin tones very nicely), Jean-Joseph Perraud, Alfred Sisley (really nice paintings of scenary), Paul Cézanne. Especially liked Portrait de l'artiste.

Then Claude Monet. Lump in throat getting to see his work. Like my friend Jocelan said, just think once these guys touched this. I had never thought of the art that way although it was a given, that they touched it. Thinking this makes it all more powerful and amazing that a hundred or two hundred years have since passed and their work is still being enjoyed.

Pierre-August Renoir. Wonderful oil paintings and so many.

Paul Signac. Quite a unique style. All the strokes are short and in oil. Really like.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. All I can say is Wow. There are no words.

Edgar Degas. The athleticism that comes out in his sculptures takes your breath away. All the details, you can see the sinews and the curve of each part of the body. Truly amazing.

Paul Gaugin who said "Art is an abstraction; take it from nature while dreaming in front of it" was his recommendation.

Lucien Levy-Dhurmer - very cool portraits.

Degas' famous crowd scene. There was quite the throng of people around it and they were all silent. Just overwhelmed and in awe that they were here and seeing the original. People were simply speechless.

Gustave Caillebotte - really liked Portrait d'artiste. You can feel him looking at you. It is like you were looking at a person. Very good looking man. Whew, I am in Paris and yes there are quite the yummy looking men.

"Connection and dialogue" it said on the wall. It grouped two artists together. It was interesting to find that they had grouped Monet with Rodin. Monet is my favourite painter and Rodin is my favourite sculptor.

Honoré Daumier - Funny caricatures of men. Many of them look like lawyers or Judges from back in the day. Powedered wigs and all.

Plates by Service Lambert-Rousseau. They were all Chinese themed. Turtles, grasshoppers, birds, flowers, and Rooster. There were also chairs made of thick bamboo with porcelain seats and backs.

Also cloissione artwork.

I then entered a gold room with chandeliers. So overwhelmed by the intense beauty that I did start to cry. I have never seen anything so incredibily beautiful. There were sculputures in this room and I can't even remember the artist.

Ernest Boarrias - a sculptor who used coloured and solid coloured marble together. It made for a very interesting and unique combination. You would swear that it was fabric and not solid stone.

Charles Cordier - another sculptor whose pieces were just the heads and they were of black people. Possibly African but I am not certain.

Painter by the name of Leon Belly. A group of elephants in a scene from the wild in Africa I would assume. There was one other painting of his as well and it was a group of men on camels going through the desert.

I had spent about 2 hours there and didn't see everything of course, but saw all that I wanted to see except for Rodin on the third floor. I did however have enough reserve energy to hit the gift store. That's a separate energy store, kind of like the second stomach for dessert that my son Andrew has. I bought a postcard book on Gustav Klimt, another favourite of mine, a book on Paris, and a DVD on France.

Exhausted by then and still needed to go to the Musée de L'Orangerie.

Walked on the bridge over the Seine from the Musée d'Orsay to the Jardins des Tuileries. Enroute there was a musician playing and singing. He was on the underground path. Took his photo and gave him some money.

I had bought myself a roll of the 2010 Olympic loonies as I thought it would be a good gift along with tips for the people of France. So far it has been a pretty big hit. I generally give them a euro tip along with a loonie. Because I only have 20 of them I have used them sparingly and when it has been something special.

Went to the Jardins store where I found the perfect gift for a special little boy.

Then I went to the L'Orangerie. Much smaller museum and no line ups at least not at this time. There I got to see Renoir, Henri Matisse. Forgot about Matisse's work. I bought a print postcard of his called "Les Trois Soeurs" which was painted in 1917.

I am still amazed that I am now seeing the works of so many artists whose names I have heard all my life. I am also finding a whole new range of artists that I did not know about.

One of them being Andre Derain who did a wonderful painting called "Portrait de Madame Paul Guillaume Au Grand Chapeau". I could not keep my eyes off of this one. Something about it kept drawing me in and so I purchased a small print. He also did another one called "La Niece du Peintr Assise", vers 1931.

Marie Laurecin , Cezanne's "Le Rocher rouge"

More Monet, lucky me!!!

Pablo Picasso nudes. Just amazing.

One other surprising difference at the L'Orangerie is that photography without a flash was allowed. At Musée d'Orsay there was a strict no photographs ban although I did see one guy taking photos on the sly. On the main floor were two rooms of Monet's "The Water Lilies". Each room housed 4 paintings. There was a sign asking people to please be silent while viewing the Water Lilies. Unfortunately, many didn't see the sign, or could not read English. But one thing was certain, everyone was moved by their magnificence. The size of the paintings are much larger than I ever expected.

Well with every museum comes a gift store and well, you know, I do love to shop. I was able to buy a few gifts as well as getting myself a very nice Murano glass necklace.

Then I left the store. I wandered around and thought about something I had bought and decided that I had to go back to buy another one for a gift. I took care of that and decided that it was time to go. It was almost 5 pm and too late to see Rodin or any other museums.

As I was walking out, I saw posters on the wall regarding the various exhibits. I thought I should take a picture, then I thought maybe no. In the end I decided might as well as I can always delete it but I won't come to this museum again, at least not on this trip.

Panic hit like a punch to my gut, as my camera was not there. I lost it. I know it wasn't stolen. My backpack opens on the front and is always zipped up and never out of my sight. I must have been distracted.

Luckily, instead of freaking out, I went into auto pilot. I immediately went to one of the desks and asked her to please call the gift store as that was the likely place. I was most concerned that a pick pocket might be lurking. If so, I would have lost everything. Sure enough she reported that a camera had been found and that it was either coming upstairs or still at the gift store.

Everyone there was fantastic. So very lucky. Never again and never before either.

Must have put it down when I was distracted by something sparkly. Pretty sure it was when I was checking out Murano glass.

Probably would be a smart practice when travelling to always check you have all your belongings when you are leaving a place. I would not have known I lost it till later if I had not decided to take a photo of poster as I was leaving.

Certain I could not have been pick pocketed as bag never left my sight and always in front. I realize that one needs to take breaks as well as hydrate and snack. Prime example is when I left L'Orangerie just after 5 pm and I couldn't find my banana anywhere in my carry bag and figured I must have dropped it. I did find it about 3 mins after. I had taken it out and put it under my arm as I got out my water.

Good thing I don't panic as much as I have gotten older. Too much energy. Also thankfully logic still shows up on occasion.

Lucky for certain. Thanks travel goddess. I could have really lost my camera and my banana. Anyways, I ate snack of banana and Larabar then started to walk towards the Metro for my next stop.

Posted by Sydney324 23:36 Archived in France Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Mon Premier Jour à Paris

Paris and Cynda will never be the same again.

all seasons in one day 14 °C

The shuttle driver left the airport driving at a frenetic pace as he rushed in and out of traffic through the winding streets. We had a few near misses and it seemed just like a regular day for him.

The roads leaving the airport were mostly unremarkable and looked like highways in any other large city. Even the foilage looked like it could be from anywhere Canada. It was dry and needed some rain. There would be a few billboards and then a large hand in many colours holding a cell phone by Samsung. Some of the buildings were different of course as the businesses were ones I was not familiar with. Did however zip by an IKEA in its basic blue and yellow.

After not too long it was like we were in another place. The streets were now much narrower and the buildings were old. Many windows were adorned with flower baskets and shutters. Lots of wrought iron and large doors as the entrance.

Arrived at my hotel located not too far from the Metro station of Saint Georges. I checked in and as it was still quite early, around 8:30 a room would not be available for some time and likely not until 12:00 noon. It was a Saturday afterall and to be expected. Left my luggage with the front desk and off I went to explore.

I was surprised by many things some pleasant and some not so. I couldn't believe how so many parts were dirty. Garbage strewn about, buildings in disrepair. The smell of pee in some areas and oh yes smeared doggie doo doo. I was careful to ensure that I didn't change the colour of my nice white flip flops. It wasn't unbearable just kinda yucky. I was also surprised by the amount of barricades set up with garbage or building materials inside.

I walked up and down the many streets and walked for about 1 1/2 hours. Found a lot of Japansese sushi restaurants, a Chinese noodle house, a dim sum restaurant, a Vietnamese one as well as a couple of Thai restaurants.

Another interesting point is that most of the stores and shops were not open and would not open until 11:00 am. Pretty late in the day but then maybe Saturday morning is meant for liesure as well.

I did pop into a bakery and took several pictures of amazing cakes, eclairs, macroons, cookies, chocolate, tarts and more. The macaroons were so very pretty and well you know me and colours. They even come in purple but I chose a citron (lemon) one and it was so incredibly good that words cannot do it proper justice. Before breakfast, aren't I just decadent.

Didn't do any other shopping but I bought a few postcards and a fridge magnet for Mom. Took lots of pictures and really enjoyed my outing but I was tres fatigue and really needed some shut eye or this day would be toast.

Went back to the hotel at about 10:30 or so and spent a bit of time on the net as well as updating my blog.

My room was ready around 11 and up I went. On the first floor with a window that opens, how nice is that. The first floor is not ground and so it is really the second floor and in front of the window is a lovely window box with flowers. I will ensure that I get a picture of the view from my room. Room is simple, in good shape and clean. Well supplied with towels. One bed, a chair, night stands that are mounted on the wall. Ditto with the table. TV hangs from the wall and so minimal furniture. Closet as well.

I figured I'd be smart and take my nap now so I had a Larabar, thanks for introducing me to them Molly, oh so yummy, peanut butter and jelly. After freshening up I laid down and slept for a good two hours. Woke up naturally and got ready and was out the door again by 3:00 pm. Good thing I didn't sleep longer. I would not have been so happy if I woke up and it was 6 pm.

The weather was quite cool upon arrival at the airport at 7:30 or so. I think at that time it was a surprising 7 degrees celsius. Still quite cool when I was out after arriving at the hotel but when I went out after my nap it was hot. At least 23 or 24 degrees.

So where to go....I almost felt like a chicken and was going to just stay in the hotel. I was tired, jet lagged, etc. but I would so hate to waste a day. I was just nervous about my French language skills. I left and immediately got on the Metro. The nice attendant helped me to buy my single ticket and off I went. I had intended to go to the Louvre to get the museum pass but I say that one of the Metro stops, Solférino was by the Museé d'Orsay.

Got off there and saw the line, long and went to a kiosk and bought myself a Ham and Emmenthal baquette for about 3.40 Euro. Yummy and super fresh and I couldn't believe how cheap. I happily munched on my very late lunch as I wandered around watching tour boats on the Seine.

I walked over to the Louvre and wandered in the Jardin des Tuileries as well as the amusement park. Similar rides to what we have at the PNE.

Also wandered up and down the Rue de Rivoli and went in and out of many shops. There were lots of souvenir shops as well as street artists with a variety of lovely watercolours. Saw Starbucks, Subway, and McDonalds where you could get a McFromage burger. Took pictures of the menu for you Jeremy.

Was able to find the Cityrama location that I would need to go to tonite to board the bus for the Illuminations of Paris Tour.

I decided that I really needed, yes needed to see the Eiffel Tower because I could not see it from where I was standing. I had thought that I would see it from everywhere in Paris and I am sure you can but it doesn't help that I am vertically challenged and so I can see much about 6 feet.

Anways I started to walk towards the Eiffel Tower. I soon was able to see it from along the Seine, aw it's not that big. It was actually disappointingly small. Well, after walking for what seems like hours, I came upon the Eiffel Tower. Oh yes, she is very big, huge and daunting. Beautiful as well. What a magnificent work of art. I took pictures. There were lots of young men selling all various sizes and colours of the Eiffel Tower. The weather had been quite hot and muggy all this time. I briefly ventured into the toilette which was underground and when I came up it was windy, umbrellas had been opened and people were cold. It was even dusty. I started to head back to the Louvre and by now it was about 7 pm. I started to walk and just go where my feet took me.

Went to Hediard and wow Jocelan, what a store. Everything is so beautifully presented. I will be shopping there on my last day so that everything I get is at its freshest. I just have to figure out how I can bring back some of those macaroons. I wasn't sure if there is anything in them that needs refrigeration.

From there I saw a car with a Dubai licence plate. I believe it was the latest model of a Porsche. Unbelievable. I took pictures of course.

Started to walk more and by now my ankles were more like cankles and the right one was really achy. I stopped to ask directions as when I consulted my map I wasn't sure if I was walking away from where I wanted to go. That's what happens when you just let your feet take you anywhere. I never really worry about getting lost. I can always ask for directions and I know where I am. I'm just not where I wanted to get to. Some nice young people outside a grocery store told me it is too complicated to give me directions and told me I must take the Metro to the Louvre as that would be the easiest. So they directed me to the nearest Metro which was right by the Palais Galliera. Got on the Metro after consulting with the attendant and arrived with tons of time to spare before I had to be at Cityrama for the night tour. I did some more window shopping and then bought a bunch of souvenirs when I happened to find the right things in this store. I had been in this area earlier in the day but didn't want to lug things around all day. Afterall I carry enough stuff normally.

(anything in square brackets will be checked for spelling at a later date.)

Posted by Sydney324 15:42 Archived in France Comments (1)

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