Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Evening 1 Paris: Walking the Montemarte

Last time we were in Paris we stayed at a Cross Pollinate property in the Montemarte but out at the Jules Joffrin Metro station.  This time we wanted to be walking distance to more, so we did Caulincourt Hotel & Hostel.  We've stayed at a hostel in San Francisco now a couple of times and we like the extra exposure it gives the kids to other people and cultures.  Where hotels in Paris go for $500+ US a night this was less than $200 and included breakfast...albeit meager it was something.  It was the only real downside we read in the reviews.  It still included coffee, juice, tea, a basket with one criossant and one small bread loaf, jam, butter, cereal, and milk.  It was an easy walk to the Lamark-Caulicourt Metro station.

We opted to Uber into town from the airport versus the train to the Metro and were there in half the time which gave us time to clean up before meeting our guide at the Abesses Station for a walking tour I had secured through Get Your Guide.  The weather was a shock.  We had prepared a bit with rain coats, but given the heatwave that was gripping the majority of the world we expected a warm rain.  Paris was CHILLY...in the mid 60's with rain, wind, and just brrrr....  But we made a quick pit stop at our first Boulangerie, Alexine, in route for a little sugar/pastry pick us up.  Our guide, Hannah, was this cute short lady who's English was quite good, and with her energy and our sugar and carbs we were off. She showed us everything I had on my list...the Wall of Love, the vineyard, the places Picasso, Van Gough, and others frequented, oldest operational cabaret (Au Lapine Agile), the running man in a wall (stuck there supposedly busted escaping the house of his mistress)...and yes Alec touched the bust of Dalida a famous singer who lived and is buried here and touching her bust supposedly gives you luck with females.  And much more.  She would leave us after 90 minutes at the Basilica/Sacre Couer, the famed monument of the neighborhood.

I had first tried for a reservation at a famous French restaurant, but couldn't get a table for our group of 9.  So I went for Al Caratello, an Italian restaurant within 10 minutes from the hotel.  It was in the top 150 of over 14K resteraunts (according to Trip Advisor) in the city, so we figured it has to be good.  A charming place off a little side street we entered the place at 7PM and there were only two other tables.  By the time we left it was packed and people were waiting and locals were getting take-out.  It was scrumptious with massive portions.  I would leave a little early with several of the kids to get gelato at Dolce Pepone while others stayed behind to finish wine and enjoy the company of some friends who happen to also be in Paris and joined us.

Time for rest because the next day was getting the Jarnac family as much of Paris as we could cram in a day before they would head home because this was their first visit.

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