Crepes avec Grand Marnier

Comments 2 Standard

A quick blog today with an experience that gave us a little surprise!  We stopped into a creperie at the end of a day on Ile de la Cite (near Notre Dame) for a dessert and wine.  We confidently ordered the Grand Marnier Crepe, which is made with an orange brandy liqueur.  When I have had this before, it has the flavor but no alcohol – or it has been burned off in the cooking.

The waiter seemed very impressed with our choice – said it was “very French” with a look of approval.  We felt very proud.

Then I saw the bartender bring down 2 glasses and a bottle of Grand Marnier.  I told Frank, either someone else ordered Grand Marnier or we may have just ordered wine, a crepe, AND two glasses of Grand Marnier.  Oh well – part of the adventure.

But then, the waiter and the bartender marched over and, with quite a flair, placed 2 crepes on the table and poured a half-full glass of Grand Marnier (quite a lot) on top of each crepe.  And then – whipped out a lighter and set it all on fire!  I gave a little yelp and got my scarf out of the way just in time!   

I have to say – after the shock and the flames died down – it was delicious! 

Lunch on a Bus – The Paris Bustronome

Comment 1 Standard

We just had the most fun bus ride!  Last week, we did the normal Hop-On Bus to get our bearings.  Today, we hopped aboard the gourmet version – the Bustronome!

The Bustronome is a double-decker bus outfitted with tables and special cup holders so your wine glasses don’t slide off as you drive around town taking in the sights of Paris. 

And while you ride around, they serve 4 courses – sea bass gravlax, salmon, veal, and the Paris Brest (like an éclair) – complete with wine parings and espresso to top it off.

We rode back and forth across the Seine as we feasted away.  Bon Appetit!

Solidarity With Ukraine

Leave a comment Standard

We woke up yesterday to the news of the invasion and watched BBC and Sky News most of the day. The events hit even closer to home since Europeans are directly impacted, not only by the invasion, but also the refugee crisis it is creating. And just being in Paris is a reminder of what can happen, since Paris was occupied during WW2.

Frank and I were both sad this afternoon so decided to take the water taxi down to Notre Dame. The church is closed due to the fire in 2019, but people had started to gather on the plaza. A duo set up and started singing songs of peace. We were with people from all over the world – it was a really a special moment.

Then we returned to our own neighborhood, where we saw the Eiffel Tower had been lit with the colors of the Ukranian flag.

Our prayers are with the people of Ukraine.

Marche President Wilson

Leave a comment Standard

We just had the best day!  We heard about a local market that sets up twice a week – strangely enough, named after President Wilson because it is on Avenue President Wilson. 

Farmers, cheesemakers, fishmongers, and others come into Paris from the countryside to sell their wares.  Our guidebook says that the chefs of all the Michelin-starred restaurants are there first thing in the morning to select the very best ingredients.  So we decided to check it out!


Thankfully, our apartment comes with a rolling cart making it easy to shop.

We bought:

  • Fromage (cheese) – 4 kinds!
  • Baguette (bread)
  • Tomates, concombre, poivron, champignons & des radis (tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, mushrooms & radishes)
  • Basilic (basil)
  • Fraises, framboises & poires (strawberries, raspberries & pears)
  • Olives – Greques & Kalamata
  • Noisettes, noix, & noix de cajou (hazelnuts, walnuts & cashews)
  • Pomme de terre roties (roasted potatoes)
  • Yaourt vanilla maison (homemade vanilla yogurt)
  • Quiche au fromage (quiche with cheese)

We will feast on this all week until next week’s market!

We even picked up a snack – une galette made right in front of us.  It is like a thick crepe, filled with a thyme sauce and cheese, cooked over an iron dome lit with a fire.  Delicieuse! 

Cruising Down the Seine

Comments 2 Standard

Happy Birthday Frank: Part 2!

Saturday night was our big celebration of Frank’s birthday – a dinner cruise down the Seine.  (Friday was the Batobus, but we were taking it up a notch.)

We boarded the Bateaux Parisiens lovely Cristal and were met with champagne and amuse bouche. 

As we started gliding down the river, we had 4 courses to choose from: Starter, Main, Cheese, and Dessert – each paired with wine. 

We floated past the Louvre, Notre Dame, and finally to a more business district with high rises – then circled back to check out the other side – Musee d’Orsay, Invalides, all the way down to a model Statute of Liberty.  French café music, including our favorite Edith Piaf, set the tone.

They even sang Happy Birthday to Frank and brought out a sparkling surprise.

We disembarked under the lights of our favorite Tower and practically danced all the way home – which may have been partially due to the champagne!

We know 85 will be a very good year.

Happy Birthday Frank! Joyeaux Anniversaire!

Comment 1 Standard

Today was Frank’s Birthday! 

(Really, last Friday, but we are still catching up from the fun weekend . . . .)

Frank chose to take the water taxi, called the Batobus, down the Seine.  The Batobus is hop-on / hop-off and makes stops all along the touristy spots on the river.  We have seen it from our window. 

It was a super windy day (surely a gale) and POURING rain.  But we are hearty sailors, so we went anyway. 

By the time we got to our local stop (right under our favorite Tower), we were soaked and our umbrellas had flipped inside out numerous times.  And the Batobus was nowhere in sight. 

Instead, we took refuge in a café on a barge tied to the quai with a view of Tour Eiffel on one side and the boat traffic on the other. 

It was all windows and super cozy– we could even see the seagulls walking on the roof.  

Since it was Frank’s birthday, we ordered a bottle of Cote du Rhone and settled in for a leisurely lunch. 

With a little wine for courage – and the rain now just a drizzle – we hopped onto the next passing Batobus that arrived just as we were finishing up. 

Off we sailed down to St. Germain. Some scenes along the way . . . .

St. Germain is a lively and historic neighborhood and the haunt of many literary figures, such as Hemingway.  We loved wandering through the historic streets.   

We located our destination – the iconic Café de Flore – for a delicious dessert. 

This café opened in 1887 and has been the scene of many celebrity sightings.  It also played a part in the French Resistance during WW2.  I love novels of the French Resistance and had read about this café and the many rendezvous that were there with secret notes passed.  It was exactly as I had pictured from my books.  So cool.

The rain was starting up again, so being the wise travelers we are, we decided to order an UBER home and leave the rest of our Batobus sightseeing for another day.  Happy Birthday Frank!

Side Note: We have started re-watching “Emily in Paris” while we are here – and she just went to Café de Flore!

Our Apartment in Paris

Comments 4 Standard

For the next month, we are residing at 60 Avenue New York in the 16th Arrondissement (or 16e for short). 

It turns out this is a ritzy area with lovely apartments and few tourists.  We love that we feel very local. Our neighborhood is called Passy and it is right next to the Trocadero, which are the gardens right across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. 

Our building has two doors, with their own codes.

And a teeny tiny elevator.

Here is a little tour –

Living Room


My Office

Our Bedroom – with a great view!

And a very fancy bathroom – complete with a gold-inlaid mosaic floor!

Makes us wonder who lived here once upon a time! We feel very lucky to be its temporary guardians.


Comments 2 Standard

Bonjour!  We are in Paris!

Thanks to all of you who reached out to ask if we actually made it and if we were EVER going to update the blog!  We had a busy week of packing and COVID tests, followed by jet lag and setting up our new temporary home.  But don’t worry – we have lots of stories to tell!

But first, a lot of you have asked how it has been traveling during COVID times.  Admittedly, it was pretty complicated to figure out all the requirements.  I did a lot of research and found that the US Embassy website for France (and other countries) was the most helpful. 

For France, we had to complete 3 forms – 2 that we carried with us and one that was completed online (the EU Digital Passenger Locator Form).  We also needed a COVID test taken within 48 hours of departure.  That was tricky because we needed the results back before we flew so we needed a very quick turnaround that most pharmacies could not guarantee.  We discovered Same Day Health in the Annapolis Mall, which will do one-hour results for $250 (also will do 24-hours if you have more time for $175).  We opted for the one-hour, even though expensive, because we didn’t want to wait until the morning of our flight to find out if we could go.  We were nervous enough.  It was a fast, easy experience. *We have heard that this requirement was scrapped the day after we arrived – so no test is needed now.  If you are going, I would verify on the US Embassy website.

AirFrance gives you the option of uploading your results and all of your forms, so they can clear you to fly before you go to the airport, saving time in line.  We did this and got our “Ready2Fly” status while in the taxi on the way.  They print it on our tickets so we sailed through all the lines – notice it at the top.

We had no problems flying, but were reminded to wear our masks except when eating.  Service was more scaled back than usual, but still nice.  We did notice that there were significantly less passengers and crew.  The best was that there were only 6 people in front of us in line at Charles de Gaulle airport passport control.  I have flown through CDG at least a dozen times and NEVER seen that before!

On the ground in Paris, no test was required. Everyone wears masks inside and about a third wear a mask outside.  About half the places we have gone require us to show our CDC vaccine card (we have not needed to obtain a Passe Sanitaire – the French official pass – everyone so far has accepted our CDC cards).  Many restaurants are strict on masks – they don’t require at the table, but if you go to the restroom they will point at you to put on your mask (which we think is a good idea, too).

A tour of our apartment and more stories to come.  But to give you an idea – here is our view!

And guess whose birthday we just celebrated?!

On the Road Again! Frank & Christy’s Post-COVID* Pilgrimage! (*we hope!)

Comments 3 Standard

The Two Fools are back (and thankfully, still in love)! : ) 

We were planning to update this blog 2 years ago – when we had to cancel our upcoming journey the day before our flight was to take off.  COVID alarm had not quite reached the US, but numbers were ramping up in Europe.  There had been about a dozen cases reported in Paris, but many more in Italy, right across the border – so Frank and I decided to make the very tough decision to cancel.  How innocent we were that a handful of cases caused such alarm.  Within a few weeks, the whole world was in lockdown. 

Last fall, things started looking promising for a re-do.  We decided to play it safe by planning a trip a few months out, where things surely would be even more open.  And we would go in the winter before the crowds came back.  Very clever, we thought!  And then . . .  Omicron.  It was déjà vu. 

We have held on by our fingernails trying to decide whether to stay or go – and decided that life is short – and we have ALL learned that it can change on a dime.  We are vaccinated and boostered and have planned our travels carefully to take into account social distancing and safety.

We know we will have ups and downs with all the COVID challenges.  We are already experiencing that trying to figure out the rules and testing.  And we may end up in quarantine somewhere (which at least will be a good story for the blog).  We will offer what we learn along the way so that our experiences may help other travelers.

So – we leave next week for 10 weeks in France and Italy – with an Easter reunion with Frank’s family in Sicily!  Come along with us on our Post-COVID Pilgrimage!

Christy & Frank (The Two Fools in Love)