Cimetiere Du Pere Lanchaise
This enormous cemetery was only a few blocks uphill from my hotel. Such a long list of notables are buried here, it is busy with tourists. I followed the crowd to Chopin's grave, but mostly I just wandered around and marveled at the miniature city of monuments.
Look at this poster I found in the Metro! It is advertising that, as part of an ongoing guest city program, Portland culture will be featured at four Paris venues for ten days in April; including live indie bands, contemporary art, info about Portland’s environmental activism and airings of Portland’s “Experimental Half-Hour” channel 22 cable program.
This was a little cafe I kept passing on my jaunts through the city and finally ate at one day. The food was not notable - although average food is pretty good in Paris - the setting was charming. It is tucked into a blind alley a stone's throw from the river. So it is a little away from the traffic noise and yet you can still see a lot going on.
Stewed Rabbit at L’Ebouillante
This is actually a “tea salon”, a special class of café that serves a limited menu and specializes in teas. The availability of rabbit in a place such as this illustrates how popular rabbit is in France. In the grocery store I saw whole cases full of fresh rabbit, the way you would see chicken displayed in the USA.
Parc Floral
This sprawling garden lies beyond Chateau de Vincennes, at the SE end of Metro line one. It is a French version of the Portland Rose Gardens with less flowers. There is a stage for music events, cafes, playgrounds and miles of walking paths.
Square de Vert-Galant
This was one of my favorite little nooks in Paris because it is right in the middle of the city, yet few people venture down the hidden staircase on Pont Neuf to get here. With tour boats going by nonstop beyond the trees, it feels like a tranquil little place in the eye of the storm.
NE Ile St. Louis
This is the OTHER island in the middle of the Seine. Like these people in the picture, I enjoyed the many water-level pedestrian-only passages on the river. Unfortunately, they exist in relatively small segments. So you can't navigate the river in one long sweep along these. They are more like a bunch of little parks where people go to eat lunch, read a book or drink a bottle of wine with their friends.

Paris, France 5/10-20/2012
I stayed in a depressingly shabby hotel for 10 days because it was the only thing I could afford within walking distance of the city center. I knew what I was signing up for, but the inconveniences of living there eventually wore me down so that I was happy to leave.

It was an interesting Algerian neighborhood though. I felt as if I had suddenly been plunked down in the middle of NYC. It had that gritty, self-contained feel to it. I ate at the same shwarma house around the corner almost every day. (It was the best deal on food to date.) It was a family business – as many shops seemed to be in that area. It was fun to grow familiar the family members and be recognized by them. I think they actually lived just across the street.

I went to the same place every day for pastries. I saw the same beggars. I passed the same drunks. I stared down all the same people on the street taking cigarette breaks.

I was thrilled to discover that Paris has an advanced, expansive bicycle rental system. There were pick-up/drop-off centers everywhere! It was only a euro a day, plus a euro per hour – and the first 30 minutes were free! I took a lot of 25 minute rides.

Since the weather was mostly fair, I decided to take a tour of Paris parks. There are many and they are expansive. There are a number of highly groomed, highly ordered parks that are the remnants of royal estates. A number of these are “look but don’t touch” kinds of parks where you are supposed to stay on the grid of walking paths and sit only on the benches provided. I liked them for what they were.

I visited a few “second tier” museums – the ones you visit after you have been to all the biggies. These both introduced me to some new pieces I liked and surprised me with some favorites that I didn’t know resided in these places.

I happened to be in town while the new French president took office. Like most other Parisians, I watched most of that hoopla on television. (Actually, I tried to get down to Champs Elysees to see the Hollande ride by, but security wouldn’t let me get off the metro in time.)