Nutmeg and Ginger are in Paris for Gingers’ school trip. The great thing about Paris in February is the hordes of summer tourists are absent. This does not mean there are no crowds but rather that the crowds are made up of more locals, French tourists and Asian school trips. The weather is pleasant at about 5 degrees Celsius, however, it is not spring so requires a good heavy jacket, hat and gloves. There is no snow on the ground so the ladies are all strutting their boots. Nutmeg, as some might agree has a boot fetish so this is a bit like being in a candy store. The boots cover all styles although there is a higher percentage of the black flat sole, zippered, laced or both. Nutmeg packed light so must be content with the one pair she did bring along.
The chosen hotel is the Novatel near the Eiffel Tower. The location is good, on foot about 5 minutes to the Metro and 10 minutes from the tower. The hotel has likely had a fairly recent upgrade, as the finishes are neutrals and browns. The cleaning level is pretty marginal, the heat/cooling is questionable but it is France…
The hotel is located in the 7th Arrondissement, which is home to the Eiffel Tower (the lovely lady is 120 years old and beautifully lit at night) and Les Invalides (French military museum and hospital). It is approximately 30-40 minutes from L’Arc de Triophe and Place De La Concorde. So Nutmeg is happy enough to make this home base for a few days.
For those interested you can see all the facts and figures and even do a virtual tour of the tower here.
Another interesting tidbit: The twenty arrondissements are arranged in the form of a clockwise spiral, starting in the middle of the city, with the first on the Right Bank (north bank) of the Seine. The French cities of Lyon and Marseille are also subdivided in this way. The way the Arrondissements are spiraled corresponds with the shape of a snail (in French an Escargot – which Nutmeg never eats!).
Trusty Saffron had emailed Ginger with restaurant suggestions before we even finished the check in process. As most would know Saffron has really really good taste in restaurants, expect fantastic wine lists and food to match, also expect a bit of sticker shock when the bill arrives. The closest suggestion to the hotel is called La Fontaine de Mars, a quick cab ride away. The only issue is Saturday night is very busy and they were full with at least a 30-minute wait and no bar. The host suggested an alternate on Rue Le Cler, also busy and we got the 30-minute “tourist” brush off in this case because they had tables… We landed at Café du Marche a few steps down the road, it too was very busy but we managed to get a seat in a semi-private area. Although, a return visit to Café du Marché is very unlikely, Nutmeg is willing to give them points for the following:
- Fast – in and out in under 60 minutes
- Cheap – it cost less than lunch!
- No extra charge for water or bread
- Traditional bistro fare
Nutmeg’s advise – Next time wait for a table at Fontaine de Mars.
When you are in Paris download a copy of this handy GPS guided App for your smartphone with all sorts of self-guided walking options for the City of Lights.