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Gerry arrived as scheduled on Monday morning. Not only is this his first visit to Paris, but his first trip to continental Europe (not counting a few days in Iceland).

He came into the city, at my suggestion, by RoissyBus to L’Opéra, and I met him for coffee and croissants at the fabulous Café de la Paix.  While this worked out eventually, there were two problems.  First, there was a chaotic mob scene — un bordel — getting onto the bus, and Gerry had to stand the whole way.  The bus is in theory more tourist-friendly but I’m going back to recommending and using the RER train, even though the stations can themselves be confusing.  Cabs cost about 50 euros, so also a viable if pricey option.  Secondly, Café de la Paix was a poor choice for a rendezvous: the terrace didn’t open until after 9:30, it wasn’t visible from the RoissyBus stop, and it’s snooty and overpriced.  It would have been smarter to meet at L’Entracte.

After Gerry settled in to the apartment we set out on a flâne, which, as luck would have it, led us to a charming lunch at my old favorite, L’Absinthe Café.  At one point the waiter switched to English, but after I expressed a preference for French he gave my use of the language a cheery semi-compliment: that he was able to understand everything I said.

We crisscrossed the Marais, with obligatory stops at L’Open Café and the gay bookstore, Les Mots a la Bouche (“the words to the mouth”).  The Place des Vosges was lovely as usual:

Place des Vosges, September

Place des Vosges, September

For dinner our first night Gerry chose a restaurant just a few blocks from my apartment that I had passed many times but never eaten at. We both loved Lézard Café , at the intersection of rue Tiquetonne and rue Étienne-Marcel: The location is lively but not noisy; service, servers and the other diners were delightful; the food was tasty and well-presented; the wine was luscious; and everything was reasonably priced. A new favorite!

We rounded out the day with a couple of creative cocktails at Experimental Cocktail Club, just a few doors down from my place.  I was pleased to be greeted by one of the owners as if I were a regular!

Experimental Cocktail Club - Old Havana, Candle and Menu

Experimental Cocktail Club – Old Havana, Candle and Menu

After a somewhat slow start, due to Gerry’s jet lag, we set out around 2 pm on Tuesday for the Musée d’Orsay.  I was pleased to find that the impressionists had been moved back up to the top floor.  It seemed as though quite a few more were on display than I remembered from last year, when they were off the main hall.  The lighting and presentation was exquisite, and I was blown away as always.  Once a year is not too often to revisit these glorious paintings.

We walked back via the banks of the Seine.

Gerry with the Musée d'Orsay

Gerry with the Musée d’Orsay

Gerry particularly enjoyed the locks placed by lovers along the Pont des Arts.

Lovers Locks on the Pont des Arts

Lovers Locks on the Pont des Arts

I took us home by a different route through the Marais, then up a cute little street in Beaubourg, rue Quincampoix.  There we encountered, on a Tuesday evening, not one but two gallery openings, vernissages.  We really liked the art at the second one, and as one might expect the wine was also excellent.

Gerry and Bob with works by Caroline Coppey at Galerie Alexandre Cadain

Gerry and Bob with works by Caroline Coppey at Galerie Alexandre Cadain

We had dinner at a quirky and charming little place in my neighborhood, Le Bouï-Bouï, which I have enjoyed on several occasions.  While the possibility of further adventures was mentioned we decided to make it a (relatively) early evening.

Mot du jourbordel, a bordello or, more commonly, a chaotic mess.