I took Friday off, so as to have an unhurried trip across on the Eurostar. This was surprisingly uneventful (though it does take a while).
glittertigger kindly me me at the Gare du Nord. We headed for the where we were staying: the Hotel Hospitel. As this sounds, this is indeed a hotel within one of the old (though still in use) hospitals. This is a bit strange, and the rooms were pretty basic. However, it was fairly inexpensive, and had the great advantage of being right by Notre Dame on the Ile de la Cité. It's hard to get a better location for a stay in Paris.
We wandered around Paris for a while (taking in a few of the classic sights), and then for dinner we went to the Restaurant Rue Balzac. This was a very good meal, with great service, though it was expensive (about €170 for the two of us). I inadvertantly ordered something that could be considered a quintessentially English dish: beef with mushroom and mashed potatoes.
We started on Saturday (after breakfast in a Café) by visiting the Musée d'Orsay. This is a converted railway station. We mainly concentrated on looking at their Impressionist collection. I enjoyed the paintings, though felt the museum didn't have enough seats.
Following this, we decided to do some shopping (well, mainly window shopping) around the Champs-Élysée and the Rue du Faubourg.
I got a perfume for glittertigger in what she concluded was one of the shinyest rooms she'd ever seen; it was covered in small gold tiles. I then got given the reciept in a small envelope, which amused me greatly.
After various clothing stores with scary staff, we had a proper look around the comparatively approachable Hermès store. Here I splashed out on a tie for a mere €130. This was accompanied with an astonishing amount of packaging. glittertigger likewise splashed out on a Missoni scarf from across the road.
After a brief rest we then went to dinner in Le Reminet in the Latin Quarter. This was quite a revelation. It had a menu option which I've not before seen in a restaurant: it had a fixed price menu (€55), where you chose two starters and two main courses from any on the full menu, and any desert (and it also had fixed cheese course). However, the main courses are scaled down to roughly starter size. This allows the sampling of a wide variety of their dishes, without the restrictions that usually go along with set tasting menus. The selections are per person, so between us we got throught four starters, four main courses, two deserts and cheese. This perfectly complimented the exceptional quality of the food. The slimmed-down main courses were occasionally amusing though: my Steak Frites was a small (but very tasty) piece of beef, with four carefully stacked chips in a # pattern.
Afterwards we saw some very capable performers with fire staff and poi in the plaza in front of the cathedral.
Sunday was a rather more relaxed day of wandering around Paris before catching the train. We were particularly impressed with the Arab World Institute, which has one side covered with intricate iris sun blinds in a Islamic art style.