I Love Touring Paris - The Seventeenth Arrondissement
The 17th arrondissement of northwestern Paris is located on the Right Bank of the Seine River. Its land area is about 2.2 square miles (somewhat under 5.7 square kilometers.) The population is one hundred sixty thousand and the area is home to more than ninety thousand jobs. This arrondissement has a split personality. The northern sector tends to be working class and is an extension of Pigalle in the ninth district with its many red lights that aren't all traffic signals. The southern section is more upscale. Why not visit both areas to see which you prefer?
The Hôtel Concorde La Fayette is Paris's largest hotel with more than one thousand rooms built on land that once hosted an amusement park. In the 1970s a huge conference center the Palais des Congrès de Paris arose on the complex. You'll find commercial exhibition space, TV studios, theaters, and more. The last time I checked on-line Charles Aznavour was singing at this "Palace." I never attended a concert there. And yet I am positive that it can't match ambiance of the Olympia in the ninth district or Bobino in the fourteenth. I can still remember hearing Aznavour sing in the Olympia way back when.
The seventeenth arrondissement is known by the name of Batignolles-Monceau but the Parc Monceau is actually just over the border in the eighth arrondissement. By the way the eighth is known as Elysses, in honor of you know what. This beautiful Parc was established by an Eighteenth Century Duke. When he was guillotined it became public property. Parc Monceau is designed in the style of an informal English garden, somewhat unusual for France whose parks are usually more traditional. You'll find mock ruins and even a fake pyramid. For those who keep track, the Rotunda contains the city's finest public restroom. Towards the end of the Eighteenth Century the Parc was the site of the first silk parachute jump, appropriately enough from a Montgolfier hot air balloon.
Every Saturday morning you can visit the Marché Biologique Batignolles (Batignolles Organic Market), one of two such markets in Paris. Of course food there costs more than at your run-of-the-mill Paris market but partisans will tell you that it is well worth the cost. And you can get some very unusual products such as spiky Peruvian cucumbers and Basque chili peppers. If you find food expensive at this market skip the next paragraph and go straight to the Henner Museum.
If you feel like splurging check out the Guy Savoy restaurant on the Rue du Troyon, a little street in the heart of the district. I've never been to this particular restaurant. I recently read two on-line reviews, the first was entitled Most expensive disappointment I've ever had while the second claimed Absolutely the best meal I have ever had! Be warned, you will pay $100 for a bowl of soup and you'll need to reserve a month in advance for dinner. Don't bother dropping my name, even if your French is perfect and your wallet runneth over. Monsieur Savoy owns five restaurants in Paris and a Parisian-style restaurant in Las Vegas said to come closest to European three-star dining in North America. This eatery is equipped with a one thousand bottle wine wall. (If one of those bottles should happen to fall, there'd be 999 bottles of wine on the wall.)
The Musée national Jean-Jacques Henner is dedicated to a relatively unkown Alsacian painter. You'll enjoy the setting, a quaint Nineteenth Century mansion. The way I look at it why not visit some of Paris' other museums besides those old-time favorites such as The Louvre? Paris museums are all over the place, but Henner seems to be the only museum in the seventeenth district. However, the district is said to have the most artist ateliers in the city.
Of course you don't want to be in Paris without sampling fine French wine and food. In my article I Love French Wine and Food - A Touraine (Loire Valley) White I reviewed such a wine and suggested a sample menu: Start with Rillettes (Coarse Pork Paté). For your second course savor Lapin au Vouvray (Rabbit with Onions, Shallots, and Vouvray Wine). And as dessert indulge yourself with Tarte aux Pommes à la Confiture de Chinon (Apple Pie with Chinon Wine Jam). Your Parisian sommelier (wine steward) will be happy to suggest appropriate wines to accompany each course.
Levi Reiss has authored alone or with a co-author ten computer and Internet books, but to tell the truth, he would really rather just drink fine French, German, or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He knows what dieting is, and is glad that for the time being he can eat and drink what he wants, in moderation. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel, wine, and food website www.travelitalytravel.com and his global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com.