They said it couldn't be done...
So I know my last trip report (Holland) said I'd just returned, but that was a lie, I started writing that trip report when I had one day downtime inbetween the next trip, Paris, which I just returned from this evening. I find trip reports are best when they're fresh so I'm going to try to finish this one night.
A caveat: I was essentially playing tour guide to my grandmother, 83, who has been to Paris twice before, in the 70s and in 2000 as part of a big coach Europe tour, and my 68 year old distant cousin, who has never been to Europe and is probably the definition of "middle America." They wanted to see highlights and monuments (aka famous things) and take pictures. I tried to force some knowledge/context/off-the-beaten-path stuff on them when possible but they were largely uninterested and this was a "one in a lifetime trip" for my cousin so I tried to cater to their tastes.
We took the ICE from Stuttgart arriving at Gare de l'Est at 14:30, and promptly took a cab to hotel Darcet, at the edge of the 17th, right near Place du Clichy (also please don't bother correcting my "du" for my "de la", I mix them up all the time and I don't speak French aside from, "Un vin blanc, s'vous plait," and the other basics!). I have had some good and bad Paris hotel experiences and I would totally stay at Hotel Darcet again. The room was clean, the bathroom was good, it had A/C (although you couldn't control it, but the weather wasn't so hot that we needed anything other than leaving the window open at night), beds were fine, staff helpful and friendly. No breakfast on offer but they welcome you to bring bakery goods into the sitting area and make use of complimentary tea and coffee. Can't argue with that!
I'd never stayed in this neighborhood before but I would again in a heartbeat. I'm kind of a cheapo when it comes to hotel rooms so I'm never going to splurge for Ile St. Louis or St. Germain and I find Rue Cler to not have good enough transit connections, ditto for Montmarte. This was nice in that it was close to Montmarte and Pigalle while being way more convenient for the metro, which I sadly rarely got to use, due to my grandmother's mobility issues. I actually used buses in Paris for the first time, but found it easy thanks to being able to use data on my smartphone (I honestly don't know how people travel without this ability.) I found buses convenient and better for my guests, but also hot and sometimes very crowded, not so much a problem for me, but it was sometimes hard to find my grandmother a seat which is more of a problem on a bus than on a metro car. Frankly, Paris is never someplace I wanted to take mobility-impaired people but it was a "must-see" for my cousin and my grandmother said she wanted to go, too, so we made it work.
I asked a couple people what the name of the actual neighborhood was and got different answers. But I enjoyed it nonetheless, you can get anything you need just 250 meters from the hotel at Place du Clichy, but the street just behind the hotel had some great locals restaurants and pubs, totally untouristy and really interesting. I would really like to explore more there.
OK the actual trip begins with the next post...