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His name WASN'T "Rodan"? Adventures in Paris, Day 1.

Paris, Day 1:

There’s two types of travellers in this world: those that bring a fox-shaped toothbrush head cover and those that don’t. It’s mentioned nowhere in the Rick Steves’ guidebook, but a whimsical toothbrush head cover puts everything in perspective. For instance, when we hit rough air over Greenland, I thought, “Well, if this 757 smacks into the Arctic Ocean, at least some stoic Icelandic Search-and-Rescue member will get a smile out of my cheery, fox-shaped toothbrush cover bobbing among the flaming wreckage.” It’s thoughts like these that keep me going when things get rough.

I’ve made it, alive, to the Hotel Bosquet here in the 7th. I mention the “alive” part because some poor bugger jaywalking across Rue Tocqueville today had far less luck and ended up in the middle of the street and quite the polar opposite of alive. Such a sight would draw a crowd in America, but here in Paris, barely a shrug was given. Vive l’difference.

Speaking of Rues, apparently no one gave Marcon the memo no real French people inhabit the Rue Cler because he lives at the end of it. A delightful collection of heavily armed police and special forces now block his part of the street and woe to anyone carrying a blue-and-yellow book who “bonjours” them looking for directions. Some people have no sense of humor and they’re generally highly-trained machine-gun toting men in body armor. You have been warned.

Speaking of Rick Steve’s guidebooks, since we’re speaking of speaking of, I met a lovely young couple, while being crammed into the cattle chute that is the loading ramp at KEF, on their way to Paris for their first time. They spotted my Paris 2015 guidebook and told me they’re received a more recent edition as a gift for their trip. We were then herded on to a bus and dropped in the middle of Iceland where we had to fight our way through waves of Polar Bears to reach our plane. Not really, but being herded on to and off of busses after being stuck in an airplane for 7 hours seemed kinda low-rent. Whine, whine, whine.

The Rodin Museum: Not to be confused with the Rodan Museum, which is dedicated to a giant rubber Japanese monster. The museum highlights the fact that Rodin was a prolific son-of-a-gun, knocking out paintings, sculptures, and various other knick-knacks that folks bought in droves. Highlight of the museum is giant set of metal doors titled “The Gates of Hell”. Were I stupid rich, I’d install these as the door to my mansion. Not that I’d want to show off my great wealth, but I’d like to give the Mormons something to think about when they come knocking. Topping the gates is the famous figure of The Thinker, that pensive, ruminating figure who either represents man’s quest for reason in suffering, or the need for a good laxative following the “Plat du 8 fromages”.

(Incidentally, I found that museum in an oddly Parisian way: while looking at my map, a distinguished older gentleman walked up, and in gently-accented English, asked where I wanted to go. I explained I wanted to see the famous Rodan Museum, and he correct (gently) my terrible pronunciation, then walked with my wife and I for a few blocks to set me on the right course. He gave me his card, which explained he was a mathematician. He then thanked US for visiting Paris and sweetly bid us adieu. What a wonderful re-introduction to what Paris can be once you stop thinking every Tom, Dick and Henri is a scam artist.)

Now it’s night in the City of Lights and the cafes on Rue Cler are humming, the patrons apparently on the same mailing list as Macron -- the unknowing fools! I just spent 98 euros on one of the best meals I’ve had in my life, complete with a pot of wine and cheese that was so rank it drew whispered comments from the couple at the next table (Le P’tit Torquet on Rue de l’Exposition, should you be curious). For the princely sum of $3,000, Paris is mine for nine days. And you're along for the ride!

(No Grumps)

Posted by
2353 posts

Wonderful!!!!

I can't wait to see more of Paris through your eyes!

Posted by
908 posts

Nice & enjoyable report. Looking forward to more & going through withdrawals from my last Paris trip, May/Jun 2016. Can't wait to head back there.
Enjoy your time.

Posted by
11575 posts

I see I'll need a 9-day stock of dry knickers.
Today's are officially toast.

Posted by
15578 posts

Aha! The old "Mathematician" scam! I thought it was dead and buried, but it is back with a vengeance.

Posted by
16771 posts

I blame my local drugstore that I'm not yet among those bringing a fox-shaped toothbrush head cover.

Posted by
382 posts

I can't wait to read the next update!

Posted by
406 posts

Wow that was fun. Was there really a dead person in the middle of the road and a crowd did not gather? Just can't get my head wrapped around that one yikes!!

Posted by
484 posts

Thanks for the colorful commentary.. heading to the "city of lights" in June and need some inspiration...

Posted by
2092 posts

You write so well, please tell me you are planning to write a series of hilarious yet factual travel books. Or, publish your grocery list, I suspect we'd all find that quite amusing as well.

Posted by
925 posts

lol - I knew that was your post just from the title. Yep, I'm agreeing with everyone who thinks you should compile your travel journey (or heck, just make one up!) and sell it! Glad you made it okay to the Rodin museum. We had the same kind of help from a nice french woman who spoke no english, and us no french. But we had a map!!! All we had to do was point at the name and she was off like a shot, leading us almost all the way there. Have a great tomorrow!

Posted by
7149 posts

Ok, my seat belt is buckled for a fun ride of reading your very funny (no pressure) daily reports! Btw, how's that vin rouge working out? 3K well spent I say 💰 And of course you're seeing some French people on rue Cler... now... Macron just won!! 😂

Posted by
4219 posts

Mike -- Macron is so lucky having you as a neighbor, even temporarily. Maybe if you see him you can slip him one of those blue and yellow guidebooks.

I can't believe you missed the Rodan museum. It's right across the square from the Godzilla museum. I think the Monster Museum Pass includes them both. And in that other museum, the one with the sculptures, I hope you also noticed the other great art works, like the protein-rich, 90% fat free, sesame-seed-bun-covered Burgers of Calais.

May your travels bring as much joy and wonder to the French as you brought last year to the Brits. And may Seattle survive your temporary absence.

Posted by
272 posts

Oh Mike!!! You are a breath of fresh air! The Parisians won't know what hit them. I will be taking notes, as my husband and I are taking our first trip to Paris in September. We are on the Best of Paris tour followed by the best of Eastern France. So glad that you found someone to help you find Monsieur Rodin. I will be looking for a really fun toothbrush holder just in case I land in the Atlantic or the middle of a street in Paris or Colmar. I'm looking forward to more reports on your travels/travails.

Posted by
1455 posts

Just what was needed today. Please start a list for those of us who would like to buy the book that is begging to be written.

Posted by
775 posts

Oh mike you are so entertaining. Can't wait til I get to Paris on may29th. What should I do til my group meets up at our hotel at 6. Hmmm eat lunch at a cafe with a glass of wine and soak up wonderful Paris!!!

Posted by
4445 posts

Please tell me where I can buy a fox shaped toothbrush cover. I did not see one in the RS store.

I will be arriving in Paris on Monday so look forward to more travel tips.

Posted by
1706 posts

Great post - thank you! I take you at your word about the toothbrush cover when I admit to you that I travel with a small teddy bear who wears a San Diego State sweatshirt and a NY Yankees ball cap and he's seen four continents.

Posted by
968 posts

Mike, you are SO funny.
Please add me to your waiting list for that book we want to see you publish.
(Is that toothbrush cover also a flotation device?)

Posted by
11613 posts

Oh, jeez, I haven't snort-laughed in weeks!

Go, Mike!

Posted by
4654 posts

There's also Perry Rhodan, pronounced the same way, who is Germany's answer to Flash Gordon.

Posted by
1509 posts

LOVE THIS! And you are making me want to go back to Paris!

Posted by
741 posts

We made it to the Rodin museum just fine but we didn't have a lot of time. We wandered a bit, enjoying the various works, but soon realized we needed to get a move on. Darned if we couldn't find our way to that thinking laxative guy. Wrong turn after wrong turn. Finally we stumbled onto it just in time to snap a fast picture to prove we were there and hustle away. A rich, deep cultural experience.

Wonderful report, Mike!

Posted by
7693 posts

💕💕Mike, I wasnt sure if it was Macron or Le Pen who lived in that apartment block. I cruised by there a few times before the final election and saw the police presence. A friend had seen Le Pen being interviewed in Tribeca on Rue Cler so we wondered if it was her residence in the area!

I loved that you were helped by a very kind gentleman!! I've had that experience as well and it made me love Paris even more!

Thanks for your reports!

Posted by
19 posts

Great post! Wife and I were heading from the Orsay to the Musee de l'Armee when a "bio break" became an imperative. Not many pit stops as we wound through the back streets to the Musee. So I pulled out our museum pass and saw the Rodin Museum was along our route. Figured we'd drop in there, avail ourselves of the facilities, and move on. So glad we stopped! The grounds were beautiful, said HI to the Thinker and were glad to see the real Gates to Hell after just seeing the plaster model he used to cast it in the Orsay earlier in the day! A nice little extra that helped make our trip so special.

Posted by
9421 posts

That is a fabulous little restaurant, but we did not have the stinky cheese. Drat!

Posted by
80 posts

I still am laughing and retelling stories from your last trip report. Especially the one where you were in a pub in England and the nearby rugby game had just ended. I hope you are okay. BTW - do you write professionally. I just love reading your words.

Posted by
352 posts

I live!

Sorry I haven't written back to those of you who've written asking about me: I'm currently hale again having been struck down by the flu right after arriving back in America. Work is seriously intense right now, too, which is taking up my writing time. However, I am writing up my experiences in the beautiful nations of Belgium and Holland and will share them with you as soon as I'm done.

Thank you to everyone who has been reading up until my hiatus; I promise there's more to come!

-- Mike Beebe

Posted by
1455 posts

Glad to hear you're feeling better and looking forward to future posts.

Posted by
23593 posts

ah, the dreaded get sick on the airplane complex - I know it well.

Somebody ought to bottle all those germs on a plane, they could make a fortune.

Can't somebody invent a fly-paper for germs?

Posted by
901 posts

I'll add my thumbs-up to the accolades on your trip report. Now you have me exploring all my options for unique travel flotsam in case my plane crashes en route to Portugal next month. Can't wait to read your next installment. Also, regarding getting sick after returning home from extended travel -- I think that's the body's reaction to returning to the reality of the workaday world.

Posted by
5443 posts

Glad you are feeling better and just busy, Mike! Your faithful fans will be here, never fear.

Posted by
1846 posts

Welcome back, glad to hear you are feeling better and I'm looking forward to reading more about your adventures. Your postings are such fun to read and always make me smile, if not laugh out loud!

Posted by
208 posts

Oh my -- I'm enjoying your journey!
Cheers,
Vivian